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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Gestalt question

    If you played a race with an LA or a number of hit dice greater than 1 (say, a thri-kreen), would you choose a second class for those levels?
    To clarify, would the following setup:

    Thri-Kreen LA 2/Thrikreen HD 2/Barbarian 2 // Druid 6

    give you 5 BAB (2 from HD, 2 from Barbarian, 1 from Druid), 4 skill points per level on all 6 levels and a number of hit points equal to 1d8+8 (Druid hit dice, maxed at first level) + 2d8 + 2d12 + Con mod etc.?

    Hopefully this won't be as confusing to you as I think it will be.

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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    If it was my campaign, LA would be on both sides, but the racial HD would be on one side. RAW is silent on this, however, so its up to the DM.

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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Indeed, this has come up before, and the answer is "it doesn't say." There's a whole debate about whether using Racial HD/LA on only one side is overpowered even for gestalt. My personal approach, like Rigeld's, is to remove LA from both sides, but RHD from only one. Thus your Thri-Kreen would be ECL 6, with a build of RHD 2/Barbarian 2//Druid 4.
    Last edited by SpiderBrigade; 2007-04-04 at 06:35 AM.
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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauwel View Post
    If you played a race with an LA or a number of hit dice greater than 1 (say, a thri-kreen), would you choose a second class for those levels?
    To clarify, would the following setup:

    Thri-Kreen LA 2/Thrikreen HD 2/Barbarian 2 // Druid 6

    give you 5 BAB (2 from HD, 2 from Barbarian, 1 from Druid), 4 skill points per level on all 6 levels and a number of hit points equal to 1d8+8 (Druid hit dice, maxed at first level) + 2d8 + 2d12 + Con mod etc.?

    Hopefully this won't be as confusing to you as I think it will be.
    Like Rigeld has said, there is no official answer. No errata, no FAQ, nada. Which leaves personal interpretation. If you're the DM, you'll have to decide on something which works for your group, if a player you will have to talk to the DM.

    On one hand, you can decide that LA and racial hit dice do not count as classes for the purposes of gestalt, and as there's nothing specifically saying they do, this is within the rules. Be aware this completely neuters anything with an ECL adjustment, much more so than normally. Gestalt games tend to be hard, and the loss of not only hit dice but two sets of class features per LA makes all but the most broken LA adjustments completely unworkable. If you want to specifically discourage these, this interpretation works, but you'll have less trouble over the course of the game if you just ban them rather than have a player become angry or sullen over choosing badly due to a rules misunderstanding.

    On the opposite side of the spectrum, but also well within the RAW, is that level adjustments and hit dice can be combined with a normal class at each level, taking the best features of both. I find from personal experience that this makes for a more playable ECL adjusted character, as LA is generally worth a level of class features for most published races, but you also get a hit die of some sort and BAB, skills, and spellcasting advancement with gestalt so the character isn't gimped in terms of abilities that the rest of the group needs. Many DMs require that you take racial hit dice on one side and LA on the other, to create a sort of gestalt monster class.

    And of course there are a lot of in-between ideas, none of them either specifically selected or denied by RAW. Again, find out what will work for you.
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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Quote Originally Posted by Zincorium View Post
    Many DMs require that you take racial hit dice on one side and LA on the other, to create a sort of gestalt monster class.
    I hadnt thought about that before... I might mess around with that and see how it works out. Even with races that are (for example... dont know if one exists) +2 LA and 5 RHD? So to levels are "gestalt monster" and the other 3 are class/racial?

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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Ugh, I've seen what happens when you try Racial HD on one side, LA on the other. The answer is it's insanely powerful. LA on just one side is a similar issue. I've been over the reasons before, but folks won't get it unless they've played Gestalt before. Suffice to say, it's a bad idea, and the last time a DM tried that, he ended up dropping the Gestalt idea after seeing what the players could do with it.

    JaronK

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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    Ugh, I've seen what happens when you try Racial HD on one side, LA on the other. The answer is it's insanely powerful. LA on just one side is a similar issue. I've been over the reasons before, but folks won't get it unless they've played Gestalt before. Suffice to say, it's a bad idea, and the last time a DM tried that, he ended up dropping the Gestalt idea after seeing what the players could do with it.

    JaronK
    Out of curiousity, which races were in use that made the GM give up? I'm asking because my group wouldn't play races that were more powerful than a Githzerai or a Thri-kreen, so the totally outrageous things wouldn't make it into play anyway.

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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    Ugh, I've seen what happens when you try Racial HD on one side, LA on the other. The answer is it's insanely powerful. LA on just one side is a similar issue. I've been over the reasons before, but folks won't get it unless they've played Gestalt before. Suffice to say, it's a bad idea, and the last time a DM tried that, he ended up dropping the Gestalt idea after seeing what the players could do with it.

    JaronK
    Um, having played Gestalt both with this system and without it, I like it with LA on just one side. And yes, I've seen the reasoning, I just don't agree with it. Nothing that was suggested in an actual game was more powerful than the normal characters, let alone 'insanely powerful' in comparison.

    I don't want to start an argument, but you're totally bashing one option without stating why. It does not 'suffice to say' it's broken if theres significant dispute.

    Most reasons that gestalt is broken with LA alone involve the few exceptions to the general trend that LA makes a character worse, and at least in the previous thread where this was discussed, compared a heavily optimized example vs. a heavily gimped example (feral/mineral warrior//barbarian vs. fighter//barbarian) and claimed that this completely proved that the entire spectrum of possibilities are all broken.

    Of course, you could simply be a responsible DM and veto specific broken combos, especially involving 3.0 and setting specific material, like you would in any normal game, but that never got taken into account, despite the fact that all of this is rule 0 territory and you can't exclude DM decision from the equation.
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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Zincorium, if I remember this argument correctly, it's something along the lines of as follows:

    In regular play, LA-2, class-4 is supposed to be equally powerful to Class-6. In gestalt, the "norm" is class-6//class-6, which is X times more powerful. So if LA-2/Class-4 is equivalent to Class-6, and Class-6 is converted to Class-6//Class-6, then that in turn should be equivalent to LA-2/Class-4//La-2/Class-4. The argument being that La-2/Class-4//Class-6 would be greater-than-X times more powerful.

    or, more technically,

    LA2/Class4=Class6
    (Class6)X=Class6/Class6
    (LA2/Class4)X=LA2/Class4//LA2/Class4
    but Class6//LA2/Class4 > (Class6)X

    Of course, I don't really agree that the end result is so incredibly much more powerful than gestalt already is, but that's the argument.
    Last edited by SpiderBrigade; 2007-04-04 at 08:11 AM.
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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Quote Originally Posted by SpiderBrigade View Post
    Zincorium, if I remember this argument correctly, it's something along the lines of as follows: in regular play, LA-2, class-4 is supposed to be equally powerful to Class-6. In gestalt, the "norm" is class-6//class-6. So if LA-2/Class-4 is equivalent to Class-6, and Class-6 is converted to Class-6//Class-6, then that in turn should be equivalent to LA-2/Class-4//La-2/Class-4. The argument being that La-2/Class-4//Class-6 would be more powerful.

    Of course, I don't really agree that the end result is so incredibly much more powerful than gestalt already is, but that's the argument.
    I've heard it, but with gestalt, you can already have a class that's almost the sum of it's parts. A wizard 5//Cleric 5 has the same spell selection and DC's as a wizard 5/cleric 5, in terms of class features alone they're even. You factor in hit points, BAB, and saves, and the multiclassed character is ahead, but those don't matter as much as spells.

    Granted, wizard 5/cleric 5 is a downright terrible build, but so is fighter//barbarian as was used as an example you condensed into pure math. Neither proves the concept and you probably won't encounter either in a campaign with reasonably optimized characters. You have to go off what will be used and gauge actual usefulness instead of mindlessly reciting how LA is equal to character levels.

    And to clarify something, my experience is based off of character races with LA and HD, like genasi, hobgoblins, drow, bugbears, etc. Not weird templates or high powered races. Stuff you can get a normal DM to possibly okay, in other words. If you stick to the stuff that's in the Easy section of the DMG section on this kind of thing, it shouldn't end up being a problem putting LA or monstrous HD as a single side.
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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Yeah, that's the important thing to remember with Gestalt play: all your ideas about power levels and balance basically go out the window and you have to recalculate. Sure, there are guidelines for adjusting CR (which I think is down by 1 in gestalt?) but CR is an estimate in the first place. It's especially true when, as you mention, some builds are complete non-starters in Gestalt, while others are like tiny gods. So the balance is all over the place.

    And, really, one has to consider what Gestalt is for. According to the UA guidelines, it's useful when you're running fewer-than-normal PCs, or when your players want to be extra-powerful. So it's kind of silly IMO to get into lengthy discussions about whether LA/HD on one or both sides makes a character "too much-extra powerful." Are there potential issues with one character outshining the rest because of his build? Yes. Guess what, though, you have that in completely vanilla core-only play, too.
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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    I'm currently playing a character with racial HD and level adjustment in a gestalt game, and my DM had the RHD and LA count on only one side (in other words, my level 9 runt-minotaur is 4RHD/1LA/4Fighter//9Ranger). Granted, it's not an over-optimized build, but there haven't been any issues with the character being "too powerful." So, if it were me, I'd only count racial hit dice and level adjustment up one column, assuming the build wasn't too cheese-tastic.
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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    There is almost no way to make LA work well for you in non gestalt, and if full LA gets counted to both sides you are even worse off in gestalt (the oppurtunity cost for loosing a level increases, you are loosing out on more for each LA taken).

    If I ever get to run a gestalt game I'll simply put LA to one side of the gestalt but half the hp/bab/save increases for that level (using fractional bab/save progression of course). This essentially cuts the cost for taking LA in half, but because you don't have to split your levels on the other side allows you to still get full progression in spellcasting/maneuvers/manifesting for at least one side of your gestalt (the inability to get full progression cripples most characters with LA in non gestalt).

    Gestalt gives much more flexibility, it would be a shame to not use that flexibility to make LA playable ... making it more unplayable as with non gestalt is just bad DMing IMO. If you dislike monstrous races that much then just don't allow them.
    Last edited by PinkysBrain; 2007-04-04 at 10:06 AM.

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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Explain that last bit a little more, if you don't mind, PinkysBrain? LA halved, rounded up, that makes sense. But what do you mean by "take classes to both sides as many times as you had LA?"
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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Sorry, I rewrote that ... I just realized that what I was doing was just a really roundabout way of halving hp/bab/saves for some class levels. The method now present in my above message is cleaner and compatible with monster classes which mix LA with RHD.
    Last edited by PinkysBrain; 2007-04-04 at 10:09 AM.

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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Ahh. So for example, a Drow wizard/sorc might be wiz6//drow2/sorc4, and would get BAB, HP and saves as a level 5 wizard?
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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Quote Originally Posted by SpiderBrigade View Post
    Ahh. So for example, a Drow wizard/sorc might be wiz6//drow2/sorc4, and would get BAB, HP and saves as a level 5 wizard?
    That's the gist of it, yes.

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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Quote Originally Posted by JaronK View Post
    Ugh, I've seen what happens when you try Racial HD on one side, LA on the other. The answer is it's insanely powerful. LA on just one side is a similar issue. I've been over the reasons before, but folks won't get it unless they've played Gestalt before. Suffice to say, it's a bad idea, and the last time a DM tried that, he ended up dropping the Gestalt idea after seeing what the players could do with it.

    JaronK
    To harp on the most broken ways that I know to do this.

    Black Ethergaunt (normally 16 HD+4LA)
    Black Ethergaunt 16//LA 4/X 12.
    16 lvls of Abjurration Hit Die, Casts as a 17th lvl Wizard at Gestalt Lvl 16, +20 to Int (Which means you get 2.5 bonus spells for all your spell casting levels, and +10 to DCs just for racial classes)

    Slyph (normally a 3 HD with +5 LA, casts as a Sorcerer of Racial HD+4, Racial HD can be increased to 9)
    Slyph 9//LA 5/X 4
    9 lvls of Outsider Hit Die, Cast as a 13th lvl Sorcerer, plus additional goodies like good stats and improved invisibility at will.

    Illithid (normally 8 HD+7LA)
    Illithid 8//LA 7/X 1
    8 lvls of Abjurration HD, 8th lvl Telepath at lvl 8, good Stats.

    Illithid 8/Illithid Savant 10//LA 7/Thrallherd 1/Telepath 10
    Casts as a 18th lvl Telepath at lvl 18, has 10 lvls of Illithid Savant which means you can steal 4 feats, 4 skills, 3 class features, and 2 special abilities from monsters who brains you steal. Plus you have a cohort which makes killing monsters alot easier before you start cranking out cheese with illithid savant, you can also kill pretty well with your 18th lvl Telepath abilities.
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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    The real solution to Racial HD+LA and Gestalt, is completely recalculating LA and Racial HD. ECL is based on the idea of comparing it to a normal class. Thus recalculate LA and Racial HD by comparing the new monster class to a similar gestalt class. Yes it requires work, but its far more even and balanced.
    Last edited by Ramza00; 2007-04-04 at 10:38 AM.
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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Ramza00, it doesn't matter ... LA to both sides equals double plus gimped however you calculate it. It's a problem of non scaling abilities (ie. most of the stuff LA gives you) versus scaling abilities (ie. the kind good classes have). With LA to both sides you can only ever balance it for level X, and you won't have balance for anything greater or smaller. For non gestalt that is what you have to settle for, and a lot of LAs are chosen so conservatively they don't make much sense at any level.

    Illithid savant is broken regardless of gestalt, thrallherd is broken regardless of gestalt. As for taking the LA and RHD to different sides, just don't allow it ... problem solved.
    Last edited by PinkysBrain; 2007-04-04 at 11:26 AM.

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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Quote Originally Posted by PinkysBrain View Post
    Ramza00, it doesn't matter ... LA to both sides equals double plus gimped however you calculate it. It's a problem of non scaling abilities (ie. most of the stuff LA gives you) versus scaling abilities (ie. the kind good classes have). With LA to both sides you can only ever balance it for level X, and you won't have balance for anything greater or smaller. For non gestalt that is what you have to settle for, and a lot of LAs are chosen so conservatively they don't make much sense at any level.
    I agree that if you apply LA to both sides it is extremly underpowered.

    Applying it LA+Racial HD to one side is good for some monsters, not for others. For example Black Ethergaunt is still frickin great if you apply racial HD+LA on one side, +20 to Int is just not right. Thus I still advocate the DM working on LA and Racial HD on a case by case basis. The easiest way for a DM to do this, is to make a "savage progression" of the race.

    Also Valkyrie is another good gestalt race if you can apply Racial HD on one side and LA on the other.
    Last edited by Ramza00; 2007-04-04 at 12:09 PM.
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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Better suggestion, that I haven't seen so far:

    Allow LA to count on only one side, but double it's number.

    I.E. a drow would have spend the first four levels advancing only one class, while everyone else got two. It's somewhat gimping, but not the extent of making it unplayable. It also prevents most, not all, of the cheesetastic combos because you can't finish working off the LA in a reasonable spread of levels. Stuff like Feral is still broken, but I think for almost anything that was given a thought out LA, this will correct most perceived balance issues.

    Monstrous HD are worth the same as a class level, if that. Only outsider and dragon are going to really help, and then no more so than a regular lass.
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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Another possible suggestion: apply LA to both sides, but halve it. So an LA +2 race spends their first level effectively on LA//LA. Uneven numbers get one level applied to only one side.

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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    SMDVogrin, loosing full progression to both sides is just not worth it ... unless you take cheesy races which effectively get spellcasting levels for their LA.

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    Default Re: Gestalt question

    Alright, let's go over it again.

    First off, in the game that was dropped, I believe the issue was a Valkerie, but you can do worse... I believe a Sylph, for example, could be played at level 5 with two levels of sorcerer (Sylph Racial HD 3/Sorcerer 2//LA 5). The resulting character is a 5th level gestalt, but casts as a 9th level sorcerer.

    The point here is that Gestalts are usually as powerful as a character about one or two levels higher than their actual level. Gestalts gain a lot of flexibility, but they don't gain much raw power. After all, a Wizard 10 has the same spellcasting power as a Wizard 10//Swashbuckler 10, so his raw power is about the same... he just also has more HD, Int to damage with some weapons, etc. A Wizard 12 has fewer HD and fewer special abilities, but has 6th level spells, and is thus at least as powerful, if not as flexible.

    However, if you apply LA to one side, you can easily end up with a character whose power is twice that of a non gestalt character. For example, a Ferral Half Red Dragon Mineral Warrior Barbarian 5 is a 10th level character, by ECL... but if you throw LA on one side of the Gestalt, you can have him at level 5 (LA 5 on one side, Barbarian 5 on the other). That's an example of a character who is as good as someone twice his level, which is no where near what normal Gestalt is supposed to be. The sylph above was another such example.

    The reason for the power level being so off is the hidden loses of Gestalt. Folks who've never played Gestalt before will often think that a Sorcerer 10//Paladin 10 is as good as a Sorcerer 10/Paladin 10. However, that's not the case. When the two classes are mashed together, a lot of bits are lost. The sorcerer's 10d4+10*Con HP , the 5 BAB from the sorcerer, the +7 will save from the sorcerer, the +3 fort and reflex saves from the sorcerer, all these disappear when the classes are mashed together. It may not sound like much, but it's significant.

    However, with Gestalt, nothing is lost. The +5 LA ECL 10 Barbarian above was exactly as powerful as the 5th level gestalt Barbarian with 5 LA on one side. Using any strong templates (Draconic, Ferral, Mineral Warrior, White Dragonspawn) or LA races (Valkeries, Sylphs, Black Ethergaunts, etc) results in some serious power increases.

    JaronK

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