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  1. - Top - End - #121
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by WhamBamSam View Post
    There's a spell in the online archives for that. In absence of houserules like this thread proposes, a cocktail of Aspect of the Wolf/Planar Familiar is the lowest ECL method I know of to get the Magical Beast type on a character.
    There's also a spell in the SC that gives the Fiendish template to an undead.

  2. - Top - End - #122
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Campaign idea - roving gangs of LG sorcerers force the Celestial template on everyone in a misguided attempt to do Good, PCs are angry at them because of the LA they have to deal with.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Greater
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    1. Describing basically the exact same monster but with twice the RHD.
    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    What's your LA estimate on the harpy? My players may adopt a half-fiend harpy as companion lol.

  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Huldaerus View Post
    What's your LA estimate on the harpy? My players may adopt a half-fiend harpy as companion lol.
    he goes with alphabetic but I think la 0 for direct cr

  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    To Flickerdart:

    Firstly, I agree that the Celestial template is very hard to balance, and I want you to know I appreciate your efforts to help find a way to make it playable.

    However, you say you can 'buy it off when it gets good'. Firstly, LA buyoff is an optional rule, and I don't think all LA's should be assigned with it in mind. After all, if you're assuming LA buyoff will be in play, why not do the same for gestalt, or action points? Both are frequently used rules that don't apply to all campaigns.

    And besides, there's little difference between a one-time XP penalty and LA buyoff anyway. At levels higher than 3 (and you probably would be playing at a higher level if you're taking Celestial), you can just pay 2000 XP and be done with the template. Your suggestion will most likely result in a similar cost: assuming you start at 4th-level, you have to pay 2000 XP.

    My point being: one can't just say +1 LA is unbalanced because it can be bought off, at least not without a suggestion that doesn't suffer from the same issues.

    As things are now, I'm keeping it at +1 LA. A standard XP cost would do nothing LA buyoff can't do, and a DM who wants LA buyoff can choose to include it in his game. Celestial may not be the strongest +1 LA template ever, but it's not worthless either.
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  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Centaur


    What does being a centaur get you? Well, for one, pretty great ability scores. +8 strength is good on its own, and combined with +4 dexterity, +4 constitution and +2 wisdom it gets even better. The minor intelligence penalty can be safely ignored.

    A centaur's four racial HD are of the monstrous humanoid type, meaning they get d8 HD, full BAB, good reflex and will saves, darkvision, a small amount of skill points, and proficiency with simple weapons (and in this specific case, also the composite longbow and longsword). That's... not too great, but I guess it could be worse.

    Centaurs are large, but don't get reach. They get a small amount of natural armor, two natural hoof attacks and the above-average speed of 50 ft, as fast as a heavy horse. Finally, they deal double damage when charging with a lance, which is probably the best strategy available to them from the get-go (well, as soon as you get proficient with a lance). One may even try to somehow get a centaur to ride a mount and deal triple lance damage.

    So what LA is fit here? Fact is that centaurs give some very good things to melee characters. Add to this that even with +1 LA, 9th-level maneuvers remain available, and I'm having trouble not rating them at least that high. The permanent doubling of all lance-based charge damage isn't something to scoff at either.

    +1 LA for now.

    EDIT: Also, the two-month anniversary of this thread! Woo-hoo!

    EDIT2: Turns out you can take Spirited Charge and apply it to your attacks, according to RoF. That's good. That's really good.
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2016-06-28 at 02:45 PM.
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  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    Finally, they deal double damage when charging with a lance, which is probably the best strategy available to them from the get-go (well, as soon as you get proficient with a lance). One may even try to somehow get a centaur to ride a mount and deal triple lance damage.
    I'm not sure that works, due to the qualifier "just as a rider on a mount does" - I'd read that as "it's the same bonus, you can't apply it twice."

  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by AMX View Post
    I'm not sure that works, due to the qualifier "just as a rider on a mount does" - I'd read that as "it's the same bonus, you can't apply it twice."
    Hence the 'might'. I'm aware that not all DM's will let it fly. RAW I see no problem with it, though.

    Anyway, the LA was assigned without this trick in mind, so it doesn't really change anything whether it works or not.
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2016-06-26 at 09:11 AM.
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  9. - Top - End - #129
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Chaos Beasts


    These things are the stuff of nightmares. Appearance-wise, that is. Mechanics-wise, they aren't that great.

    I used to think chaos beasts were worthless. After carefully reading their statblock, I've changed my opinion: they're only mostly worthless, with the lack of worthlessness coming from an ability that is unlikely to actually change fights.

    Allow me to explain. Corporeal Instability is a decent save-or-suck (no spellcasting, severely lowered speed, hampered attacks). If it were just that, it'd be outclassed by many other abilities, but the thing is that CI is incredibly hard to escape from. It doesn't naturally wear off, a charisma check only suppresses it for a single minute, and the handful of spells that do remove it are high-level or require expensive material components. Also, if the continuous wisdom drain knocks someone out, they turn into a chaos beast themselves.

    Of course, because a chaos beast still has only two weak claws for natural attacks, can't use equipment, and can't really contribute to a fight against nonliving or transformation-immune creatures, it's still a bad choice. A poor save-or-die that only kicks in a couple of minutes after the battle should have ended and spawns a hostile monster when it finally kills the target isn't a reason to forgo eight levels. -0 LA works.


    I also wish to apologize for the lack of updates lately. Things have been busy recently, but at the moment it looks like I'll be able to update more frequently in the nearby future. I hope everyone understands.
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2016-11-14 at 11:40 AM.
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  10. - Top - End - #130
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    I also wish to apologize for the lack of updates lately. Things have been busy recently, but at the moment it looks like I'll be able to update more frequently in the nearby future. I hope everyone understands.
    Do what you gotta do man.
    This thread is amazing, worth the wait!
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    What legacy do we leave, after all, but those quotes that others have sigged?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jergmo View Post
    What do you do when you fight an undead that turns into a spider that's filled with spiders that turns into spiders after trapping you in magical webbing? You scream, and you never stop.
    'Prax' is fine.

  11. - Top - End - #131
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Chimera


    It's about time for the chimera, a combination of lion, goat and dragon with some hydra thrown in.

    Let's start with the positive. A chimera's RHD are Magical Beast type, meaning they gain full BAB, quite good saves and good HP. They are also Large with decent physical stats, and have no less than five natural weapons (with mouthpick options).

    The downsides: chimeras (chimerae?) are weak-minded and the breath weapon is nearly useless (why yes, I'd like to deal 3d8 points of energy damage instead of full attacking). Furthermore, the ability scores are a little low for a creature you're spending nine of your levels on.

    I'm honestly in doubt whether or not to assign a LA here. On the one hand, 9 HD are a lot to sacrifice already, but on the other... four natural attacks plus a full BAB weapon routine is awesome. I'll be going with no LA, but anyone is free to correct me if they disagree.
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  12. - Top - End - #132
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    The breath weapon is pretty terrible, but it can be used for meta-breath feats.

    With 9 RHD, LA +0 sounds fair (in the context of the purpose of this thread).

  13. - Top - End - #133
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    The breath weapon is pretty terrible, but it can be used for meta-breath feats.
    I know that, but I doubt people who play a chimera are going to make heavy use of it.

    Firstly, there's the fact that if all you want is a breath weapon to optimize, nine levels in dragonfire adept give you something stronger than the chimera's breath. Not to mention that you can just dip one level and still apply all the metabreath feats you want.

    Secondly, there's the issue of splitting resources. Chimera's are oriented towards melee combat: spending a lot of resources on your breath weapon will hurt your melee capabilities.
    Have you had enough of unreasonably high LA's and unplayable monsters in 3.5? Then check out the LA-assignment thread! Don't hesitate to give feedback!

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  14. - Top - End - #134
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Choker


    This breathtaking (ba-dum tss) monster is the choker, also known as the reason why you don't walk single file in dungeons.

    For a small creature, chokers are a surprisingly adept grapplers. A +4 racial bonus to grapple checks and a +6 bonus to strength make them better grapplers than halflings, humans, and even orcs. On top of that they constrict their victim's throat, preventing both speech and verbal spellcasting. This means that your grabs restrict verbal, somatic, and most material components.

    Another fun quality of chokers: they have reach, meaning a creature that approaches you may get attacked, grabbed, and held in place before it can even attack you. On your turn you can then let go, retreat a bit and repeat.

    And then there's Quickness, probably one of the most broken abilities in the entire game. It gives you an extra standard or move action on your turn, every turn. Add an extra strike to your full attack? Solve melee problem #1? Perhaps cast two spells a turn at no penalty? Quickness is a very, very good thing to have.

    Finally, chokers get a few abilities that ought to be mentioned. Improved Initiative as a bonus feat, a slow climb speed, and darkvision. Neat, but not necessary.

    To be honest, I'm not sure a creature with Quickness should have 9th-level spells or maneuvers. This would put the choker's LA at +2, which sounds about right to me. A choker in itself may be a little underpowered at that LA, but the potential reward at higher levels is so great that anything below +2 would make chokers a no-brainer, which I want to avoid.
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  15. - Top - End - #135
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    To be honest, I'm not sure a creature with Quickness should have 9th-level spells or maneuvers. This would put the choker's LA at +2, which sounds about right to me. A choker in itself may be a little underpowered at that LA, but the potential reward at higher levels is so great that anything below +2 would make chokers a no-brainer, which I want to avoid.
    I'm think I'm missing something, I can't see why LA +2?
    Both Wizard and Cleric get 9s at Lvl 17, and the Choker has 3 RHD.
    So when playing without buy-off, LA +1 is enough to prevent them from getting 9s; and with buy-off, you need LA +3.

  16. - Top - End - #136
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by AMX View Post
    I'm think I'm missing something, I can't see why LA +2?
    Both Wizard and Cleric get 9s at Lvl 17, and the Choker has 3 RHD.
    So when playing without buy-off, LA +1 is enough to prevent them from getting 9s; and with buy-off, you need LA +3.
    You're absolutely right that a +1 LA would prevent 9th-level spells. However, a choker with +1 LA could still get 9th-level maneuvers. Because half of a creature's RHD is counted when determining the maximum maneuver level, a choker would have 3/2 (≈1) + 16 = 17 levels, allowing 9th-level maneuvers.
    Have you had enough of unreasonably high LA's and unplayable monsters in 3.5? Then check out the LA-assignment thread! Don't hesitate to give feedback!

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  17. - Top - End - #137
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Has anyone done the vampire template already? Really interested in playing a Sanguinist Medic Vampire from the Dreamscarred new playtest, but no idea what will be a reasonable LA. Energy Drain and Create Spawn really make that thing close to unplayable as a PC with their potential for abuse.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    You're absolutely right that a +1 LA would prevent 9th-level spells. However, a choker with +1 LA could still get 9th-level maneuvers. Because half of a creature's RHD is counted when determining the maximum maneuver level, a choker would have 3/2 (≈1) + 16 = 17 levels, allowing 9th-level maneuvers.
    Ah, ToB. Of course.
    Quote Originally Posted by ShadeRaven View Post
    Has anyone done the vampire template already? Really interested in playing a Sanguinist Medic Vampire from the Dreamscarred new playtest, but no idea what will be a reasonable LA. Energy Drain and Create Spawn really make that thing close to unplayable as a PC with their potential for abuse.
    No.
    Dire_Stirge is going through alphabetically, so V is quite a while off.

  19. - Top - End - #139
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ShadeRaven View Post
    Has anyone done the vampire template already? Really interested in playing a Sanguinist Medic Vampire from the Dreamscarred new playtest, but no idea what will be a reasonable LA. Energy Drain and Create Spawn really make that thing close to unplayable as a PC with their potential for abuse.
    You should take a look at the savage progression for vampire. Spawn and energy drain only come in at level 7 of the template, while the other iconic vampire abilities (coffin, blood drinking, mind control, gaseous form) can be acquired as early as level 3.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Greater
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

  20. - Top - End - #140
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Chuul


    Chuuls are aquatic aberrations that grab people, then paralyze them with their tentacles. Sadly, they have several issues that make them near-unplayable.

    The first is obvious: 11 aberration RHD. This means you're missing out on several points of BAB compared to a full BAB-class. In addition, the high RHD will restrict you in your class choice: you won't even be able to finish many prestige classes!

    Then there's the issue that chuuls just aren't that good at their primary role: damage-dealing. 20 strength and large size are good, but not great, especially at this level. Their claws deal little damage and there's no easy way to wield melee weapons for them. Chuuls can't even use their main ability (tentacles) without giving up a full attack!

    On the subject of that ability, it's pretty bad. First they need to hit with a claw, then they need to grapple, then hope their subject can't free himself/teleport away in the next round, then give up a full attack to transfer him to their tentacles... and only then does the creature make a saving throw versus paralysis. Oh, and this all assumes their victim can't just ignore the grapples completely (FoM and incorporeality aren't exactly hard to get).

    Are there no good sides at all to the chuul? Well, they're decent grapplers and their paralysis attack can be devastating against the right foes. Despite that, -0 LA is enough.
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2016-11-14 at 11:40 AM.
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  21. - Top - End - #141
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    your PM mailbox is full...

    Are you balancing based off abilities directly to LA & ignoring HD?
    Or are you looking at HD & abilities and then assigning ECL
    Basically are you assuming that the ECL formula is balanced)?

    It's very important and I can give you an example to help you decide:

    Consider a succubus. It has 6RHD, some LA & therefore a high ECL
    Now consider an 'advanced succubus' that has 12RHD.
    It has no additional abilities to justify its huge ECL increase aside from its HD.

    If you didn't know that the advanced succubus was just an 'advanced' version and you saw a 12RHD creature with abilities that didn't quite justify its rather high ECL, should its LA be lower than the non-advanced version?

  22. - Top - End - #142
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by VisitingDaGulag View Post
    your PM mailbox is full...

    Are you balancing based off abilities directly to LA & ignoring HD?
    Or are you looking at HD & abilities and then assigning ECL
    Basically are you assuming that the ECL formula is balanced)?

    It's very important and I can give you an example to help you decide:

    Consider a succubus. It has 6RHD, some LA & therefore a high ECL
    Now consider an 'advanced succubus' that has 12RHD.
    It has no additional abilities to justify its huge ECL increase aside from its HD.

    If you didn't know that the advanced succubus was just an 'advanced' version and you saw a 12RHD creature with abilities that didn't quite justify its rather high ECL, should its LA be lower than the non-advanced version?
    Mailbox has been emptied. Thanks for notifying me!

    And to answer your question: yes I do. The main purpose of this thread is to make monsters playable. However, monster HD often are not as strong as class HD: they give no spellcasting, no full BAB and no useful traits. If I just ignore this and assign LA based on a monster's abilities, then you'd get a lot of monsters who are completely unplayable.

    For example, the allip as it is right now has 'only' +3 LA. This is in part because of its not-so-great HD. If the allip had fewer HD, it'd have had a higher LA, and the other way around.

    And on the topic of succubi: an advanced succubus technically deserves a lower LA, perhaps no LA at all if it has a lot of RHD. However, because I can't give LA's for all monsters with all possible amounts of RHD, I generalize something based on the base creature and trust people's common sense not to play something that would cripple their characters.
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  23. - Top - End - #143
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Cloaker


    Another grappling-focused aberration? They must have been on discount.

    Let's start with the base chassis. Cloakers are large with good stats all around, varying from 14-15 (the mental stats) to 21 (strength). They also have a fly speed, natural armor, and two weak natural attacks. Their bite attack doesn't have reach, but their other attacks do, including mouthpick weapons.

    All this is before their special attacks, of course. Firstly, cloakers can engulf foes. This is basically a fancy grapple, but with the added benefit of partially transferring attacks against the cloaker to the grappled creature. With the way combat works for on the player side of the screen, I doubt it'll see much use, though.

    There's also shadow shift. Using it (a standard action) lets the cloaker create concealment, mirror images, or a silent image. These abilities will probably be used out of combat, or as pre-battle buffs.

    Finally, cloakers can moan. This infrasonic attack can inflict several strong status conditions, such as panicked, paralyzed, or nauseated and prone. That's effectively a battlefield-wide SoL.

    Are there no downsides at all to cloakers? Well, the six aberration HD are obviously not great. There's also the issue of advancement: spellcasting is crippled by the RHD and your main ability can't really be advanced in any way.

    With all that taken into account, I consider a LA of +2 more than appropriate. Cloakers have a strong chassis with stronger abilities. The RHD and lack of advancement is annoying, but acceptable.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Cockatrice


    In legends, cockatrices are gruesome beasts that deaden their surroundings and kill all who look upon them. The D&D version, at CR 3, is slightly less impressive.

    Now, since I've already gone over the basilisk I'll be comparing the cockatrice to it. It then becomes swiftly clear that the cockatrice is horribly outmatched.

    The basilisk can petrify multiple enemies and doesn't have to enter melee for its ability to work. If it does, though, it can deliver reasonably powerful attacks with a mouthpick weapon in addition to its gaze attacks.

    The cockatrice can't attack with a manufactured weapon and petrify foes at the same time, nor can it petrify multiple enemies. It can fly, but has no way to fight effectively from a distance. All the creature can do is try to hit its foe and hope it fails its save.

    Is the cockatrice powerful? Probably. Petrification is still strong, even if it's a weaker kind of petrification. Still, it should definitely not be considered stronger than the basilisk. All things considered, I put it at +1 LA.
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  25. - Top - End - #145
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    A cockatrice could use its paralyzing attack on multiple enemies at once using something like Great Flyby Attack, Paimon's Dance of Death, or the Desert Tempest maneuver. That's still hardly the same as just having a gaze attack to do it for you, but it's something. But yeah, I'd say LA +1 or even LA+0 seems fair.

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  26. - Top - End - #146
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Couatl


    Couatls are hard to balance. Their nine excellent (as far as RHD go) RHD give them flight, telepathy, ethereal jaunting, shapechanging, improved grab, constrict, Large size, ability bonuses, poison, darkvision, a natural attack, natural armor and Eschew Materials as a bonus feat.

    Oh, and they gain spellcasting on top of all that. Sorcerer spellcasting. Sorcerer spellcasting except you can pick your spells from the cleric list too, with a handful of druid spells thrown in on top of that.

    Now, anyone who's ever seen the cleric list knows that there are a lot of fun things you can now cherry-pick from it. Death Ward? Holy Word? Maybe go full gish and take Divine Power? It's all possible with this wondrous mind-reading jungle snake.

    My standard tactic when dealing with monsters that get very strong abilities is simple: raise their LA to the point that they can't get 9th-level spells/maneuvers. In this case, it'd come down to +3 LA.

    Is that too much? I think not. There'd be a substantial exchange of spell power, yes, but in return one gains excellent HD and very useful abilities.

    Final verdict: +3 LA.
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2016-07-11 at 03:48 PM.
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  27. - Top - End - #147
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    Couatl


    Couatls are hard to balance. Their nine excellent (as far as RHD go) RHD give them flight, telepathy, ethereal jaunting, shapechanging, improved grab, constrict, Large size, ability bonuses, poison, darkvision, a natural attack, natural armor and Eschew Materials as a bonus feat.

    Oh, and they gain spellcasting on top of all that. Sorcerer spellcasting. Sorcerer spellcasting except you can pick your spells from the cleric list too, with a handful of druid spells thrown in on top of that.

    Now, anyone who's ever seen the cleric list knows that there are a lot of fun things you can now cherry-pick from it. Death Ward? Holy Word? Maybe go full gish and take Divine Power? It's all possible with this wondrous mind-reading jungle snake.

    My standard tactic when dealing with monsters that get very strong abilities is simple: raise their LA to the point that they can't get 9th-level spells/maneuvers. In this case, it'd come down to +4 LA, which I must admit is a lot.

    +3, then? In my opinion, the distinction comes down to choosing between underpoweredness now (+4) or overpoweredness later (+3). It is here that I find myself choosing +3. Imbalance at high levels is preferable because it's already part of the system (look at a full caster and try to deny it) and less campaigns happen at these levels. In order to create as much balance as possible, I'll give the couatl a LA of +3.

    Please tell me what you think: your opinion is important!
    LA+3 seems fair if say, later sorcerer levels stacked with the couatl's casting (which iirc they would)
    It is sorta equivalent of taking a 7/10 casting PRC for bonus abilities.
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  28. - Top - End - #148
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Guigarci View Post
    LA+3 seems fair if say, later sorcerer levels stacked with the couatl's casting (which iirc they would)
    It is sorta equivalent of taking a 7/10 casting PRC for bonus abilities.
    Later sorcerer levels would indeed stack. The only differences between a couatl's casting ability and a 9th-level sorcerer casting ability are the couatl's expanded spell list and the fact that the couatl can't directly enter a prestige class that advances spellcasting: the specific wording forces it to first take a level in sorcerer.
    Have you had enough of unreasonably high LA's and unplayable monsters in 3.5? Then check out the LA-assignment thread! Don't hesitate to give feedback!

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    LA+3 does still prevent 9ths through Sorc casting. Sorcerers don't get 9ths until 18th.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Darkmantle


    In the category 'everything trying to kill you', floating monsters that look like stalactites, fill the room with magical darkness, then eat your face.

    While interesting, the Darkmantle's abilities aren't that strong and in fact seem contradictory at times. Constrict and Improved Grab nudge them towards grappling, but your grapple check will suck due to small size. Similarly, flight may be strong at low levels, but you lack the ranged firepower to make use of it in combat.

    Grappling is out, and so is most weapon use (Gloves of Man may work, but even then you're better off not using weapons). Casting is surprisingly viable, though.

    At low levels, flight is a boon for almost any caster, your stat array supports both wisdom- and charisma-based spellcasters, small size increases your AC and to-hit with spells and Darkness is a decent buff to reduce low-level squishiness. The lost caster level hurts of course, but it's a fair trade-off for many builds.

    To summarize: Darkmantles require some work to be playable, but in the right builds they can make a valuable chassis. A LA of +1 is necessary, though: its stats are a bit too good to allow as a base race.
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2016-09-25 at 01:02 PM.
    Have you had enough of unreasonably high LA's and unplayable monsters in 3.5? Then check out the LA-assignment thread! Don't hesitate to give feedback!

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