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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Delver


    Delvers are another one of those monsters with literally no use for any DM, ever. They're docile and don't attack people and have no abilities that makes them worth seeking out. There's the possibility of a metal-drunk (check the description) delver terrorizing people, but if you're level 9 and your quest is: 'kill the giant earthworm-thing that got drunk on metal', you should find a new quest.

    With that said: how does the delver stack up as a PC? Not that great, which is largely because of the fifteen aberration HD you have to take.

    The ability scores are good (not difficult to attain before this level, though), huge size is a plus and any adventurer can use tremorsense. The delver's special abilities are moderately useful, with their utility increasing if you're fighting earth elementals in an underground environment or something? I honestly don't know what fifteenth-level adventurer can't just get someone to cast Stone Shape for him.

    Add to the HD and lackluster traits an inability to wear armor or wield weapons, and -0 LA is the only possible answer to: "What LA should a delver have?".
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2016-11-14 at 11:40 AM.
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  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    Delvers are another one of those monsters with literally no use for any DM, ever. They're docile and don't attack people and have no abilities that makes them worth seeking out. There's the possibility of a metal-drunk (check the description) delver terrorizing people, but if you're level 9 and your quest is: 'kill the giant earthworm-thing that got drunk on metal', you should find a new quest.
    Sounds like the kind of thing that might be used when the DM needs to make up something because their players did something that invalidated or used up what they had prepared for that day.

    I could see using it to fill an hour or two if my players finished something faster than I expected them too if only because I never used a Delver before.
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  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Babau



    Because 3.5's demon portraits are always feature multiple demons (for some reason, giving fungi a solo picture is more important than giving balors one), I'll be using the pathfinder ones.

    Babaus: demonic spies and assassins covered in acidic slime. Their 7 RHD are outsider type, which is pure gold for a roguish character, and their ability scores are high to above-average. The only disappointment is a relatively low dexterity, but when you're as strong as an ogre and have skin like full plate, do you need dexterity?

    Babaus have a variety of abilities. They have DR that is moderately difficult to overcome, a few resistances or immunities, low SR that doesn't scale (don't bother with it, I'd say), slime that damages whatever touches their skin (a dagger will probably be gone after a single hit, a longsword after two) and telepathy.

    Then there's the major abilities. Sneak Attack is good to have and qualifies them for a few prestige classes (note that Craven won't work with it, though), summoning another babau can be useful in a pinch, and the spell-like abilities are just icing.

    How to advance a babau? Dips in rogue and assassin upgrade your sneak attack to 4d6 at the cost of two levels, and from there you can add levels in either of those classes. Their high charisma may make gishes an attractive prospect, but I don't recommend it: you lack the levels required to get a good spellcasting base set up.

    All things considered, babaus are strong monsters, albeit held back by their lack of focus. Rogues outdamage them, wizards outcast them, and warblades outmelee them. Still, they deserve a LA, which I'll put at +1 for now.

    Feedback is appreciated!
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2018-09-04 at 11:42 AM.
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  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Balor


    The balor: strongest of all MM demons. Also a pain to balance for player use because it's part of the variable and misty realm called 'post-epic', where all attempts at a balanced game are thrown out of the window.

    Balors have 20 outsider RHD, which is a bit of a double-edged sword. Speaking of double-edged swords, they get one! It's not entirely sure how the ability works, but a liberal reading would imply that you have a +1 vorpal sword with you all the time.

    Then there's a ton of other abilities I'm not going to evaluate one by one. A few highlights are the spell-likes (At-will Blasphemy, Dominate Monster, or Power Word Stun? Yes please), your wonderful ability scores (lowest are dex and int at 24-25), common energy immunities, continuous undispellable True Seeing (screw that, entire school of illusion!) and ability to summon another balor as a panic button.

    To compare it to the only other truly Epic monster I've assigned a LA to so far, the solar (no, a colossal animated object does not count). The solar has an ECL of 24, but is obviously stronger than its demonic counterpart, if only because of its cleric casting.

    In fact, despite its many abilities the balor does lack one thing: customizability. A player won't be able to add much except in the most Epic of games, and even then it's questionable how much extra levels will increase your strength comparable to a wizard, or a beguiler, or even an optimized barbarian.

    +0 LA, partially because of feedback I received.
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2016-07-20 at 04:14 AM.
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  5. - Top - End - #155
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    I'm not convinced the balor should have any LA at all. Solars are CR23 (and under-CRed for sure), but balors have no casting, relatively sad SLAs, and ruin their own gear when they die. Even at LA0, I would not play it over a class level character.
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  6. - Top - End - #156
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    I'm not convinced the balor should have any LA at all. Solars are CR23 (and under-CRed for sure), but balors have no casting, relatively sad SLAs, and ruin their own gear when they die. Even at LA0, I would not play it over a class level character.
    I'm not sure if I agree on the 'relatively sad SLAs' part. Fire Storm and Unholy Aura are weak, I admit, but the others all seem nice to have, to varying degrees. And then there's the ability to summon an entire second balor which can stunlock anything non-epic while you kill it.

    And note that the balor as-written has incredibly sucky feats (weapon focus (longsword), seriously? and why didn't you quicken GDM?).

    Still, your opinion is appreciated. LA reduced to +1, but I don't think it'll drop further.
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  7. - Top - End - #157
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    I'm not sure if I agree on the 'relatively sad SLAs' part. Fire Storm and Unholy Aura are weak, I admit, but the others all seem nice to have, to varying degrees. And then there's the ability to summon an entire second balor which can stunlock anything non-epic while you kill it.

    And note that the balor as-written has incredibly sucky feats (weapon focus (longsword), seriously? and why didn't you quicken GDM?).

    Still, your opinion is appreciated. LA reduced to +1, but I don't think it'll drop further.
    I have to ask this, since I been following your work so far and its helped immensely, but, why a level adjustment for the Balor? To even sit down and begin play with it requires one of two things: starting at level 22, or having a racial class progression that is tailored made to be boring for most levels just for balance? The hit die alone make the fear of it hitting 9th level spells and/or maneuvers moot, and since, again thanks to hit die, its epic when you start playing, the things a comparable character when optimized can do is usually better, especially if its a tier 3 or above character. It keeps falling back to being epic for me. Its strong, the abilities are good, but its epic. Extremely LOW epic.
    I just keep imagining something like a Balor took its first level of Sorceror at level 22, while a lvl 22 sorc has 10th level spells slots, with the ability to THREATEN gods. Sure, depending on the god, it may not be able to do any more than that, but that's FAR more than a Balor can do at the same level. Balor smashes unprepared parties, but so can Wizards, Sorcs and Clerics at that level, hell, I seen some ridiculous bards do that at those levels. A LA seems too much or just outright spiteful I think.

  8. - Top - End - #158
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Really? In that case, I shall humbly remove the Balor's LA. Thanks for the feedback!

    Also thanks for your compliments! This thread sometimes goes silent for several days and I can't help but feel like no one reads this in those cases. Comments like yours really help!
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  9. - Top - End - #159
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    Lightbulb Re: The LA-assignment thread

    I can't wait until you get to Devils, probably my favourite villains in D&D.

    ...I don't comment that much as I'm really not much of an expert on LA. I generally find myself estimating too high, because no one in my group has ever played anything above LA +1 (although someone is about to play a Centaur [in a one-shot module] for the first time, so should be interesting).

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Bebilith


    I'm not entirely sure what's up with bebiliths. They're supposed to hunt other demons, yet their racial features fail to help them do so (poison won't work, no MM demons wear armor, and tracking or webs are useless if your foes can teleport). They're demons, but don't belong to any of the major demonic races (tanar'ri, obyrith, loumara), which is weird in itself. At least their lack of SLA's makes them easier to adjust for player use...

    Bebiliths have 12 outsider RHD, as well as the chaotic and evil subtypes. They are reasonably quick for a Huge creature and can climb if necessary, but lack in movement options compared to other demons. Ability scores are pretty good, with high strength and constitution and above-average or average other abilities.

    Bebiliths have few special attacks compared to the plethora of summons and spell-likes other demons get. They can rend armor if both claw attacks hit. With the amount of monsters wearing actual armor getting smaller and smaller as one levels, I doubt it'll come up often, though. Bebiliths also have constitution-damaging poison, but with poison immunity being so easily available I recommend defaulting to a mouthpick weapon and only using the poison when necessary.

    Then there's web-throwing, which is basically an improved version of a net. With entangling being a so-so buff (unless paired with other dexterity penalties) and the fact that you're limited to four webs a day, I'd use my actions in other ways.

    Finally, there's at-will self-only supernatural plane shifting. With wizards gaining plane shift in a single level and clerics already able to access it (with both these classes able to use it offensively or take others along), I doubt it'll be useful except as a panic button, or perhaps to function a the party's interdimensional shopping cart.

    The bebilith may raise interesting logistical questions, but it's not a strong monster by any means. No LA is necessary to balance it.
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  11. - Top - End - #161
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    I can't wait until you get to Devils, probably my favourite villains in D&D.

    ...I don't comment that much as I'm really not much of an expert on LA. I generally find myself estimating too high, because no one in my group has ever played anything above LA +1 (although someone is about to play a Centaur [in a one-shot module] for the first time, so should be interesting).
    I usually have level buy off in my campaigns to entice players to try something different. But even with it, no player will play with an la4 or equivalent race or Template. This thread here though I am hoping goes all the way thru, so they can have options from a different perspective.

  12. - Top - End - #162
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Regarding things like the Celestial template, where the potential for buy-off could make it too good later on, what if you also considered adding HD instead of LA? If the Celestial template's only "cost" was 1 racial HD of Outsider, it's a good HD, but it's still a non-caster HD, which serves most of the purpose.

  13. - Top - End - #163
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    Regarding things like the Celestial template, where the potential for buy-off could make it too good later on, what if you also considered adding HD instead of LA? If the Celestial template's only "cost" was 1 racial HD of Outsider, it's a good HD, but it's still a non-caster HD, which serves most of the purpose.
    LA buyoff is not going to make it too good at LA +1. It's still competing with all the other +1 templates and races, and I don't think the comparison favors it.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    Regarding things like the Celestial template, where the potential for buy-off could make it too good later on, what if you also considered adding HD instead of LA? If the Celestial template's only "cost" was 1 racial HD of Outsider, it's a good HD, but it's still a non-caster HD, which serves most of the purpose.
    I think this is probably the best solution: instead of reassigning LA (with a minimum of +0), reassign RHD (without minimum). It solves your negative ECL problems, and your LA buyoff problems. It solves some other oddities, as well. Take vampires, for example. Vampires have a +8 bonus to Hide, but are nevertheless no more stealthy than anything of equal ECL, thanks to their +8 LA. If you have the vampire template at LA +4, converted to four undead RHD (which suck), you actually get the +8 bonus on top of your normal skill ranks.

    It's probably beyond the scope of this thread, but I wouldn't mind seeing some RHD assignments for the most egregious offenders (colossal animated objects, for example - let's say 8 RHD?).
    Last edited by ExLibrisMortis; 2016-07-20 at 01:36 PM.
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    Libris: look at your allowed sources. I don't think any of your options were from those.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    I think this is probably the best solution: instead of reassigning LA (with a minimum of +0), reassign RHD (without minimum). It solves your negative ECL problems, and your LA buyoff problems. It solves some other oddities, as well. Take vampires, for example. Vampires have a +8 bonus to Hide, but are nevertheless no more stealthy than anything of equal ECL, thanks to their +8 LA. If you have the vampire template at LA +4, converted to four undead RHD (which suck), you actually get the +8 bonus on top of your normal skill ranks.

    It's probably beyond the scope of this thread, but I wouldn't mind seeing some RHD assignments for the most egregious offenders (colossal animated objects, for example).
    The problem is that that leads to new oddities. Imagine a player playing a Gas Spore, from LoM. The gas spore, for those who don't know, is a monster whose primary ability involves blowing itself up, so I imagine its altered RHD would be far lower than the 10 it naturally possesses.

    Now, we have a gas spore PC with only a third, perhaps a fourth of the RHD a 'normal' gas spore possesses. This one is going to be considerably more fragile than a 'normal' gas spore. A new 'oddity' has emerged, this one making much less sense than a player vampire not being far more sneaky than his adventuring companions.

    Besides, your argument for vampires not being sneaky is only because of their massive LA, which I will obviously reduce considerably when the time is there. Once that happens, a vampire will be sneakier than the human rogue in the same party. Reducing gas spore RHD creates an inconsistency that can't be so easily fixed.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Troacctid View Post
    LA buyoff is not going to make it too good at LA +1. It's still competing with all the other +1 templates and races, and I don't think the comparison favors it.
    Agreed - Celestial is fairly weak compared to Mineral Warrior etc.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quasilycanthrope is also right there offering much, much better DR for +1 LA.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    The problem is that that leads to new oddities. Imagine a player playing a Gas Spore, from LoM. The gas spore, for those who don't know, is a monster whose primary ability involves blowing itself up, so I imagine its altered RHD would be far lower than the 10 it naturally possesses.

    Now, we have a gas spore PC with only a third, perhaps a fourth of the RHD a 'normal' gas spore possesses. This one is going to be considerably more fragile than a 'normal' gas spore. A new 'oddity' has emerged, this one making much less sense than a player vampire not being far more sneaky than his adventuring companions.

    Besides, your argument for vampires not being sneaky is only because of their massive LA, which I will obviously reduce considerably when the time is there. Once that happens, a vampire will be sneakier than the human rogue in the same party. Reducing gas spore RHD creates an inconsistency that can't be so easily fixed.
    Um, why is it a problem that a gas spore would have reduced RHD? Obviously, the change to RHD would not apply only to PCs.

    As for vampires: I suppose you're right. Most of my objections to the vampire template have more to do with the general over-stuffedness, making it feel like they really wanted to make a vampire class, without the class.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    Libris: look at your allowed sources. I don't think any of your options were from those.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

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    It might be interesting, once the project is closer to done, perhaps when you've got MMI done, to see how your revised LAs compare to WotC's given LAs. (In particular I'm curious to see how close or far my "divide all LAs by 2, rounded up" house rule comes to your results.)


    Your analyses seem to have been pretty good so far, so I don't have any comments about that. However,
    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    No LA is necessary to balance it.
    You've said things like this a couple times. It's unambiguous in the context of this thread, where you're unlikely to render a judgement of "unfit for PC use". But in contexts outside this thread, "no LA" and "LA +0" are not synonymous, so it gives me a little jar every time I see your usage of the former to mean the latter. Not saying don't do it; do what you want, I'm not a cop, and this is your thread, not mine. Just saying it briefly interrupts the flow of my understanding when you do it.
    Last edited by Malimar; 2016-07-20 at 02:39 PM.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    Um, why is it a problem that a gas spore would have reduced RHD? Obviously, the change to RHD would not apply only to PCs.
    By then you'd be changing the entire monster stat block. Monsters would lose or gain feats and skill ranks, the save DCs for their abilities would change, their BAB and saves would be influenced... You'd basically have to rewrite and re-CR every monster in the entire game, just to make sure they're appropriate for player use now. Do you really consider that the most practical solution?
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    By then you'd be changing the entire monster stat block. Monsters would lose or gain feats and skill ranks, the save DCs for their abilities would change, their BAB and saves would be influenced... You'd basically have to rewrite and re-CR every monster in the entire game, just to make sure they're appropriate for player use now. Do you really consider that the most practical solution?
    That is a good point. I confess that I didn't consider that it would impact BAB and feats. (I did think of skills, but mainly I was considering it in terms of additional skill points, not having to reduce them.)

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    By then you'd be changing the entire monster stat block. Monsters would lose or gain feats and skill ranks, the save DCs for their abilities would change, their BAB and saves would be influenced... You'd basically have to rewrite and re-CR every monster in the entire game, just to make sure they're appropriate for player use now. Do you really consider that the most practical solution?
    No, not practical per sé, but the 'best', as in, if you want to iron out the weirdness between monster ECL, class ECL, LA buyoff, and HD, then the most complete solution that's still relatively uniform/one operation is this: reassign HD total, eliminate LA. It's beyond the scope of this thread, and for most monsters, it'd be a small difference, e.g. you might take your balors and solars up a couple of HD at best, but for stupid stuff, like huge+ animated objects and some of the undead with piles of HD, it's an interesting option, so I brought it up.

    You could also allow LA to be filled with bonus RHD, and then replace those bonus RHD with PC class levels as you gain experience, as a radical form of buyoff. But again, that is beyond the scope of the thread. Carry on please!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keledrath View Post
    Libris: look at your allowed sources. I don't think any of your options were from those.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by ExLibrisMortis View Post
    Carry on please!
    I will!
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2016-07-21 at 04:04 AM.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    A while ago, I considered doing something like this, but since I don't like ECL≠HD, I tried to answer two questions. First, what LA should this monster have? Second, how many HD would this need to be advanced to have an LA of 0?

    Now, this still doesn't help with the massively over HDed monsters, but it avoids breaking PrCs and other HD systems in the same way as normal LA.

    Would anyone be interested in a thread for this?

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Dretch


    At the very bottom of the abyssal food chain are the dretches. I don't understand why you'd want to play a being whose main purposes are serving as snacks for greater demons or getting summoned by novice demonologists, but who am I to judge?

    Dretches have two outsider RHD, pretty good natural armor and decent natural weapons. Their ability scores are average, with the strength and constitution bonuses offset by the huge intelligence penalty. The problem here is that if you're focusing on strength, chances are you won't be small-sized, and if you're a small-sized melee combatant you'll be relying on sneak attack or spells for damage, both of which the dretch will be behind on.

    Except for all that, dretches possess a weird form of telepathy that only works on creatures able to speak abyssal (though it should work with mindsight) damage reduction, energy resistances and two solid spell-like abilities.

    You can also summon another dretch once per day, but it only works about one in three times. Fortunately it sticks around for an hour, making it a viable ability to use (or fail to use) before an important battle.

    Finally, on dretches and weapons: it's not clear whether they can use them. If they can, it considerably increases their versatility, but if they can't you'll have to rely on a mouthpick weapon instead. No source I consulted reveals anything about this matter.

    Taking all that into account, what LA should be given? +0 seems reasonable because a dretch doesn't really give a lot. Natural armor and weapons can be gotten more cheaply, and by 5th-level all your tricks are duplicable by a half-decent caster. A lucky casting of stinking cloud may end the encounter, but what will you do the rest of the day? Deal laughable damage with natural weapons? Get sneak attack from some source, only to fall behind in damage to an equally-ECL'ed rogue?

    Of course, there may be people willing to give up two levels for the impressive array of protective abilities a dretch grants, but they shouldn't be further punished for it. +0 LA.
    Last edited by Inevitability; 2016-07-21 at 09:50 AM.
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  26. - Top - End - #176
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Obviously the use for a dretch is to get one of your Outsider HD drained away and then go straight Rogue because Rogue 20 is a garbage level existing only to make you cry.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Greater
    \ˈgrā-tər \
    comparative adjective
    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

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Dretches are also one of the few low-ECL candidates for entry into Fiend of Possession.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    Finally, on dretches and weapons: it's not clear whether they can use them. If they can, it considerably increases their versatility, but if they can't you'll have to rely on a mouthpick weapon instead. No source I consulted reveals anything about this matter.
    I'm pretty sure that dretches can wield weapons. The SRD says

    A dretch’s natural weapons, as well as any weapons it wields, are treated as chaotic-aligned and evil-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

  29. - Top - End - #179
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by InvisibleBison View Post
    I'm pretty sure that dretches can wield weapons. The SRD says
    Allow me to counter that quotation with a quotation on my own.

    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    A hellcat can hold its own in combat thanks to sharp claws and wicked fangs. It prefers to leap upon opponents, just as a lion does.

    A hellcat’s natural weapons, as well as any weapons it wields, are treated as evil-aligned and lawful-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
    I doubt this creature is able to wield weapons naturally.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    Allow me to counter that quotation with a quotation on my own.



    I doubt this creature is able to wield weapons naturally.
    Hmm. You're right. Now I'm confused.

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