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  1. - Top - End - #1441
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    It sounds like a good idea to compare a given monster with the other classes its most likely to compete for spotlight with.

    My main concern though is that full level 20 builds are given an overtly high degree of attention. It might be how builds are regularly evaluated here on the forum. But the problem is that really dont take into consideration where most of the gameplay will take place.
    Although most campaigns don't last for 20 levels (or more), unless you break the monsters stats down to a level 1 equivalent you can't really pick a particular level or subset of levels to balance on. By that I mean that a monster whose ECL is 9 is never going to be easily compared to a monster with ECL 18 for the same PC slot in any given party. A person choosing a character-monster to play in a "monster" campaign wouldn't be able to choose between a dire rat and Tarrasque, for example. So evaluating monsters on 20 levels may actually be the best course of action as it takes into account where they all COULD reach in terms of power (with the obvious exception of anything starting at a higher ECL than another monster). Hopefully that made sense.

  2. - Top - End - #1442
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    My main concern though is that full level 20 builds are given an overtly high degree of attention. It might be how builds are regularly evaluated here on the forum. But the problem is that really dont take into consideration where most of the gameplay will take place.
    Also FWIW, I tend to focus on the starting level (e.g, before the monster takes any class levels). Though this is mostly because it's easy to compare the incomplete, unoptimized character sheets in the Monster Manual to the incomplete, unoptimized character sheets in the DMG's NPC chapter.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    My thoughts on the matter (and I realize I'm very much in the minority), is that LA should be balanced against a generic/consistent yard stick, regardless of the monsters likely role or class progression.

    Assigning a monster with innate casting the same or lower LA against a monster that is destined to be a beat stick, simply by virtue that it's most obvious progression or comparison is a Tier 1 caster, undermines the point of assigning LA (IMHO) and is basically telling everyone "Why bother playing anything other than Tier 1"?

    Yes yes, I am aware of the wild unpopularity of this approach, and I've heard all of the counter arguments, but that is my view and I'm sticking with it.

  4. - Top - End - #1444
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    "Why bother playing anything other than Tier 1"?
    People who are actually worried about that question are likely playing top-tier characters anyway.

  5. - Top - End - #1445
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    My thoughts on the matter (and I realize I'm very much in the minority), is that LA should be balanced against a generic/consistent yard stick, regardless of the monsters likely role or class progression.

    Assigning a monster with innate casting the same or lower LA against a monster that is destined to be a beat stick, simply by virtue that it's most obvious progression or comparison is a Tier 1 caster, undermines the point of assigning LA (IMHO) and is basically telling everyone "Why bother playing anything other than Tier 1"?

    Yes yes, I am aware of the wild unpopularity of this approach, and I've heard all of the counter arguments, but that is my view and I'm sticking with it.
    Not out of disagreement but rather curiosity, what generic or consistent yard stick would you use? (If you have an idea)

  6. - Top - End - #1446
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    My thoughts on the matter (and I realize I'm very much in the minority), is that LA should be balanced against a generic/consistent yard stick, regardless of the monsters likely role or class progression.

    Assigning a monster with innate casting the same or lower LA against a monster that is destined to be a beat stick, simply by virtue that it's most obvious progression or comparison is a Tier 1 caster, undermines the point of assigning LA (IMHO) and is basically telling everyone "Why bother playing anything other than Tier 1"?

    Yes yes, I am aware of the wild unpopularity of this approach, and I've heard all of the counter arguments, but that is my view and I'm sticking with it.
    By this logic, the wizard class should come with LA. But that would be stupid. The game is inherently unbalanced, and you're simply not going to fix the classes by adding LA to the races.
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    Thumbs up Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    I'm well aware of your thoughts Celestia, you have made those abundantly clear in the past. Quite frankly, I simply don't care whether you think it's stupid or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Miller View Post
    Not out of disagreement but rather curiosity, what generic or consistent yard stick would you use? (If you have an idea)
    Generally speaking I would say Tier 3, but honestly, as long as it's consistent, that's the main thing.




    I'm not going to continually defend or explain my stance, so there it is. I'm honestly not sure why some people on these forums (or in generally, really) have such a huge issue with agreeing to disagree. Luckily the LA process in this thread is determined by a vote, so no one has to lose any sleep that my "loony minority" vote will swing the scores too far.

    I'll bow out of the thread until we have a new monster to comment on.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Personally, I'm of the opinion that LA is a moronic concept anyway, but at least this thread is TRYING to mitigate the problem - hence my interest.


    Seriously, we're all the way up to "R" and I have yet to see anything that couldn't be out-optimized simply by making a character that isn't hobbled by the Racial Hit Dice tax.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Random Sanity View Post
    Personally, I'm of the opinion that LA is a moronic concept anyway, but at least this thread is TRYING to mitigate the problem - hence my interest.


    Seriously, we're all the way up to "R" and I have yet to see anything that couldn't be out-optimized simply by making a character that isn't hobbled by the Racial Hit Dice tax.
    The angels seemed okay IMO, in the first thread of this.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Sahuagin


    More fish people!

    Two monstrous humanoid HD mean we're off to a good start. The ability scores are all +2 or +4 increases, except for charisma. Sahuagin also get +5 natural armor, two talon attacks, a bite attack, and two rakes in water (out of water, rake functions normally). They also get Multiattack as a bonus feat.

    But wait, there's more! Sahuagin have blindsense while underwater, can enter a blood frenzy (Rage lite) once per day, and can communicate telepathically with sharks. They also gain various skill bonuses, but most of these are quite specific (+4 on Handle Animal when dealing with sharks?).

    Of course, they also come with a few drawbacks. Sahuagin can only survive out of the water for a few hours at the time, and suffer from Light Blindness (which can't be mitigated with Sundark Goggles). On top of that, they may become fatigued upon entering freshwater.

    Considering these penalties (which make playing a sahuagin anywhere else than in oceanic depths quite impractical), as well as the utter lack of support for sahuagin anywhere, I think a LA of +0 can be justified here. Discuss!

    Sahuagin Mutants

    At the very least, two extra limbs mean a damage bonus equalling you strength modifier on every attack, and that's before going into multiweapon fighting, pouncers, and precision damage. A +1 is in order here.

    Malenti

    It's a sahuagin that looks like an aquatic elf, which means that it's trading natural attacks and a third of its swim speed for more time for extra-aquatic trips and a lower chance of getting chased out of towns by mobs. +0 LA.
    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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  11. - Top - End - #1451
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Even WotC worked out that aquatic characters in an aquatic campaign are going to be more powerful than non-aquatic characters (and the reverse), so I'd say that they definitely merit +1 in an underwater adventure, but +0 seems fair in a 'normal' campaign.

  12. - Top - End - #1452
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelestion View Post
    Even WotC worked out that aquatic characters in an aquatic campaign are going to be more powerful than non-aquatic characters (and the reverse), so I'd say that they definitely merit +1 in an underwater adventure, but +0 seems fair in a 'normal' campaign.
    I disagree. With all the penalties these things face outside of the water, they are utterly unusable in a standard campaign. -0 is being generous. And in an aquatic campaign, I'm betting most people will use aquatic races because why would you not? As such, giving a minimum of +1 simply for being aquatic is absurd. Level adjustment is pointless if the entire party has it. +0 is perfectly acceptable.
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  13. - Top - End - #1453
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Give me a little credit, please. I didn't say that sahuagin deserve +1 LA for being aquatic in an aquatic campaign, rather that their disadvantages don't apply underwater and they have a bunch of abilities that are really quite useful.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelestion View Post
    Give me a little credit, please. I didn't say that sahuagin deserve +1 LA for being aquatic in an aquatic campaign, rather that their disadvantages don't apply underwater and they have a bunch of abilities that are really quite useful.
    I don't really see it. They get five attacks, which is nice, but that's basically it. Everything else is either a minor blip or too niche to be of any real use.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Blindsense and +12 in stats are hardly minor blips, particularly for a creature with only 2 RHD.

  16. - Top - End - #1456
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Caelestion View Post
    Blindsense and +12 in stats are hardly minor blips, particularly for a creature with only 2 RHD.
    Oh, I forgot about blindsense. Hmm. Yeah, I can see +1.
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    Post Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist



    • Medium Monstrous Humanoid; 2 RHD; move 30 ft, swim 60 ft; +5 natural AC; 3 natural attacks; Str +4, Dex +2, Con +2, Int +4, Wis +2, Cha -2 (net +12); before we factor in it's reliance on environment, this is a solid chassis for anything that doesn't require Cha - especially anything melee based.
    • Surprisingly large array of racial skills, mostly decent ones too. A bunch of situational racial bonuses to skill checks. Multiattack as a bonus feat is nice.
    • Blindsense is one of the better innate senses, but only underwater; Blood Frenzy is OKish; Rake is nice for extra attacks (again, from what I'm reading, only underwater); Speak With Sharks is OKish, but pretty situational; Freshwater Sensitivity is a pain, but there's a few ways to get immunity to fatigue; Light Blindness is annoying, but after the first round it's only a -1 penalty; Water Dependent is the most limiting of the inbuilt weaknesses, but I'll touch on that more below.

    Pros: only 2RHD (which is relatively manageable, as far as it goes), natural attacks, good ability bonuses, natural AC, (situational) Blindsense.
    Cons: three inbuilt weaknesses, some of which are pretty significant.

    Now I'll mention that the Amphibious template (St p. 135) is a thing that Monstrous Humanoids can take, and which only costs -2 Dex. I believe it could be argued that it gets rid of the Water Dependent trait, but I'm not going to push that as RAW. It might also be argued that the template overwrites your 60 ft swim speed with a 15 ft version.

    If (and it's a significant if) Amphibious gets rid of Water Sensitivity, I'd push for LA +1. If not, LA +0 seems fair. As discussed above, in a purely aquatic campaign, Sahuagin are a pretty strong choice, and deserve LA +1 at a minimum.

    FWIW, UA touches on this sort of thing:

    Aquatic Race Level Adjustments

    None of the aquatic races have level adjustments when your entire campaign is set underwater and all the PCs have the aquatic subtype, or when playing a nonaquatic campaign. The advantages gained by an aquatic character when in an aquatic environment even out with those of other aquatic characters, and their disadvantages in nonaquatic environments make up for any advantages they might enjoy.

    However, when a mix of aquatic and nonaquatic characters occurs in an aquatic or ship-based campaign, aquatic characters enjoy a distinct advantage over their land-based cousins. In this case, consider applying a +1 level adjustment for all aquatic races, due to their swim speed, improved low-light vision or darkvision, and other special abilities.

  18. - Top - End - #1458
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    -0 for land campaign, +0 for aquatic campaign (as though such a thing exists - I'd be more into flying campaigns - climb campaigns? - or burrow campaigns, anyway).
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  19. - Top - End - #1459
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Random Sanity View Post
    Personally, I'm of the opinion that LA is a moronic concept anyway, but at least this thread is TRYING to mitigate the problem - hence my interest.


    Seriously, we're all the way up to "R" and I have yet to see anything that couldn't be out-optimized simply by making a character that isn't hobbled by the Racial Hit Dice tax.
    Some of the magical monsters do a good job of competing. (Which brings us to the core problem of D&D optimization—a moderately-optimized magician is going to out-optimize almost anything.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Caelestion View Post
    Even WotC worked out that aquatic characters in an aquatic campaign are going to be more powerful than non-aquatic characters (and the reverse), so I'd say that they definitely merit +1 in an underwater adventure, but +0 seems fair in a 'normal' campaign.
    Quoted for truth.


    Quote Originally Posted by Celestia View Post
    And in an aquatic campaign, I'm betting most people will use aquatic races because why would you not? As such, giving a minimum of +1 simply for being aquatic is absurd. Level adjustment is pointless if the entire party has it. +0 is perfectly acceptable.
    Assuming that the entire party will want to play water-breathing races in a water-focused campaign is foolish, especially when you remember that campaigns where aquatic PCs have an edge are not limited to Atlantis. For instance, a crew of heroic pirates would find the ability to swim easily and breathe underwater quite useful*. And considering that the ability to breathe underwater magically comes up at a fairly low level, a normal-race PC wouldn't be that crippled.
    Also bear in mind that any logical monster designer would account for a typical PC's ability to drown when assigning CRs to aquatic monsters (which water-focused campaigns will have a lot of). A giant squid that drags people off of a ship is much more frightening to a dwarf or an elf than to a sahuagin.

    *One would think that an inability to breathe in air would be a major drawback for this, but that's only true if we assume real-world ship designs...and real ships were, obviously, designed for creatures which only breathe air. I have little doubt that accommodations for water-breathing crew could be made rather easily in a fantasy setting.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Salamander


    The advancement lines are kind of weird on this one. Maybe average salamanders were originally intended to have 7 HD?

    Flamebrother

    These guys are small outsiders with 4 HD and stat boosts across the board. That said, they're a bit underwhelming mechanically. One natural weapon, the ability to add fire damage to attacks (as long as they're not made with nonmetallic weapons), and the fire subtype are all useful, but improved grab (limited by size, to boot) and constrict are simply awful on a small creature. The default flamebrother has a grapple modifier that about any 4th-level character would outdo, and as they increase in level things don't improve much.

    Of course, they're not necessarily a bad option. A flamebrother could definitely be turned into a viable multiattacker; rogues for one effectively lose only one die of sneak attack damage if they build around Heat, and the natural attack further makes up for that.

    +0 LA.

    Average

    Five more HD than the flamebrother. What does it net one?

    Medium size, +2 strength (yes, that is the only stat boost compared to flamebrothers), a slightly stronger constrict (too bad the average monstrous grapple modifier got even higher over the course of those five levels), DR/magic, and that's it. The horrible speed doesn't get increased, no other ability scores do either, and even natural armor stays the same. -0.

    Noble

    It's a size increase and... could it be? Improvements to natural armor and stats other than strength! Heat and DR get upgraded a bit, as does Constrict, but that alone isn't worth the six additional HD these have over average salamanders. Fortunately, there's SLAs!

    ...

    Nevermind; forget about the SLAs. The 3/day abilities are all bad fiery blasting, the 1/day abilities Dispel Magic (not even the greater version) and Summon Monster VII (which would almost be useful if you had any choice in what you summoned). -0, -0, -0 all the way.
    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 II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    So looking at the Salamander stat block it appears that WoTC shortchanged them on their skill points. The basic Salamander has 33 (33!) less skill points than it should. Also what is with the Multi-Attack feat. Does it get it for free? Does it qualify for it even with only 1 natural attack?

    Our average Salamander is also short changed at least one feat and is also missing about 50 skill points.

    Though the basic one seems to at least be maybe worth +0 LA. +2 to all stats 7 NA and Outsider HD are not half bad. Especially since they either qualify for or get Multi-attack for free. Very easy to make a Rouge 1/ Salamander 4 that has 3 attacks dealing 3d6+str as a full attack.
    Last edited by Zancloufer; 2017-07-30 at 11:09 AM.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Why is -0 the lowest score?

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    Why is -0 the lowest score?
    Because we decided that -1/3 would be silly.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Celestia View Post
    Because we decided that -1/3 would be silly.
    Well what about a straight - 4?

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    Why is -0 the lowest score?
    Negative level adjustments can break the game so were not using them. Minus 0 means theyre not worth a level adjustment but even without one theyre too weak.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Remuko View Post
    Negative level adjustments can break the game so were not using them. Minus 0 means theyre not worth a level adjustment but even without one theyre too weak.
    Let's take the Roc if you gave it a - 2 how can that break the game?

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    Let's take the Roc if you gave it a - 2 how can that break the game?
    When everyone else is level 19, the roc is an epic character with an epic feat.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    For one thing, "Negative LA" isn't really a defined thing.
    You'd need to come up with some unified definition for what you intend "Negative LA" to mean.

    If it's just a plain ECL reduction, you end up with an ECL X character with X+LA Hit Dice. That distorts skill ranks (and thus modifiers), BAB/iteratives, and feat acquisition. This can result in meeting PRC prereqs at a lower ECL than is intended to be possible. This can also result in qualifying for Epic feats before ECL 21.
    That's bad for balance.
    But that's also the simplest and most intuitive approach to what "Negative LA" means.



    My personal approach would be to define "Negative LA" as not affecting ECL by X, instead giving X levels of retroactive gestalt advancement (alongside RHD).
    However, that's a more complicated approach and the effect of which would be more variable in effect, depending on what class levels were taken as the "Negative LA" gestalt levels.
    A possible variant would require the gestalt levels be in associated class levels, or with a different number for associated and nonassociated levels. Again, though, that's less straightforward.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Celestia View Post
    When everyone else is level 19, the roc is an epic character with an epic feat.
    I'm not seeing that or upped base attack as to big of issue

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread II: Where The Em Dash Doesn't Exist

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    Why is -0 the lowest score?
    -0 is not, strictly, a score. It's shorthand for "this monster is too weak for its HD even at 0 LA." Defining how negative LA should work is beyond the scope of this thread.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
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    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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