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    Default Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Level Adjustment is used in the 3.5 game to help equalize stronger races or templates with weaker or nonexistent ones. All races found in the PHB are considered "LA +0".

    Level Adjustment in and of itself is better than an experience penalty because it has a larger effect in the long term. In the short term, an experience penalty will only put the player one to two combats behind someone with a lower Level Adjustment, rather than widening the gap as the play goes on. Further, it sets a "minimum starting level".

    Another aspect of Level Adjustment is that it features a sliding scale. The more often a creature meets the requirements below, the more of a level adjustment it merits.

    Now, the question is, what merits a level adjustment?

    Rule 1: I Have Ability Modifiers Totaling +2 Or More
    The first method a race acquires Level Adjustment is because of ability modifiers that equal +2 or more. If you will note, all the races presented in the PHB--aside from the Half-Orc, but that's a miserable excuse of a race we won't go into--have ability modifiers equalling +0. Anything greater than this merits a Level Adjustment--more for higher modifiers--to make it easier for those without such a powerful race to keep up.

    Rule 2: I Am An Uncommon Type
    Type is a key factor in determining Level Adjustment. Certain types--particularly the less common ones--carry with them proficiencies, strong racial HD, or benefits that are hard to find so early on in the game. For instance, the Undead type carries with it the following properties:
    * No Constitution score.
    * Darkvision out to 60 feet.
    * Immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects).
    * Immunity to poison, sleep effects, paralysis, stunning, disease, and death effects.
    * Not subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, ability drain, or energy drain. Immune to damage to its physical ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution), as well as to fatigue and exhaustion effects.
    * Cannot heal damage on its own if it has no Intelligence score, although it can be healed. Negative energy (such as an inflict spell) can heal undead creatures. The fast healing special quality works regardless of the creature’s Intelligence score.
    * Immunity to any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless the effect also works on objects or is harmless).
    * Uses its Charisma modifier for Concentration checks.
    * Not at risk of death from massive damage, but when reduced to 0 hit points or less, it is immediately destroyed.
    * Not affected by raise dead and reincarnate spells or abilities. Resurrection and true resurrection can affect undead creatures. These spells turn undead creatures back into the living creatures they were before becoming undead.
    * Proficient with its natural weapons, all simple weapons, and any weapons mentioned in its entry.
    * Proficient with whatever type of armor (light, medium, or heavy) it is described as wearing, as well as all lighter types. Undead not indicated as wearing armor are not proficient with armor. Undead are proficient with shields if they are proficient with any form of armor.
    * Undead do not breathe, eat, or sleep.
    Granted, not all of these are good traits, but a number of these are powerful features. One trait in particular--that of immunity to critical hits--is worth a +5 bonus on armor (Heavy Fortification) in itself.

    Rule 3: I Am An Uncommon Size
    Sizes smaller than Small and larger than Medium are uncommon and often provide a number of benefits from which a character can become unreasonably effective. The Tiny size, for instance, carries with it a +2 bonus to AC and attack rolls, and a +8 bonus to Hide checks, benefits a stealthier character can make good use of. Similarly, the Large size provides a number of combat benefits, including a better ability to grapple and extended combat reach.

    Rule 4: I Get A Bonus Feat
    Since characters receive all of 7 feats (8 if human, azurin, or strongheart halfling, more if you use flaws) over the course of their 20 level career, receiving a bonus feat often adds or increases level adjustment. In most cases, feats that are given as bonus feats are not all that powerful--I don't believe I've ever seen a race get a free metamagic feat, for example--but they are often given small "stepping-stone" feats (like Dodge) that are used as prerequisites for a large number of different feats. This would not be an issue but for the fact that it potentially provides early access to some feats, or even early entry into some prestige classes.

    Rule 5: I Have Spell-Like Abilities For Spells Of Over 1st Level
    Spell-like abilities are useful in that they allow even characters normally without magic to have a modicum of access to it. Granted, you do not get to choose your own spell-like abilities (most of the time), but even prestidigitation has its uses.

    Rule 6: I Have An Uncommon Mode Of Movement
    Modes of movement such as burrow, glide, fly, climb, or swim not only allow a character to move more easily, but occasionally provide tactical advantages that were not possible before. Flight, for instance, allows a character incredible mobility. Burrow means that nearly any natural surface is no longer a wall, but more of a "blocked pathway."

    Second, having movement speeds for uncommon modes of movement means that you're no longer flat-footed when making use of that mode--such as using the Climb skill--and can use the run action while performing it. Even more, most racial movement speeds come attached to racial bonuses to the associated check for that form of movement--Jump for fly, Climb for climb, Swim for swim--which makes the character even more adroit with that mode of movement than he was without it.

    Rule 7: I Have A Racial Feature That Mimics Or Augments A Class Or Racial Feature
    Powerful Build is a prime example of this: while remaining--technically--Medium size, one is also capable of being Large size when it's beneficial. This, of course, brings a number of advantages to the table, in essence providing all of Large size's benefits with none of the drawbacks.

    Another prime example of this is the Illumian's sigils--Illumians, despite not carrying an LA, probably should for the amount of use their sigils can see. Specific combinations allow one to use different statistics as their casting statistic, obtain an increase in caster level, or receive bonus damage in specific instances.

    Rule 8: I Have Strong Resistances
    Elemental resistances, spell resistance, and damage reduction--no matter how small--greatly increase a character's survivability. Tieflings, for instance, have resistances to a few elements, though these are in low numbers. Still, acid resistance of 5 points prevents all the damage from a 1d6 acid attack nearly all the time, and from a 2d6 acid attack a little less than half the time. At higher levels, this matters less--unless you can get larger resistances--but when your character is most fragile, it matters the most.

    Rule 9: I Receive More Than 2 Bonus Power Points
    One power point is the equivalent to a first-level spell, cast at first caster level. Three is equivalent to a second-level spell, cast at third caster level--or three first-level spells cast at first caster level. Bonus power points provide a startling amount of extra versatility in a starting psionic character, and the bonus PP remain useful all the way through a character's 20-level career.

    Rule 10: I Have Bonuses To Skills Totaling More Than +6
    Large skill bonuses--such as a thri-kreen's +30 bonus to Jump checks--frequently can be used to augment a specific build's function with relative ease. For instance, the Tome of Battle discipline Tiger Claw uses Jump checks in nearly half of its maneuvers as a contested check against your target's Armor Class. With a +30 bonus, a thri-kreen will likely not even have to roll to see if he beats the check until his late teen levels, or perhaps even epic if he invests skill points into the Jump skill.

    While small bonuses provide an augmentation to both social background and typical behavior, larger bonuses usually make one task far, far too easy.

    Calculating Level-Adjustment For Homebrewed Or Altered Creatures Or Templates
    Savage Species provides a number of guidelines for how to calculate Level Adjustment, but most of them boil down to "guess." Honestly, I don't have better advice for you. I know when I alter such, I use Vorpal Tribble's CR Calculation method (found here) and subtract one to get a relative Level Adjustment, but common sense is important to remember when calculating Level Adjustment.
    Last edited by Fax Celestis; 2007-09-13 at 01:42 PM.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Nice article. Covers a lot of stuff that gets asked frequently. Keep writing them! :)

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    So would you say the Raptoran needs level adjustment? It breaks several of your guidelines (Scaling flight, +10 to Jump checks and some other abilities I don't remember)

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Lovely article! But you forgot "The Designers want to discourage my play." Not quite as bad in the MM, but it's horrendous in the Dragonlance Campaign Setting. To keep the party more "standard races" they arbitrarily upped the other races LA by 1 or so, on top of other LA.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Weasel View Post
    So would you say the Raptoran needs level adjustment? It breaks several of your guidelines (Scaling flight, +10 to Jump checks and some other abilities I don't remember)
    I would say it does, yes, but that is personal opinion.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    LA sucks. I recommend not using it ever, because it's almost never worth it compared to actual class levels. LA practically says "We're going to penalize you really, REALLY heavily for playing this race, so that you'll never, EVER play a monster, or if you do you'll die horribly unless the DM coddles you, you silly person who wants to play outside the box!"

    Heck, if we're going to be playing Core Only, you can just look at Polymorph or Alter Self: "I have no LA, but I have your race!" You can take that LA race's wings and strength score and whatever, and not lose a single class level for it.

    And of course, there's nothing like getting killed instantly by mook-clearing spells because you have the same HD as those people that get auto-killed by Cloudkill or whatever when the rest of your party (and all your enemies) are using that spell.
    Last edited by OneWinged4ngel; 2007-09-13 at 01:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by OneWinged4ngel View Post
    LA sucks. I recommend not using it ever, because it's almost never worth it compared to actual class levels. LA practically says "We're going to penalize you really, REALLY heavily for playing this race, so that you'll never, EVER play a monster, or if you do you'll die horribly unless the DM coddles you, you silly person who wants to play outside the box!"

    Heck, if we're going to be playing Core Only, you can just look at Polymorph or Alter Self: "I have no LA, but I have your race!" You can take that LA race's wings and strength score and whatever, and not lose a single class level for it.
    Level Adjustment does suck but it is in place for a reason. However, since it's so poorly defined, and there's no real guidelines that WotC holds itself to, LA as a whole is worse than it would be if it followed strict rules. At least then you could alter the base creature to your own ends without guesswork.

    A better alternative to Level Adjustment, though admittedly not much better, are racial hit dice. At least they give you BAB, feats, skills, saves, etc. instead of just a placholder that says "Look, you gain XP as if you were this much higher level."

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    i disagree on that, LA is a brilliant idea that makes it so you actualy can have a unusual race like a half celestrial or a werebear in the same group as a human, without wrecking game balance even more than it allready is.
    thnx to Starwoof for the fine avatar

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Nice article! Wouldn't have thought of some of this, like the bonus feat, but it makes sense once it's been said. Although...couldn't some of these be "paid" for with RHD instead of LA?

    Also:
    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    One power point is the equivalent to a first-level spell, cast at first caster level. Three is equivalent to a third-level spell, cast at third caster level--or three first-level spells cast at first caster level.
    Three power points is equivalent to a second-level spell.
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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasdoif View Post
    Nice article! Wouldn't have thought of some of this, like the bonus feat, but it makes sense once it's been said. Although...couldn't some of these be "paid" for with RHD instead of LA?
    Some of them can be, yes, but RHD--being better than LA--are probably best at an exchange rate of 3:2...that is, 3 RHD are about equivalent to 2 LA. You can probably get by with a 1:1 ratio, though.
    Last edited by Fax Celestis; 2007-09-13 at 01:47 PM.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    i disagree on that, LA is a brilliant idea that makes it so you actualy can have a unusual race like a half celestrial or a werebear in the same group as a human, without wrecking game balance even more than it allready is.
    Yeah.. but having like 4 HD as a level 15 character isn't fun...

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Starsinger View Post
    Yeah.. but having like 4 HD as a level 15 character isn't fun...
    Personally, I houserule in my games that half of all LA (rounded up) is instead RHD. This makes LA easier to buy off and a bit easier to stomach.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    Rule 1: I Have Ability Modifiers Totaling +2 Or More
    The first method a race acquires Level Adjustment is because of ability modifiers that equal +2 or more. If you will note, all the races presented in the PHB--aside from the Half-Orc, but that's a miserable excuse of a race we won't go into--have ability modifiers equalling +0. Anything greater than this merits a Level Adjustment--more for higher modifiers--to make it easier for those without such a powerful race to keep up.
    Bollocks. Hobgoblins are a common example of something that should probably be LA +0, because it's pretty much comparable to a dwarf or warforged or human in power. Making it lose an HD, an all-important caster level or other class feature, and skill points for just that extra +2 dex is never going to be mechanically worth it. And of course, that +2 dex is worth less and less if you level up. On top of all that, the difference between a 12 dex and a 14 dex is just the difference of someone being able to ROLL SLIGHTLY HIGHER when generating ability scores. Even though you just severely nerfed yourself for that +2 dex, if you're using the standard score generation system, you may very well not have any better attributes than anyone else. OUCH.

    Rule 2: I Am An Uncommon Type
    Type is a key factor in determining Level Adjustment. Certain types--particularly the less common ones--carry with them proficiencies, strong racial HD, or benefits that are hard to find so early on in the game. For instance, the Undead type carries with it the following properties:

    Granted, not all of these are good traits, but a number of these are powerful features. One trait in particular--that of immunity to critical hits--is worth a +5 bonus on armor (Heavy Fortification) in itself.
    Don't forget that those "strong racial HD" actually count as levels IN ADDITION to LA. So you're basically saying to punish the player twice over.

    Rule 3: I Am An Uncommon Size
    Sizes smaller than Small and larger than Medium are uncommon and often provide a number of benefits from which a character can become unreasonably effective. The Tiny size, for instance, carries with it a +2 bonus to AC and attack rolls, and a +8 bonus to Hide checks, benefits a stealthier character can make good use of. Similarly, the Large size provides a number of combat benefits, including a better ability to grapple and extended combat reach.
    Enlarge Person, a mere first level spell, can be made permanent for a mere 500XP at 9th level. Basically, you just got screwed for choosing to give up a whole level (or maybe even more!) just to be Large.

    Rule 4: I Get A Bonus Feat
    Since characters receive all of 7 feats (8 if human, azurin, or strongheart halfling, more if you use flaws) over the course of their 20 level career, receiving a bonus feat often adds or increases level adjustment. In most cases, feats that are given as bonus feats are not all that powerful--I don't believe I've ever seen a race get a free metamagic feat, for example--but they are often given small "stepping-stone" feats (like Dodge) that are used as prerequisites for a large number of different feats. This would not be an issue but for the fact that it potentially provides early access to some feats, or even early entry into some prestige classes.
    Huh? Even one of the weak classes in D&D, the Fighter, gets a d10 HD, 2+int skill points, +1 BAB, +2 fort, and a CHOOSABLE bonus feat for the investment of a level. If you're getting an LA for a bonus feat, then you're getting SEVERELY gypped.

    Rule 5: I Have Spell-Like Abilities For Spells Of Over 1st Level
    Spell-like abilities are useful in that they allow even characters normally without magic to have a modicum of access to it. Granted, you do not get to choose your own spell-like abilities (most of the time), but even prestidigitation has its uses.
    The problem with this is that, say, you get a +1 LA for having Darkness once per day. Then, you're level 9, and realize that you are missing out on 5th level spells because you wanted to get a lame 2nd level 1. Basically, the player gets screwed, because they just gave up a level of exponential advancement that people with real classes have.

    Rule 6: I Have An Uncommon Mode Of Movement
    Modes of movement such as burrow, glide, fly, climb, or swim not only allow a character to move more easily, but occasionally provide tactical advantages that were not possible before. Flight, for instance, allows a character incredible mobility. Burrow means that nearly any natural surface is no longer a wall, but more of a "blocked pathway."

    Second, having movement speeds for uncommon modes of movement means that you're no longer flat-footed when making use of that mode--such as using the Climb skill--and can use the run action while performing it. Even more, most racial movement speeds come attached to racial bonuses to the associated check for that form of movement--Jump for fly, Climb for climb, Swim for swim--which makes the character even more adroit with that mode of movement than he was without it.
    Of course, I can get all those things with Alter Self and not have to actually lose levels or spell levels or anything for it.

    [quote]
    Rule 8: I Have Strong Resistances
    Elemental resistances, spell resistance, and damage reduction--no matter how small--greatly increase a character's survivability. Tieflings, for instance, have resistances to a few elements, though these are in low numbers. Still, acid resistance of 5 points prevents all the damage from a 1d6 acid attack nearly all the time, and from a 2d6 acid attack a little less than half the time. At higher levels, this matters less--unless you can get larger resistances--but when your character is most fragile, it matters the most.
    Again, an issue of the ability not scaling. If I just got a level taken away for a mere +10 acid resistance (an ability useless against most enemies, and something that people who use acid are usually going to get around easily by just using non-acid attacks). And of course, you get no ability useful in all those cases. And when other people get higher bonuses than that for getting high level class features, you're left in the dust.

    Rule 9: I Receive More Than 2 Bonus Power Points
    One power point is the equivalent to a first-level spell, cast at first caster level. Three is equivalent to a third-level spell, cast at third caster level--or three first-level spells cast at first caster level. Bonus power points provide a startling amount of extra versatility in a starting psionic character, and the bonus PP remain useful all the way through a character's 20-level career.
    Ah, so... now we're encouraging some"NERF KALASHTAR!" shouters. And when they start to get LA, they will suddenly be the worst psion race, instead of one of the better psion races. And then no one gets the chance to play these interesting characters if they want to be able to keep up with the pack.

    I don't know about you, but I've never seen a problem with a kalashtar getting 20 bonus power points and being LA +0

    Calculating Level-Adjustment For Homebrewed Or Altered Creatures Or Templates
    Savage Species provides a number of guidelines for how to calculate Level Adjustment, but most of them boil down to "guess." Honestly, I don't have better advice for you. I know when I alter such, I use Vorpal Tribble's CR Calculation method (found here) and subtract one to get a relative Level Adjustment, but common sense is important to remember when calculating Level Adjustment.
    Ah, so... we take his HD, then add LA equal to CR-1. Say we get a CR 8 10 HD monster, then he has to start at level 17. Great, except that it makes us want to cry blood.

    Quote Originally Posted by lord_khaine View Post
    i disagree on that, LA is a brilliant idea that makes it so you actualy can have a unusual race like a half celestrial or a werebear in the same group as a human, without wrecking game balance even more than it allready is.
    On the contrary, LA as is is a factor that wrecks game balance, telling people NOT to play an exotic race because they will generally be immensely underpowered (with a scant few exceptions). They even tap on LA for something that's actually about the same power as an LA +0 race (hobgoblins) due to guidelines just like these that Fax gives us.
    Last edited by OneWinged4ngel; 2007-09-13 at 02:08 PM.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by OneWinged4ngel View Post
    Bollocks. Hobgoblins are a common example of something that should probably be LA +0, because it's pretty much comparable to a dwarf or warforged or human in power. Making it lose an HD, an all-important caster level or other class feature, and skill points for just that extra +2 dex is never going to be mechanically worth it. And of course, that +2 dex is worth less and less if you level up. On top of all that, the difference between a 12 dex and a 14 dex is just the difference of someone being able to ROLL SLIGHTLY HIGHER when generating ability scores. Even though you just severely nerfed yourself for that +2 dex, if you're using the standard score generation system, you may very well not have any better attributes than anyone else. OUCH.

    Don't forget that those "strong racial HD" actually count as levels IN ADDITION to LA. So you're basically saying to punish the player twice over.

    Enlarge Person, a mere first level spell, can be made permanent for a mere 500XP at 9th level. Basically, you just got screwed for choosing to give up a whole level (or maybe even more!) just to be Large.

    The problem with this is that, say, you get a +1 LA for having Darkness once per day. Then, you're level 9, and realize that you are missing out on 5th level spells because you wanted to get a lame 2nd level 1. Basically, the player gets screwed, because they just gave up a level of exponential advancement that people with real classes have.

    Of course, I can get all those things with Alter Self and not have to actually lose levels or spell levels or anything for it.

    Again, an issue of the ability not scaling. If I just got a level taken away for a mere +10 acid resistance (an ability useless against most enemies, and something that people who use acid are usually going to get around easily by just using non-acid attacks). And of course, you get no ability useful in all those cases. And when other people get higher bonuses than that for getting high level class features, you're left in the dust.

    Ah, so... now we've got a "NERF KALASHTAR!" shouter. And when they start to get LA, they will suddenly be the worst psion race, instead of one of the better psion races.

    Ah, so... we take his HD, then add LA equal to CR-1. Say we get a CR 8 8 HD monster, then he has to start at level 15. Great.



    On the contrary, LA is an idea that wrecks game balance, telling people NOT to play an exotic race because they will generally be immensely underpowered (with a scant few exceptions).
    Hey, I never said LA was a good thing, merely that it was in place for a reason. There are better ways to handle it, but they're either fairly complex or have not been introduced to the game in a method that's readily adaptable.

    LA's advantage is that it's simple, but this is undermined by it's lack of clarity.

    And yes, Kalashtar should probably carry an LA. Not much of one, but they should. So should Whisper Gnomes and Raptorans. Since they don't, however, I'm not going to argue.
    Last edited by Fax Celestis; 2007-09-13 at 01:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    [QUOTE=Fax_Celestis;3187112]Hey, I never said LA was a good thing, merely that it was in place for a reason. There are better ways to handle it, but they're either fairly complex or have not been introduced to the game in a method that's readily adaptable.

    LA's advantage is that it's simple, but this is undermined by it's lack of clarity.

    And yes, Kalashtar should probably carry an LA.
    No, they really, REALLY shouldn't. They're not even one of the better LA +0s. If kalashtar should have an LA, then so should humans, dwarves, and warforged (and tons and tons of subraces)

    If you give something +1 LA, then they start to suck. If a kalashtar has +1 LA, then he sucks at being a psion. And no one will play them.

    Then again, by your own Rule 4, humans should have LA, increasing a reliance on a broken system. I'm sorry, but having a BONUS FEAT is not worth a level. Remember that Fighters, that get +1 BAB, +2 fort, 2 skill points, and a d10 HD out of a level get a bonus feat that they get to CHOOSE, and they're considered a weak class. If getting a bonus feat gives you an LA, then you're *punishing the player.*
    Last edited by OneWinged4ngel; 2007-09-13 at 02:04 PM.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by OneWinged4ngel View Post
    No, they really, REALLY shouldn't. They're not even one of the better LA +0s. If kalashtar should have an LA, then so should humans, dwarves, and warforged (and tons and tons of subraces)

    If you give something +1 LA, then they start to suck. If a kalashtar has +1 LA, then he sucks at being a psion. And no one will play them.
    I didn't write this to argue about what should and shouldn't have LA, I wrote this to define why certain races, templates, and monsters have the LA they do. If it were up to me, I'd use a different system, but I didn't make the game and revising it on that scale is too much for one person.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    I didn't write this to argue about what should and shouldn't have LA, I wrote this to define why certain races, templates, and monsters have the LA they do. If it were up to me, I'd use a different system, but I didn't make the game and revising it on that scale is too much for one person.
    Well, then you should note that those guidelines suck and that people should never use them when homebrewing, ever.

    Also, it's not too much for one person. There are plenty of variants to LA out there. Why not try out Frank's?
    Last edited by OneWinged4ngel; 2007-09-13 at 02:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by OneWinged4ngel View Post
    On the contrary, LA as is is a factor that wrecks game balance, telling people NOT to play an exotic race because they will generally be immensely underpowered (with a scant few exceptions).
    Just out of curiosity, what would be your solution? I agree with your points; LA (without buy-off) is generally not a good solution to balance; with buy-off, you have the difficulty of setting it appropriately for a given starting point. But how would you do it?
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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by MrNexx View Post
    Just out of curiosity, what would be your solution? I agree with your points; LA (without buy-off) is generally not a good solution to balance; with buy-off, you have the difficulty of setting it appropriately for a given starting point. But how would you do it?
    I'd have to think about it for a bit. Usually, if it's a low power LA like the hobgoblin, I just say "You don't have LA. Ignore it. It seriously doesn't add enough power to even matter." Or I slightly adjust the race without sacrificing its flavor to make it more mechanically fitting for LA + 0. If it's getting LA from high stats, you can generally just say "Pretend you rolled high on your stats, but just don't put them over X number" or give them a slight penalty to their point buy or whatever. The thing is, this doesn't really ever make them much better (if they are indeed better at all) than the usual Human.

    No one's really shown an interest in playing a troll or beholder mage in my games yet, so I've not put forth any serious effort towards creating my own fix for LAs greater than... well, very low.

    However, you might want to check out K/Frank's LA fix from Races of War if you want to play a minotaur or something.
    Last edited by OneWinged4ngel; 2007-09-13 at 02:15 PM.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by OneWinged4ngel View Post
    Well, then you should note that those guidelines suck and that people should never use them when homebrewing, ever.

    Also, it's not too much for one person. There are plenty of variants to LA out there. Why not just use K/Frank's and try to not suck?
    What's with all this anti-Fax hostility you have bubbling under the surface? Maybe I'm misreading your words, but you seem to attack anything he posts.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by OneWinged4ngel View Post
    Well, then you should note that those guidelines suck and that people should never use them when homebrewing, ever.

    Also, it's not too much for one person. There are plenty of variants to LA out there. Why not just use K/Frank's and try to not suck?
    These guidelines aren't for homebrewing: they're to define why an existing race has it, not how to set it--except for the short paragraph at the end, and even that is all about "use common sense".

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Starsinger View Post
    What's with all this anti-Fax hostility you have bubbling under the surface? Maybe I'm misreading your words, but you seem to attack anything he posts.
    I have nothing against Fax, I just am critiquing his work. I do it to everyone I respond to. =P

    If he wrote something I thought was well done, I'd praise him instead. *Shrug*

    Edit: Also, the thing you quoted was actually a suggestion to clarify his stated intent... not an attack.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    These guidelines aren't for homebrewing: they're to define why an existing race has it, not how to set it--except for the short paragraph at the end, and even that is all about "use common sense".
    And I felt that was fairly unclear in your first post, hence my suggestion for a clarification. "These guidelines actually totally suck, and shouldn't be used in your own work if you want to design something that actually works well. I'm not actually trying to tell you how to assign LAs. Instead, I'm just trying to point out why WotC tends to assign LAs."
    Last edited by OneWinged4ngel; 2007-09-13 at 02:24 PM.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by OneWinged4ngel View Post
    And I felt that was fairly unclear in your first post, hence my suggestion for a clarification. "These guidelines actually totally suck, and shouldn't be used in your own work if you want to design something that actually works well. I'm not actually trying to tell you how to assign LAs. Instead, I'm just trying to point out why WotC tends to assign LAs."
    See, I thought that was clear from the title of the article: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?" rather than "How Do I Set Level Adjustment?".
    Last edited by Fax Celestis; 2007-09-13 at 02:22 PM.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    See, I thought that was clear from the title of the article: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?" rather than "How Do I Set Level Adjustment?".
    It could stand to be clearer. "Why is this level adjusted" can also imply that something should be level adjusted in that manner.
    Last edited by OneWinged4ngel; 2007-09-13 at 02:23 PM.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by OneWinged4ngel View Post
    Also, it's not too much for one person. There are plenty of variants to LA out there. Why not try out Frank's?
    See, the problem I would run into with creating an LA variant is that LA between two equally powered but disparate races frequently have different existing LAs. There's no consistency in the existing system, and therefore--in order to feel I'd been thorough--I'd have to go through and handle everything on a case-by-case basis.

    Really, half of the problem with the LA system is that there's no consistency between LAed creatures. The other half is that LA is a bad system in and of itself, since it's a player-punisher instead of a player-empowerer.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by OneWinged4ngel View Post
    It could stand to be clearer. "Why is this level adjusted" can also imply that something should be level adjusted in that manner.
    ...but it shouldn't be read that way. He didn't call it "Why should this be level-adjusted?", it was "Why is this level adjusted?"

    Edit: too slow on my reply, needed fixing.
    Last edited by tainsouvra; 2007-09-13 at 02:46 PM.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Nice article.

    Yeah, LA in 3.5 is a joke. But at least you do a good job of explaining that joke. Hopefully it will be better in 4th ed.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Backing up a bit to the meta-argument about LA itself, given the level system that the designers wrote themselves into, I honestly don't feel that level adjustments are that poorly done. The only thing I would change is making them a sliding scale of penalty rather than a fixed penalty that's the same regardless of character level--buyoffs help a little with this, but when DMing I tend to just eyeball it and modify the penalty a little to suit the character/campaign, as well as restricting what can be used at what level.

    The overall idea doesn't strike me as too bad, but it does require DM intervention, which in my mind makes it an incomplete system. It's not horrifically flawed, just not completed, as far as I'm concerned.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax_Celestis View Post
    See, the problem I would run into with creating an LA variant is that LA between two equally powered but disparate races frequently have different existing LAs.
    I don't see how that matters at all to houseruling. To create an alternative to LA, you completely throw out the whole LA system, so it doesn't matter at all how LA worked before.
    There's no consistency in the existing system, and therefore--in order to feel I'd been thorough--I'd have to go through and handle everything on a case-by-case basis.
    Right. You throw out the existing system, and redo everything. Not too hard. One person can do it. It's been done before.

    Really, half of the problem with the LA system is that there's no consistency between LAed creatures. The other half is that LA is a bad system in and of itself, since it's a player-punisher instead of a player-empowerer.
    More or less.
    Last edited by OneWinged4ngel; 2007-09-13 at 03:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Questions On 3.5, Article 3: "Why Is This Level Adjusted?"

    Quote Originally Posted by OneWinged4ngel View Post
    Right. You throw out the existing system, and redo everything. Not that hard. One person can do it.
    I'm sure Fax has something better to do with his time than to look at the thousands of monsters for 3.X and assign them all LAs under a different system.

    It's been done before.
    So has building the pyramids, and despite having better tools than the Egyptians did you don't see people making more.

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