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View Full Version : LA and RHD and Class levels oh my!



Tyger
2010-07-08, 08:23 AM
LA + RHD has always been a thorn in my side. Now I have a player who (for a rather high powered, level 20 game) is building a troll half-dragon cohort. :) Templates aside, the troll race seems to be a bit... over-priced.

With an LA of +5 and 6 RHD, that means that the expectation is that a Troll Fighter 1 is the equivalent of a human Fighter 12. Now, WBL being the same, it seems to me that the human fighter is going to make short work of the troll - the damned thing's CR is only a 5!

I know that LA and RHD are borked... but can't decide on how to actually value this critter. I was thinking of increasing the LA to 6, and eliminating the RHD. That sound about right?

Runestar
2010-07-08, 08:31 AM
An alternative would be the bladerager troll in MM5, which has the same ECL of 11, but far superior stats compared to the troll (immunity to mind-affecting effects, for one!).

I believe the troll was originally given such a high ECL because the designers evidently felt its regeneration would be very difficult to overcome as a player in a party. So the troll would be fairly hard to kill, allowing the troll to survive encounters which might otherwise be too much for the fighter to handle. Though I agree ECL11 is too high. LA of +3 seems more fair.

Tyger
2010-07-08, 08:52 AM
LA of +3 with the RHD still there? That makes a level one fighter troll an ECL 10, which still seems pretty high.

I was proposing LA 6 with no RHD - you're saying that is too low I presume?

Runestar
2010-07-08, 08:58 AM
I was proposing LA 6 with no RHD - you're saying that is too low I presume?

Slightly too strong as a pure troll with no class lvs (a troll PC would be much stronger than a 6th lv fighter), but once you get some class lvs under its belt, they more or less mitigate the drawbacks of racial HD.

However, I think the half-dragon template is also overpriced at LA+3 (especially when some of its features such as natural weapons and breath weapon become flat-out worthless in your case), so its LA can probably be lowered to LA2 (~1.5).

So I think a half-dragon troll with 6 giant HD merits about +5 LA (you are still getting wings and some very powerful physical stat bonuses). Or maybe LA+4 if the rest of your party is fairly optimized.

tundrawalker1
2010-07-08, 09:33 AM
Racial Hit Dice suck. They should be eliminated at all times. I get that they balance out the race a bit but in all cases it is inferior to class levels. Boo-urns.

Note: I am one of the players in Tyger's game so I like to razz him whenever I can. Tee hee.

PlzBreakMyCmpAn
2010-07-08, 10:06 AM
for a rather high powered, level 20 gameKeep LA, give RHD as free psuedo-levels.

If he isn't a magic user he will still be absolute weak-sauce. If he is, he will not have access to the yummy spells his other spellcasting buddies have and will still be quite weaker.

Tyger
2010-07-08, 10:23 AM
Slightly too strong as a pure troll with no class lvs (a troll PC would be much stronger than a 6th lv fighter), but once you get some class lvs under its belt, they more or less mitigate the drawbacks of racial HD.

However, I think the half-dragon template is also overpriced at LA+3 (especially when some of its features such as natural weapons and breath weapon become flat-out worthless in your case), so its LA can probably be lowered to LA2 (~1.5).

So I think a half-dragon troll with 6 giant HD merits about +5 LA (you are still getting wings and some very powerful physical stat bonuses). Or maybe LA+4 if the rest of your party is fairly optimized.


Let see, should we compare the troll to the Evil Outsider Tainted Scholar (we capped taint though) / Abjurant Champion / Archamge, or to the lich Wizard / IotSFV / Incanatrix / Archmage? :)

Yeah, its that kinda game. We are pulling out all the stops, for truly obsene fun over a weekend. Given that, I think I am just going to go whole hog and eliminate the RHD completely. Why not, the troll will still be hitting things with sharp pieces of metal while the rest of the group is altering reality to suit their whims. :)

Mark Hall
2010-07-08, 10:55 AM
I'll repeat my standard suggestion of replacing RHD with NPC Class levels. In the case of something that also has class levels (thus the proficiencies it might conceivably want), replacing "Giant HD" with "Warrior Levels" increases BAB from 3/4 to 1/1. You could also put in a few Aristocrat levels to give him more skills/skill points (basically trading 1/1 BAB for 2 skill points/level)

DaTedinator
2010-07-08, 11:15 AM
Frank and K had a novel and pretty effective method of dealing with this, actually, detailed here (http://dungeons.wikia.com/wiki/Races_of_War_(3.5e_Sourcebook)/Playing_Unusual_Races#Powerful_Races). A quick snippet:


Method 1: The Easy Way

Assume that a monster is a character of its CR+1 (modified if it is a monster with the [Awesome] tag), and that its stat modifiers are derived from the assumption that the base monster was built using the Elite Array (highest monster stat Ė highest elite stat, then repeat for next lowest, etc). For level-dependant effects like skill point maxes, feat prereqs, etc, use the monsterís CR+1. Round ability stat mods down to nearest multiple of 2 (negative mods up to multiple of 2), and CRs down to nearest whole number.

The nice part of this method is that it is easy, fast, and you can get to playing a monster immediately without as lot of DM intervention or paperwork. The downside is that you might get an underpowered or overpowered monster character if you are not careful (like you forgot that Dragons are actually CRed two less than they should be, or that Sprites are unplayable).

Here's two examples:

Minotaur. Its Base CR is 4, and add +1 for being a PC. Its stat mods are (monster-elite array) Str 19-15=+4, Con 15-14=+0(rounded down) Dex 10-13=-2 (rounded) Wis 10-12= -2 Int 10, Cha 8-10= -2 Int 8-7=+0, for a total of +4 Str, -2 Dex, -2 Int, -2, Cha -2 Wis, which is perfectly reasonable. Itís a level 5 PC with skill rank maxes of 8 and 6 monster HD. Frankly, it's a warrior class with a little bit of punch from natural armor, small stat mods from its size, and some fun but not good noncombat abilities. It's nothing to write home about as a 5th level character, and that's much more reasonable than the ECL 8 the MM would have you play it at.

Succubus. CR 7, +1 for being a PC. Stat mods equal Cha 26-15=+10(rounded), Int 16-14=+2, Wis 14-13=+0(rounded), Str 13- 12=+2, Con 12- 10= +2, Dex 12-8=+4 for a +10 Cha, +2 Int, +2 Str, +2 Con, +4 Dex. It's an 8th level character who is almost as good as a Warlock of its level. Generally, itís a far better 8th level character than the than the ECL 14 the MM would have you pay. The fact that its abilities will never grow in power is offset by the fact that it has a high Cha, and so good DCs on its spell-likes.

Runestar
2010-07-08, 05:09 PM
Let see, should we compare the troll to the Evil Outsider Tainted Scholar (we capped taint though) / Abjurant Champion / Archamge, or to the lich Wizard / IotSFV / Incanatrix / Archmage? :)

Yeah, its that kinda game. We are pulling out all the stops, for truly obsene fun over a weekend. Given that, I think I am just going to go whole hog and eliminate the RHD completely. Why not, the troll will still be hitting things with sharp pieces of metal while the rest of the group is altering reality to suit their whims. :)

No, but neither would a half-minotaur water orc frenzied barb be able to compare with your caster either. At least, I think he would be comparable to a half-dragon troll barb/fighter/FB. Melee classes tend to be quite front-loaded, so you don't really lose anything by dipping a few lvs here and there.

Mystic Muse
2010-07-08, 06:22 PM
This calls for Homebrew! (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=142724)

First post.

Lord Vampyre
2010-07-08, 06:59 PM
Let see, should we compare the troll to the Evil Outsider Tainted Scholar (we capped taint though) / Abjurant Champion / Archamge, or to the lich Wizard / IotSFV / Incanatrix / Archmage? :)

Yeah, its that kinda game. We are pulling out all the stops, for truly obsene fun over a weekend. Given that, I think I am just going to go whole hog and eliminate the RHD completely. Why not, the troll will still be hitting things with sharp pieces of metal while the rest of the group is altering reality to suit their whims. :)

If your going to scrub anything, you should get rid of the LA. With the given abilities of the Troll, the RHD will at least give him hitpoints, an increase in Base Attack and Saving Throws.

Personally, I would trade out LA over RHD any day.

Tyger
2010-07-08, 08:15 PM
If your going to scrub anything, you should get rid of the LA. With the given abilities of the Troll, the RHD will at least give him hitpoints, an increase in Base Attack and Saving Throws.

Personally, I would trade out LA over RHD any day.

If I did that, the cost for +18 to stats, regeneration, etc, etc, would be... what exactly?

Yes, LA is a cost, but in most cases, some cost is appropriate. TANSTAAFL.

Eurus
2010-07-08, 08:19 PM
If I did that, the cost for +18 to stats, regeneration, etc, etc, would be... what exactly?

Yes, LA is a cost, but in most cases, some cost is appropriate. TANSTAAFL.

The cost would be that every RHD is a level where he's not picking up any class features.

tyckspoon
2010-07-08, 08:20 PM
If I did that, the cost for +18 to stats, regeneration, etc, etc, would be... what exactly?


6 'class levels' at 3/4 BAB for a melee fighter with no meaningful skills, poor HD, and bad save progressions. The stats, regeneration, and natural weapons are his class features. RHD are a cost, because unless you happen to be an Outsider or a Dragon your HD is much worse than any class level (and Outsiders and Dragon dice still don't compete with good class features.) They just aren't as horribly debilitating as LA.

Optimystik
2010-07-08, 08:24 PM
Racial Hit Dice suck. They should be eliminated at all times. I get that they balance out the race a bit but in all cases it is inferior to class levels. Boo-urns.

Note: I am one of the players in Tyger's game so I like to razz him whenever I can. Tee hee.

Outsider dice aren't bad. Full BAB, MWP, all good saves and 8+Int skills.

tyckspoon
2010-07-08, 08:42 PM
Outsider dice aren't bad. Full BAB, MWP, all good saves and 8+Int skills.

Sure, but they're not good either, because they don't give you anything to *do* with those base stats. If you gestalt Fighter, Monk, and Rogue, but trade off all the class features to do it.. you're still nothing special, and if you want any real power in the mechanics you're still best off ditching that kind of level as fast as you can and proceeding into a proper class.

(Certain Outsiders give you things to use your stats on, but that's basically irrelevant to having Outsider hit dice, and you still don't want more Outsider dice unless you have critical abilities that depend on your racial HD.)

The Cat Goddess
2010-07-08, 08:48 PM
Don't forget that Half Dragon increases Racial Hit Dice by one die size. Or you could just hand-wave it to change all the Giant levels to Dragon levels.