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kkortekaas
2007-04-26, 11:44 AM
Greetings folks,
I've got a quandary and I'm not sure how to solve it. I'm starting a new campaign shortly at level 1, and I'd like my players to experience some of the non-core races. Unfortunately most of these races have an EL associated with them eliminating them as a choice (as an example, Half-Giants or Tieflings).

Does anyone have any suggestions where I can incorporate EL 1 PC races into a game when I'm dead set on starting the game at level 1.

Much appreciated.

Keledrath
2007-04-26, 06:56 PM
Some of the newer MMs and the psionics handbook have racial classes. You earn racial abilities as you level up, but don't get class levels for a while.

Zeta Kai
2007-04-26, 07:26 PM
You could place minor curses on the ones with LAs. It's cheap, but effective. The curses can either wear off over time, but removed by a divine spellcaster later, or be excised via a quest. I recommend the latter.

ArmorArmadillo
2007-04-26, 07:55 PM
You could have everyone choose a LA 1 race; that way you have no really significant balance issues, and can either use either CL or ECL to determine monsters as needed.

kkortekaas
2007-04-27, 06:54 AM
Thanks for the suggestions folks.

I'll have to look into the racial levels. as well as the possibility of letting everyone have the option of a EL +! race.

Cave Dave
2007-04-27, 07:36 AM
Check out the Unearthed Arcana. There are rules within that will allow a character to spread out his ECL over a number of levels. It’s sort of a loan that the character must pay off throughout his career. Check it out.

Teilos
2007-04-27, 08:18 AM
If I understand that right, then you are the DM.

Just allow your players to start with any race up to EL+1 and one level in a character class. Then you just do not level up those, who chose such a race, the first time. They might be a little bit too powerfull at the first evening, but I do not realy see the big problem.

johhny-turbo
2007-04-27, 09:38 AM
Check out the Unearthed Arcana. There are rules within that will allow a character to spread out his ECL over a number of levels. It’s sort of a loan that the character must pay off throughout his career. Check it out.


The rule is somewhere in the SRD, I'd check but my school's computer blocked the site

Amphimir Míriel
2007-04-27, 10:28 AM
I had the same issue in my current game... The player and I decided that the best way to solve it was to follow the suggestion of a poster here (was it Fax or Peregrine?) and forget about the +1ECL and just have the character start at -1000 xp.

This is a bit of a large penalty at low levels, but starts being less and less of a burden as the party raises levels.

Douglas
2007-04-27, 10:46 AM
Player's Guide to Faerun suggests giving the characters "negative level adjustments" equal to the level adjustment to start with. Each time one of these characters levels up, he loses a negative level adjustment rather than gaining a class level until they're all gone. These negative level adjustments are very similar to but not quite the same as negative levels. The differences are: no loss of hit points; the effective level penalty only applies to checks - damage dice, duration, etc. based on caster level are unaffected; -1 to all save DCs; -1 to any racial AC bonus; does not count towards the negative levels = HD causes death rule.

IonizedChicken
2007-04-27, 11:17 AM
LA is terrible. I'll even go as far as to say that, even for LA+1 characters, LA buyoff is still underpowered (though it's a much better alternative), Of course, LA buyoff is practically useless for characters with an LA of +2 or +3 (and those characters are really those that need help).

I think the best way to handle this is something like what Amphimir, at least in low LA. At high LA I think some of the LA should be converted into racial hit dice and the other part into an XP penalty so that you won't find yourself dying from things like Cloud Kill.
I suggest something along the lines of XP penalty = (LA/2)^2 x 1,000 and LA/2 in hit dice. If you have odd LA round up the XP penalty and round down the HD. Of course, I haven't deeply looked into the situation but this conversion seems alright at first glance.

Cave Dave
2007-04-29, 04:42 PM
The rule is somewhere in the SRD, I'd check but my school's computer blocked the site

I hate it when I can't get access to DnD sites too, but I work for the government (US) so I can't really complain about it. :smallwink:

Harkone
2007-04-29, 11:34 PM
I have kind of a radical approach to level-adjusted races (mostly because according to the standard rules they are not very good at all to play): I use them as templates. This makes them worth actually being 1 or more levels behind the rest of the party, with all the penalties that entails (see the cloudkill problem above, for example).
For example, a tiefling elf would gain +4 DEX, +2 INT, -2 CON, -2 CHA, and have all the abilities of both an elf and a tiefling.

Also, I allow 1st level characters to make level-adjusted characters; they just need to earn enough XP to make up for their level adjustment. For example, an aasimar character would not go up a level at 1,000 XP; but at 3,000 XP she would level up to level 2, not level 3. Pretty simple and straightforward. This makes them pretty good at 1st level, but as soon as the non-LA characters level up, those LA benefits start to even out.

In my experience, even with these pretty powerful benefits, few players who have any kind of experience (particularly at the higher levels, where most of those LA benefits are no longer useful) make LA characters.

Innis Cabal
2007-04-29, 11:39 PM
you can always buy out the EL, so instead of leveling up to level 2 they stay one but no longer have an EL+1. And anything higher you have to be two times the level to start buying it out.

TheThan
2007-04-30, 12:27 AM
The easiest thing for me to do is to count the races with LA+x as being x levels higher than they are. So a level one Aasmir (La+1) for example would require 3,000 xp to reach level 2 as opposed to the regular 1000 xp for a La +0 race. That way it simply takes longer for them to go up in levels. Sure they would fall behind in levels compared to LA +0 races, but that’s the price of power.

Oops: looks like someone else has the same idea. Oh well next time i'll read the whole thread first...

Amphimir Míriel
2007-04-30, 10:13 AM
The easiest thing for me to do is to count the races with LA+x as being x levels higher than they are. So a level one Aasmir (La+1) for example would require 3,000 xp to reach level 2 as opposed to the regular 1000 xp for a La +0 race. That way it simply takes longer for them to go up in levels. Sure they would fall behind in levels compared to LA +0 races, but that’s the price of power.

Oops: looks like someone else has the same idea. Oh well next time i'll read the whole thread first...

Problem with that approach is that when the character starts reaching mid-to-high levels, the difference in xp outweights greatly any advantages gained off the race chosen.

Sure, at low levels, a Tiefling's Darkness and Energy Resistance abilities are very useful, but they become "meh" as soon as the party reaches level 6 or 7...

Fax Celestis
2007-04-30, 01:53 PM
Something I've taken to doing in my home games is converting half of LA into Racial Hit Dice (rounded up), so that an LA +1 Aasimar becomes a 1 HD Outsider. Makes LA a little bit more tolerable, particularly for low-LA races.

Caelestion
2007-05-01, 06:12 AM
Well 1 HD Outsider instead of +1 LA makes for good saves, good BAB, nice HP and lovely skills. Taken! :)

Half-fiends/celestials I presume would be +2 LA with 2 HD of Outsider and half-dragons would be +1 LA with 1 HD of Dragon?

What about Minotaurs (6 HD + 2 LA) or Illithids (8 HD + 7 LA)?

Necromas
2007-05-01, 06:20 AM
You could have everyone choose a LA 1 race; that way you have no really significant balance issues,

Except when characters choose vastly different powered templates, or for casters who can't really improve their offense with templates except through stat bonuses. For example, a meleer can get a lot of mileage out of feral, mineral warrior, white dragonspawn, etc... for just 1 LA, compared to say a sorcerer who chooses catfolk and has a little more ac but doesn't cast any better then an LA 0 sorcerer with +2 cha.

Realms of Chaos
2007-05-01, 06:34 PM
You could have everyone start with a level in an NPC class.

Fax Celestis
2007-05-01, 09:19 PM
Well 1 HD Outsider instead of +1 LA makes for good saves, good BAB, nice HP and lovely skills. Taken! :)

Half-fiends/celestials I presume would be +2 LA with 2 HD of Outsider and half-dragons would be +1 LA with 1 HD of Dragon?

What about Minotaurs (6 HD + 2 LA) or Illithids (8 HD + 7 LA)?

Correct. Minotaurs would become 7 HD, +1 LA, and Illithids would be 12 HD, +3 LA.

Duskwither
2007-05-01, 11:38 PM
When I DM, character concepts come first, with their mechanics coming in a very close second.

I allow my players to choose their stats. If someone wants straight 18s, they can have 'em, I'll just demand a very well-thought-out backstory for such awesome stats. "he's just that super frickin' awesome" does not cut it.

As for Level Adjustments... My rule is: Nearly all LA races have their LA reduced by at least one. That said, nearly all +0 LA races get a perk of some sort, usually in the form of at the most, a +6 to their stats they may put into attributes they want. Some other examples would be increasing a dwarf's Dark Vision by 60 ft., or giving a human another feat to play with.

Now, this works for me for two reasons.
1. My group doesn't power game or munchkin at all, this is to help them because I enjoy powergaming my NPCs and BBEGs.

2. The NPCs get the same perks. Edit: Albeit watered down to compensate.


Something else I do with LAs, is that it depends on the race you're playing. Say for example someone in my group wants to play a Minotaur (rare), but what I generally do, is keep their Racial HD the same, as with the LA. Now, when they hit ECL 10, I kill off their LA, so now they're ECL 8. Now the low LA races are going to shine, especially the casters.

I do that for any race that is melee oriented, like Ogres, and Hill Giants, etc... In some cases, I even allow them to replace some Racial HD with class levels of their choosing. Melee is hurt enough in D&D, and I've found this to be a nice solution.