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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Skeleton Template LA +1? [3.5]

    There's a question that has been bugging me for a while now. Recently, my friends and I started up a campaign, with my friend DMing. My other friend in the campaign decided, despite my pleas not to do so, that they wanted to make a skeleton character. Regardless, we started the game at ECL 3 with some extra XP. My friend (the one who is playing the skeleton) used it to get rid of his LA, which is apparently only a +1. This strikes me as a somewhat underestimated LA, but I'm unsure, so here is the basic question: What would the LA be on skeleton that keeps its own mental and physical ability scores (albeit w/o a Con), gets a +2 to Dex, keeps improved initiative as a bonus feat, keeps the DR, Cold Immunity, and all other such factors of being a skeleton, plus the advantages of being undead, and gains light sensitivity (I'm not even entirely sure if this is the case, since my other friend (the DM) has it in his mind that limiting information is a good thing). Does this seem a bit off, or am I just crazy and it should actually be a +1 LA?

    I should specify that this is in the context of a theoretical, otherwise normal and balanced game. Obviously, the DM has the theoretical discretion to allow whatever they want in their campaign.
    Last edited by Twilightwyrm; 2012-02-10 at 02:13 PM.
    "If your heart is fearful throw away fear; if there is terror in it throw away terror. Take your axe in your hand and attack. He who leaves the fight unfinished is not at peace." -The Epic of Gilgamesh

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    urkthegurk's Avatar

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    Default Re: Skeleton Template LA +1? [3.5]

    Sounds fine to me. The 'advantages' of being undead tend to be mitigated by the fact that any cleric can turn or rebuke you, there are tons of spells designed specifically to deal with you, and the obvious social awkwardness... +2 dex is nothing for LA+1 (you should see what players in my games have tried to get way with... Damn you, savage species!!) The cold immunity is nice, I didn't even know that skeletons had that, but its not broken. Remember, drow are LA +1 and they get Spell Resistance. And a bunch of spells. In fact, if you still rankle at the though of a skeleton in the party, you should ask if you can play a drow.

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    Default Re: Skeleton Template LA +1? [3.5]

    Drow are LA +2, actually.

    Light Sensitivity is somewhat balanced, a -1 penalty to your attack rolls that will apply during most of the day is a good penalty to have, it's kind of like a flaw in that respect.

    The lack of a Constitution score is devastating, depending on what class you're playing. A typical d8 or higher class with 14 Con will most likely gain more hit points than you at every level, while a d12 class with just 12 Con already is ahead of you by +1 HP per level (And d12 classes are generally the ones who get much higher than 12 Con)

    Now, if you are playing a caster or a rogue, the d12 HD will generally be better than a Con score, though you'll miss the bonus to your Concentration checks if you're a non-Charisma caster.

    The natural claw attack is either very helpful or not noticeable. Really depends on the build.

    I'm sure the DM will exploit this happily, hitting him with things like sunburst and command undead often.

    In the end, though, it's just a cool character concept. Playing an awakened undead? Who doesn't want to do that at least once?

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    Default Re: Skeleton Template LA +1? [3.5]

    I don't buy that, urk.

    Those disadvantages aren't so bad, considering there's more ways for casters to mess with non-undead.

    And roleplaying drawbacks generally shouldn't impact mechanics, or they should be put into fixed terms.

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    Imp

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    Default Re: Skeleton Template LA +1? [3.5]

    Drow gets +2 LA, but still.

    - CON is quite nasty too. Most PC's of mine (in the higher levels) tends to have +5 or more there, so you'll find yourself with half the amount of HP that you otherwise would, and your fortitude save will suck against things that can hurt undead.

    Compare necropolitan which costs less than 1LA, but gives practically anything you'd want from a skeleton template.

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    urkthegurk's Avatar

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    Default Re: Skeleton Template LA +1? [3.5]

    Species-type penalties are factored in mechanically. Its 'initial attitude' and most people are either initially unfriendly or even hostile to undead. People think of them as mindless, walking abominations of evil. Sure, some of the towns in my campaign use them in the town gaurd but still, unless you're talking to a necromancer, you're facing an uphill struggle.

    Compare to dwarves, who no one really hates (well except orcs, goblins, giants...) so start at indifferent or friendly. They still get a -2 Cha, so unless they're careful their gruffness can erode that goodwill right away.

    As for spells, its true that they're immune to a bunch as well (sleep, anybody?) Still, its a big target painted on them, letting everyone know what weaknesses they DO have. The DM doesn't need to be sneaky, he just has to have semi-intelligent NPCs.

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Skeleton Template LA +1? [3.5]

    I suppose these are all fair points, but I must contest a few cases here:
    -First, having all d12 HD, especially when he is a Swordsage/Shadowcaster (The Descent of Shadows one (on this site), not the crappy ToM version), is quite a step up, especially considering there are a number of manners with which you can raise it, even if you assume a character like a fighter instead. Plus, I would say this is more than made up for in that you are now immune to most death effects, all Fort based spells and effects (disruption notwithstanding), as well as poisons, diseases, critical hits, Con damage, and all manner of other attack forms. Further, assuming you are a normal awakened skeleton, chances are you are not going to be going for the high HD classes anyways, since your Str and Dex will not be high enough to support doing so.
    -In terms of a lack of popularity, D&D is not a solo party game. Assuming they don't just disguise themselves, sure, if this was a solo campaign this might become an issue that only ends up hurting him, but in a party campaign, all this lack of popularity means is that now the other characters need to deal with all the social problems an undead bring, since they are adventuring with them, while the undead guy gets to essentially biggyback off of whatever good will they are able to garner. So no, I do not see the social stigma being a mitigating factor, or at least see it being factored into the mechanical analysis of a creature's LA.
    -And This isn't just an awakened skeleton (an awakened skeleton would have the physical ability scores of a normal skeleton). This template basically allows you to keep all your old ability scores, with the +2 from being a skeleton, and without any Cha penalty I can see. Also, light blindness/sensitivity can be easily overcome by mid level with a minor investment in the appropriate goggles.
    "If your heart is fearful throw away fear; if there is terror in it throw away terror. Take your axe in your hand and attack. He who leaves the fight unfinished is not at peace." -The Epic of Gilgamesh

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    Default Re: Skeleton Template LA +1? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Twilightwyrm View Post
    -First, having all d12 HD... is quite a step up, especially considering there are a number of manners with which you can raise it, even if you assume a character like a fighter... I would say this is more than made up for in that you are now immune to most death effects, all Fort based spells and effects (disruption notwithstanding), as well as poisons, diseases, critical hits, Con damage, and all manner of other attack forms. Further, assuming you are a normal awakened skeleton, chances are you are not going to be going for the high HD classes anyways, since your Str and Dex will not be high enough to support doing so.
    This is true. I would say this factors in to their LA +1, and is one of the reasons undead can never be a LA0 choice.

    You also get a +2 dex on top of whatever racial modifiers, so skeletal half-orc would have +2 str +2 dex and make a pretty decent fighter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Twilightwyrm View Post
    -In terms of a lack of popularity, D&D is not a solo party game. Assuming they don't just disguise themselves, sure, if this was a solo campaign this might become an issue that only ends up hurting him, but in a party campaign, all this lack of popularity means is that now the other characters need to deal with all the social problems an undead bring, since they are adventuring with them, while the undead guy gets to essentially biggyback off of whatever good will they are able to garner. So no, I do not see the social stigma being a mitigating factor, or at least see it being factored into the mechanical analysis of a creature's LA.
    The same could be said of a charisma penalty. I understand the division you are making here, but I'm going to be a devil and argue that its okay as long as the DM understands it too. Any possible weakness is mitigated by someone else in the group: fighter can't cast spells, wizards can't wear armour, skeleton can't talk to people. Further, I would say just having a skeleton in your group would incur a penalty to any diplomacy or bluff checks...

    Quote Originally Posted by Twilightwyrm View Post
    -And This isn't just an awakened skeleton (an awakened skeleton would have the physical ability scores of a normal skeleton). This template basically allows you to keep all your old ability scores, with the +2 from being a skeleton, and without any Cha penalty I can see. Also, light blindness/sensitivity can be easily overcome by mid level with a minor investment in the appropriate goggles.
    I agree a -2 charisma is appropriate. Investment in a magic item is also an appropriate way to circumvent minor racial penalties. If a character was born blind, by mid level they could make an item that allows them to see. I'm not convinced this means it should not be factored in when calculating LA.

    Do you think it should be +2 LA?

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    Default Re: Skeleton Template LA +1? [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Twilightwyrm View Post
    There's a question that has been bugging me for a while now. Recently, my friends and I started up a campaign, with my friend DMing. My other friend in the campaign decided, despite my pleas not to do so, that they wanted to make a skeleton character. Regardless, we started the game at ECL 3 with some extra XP. My friend (the one who is playing the skeleton) used it to get rid of his LA, which is apparently only a +1. This strikes me as a somewhat underestimated LA, but I'm unsure, so here is the basic question: What would the LA be on skeleton that keeps its own mental and physical ability scores (albeit w/o a Con), gets a +2 to Dex, keeps improved initiative as a bonus feat, keeps the DR, Cold Immunity, and all other such factors of being a skeleton, plus the advantages of being undead, and gains light sensitivity (I'm not even entirely sure if this is the case, since my other friend (the DM) has it in his mind that limiting information is a good thing). Does this seem a bit off, or am I just crazy and it should actually be a +1 LA?

    I should specify that this is in the context of a theoretical, otherwise normal and balanced game. Obviously, the DM has the theoretical discretion to allow whatever they want in their campaign.
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