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    Question Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    The thing I like 2nd most about these threads are that they often bring my attention to monsters, that I was otherwise "unaware of" as a DM. Sure, I've flipped through the books, but often never bothered reading the full monster write-up.

    So, DM question: aside from the obvious choices of class levels and Assassin's Stance, what are some easy ways to get Sneak Attack on a Stonesinger? Are there any templates that grant SA?

    Saying that someone reading RAW differently than you is "home brewing or house ruling, but that's fine" doesn't make you right, it just makes you seem pompous.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    I really want to disagree and give Stonesinger +0 (it seems utile and fun), but the body shape problems push it over the edge for me. I, too, vote -0.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    In general these threads have been super useful for me, running an almost exclusively monster-based campaign. However I feel they exhibit one glaring omission: Negative numbers. I.e. negative LA. I.e. how many RHD do I need to chop off, to make this playable...

    Granted, not all monsters make sense in this case, but the majority do.

    Any thoughts on giving that idea consideration?
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    The thing I like 2nd most about these threads are that they often bring my attention to monsters, that I was otherwise "unaware of" as a DM. Sure, I've flipped through the books, but often never bothered reading the full monster write-up.

    So, DM question: aside from the obvious choices of class levels and Assassin's Stance, what are some easy ways to get Sneak Attack on a Stonesinger? Are there any templates that grant SA?
    I don't know about class levels or templates, but one way to ape the effect of low-powered SA might be Necklace of Natural Weapons + Assassination Weapon Property, which applies an extra d6 on flank or denied DEX bonus to AC.


    Oh, and -0 for Stonesinger for what it's worth.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by martixy View Post
    In general these threads have been super useful for me, running an almost exclusively monster-based campaign. However I feel they exhibit one glaring omission: Negative numbers. I.e. negative LA. I.e. how many RHD do I need to chop off, to make this playable...

    Granted, not all monsters make sense in this case, but the majority do.

    Any thoughts on giving that idea consideration?
    Negative LA and 'deprogress by X RHD' aren't quite the same thing, with negative LA being a bit of a can of worms, optmization-wise.

    That having been said, for close to playable monsters like these, the anmount if HD loss is often discussed somewhat(in this case 2 would do the trick I think, maybe as little as 1), but I'm not sure if its worth the effort for every bad monster. That's just my vague opinion though.
    Last edited by DeTess; 2019-02-21 at 03:05 AM.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by martixy View Post
    In general these threads have been super useful for me, running an almost exclusively monster-based campaign. However I feel they exhibit one glaring omission: Negative numbers. I.e. negative LA. I.e. how many RHD do I need to chop off, to make this playable...

    Granted, not all monsters make sense in this case, but the majority do.

    Any thoughts on giving that idea consideration?
    Well, the thing with negative LA is that it doesn't actually exist.
    Or rather, what negative LA means and does is undefined and so can mean different things to different people.
    There are three main versions of what negative LA would/should be. And every option has tradeoffs.
    To some, negative LA means an ECL reduction with no effect on HD. This might be the simplest and easiest option, but it opens up early access to things locked behind HD dependent factors (feats, skills, BAB, base saves, etc.).
    To some, it means reducing RHD, but then you run into the issue of monster PCs being weaker than the baseline monsters as NPCs.
    To others, it would mean giving that many levels as gestalt levels alongside RHD. Then you need to figure out how to distribute these gestalted levels. Plus, not everybody likes gestalt.

    And each option affects balance differently, and would likely result in a different value for a given creaure's negative LA based on what application of negative LA you use.


    Edit: IIRC, there was an attempt to work out negative LAs in a parallel thread early on, but it died out.

    I thought the Assassin weapon quality required having your own Sneak Attack before you got its bonus Sneak Attack.
    Unless I'm thinking of something else with that caveat.
    Last edited by javcs; 2019-02-21 at 03:10 AM.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by javcs View Post
    Well, the thing with negative LA is that it doesn't actually exist.
    Or rather, what negative LA means and does is undefined and so can mean different things to different people.
    There are three main versions of what negative LA would/should be. And every option has tradeoffs.
    To some, negative LA means an ECL reduction with no effect on HD. This might be the simplest and easiest option, but it opens up early access to things locked behind HD dependent factors (feats, skills, BAB, base saves, etc.).
    To some, it means reducing RHD, but then you run into the issue of monster PCs being weaker than the baseline monsters as NPCs.
    To others, it would mean giving that many levels as gestalt levels alongside RHD. Then you need to figure out how to distribute these gestalted levels. Plus, not everybody likes gestalt.

    And each option affects balance differently, and would likely result in a different value for a given creaure's negative LA based on what application of negative LA you use.


    Edit: IIRC, there was an attempt to work out negative LAs in a parallel thread early on, but it died out.

    I thought the Assassin weapon quality required having your own Sneak Attack before you got its bonus Sneak Attack.
    Unless I'm thinking of something else with that caveat.
    Facepalm!

    The gestalt solution is brilliant! And right in front of my face the whole time! Why didn't I think of that?

    But even just chopping off RHD is generally okay, the transparency between both sides of the screen is usually limited enough for the power difference you mentioned not to matter. That is to say, PCs don't get to read the entire actual stat blocks of things they face, and any apparent differences can be dressed up.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by javcs View Post
    I thought the Assassin weapon quality required having your own Sneak Attack before you got its bonus Sneak Attack.
    Not according to WOTC.

    An assassination weapon deals an extra 1d6 points of damage against a foe who is flat-footed or otherwise denied a Dexterity bonus to AC, or who is flanked. If the wielder deals sneak attack damage from other sources, such as levels in the rogue class, the extra damage stacks.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    I dunno about damage, but the Island of Blades stance makes it fantastically easy to set up flanks.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by martixy View Post
    In general these threads have been super useful for me, running an almost exclusively monster-based campaign. However I feel they exhibit one glaring omission: Negative numbers. I.e. negative LA. I.e. how many RHD do I need to chop off, to make this playable...

    Granted, not all monsters make sense in this case, but the majority do.

    Any thoughts on giving that idea consideration?
    Negative LA is something that's unlikely to be implemented, mostly because having a creature with more HD than its ECL quickly becomes very tricky to balance and also destroys some of the assumptions inherit in the system. There was a thread dedicated to it but it seems to have stopped.

    'Chop off X RHD to make this balanced' is in my opinion the better way of making -0 LA monsters playable, and sometimes I do in fact mention something to that extent when rating a monster. I'll try and do so more consistently.

    For what it's worth, the stonesinger would probably be balanced with... about 2 less HD? Maybe 3? I'm honestly just eyeballing this but that sounds about right.
    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: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Negative LA is something that's unlikely to be implemented, mostly because having a creature with more HD than its ECL quickly becomes very tricky to balance and also destroys some of the assumptions inherit in the system. There was a thread dedicated to it but it seems to have stopped.

    'Chop off X RHD to make this balanced' is in my opinion the better way of making -0 LA monsters playable, and sometimes I do in fact mention something to that extent when rating a monster. I'll try and do so more consistently.

    For what it's worth, the stonesinger would probably be balanced with... about 2 less HD? Maybe 3? I'm honestly just eyeballing this but that sounds about right.
    This is actually what I meant by "negative LA" - an indicator of how much RHD to remove to make it playable. It was never about actually putting negative LA. That messes with some basic assumptions in the system that I'd never want anyone messing with.

    On the other hand, the gestalt approach also has merit, and the idea I had there, was to give additional class levels based on the number of RHD at an exchange rate dictated by this table here: Improving Monsters, but kinda in reverse (e.g. every 4 dragon RHD receive 1 gestalt class level, every 2 abberation HD receive 1 class level).

    That being said, can you please actually start including these evaluations in the future entries? That way any effort just has to catch up to here, rather than redo the WHOLE D&D bestiary? And seeing as how only the -0 LA entries merit a revisit, it should not be that much of an effort.

    Also, what is this legendary thread everyone keeps mentioning? Point me, cuz I might wanna resurrect it (or make a new one, and continue where it left off, no sense in reinventing the wheel).
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by martixy View Post
    In general these threads have been super useful for me, running an almost exclusively monster-based campaign. However I feel they exhibit one glaring omission: Negative numbers. I.e. negative LA. I.e. how many RHD do I need to chop off, to make this playable...

    Granted, not all monsters make sense in this case, but the majority do.

    Any thoughts on giving that idea consideration?
    Regularly. I tried giving it a shot once, and I think one or two others did, too.


    Quote Originally Posted by martixy View Post
    That being said, can you please actually start including these evaluations in the future entries? That way any effort just has to catch up to here, rather than redo the WHOLE D&D bestiary? And seeing as how only the -0 LA entries merit a revisit, it should not be that much of an effort.
    ...You do realize that most monsters end up with -0 LA, right?

    Also, what is this legendary thread everyone keeps mentioning? Point me, cuz I might wanna resurrect it (or make a new one, and continue where it left off, no sense in reinventing the wheel).
    Here's mine. I think someone else posted a link to theirs in there.
    Note that I was going on the theory of "Just reduce ECL, hope the excess HD don't cause issues." Looks like I got a dozen monsters into the first Monster Manual before deciding it wasn't worth my time.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Summoning Ooze


    The Blob, except it also vomits up rodents. Let's see how playable it is.

    5 ooze RHD are... not good, to say the least, by which I mean 'somewhat worse than aristocrat hit dice'. At least they have a host of useful immunities.

    Ability-wise, summoning oozes aren't as bad as some of their mindless cousins. +4/+2/+6/+0/+2/+4 is reasonable for a medium creature, and leaves the ooze without considerable deficiencies. On top of this, they get 60 ft. blindsight, fast healing 5, +7 natural armor, two useful immunities to acid and fire, and a slow climb speed. In terms of natural weapons, summoning oozes have two natural slams that deal unimpressive base damage with some acid tacked on.

    The main ability, of course, is Summon Monster. As a standard action, a summoning ooze can conjure an extraplanar critter, further boosted by the ooze's Augment Summoning bonus feat. This ability has an impressive CL of 20, but is limited to summoning twice the ooze's HD in creatures per day. In addition, while it starts off as Summon Monster I, every two HD (that's HD, not RHD) the ooze gets upgrades the spell a little: Summon Monster 2 by 7 HD, SM3 by 9 HD, and so on, until SM6 at 15 HD.

    Honestly, this seems like a somewhat difficult monster to rate, mostly because of the scaling abilities. Sacrificing 5 HD to get a few summoned badgers a day isn't too impressive, but getting to summon chaos beasts and bralani for the same cost at ECL 15 is a different matter.

    Comparing the summoning ooze to a summon-focused tier 2 or 3 class, however, kind of puts its abilities in perspective, in no small part because of its difficulty finding suitable class levels. A level 15 sorcerer will have a far more considerable summoning capacity than a level 10 sorcerer summoning ooze, even with the latter's free castings of Summon Monster VI (after all, the sorcerer is already up to Summon Monster VII and Planar Binding).

    With this in mind, I think the only fitting LA is -0.

    DMs willing to experiment a bit could consider removing 2-3 of the RHD (depending on balance point). This way, a caster is still a spell level ahead, but the ooze's abilities are both less costly and more useful at the levels they become available.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    It's definitely one of the more interesting oozes out there.

    • 5 RHD kind of suck, it can't be denied.
    • Str +4, Con +6, Wis +2, Cha +4. And most importantly, it has Int!
    • Fast healing 5, immunity to acid and fire, ooze traits...nice.
    • +7 natural AC, 10 ft climb speed, 2 slams. Not bad.
    • Augment Summoning as a bonus feat is cool, considering it's schtick.
    • Skill list is small, but all decent skills.
    • The Summoning Monster ability is interesting. It's quite limited, though.

    I'm going to fly in the face of conventional wisdom here, and give it an LA +0. Ooze type makes equipment a nightmare, and your class options will be limited, but I still think you gets lots of nice things.

    I recently made a thread around the spell casting options for oozes: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...lcasting-Oozes

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    I feel like immunity to poison, fire, paralysis, sleep, stun, polymorph, critical hits, flanking, and acid makes it something you could figure out a legitimate way to play, though ooze HD at frickin terrible.

    +0 for me, certainly not optimal but playable.
    Last edited by Hackulator; 2019-02-21 at 05:07 PM.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Usual boiler plate about lack of obvious manipulators/hands and body slots, further impacted by permanent blindness past 60 ft, plus the usual complications within that range (Darkstalker, Ethereal, blocked line of effect, vacuum, colors/contrast).

    Chassis: net abilities +16 is par for 4 RHD, not 5; while +7 natural AC better than expected. Summoning is a decent trick, but will be worse per level than a full caster around tier 3, who can do that and plenty more besides. Ooze immunities plus 2 energy immunities are nice to package with a climb speed and another +12 bonus to skills; however, that climb speed is too low to be combat effect in most situations, and your ground speed is 10 ft slower than average.

    Annnd the elephant in the room-those Ooze RHD cost you 2 points of BAB over 5 levels, and give you whopping base saves of +1 across the board. You have a 10 sided RHD with 2 + Int skills and no racial bonus to Int to pump into all 5 of your class skills; whoopee. Skill monkey is probably out, while investing 5 levels in this package is very unappetizing for martials. Body shape leaving your chakras in doubt means Incarnum is iffy, while straight caster has many better options regardless of class. That leaves direct comparisons to other mix n' match classes with a solid chassis and a few specific tricks they lean heavily on, like Binder or Warlock.

    Overall, I am voting for LA -0, borderline. most of the abilities are par, but taking so many small hits across such a broad scatter (speed, saves, skills, below average net abilities) drops this down a peg. Keep it as is with only 4 RHD, and I would easily call it a solid LA +0 in spite of its flaws, but they are too much as printed to keep pace.
    Last edited by ViperMagnum357; 2019-02-21 at 05:34 PM.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    There are certainly worse ways to get ooze immunities. You only lose 5 levels, and get a unique scaling ability (plus a couple of miscellaneous defensive abilities).
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    Question Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Is there some sort of eye-graft or anything that gets around the visual limitations?

    Can oozes even have grafts?

    How about some sort of familiar or other companion that allows you to see through its eyes?
    Last edited by Thurbane; 2019-02-21 at 05:57 PM.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    A slotless (say, a Ioun Stone) psionic item of continuous Synesthete would cost 6k gp, and permanently resolve the issue of vision/hearing (only one at a time). Buying another one would allow the Ooze to enjoy both sight and sound.
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by remetagross View Post
    A slotless (say, a Ioun Stone) psionic item of continuous Synesthete would cost 6k gp, and permanently resolve the issue of vision/hearing (only one at a time). Buying another one would allow the Ooze to enjoy both sight and sound.
    I don't think that works because Synesthete requires a face.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    I'm more inclined to explore this as a bruiser which gets the summoning as an add-on rather than comparing it to a casting summoner. 5 HD make it borderline, but you could do worse than take a ToB class - you can get your IL up to 17 by ECL 20 and even have one extra level to play with, either to dip a different initiator or tag on a non-initiating prestige class.

    I'm ok calling it a very weak +0 rather than a -0. Unlike most of these which only give you a bunch of questionable defensive abilities, the Summon is pretty broadly useful for offense and utility, and the defensive powers are reasonably high-end.

    Edit: ooze hit dice really are terrible, though.
    Last edited by Lapak; 2019-02-21 at 06:08 PM.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by Hackulator View Post
    I don't think that works because Synesthete requires a face.
    Luckily enough, cube-shaped Oozes have six of those
    More seriously, well, either the DM is nice enough to handwave that, or he's playing it hard by RAW, and he's not letting you play a Summoning Ooze as a PC in the first place. Or, one could argue that there's no clear definition of what a "face" is for an Ooze...going by a topological point of view, I'd be tempted to say the Summoning Ooze has only two faces: the surface it has in contact with the ground, and the rest of its body surface. Answers abound!
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    I feel like the summon ooze is +0. Although the line between +0 and -0 is sometimes difficult to decide on (and possibly pointless).
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    This is rough. It does skirt the line between +/- 0. I will go with +0 just because the difficulties with interacting with the world on top of everything else. It needs a lot of work to make work and it seems just worth it. I could be swayed to minus 0 however but if any ooze is playable its this one.

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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by Efrate View Post
    This is rough. It does skirt the line between +/- 0. I will go with +0 just because the difficulties with interacting with the world on top of everything else. It needs a lot of work to make work and it seems just worth it. I could be swayed to minus 0 however but if any ooze is playable its this one.
    I usually only lurk in these threads, but I'd like to say that there are some interesting classes that the Summoning Ooze can break into that are generally harder to enter on non full spellcasters. Fiendbinder from ToM as an example could be entered using the racial summoning, and with just a little work you could make a fairly interesting Demonologist/Fiendbinder. Or Nar Demonbinder. I personally agree that it should be +0
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    DMs willing to experiment a bit could consider removing 2-3 of the RHD (depending on balance point). This way, a caster is still a spell level ahead, but the ooze's abilities are both less costly and more useful at the levels they become available.
    a) Thanks for this.
    b) Seems like the general consensus is teetering on LA 0. I think I'd probably fall on the -0 side, but it does mean we are at around -1 RHD, -2 at best.
    Though I am not sure about the interpretation of scaling with HD, rather than RHD (though I am fine with it, because the "correct" is also the "dysfunctional" one).

    Ultimately, I think I'd go LA-0, RHD-1.

    Edit: Ultimately I think I'll make my own thread, just so I have control over post 1. Accepting name suggestions:
    The LA-Assignment Thread -0: ???
    Last edited by martixy; 2019-02-21 at 11:56 PM.
    My attempt at non-awful fumble rules
    Arcane Archer minimal fix (maybe not so minimal anymore)
    Expanding the Pathfinder Called Shots system
    ͼͽ

  27. - Top - End - #87
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Definitely -0. Immunities and a single decent trick are not worth the physical deficiencies of being an ooze. I'd rather have hands than immunity to paralysis, and I'd rather have eyes than immunity to fire. And that's not even mentioning the fact that ooze HD suck all the balls and leave this thing with no clear advancement path.
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  28. - Top - End - #88
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Quote Originally Posted by remetagross View Post
    Or, one could argue that there's no clear definition of what a "face" is for an Ooze...
    And one can also argue that the ooze's "face" has "skin". But synesthete still doesn't work for vision -- "If you are feeling light by absorbing ambient light onto your skin, you have your normal visual abilities". Fooey.

    I usually rate high, but this thing gets a -0 from me. (I somehow feel like I should apologize for that.) Body slots, manipulators, saves, BAB, skills, communication, ability to interact with normal society ... all bad. It's salvageable by taking the right classes, sure. But anything with just a few HD is salvageable if it has at least one decent mental stat, so that's not saying anything.
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  29. - Top - End - #89
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    Definitely a -0. Ooze are the bad. Much as I wish it weren't so.
    Those immunities are cute but the higher level the adventures the less they're worth.
    I mean I guess they'd free up some WBL but just not nearly enough to be worth it.

  30. - Top - End - #90
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    Default Re: The LA-assignment thread: Making monster PCs VI-able

    So, some ways to "see through the eyes of others":

    • Animal Lord PrC: Animal Perception
    • Chain of Eyes spell
    • Dreaming Puppet spell
    • Forest Eyes spell (may not work ?)
    • Knight of the Raven PrC: Sight Link (not at all ideal, a lot of drawbacks)
    • Planar Exchange spell
    • Psibond Agent PrC: Forced Sense Link
    • Share Husk spell
    • Tamer of Beasts PrC: Animal Senses
    • Wall of Eyes spell (see through an immobile wall)

    ...there's probably more I've missed.

    Saying that someone reading RAW differently than you is "home brewing or house ruling, but that's fine" doesn't make you right, it just makes you seem pompous.

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