Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

Has ECL changed?


Rules Questions


Does ECL work the same way in Pathfinder as it does in 3.5?

The players I DM for love the half-dragon, half-celestial, half-fiend etc. classes under the Savage Progressions articles. But all I could find in the Pathfinder RPG about ECL talks about not using them for a few of the base races. Do they work the same otherwise?


Dan Davis wrote:

Does ECL work the same way in Pathfinder as it does in 3.5?

The players I DM for love the half-dragon, half-celestial, half-fiend etc. classes under the Savage Progressions articles. But all I could find in the Pathfinder RPG about ECL talks about not using them for a few of the base races. Do they work the same otherwise?

I do not know - I would imagine that they would warrant a greater boon to non-half (whatever) characters. Tieflings warrant a one-level bump (or require a GM assigned trait that diminishes the tiefling's special abilities to a significant degree), so I would imagine that the half-so-n-so's warrant a two-level bump for the non-such-n-so's.

If all of your player characters are (half-somethingorothers) though, then for that campaign they're all still on equal footing and - as I understand it - not slurping on the huge XP hit for being 2 levels "higher" unless you deem otherwise. I'd probably go with a reduction of XP awards for combat encounters of, say, 25%.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Dan Davis wrote:

Does ECL work the same way in Pathfinder as it does in 3.5?

The players I DM for love the half-dragon, half-celestial, half-fiend etc. classes under the Savage Progressions articles. But all I could find in the Pathfinder RPG about ECL talks about not using them for a few of the base races. Do they work the same otherwise?

ECL is not a part of the Pathfinder RPG. Nor is LA (level adjustment). There's some discussion in both the PRPG and in the Bestiary about what to do if a player wants to play an unusual race, but the application of easilly-abused rules like ECL is no longer a part of it.

Of course, if those rules worked for your group, the game's compatible enough that they'll still work with PRPG. And eventually we might do a "Savage Species" style book that goes into deep detail on how to deal with PC races that deviate far from the norm. But honestly, with the increase in power to the base races, any of the previously-known-as-ECL +1 races should work fine hand in hand with the standard PC races.

EDIT: The Council of Thieves Player's Guide has a fair amount of advice for how to use a tiefling as a PC race. It's a free PDF, so you can download it and use some of the advice or solutions there for other races pretty easily.


James Jacobs wrote:
Dan Davis wrote:

Does ECL work the same way in Pathfinder as it does in 3.5?

The players I DM for love the half-dragon, half-celestial, half-fiend etc. classes under the Savage Progressions articles. But all I could find in the Pathfinder RPG about ECL talks about not using them for a few of the base races. Do they work the same otherwise?

ECL is not a part of the Pathfinder RPG. Nor is LA (level adjustment). There's some discussion in both the PRPG and in the Bestiary about what to do if a player wants to play an unusual race, but the application of easilly-abused rules like ECL is no longer a part of it.

Of course, if those rules worked for your group, the game's compatible enough that they'll still work with PRPG. And eventually we might do a "Savage Species" style book that goes into deep detail on how to deal with PC races that deviate far from the norm. But honestly, with the increase in power to the base races, any of the previously-known-as-ECL +1 races should work fine hand in hand with the standard PC races.

EDIT: The Council of Thieves Player's Guide has a fair amount of advice for how to use a tiefling as a PC race. It's a free PDF, so you can download it and use some of the advice or solutions there for other races pretty easily.

One thing I'm doing for a half-outsider PC (once based on a mish-mash of 3.0 critters, PF Beta base, etc.; now I have to juggle Ye Olde Backe Story to make all fit [do ALL half-outsiders have to FLY now?!]) is bumping his XP path from Fast, such as the rest of the party uses, to Slow (the gods figure he already has enough advantages on him, they'll handicap him a little, like at horse races <G>).

But half-dragons (as an example) were always ECL+3; would you suggest something like my solution for one?


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lady Bluehawk wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Dan Davis wrote:

Does ECL work the same way in Pathfinder as it does in 3.5?

The players I DM for love the half-dragon, half-celestial, half-fiend etc. classes under the Savage Progressions articles. But all I could find in the Pathfinder RPG about ECL talks about not using them for a few of the base races. Do they work the same otherwise?

ECL is not a part of the Pathfinder RPG. Nor is LA (level adjustment). There's some discussion in both the PRPG and in the Bestiary about what to do if a player wants to play an unusual race, but the application of easilly-abused rules like ECL is no longer a part of it.

Of course, if those rules worked for your group, the game's compatible enough that they'll still work with PRPG. And eventually we might do a "Savage Species" style book that goes into deep detail on how to deal with PC races that deviate far from the norm. But honestly, with the increase in power to the base races, any of the previously-known-as-ECL +1 races should work fine hand in hand with the standard PC races.

EDIT: The Council of Thieves Player's Guide has a fair amount of advice for how to use a tiefling as a PC race. It's a free PDF, so you can download it and use some of the advice or solutions there for other races pretty easily.

One thing I'm doing for a half-outsider PC (once based on a mish-mash of 3.0 critters, PF Beta base, etc.; now I have to juggle Ye Olde Backe Story to make all fit [do ALL half-outsiders have to FLY now?!]) is bumping his XP path from Fast, such as the rest of the party uses, to Slow (the gods figure he already has enough advantages on him, they'll handicap him a little, like at horse races <G>).

But half-dragons (as an example) were always ECL+3; would you suggest something like my solution for one?

Honestly, I've been running a monster campaign for almost two years now. The rules on p313 of the Bestiary work very well. James, you're about to be upset, sorry.

Although it's not called ECL, we'll use that term so you are more familiar with it. Set the ECL = Challenge Rating. Don't worry about the racial hit dice, those do not equate 1 to 1 to a class level (unless that class is commoner or adept or something).

Now, a half-dragon is a +2 CR template. So, assuming you are putting this on a human for example, that means they have to start as a 3rd level character (1 class level for hit points, and +2 'ECL' for their Challenge Rating boost). We'll say fighter for now, to make the example below simpler.

As they go up in level, they reduce their 'ECL' automatically every 3 levels. They can do this to get rid of half (round down) their 'ECL'. So the half-dragon human fighter for example would level from 3rd to 4th (2nd level fighter, +2 'ECL'), then 4th to 5th (3rd level fighter, +2 'ECL'), and then, half-way between 5th and 6th, they'd lose one 'ECL' and gain a class level (4th level fighter, +1 'ECL'). Notice that while they leveled half-way betwen 5 and 6, they stayed the same 'ECL'? At 6th level, they'd gain a class level normally and be a 5th level fighter with +1 'ECL'. There is no XP cost for losing the +1 'ECL'. From that point on, they are one level behind everyone else.

I've got a half-dragon in my campaign, and a woodling from MM3 (both formerly +3 ECL's and +2 CR templates). Both worked out much better, as under the original +ECL rules they were beginning to get penalized more than the +0 ECL characters.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Just a note, I think the rules on page 313 work very well for anything with a CR of 4 or less. Anything above that I think they tend to break down and not work too well.


The problem with using Level Adjustments is that some of the boons granted fade in effectiveness over time. Take the gnoll barbarian, for example. According to 3.5 rules (I'm waiting for my copy of the Bestiary), a Gnoll Bbn 17 is the same as a Human Bbn 20 due to its 2 racial Hit Dice and +1 level adjustment. All of that for a net +2 to its ability scores, +1 natural armor, and two racial Hit Dice at d8 (much lower than a d12). At high levels, that effective +2 to strength and +1 natural armor isn't going to make much of a difference (especially since humans automatically have a +2 to any ability score in PFRPG).

Our GM is using the Unearthed Arcana rules for buying back level adjustments, and I think it works pretty well. In a nutshell, you can buy back level adjustments one at a time by burning enough experience to lose a level when you've reached enough Class Levels. Your ECL drops by one, but you will gain the XP back quickly enough to offset the loss.

The total number of Class Levels (C) to buy back one level of your Level Adjustment (L) is
C = (L * 3) + C'

Where C' is the level your character was at when he bought the last highest Level Adjustment.

For instance, a creature with a +3 Level Adjustment could buy back Level Adjustments at 9th, 15th, and 18th. A +2 Level Adjustment would be bought back at 6th and 9th level. Meanwhile, a +4 Level Adjustment would be able to buy back one Level Adjustment at 12th level, but would have to wait until epic levels to buy back the next one.


Maybryn wrote:

The problem with using Level Adjustments is that some of the boons granted fade in effectiveness over time. Take the gnoll barbarian, for example. According to 3.5 rules (I'm waiting for my copy of the Bestiary), a Gnoll Bbn 17 is the same as a Human Bbn 20 due to its 2 racial Hit Dice and +1 level adjustment. All of that for a net +2 to its ability scores, +1 natural armor, and two racial Hit Dice at d8 (much lower than a d12). At high levels, that effective +2 to strength and +1 natural armor isn't going to make much of a difference (especially since humans automatically have a +2 to any ability score in PFRPG).

Our GM is using the Unearthed Arcana rules for buying back level adjustments, and I think it works pretty well. In a nutshell, you can buy back level adjustments one at a time by burning enough experience to lose a level when you've reached enough Class Levels. Your ECL drops by one, but you will gain the XP back quickly enough to offset the loss.

The total number of Class Levels (C) to buy back one level of your Level Adjustment (L) is
C = (L * 3) + C'

Where C' is the level your character was at when he bought the last highest Level Adjustment.

For instance, a creature with a +3 Level Adjustment could buy back Level Adjustments at 9th, 15th, and 18th. A +2 Level Adjustment would be bought back at 6th and 9th level. Meanwhile, a +4 Level Adjustment would be able to buy back one Level Adjustment at 12th level, but would have to wait until epic levels to buy back the next one.

All great ideas (teach me not to delve deeper into the Bestiary guts; I'll need to, soon, to convert my Second Darkness critters, probably)! Thanks, guys! As far as "ECL" characters go, I only have the one at the moment, but I do like them and may whip up another one someday. It's always nice to have an idea of how it could work. ;->

Speaking of converting, it's time for me to peer at other threads and see who's doing that for Second Darkness to Official PF RPG... ;->

LB

Silver Crusade

mdt wrote:
Just a note, I think the rules on page 313 work very well for anything with a CR of 4 or less. Anything above that I think they tend to break down and not work too well.

Perhaps, but anything above CR4 is really stretching what the game was designed to support anyway. This just reiforces the notion that dedicated rules are the ideal way to introduce exotic species to the game.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

mdt wrote:
The rules on p313 of the Bestiary work very well. James, you're about to be upset, sorry.

Not at all.. The rules in the Bestiary working very well, and a gamer figuring out how to play the game he wants to play using a cool system based on those rules doesn't upset me at all! There's a HUGE difference between "These rules work well and here's how to handle things using a system I came up with," and "You didn't build the game I want because you hate me and so now I hate you!"

I know that's not what folks (and you) said exactly, of course! :) I'm paraphrasing.

In any case, the fact that ECL and LA are missing from the game in no way makes it impossible for players to play woodlings or half dragons; the rules for those creatures remains the same, after all, so you can certainly keep going the way you've been going. Removal of ECL and LA just gives the GM a bit more authority over his players, is the hope, and doesn't arm argumentative players or supply folks with rules that are easily twisted and abused.


Pathfinder Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
mdt wrote:
The rules on p313 of the Bestiary work very well. James, you're about to be upset, sorry.

Not at all.. The rules in the Bestiary working very well, and a gamer figuring out how to play the game he wants to play using a cool system based on those rules doesn't upset me at all! There's a HUGE difference between "These rules work well and here's how to handle things using a system I came up with," and "You didn't build the game I want because you hate me and so now I hate you!"

I know that's not what folks (and you) said exactly, of course! :) I'm paraphrasing.

In any case, the fact that ECL and LA are missing from the game in no way makes it impossible for players to play woodlings or half dragons; the rules for those creatures remains the same, after all, so you can certainly keep going the way you've been going. Removal of ECL and LA just gives the GM a bit more authority over his players, is the hope, and doesn't arm argumentative players or supply folks with rules that are easily twisted and abused.

LOL

I meant you were about to become upset because I used the term 'ECL' to describe the CR Adjustments. The way I interpreted it is just what you had written on p313. :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

mdt wrote:

LOL

I meant you were about to become upset because I used the term 'ECL' to describe the CR Adjustments. The way I interpreted it is just what you had written on p313. :)

OH! Ha!

Nah... I actually think the term ECL is a fine one to use, but it's unfortunately saddled with a set of rules that Pathfinder doesn't support. So it's not a term we can officially use without confusing folks is all.


On behalf all decent citizens of this forum,

I, President Evil Lincoln, hereby emancipate James Jacobs from justifying his abolition of ECL from Pathfinder, henceforth and forevemore.

Speak not another word in defense of this decision, Mr. Jacobs, for when the need arises an army of forumites shall sally forth and dispense the needed explanation.

In other words, you must be getting tired of this!

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Rules Questions / Has ECL changed? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.