Reincarnated as a bugbear -- what to do about Level Adjustment?


Rules Questions

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backinblacK wrote:
I'll be honest, I've not read every post in the thread, but I don't understand what all the fuss is about. Yes, he got a big boost on a lucky roll. Would you have given him a bonus had he rolled a kobold? If not, then leave him alone and let him have to mask his form everywhere he goes.

The only issue most folks have is that it was a cheesey metagame move totally removed from roll-playing. Had it been a character death and reincarnation likely it wouldn't bother folks.

And FWIW Kobolds aren't that big a downgrade. The only real downside is the daylight problem plus potential RP issues.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies

Fake Healer wrote:

Nowhere in the body of the reincarnate spell does it say to apply racial HD.

Step 2- apply adjustments from the chart for STR, DEX, and CON for the new race.
Step 5- add all abilities for the new form, movement forms, speeds, natural armor, natural attacks, Ex abilities, but not language.

It doesn't say you don't gain the HD & LA, and for balance reasons there is no justifiable reason to grant them #2 and #5 without applying the HD and LA penalties to "pay" for those abilities.

But I guess, if you like the thought that 4 percent of the time the player gets a huge boost for essentially only a roleplay penalty, then go ahead and don't apply the HD.

I will continue to apply it because the spell says I become a Bugbear and doesn't say I need not apply the racial HD.


James Risner wrote:
Fake Healer wrote:

Nowhere in the body of the reincarnate spell does it say to apply racial HD.

Step 2- apply adjustments from the chart for STR, DEX, and CON for the new race.
Step 5- add all abilities for the new form, movement forms, speeds, natural armor, natural attacks, Ex abilities, but not language.

It doesn't say you don't gain the HD & LA, and for balance reasons there is no justifiable reason to grant them #2 and #5 without applying the HD and LA penalties to "pay" for those abilities.

But I guess, if you like the thought that 4 percent of the time the player gets a huge boost for essentially only a roleplay penalty, then go ahead and don't apply the HD.

I will continue to apply it because the spell says I become a Bugbear and doesn't say I need not apply the racial HD.

Have to say there is No LA and the spell, makes it clear what you gain, no where does it say HD, it points out everything else but does not point out HD. Hell in pathfinder a playable race may not gain the race HD anyhow


James Risner wrote:
I will continue to apply it because the spell says I become a Bugbear and doesn't say I need not apply the racial HD.

I agree with you but there is no real basis in the rules to back this up. Well none beyond the common sense that a GM brings to the table :)


azhrei_fje wrote:
Wow, that's a lot of vitriol from someone with no clue about the circumstances of the game or a rundown on our campaign's "house rules" (I'll bet you didn't bother to read the rules document I linked to, right?). So where is the "Ignore" button on these forums...

I did not see a link

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
concerro wrote:
azhrei_fje wrote:
Wow, that's a lot of vitriol from someone with no clue about the circumstances of the game or a rundown on our campaign's "house rules" (I'll bet you didn't bother to read the rules document I linked to, right?). So where is the "Ignore" button on these forums...
I did not see a link

It looks like I didn't wrap it in URL tags. Since I can't go back and edit an old post, here's the paragraph with the URL tags added:

Quote:
(Before we go further I should say that I'm not using the PF restoration spell as a "cure all" for negative levels. Instead, death of a PC imposes a negative level that ONLY goes away when the PC earns the next class level via the XP progression. This is essentially Andy Collins' house rule. It's at andycollins.net, IIRC. And yes, this house rule was published before the players built their original 1st level characters so it's well known. This means there is still a little bit of bite to dying, but only for one level's worth of time. My house rules document is at http://www.eeconsulting.net/cotct/ for those that might be interested.)


backinblacK wrote:
I'll be honest, I've not read every post in the thread, but I don't understand what all the fuss is about. Yes, he got a big boost on a lucky roll. Would you have given him a bonus had he rolled a kobold? If not, then leave him alone and let him have to mask his form everywhere he goes.

Who ever rolls Kobold? I mean, seriously.


The houserule our group is starting to experiment with is to drop the racial HD, then replace the LA with racial negative levels. These negative levels cannot be removed, but do not count when considering death by level drain.

That imposes some significant penalties, but doesn't prevent the usage of level-appropriate spells (his key mechanic), nor from exploring other level-appropriate options like feats or prestige classes.

Level 7 party, level 7 character, level 7 cleric. This should be a golden rule.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As a followup, I've decided to allow the player to use Monte' rules for paying off the LA. Since the party just leveled up, this PC has dropped back one level and will continue from there. By the time the AP is over (we're playing CotCT) the player will be less than 4% behind the rest of the party. (Assuming he doesn't try this stunt again! ;))


azhrei_fje wrote:
As a followup, I've decided to allow the player to use Monte' rules for paying off the LA. Since the party just leveled up, this PC has dropped back one level and will continue from there. By the time the AP is over (we're playing CotCT) the player will be less than 4% behind the rest of the party. (Assuming he doesn't try this stunt again! ;))

From your house rules-->Clarification:

the restoration spell will not cure one of these special negative levels.

If restoration does not remove the negative level from death, and you feel as though the +1 from the bugbear is justified dont they cancel each other meaning the player just comes back at the level he died at. What I mean is he would lose the class HD, but gain an effective level so his ECL should still be the same as the party. The other issue is that if you are going to punish the player for a lucky roll, why do you not help them out if they had a bad roll. Either the spell is balanced and should not be altered or it is unbalanced and should be edited on both ends so that no matter what race is rolled up the player does not gain or lose anything.

IMHO, of course.


Dennis da Ogre wrote:

Just wanted to re-mention that LA no longer exists. There is no longer a concept of LA+1 or LA+2. There will be no LA listings in the Bestiary, new monster listings will not have LA. Bestiary has not been released yet but you can look at all the stat locks and LA is gone the way of the Tyranasaur. I know I mentioned it above but I was wrong.

If you guys want to slice and dice Pure RAW then the correct answer is that the player becomes a bugbear plain and simple. There is no Exp issues either way according to RAW. Nor is there any mention of gaining racial HD in the reincarnate spell.

That all taken care of the rules are not written to be interpreted blindly. What bugs most of us is that the player pulled a serious meta-gaming move because he didn't like the way his character was built and it bugs a lot of us that he is going to get some fairly solid mechanical bonuses. It's likely to cause some envy amoungst his fellow players also. IMO It's entirely appropriate for the GM to do some thing to bring the party back to equity even though there is nothing in the RAW to support this.

FWIW:
Permanent Negative levels require casting Restoration twice. Material component for restoration is 1000GP in diamond per casting.

Actually, the Level Adjustment hasn't gone away. In the PFRPG, page 406, we have a side bar for Alternative Races. In particular, it calls out particularly strong races:

PFRPG wrote:

The following races are somewhat more powerful, due to the fact that they possess racial Hit Dice, exceptional ability score modifiers, natural attacks, or other unusual abilities. These races are intended as monstrous foes, not as PC races, and if you allow players to play one of these creatures, you should allow characters who pick from the list above or from the seven core races to start play at 2nd level.

• Boggard
• Bugbear
• Dark Creeper
• Drow
• Duergar
• Gnoll
• Lizardfolk
• Morlock
• Svirfneblin

Also, it's rather easy for the bugbear to get by in society if he pickes up a headband of disguise. Unless it's been weakened in PFRPG, it allows for illusory disguising that'd fool your average village mob.


Disciple of Sakura wrote:
Actually, the Level Adjustment hasn't gone away. In the PFRPG, page 406, we have a side bar for Alternative Races. In particular, it calls out particularly strong races:

Eh... that's a long shot from the formalized LA rules. Note that a human character would be second level versus a Bugbear which has +1 LA and 3 racial HD (with no class level).

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
concerro wrote:

From your house rules-->Clarification:

the restoration spell will not cure one of these special negative levels.

Correct. When the PC advances to the next level, the negative level automatically goes away. There is no cost (XP, gp, or otherwise) except for the PC being required to play at a lower level than the rest of the party for the remainder of the current level. For us that amounts to about 4-5 sessions.

Quote:
The other issue is that if you are going to punish the player for a lucky roll, why do you not help them out if they had a bad roll.

It's not a matter of "punishing" or "rewarding". It's a matter of playing by the rules.

The crux of the problem is that the PF Beta (and currently the PF Final) reference SRD material that is not compatible with the rules. If there were a PF bestiary with the bugbear listed, I'm sure it wouldn't have the LA+1 (or at least, that's the rumor!) and this entire problem wouldn't exist. But because I"m required to make a decision based on a mish-mash of various rules, I chose what seemed to be the most balanced to me.

Quote:

Either the spell is balanced and should not be altered or it is unbalanced and should be edited on both ends so that no matter what race is rolled up the player does not gain or lose anything.

IMHO, of course.

That's a great concept. The reality is that there wasn't time to look at the ramifications of each of the possible roll results. If anything else had come up (anything without a level adjustment, that is) there wouldn't have been any issue (from my point of view).

Now that a decision has been made once ("Here's how LA is applied for SRD creatures being integrated into PF Beta and/or Final") it won't be a big deal if it happens again. In the mean time, I'll be updating my campaign rules to clarify this issue. :)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Disciple of Sakura wrote:
Also, it's rather easy for the bugbear to get by in society if he pickes up a headband of disguise. Unless it's been weakened in PFRPG, it allows for illusory disguising that'd fool your average village mob.

IIRC, the hat of disguise only lasts 10 minutes per use before it needs to be reactivated again. It would be a bummer if the bugbear forgot to reactivate it when the 10 minutes were up! :)

And it wouldn't hide scent, sound, or an 8-foot tall frame (although it can make the PC look about a foot shorter).


So he's tall and has BO. Is that really too much of a disadvantage?


The question isn't what the Korvosans will think of him, since you're approaching the end of Escape from Old Korvosa.

It's what the gentlefolk in a History of Ashes and the society of Scarwall will think of him...


azhrei_fje wrote:
Disciple of Sakura wrote:
Also, it's rather easy for the bugbear to get by in society if he pickes up a headband of disguise. Unless it's been weakened in PFRPG, it allows for illusory disguising that'd fool your average village mob.

IIRC, the hat of disguise only lasts 10 minutes per use before it needs to be reactivated again. It would be a bummer if the bugbear forgot to reactivate it when the 10 minutes were up! :)

And it wouldn't hide scent, sound, or an 8-foot tall frame (although it can make the PC look about a foot shorter).

Looking at the description in the rules, it doesn't mention a duration. It doesn't even say that it allows the character to cast disguise self on themselves at will. Instead, it says it allows them to change their appearance, as the disguise self spell. I've always seen it used as a continuous effect, myself. If it wasn't, I'd think it would say that the wearer could cast disguise self at will.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Disciple of Sakura wrote:
Looking at the description in the rules, it doesn't mention a duration. It doesn't even say that it allows the character to cast disguise self on themselves at will. Instead, it says it allows them to change their appearance, as the disguise self spell. I've always seen it used as a continuous effect, myself. If it wasn't, I'd think it would say that the wearer could cast disguise self at will.

From the Magic Items -> Magic Item Descriptions page of the d20srd:

Quote:
The caster level determines the item’s saving throw bonus, as well as range or other level-dependent aspects of the powers of the item (if variable).

Clearly, the caster level of an item determine the duration of the power (spell effect) of the hat of disguise. Since the spell duration is 10 min/level and the CL of the hat is 1st, it lasts only 10 minutes.

But don't feel bad, as I thought most items were continuous use as well until someone pointed me to that passage. (I learned a lot on ENworld back in the early days of 3.0!)


azhrei_fje wrote:
Clearly, the caster level of an item determine the duration of the power (spell effect) of the hat of disguise. Since the spell duration is 10 min/level and the CL of the hat is 1st, it lasts only 10 minutes.

The rules don't explicitly say, but the common interpretation is that it's continuous. There's really no point making the player refresh it every 10 minutes except if you want to screw them over somehow.

And if that were the case I'd point out I can have multiple effects in play at once, they're simply don't stack; only one takes effect. I'd say my character refreshes the disguise once every minute, so he has 10 spells going at once. If someone cast Dispel Magic on me they'd have to remove all 10 effects before anything happened.

The game designers are not willing to add text for obscure situations like this. As such you only have Rule 0; there is no RAW to draw on.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Adam Olsen wrote:
The rules don't explicitly say, but the common interpretation is that it's continuous.

I'm not arguing against the "common interpretation", I'm only pointing out that the rules do specify how the caster level should be used.

I agree that in general it's not worth the effort to track such things. But it's better (IMO) to say, "the rule is that the item must be reactivated when it runs out" and then let it slide, than it is to house rule it away entirely.

Quote:
I'd say my character refreshes the disguise once every minute, so he has 10 spells going at once. If someone cast Dispel Magic on me they'd have to remove all 10 effects before anything happened.

Yep, you could. And someone who's game says that such items have effects that are continuous can still do exactly the same thing. So what's your point?

Quote:
The game designers are not willing to add text for obscure situations like this. As such you only have Rule 0; there is no RAW to draw on.

I don't agree (and I quoted the SRD RAW, above, to show why I don't agree). But if you want to rule that such items are active continuously, you certainly have every right to do so.

I will point out that I haven't checked this against the PRD so it could have changed.


If it wasn't continuous, wouldn't it have to say that it can be activated at will? I mean, otherwise, it's duration is 10 minutes, and then it's done for good, since there seems to be no actual activation for it. It's not a spell-like, it's just an effect. Like an amulet of resistance. Seems to me that if it were something you had to activate, it should tell you how to activate it, and in what way, or else it can't actually be used.


azhrei_fje wrote:
Adam Olsen wrote:
The rules don't explicitly say, but the common interpretation is that it's continuous.
I'm not arguing against the "common interpretation", I'm only pointing out that the rules do specify how the caster level should be used.

Yes, when the item doesn't otherwise say you fill in the blanks using the spell.

However, the item does say. "This apparently normal hat allows its wearer to alter her appearance as with a disguise self spell.". It doesn't say you cast disguise self, just that the effect is similar. The item's own description implies a single, continuous effect, with no limit on how long you can use it.

A common, intuitive interpretation is a self-evident correct interpretation.

There's no rule saying you can't move around when dead either. Shall we argue about that too?

azhrei_fje wrote:

I agree that in general it's not worth the effort to track such things. But it's better (IMO) to say, "the rule is that the item must be reactivated when it runs out" and then let it slide, than it is to house rule it away entirely.

Quote:
I'd say my character refreshes the disguise once every minute, so he has 10 spells going at once. If someone cast Dispel Magic on me they'd have to remove all 10 effects before anything happened.
Yep, you could. And someone who's game says that such items have effects that are continuous can still do exactly the same thing. So what's your point?

On the contrary, the common interpretation is that you can end the effect, or change the parameters, but there's no sane reason to have multiple effects. It'd just be weird.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Adam Olsen wrote:
However, the item does say. "This apparently normal hat allows its wearer to alter her appearance as with a disguise self spell.". It doesn't say you cast disguise self, just that the effect is similar.

So when the necklace of fireballs description says, "When a sphere arrives at the end of its trajectory, it detonates as a fireball spell (Reflex DC 14 half)." It doesn't really mean a fireball, it just means something like a fireball, is that it?

So if I had some kind of protection, let's say spell immunity up and running, it wouldn't protect against a globe from the necklace because it isn't really a fireball, it just acts as if it were?

Sorry, I don't buy it.

Quote:
The item's own description implies a single, continuous effect, with no limit on how long you can use it.

Okay, here's the description:

d20srd wrote:

Hat of Disguise

This apparently normal hat allows its wearer to alter her appearance as with a disguise self spell. As part of the disguise, the hat can be changed to appear as a comb, ribbon, headband, cap, coif, hood, helmet, and so on.

Please point out where the duration is mentioned. I'm sorry, where it's hinted at. Or where it's even implied?

Quote:
A common, intuitive interpretation is a self-evident correct interpretation.

Then stop trying to twist the item description into saying something that it doesn't.

(I better put on galoshes as it's getting pretty thick in here.)

Quote:
There's no rule saying you can't move around when dead either. Shall we argue about that too?

I would be happy to if you'd like. But first we should finish your education regarding logic re: magic item says it works like THIS, general rule says DO-SUCH-AND-SUCH unless item says otherwise, therefore DO-SUCH-AND-SUCH applies to THIS.

Quote:
On the contrary, the common interpretation is that you can end the effect, or change the parameters, but there's no sane reason to have multiple effects. It'd just be weird.

Now I'm confused. You argue that having a 10 minute duration is nonsense because the user could simply activate it multiple (overlapping) times. You then say that it could even be a great defense against dispel magic. But when I point out that a continuous item -- one that may require a command word to activate (not all worn items are use-activated) -- could also be activated multiple times, you call it "weird"?

I guess I should just call your activate it multiple times statement "weird" and then I don't have to use logic, eh? In that case, consider it done. :)

--

Perhaps you're confused because many items specifically list their duration? The "10 rounds" of the boots of speed (created at CL 10), the "7 minutes" of the cloak of the bat (created at CL 7), and so forth. And because the author of the hat of disguise didn't spell it out for you, you're having difficulty conceptualizing how it should work? Maybe we should do some of the more obvious examples so that you'll see the pattern...

How long does invisibility from a ring of invisibility last? (Answer: it's not continuous)

What about the blink effect from a ring of blinking? (Answer: it's not continuous)

How many hours can a crystal ball be used per activation? (Answer: it's not continuous)

Those are all examples of magic items that don't specify the level-dependent effects of the powers they invoke. The GM is supposed to use the caster level and the spell description to determine the duration.

--

Look, it boils down to a very simple piece of logic.

I posted a rule quote that says the caster level should be used to determine all "level-dependent aspects of the powers of the item (if variable)" unless the item description says otherwise (thus making it no longer variable). The duration of disguise self is a level-dependent effect. Unless you see something in the description that specifically countermands the duration, I'm going to stick to my interpretation.

You're welcome to continue interpreting it the way you have been, but don't try to argue that your way is the "correct way" because the RULES clearly don't support your approach.

But this has gone way off topic, so please take it to email if you wish to continue. You can reach me at azhrei_fje at oohay dot com (reverse the letters in the domain name).

Sorry everyone for the threadjack! :(

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