Why no ECL?


Advanced Race Guide Playtest

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Kais86 wrote:
Are wrote:
Kais86 wrote:
@Bruunwald, odd that, every single game I've played in with an Aasimar in the group, always had the Aasimar as the single most powerful character, not by much in some cases, but always more powerful.

But did you apply the +1 LA they're supposed to have in core 3.5?

In my experience, Aasimar are fairly well balanced without an adjusted level at all, which is certainly an indication that the LA/ECL system as it was didn't work very well (since they should have been significantly more powerful to warrant losing a class level).

Nope, sold off 1,000 xp, as per Unearthed Arcana or maybe it was savage species, not sure it's been years since I played 3.5, instead of dealing with that. I might be a level behind the rest of the party for a fight in the low levels, but after that I was okay, especially considering how much of a joke getting XP was in 3.5, usually around level 8 or so I'd go off and have a solo fight to catch up with the rest of the group.

Ah unearthed arcana rules, that does make them more powerful. That was the problem with LA's, they are much stronger at lower levels, and only slightly stronger at higher levels, The bonuses clearly aren't worth the full level adjustment at higher levels, but they also are clearly better when they are free, when you add in a system to eliminate the cost altogether (even if the DM didn't give you a solo battle to close the gap, it is still is a self closing gap due to XP rules).


Ambrus wrote:

I know that Pathfinder has never included the 3.5 Effective Character Level system for powerful PC races; I'm just wondering why not. To me it seems a simple and clear system that's easy to implement. I'm looking at these new RP tiers (standard, advanced and monstrous) and wondering at what PC level they'd be balanced.

Maybe someone can explain to me how this (in my mind at least) vaguely defined system is superior.

ECL is not an exact science and there is no forumla that will ever make it work across the board. It is better to leave it up to the GM to decide. I am not saying certain monsters don't have a definite "ECL" for lack of a better term, but no flat formula will always work.

Grand Lodge

Onishi wrote:
Ah unearthed arcana rules, that does make them more powerful. That was the problem with LA's, they are much stronger at lower levels, and only slightly stronger at higher levels, The bonuses clearly aren't worth the full level adjustment at higher levels, but they also are clearly better when they are free, when you add in a system to eliminate the cost altogether (even if the DM didn't give you a solo battle to close the gap, it is still is a self closing gap due to XP rules).

Even in Pathfinder, I've found that Aasimar are a powerful species, I once ran the first Rise of the Rune Lords AP for just one Aasimar Inquisitor, and he blew through it like it wasn't even there.

Lantern Lodge

Ahh.. yess.. the good ol` Unearthed Arcana rules.. I remember them well.

Very few of my players ever used them. I can only remember 1 that used it and that was because I used various methods of making the cost cheaper. They had charts for giants and dragons and such with Minor / Intermediate and Major bloodlines. Each level effectively costing you a cumulative +1 LA. It was a good idea with bad costs and poor implementation.

This beta playtest eliminates and clarifies quite a bit and is already better than that old book. I'm hoping that further expansion into the spell-like abilities that actually do damage will be forthcoming.

Question.. Am I to understand that 0-level spell costs the same as a 1st?
(i.e. 1 rp for a 1/day zero or 1st level spell-like ability ?)


the Level adjustment, the ecl failed back in 3.x. none of the non core book races that had them and were commonly allowed for use as pcs(aasimar, gensai, tiefling, drow, etc), their racial powers were never worth the level adjustment or the effective character level.

if the native outsiders when used as pcs actually got martial weapon proficiency along with their racial powers, it would havebeen worth them.

but when this was asked at the wotc boards back in the day Mr. Baker was said to have said that he had to assume the author of that part of the mmof, and what not did not no what he was talking about and said no.

later on if one can find it still( I don't know) it said they did get it.

truth of the matter, if they didnt get it as baker said, the native outsider ec;/la was not worth it.

the duergar had a ecl.la of 2 and later on it was decreased to 1 and the drow had the ecl/le of 2, niether of which was worth their as their abilities were not worth it.

what failed with it mostly, as the racial powers were all said to be cast as a sorcerer of lvl 5.
they did not scale up with the pc as they increased in lvls.

the rcail hit die, if done the same way will fail too and even more so if I play a character with a racial HD of 2 and making my lvl 1 figher effectively a lvl 3 character and I only get the feats and skills of a lvl 1 fighter.

it didnt work, and it wasnt really balanced like a few think it was

and it wont work now, its best just to leave it behind, along with playing a pc like a drow with racial HDs....

note: drow was used as an example.

not that I'd want to paly asa giant, the goliath of 3.x and 4e would be as close as I"d get to play a larger tham human pc.


As someone who converted a truckton of monsters to PCs using the SS rules I was dissapointed that there was no system for monster levels in this book. Even something that allows an equivalent base 0 race to start off with and then expand from there with monster levels or to go off and take PC levels.

I think that's a better approach. Design the race being on par with the core races at 0 level ,then extrapolate a way to make them 'even' upto a PC of equivalent level.


Kais86 wrote:
@Bruunwald, odd that, every single game I've played in with an Aasimar in the group, always had the Aasimar as the single most powerful character, not by much in some cases, but always more powerful.

I don't know, my group's halforc barbarian can one shot our aasimar cleric.


Ambrus wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Because ECL caused more problems than it solved.
Fair enough. So what would you recommend for those wanting to play monster PCs?

I really love playing monster/non-standard races. Some thing GM's have used to accommodate my racial preferences is to:

1. Have advanced abilities (flight for example) not come into play until later on. (Young birds can't fly until they are strong enough, so this isn't too bizarre from a role-playing perspective.) The table 'challenging advanced and monstrous races' would lead me to believe that around level 6 is an appropriate time for 'advanced' abilities to manifest and around level 11 is an appropriate time for 'monstrous' abilities to manifest.

2. One way to balance more powerful races is to have them make an equivalent exchange in terms of other avenues to power. For example, my Tiefling had nice racial abilities, but he had to spend one of his feats not to be run out of town. The context of the Race Builder guide makes this sort of system even easier to judge. If a player wishes to build a race using more RP than the cost of a human, rather than making the core races change, simply compare the difference in RP to the RP cost of a human's bonus feat. Then make the character pay an equivalent cost in feats later on, before the extra features will be functional. Sacrificing feats is really harsh, but if the player really wants a particular racial concept, it may be worth it.

The races I have played this way have seemed to mesh well enough with the other standard characters in our campaigns. Admittedly I wasn't trying to break the system.


Realmwalker wrote:
Kais86 wrote:
@Bruunwald, odd that, every single game I've played in with an Aasimar in the group, always had the Aasimar as the single most powerful character, not by much in some cases, but always more powerful.
I don't know, my group's halforc barbarian can one shot our aasimar cleric.

Power isn't always measured in offensive ability, in fact, it usually isn't.


Kais86 wrote:
Onishi wrote:
Ah unearthed arcana rules, that does make them more powerful. That was the problem with LA's, they are much stronger at lower levels, and only slightly stronger at higher levels, The bonuses clearly aren't worth the full level adjustment at higher levels, but they also are clearly better when they are free, when you add in a system to eliminate the cost altogether (even if the DM didn't give you a solo battle to close the gap, it is still is a self closing gap due to XP rules).
Even in Pathfinder, I've found that Aasimar are a powerful species, I once ran the first Rise of the Rune Lords AP for just one Aasimar Inquisitor, and he blew through it like it wasn't even there.

I doubt the Aasimar was the reason for that. No one player at level one will ever run through an entire AP's book without GM help unless there is some other issue going on such as houserules or misplaced rules.


Leopold wrote:
...I was dissapointed that there was no system for monster levels in this book. Even something that allows an equivalent base 0 race to start off with and then expand from there with monster levels or to go off and take PC levels. I think that's a better approach. Design the race being on par with the core races at 0 level ,then extrapolate a way to make them 'even' upto a PC of equivalent level.

+1 I love monstrous classes. One of my favourite characters was a gold dragon hatchling built using the monster classes from Dragon Magazine #320.


wraithstrike wrote:
Kais86 wrote:
Onishi wrote:
Ah unearthed arcana rules, that does make them more powerful. That was the problem with LA's, they are much stronger at lower levels, and only slightly stronger at higher levels, The bonuses clearly aren't worth the full level adjustment at higher levels, but they also are clearly better when they are free, when you add in a system to eliminate the cost altogether (even if the DM didn't give you a solo battle to close the gap, it is still is a self closing gap due to XP rules).
Even in Pathfinder, I've found that Aasimar are a powerful species, I once ran the first Rise of the Rune Lords AP for just one Aasimar Inquisitor, and he blew through it like it wasn't even there.
I doubt the Aasimar was the reason for that. No one player at level one will ever run through an entire AP's book without GM help unless there is some other issue going on such as houserules or misplaced rules.

Most of that book is goblins, something most PCs can handle quite easily, even at first, since they have a 1 in 4 chance of not doing anything useful, and since he wasn't sharing xp with anyone, he leveled very quickly, I also had him on the fast chart, because he was alone. I did give him an NPC to run with when going to Thistletop, but he really didn't need it.


As much as the concept of Monster Class levels is appealing it also started from the flawed and arbitrary nature of the Level Adjustment. Advanced Races seems a better way to do this same thing in effect.

If you build out the whole "Monster" then you can scale it back to a point that is even with a Standard Races. Im not in a good place atm to post an example but....

"Note that in a mixed group, the value of racial Hit Dice and abilities diminish as a character gains levels. It is recommended that for every 3 levels gained by the group, the monster character should gain an extra level, received halfway between the 2nd and 3rd levels. Repeat this process a number of times equal to half the monster's CR, rounded down. Using the minotaur example, when the group is at a point between 6th and 7th level, the minotaur gains a level, and then again at 7th, making him a minotaur barbarian 4. This process repeats at 10th level, making him a minotaur barbarian 8 when the group reaches 10th level. From that point onward, he gains levels normally."

When i first read this in the bestiary, i nodded in assent with this as a good guideline. This gives you the HD progression of a "Monster Class". Add the point system for Advanced Races and you can now dial back racial powers to match standard races and then add the other abilities over several 'levels'.

Speaking as a "fan" of Savage Species who also fully saw the major flaws from the get go, this is far more acceptable method. Using CR as the measure in place of pure "Level" is much much better. One of the biggest failings of 3e is the linking of HD to Level at a 1:1 Rate. BAB, Saves, Feats, Stat increases, should have been decupled from HD. That would have fixed many issues.


Blue Star wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
Kais86 wrote:
Onishi wrote:
Ah unearthed arcana rules, that does make them more powerful. That was the problem with LA's, they are much stronger at lower levels, and only slightly stronger at higher levels, The bonuses clearly aren't worth the full level adjustment at higher levels, but they also are clearly better when they are free, when you add in a system to eliminate the cost altogether (even if the DM didn't give you a solo battle to close the gap, it is still is a self closing gap due to XP rules).
Even in Pathfinder, I've found that Aasimar are a powerful species, I once ran the first Rise of the Rune Lords AP for just one Aasimar Inquisitor, and he blew through it like it wasn't even there.
I doubt the Aasimar was the reason for that. No one player at level one will ever run through an entire AP's book without GM help unless there is some other issue going on such as houserules or misplaced rules.
Most of that book is goblins, something most PCs can handle quite easily, even at first, since they have a 1 in 4 chance of not doing anything useful, and since he wasn't sharing xp with anyone, he leveled very quickly, I also had him on the fast chart, because he was alone. I did give him an NPC to run with when going to Thistletop, but he really didn't need it.

I remember a part of the game where my group got jumped by quiet a few goblins, so unless my GM changed the story(possible, but not likely due to lack of time) even a level 3 or 4 character would have been in dire straights.

What did the Aasimar bring to the table that another race/class combo could not have done in your running of the story?

I am asking mostly because Aasimars don't seem much better than the core races to me if they are better at all.


wraithstrike wrote:

I remember a part of the game where my group got jumped by quiet a few goblins, so unless my GM changed the story(possible, but not likely due to lack of time) even a level 3 or 4 character would have been in dire straights.

What did the Aasimar bring to the table that another race/class combo could not have done in your running of the story?

I am asking mostly because Aasimars don't seem much better than the core races to me if they are better at all.

The Aasimar isn't that much better, but they do bring a few things to the table, like being immune to a lot of spells. It's been so long, I don't actually recall what my point was, or even if being an Aasimar changed anything, it probably didn't.


ECL becomes cumbersome with things like templates + monsters from a PC standpoint. Especially if used with current RAW in the bestiary.
For example:
OP McOPerson the ECL 11 Vampire 2 Nymph 7 Oracle 1 (Advanced 1)
Trust me, this build is cheesy as heck.
This shouldn't ever be a character, but if you add in monsters for players you will see abuse of templates like the ones listed above, not to mention that RAW monsters with class levels get some significant bonuses just for adding them.


Blue Star wrote:
Realmwalker wrote:
Kais86 wrote:
@Bruunwald, odd that, every single game I've played in with an Aasimar in the group, always had the Aasimar as the single most powerful character, not by much in some cases, but always more powerful.
I don't know, my group's halforc barbarian can one shot our aasimar cleric.
Power isn't always measured in offensive ability, in fact, it usually isn't.

Still Our Aasimar and Tiefling Characters in our group are not over powered and do not stand out any more than any of the other races, Human, Halfling Half Orc and Gnome. They each do their thing and are not taking the spotlight from any one else.


Gorbacz wrote:

Yes, it's a cornerstone.

And it's a cornerstone that many fantasy RPG designers don't touch due to rules problems they generate. Warhammmer RPGs didn't. 4E didn't. It works in GURPS due to the total granularity of the entire system, but d20 isn't as modular.

3.5 took a shot and that shot missed by a mile. I like that ARG seems to give rules for an "everybody is LA+X" groups, but having parties of Minotaurs, Vampires, Drow and sickly old halfling women running together is something that d20 doesn't handle well.

Yeah, I think it's one of the bigger and unfixable issues of the system. C'est la vie.

Actually 4e has a pretty elegent solution to this. There are minotaurs and Gith, and Kobold and everything else practically as playable races. They simply cut the fat. They gave each a certain set of stat adjustments, an encounter power unique to their race, a defense boost appropriate, and a few skill bonuses. Done. Honestly it's as cheap as it is elegent. You want to be a minotaur? Fine, +2 Str, +2 Wis, Oversized Weapons, +2 survival, Scent, Darkvision, GO!

(It may not be the best answer, but it sure works fine in play next to the elf...)


Realmwalker wrote:
Blue Star wrote:
Realmwalker wrote:
Kais86 wrote:
@Bruunwald, odd that, every single game I've played in with an Aasimar in the group, always had the Aasimar as the single most powerful character, not by much in some cases, but always more powerful.
I don't know, my group's halforc barbarian can one shot our aasimar cleric.
Power isn't always measured in offensive ability, in fact, it usually isn't.
Still Our Aasimar and Tiefling Characters in our group are not over powered and do not stand out any more than any of the other races, Human, Halfling Half Orc and Gnome. They each do their thing and are not taking the spotlight from any one else.

I never said they were overpowered. Powerful? Yes, but that's how you use them. A race is only a small part of your character's power, the rest of it comes from how it's built, and how it's played.


uhm i see paizo point but i think that ecl problems was that on 3.5 was assigned casually like cr, now whit arg you have builded an mathematic system to calculate the power of the race you have only to define what race point is an ecl unit


So, If I get it right then the only answer is to enforce
a specific number of racial build points on all players?
As the DM I have to say (if I decide to use the ARG) everyone have to
build a race based on say 25 points, no you can't play a Dwarf/Human/Elf...

Is there no way to echive a balance in this book?


If you want them to play a dwarf/human/whatever core race, but you want them to build on 25 points instead, you could just have them add on to the core race they intend on playing.


Ambrus wrote:
How is a player intended to play an advanced or monstrous race in a group of starting level core races? Should they delay some of their racial abilities to later character levels or some other method?

I'm a big advocate for each race having abilities that scale with class level-- if not full racial classes. In my house rules, monstrous PCs have a Savage Species style progression which counts as one or more half-classes for determining XP. Easy peasy.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Onishi wrote:
Kais86 wrote:
Are wrote:
Kais86 wrote:
@Bruunwald, odd that, every single game I've played in with an Aasimar in the group, always had the Aasimar as the single most powerful character, not by much in some cases, but always more powerful.

But did you apply the +1 LA they're supposed to have in core 3.5?

In my experience, Aasimar are fairly well balanced without an adjusted level at all, which is certainly an indication that the LA/ECL system as it was didn't work very well (since they should have been significantly more powerful to warrant losing a class level).

Nope, sold off 1,000 xp, as per Unearthed Arcana or maybe it was savage species, not sure it's been years since I played 3.5, instead of dealing with that. I might be a level behind the rest of the party for a fight in the low levels, but after that I was okay, especially considering how much of a joke getting XP was in 3.5, usually around level 8 or so I'd go off and have a solo fight to catch up with the rest of the group.
Ah unearthed arcana rules, that does make them more powerful. That was the problem with LA's, they are much stronger at lower levels, and only slightly stronger at higher levels, The bonuses clearly aren't worth the full level adjustment at higher levels, but they also are clearly better when they are free, when you add in a system to eliminate the cost altogether (even if the DM didn't give you a solo battle to close the gap, it is still is a self closing gap due to XP rules).

Note that it worked in conjunction with another rule that Pathfinders doesn't have:

in the 3.X version of the game if you were lover level than the other members of the party you did received more XP.
So if you started the game x levels behind the party average level you would recover part of the gap in time.

ECL could work passably for purely combat related abilities, but when you start considering its effect on skills, people reaction to a strange race (or lack of reaction if the GM didn't cared about that), the possibility to have spell like, supernatural and exceptional abilities whose usefulness varied at different levels (fixed SR against variable Sr for example), a system useful for balancing all the races against each other is almost impossible to develop.

A system where each race is treated differently, with special archetypes and so on could work, but the return for Paizo for the work done developing them will make it a non option from a commercial point of view.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Steelfiredragon wrote:


the drow had the ecl/le of 2, niether of which was worth their as their abilities were not worth it.

Spell resistance that scale with the level? That alone was worth at leas 1 point of ECL.

Steelfiredragon wrote:


what failed with it mostly, as the racial powers were all said to be cast as a sorcerer of lvl 5.
they did not scale up with the pc as they increased in lvls.

And where have you found this curious rule? Spell like abilities were linked to the character level. Exceptional abilities generally didn't cared about your level but were tied to one of your characteristics.

Supernatural, at usual, were the most varied.


Are these desires to play other races based on mechanics or flavor?

The mechanics will never line up consistently enough for a rules system, not when playing an actual creature as in the Bestiary, whose CR is based on 1 encounter vs. small & medium humanoids, not a day of encounters vs. a variety of creatures. (Unless, as James said, one were to start from scratch.)
Look at how effective the Enlarge spell can be, and size is just one facet to consider in a monster build. The ruleset would have to address each ability, in each circumstance/class combo, covering more territory than the market requests.
It'd be like rewriting all the polymorph rules, but including Aberrations and all the other critters too, and look how long that took to sort out.
Unsuitable, but...

I think most people play other races for the flavor, and any DM should be able to adjudicate that for their world, as per the 4.0 Minotaur example above. Mechanically, it's a new race, or hybrid of a race, but thematically it's the same.
Change size to medium (or small), limit net stat bonuses to +2. Strip them of all their abilities, then give them back at similar levels/quantity as the racial abilities of the core races, and done.

sample races:

Minotaur: +2 Str, +2 Con, -2 Int. Proficient with greataxes. Darkvision. +1 damage on charge attacks. 1d6 Horns. Immune to maze. +2 Perception, +2 Survival. (This may need to be watered down more.)

Ettercap: +2 Dex, +2 Con, -2 Int. Poison use. Proficient with nets.
Darkvision. +4 Climb, +4 Craft (trapmaking).

Earth Elemental (small): +2 Str. Darkvision. Earth Mastery. Fortification 25%. Native subtype. (No free martial proficiency)

Mummy: +2 Str, -2 Int, +2 Cha. Con -. Undead traits. Vulnerable to fire. +2 Intimidate. +2 DC & CL on spells that inflict disease (& fear?).

Nymph: -2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Cha. +1 DC charm spells. DR 2/cold iron.
Low-light vision. Fey traits.

Rakshasa: +2 Con, -2 Wis, +2 Cha (Had to choose something to drop...)
+2 Bluff, +4 Disguise. Detect thoughts (as spell, standard action).
Native outsider traits. (No free martial proficiency) DR 2/piercing.

Tried to grab relatively odd/unbalanced examples other than Minotaur.
Some creatures, like the Medusa, simply don't work because their defining ability is too strong. Look at how high Flesh to Stone is, and then make it area...never will balance.
Others, to me, like the Nymph & Rakshasa, aren't 'defined' by some of their classic abilities, so they lost them.
Other creatures lose lots of abilities, but still reflect the same flavor. If players want those abilities back, maybe it wasn't the flavor they were aiming for after all...
Plus, using Eldritch Heritage as a baseline example, perhaps the DM could let the characters take feats to gain those abilities (often w/ limited uses, but still there)
And these are done on the fly. I'd pore over them with a fine-tooth comb were I to introduce them to my game.

Maybe the Advanced Race Guide could have a page detailing this option, or offering 'watered down' versions for playability alongside the core races. Twenty or so could fit on a page, offering lots of options for little space.

BTW, using the Polymorph rules to determine when appropriate abilities become available would be a good guideline. Look at the level of caster necessary to cast the spell that 1st grants the ability. It's also good to note how unusually high the Giant Form spells are for their power, mainly because they can still wear equipment.

Just some thoughts,
JMK

EDIT: And I'd be extra careful giving two physical stat bonuses to any race. That almost instantly makes them a better melee class than core. (As I said, the Minotaur example maybe needs to be toned down even more.)


Stewart Perkins wrote:


Actually 4e has a pretty elegent solution to this. There are minotaurs and Gith, and Kobold and everything else practically as playable races. They simply cut the fat. They gave each a certain set of stat adjustments, an encounter power unique to their race, a defense boost appropriate, and a few skill bonuses. Done. Honestly it's as cheap as it is elegent. You want to be a minotaur? Fine, +2 Str, +2 Wis, Oversized Weapons, +2 survival, Scent, Darkvision, GO!

(It may not be the best answer, but it sure works fine in play next to the elf...)

This is actually the reason I dropped 4E and started using Pathfinder. It was too limiting. Monsters were unusable as player characters, multiclassing is a joke... I realized it when reading a D&D-themed webcomic where a half-dragon who is chained up in a dungeon simply rips the chains out of the wall. A dragonborn is just no replacement for a proper half-dragon. Maybe I like over the top characters too much, but having the option to play them doesn't take away from anybody. Those who don't like it can limit their games to normal races.


I think that the guys here and here came up with something neat that could be continued.


Stewart Perkins wrote:

Actually 4e has a pretty elegent solution to this. There are minotaurs and Gith, and Kobold and everything else practically as playable races. They simply cut the fat. They gave each a certain set of stat adjustments, an encounter power unique to their race, a defense boost appropriate, and a few skill bonuses. Done. Honestly it's as cheap as it is elegent. You want to be a minotaur? Fine, +2 Str, +2 Wis, Oversized Weapons, +2 survival, Scent, Darkvision, GO!

(It may not be the best answer, but it sure works fine in play next to the elf...)

I don't see that as an "elegant solution". I see that as avoiding the problem entirely. You're no longer playing a powerful monster but simply another core race that is no more flawed nor more menacing than your average human commoner. It's balanced to the point of blandness.


The links I posted in my previous post are ideas that just recreate monsters into player character classes. Check them out, they're really cool, and I think a great point to start from if one was to create their own system of monsterous classes.


The major problem I get with the ECL is that, well, you get underpowered, seriosuly. You have racial HD that you can't get rid of in addition of a modifier, and both replace potential class levels.

Technically speaking, you don't need ECL. If you want to make a PC using a monster, it's quite simple: take either the racial HD or the CR, whichever is higher, and then start adding class levels. That's it, that's all. You don't need an extra modifier, because either the HD or the CR takes care of that.

The Exchange

I get that some races just don't carry over to PC classes no matter what you do. I can't really imagine any scenario where an aboleth, beholder, dragon, or roc, is going to be fair.

But at the same time, I refuse to believe there's not some reasonable way to accommodate drow PCs into a party of other normal characters. Or even something like a centaur. I played a centaur barbarian/frenzied berzerker (once he got epic) in 3.5, and while the system wasn't perfect, it was still a great time. I think Paizo has a really great chance to (as they have in EVERY other case so far) wow me by blowing 3.5 out of the water and making a good system exponentially better.


Drow are not really that bad. Drow nobles are a different story. The issue is also that some powers that are really good at low level fall by the wayside later on, which in turn means the the player with the special race falls behind. Then you add in campaign specifics, and you end up having to much to account for.

The Exchange

wraithstrike wrote:
Drow are not really that bad. Drow nobles are a different story. The issue is also that some powers that are really good at low level fall by the wayside later on, which in turn means the the player with the special race falls behind. Then you add in campaign specifics, and you end up having to much to account for.

Right, I played drow in 3.5 and their level adjustment made for a very weak character in my opinion, compared to the rest of the party. I still had a great time with her, but she wasn't equal to the rest of the group and pretty much everyone at the table agreed. But that's not my primary motivation for playing, I tend to be more of a backstory kind of guy.

I agree with you - the ability to cast darkness, faerie fire, and dancing lights was largely irrelevant. Most days they went completely unused. I burned a feat on "Daylight Adaptation" from the Forgotten Realms campaign guide so she could travel on the surface, so with that and the level adjustment she was essentially 2 feats behind most of the time. Most of her best abilities came from her domains (she was a cleric of Sehanine Moonbow, so she had Travel and Elf, great domains).

Shadow Lodge

I thought I knocked this thread out and James followed with a Coup de Grace.

Where's that dern necromancer?

The Exchange

TOZ wrote:

I thought I knocked this thread out and James followed with a Coup de Grace.

Where's that dern necromancer?

trying to keep threads dead is like herding cats, bro. i just dl'd the arg and wanted to add my 2c :)


The problem that manifested for us was that in reality, any given creature should have multiple ECL's depending on what class they were planning on being.

A creature getting high str/con and going into a wizard route would need a lower ECL than that same creature going into a fighter or barbarian simply because of the stat synergy.

This made it nearly impossible for a player to plan out anything without having the DM right there the whole time to put the check or x on any given combination- by judging what ECL that creature would have to have to make any given class work appropriately with it.

Take the Minotaur as an extreme example. A wizard minotaur and a barbarian minotaur were the same ECL but clearly not in the same playing field.

The same would be true of a pixie sorceror or a pixie barbarian.

(3.5 pixie was -2 str, +8 dex, +4 int, + 4 wis, +6 cha)
(3.5 minotaur was +8 str +4 con -4 int -2 cha)

ECL was fine and well until you actually tried to use it for some of the monstrous baddies.
At least, for us.

-S

The Exchange

Selgard wrote:

The problem that manifested for us was that in reality, any given creature should have multiple ECL's depending on what class they were planning on being.

A creature getting high str/con and going into a wizard route would need a lower ECL than that same creature going into a fighter or barbarian simply because of the stat synergy.

This made it nearly impossible for a player to plan out anything without having the DM right there the whole time to put the check or x on any given combination- by judging what ECL that creature would have to have to make any given class work appropriately with it.

Take the Minotaur as an extreme example. A wizard minotaur and a barbarian minotaur were the same ECL but clearly not in the same playing field.

The same would be true of a pixie sorceror or a pixie barbarian.

(3.5 pixie was -2 str, +8 dex, +4 int, + 4 wis, +6 cha)
(3.5 minotaur was +8 str +4 con -4 int -2 cha)

ECL was fine and well until you actually tried to use it for some of the monstrous baddies.
At least, for us.

-S

Half orcs in 3.5 made better barbarians than they did sorcerers. Did you give level adjustments for that, too? I think you're micromanaging. The ECL was meant to keep you from breaking the system, if you made a combo that was intentionally weaker than that (like a pixie barbarian), well that's your choice.

By the way, before you totally write off pixies as fighter types, you should read this:
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19871070/The_Pixie_Handbo ok?pg=1

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Actually half-orcs made pretty good sorcerer/dragon disciples. No need for a high charisma if you didn't get those high level spells.


At the beginning of the Bestiary it suggests if you want to be a monster race than use the CR as the monsters class level before it starts taking Class levels.

So if a monster has CR 2 and it's a level 5 game than it would have 2 monster levels and 3 class levels.


Fiendish Dire Weasel wrote:
Selgard wrote:

The problem that manifested for us was that in reality, any given creature should have multiple ECL's depending on what class they were planning on being.

A creature getting high str/con and going into a wizard route would need a lower ECL than that same creature going into a fighter or barbarian simply because of the stat synergy.

This made it nearly impossible for a player to plan out anything without having the DM right there the whole time to put the check or x on any given combination- by judging what ECL that creature would have to have to make any given class work appropriately with it.

Take the Minotaur as an extreme example. A wizard minotaur and a barbarian minotaur were the same ECL but clearly not in the same playing field.

The same would be true of a pixie sorceror or a pixie barbarian.

(3.5 pixie was -2 str, +8 dex, +4 int, + 4 wis, +6 cha)
(3.5 minotaur was +8 str +4 con -4 int -2 cha)

ECL was fine and well until you actually tried to use it for some of the monstrous baddies.
At least, for us.

-S

Half orcs in 3.5 made better barbarians than they did sorcerers. Did you give level adjustments for that, too? I think you're micromanaging. The ECL was meant to keep you from breaking the system, if you made a combo that was intentionally weaker than that (like a pixie barbarian), well that's your choice.

By the way, before you totally write off pixies as fighter types, you should read this:
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19871070/The_Pixie_Handbo ok?pg=1

The difference in effectiveness when you are giving up character levels due to ECL is vast. It is not just about being better. It is about how much better.

If you have a half-orc sorcerer in 3.5, and a human sorcerer they can be reasonably close.

If you have minotaur caster compared to another monster with the same ECL that was made for casting the the difference was vast.

Something being a choice does not make the ECL idea valid. It fails if you intend to get accurate results, and since the system could be broken depending on the combination of race and class that just proves the point. Other-wise it would still be seeing use now. Now if you don't care about accurate results then why bother with any system at all?

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