Miss the level adjustment for powerful races...


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I remember in earlier iterations of D&D, exotic races that were more powerful than other options came with it a level adjustment or cost - in other words, a Tiefling or Aasimar 1st level Paladin was equivalent to a 2nd level character.

I miss that. Paizo has gone to such great efforts to balance so many aspects of the game and has also made a conscious decision to encourage the play of standard classes (even with dips and archetypes) rather than everyone running to prestige classing by default... but when I see parties with a make-up of a Drow, a Kitsune, an Aasimar and a Tiefling, I can't help but think this is one area where they either have a blindspot or have turned a deliberate blind eye.

Exotic menagerie parties that make absolute no sense from a role-play angle aside, does anyone feel that to be consistent the exotic races need to be addressed in some form or fashion? I'm not one to worship at the altar of balance, but I am a big fan of consistency within game design.


How are they more powerful??

Have you not read a optimization guide? Humans are almost consistently more powerful than most other races (racial abilities<Extra feat+ racial bonus to whatever you feel like).


Many have social downsides which are entirely up to the GM to enforce, especially Drow. These rules also still exist in pathfinder as 'mosnters as PCs' rules, instead of something baked into races. Personally, I much prefer it this way.


I have no idea what you're talking about.

If you have a problem with mixed-race parties (why, I have no idea), just say 'only one nonhuman allowed in this group' when you DM or something. Or ban races you don't like. Whatever.

What races are exotic varies from game world to game world, so that shouldn't be encoded into the rules.

Exotic does not inherently mean more powerful.

The makeup of a single PC party is not, in any way, a reflection of the population distribution of the game world, in any event.

I can't even comprehend what you mean by 'no sense from a role-play angle' at all.

In short, the PF designers wisely and correctly left this issue for the individual tables to resolve, rather than encoding it into the rules were it flatly and blatantly does not belong. Whatever bizarre issue you're having is purely a matter of your subjective preference, definitely not something to be addressed in rules.

To be honest, if I read between the lines, I'm getting a 'all fantasy must be Tolkien' vibe, to which I have nothing polite to say.


Lyee wrote:
Many have social downsides which are entirely up to the GM to enforce, especially Drow.

And this will vary by game world. They aren't 'the enemy' in all of them.


K177Y C47 wrote:

How are they more powerful??

I think it's the Advanced Race Guide that lists the race-building schema and provides point-buy equivalents for the various races. (You can argue about whether or not the point costs are "balanced," but they're at least official.)

Humans are are 9pt races in this scheme. By contrast, aasimar ar 15, drow are 14, fetchlings are 17, tieflings are 13, svirneblin are 24, and drow nobles are an astonishing 41, mostly due to their incredible array of SLAs.

The same rules suggest that "advanced" races (defined as about 12+ points) are more powerful and that appropriate steps should be taken by the GM. See here.

ARG wrote:


Because they have powerful racial traits and abilities, advanced and monstrous races require greater challenges, especially at lower levels. The basic guideline for accomplishing this is to treat a group of characters with advanced and monstrous races as a level or more higher for a number of levels based on their total RP spent, using the following chart. Calculate the party's adjusted average party level, and use that number, rather than the actual APL, when creating encounters and adventures for the group. For groups with mixed power levels, average the RP and round the result to the nearest multiple of 10.

So they don't actually discuss inter-party balance, but a GM would be well-within his rights to say "only 10 point or fewer races" if that's an issue.


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The points in the ARG are so imprecise that it's at best a loose guideline. As stated, humans are almost universally among the best, if not the best, race for everything.

When you add to that the lack of precision in the CR system, which that second paragraph of quoted text references, you have a loose guideline referencing a loose guideline, which really means diddly-squat.


Yep I am really tired of people crying about so and so race being too powerful.

My ass, Human are the most powerful min/maxer race by far, so DM, do yourself and your players a favor and stop saying that Aasimar, Drow, Tiefling, or whatever are too powerful, because the only thing you are achieving is making even more people play humans.

Humans are a bland and basic race, but are so terribly efficient for every class it is not even fun.


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Lauraliane wrote:


Humans are a bland and basic race, but are so terribly efficient for every class it is not even fun.

Even beyond that ... There are 168 hours in a week. I have to spend at least 164 of them being human. Those other 4? I want to be something else.


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I agree on the level adjustment point. I miss having that simple system for including more powerful races as PCs. My favorite used to be the Goliath from Races of Stone (+1LA), but if you were willing to wait you could play a minotaur (+2LA) or even a hill giant (+4LA). I like the LA system because I like stupid unexplainable menagerie parties. I like having a pixie (+4LA) and a giant in the same party. I like seeing parties made up entirely of gnolls or lizardfolk or DRAGONS. One of the things I really don't care for about Pathfinder is that humans are the only race to play. With the exception of obviously powerful races like Aasimar (who were +1LA in D&D 3.5) there is just so rarely a justification for not taking that extra feat and assignable stat boost.

The ARG was a nice step, but the race points are no basis for level adjustment. Hobgoblins are 9 RP and goblins are 10 RP despite hobbos having better ability scores. Svirfneblin are a character race but have a whopping 24 RP. Lizardfolk have a swim speed, natural attacks, natural armor, and only good ability scores but are 8 RP- less than humans and goblins. I know the official Paizo stance on monster races is a resounding "NO!" but it would still be nice to have some kind of balance system for those of us who like monster races.

Plus, I still want to play a lantern archon. "Hey!" "Hello?" "Listen!"


For most races I don't miss them a bit. They were pretty subjective. If you look at the planetouched races in the forgotten realms setting book for 3.0 were +1 ecl, for no good reason. The usual explanation was that the type of (native) outsider exempted them from "person" spells. Wow. Meanwhile it also made them vulnerable to banish, sword of planes, and any of the aligned punish outsiders spells. Hardly a sweet deal.


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The LA system was a disaster, though. A 3rd 'level' character with one level's worth of hit dice and saving throw bonuses and feats/spells etc was *not* viable.


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Ever played with a pixy in the group? Level 6 party, pixy had 1 hd. Sure, greater invisibility at will, but still. 1d6+0 bow damage and barely any magic, plus a grand total of about 5 hit points.


Makarion wrote:
Ever played with a pixy in the group? Level 6 party, pixy had 1 hd. Sure, greater invisibility at will, but still. 1d6+0 bow damage and barely any magic, plus a grand total of about 5 hit points.

I don't mean to argue semantics, but you are missing a couple of details there. Most high LA races got extra racial HD to cover them for their first couple of levels. Gnolls, for example, were +1LA and got 2 racial HD for that level.

Pixies, on the other hand, aren't supposed to have lots of HP. They have at-will invisibility, DR10/cold iron, and spell resistance. Also, the LA was only +6 if the pixie could cast irresistible dance, otherwise it was only +4.

My point is that the LA system was better than people give it credit for, and certainly better than nothing.


Better than nothing, I'll give you.

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber

Humans don't have to be bland and basic.... Especially in Golarion, where we have a variety of nations and ethnicities and languages of humans to play with, they have much more potential for flavor than just "the default race" the way you see them in many fantasy settings. I find that as I learn more about Golarion, I'm more inclined to play humans for story reasons than I would have been before.


Lurk3r wrote:


I don't mean to argue semantics, but you are missing a couple of details there. Most high LA races got extra racial HD to cover them for their first couple of levels. Gnolls, for example, were +1LA and got 2 racial HD for that level.

Pixies, on the other hand, aren't supposed to have lots of HP. They have at-will invisibility, DR10/cold iron, and spell resistance. Also, the LA was only +6 if the pixie could cast irresistible dance, otherwise it was only +4.

My point is that the LA system was better than people give it credit for, and certainly better than nothing.

That's not how they worked though. A gnoll with +1 LA and 2 racial HD was considered to have 3 levels.

Contributor

DMRaven wrote:
Lurk3r wrote:


I don't mean to argue semantics, but you are missing a couple of details there. Most high LA races got extra racial HD to cover them for their first couple of levels. Gnolls, for example, were +1LA and got 2 racial HD for that level.

Pixies, on the other hand, aren't supposed to have lots of HP. They have at-will invisibility, DR10/cold iron, and spell resistance. Also, the LA was only +6 if the pixie could cast irresistible dance, otherwise it was only +4.

My point is that the LA system was better than people give it credit for, and certainly better than nothing.

That's not how they worked though. A gnoll with +1 LA and 2 racial HD was considered to have 3 levels.

I don't know, if I wanted to play a gnoll, the gnoll breakdown in the Advanced Race Guide is pretty great.

Not to mention if you really want to play a Drow Noble, you can slowly upgrade an ordinary drow into a Noble using the feats in that same book. For all of its problems (and as Zhayne pointed out, the Race Guide does have its share) the Race Building system is solid.

Just remember: If Aasimar and Drow are really that powerful, why is human the most commonly played race? I usually don't see people talking about the aasimar being overpowered unless they're talking about oracles, and almost any trick the aasimar can pull, the elf can do too.


Really the best race in the game is Half-Elf (and by extension the races that can be Half-Elves, Humans and Aasimars), since Paragon Surge is one of the most powerful abilities you can get.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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Level adjustments were often a terrible way to balance races. At 1st level the extra stuff from being an aasimar, tiefling, or what have you is pretty nice and noticably helps you - by 6th level it barely matters any more, but you'd still be carrying an effective permanent negative level around with you. Also many racial HD counted as levels but they were terrible, generally worse than NPC classes.

Other "monster" races had it much much worse. It's really tough to play, say, a "10th" level character who has the HD, BAB, ans saves of a 6th level one. The special abilities very often didn't make up for this huge lack of survivability. A few of the Savage Species writeups were viable - troll and astra deva I've seen played successfully. Many however were a catastrophe - rakshasa and grig come to mind. Heck a grig at level 4 still only had 1d3 hp.

Ah, 3.0 savage species rakshasa..."What do you mean you only have 6 hp and are immune to cure light wounds?" The one time I saw one played she bled out because no one could heal her through her spell immunity, which she couldn't suppress while unconscious.


Level adjustments were far from accurate. As you leveled up many of the advantages fell off and put you behind the party in terms of actual effectiveness. Some used the variant rule in unearthed arcana to buy off the level adjustment, but that just shows that it fails in the first place.


Yeah, when I switched to PFRPG the thing that hurt me the most was giving up level adjustment.

Still, people who understand this stuff better than I ever will convinced me that level adjustment simply couldn't provide a balanced game. After a couple of years, I came to accept that.

Once, when I griped about it on these boards, some other users convinced me that the answer was racial paragon classes. I read "In the Company of Gargoyles" and a few others like that, and although they weren't what I wanted to play, I thought that they were getting close. One of these days, I've got to get "In the Company of Fey".


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I think it's been stated that instead of using level adjustment, you should use CR to balance races that have a CR above 1. So there is still a level adjustment method in play...it's just not used for 0 HD creatures (except maybe Trox).


I enjoyed the old Level Adjustment. Don't miss it though. I enjoy the Pathfinder rules for monsters as PC classes.


The only part about the LA system I kind of miss is watching the look of joy on a rules-twisting kind of player turn to sorrow when he realizes that what he thought was a font of great power turns out to be weaksauce.

"1 class level and two LA makes 3, so I have two feats." "No, just one."
"Bugbears are only +1 LA! Sweet!" "And 3 racial hit dice, you have to take those before any class levels."


I played and GMed races with LA, but mostly things like orogs, bugberas and juvenile minotaurs. Came to the conclusion that it's not worth it. I could see something like Savage Species racial classes, but they should be made with no dead levels.

Dark Archive

I'd rather have someone play an aasimar than a feral anthropomorphic baleen whale.


Jadeite wrote:
I'd rather have someone play an aasimar than a feral anthropomorphic baleen whale.

Did someone actually play that?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Oh yeah people did that if they got the chance, Anthro Baleen whale, best barbarian ever.

Heh, actually I see the contrary with pathfinder, most people play human because they actually get to choose their stat bonus and the extra feat + skill is way too tempting.

In the kind of setting, I'm playing with my friends, anybody would be foolish to play a drow. Drow are evil, there are no Drizz't running around. Since most games we play are non evil, drows never come up.

Tieflings can be tricky, since the look is totally up to you but usually when you look like a fiend/demon people don't tend to threat you very well.

Aasimar get some admiration/fan club but beside that...heh most of my friends don't care that much about them.

I would say at our gaming table race wise popularity:

Human > Elves > Elan > Kitsune > Chocolats (Yeah the little cats from LaPucelle tactic).

Dark Archive

MindLord wrote:
Jadeite wrote:
I'd rather have someone play an aasimar than a feral anthropomorphic baleen whale.
Did someone actually play that?

Never played one, but why not? Might be fun in a saturday morning cartoon kind of way.

Still, LA wasn't a good indicator of a creatures strength. It usually assumed an optimized exloitation of a creatures abilities, but in some cases, it didn't. Baleen whales, bats, sharn, ethergaunts, just to name a few.


The only race in 3.0 days with a significant number of racial hit dice that I have seen played and not be frankly terrible was the centaur. They made decent rangers and barbarians. Mind you, in PF, where classes aren't as front-loaded, I doubt they would keep up well for long, but back then they were playable (as long as you had no skill ambitions).


My favorite LA adjusted character was a spiker from manual of the planes combined with the insectoid and feral templates. I flavored it as a sort of wingless anthropomorphic spiny beetle.

Shadow Lodge

K177Y C47 wrote:

How are they more powerful??

Have you not read a optimization guide? Humans are almost consistently more powerful than most other races (racial abilities<Extra feat+ racial bonus to whatever you feel like).

actually hands dow the most OP race in the game for actual play is a dwarf. only the cha based classes like paladin, sorcerer, and oracle are truly penalized for playing a dwarf. i would take a +2 (or 5 with the racial feat + trait) to saves, immunity to being encumbered, and a +2 to con and wis (2 of your save stats) giving a potential +6 to fort and will for the low low cost of a feat and a trait.

yeah i would give up 10 feet of movement for the best racials in the game just about every time.

but back to the OP's post i agree 100%. aasimars, tieflings and tengu are way to powerful for pfs, let alone all of the races available for home games. i mean let me play a venaran monk.

the thing that pissed me off the most was when they removed level adjustments on templates. having a celestial templte sitting next to you with +4 to 3 stats and resistances to electric, acid, and fire for the low low cost of +1 level adjustment was just the worst ever. it was the first time playing pathfinder, transitioning from 3.5, and it was the last time ive ever had to sit next to someone with a template in our group... we learned fast how bad that system is for players now.


I've had players playing githzerai, and aasimar, and other of what would have been LA +1 or 2 races in standard 3.5 along with the core races such as humans, elves, and what not, and so far from what I've found is that decreasing a +1 or +2 LA race to a +0 doesn't hurt a bit. On the othere hand I find that usually forcing LA upon those races tends to result in those characters being weaker than the other party members, and I just don't find that the level penalty is justified.

However what it does work well for is templates and with higher LA monsters, most notibly if the monsters have several racial hit die as well. For those things I've brought LA back.

I think it is also important to keep in mind that Pathfinder's core races have been given enough of a boost that if you want to use 3.5's LA standards strictly then they should be +1 LA races (especially humans which really are a great flexible race).

I've found when I do use a template that in most cases lowering the LA by one (and possibly by more in some specific cases) helps balance things better with the general boost in power that so many races have been given.

I let players take templates too, but always do playtesting now to make sure there's not some issue with them I haven't caught (or at least make it more likely that I will catch issues at least, as nothing is completely foolproof), and that if I'm lowering the LA that it is justified.

I have a huge list of races that I allow at my game (well, one of my games, the others are actually human only games), but I've still found as far as popularity humans and half-elves are easily the most popular, followed by tiefling, and then aasimar. For a long time even when I allowed just about any thing, the majority of people were playing humans, with a half-elf or two thrown in the mix, and maybe one random other race. Tiefling and aasimar started gaining popularity later.

This summarizes my basic rule of thumb: LA +1 or +2, probably should just become +0 unless it's a template. A template shouldn't be given for free, and probably should be lowered by 1 LA. High LA monsters, well, same deal as for templates. In any of these cases if the LA results in a character really being underpowered compared to everyone else, it can always be lowered more later as appropriate.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

frankly when it comes to LA there is only race you need to worry about:
Noble Drow (40+ RP)...never ever under any circumstance allow a player to play a noble drow at the same level as your other players. Even Jacobs recommended that you play them as one level lower than other players.


TheSideKick wrote:
K177Y C47 wrote:

How are they more powerful??

Have you not read a optimization guide? Humans are almost consistently more powerful than most other races (racial abilities<Extra feat+ racial bonus to whatever you feel like).

actually hands dow the most OP race in the game for actual play is a dwarf.

OP, no..very good yes.


wraithstrike wrote:
TheSideKick wrote:
K177Y C47 wrote:

How are they more powerful??

Have you not read a optimization guide? Humans are almost consistently more powerful than most other races (racial abilities<Extra feat+ racial bonus to whatever you feel like).

actually hands dow the most OP race in the game for actual play is a dwarf.
OP, no..very good yes.

My 'mad dwarf' build (Wild Rager 2 / either Theologian or Evangelist 18) is one of my absolute favorite characters to play, from a mechanical and a role-play view.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Level adjustment didnt work in 3.5, thats why pathfinder doesnt have it. It was simple, but it was also not balanced. Whats the point of puting in a 'balancing' system that doesnt do just that?

Its not that they have turned a blind eye too it, they just havent addressed it yet. To balance 'powerful' races you need something like savage species, where the powers are included as you level up, but that is a whole book in and of itself. Maybe we'll get it one day, but with the advanced race guide having sort of done something about it, I doubt it will be soon.


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Wiggz wrote:

Exotic menagerie parties that make absolute no sense from a role-play angle aside, does anyone feel that to be consistent the exotic races need to be addressed in some form or fashion? I'm not one to worship at the altar of balance, but I am a big fan of consistency within game design.

Planetouched, Changelings, and Dhampir are no less common and no more strange than Half-Elves and Half-Orcs

in fact, i homebrewed a 12-15 point race depending on how you measure it, that is actually pretty darn weak. depending on whether or not you charge it for an ability from it's subtype it doesn't get. a Race no less common than a Half-Elf, but easily mistaken for a Half-Elf

i guess you could make a studious sorcerer, highly skilled bard, or a Diplomatic wizard out of the weak little fey halfbreed

Proof that Race Points Mean Nothing:

Houri (Half-Nymphs)

Attributes; +2 intelligence +2 charisma -2 strength; Houri are charming and creative, but slight of frame due to a combination of their nymph blood slimming their frames, softening their features, bestowing enhanced youth and improving their persuasive tendencies, and their human blood boosting their creativity, their ambition, their adaptability and their drive to learn

Fey Type; a Houri bears the fey type but also possesses the (Human) Subtype

Medium Size; a Houri Takes no bonuses or Penalties due to her size

Fey Eyesight; a Houri receives darkvision out to a range of 60 feet; this replaces the low light vision possessed by most fey. Most Houri are more Photosensitive than either their human or their nymph parent due to an odd genetic interaction; A trait that often leaves them with Migraines in bright sunlight.

Nymph Blood; a Houri counts as both a human and a nymph for all intents and purposes pertaining to race, such as prerequisites for racial options (such as archetypes, spells, feats, or favored class bonuses), effects that target race (such as favored enemy or bane weapons), or items that work differently for specific races

Fey Heritage; a Houri Receives Fey Foundling as a bonus feat due to her fey heritage. (see the pathfinder inner sea world guide for fey foundling)

Light Sensitivity; Houri are dazzled as long as they remain in an area of bright light due to the photosensitivity derived from the odd interaction between their mixed human and nymph heritages

Able Learner; a Houri due to her human ambition, tends to pick up new skills rather quickly, this works exactly like the skilled racial trait possessed by humans, giving her a bonus skill point per level.

Normal Speed; a Houri has a base land speed of 30 feet

Persuasive; a Houri receives a +2 racial bonus on Bluff and Diplomacy checks In addition, when she uses Diplomacy to shift a creature's attitude, she can do so up to three steps up rather than just two. She tends to be quite influential and quite able to pass her words in some pleasing manner of delivery

Languages; Common, Sylvan, Bonus Languages; Any

look at both the perceived race point total, and the actual power level pf this race

i calculated 12ish points but it could arguably considered 15 or 17 depending on the expenditure upon weak abilities

i know they defy the convention of 1 physical 1 mental by having 2 mental bonuses. but they aren't really any stronger than a human unless you deliberately sought to build a spontaneous casting socially oriented build with lotsa skill points and a high diplomacy bonus,


My table uses the 3.5 Level Adjustment system, but with our old house rules intact. Like many others, we found the glass jaw syndrome of heavily (or really, any) LA'd races. Our solution was to alter what you get for an LA.

LA House Rule: ECL (Effective Character Level) is used in all character level calculations (feats, ability increases). Each LA grants the character a levels' worth of poor BAB, poor Base Saves, d6 hit dice (was d4 in 3.5), and 2 + Int mod skill points. These Effective Levels grant no class skills (meant a lot more in 3.5), and no class features.

(I should note here that we use a 'corrected fractional increase' rule, where we add up all fractional level based increases, round down, but creatures only get the good save +2 bump one time per save.)

We found these changes make some heavy LA races much more playable. However, one of the main flaws I see in the LA system, is LAs that equal or exceed racial hit dice (and this extends to playing a heavy LA race when low level). The old LA numbers assigned to many critters over-valued SLAs and minor abilities (look to the ARG to see the opposite, with mass under-valuing of racial abilities, although it is perhaps a better guide). Also, automatically including all of a base creature's racial hit dice was a self-defeating cycle where they took the underpowered racial hit dice into account for how powerful the race was...and assigned some empty LA to compensate. That could be avoided by replacing racial hit dice for all PCs (or NPCs) with class levels. I have schemed over such a thing for years but I don't have a campaign right now to introduce it. (I've also considered some sort of minimum racial hit dice, perhaps 1/3 round down. So, a Gnoll would retain no racial hit dice, while a Minotaur would retain 2.)

Overall, the problems really become acute when LA exceeds 1/3 of ECL. Some creatures are always going to be impossible to balance with a human.

Incidentally, we retain the LA +1 version of the plane touched races, because long ago we made it a template that could be added to any race. We didn't like the fact that there were no elven Aasimar, and if you chose to style you Aasimar like an elf, you got no elven racial traits.


most of the Pathfinder races are equivalent to a +1 LA 3.5 race.

in fact, the whole reason Aasimaars, Tieflings and Genasi were +1 ECL in 3.5 was the overestimated power of the outsider type on a creature with no racial hit dice.

they beleived, that being immune to charm person and hold person, made them too overpowered, overvalued the resistances, and overvalued the ability that was, blanket martial weapon proficiency

truth was, the resistances were negligible once your level exceeded 4

the outsider type made you vulnerable to a whole slew of spells that hurt outsiders worse than humanoids could ever be.

and the martial weapon proficiency was irrelevant when you only had 2 hands and were only going to specialize in the use of 1 or maybe 2 weapons anyway. it's weaker than the weapon familiarities of certain highly specific races or the half elf's ability to be proficient in any exotic weapon they want.

there was a Variant in forgotten realms, that let planetouched give up their +1ECL to Count as a humanoid with the human subtype for the purpose of effects, but in exchange, you were still harmed by all the harmful effects that damaged outsiders worse than humanoids due to a second subtype. meaning, you got the worst of both worlds.


I say good riddance to level adjustment. It was a horrible system and made a large number of creatures unplayable after a few levels. I am glad Pathfinder did away with it, and hope it stays dead and buried. Personally, I think many of the core races are some of the strongest races in the game, with humans being the worst offender. That'smy opinion, though.


Have you tried Rite publishing's Company of Monsters book? They don't bring back the Level adjustment stuff but it dose introduce several more monstrous races and then provides each with a 20 level Racial Paragon Class that rounds out their abilities


Adjule wrote:
I say good riddance to level adjustment. It was a horrible system and made a large number of creatures unplayable after a few levels. I am glad Pathfinder did away with it, and hope it stays dead and buried. Personally, I think many of the core races are some of the strongest races in the game, with humans being the worst offender. That'smy opinion, though.

most powerful races are all in the core rulebook.

humans have the bonus feat and lotsa skill points, as well as overpowered favored class bonuses

half elves have access to human exclusive options and have the broken paragon surge spell and access to elven options too, some of which are borderline aasimaar powerful

dwarves have a massive saving throw bonus that can be cheaply augmented and a massive easily stackable bonus against an extremely common creature type

elves have many bonuses to favor arcane spellcasting and are literally built to be the perfect offensive witches, wizards and arcanists


Really why would anyone want to be anything but the master race?(human)

they get a bonus feat. sometimes two at first level way better than these little racial traits. And no penalty score, means they have no weakness. also they apparently breed with anything implying a lot of Kirk relations, and are not scary or weird looking so won't attract pitchfork mobs. Plus they can count as any humanoid.

Those other races don't need level adjustments they are nothing more than seedlings from the great oak that is the human master race.


I was very happy that level adjustments were taken out of Pathfinder. In 3.0 a player took the celestial template for one level and was vastly more powerful than the group. On the other hand you had races like the tiefling where the base race was barely more powerful than a standard race and took the level hit. Advanced Race Guide is much better balanced than anything Wizards did back in the day.


Aravar Eveningfall wrote:
I was very happy that level adjustments were taken out of Pathfinder. In 3.0 a player took the celestial template for one level and was vastly more powerful than the group. On the other hand you had races like the tiefling where the base race was barely more powerful than a standard race and took the level hit. Advanced Race Guide is much better balanced than anything Wizards did back in the day.

That is very true. However, the strength of the LA system (or rather, an updated and improved version of it) is serving groups that want to allow the play of, say a Minotaur as a PC. Or an Ogre, or even a Troll. Not to mention more exotic fare.

Now, as I stated earlier, some creatures will be impossible to balance with the base races. But, I believe that line is a long way off from the Tiefling. Also, the more exotic races presented in the Advanced Race Guide itself need something like an LA. As it is, you get some lame advice to take the relative power of the races into consideration when allowing them in your game. This is fine if everyone plays the same exotic level of race, but does nothing to help the group that wants to bring a Drow Noble into a party of base races.

There was a lot of over-valuing of abilities and SLAs in previous works. And, of course, if a race comes with an encounter ending power (like a Nymph for example), then perhaps a more game friendly interpretation of the ability can be worked in to the race.

I think one could reduce or eliminate racial hit dice for a PC build of most critters. Then assign a conservative number of adjustment levels, using my house rule for those levels; granting minimum hit dice, BAB, saves, and skill points.

At this point, if the LA is more than 1/3 of the ECL of the character in question, it's probably not a good fit yet. This gives you a good guideline for what level to introduce options for exotic races. Going back to the beginning of Level Adjustment in the FRCS, most of those races could shave at least one off of the LA. That would still leave the Svifneblin with a +2 LA. Under my proposal this race would be unplayable until 6th level. I think this rule alone would reduce most of the headache of using LA races.

I believe this version of LA would allow playable, fun, powerful but not overpowering options. And you can judge the balance with normal races easily.


Interesting that you bring up having LA grant you minimum BAB HD, etc... I actually considered doing that for a while, though by minimum HD I mean I probably would have made them roll a d4... not great, but still really helps compared to LA not granting any increase in HD.

However I've just been lower level adjustments compared to 3.5, and if I notice someone underpowered I let them adjust things as needed. It's been working so far.

One way I'd love to see really powerful races handled (or at least it would be interesting to see a few attempts at it and if this actually works well) is something similar to Savage Species, but no LA, just spread their abilities out over a higher number of monster levels. They'd be sort of like the Dragon Disciple, only such racial character classes would be base classes and not prestige classes of course.


Can'tFindthePath wrote:


That is very true. However, the strength of the LA system (or rather, an updated and improved version of it) is serving groups that want to allow the play of, say a Minotaur as a PC. Or an Ogre, or even a Troll. Not to mention more exotic fare.

Then you just take the ARG and build yourself one appropriate to PC levels.


Zhayne wrote:
Can'tFindthePath wrote:


That is very true. However, the strength of the LA system (or rather, an updated and improved version of it) is serving groups that want to allow the play of, say a Minotaur as a PC. Or an Ogre, or even a Troll. Not to mention more exotic fare.

Then you just take the ARG and build yourself one appropriate to PC levels.

i let the PC collaberate with me on the creation of the race and generally Disregard RP within reason. i usually homebrew stripped down versions of the abilities and try to avoid racial bonuses beyond +2 and usually seek an excuse to avoid +4s. i also try to avoid giving conversions racial spellcasting or advancements to highly specific class features unless the features themselves aren't quite class defining features.

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