Do Racial Hit Dice count as Class Levels for feat prerequisites?


Rules Questions


Feats such as Eldritch Heritage and Leadership have a specific character level as a prerequisite.

Does a monster with only racial HD count as having the equivalent character level?

I know that Character Level equals the sum of a character's class levels which seems to preclude Racial HD, but someone is trying to persuade me otherwise for the purpose of feat prereqs.

So, without having any class levels, can something like an Adult Gold Dragon have Eldritch Heritage or an Awakened Flesh Golem take Leadership?


I did some research on this and as far as I can tell Racial HD may not be used to qualify for feats that require you to be character level X. If racial HD did allow you to qualify then every druid would have their animal companion take the feat animal ally so their animal companion gets an animal companion, rinse and repeat.

Even if you look at the monster advancement section it gives a different set of rules for when a creature just gains HD vs when it gains class levels.

So, if the Adult Gold Dragon wants leadership they will have to take levels in commoner or something so they can qualify.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I believe LordKailas is incorrect.

From Multiclassing: Note that there are a number of effects and prerequisites that rely on a character’s level or Hit Dice. Such effects are always based on the total number of levels or Hit Dice a character possesses, not just those from one class. The exception to this is class abilities, most of which are based on the total number of class levels that a character possesses of that particular class.

So you would count the total of (character levels or Hit Dice) to determine that.


LordKailas wrote:

I did some research on this and as far as I can tell Racial HD may not be used to qualify for feats that require you to be character level X. If racial HD did allow you to qualify then every druid would have their animal companion take the feat animal ally so their animal companion gets an animal companion, rinse and repeat.

Even if you look at the monster advancement section it gives a different set of rules for when a creature just gains HD vs when it gains class levels.

So, if the Adult Gold Dragon wants leadership they will have to take levels in commoner or something so they can qualify.

I mean thats only a net of 4 additional companions one of which doesn't come online till 20 and each one comes online later and later.

It's a bit better with boon companion but all this still assumes that they can hit 3 int by 4th HD and that this is a feat the GM would allow them to take. Actually that Preq feat could mess this whole scheme up further since it has to be taken at 5th level pushing AA and BC out further.


So redid the math factoring in the fact that you have a Preq feat for AA. If the addon's can't take boon companion you get 3 extra critters at level 8 13 and 19 respectively capping at 12, 8, 5 HD. With boon companion its 8,10,12,14,17 with HD hitting 13,11,9,8,5


Dave Justus wrote:

I believe LordKailas is incorrect.

From Multiclassing: Note that there are a number of effects and prerequisites that rely on a character’s level or Hit Dice. Such effects are always based on the total number of levels or Hit Dice a character possesses, not just those from one class. The exception to this is class abilities, most of which are based on the total number of class levels that a character possesses of that particular class.

So you would count the total of (character levels or Hit Dice) to determine that.

I dont see anthing in multiclassing that contrdicts what i said. It says you add up all your hd for purposes of pre-reqs that care about HD or you add up all your levels for pre-reqs that care about levels.


Talonhawke wrote:
So redid the math factoring in the fact that you have a Preq feat for AA. If the addon's can't take boon companion you get 3 extra critters at level 8 13 and 19 respectively capping at 12, 8, 5 HD. With boon companion its 8,10,12,14,17 with HD hitting 13,11,9,8,5

A companion at 4th level has 4 feats so the fact that animal ally has a pre-req is inconsequential. So long as every companion has the precocious archetype and picks a 2 int companion they will have a 4 int at 4th level.

The druid would have 5 extra animal companions on top of their normal one for a total of 6 at 20th level. All for the investment of two of their animal companion's feats. Heck if thats not crazy enough for you, 4 of those can go on to take leadership each gaining a cohort one level lower. So now 6 becomes 10. This is all without boon companion which makes it worse.


Level: A character's level represents his overall ability and power. There are three types of levels. Class level is the number of levels of a specific class possessed by a character. Character level is the sum of all of the levels possessed by a character in all of his classes. In addition, spells have a level associated with them numbered from 0 to 9. This level indicates the general power of the spell. As a spellcaster gains levels, he learns to cast spells of a higher level.

Monster: Monsters are creatures that rely on racial Hit Dice instead of class levels for their powers and abilities (although some possess class levels as well). PCs are usually not monsters.

My take on reading the quoted section is :

* Character Level = Overall Ability and Power.
* Overall Ability and Power = [PC] Sum of all Class Levels; [Monster] Sum of Racial HD instead of Class Levels, (and possibly sum of Racial HD + Class Levels).


EDIT : As @blahpers pointed out, I was misreading 'character's level' (first sentence) as related to 'Character Level' (second sentence), so Character Level ≠ Overall Ability and Power. >.< As it stands it looks like Ch.Lvl. = sum of Class Levels only.

This is in-line with some non-0HD NPCs I had planned out, so this is good for me (and my leisure time)!


The second bolded part of that quote defines "character level" as a term. It includes only class levels.


Thank you folks for weighing in.

I think the logic I was presented with was something like:

Racial hit dice give you feats;
Levels give you feats;
Therefore Racial hit dice count as levels.

I thought it was pretty cut and dry that Character level=Class level, so when I was presented with that argument I had to take a step back and ask if I was viewing it wrong since sometimes terms get stated in different ways and their definitions are more nebulous than I originally thought.


All men are mortal.
Wombats are mortal.
Therefore all men are wombats.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The terms have long since been defined throughout 3.0, 3.5, and Pathfinder.

Hit Dice Refers to racial hit dice only.

Class Level Refers to specific class levels (such as fighter levels OR sorcerer levels)

Character Level Refers to all class levels (such as fighter levels AND sorcerer levels)


Xerxes22 It might be a good idea to review formal logic. That way you can improve your critical thinking skills. It will help you to avoid and detect classic flaws in logical arguments and avoid making errors in logic. While few things are logical, it does help organize thoughts for common experience.


Azothath wrote:
Xerxes22 It might be a good idea to review formal logic. That way you can improve your critical thinking skills. It will help you to avoid and detect classic flaws in logical arguments and avoid making errors in logic. While few things are logical, it does help organize thoughts for common experience.

Yeah, I think it's called "affirming the consequent."

But I tend to be a know-it-all, and I figured maybe he had read a rule I hadn't.


LordKailas wrote:
Talonhawke wrote:
So redid the math factoring in the fact that you have a Preq feat for AA. If the addon's can't take boon companion you get 3 extra critters at level 8 13 and 19 respectively capping at 12, 8, 5 HD. With boon companion its 8,10,12,14,17 with HD hitting 13,11,9,8,5

A companion at 4th level has 4 feats so the fact that animal ally has a pre-req is inconsequential. So long as every companion has the precocious archetype and picks a 2 int companion they will have a 4 int at 4th level.

The druid would have 5 extra animal companions on top of their normal one for a total of 6 at 20th level. All for the investment of two of their animal companion's feats. Heck if thats not crazy enough for you, 4 of those can go on to take leadership each gaining a cohort one level lower. So now 6 becomes 10. This is all without boon companion which makes it worse.

How are you getting 4 feats at 4th level first off? And second they still can't grab the feats prior to HD 5 and 7 anyways.


Talonhawke wrote:


How are you getting 4 feats at 4th level first off? And second they still can't grab the feats prior to HD 5 and 7 anyways.

sorry, I misread the table, was looking at the skills column not feats. Though you do still get 2 feats by 4th level.

I also, generally assume that re-training is allowed. The initial animal companion can easily have an int of 4 at 1st level if the druid is a human or a halfling and would therefore be able to take nature soul and animal ally by 4th level. Then since it knows both of those feats It would be able to retrain it's own animal companion once it hits level 4.

Even without retraining or having a human/halfling druid, Nature Soul is a similar feat to acrobatic, athletic and stealthy all of which are on the animal feat list and is ostensibly weaker than those feats since the animal companion would only benefit from half of it until they are able to put ranks into knowledge nature.


xerxes22 wrote:

{just numbering} 1)Feats such as Eldritch Heritage and Leadership have a specific character level as a prerequisite.

2) Does a monster with only racial HD count as having the equivalent character level?

I know that Character Level equals the sum of a character's class levels which seems to preclude Racial HD, but someone is trying to persuade me otherwise for the purpose of feat prereqs.

3) So, without having any class levels, can something like an Adult Gold Dragon have Eldritch Heritage or an Awakened Flesh Golem take Leadership?

later Ravingdork shares the definition of the terms.

so to be through;
1) Eldritch Heritage feat(PFS okay) Prerequisites: Cha 13, Skill Focus with the class skill of bloodline selected for this feat (see below), character level 3rd.
Leadership feat(non-PFS) Prerequisites: Character level 7th.

2) No. Character Level and Racial HD are different. {there are many threads about this}
Essentially the rules are in separate places, thus they are separate. Even the terms are different.
Class Advancement section on Multiclassing: ... Note that there are a number of effects and prerequisites that rely on a character’s level or Hit Dice. Such effects are always based on the total number of levels or Hit Dice a character possesses, not just those from one class. The exception to this is class abilities, most of which are based on the total number of class levels that a character possesses of that particular class.
Monster Advancement which has a section on Adding Class Levels. So under monsters you can see where the game defines them differently and then goes through some somersaults to assign a CR.

Dragons progress in spellcasting based on HD but they can take class levels to supplement their abilities. Generally as GM created monsters they don't bother with class levels. see also Can a dragon gain class levels thread from Jan 2016.

3) the prerequisites require class levels, so like everyone else the creatures need some class levels.


Sorry for the necro, but thought it might be helpful:

I stumbled across a reference to this fellow today elsewhere in the forums that contradicts my opinion on the need for class levels.

Yrure'tugala, Awakened Dire Ape Antipaladin 5
Brandon Hodge, Colin McComb, Jason Nelson. (2011). Rival Guide, p. 27. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-302-6

He only has 5 levels, yet the writers gave him Leadership despite not meeting its character level 7th prerequisite.

Although I don't agree with it, it's an added consideration for those still playing 1st Edition that might have this question.


I would caution against it. That books was written still in the early years of PF1 and doesn't necessarily mean that the writers followed the rules.

For a GM creating a character, rating the overall challenge of the character is more important than any specific adherence to rules.

For a PC...make things easy on your GM. If they we're nice enough to let you play something with racial hit dice in the first place don't try to force this issue.

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