Author Topic: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off  (Read 641 times)

BonkemBerin

  • New to the Mists
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« on: March 21, 2019, 05:40:16 AM »
Level adjustments have existed for a long time in D&D, and for good reason. A drow should not be treated as an equal creature to any other elf; their darkvision, +2 dex/int/cha and innate spell resistance makes them a far superior creature to anyone of the basic races. While these advantages are obvious, the disadvantage of playing a race that has its ECL increased by 2 does hurt. This is where D&D's creators came up with the solution: buying off your LA with XP~

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/races/reducingLevelAdjustments.htm

There comes a point in a character's life where their LA is nothing but a harsh debuff. There are some exceptions - one being my character Erin, whose bonuses benefit a paladin so perfectly that she more or less matches her ECL+2 penalty (but still feels more like a +1.5). Any non-paladin Aasimar is doomed to be inferior to a same-level character regardless of class, and this is where Level Adjustments are a real problem. There is no reward other than the prestige of playing a special character. And while I absolutely love that players can choose to be a unique race, it is a bit unfair that an inherently superior race is in fact weaker. An example of this is Tiefling. Their +2 intelligence makes them a far better wizard, but they will be 2, 3, 4 levels behind to an actual wizard. After level 5, their bonuses do nothing to make them a stronger class. Drow are much the same, since their intelligence and charisma never quite mix into any one class.

The idea is to soften the penalty. It's not my hope to see the inherently stronger races come out on top: I want them to be able to match their non-level-adjusted counterparts. Being able to bring a penalty down from 2 to 1 is a HUGE bonus that does a lot to equalize the balance.

That was the hope and idea, anyway. Make a race that is request-only, able to match non ECL+X races by considering their bonus stats.

Thanks!


I would also like to add some other considerations?

- Not every special race would/should play a class that reaps the rewards of their bonuses.

Softening the penalty gives more incentive to play a tiefling or drow cleric, an aasimar wizard, etc.

- ECL+2 is harsh even in the early game.

Your benefits are barely felt: +2 wisdom is an extra spell slot and a +1 DC, on a server where most things are about buffing. Even a drow's inherent Spell Resist has barely any function in PVE, where very few enemies care to cast spells. For minor bonuses you need to kill things that are two levels higher than what you'd normally fight. This is fair, it's tough, it's kind of cool. But there is never a reward, not even an equalizer.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2019, 05:49:54 AM by BonkemBerin »

Thundron

  • Undead Slayer
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2019, 06:00:36 AM »
My personal opinion is that there is little reason to be anything else than human or dwarf, maybe gnome or half-orc.. (some sub race might actually be good, like half-vistani) other than RP. All other classes are weaker. Especially all level adjusted races. Who would win lvl18 Drow sorcerer or lvl20 human sorcerer? Is that even fair comparison? Well maybe 2 levels at that level is small, and better player would win, but perhaps you see the point. ECL races struggle all ready with leveling so I feel it would be fine to keep XP penalty, but remove lvl penalty. 🤔

Or just that pay off the penalty. As above.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2019, 06:03:22 AM by Thundron »

Sidhel

  • Professional Packrat
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 1160
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2019, 06:06:10 AM »
I'd be inclined for a system change that retained your maximum level adjustment, still altered level for how much experience / progression it takes for you to level, but at least allowed for a character to retain their base character level, without adjustment, in how it determines what you still gain experience from & how much experience you gain.

As Bonkem suggested, a character with ECL +2 does not gain experience from any monster that has an equal or lower CR to their base class level. (A level 3 character with +2 ECL does not game experience from an allip, a shadow, or any bandit shy the leaders, for example, despite all of those being a rather difficult challenge, mechanically, for a typical level 3 character.)
Isadora von Brussel - Deathsinger of Orcus (Deceased, Again)

Iyer

  • Outlander
  • **
  • Posts: 95
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2019, 06:48:25 AM »
Savage species supplement got it right I think with racial classes, but I doubt it could or even would be implemented here. It's an easier pill to swallow when instead of capped out as level 18 drow, you'd have say, level 2drow/18sorcerer.

Thundron

  • Undead Slayer
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2019, 08:38:37 AM »
Savage species supplement got it right I think with racial classes, but I doubt it could or even would be implemented here. It's an easier pill to swallow when instead of capped out as level 18 drow, you'd have say, level 2drow/18sorcerer.

I would say 2drow/18sorc would give hd of drow which I believe is d6, and bab and saves and skills.. My thought, would it be possible to add to player skin some skills related to specific race and Hotpoint and so on.. for example drow would get additional 2 HP at lvl1 and +1 to ref save, +2 to influence, then at lvl18 +4 HP +2 antagonize +1 will save or so..

Iridni Ren

  • Priestess of Pelor
  • The Wayfarer Kinship
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 3211
  • When all other lights go out
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2019, 08:52:02 AM »
Devs have expressed resistance to changes to general ECL several times, so I would not invest a lot of thought or effort into suggestions for modifying it.

For example:

Precisely. ECL races should only be taken for RP considerations, anything that opens the door to a mechanical advantage of those races over the standard races must be avoided as it would be exploited.

Also, remember that we try as best as possible to emulate the D&D setting and avoid custom rules when unnecessary. As it is, the ECL system works precisely as per pnp rules. It is not a game breaking rule and still allow the player base to play a wide array of races not normally available. It will remain as is.

It's not productive to debate the merits of removing ECL, as we are very unlikely to ever do that. Specific suggestions for adjusting the ECL of particular templates would be much more useful, if you see a particular issue or flaw. We have in the past and probably will in the future revised specific templates here and there.

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Thundron

  • Undead Slayer
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2019, 10:29:37 AM »
How about extending level cap to 21..

herkles

  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 5541
    • Herkles's Portfolio
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2019, 10:35:27 AM »
How about extending level cap to 21..

that allows for epic level stuff, so uhm no thanks. Moreover, if I was to modify the level cap it would be downwards not upwards(somewhere between level 10 and level 15), but tis just my opinion.

playing an ECL race is meant to be a challenge from what I know and you are meant to apply for them for the RP it will bring, not the mechanical benefits.

Thundron

  • Undead Slayer
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2019, 11:00:39 AM »
Point of this discussion has been, that there are no mechanical advantages on ECL races worth the disadvantages. Would it be possible even to just remove Epic feats and have regular level progression to 23. I personally would like setting that character level would Be 10-40.. where commoners would Be like lvl5, point being, it would customize characters alot more, but spells would be too strong and epic **** too messy.

MAB77

  • Developers
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 2284
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2019, 11:52:34 AM »
Point of this discussion has been, that there are no mechanical advantages on ECL races worth the disadvantages. [...]

It is a tradeoff and a matter of preferences. ECL races do start with additionnal bonuses that others do not have. A 5th level Tiefling will always have more features than a level 5 human of the same class and level. These are bonuses you'll have throughout your ECL character's life. Though this comes at the cost of slower progression and forfeiting the potential benefits of the highest levels. (Few characters reaches those anyway even with standard races.) Whether or not you find the trade adequate is entirely up to you. Our server history does show several proeminent ECL races PCs that had lasting influence and impacts. Past the mechanical aspects, they are really fun characters to play roleplaywise, and I do invite you to try out one.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2019, 11:54:45 AM by MAB77 »
Best Regards!
MAB

Proud member of the Dev team, kindly working nights and days to bring you all more creative ways to slay all your PCs, faster and more efficiently!

t0rchic

  • Outlander
  • **
  • Posts: 55
  • Kensei-in-training
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2019, 12:24:57 PM »
Point of this discussion has been, that there are no mechanical advantages on ECL races worth the disadvantages. [...]

A 5th level Tiefling will always have more features than a level 5 human of the same class and level.

But does a 5th level Tiefling have more features than a level 7 human of the same class and level? 🤔 That's the comparison that needs to be made for ECL since you're treated as 2 levels higher.

MAB77

  • Developers
  • Dark Power
  • *
  • Posts: 2284
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2019, 12:35:52 PM »
As I said. It is very much a matter of personal opinion. It is for you to decide if sacrificing 2 levels to start with an extra feat, extra skill points, skill bonuses, damage resistance and a spell-like ability is worth it. I never had cause to regret it on my own tiefling.
Best Regards!
MAB

Proud member of the Dev team, kindly working nights and days to bring you all more creative ways to slay all your PCs, faster and more efficiently!

t0rchic

  • Outlander
  • **
  • Posts: 55
  • Kensei-in-training
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2019, 12:45:08 PM »
I personally don't think it's an issue at all. This is primarily an RP server and just because one character can't carry a 3 man expedition into endgame content doesn't mean they're not viable. But... It's not 2 levels for an extra feat and extra skill points and skill bonuses since humans (even half-vistani) aren't an ECL race. It's  more like taking 2 levels as a human in a class with no BAB, spell progression, skill point, class features, saves, or hit dice progression in exchange for resist 5 to a couple things and a Darkness spell. Seems a bit much. Aasimar at least get two good stats and no penalty but Tieflings get OCR and lose cha.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2019, 12:48:45 PM by t0rchic »

FellowMan

  • The Underworld
  • Outlander
  • **
  • Posts: 95
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2019, 12:28:00 AM »
I realize the ECL discussion is a well-established one and that nobody is fielding input, but from my experience playing a tiefling I've got input anyway.

Unless you have a really good time RPing a character for whom the subrace is a crucial component, you'll have a rough time playing an ECL character. There aren't any mechanical advantages that are outstanding enough to be noticed, while the experience handicap is something you will definitely notice.

If anything, the application to play as one of the ECL subraces is the part that seems like a bit much. Playing as any of those races has some RP baggage that every player should be able to demonstrate knowledge of, but the same could be said of any class or nonhuman race.

Thundron

  • Undead Slayer
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2019, 12:35:03 AM »
Yea, fun and matter of perspective, that has been clear over ten years.. I have drow, she had her exciting moments.. now there are ton of orcs black and green around and only Garda cares. I will want to make thiefling, genasi and many more Drows. Humans are just op mechanically.

t0rchic

  • Outlander
  • **
  • Posts: 55
  • Kensei-in-training
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2019, 01:02:09 AM »
If anything, the application to play as one of the ECL subraces is the part that seems like a bit much. Playing as any of those races has some RP baggage that every player should be able to demonstrate knowledge of, but the same could be said of any class or nonhuman race.

I think the application is to reduce the active number more than anything else. ECL subraces are meant to be real rare, beyond what being weaker will prevent, and if they're actually mechanically handicapped people will complain too much on the forums about the race if they can make them easily.

BonkemBerin

  • New to the Mists
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2019, 06:52:44 AM »
All I ever cared for was to level the playing field. Make it so your unique race is not weaker than their basic human counterparts. I think it is disingenuous to say "it's all about roleplay" when you can demonstrate time and time again that people use mechanics left right and center for everything. Any event, any monster PC interaction, and necessarily any dungeon.

Why do some people even believe there is a mechanical advantage to playing a level adjusted race? I don't understand xD All I wanted was to reduce the penalty so they are on equal footing. I don't care about lifting the max level at all, by the way. That's not where the struggle of playing an ECL race is. The struggle is in going to a dungeon, bringing everyone else's xp down, needing FAR more experience while providing less power than a person who wasn't Level Adjusted. The idea of these beings is that they are actually superior to any normal human, any normal elf. Instead, they are babies who need constant help. And with how POTM's xp system works, ECL+2 really means you're 4, 5, 6 levels behind.

..And if you play a drow, or a tiefling, you get the added bonus of being assaulted by the garda half the time. That would be interesting roleplay if literally everything wasn't already against them. You can't even make money with deliveries. On top of that, the server shuts down every hour during night time, so you have very brief windows to maybe, hopefully get progress in.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2019, 07:04:28 AM by BonkemBerin »

EO

  • Assistant Head DM/Developer
  • Head DMs
  • Dark Power
  • ******
  • Posts: 15337
  • The one and only, the one everyone wants to be!
Re: Level Adjustments & Buying Them Off
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2019, 04:52:05 PM »
As has been mentioned by other developers we have no plans for now to revisit the ECL system.