D&D 3rd Edition / 3.5 [3.5] ECL and Level Adjustment - My brain is Jello.




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  1. #1
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    [3.5] ECL and Level Adjustment - My brain is Jello.

    I've been looking through the 3.5 DMG, 3.0 Savage Species, 3.0 Races of Faerun book, and 3.0 Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting and I just can't wrap my brain around Level Adjustment and ECL.

    Trying to figure this stuff out, I've been looking at the Drow Elf in the 3.0 "Races of Faerun" book. It lists the Level Adjustment as +2. When creating a Drow character for a 3.0 game, If a player wanted a 1st Level Fighter, we added the level adjustment to the +2 Level Adjustment to get the equivalent of a 3rd Level Character, or as we saw it, a character with an ECL of 3, who would need a total of 6000 XP to advance into 2nd level fighter.

    Maybe we were doing it wrong in 3.0, but in looking at the 3.5 DMG on page 172, and using the previous 1st level Drow fighter as an example, it says that a Drow has a Level Adjustment of +2, and to figure ECL you add the following to get ECL: Racial Level Adjustment (+2), Creature's Hit Dice (1), and Class Level (of Fighter, 1 for a +1), would equal an ECL of 4 (or the equivalent of a 4th level character who would need 10,000 experience to advance to a 2nd level fighter.

    I was under the impression that if you had a 1 Hit Dice creature, you could ignore the creature's Hit Die when calculating ECL, and just add in his Class Level, but I can't find this clearly stated as an exception to the rule for determing ECL (with Level Adjustment + Hit Dice + Class Level). The DMG does state:
    "If a monster has 1 Hit Die or less, or if it is a template creature, it must start the game with one or more class levels, like a regular character. If a monster has 2 or more Hit Dice, it can start with no class levels (although it can gain them later)."
    It also states the following a little further down on the page:
    "A monster with a Hit Dice of 1 or less, a level adjustment, and class levels adds it's class levels, Hit Die, and level adjustment together when referring to Table 3-2 (on Page 22 of the PHB to determine experience needed to advance). For instance, suppose a monster with 1 Hit Die and a +1 level Adjustment has two levels of rogue. It's ECL is 4 (2 class levels +1 Hit Die +1 level adjustment). In order to gain another class level, it needs a total of 10,000xp.

    Which leads me to believe that it doesn't matter if you have 1 Hit Die or not, you still have to add it to your class levels, and level adjustments to get your ECL.

    In Savage Species, on page 13, it states:
    "A creature with a single Hit Die, like all standard-race characters, gives up that Hit Die when it gains it's first class level. This makes such a creature somewhat different from other monster characters."

    The section continues, but doesn't mention adding up ECL, so this leaves me to ask in frustration:
    HOW THE HELL DO YOU FIGURE OUT ECL OF A 1 HIT DICE CREATURE WITH A LEVEL ADJUSTMENT AND 1 CLASS LEVEL !?!?!?!

    Thanks in advance for the help retaining my sanity.
    Last edited by Melkor; Sunday, 31st August, 2003 at 12:10 AM.

 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melkor
    The section continues, but doesn't mention adding up ECL, so this leaves me to ask in frustration:
    HOW THE HELL DO YOU FIGURE OUT ECL OF A 1 HIT DICE CREATURE WITH A LEVEL ADJUSTMENT AND 1 CLASS LEVEL !?!?!?!

    Thanks in advance for the help retaining my sanity.
    When a drow takes a class level, they lose their racial Hit Die. This makes a drow Ftr1 ECL 3.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRGreathouse
    When a drow takes a class level, they lose their racial Hit Die. This makes a drow Ftr1 ECL 3.
    Where is the rule stated clearly in the 3.5 books ?

    Again, from the 3.5 DMG:
    "A monster with a Hit Dice of 1 or less, a level adjustment, and class levels adds it's class levels, Hit Die, and level adjustment together when referring to Table 3-2 (on Page 22 of the PHB to determine experience needed to advance). For instance, suppose a monster with 1 Hit Die and a +1 level Adjustment has two levels of rogue. It's ECL is 4 (2 class levels +1 Hit Die +1 level adjustment). In order to gain another class level, it needs a total of 10,000xp.

    And from Savage Species (where I cant find a mention about the ECL in this situation):
    "A creature with a single Hit Die, like all standard-race characters, gives up that Hit Die when it gains it's first class level. This makes such a creature somewhat different from other monster characters."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melkor
    Where is the rule stated clearly in the 3.5 books ?
    MM, p.290, Monsters and Class Levels.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henrix
    MM, p.290, Monsters and Class Levels.
    Per P.290 in the 3.5 MM:
    Humanoids and Class Levels: Creatures with 1 or less HD replace their monster levels with their character levels. For example, a goblin sorceror loses its humanoid attack bonus, saving throw bonuses, skills, and feats, and gains the attack bonus, save bonuses, skills, feats, and other class abilities of a 1st level sorceror.

    The example below from the 3.5 DMG seems to directly contradict that:
    "A monster with a Hit Dice of 1 or less, a level adjustment, and class levels adds it's class levels, Hit Die, and level adjustment together when referring to Table 3-2 (on Page 22 of the PHB to determine experience needed to advance). For instance, suppose a monster with 1 Hit Die and a +1 level Adjustment has two levels of rogue. It's ECL is 4 (2 class levels +1 Hit Die +1 level adjustment). In order to gain another class level, it needs a total of 10,000xp.

    The example above shows a 1 HD creature with class levels, yet it's ECL includes both it's class level and it's Hit Dice. So again, a contradiction that doesn't seem to clarify the situation.

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    (For the record, I think the example is wrong/poorly worded... but Frankly, it's up to you. If you want a character to keep a racial HD, it's counted toward ECL. If the character doesn't keep the racial HD, it doesn't count... and that's it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CRGreathouse
    (For the record, I think the example is wrong/poorly worded... but Frankly, it's up to you. If you want a character to keep a racial HD, it's counted toward ECL. If the character doesn't keep the racial HD, it doesn't count... and that's it.
    So you are basically saying that you have the option of keeping Racial Hit Dice (and the corresponding bonuses/saves/etc.) and adding character levels with a 1 Hit Dice creature, -or- keeping it, but with a higher hit dice creature, you don't have that option ?

    Sorry for dragging this out, but to me, it's really confusing.

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    it's obvious that the writers of the 3.5 DMG didn't know what they were talking about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reapersaurus
    it's obvious that the writers of the 3.5 DMG didn't know what they were talking about.
    It is kind of depressing that I could think of 50 people on this board who could have explained the concept in much more clear and concise terms. Of course, it's more depressing for WotC, and good for the board.

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