Reducing Level Adjustments

( ⇪ House Rules )

GM’s Note: See also the XP is Different variant.

Note: If the character is still being created, first check to see if there are “Racial Class” levels or “Monster Class” levels for that race.

Table: Halved LA Progression
ECL XP
1 0
1.5 500
2 1,000
2.5 2,000
3 3,000
3.5 4,500
4 6,000
4.5 8,000
5 10,000
5.5 13,000
6 16,000
6.5 20,000
7 24,000
7.5 30,000
8 36,000
8.5 44,000
9 52,000
9.5 64,000
10 76,000
10.5 93,000
11 110,000
11.5 135,000
12 160,000
12.5 190,000
13 220,000
13.5 220,000
14 320,000
14.5 380,000
15 440,000
15.5 490,000
16 640,000
16.5 765,000
17 890,000
17.5 1,095,000
18 1,300,000
18.5 1,550,000
19 1,800,000
19.5 2,200,000
20 2,600,000

I cut all level adjustments in half. This means you could have a “1/2 level” where you start at the ECL you would get when rounding down, but your starting and minimum XP is half-way through the level (you can’t lose XP in such a way that you go below that XP value, as if that was your “zero” XP value). The half-way point between the ECLs becomes your new “level minimum” for the purposes of expending XP and the effects of level drain (If you are drained of this “level”, you lose the benefits of that +1/2 of LA). If your next increase in ECL would grant a class level or hit die, you have to gain a full “unit of ECL” worth of XP to get those benefits.

When There Is No Monster Class or Racial Class

For races with an odd number of level adjustment that don’t have a racial class or monster class, you simply start a game together at the rounded-down ECL, but you advance everyone that doesn’t have that “1/2 level” adjustment to the minimum XP of the characters with the adjustment (although for them it isn’t their “zero” XP) and grant everyone the appropriate amount of wealth-by-level for half-way through that ECL.

For Racial Classes and Monster Classes

What that means for racial classes and monster classes is that when your next increase in ECL would have you gain neither a racial hit die or a class level, you instead get the benefits of that upcoming +1/2 LA increase half-way between your current ECL and the next one. The half-way point between the ECLs becomes your new “level minimum” for the purposes of expending XP and the effects of level drain (If you are drained of this “level”, you lose the benefits of that +1/2 of LA). If your next increase in ECL would grant a class level or hit die, you have to gain a full “unit of ECL” worth of XP to get those benefits.

For example, a Duergar has no racial hit dice and an “original level adjustment” of +1. That normally means that at ECL 1 he starts with 0 XP and his 1st class level. Then, he gets the +1 benefits of his LA (and increases his ECL) when he reaches the XP value for ECL 2 (1000 XP). After he earns those benefits, he’d have to reach the XP value for ECL 3 (3000 XP) to get his 2nd class level.

With the half-LA variant, his LA drops to +1/2. That means that to get the benefits of that +1/2 adjustment, he’d have to earn XP worth a 1/2 a “unit of ECL”. In other words, he gets the +1/2 benefits of his LA after earning enough XP to go from “ECL 1” (0 XP) to “half-way between ECL 1 and ECL 2” (500 XP). After he earns those benefits, he’d have to earn XP worth a full “unit of ECL” to get to his 2nd class level. This would run from “half-way between ECL 1 and ECL 2” (500 XP) to “half-way between ECL 2 and ECL 3” (2000 XP).

For another example, a Thri-Kreen has two racial hit dice and an “original level adjustment” of +2. He has to earn enough XP in the normal fashion to get to ECL 3 (3000 XP) before his level adjustment becomes relevant. With the half-LA variant, his LA drops to +1. Just like with a Duergar, a Thri-Kreen’s level adjustment benefits are earned in 1/2 “unit of ECL” increments. That means that to get the first +1/2 LA benefits, he has to go from ECL 3 (3000 XP) to “half-way between ECL 3 and ECL 4” (4500 XP). Then it’s a whole “unit of ECL” to get to “half-way between ECL 4 and ECL 5” (8000 XP) to get his next class level. Finally, at ECL 5 (10000 XP) he gets his second +1/2 LA benefits.

For another example, a Varag has three racial hit dice and an “original level adjustment” of +2. He has to earn enough XP in the normal fashion to get to ECL 2 (1000 XP) before his level adjustment becomes relevant. With the half-LA variant, his LA drops to +1. At “half-way between ECL 2 and ECL 3” (2000 XP) he gets his first +1/2 LA benefits. Then it’s a whole “unit of ECL” to get to “half-way between ECL 3 and ECL 4” (4500 XP) to get his next racial hit die. Finally, at ECL 4 (6000 XP) he gets his second +1/2 LA benefits.

Level Adjustment Buy-Off

In a nutshell: Gives opportunities to decrease your LA.

When a character with a level adjustment advances in experience, the level adjustment he started with becomes more and more of a burden. Eventually, the benefits of the creature type may come to be eclipsed by those of his class features, and the player may regret his choice of race. Under this variant system, the character can pay an XP cost at certain intervals to decrease the burden of his level adjustment.

Once the total of a character’s class levels (not including any Hit Dice from his creature type or his level adjustment) reaches 3 times his (halved) level adjustment (which might occur between the XP values for gaining those class levels), his level adjustment is eligible to be decreased by 1/2.

GM’s Note: Class levels you gestalt with racial hit dice don’t count as “class levels” for the purposes of Level Adjustment Buy-Off.

If the level adjustment is greater than +1/2, this process repeats until the creature’s level adjustment reaches +0. Each time, use the creature’s current level adjustment to determine the point at which the level adjustment can go down by 1/2. For example, a drow (level adjustment +2 halved to +1) may drop to level adjustment +1/2 after gaining her third class level, and then to +0 after gaining an additional 1+1/2 class levels.

Table: Level Adjustment Buy-Off
Starting Level Adjustment Number of Class Levels Necessary for Level Adjustment Reduction (Not Including Racial Hit Dice)
LA+ 1/2 1+1/2
LA+ 1 3, 4+1/2
LA+ 1+1/2 4+1/2, 7+1/2, 9
LA+ 2 6, 10+1/2, 13+1/2, 15
LA+ 2+1/2 7+1/2, 13+1/2, 18, …
LA+ 3 9, 16+1/2, …
LA+ 3+1/2 10+1/2, 19+1/2, …
LA+ 4 12, …
LA+ 4+1/2 13+1/2, …
LA+ 5 15, …
LA+ 5+1/2 16+1/2, …
LA+ 6 18, …
LA+ 6+1/2 19+1/2, …

This table gives the levels at which level adjustments are eligible to be reduced for starting level adjustments of +1/2 to +6+1/2. Creatures with a level adjustment of +7 or more retain their full normal level adjustment until reaching epic levels (21st level or higher), and thus aren’t included on the table.

Experience Point Cost

Each time a character’s level adjustment is eligible to be reduced, the character may pay an XP cost to take advantage of the reduction. The character must pay enough XP to reduce the character’s effective character level (ECL) by -1/2. This XP cost can’t be reversed in any way, and the payment must be voluntary on the part of the character. The payment must be made immediately upon becoming eligible to reduce the character’s level adjustment.

On the surface, this tradeoff may look like a bad deal. An aasimar paladin waits 1+1/2 class levels (1,000 XP; ECL 2) and sacrifices 500 XP, putting her behind her comrades in total class levels. Now, however, she progresses as if she had never had a level adjustment. With the self-correcting nature of the experience point system, she will soon catch up to the rest of her party, and will reach 20th level after earning a total of 2,601,000 XP (2,600,000 plus the 1,000 in XP costs). If she had not used this variant system, she would have had to amass 3,100,000 XP to reach her 20th class level (which is ECL 20+1/2 for a normal aasimar with a +1/2 level adjustment).

Reducing Level Adjustments

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