# High stats = level adjustment

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I've read in this group a number of times that it's been found that a
character with exceptionally high ability scores is roughly equivalent
in power to a character with more average ability scores, but of one or
two levels higher (i.e., Alfred the 3rd-level Fighter has scores of 15,
14, 13, 12, 10, 8, and is equivalent to Bob the 1st-level Godly Fighter
with scores of 18, 17, 18, 15, 16, 16). Does anyone have real numbers
detailing this equivalence?

Here's what I'm thinking: Have players choose their characters' stats.
Then they calculate the number of points such a character would cost
under the point-buy system. If the number of points is, say, <= 32,
there is no level adjustment; if the number of points is > 32 and <= 64,
there is a +1 LA; if >64, +2 LA.

My gut tells me that this is too simplistic, and that a 64-point
character is worth more than a +1 LA, and so on...so I'm curious to see
if anyone has a clear idea of how to make such a system work. Thoughts?

-Will

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Will Green wrote:
> I've read in this group a number of times that it's been found that a

> character with exceptionally high ability scores is roughly
equivalent
> in power to a character with more average ability scores, but of one
or
> two levels higher (i.e., Alfred the 3rd-level Fighter has scores of
15,
> 14, 13, 12, 10, 8, and is equivalent to Bob the 1st-level Godly
Fighter
> with scores of 18, 17, 18, 15, 16, 16). Does anyone have real
numbers
> detailing this equivalence?
>
> Here's what I'm thinking: Have players choose their characters'
stats.
> Then they calculate the number of points such a character would cost
> under the point-buy system. If the number of points is, say, <= 32,
> there is no level adjustment; if the number of points is > 32 and <=
64,
> there is a +1 LA; if >64, +2 LA.
>
> My gut tells me that this is too simplistic, and that a 64-point
> character is worth more than a +1 LA, and so on...so I'm curious to
see
> if anyone has a clear idea of how to make such a system work.
Thoughts?

Actually, that's not a bad thought.

Personally, I just have my players pick stats and i've never had it get
out of hand, but that might be a nice way of compromising: maintain
numeric balance while allowing te characters to choose their own stats
and thus fully determine their character concept. I like it. Let me
look at some numbers.

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MICHAEL BROWN wrote:
> "Will Green" <will_j_green@yXaXhXoXo.com> wrote in message
> news:av7Yd.8200\$DW.5138@newssvr17.news.prodigy.com...
> > Here's what I'm thinking: Have players choose their characters'
stats.
> > Then they calculate the number of points such a character would
cost
> > under the point-buy system. If the number of points is, say, <=
32,
> > there is no level adjustment; if the number of points is > 32 and
<= 64,
> > there is a +1 LA; if >64, +2 LA.
>
> I've used this idea in house rules before (the principle, not the
> implementation). It's a very, very good one.

Hey, no fair. You have to tell me your implementation now!

Don't make me beg.

-Will

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##### Guest

Will Green wrote:
> I've read in this group a number of times that it's been found that a

> character with exceptionally high ability scores is roughly
equivalent
> in power to a character with more average ability scores, but of one
or
> two levels higher (i.e., Alfred the 3rd-level Fighter has scores of
15,
> 14, 13, 12, 10, 8, and is equivalent to Bob the 1st-level Godly
Fighter
> with scores of 18, 17, 18, 15, 16, 16). Does anyone have real
numbers
> detailing this equivalence?
>

accourding to my calculations & comparisons it comes out to about 9
points per LA if spread evenly, and closer to 6 if lumped in prime
scores for the class.

> Here's what I'm thinking: Have players choose their characters'
stats.
> Then they calculate the number of points such a character would cost
> under the point-buy system. If the number of points is, say, <= 32,
> there is no level adjustment; if the number of points is > 32 and <=
64,
> there is a +1 LA; if >64, +2 LA.
>

I assume you are talking strait 1 point = 1 ability score point, not a
buy system like they have in the DMG? If you go the point buy system
it gets more difficult because points arent worth as much as scores.

- Justisaur

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Will Green wrote:
[...]
> Here's what I'm thinking: Have players choose their characters' stats.
> Then they calculate the number of points such a character would cost
> under the point-buy system. If the number of points is, say, <= 32,
> there is no level adjustment; if the number of points is > 32 and <= 64,
> there is a +1 LA; if >64, +2 LA.

Expect: To see 100% of PCs having ability scores bought with
*exactly* 31 or 63 points.

Understand: That you have *absolutely* *no* *right* to
criticize your players for making those kinds of choices.

> My gut tells me that this is too simplistic, and that a 64-point
> character is worth more than a +1 LA, and so on...so I'm curious to see

You may be right.

> if anyone has a clear idea of how to make such a system work. Thoughts?

I think starting with Rupert's findings is the way to go:

25 points: +0 LA.
32 points: +1 LA.

Then figure out a reasonable point total for +2 LA, keeping
in mind that unless it becomes legal to buy ability scores
up to above 18 (before the "racial" bonus), you'll
eventually reach a point total where giving out more points
has little effect, because any character can "max" his four
most important ability scores.

--
Peter Knutsen
sagatafl.org

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Being in my pro-player bias mode for a moment, I actually like this
idea. I know high stats != bad roleplaying, as an old sig of mine use
to say, but I can appreciate there is a difference between a 15, 14,
13, 12, 10, 8 character and a 18, 18, 16, 14, 14, 12 character as far
as game mechanics works.

Query: Presume you work out the numbers to "perfection" but all the
players pick ability scores that would give them +1 LA. Now all the
characters are of the same power level. Do you still calculate XP and
assess level increases by the LA +1 or just do "normal" XP since
everyone is the same. I guess the same can be said regardless of this
system if everyone just chose to play a non-standard race in the first
place where all the races are of the same LA. For example, what if
everyone is a renegade Drow worshipping Ellistraee trying to overthrow
the Lolth order and return the Drow to the welcoming light of the
Sanhedrine? (Hey, that would make for a cool campaign, despite I
wouldn't be playing a human. )

Gerald Katz

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##### Guest

On Fri, 11 Mar 2005 02:36:54 GMT, Will Green
<will_j_green@yXaXhXoXo.com> carved upon a tablet of ether:

> My gut tells me that this is too simplistic, and that a 64-point
> character is worth more than a +1 LA, and so on...so I'm curious to see
> if anyone has a clear idea of how to make such a system work. Thoughts?

I've lost the calculations, but I worked it out by considering how
much of an ability boost you'd need for a level's worth of BAB, saves,
skill points, hit points, and so on. There are somethings abilities
can't buy you (multiple attacks, some feats and class abilities,
higher level spell slots, etc.), but abilities can also buy you things
that levels rarely grant you (AC and weapon damage primarily).
Overall, I assumed these things balanced out and examined those things
that both levels and high abilities gain you. I found that +1 to the
average of your abilities (and thus +6 to the total of them) was
roughly the same as +1 level. Thus a 32-point point buy character has
about +1 LA compared to a 25-point 'standard' character or one with
the 'elite' ability array. Play has born that out.

I suspect that after a certain point it will take more points to get
the same effect because once the main 2-3 abilities are at racial
maximums the boost is in areas that don't make as much difference to a
character. For example a fighter with Str 18, Dex 18, Con 18, Int 10,
Wis 18, Cha 10 isn't a whole lot worse than one with Str 18, Dex 18,
Con 18, Int 18, Wis 18, Cha 18, even though his abilities average
15-1/3 rather than 18.

--
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."

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Time to step up the meds; I could have sworn Rupert Boleyn just said...
> I suspect that after a certain point it will take more points to get
> the same effect because once the main 2-3 abilities are at racial
> maximums the boost is in areas that don't make as much difference to a
> character. For example a fighter with Str 18, Dex 18, Con 18, Int 10,
> Wis 18, Cha 10 isn't a whole lot worse than one with Str 18, Dex 18,
> Con 18, Int 18, Wis 18, Cha 18, even though his abilities average
> 15-1/3 rather than 18.

If you're playing with racial maximums, you're house ruling, perhaps
without realizing it. The rules are quite clear that you can keep
raising scores without limit. Or do you mean just at character creation?
(By "past a certain point" I assumed you meant at higher levels.)

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#### Guest

##### Guest

In article <av7Yd.8200\$DW.5138@newssvr17.news.prodigy.com>,
Will Green <will_j_green@yXaXhXoXo.com> wrote:

> I've read in this group a number of times that it's been found that a
> character with exceptionally high ability scores is roughly equivalent
> in power to a character with more average ability scores, but of one or
> two levels higher (i.e., Alfred the 3rd-level Fighter has scores of 15,
> 14, 13, 12, 10, 8, and is equivalent to Bob the 1st-level Godly Fighter
> with scores of 18, 17, 18, 15, 16, 16). Does anyone have real numbers
> detailing this equivalence?
>
> Here's what I'm thinking: Have players choose their characters' stats.
> Then they calculate the number of points such a character would cost
> under the point-buy system. If the number of points is, say, <= 32,
> there is no level adjustment; if the number of points is > 32 and <= 64,
> there is a +1 LA; if >64, +2 LA.

I vaguely recalled someone opining that +7 in total stat bonuses was
*about* equal to a level. So I plugged that with a few unjustified
assumptions into the point buy system and worked out something like:

LA+0: 25pts
LA+1: 40pts
LA+2: 56pts

My gut feeling was that any such system was going to be mildly gameable,
however. Spellcasters will probably be the losers since stats mean less
to them than class levels and they will have to take the LA+0 option.
Whereas non-casting classes that enjoy having good stats across the
board can munch out with high stats at less real cost.

So I ran some quick numbers, and it looks to me that at medium levels
the LA+2 option as I presented it is slightly but significantly superior
for rogues and fighting types, more so in terms of skills and saves than
raw power (but in raw power, slightly, too).

My best guess at a balanced rule would be something like:

LA+0: 25pts
LA+1: 35pts
LA+2 : 45pts

This will probably allow some non-spellcasters to be a wee bit more
powerful than they normally would be at mid to high levels (barring
something funny happening with break points and/or multiclassing), but
not in any really significant way. For most cases I *think* it will be
close enough for jazz.

Knowing players, who often like having high stats just because, I
imagine you'd get takers.

Kevin Lowe,
Tasmania.

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##### Guest

"Will Green" <will_j_green@yXaXhXoXo.com> wrote in message
news:av7Yd.8200\$DW.5138@newssvr17.news.prodigy.com...
> Here's what I'm thinking: Have players choose their characters' stats.
> Then they calculate the number of points such a character would cost
> under the point-buy system. If the number of points is, say, <= 32,
> there is no level adjustment; if the number of points is > 32 and <= 64,
> there is a +1 LA; if >64, +2 LA.

I've used this idea in house rules before (the principle, not the
implementation). It's a very, very good one.

-Michael

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#### Guest

##### Guest

On Fri, 11 Mar 2005 06:47:34 GMT, Jeff Heikkinen <no.way@jose.org>
carved upon a tablet of ether:

> Time to step up the meds; I could have sworn Rupert Boleyn just said...
> > I suspect that after a certain point it will take more points to get
> > the same effect because once the main 2-3 abilities are at racial
> > maximums the boost is in areas that don't make as much difference to a
> > character. For example a fighter with Str 18, Dex 18, Con 18, Int 10,
> > Wis 18, Cha 10 isn't a whole lot worse than one with Str 18, Dex 18,
> > Con 18, Int 18, Wis 18, Cha 18, even though his abilities average
> > 15-1/3 rather than 18.
>
> If you're playing with racial maximums, you're house ruling, perhaps
> without realizing it. The rules are quite clear that you can keep
> raising scores without limit. Or do you mean just at character creation?
> (By "past a certain point" I assumed you meant at higher levels.)

I meant during creation. By "past a certain point" I meant once the
abilities get high enough.

--
"Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
should be free."

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#### Guest

##### Guest

"Peter Knutsen" <peter@sagatafl.invalid> wrote in message
news:39djqaF612pu9U1@individual.net...
>
> Will Green wrote:
> [...]
>> Here's what I'm thinking: Have players choose their characters' stats.
>> Then they calculate the number of points such a character would cost
>> under the point-buy system. If the number of points is, say, <= 32,
>> there is no level adjustment; if the number of points is > 32 and <= 64,
>> there is a +1 LA; if >64, +2 LA.
>
> Expect: To see 100% of PCs having ability scores bought with *exactly* 31
> or 63 points.

Absolutely.

> Understand: That you have *absolutely* *no* *right* to criticize your
> players for making those kinds of choices.

Agreed. On the other hand, you really only need to do this if some of your
players want high stats, and some prefer lower stats. My group generally
uses a base 90 stat points (*not* the point buy system), divided between the
6 stats (giving an average of 15 in each stat, which is right around the
average iconic Forgotten Realms NPC's stats). Of course, significant NPCs,
including special monsters like dragons and beholders, have this stat array
as well, and are generally "beefed up" for a higher-powered game.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley

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#### Guest

##### Guest

In article <39duamF60mtu1U1@individual.net>,
Peter Knutsen <peter@sagatafl.invalid> wrote:
>I just happen to disapprove of the strong incentive to land
>exactly on 31 or 63 buy points. It offends my sense of
>numerical astethics.

I suspect one would need "fractional" LA to avoid this, which opens a whole
other can of worms.
--
"Yo' ideas need to be thinked befo' they are say'd" - Ian Lamb, age 3.5
http://www.cs.queensu.ca/~dalamb/ qucis->cs to reply (it's a long story...)

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#### Guest

##### Guest

"David Alex Lamb" <dalamb@qucis.queensu.ca> wrote in message
news:d0t5bn\$3od\$1@knot.queensu.ca...
> In article <39duamF60mtu1U1@individual.net>,
> Peter Knutsen <peter@sagatafl.invalid> wrote:
>>I just happen to disapprove of the strong incentive to land
>>exactly on 31 or 63 buy points. It offends my sense of
>>numerical astethics.
>
> I suspect one would need "fractional" LA to avoid this, which opens a
> whole
> other can of worms.

You could always set an "experience premium" instead: a flat experience cost
per "point buy point" that has to be bought off via an experience reduction
of 10% or more until the buyoff is complete. You could set the experience
"tax" at 10% for up to a certain level, raising it to 15%, 20%, etc. as the
points progress higher.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley

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#### Guest

##### Guest

David Alex Lamb <dalamb@qucis.queensu.ca> wrote:
>In article <39duamF60mtu1U1@individual.net>,
>Peter Knutsen <peter@sagatafl.invalid> wrote:
>>I just happen to disapprove of the strong incentive to land
>>exactly on 31 or 63 buy points. It offends my sense of
>>numerical astethics.

>I suspect one would need "fractional" LA to avoid this, which opens a whole
>other can of worms.

Just use one of the other proposed systems and give them a
set number of points per +1 LA. Figuring out exactly what
those point totals should be could be tricky, but it would
definitely be less prone to abuse than "Pick a number between
30 and 64. Oh, you all picked 63 again."

Pete

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##### Guest

Peter Knutsen <peter@sagatafl.invalid> wrote in
news:39djqaF612pu9U1@individual.net:

>
> Will Green wrote:
> [...]
>> Here's what I'm thinking: Have players choose their characters'
>> stats. Then they calculate the number of points such a
>> character would cost under the point-buy system. If the number
>> of points is, say, <= 32, there is no level adjustment; if the
>> number of points is > 32 and <= 64, there is a +1 LA; if >64,
>> +2 LA.
>
> Expect: To see 100% of PCs having ability scores bought with
> *exactly* 31 or 63 points.
>
> Understand: That you have *absolutely* *no* *right* to
> criticize your players for making those kinds of choices.

Solution: players choose the point buy total before creating the
character: 25, 32, or 64

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##### Guest

"Will" <will_j_green@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> MICHAEL BROWN wrote:
> > "Will Green" <will_j_green@yXaXhXoXo.com> wrote in message
> > I've used this idea in house rules before (the principle, not the
> > implementation). It's a very, very good one.
>
> Hey, no fair. You have to tell me your implementation now!
> Don't make me beg.

I can't help you with that; it was an earlier edition player's option
extension. Rather than making all classes and races equal, we just made the
player pay a fair XP cost for their power (or lack thereof), and so XP
advancement rate was set in accordance class, race, and stats. This worked
out well enough for us, but I admire the greater simplicity of 3rded's
effort put into simply balancing the classes against one another once and
for all.

3rdEd LA is a fine analogue to our mechanics for extending advancement
rates, so it's certainly an appropriate tool. Another mechanism would be to
make use of Cook's "race levels" ideas in his arcana unearthed; those
wanting to be of superior stock have to take a level of elite-human prestige
class or whatnot which would give few benefits other than stat boosts.

-Michael

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##### Guest

Will Green wrote:
> I've read in this group a number of times that it's been found that a
> character with exceptionally high ability scores is roughly equivalent
> in power to a character with more average ability scores, but of one or
> two levels higher (i.e., Alfred the 3rd-level Fighter has scores of 15,
> 14, 13, 12, 10, 8, and is equivalent to Bob the 1st-level Godly Fighter
> with scores of 18, 17, 18, 15, 16, 16). Does anyone have real numbers
> detailing this equivalence?

In general, +2 to all ability scores above the standard races is
worth about one level. It gives +1hp/level, +1 to all saves, hit and
damage, all skills, and opposed rolls. Also +1 to DCs, and eventually +4
spell slots. Spellcasters miss out a little, but can build around it to
some extent.

Assume near-minimum die rolls of 14/12/10/10/08/08 (14 points),
average die rolls of 16/14/14/12/10/08 (28 points), and a high set of
die rolls of 18/16/16/14/12/10 (48 points).

Those are about 1 level better than each other. If you want to get
real keen, you can use partial LA's, so that if 20 extra stat-buy points
is worth +1 LA (1000 XP/level), then 1 extra stat-buy point is worth
+1/20 LA (50 XP/level).
You could say the standard is 25 points, and use +150 XP/level for
28, +350 XP/level for 32, or even roll dice and just add up the costs of
what stats people end up with.

PS: you also have to start LA levels lower than guys with zero,
which sums out to [1000XP * LA(LA+1)/2] over the per level number.

You can even get into fun redoing the races with fractional LA.

--
tussock

Aspie at work, sorry in advance.

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dalamb@qucis.queensu.ca (David Alex Lamb) typed:

>In article <39duamF60mtu1U1@individual.net>,
>Peter Knutsen <peter@sagatafl.invalid> wrote:
>>I just happen to disapprove of the strong incentive to land
>>exactly on 31 or 63 buy points. It offends my sense of
>>numerical astethics.
>
>I suspect one would need "fractional" LA to avoid this, which opens a whole
>other can of worms.

When the PCs IMC were rolled up (with actual dice - I gave the players
the choice), I gave characters with bad stats extra xp. It was
something like 200xp per +.

As I limited all the characters to a total bonus of +3 to +7, this
wasn't a radical difference and they all started at the same level,
though the weaker ones levelled first. It was significant until about
5th level but became fairly irrelevant after that, so an additional xp
penalty might be needed, say 3% per +.

Note how this goes against the 1e principle where characters with a
primary stat (eg Str for fighters) of 16+ gained 10% EXTRA xp, rather
than being penalised on balance grounds.

--
Jim or Sarah Davies, but probably Jim

D&D and Star Fleet Battles stuff on http://www.aaargh.org

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##### Guest

> Query: Presume you work out the numbers to "perfection" but all the
> players pick ability scores that would give them +1 LA. Now all the
> characters are of the same power level. Do you still calculate XP
and
> assess level increases by the LA +1 or just do "normal" XP since
> everyone is the same. I guess the same can be said regardless of
this
> system if everyone just chose to play a non-standard race in the
first
> place where all the races are of the same LA. For example, what if
> everyone is a renegade Drow worshipping Ellistraee trying to
overthrow
> the Lolth order and return the Drow to the welcoming light of the
> Sanhedrine? (Hey, that would make for a cool campaign, despite I
> wouldn't be playing a human. )
>

That's an interesting question. Generally I would have to say no, you
don't treat them as level 1 instead of 2 otherwise you are going to
have all your encounters significantly easier than they should be.
However as there are a ton of different ability score generation
methods and those could easily make a difference of 1 or 2 LA in
practice and you don't count them as such, it's pretty much up to the
DM if he wants to make the campain easier (or harder).

3d6 drop em where they lay is pretty different in power from 4d6
arrange as desired - I'd say in practice there's about a 2 LA
difference between them, slightly more than one for the actual
difference average 10.5 to average 12.5 which is 12 total points, and
slightly lesss than one for arranging as desired . Same could be said
between low and high powered point buys.

- Justisaur

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forumite@netzero.com wrote:

> everyone is a renegade Drow worshipping Ellistraee trying to overthrow
> the Lolth order and return the Drow to the welcoming light of the
> Sanhedrine?

Why would the Eilistraee-worshippers want the other drow to become
Jewish?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanhedrin

--
Jasin Zujovic
jzujovic@inet.hr