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D&D 3E
level adjustments of a vampire 
13th-May-2006 07:53 pm
fox
Premise: In a party of 30th level characters, the level adjustment for having the vampire template should be lower



background information: I have a vampire in a party of level 30 characters. Compared to the aasimar fighter, the vampire is a weakling. The fighter has around 470 hp, an armor class of 43, fast healing, damage reduction, and does around 60 damage an attack (around 150 on a ciritical hit, which with a keen weapon he has a 20% chance of rolling).
My vampire on the other hand, has 264 hit points, does an average of 27 damage a hit (around 50 on a critical).

Given that we both have four attacks, that means the fighter will do 240 points of damage in a given round (600 on all criticals) while I would do 108(200 on a critical)

If both of us took 300 damage, I would be destroyed, and he would be at a third of his hit points. He can also go out in sunlight and cross running water.

So, I did some reading of late, mostly in the monstrous manual and Savage species. Savage species has the definitive guide for assessing the ECL and overall level adjustment for character races, classes and templates.

Two things to keep in mind:
1. A template adds no hit points, so a 6th level fighter and a 6th fighter/vampire have the same hit points (notice, fighter also has a constitution bonus, while vampire gets d12 hp=balance)
2. Most templates add no attack roll bonuses, save bonuses, etc.

Lets begin. On page 10 of Savage species, there is a section entitled "as levels rise, abilities fade". This lists abilities that at high levels (16-20) no longer equivilate to a character level adjustment.. Those abilities are: Energy resistance, fast healing (and regeneration) and (spell resisstance).

So, a vampire has a +8 level adjustment. This level adjustments are for
1. Unbalanced ability scores +1
2. Natural armor bonus +1
3. Feats +0 (normally +2, but in a +8 template, a fighter would gain four bonus feats, which a vampire has)
3. Ability score drain (con) +2
4. Dominate Spell-like ability(at will) and children of the night +1
5. Damage Reduction +1
5.5 Energy resistance; cold/elec +1
6. Fast healing +2
7. Energy Drain +2
8. Undead subtype +2
9. Daylight intolerance -2
10. No healing, magical or through rest -2
11. Inability to cross running water -1
Total +8 (if anyone would break it down any other way, let me know)

So, lets examine these compared to a 30th level character. As stated earlier, Damage reduction and fast healing are not as much a problem, which would add a +3 on directly to the total. With all the feats and classes that give armor bonuses, it would seem that natural armor class would also no longer be a factor which would make it +4. I would also think that damage reduction at this level would not be as much of a factor. When someone is routinely doing 65 points of damage, taking ten off (especially when you don't have bonus constitution based hit points) is not as much an issue - +3. Now along a similar token, we are playing in a world that is covered in darkness so light is not an issue (i have an amulet that protects me from sunlight just in case). This would add two back on for a total of +5 instead of +8 (those three fighter levels would make a lot of difference!).

So... please, those of you who bothered to folllow my logic this far...what do you think?
Comments 
14th-May-2006 01:09 am (UTC) - Initial thoughts.
Mist form is very effective for escaping without being killed, and in the world you've described effectively makes you immortal.
Spiderclimb maybe not as significant but a nice little ability.
Have you considered the skill bonuses?
What class is your vamp? If he's not a fighter then you would expect lower damage etc.
Some of the things you've mentioned (eg natural armor, fast healing damage reduction etc) should all still be somewhat useful.

10 is just wrong for a vampire; can be healed with magic (inflict spells heal undead) and with fast healing heal a lot quicker with a lot less rest.

Having said that characters with a highish LA always seem to be significantly weaker than an equivalent straight character at highish levels (which I can only see getting worse the higher you go). They do tend to have some unique abilities to make up for it though, and they can still have magic items etc to boost them up(like any other character.

14th-May-2006 06:18 am (UTC) - Re: Initial thoughts.
But any character should have magic items to boost them. That should be the same. The difference between a Drow elf and an Elf is pronounced at low levels, but even that becomes a fairly large gap at higher levels, and that is only +2. A +8 adjustment is a much bigger difference. Imagine being a 1 level character (granted, with lots of adjustments) in a 9th level party. Pretty harsh when you can be killed with a good arrow show (that is magic and silver) while your party can take a 9 excellent arrows that are magic and silver.

Still, I realize that I DO definately have advantages over the rest of the party. I'm not arguing that there should be NO level adjustment, just that +8 seems a little more harsh at that level than at lower levels. A well constructed druid can do everything I can do and more at my level (except for a few things like undead subtype, level drain, blood drain etc.) without the vulnerabilities. This is what leads me to contemplate if the level adjustment is entirely fair.
14th-May-2006 02:21 am (UTC)
I would also like to say that a lot of the game seems to break down at epic level play. This has always been the case with D&D - aspects of the system just don't stand up to the extremes. Or at least that's my opinion.
14th-May-2006 06:20 am (UTC)
I agree... how can this be mended?
14th-May-2006 12:55 pm (UTC)
Roll up a new character at level one!
14th-May-2006 01:09 pm (UTC)
I really have no idea. I have very little experience in epic-level play. Sorry.
14th-May-2006 02:30 am (UTC)
Well, one easy reduction would be the UA LA reduction method - but at level 30, that only means reducing the LA by 1, to 7.

I have to ask at your vampire's build, given that it's only doing 27 damage on average with a +6 STR bonus... Assuming a +5 weapon with at least a 1d6 enhancement, a +6 STR item, and a 16 starting STR score, you should have a STR of 33 (16 + 5 from level up to 20 + 6 Girdle or Gaunts + 6 Vampire) up to a 38 if you used a Tome or Wishes, which at epic levels, you should have. That means a +14 STR modifier, +5 damage from the weapon's enhancement bonus alone, giving you 19 damage base. With all the feats you could have taken and the special abilities you could add on to the weapon, you're only doing 8 average damage from the weapon itself?

Gaseous form is a very nice ability and shouldn't be discounted.
14th-May-2006 06:13 am (UTC)
He's 12 fighter/10 monk/vampire (+8)=30. The 43 armor class is nice, but most things you fight at level 30 have at least a +25 to hit, so...


His initial strength score was 16. He's weilding the sword of Kas which has a +10 str bonus, added 6 for vampire makes 32 str. Dex of 30 (gauntlets of dexterity and 18 initial score and a few raises). 1d8 dmg for a longsword + 10 str, +5 enhancement, +1 ioun stone, +2 profane bonus (permanent enhanced desecration effect) +2 weapon specialization = +20. 1d8 + 20 = 28 max counts as silver, evil, and magic for DR purposes. Granted I do have an extra 2d6 vs. good creatures, which seem to be few and far between. I do have dirty fighting so on a full attack it's plus 1d4.

Fists count do 1d10 + relative bonuses -2= +18 and two levels drain (dm adjucation)counts as lawful, magic and silver for DR purposes.

perfect two weapon fighting gives me 8 attacks, so if all hit it's 4d8 + 80 and 4d10 +72. The sword is keen, so it has a 20% chance of a critical hit and vorpal which means a beheading on any roll of 20

Also....

the problem with gaseous form is that it's a standard action to assume it, so I can't just wisk in and out like nightcrawler. By the time I appear, I have to wait for foes to hit me first.
14th-May-2006 07:22 am (UTC)
Wizards published a bit on lowering level adjustment as per the number of class levels you have.
14th-May-2006 10:25 am (UTC)
Don't discount the bonus feats. A Cleric or Bard 8 doesn't have four bonus feats. The LA should be +10 by the list you gave (with corrections).

Also, I think you're generally selling the vamp's special abilities short. True, he has a lower total HP than an equal level PC. True, he may do less damage. However, you should compare apples to apples (vamp fighter 22 vs. fighter 30 rather than vamp fighter 12/monk 10 to fighter 30...otherwise the abilities don't match up properly).
14th-May-2006 03:36 pm (UTC)
One thing about the Vampire template that has always jumped out at me is that it has a +8 Level Adjustment for PC's/cohorts, etc, but for enemies yields only a +2 CR.

I have never truly believed that a +8 LA was fair (not even, really, at lower levels) so whenever the subject comes up (*which it just did in game I'm running*) I usually adjust the LA to somewhere in between.
15th-May-2006 12:34 am (UTC)
1. How do you have a vampire and an aasimar working together? I'm just curious. :-)

2. Vampires *can* be healed magically, by Inflict Wounds spells. Just like any regular undead. The disadvantage of the party cleric (if good-aligned) being unable to cast them spontaneously shouldn't be too much of a problem.
15th-May-2006 03:17 am (UTC)
Weird story.

He's not really an aasimar, he's an aasimar-like race (different cosmology) but essentially the same. With Itani or Aasimar respectively, they have a certain birth, but that does not set their current or present inclinations any more than being a teifling does not make one naturally evil. People can go beyond their birth to become whatever they chose, as long as they are mortal. Immortals like Archons, Devils, demons, Eladrins and Celestials are created in a way and must remain in that way.
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