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?