Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Gestalt Characters and Level Adjustment

Last response: in Video Games
Share
Anonymous
April 9, 2005 11:29:48 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

I've been looking at the Gestalt Rules from Unearthed Arcana. They seem
pretty interesting for certain campaigns. However, I've started
wondering how they might be used in conjunction with Monster levels.

I figure the racial Hit Dice factor is straight forward enough. Those
are a direct parallel to class levels. I don't think there should be
any problem letting PCs take a monster hit die level along side a class
level.

But the level adjustment seems trickier. Monster classes in Savage
Species use level adjustment as straight levels, but they can be thought
of as "empty" levels. That is they don't grant any ability beyond
saying "I'm as powerful as an nth level character!" They affect
expected wealth and experience points, but not hit die, ability
increase, saves, feats, skills, or anything else. This doesn't pose a
problem in normal campaigns.

However, a gestalt campaign you would take a level adjustment level
along side a class level that was not empty. You'd get a hit die, skill
points, and possibly a feat or ability increase. Granted, you'd be
restricted to the benefits granted by the single class rather than the
"best of two" affair gestalt usually is, but I still think there could
be some balance problems.

So what do you think? Keep in mind that gestalt is for "High Powered"
campaigns, so the primary balance concern should probably be for balance
between party members.

-Tialan
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 12:14:30 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Tialan wrote:
> I've been looking at the Gestalt Rules from Unearthed Arcana. They
seem
> pretty interesting for certain campaigns. However, I've started
> wondering how they might be used in conjunction with Monster levels.
>
> I figure the racial Hit Dice factor is straight forward enough.
Those
> are a direct parallel to class levels. I don't think there should be

> any problem letting PCs take a monster hit die level along side a
class
> level.
>
> But the level adjustment seems trickier. Monster classes in Savage
> Species use level adjustment as straight levels, but they can be
thought
> of as "empty" levels. That is they don't grant any ability beyond
> saying "I'm as powerful as an nth level character!" They affect
> expected wealth and experience points, but not hit die, ability
> increase, saves, feats, skills, or anything else. This doesn't pose
a
> problem in normal campaigns.
>
> However, a gestalt campaign you would take a level adjustment level
> along side a class level that was not empty. You'd get a hit die,
skill
> points, and possibly a feat or ability increase. Granted, you'd be
> restricted to the benefits granted by the single class rather than
the
> "best of two" affair gestalt usually is, but I still think there
could
> be some balance problems.
>
> So what do you think? Keep in mind that gestalt is for "High
Powered"
> campaigns, so the primary balance concern should probably be for
balance
> between party members.
>
> -Tialan

I think an LA of +3 for Gestalt characters is generally appropriate. My
reasoning is that a Mystic Theurge is largely equivalent to a Gestalt
Wizard/Cleric 3 levels below him.

If you're really serious about balancing it, though, a static LA just
won't cut it. A level 1 Gestalt character is clearly weaker than a
level 4 normal character, while a level 17 Gestalt can be a lot more
powerful than any normal level 20 character. Having done some number
crunching, I once figured out that simply giving Gestalt characters a
50% XP penalty actually ends up quite nicely balanced. This'll give
them a gradually increasing LA, from +1 at level 3 all the way up to
about +6 at level 16.

Laszlo
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 4:44:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
> Tialan wrote:
>
>>I've been looking at the Gestalt Rules from Unearthed Arcana. They
>
> seem
>
>>pretty interesting for certain campaigns. However, I've started
>>wondering how they might be used in conjunction with Monster levels.
>>
>>I figure the racial Hit Dice factor is straight forward enough.
>
> Those
>
>>are a direct parallel to class levels. I don't think there should be
>
>
>>any problem letting PCs take a monster hit die level along side a
>
> class
>
>>level.
>>
>>But the level adjustment seems trickier. Monster classes in Savage
>>Species use level adjustment as straight levels, but they can be
>
> thought
>
>>of as "empty" levels. That is they don't grant any ability beyond
>>saying "I'm as powerful as an nth level character!" They affect
>>expected wealth and experience points, but not hit die, ability
>>increase, saves, feats, skills, or anything else. This doesn't pose
>
> a
>
>>problem in normal campaigns.
>>
>>However, a gestalt campaign you would take a level adjustment level
>>along side a class level that was not empty. You'd get a hit die,
>
> skill
>
>>points, and possibly a feat or ability increase. Granted, you'd be
>>restricted to the benefits granted by the single class rather than
>
> the
>
>>"best of two" affair gestalt usually is, but I still think there
>
> could
>
>>be some balance problems.
>>
>>So what do you think? Keep in mind that gestalt is for "High
>
> Powered"
>
>>campaigns, so the primary balance concern should probably be for
>
> balance
>
>>between party members.
>>
>>-Tialan
>
>
> I think an LA of +3 for Gestalt characters is generally appropriate. My
> reasoning is that a Mystic Theurge is largely equivalent to a Gestalt
> Wizard/Cleric 3 levels below him.
>
> If you're really serious about balancing it, though, a static LA just
> won't cut it. A level 1 Gestalt character is clearly weaker than a
> level 4 normal character, while a level 17 Gestalt can be a lot more
> powerful than any normal level 20 character. Having done some number
> crunching, I once figured out that simply giving Gestalt characters a
> 50% XP penalty actually ends up quite nicely balanced. This'll give
> them a gradually increasing LA, from +1 at level 3 all the way up to
> about +6 at level 16.

That's not exactly what I was asking about. You seem to be responding
to a query on giving a Gestalt level adjustment to balance with
non-gestalts. Am I correct? I believe there was a thread about that
exact subject recently. Nonetheless, that's not what I was asking about.

I'm trying to balance a Monster PC gestalt with a core-race PC gestalt.
For example, the scenario that originally brought it to mind was a
wemic psion/warrior adventuring with a human fighter/sorcerer. Both
would be gestalts.

Now, it is my opinion that the first five gestalt levels would provide
no balance problem. The wemic Monstrous Humanoid hit dice serve as the
warrior part of the equation, and he takes normal psion levels along
with those. Since racial hit dice work about the same as class hit dice
in determining level power, I believe he will be balanced to the human
fighter/sorcerer.

The tricky part is that after the first five levels, the wemic's Level
Adjustment kicks in. As I stated in my original post, Level Adjustment
is not the same as a class hit die. It is used for only three things–
determining ECL, determining experience points needed to gain levels,
and determining recommended wealth levels. It grants no bonuses in
terms of hit dice, skill points, ability increases, or any of the other
goodies that happen with regular levels. However, if you treat level
adjustment in such a way that it merges freely with normal gestalt
levels, that changes somewhat. You'd still get a hit die, skill points,
etc. The only drawback is that they are guaranteed to be the single
class's hit die, skills, etc. rather than it being a choice between the
best of two classes.

So, I asked if the above scenario would present a balance problem.
Would the wemic be getting any significant advantage over the human?
And if so, how could it be corrected?

-Tialan
Related resources
Anonymous
April 10, 2005 11:48:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Tialan wrote:
> laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
> > Tialan wrote:
> >
> >>I've been looking at the Gestalt Rules from Unearthed Arcana. They
> >
> > seem
> >
> >>pretty interesting for certain campaigns. However, I've started
> >>wondering how they might be used in conjunction with Monster
levels.
> >>
> >>I figure the racial Hit Dice factor is straight forward enough.
> >
> > Those
> >
> >>are a direct parallel to class levels. I don't think there should
be
> >
> >
> >>any problem letting PCs take a monster hit die level along side a
> >
> > class
> >
> >>level.
> >>
> >>But the level adjustment seems trickier. Monster classes in Savage
> >>Species use level adjustment as straight levels, but they can be
> >
> > thought
> >
> >>of as "empty" levels. That is they don't grant any ability beyond
> >>saying "I'm as powerful as an nth level character!" They affect
> >>expected wealth and experience points, but not hit die, ability
> >>increase, saves, feats, skills, or anything else. This doesn't
pose
> >
> > a
> >
> >>problem in normal campaigns.
> >>
> >>However, a gestalt campaign you would take a level adjustment level
> >>along side a class level that was not empty. You'd get a hit die,
> >
> > skill
> >
> >>points, and possibly a feat or ability increase. Granted, you'd be
> >>restricted to the benefits granted by the single class rather than
> >
> > the
> >
> >>"best of two" affair gestalt usually is, but I still think there
> >
> > could
> >
> >>be some balance problems.
> >>
> >>So what do you think? Keep in mind that gestalt is for "High
> >
> > Powered"
> >
> >>campaigns, so the primary balance concern should probably be for
> >
> > balance
> >
> >>between party members.
> >>
> >>-Tialan
> >
> >
> > I think an LA of +3 for Gestalt characters is generally
appropriate. My
> > reasoning is that a Mystic Theurge is largely equivalent to a
Gestalt
> > Wizard/Cleric 3 levels below him.
> >
> > If you're really serious about balancing it, though, a static LA
just
> > won't cut it. A level 1 Gestalt character is clearly weaker than a
> > level 4 normal character, while a level 17 Gestalt can be a lot
more
> > powerful than any normal level 20 character. Having done some
number
> > crunching, I once figured out that simply giving Gestalt characters
a
> > 50% XP penalty actually ends up quite nicely balanced. This'll give
> > them a gradually increasing LA, from +1 at level 3 all the way up
to
> > about +6 at level 16.
>
> That's not exactly what I was asking about. You seem to be
responding
> to a query on giving a Gestalt level adjustment to balance with
> non-gestalts. Am I correct? I believe there was a thread about that

> exact subject recently. Nonetheless, that's not what I was asking
about.

Yeah, I was in a hurry and misread your question. Sorry.

> I'm trying to balance a Monster PC gestalt with a core-race PC
gestalt.
> For example, the scenario that originally brought it to mind was a
> wemic psion/warrior adventuring with a human fighter/sorcerer. Both
> would be gestalts.
>
> Now, it is my opinion that the first five gestalt levels would
provide
> no balance problem. The wemic Monstrous Humanoid hit dice serve as
the
> warrior part of the equation, and he takes normal psion levels along
> with those. Since racial hit dice work about the same as class hit
dice
> in determining level power, I believe he will be balanced to the
human
> fighter/sorcerer.
>
> The tricky part is that after the first five levels, the wemic's
Level
> Adjustment kicks in. As I stated in my original post, Level
Adjustment
> is not the same as a class hit die. It is used for only three
things-
> determining ECL, determining experience points needed to gain levels,

> and determining recommended wealth levels. It grants no bonuses in
> terms of hit dice, skill points, ability increases, or any of the
other
> goodies that happen with regular levels. However, if you treat level

> adjustment in such a way that it merges freely with normal gestalt
> levels, that changes somewhat. You'd still get a hit die, skill
points,
> etc. The only drawback is that they are guaranteed to be the single
> class's hit die, skills, etc. rather than it being a choice between
the
> best of two classes.
>
> So, I asked if the above scenario would present a balance problem.
> Would the wemic be getting any significant advantage over the human?
> And if so, how could it be corrected?
>
> -Tialan

Ah, hm. A very interesting problem. Let's look at the specific example.
A wemic has 5 racial hit dice and a level adjustment of +5.

In a gestalt game, there are two ways to look at level adjustments. The
first method is the one you talked about: it only takes up one of the
two classes. The second method is to have it take up both classes.

To clarify, let's look at a normal ECL 9 Gestalt character (Anne), and
an ECL 9 Gestal Wemic (Bob). Best viewed in a fixed-width font.

METHOD 1:
---------
Anne's advancement:
ECL Class 1 Class 2
1 Fighter Sorcerer
2 Fighter Sorcerer
3 Fighter Sorcerer
4 Fighter Sorcerer
5 Fighter Sorcerer
6 Fighter Sorcerer
7 Fighter Sorcerer
8 Fighter Sorcerer
9 Fighter Sorcerer

End result: Fighter 9/Sorcerer 9

Bob's advancement:
ECL Class 1 Class 2
1 Wemic LA
2 Wemic LA
3 Wemic LA
4 Wemic Psion
5 Wemic Psion
6 Fighter Psion
7 Fighter Psion
8 Fighter Psion
9 Fighter Psion

End result: Wemic Fighter 4/Psion 6.


METHOD 2:
---------

Anne's advancement is the same as in Method 1.

Bob's advancement:
ECL Class 1 Class 2
1* LA LA
2* LA LA
3* LA LA
4* Wemic Psion
5* Wemic Psion
6* Wemic Psion
7 Wemic Psion
8 Wemic Psion
9 Fighter Psion

End result: Wemic Fighter 1/Psion 6.


Sorry for the long-winded examples, just making sure we're on the same
page.

In my opinion, neither of the two methods is very satisfactory. In
theory, we'd want Bob to have the equivalent of 9 Gestalt levels in
power. With Method 1, he clearly has more power than that; and with
Method 2, he clearly has less.

After having done the math, I think Method 1 is a lot more balanced. It
does favour the wemic a bit, compared to a normal Gestal character, but
not too much. If I were the DM, I'd simply say that a Gestalt Wemic can
use Method 1, but has an LA of +4, not +3. My calculations suggest that
this is the most balanced option.

If you're not comfortable with changing LA's for Gestalts, then I
suggest you just go with what you suggested. The balance issues are not
going to be severe, since Wemics (like almost all high LA races) are
slightly underpowered normally.

Laszlo
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 2:36:07 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
>
> Ah, hm. A very interesting problem. Let's look at the specific
example.
> A wemic has 5 racial hit dice and a level adjustment of +5.

Um, typo. The LA is +3, obviously.

Laszlo
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 12:36:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:

> Ah, hm. A very interesting problem. Let's look at the specific example.
> A wemic has 5 racial hit dice and a level adjustment of +5.
>
> In a gestalt game, there are two ways to look at level adjustments. The
> first method is the one you talked about: it only takes up one of the
> two classes. The second method is to have it take up both classes.
>
> To clarify, let's look at a normal ECL 9 Gestalt character (Anne), and
> an ECL 9 Gestal Wemic (Bob). Best viewed in a fixed-width font.
>
> METHOD 1:
> ---------
> Anne's advancement:
> ECL Class 1 Class 2
> 1 Fighter Sorcerer
> 2 Fighter Sorcerer
> 3 Fighter Sorcerer
> 4 Fighter Sorcerer
> 5 Fighter Sorcerer
> 6 Fighter Sorcerer
> 7 Fighter Sorcerer
> 8 Fighter Sorcerer
> 9 Fighter Sorcerer
>
> End result: Fighter 9/Sorcerer 9
>
> Bob's advancement:
> ECL Class 1 Class 2
> 1 Wemic LA
> 2 Wemic LA
> 3 Wemic LA
> 4 Wemic Psion
> 5 Wemic Psion
> 6 Fighter Psion
> 7 Fighter Psion
> 8 Fighter Psion
> 9 Fighter Psion
>
> End result: Wemic Fighter 4/Psion 6.

That's the situation I was thinking about.
>
> METHOD 2:
> ---------
>
> Anne's advancement is the same as in Method 1.
>
> Bob's advancement:
> ECL Class 1 Class 2
> 1* LA LA
> 2* LA LA
> 3* LA LA
> 4* Wemic Psion
> 5* Wemic Psion
> 6* Wemic Psion
> 7 Wemic Psion
> 8 Wemic Psion
> 9 Fighter Psion
>
> End result: Wemic Fighter 1/Psion 6.

I thought about something similar to this before making my original
post. I just saw it as a problem because level adjustment was assigned
based on balance against a normal single-classed level, rather than
gestalt. To make this solution work, we need to figure out how to
reduce the assigned level adjustment without over- or under- powering
either character.

I suppose if you assume a gestalt character is worth about 1.5 regular
characters, you get (+3 LA) / 1.5 = +2 LA. I just have no idea how to
decide if that would be balanced.

>
> Sorry for the long-winded examples, just making sure we're on the same
> page.
>
> In my opinion, neither of the two methods is very satisfactory. In
> theory, we'd want Bob to have the equivalent of 9 Gestalt levels in
> power. With Method 1, he clearly has more power than that; and with
> Method 2, he clearly has less.
>
> After having done the math, I think Method 1 is a lot more balanced. It
> does favour the wemic a bit, compared to a normal Gestal character, but
> not too much. If I were the DM, I'd simply say that a Gestalt Wemic can
> use Method 1, but has an LA of +4, not +3. My calculations suggest that
> this is the most balanced option.

Okay. So in the long run, the disadvantage of having only one class
choice does balance out a "non-empty" level adjustment? If, you have
enough such levels, that is.

I suppose it makes sense now that I think about another example. A 0
hit die +3 Level Adjustment has 3 levels of a single class when everyone
else has two classes for those three levels. Racial hit dice just might
might things a little shaky.

> If you're not comfortable with changing LA's for Gestalts, then I
> suggest you just go with what you suggested. The balance issues are not
> going to be severe, since Wemics (like almost all high LA races) are
> slightly underpowered normally.
>
> Laszlo

Thanks for the help,

-Tialan
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 4:38:18 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
> Tialan wrote:
> > laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
> > > Tialan wrote:
>
> To clarify, let's look at a normal ECL 9 Gestalt character (Anne),
and
> an ECL 9 Gestal Wemic (Bob). Best viewed in a fixed-width font.
>
> METHOD 1:
> ---------
> Anne's advancement:
> ECL Class 1 Class 2
> 1 Fighter Sorcerer
> 2 Fighter Sorcerer
> 3 Fighter Sorcerer
> 4 Fighter Sorcerer
> 5 Fighter Sorcerer
> 6 Fighter Sorcerer
> 7 Fighter Sorcerer
> 8 Fighter Sorcerer
> 9 Fighter Sorcerer
>
> End result: Fighter 9/Sorcerer 9
>
> Bob's advancement:
> ECL Class 1 Class 2
> 1 Wemic LA
> 2 Wemic LA
> 3 Wemic LA
> 4 Wemic Psion
> 5 Wemic Psion
> 6 Fighter Psion
> 7 Fighter Psion
> 8 Fighter Psion
> 9 Fighter Psion
>
> End result: Wemic Fighter 4/Psion 6.
>

Not how I would do it, end result is nearly the same, but not quite.

Based on Savage Species (best of my memory any way) and wemic is
clearly 1 class not 2 by itself

Bob's advancement:
ECL Class 1 Class 2
1 Wemic Psion
2 LA Psion
3 Wemic Psion
4 Wemic Psion
5 LA Psion
6 Wemic Psion
7 LA Psion
8 Wemic Psion
9 Fighter Psion

Of course you could multi-class on the class 2 side, and end up with
the same classes as your method 1, but you also have the option of 9
levels of one class, which works out better for casters. Not sure how
severe the LA is going to be on the levels where you don't get
anything, since you get a full other class. It MIGHT be a bit
overpowered, but then I'm sure you can find gestalt character
combinations far more powerful.

Personally I'd never run a gestalt campain, it's just a munchkin's wet
dream. I'd rather have people run multiple characters if necessary.

- Justisaur.
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 5:16:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur wrote:

> Personally I'd never run a gestalt campain, it's just a munchkin's
wet
> dream.

What do you mean by this? For instance, why would munchkins enjoy
playing level 4 Gestalts more than they'd enjoy playing level 8 normal
characters, for instance? Or do you just not like powerful characters,
and only run low-level campaigns?

And most importantly, why is it bad if the munchkins get to have fun,
too? Are you saying that _only_ munchkins enjoy playing Gestalt
characters? This is certainly not true. Do you really hate munchkins so
much that letting them have fun is a BAD thing in and of itself?

Laszlo
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 9:14:27 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Justisaur wrote:

> Personally I'd never run a gestalt campain, it's just a munchkin's wet
> dream. I'd rather have people run multiple characters if necessary.

Eh, like the rule set says- it's for high-powered campaigns. If you
don't like high-powered campaigns, you aren't apt to like the rules for
those campaigns.

Anyway, this query was spurred by brainstorming ways to convert some
multi-class character concepts from a fairly high-powered 2nd edition
campaign. A 3rd edition version of the character would have to be much
higher level than the concept called for because he now has the racial
hit dice and level adjustment, whereas he didn't have either of those in
2nd edition. If the character was a straight warrior type, there would
have been less of a problem, as wemics are already geared for that.

And yes, I have considered making a weaker version of the wemic. But I
just wanted to toy with this idea a bit. Plus I don't own Savage
Species, but I do own Unearthed Arcana, so gestalt idea is a bit easier
for me to toy with. :-)

-Tialan
!