Discussion:New user questions

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New user questions[edit]

SharkD 15:18, 31 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Firstly, I noticed that SRD:Gelatinous Cube has a bunch of values crossed out and replaced with green text. What is this supposed to represent?

Secondly, SRD:Reading Creature Entries#Level Adjustment says, "Add this number to the creature’s total Hit Dice, including class levels, to get the creature’s effective character level (ECL)." I don't understand this completely. Which part of the creature's HD am I adding? Just the part before the "d"? If a creature's HD is "4d10+32", am I just adding the "4"?


Ghostwheel 121, 31 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

The first part means that certain parts have been changed by errata, or that they've been recalculated correctly.

The second part is a little more complicated; to find your ECL (Effective Character Level), you add up your racial Hit Die (from a monster class, like centaur has 4), your LA (said centaur has +2), and any class levels you have. That's your effective character level, which counts for things like XP and how much wealth you should have, while only your HD, both racial and class levels, count for feats, ability boosts, BAB, etc. So yes, in the example above where you had 4d10, it sounds like the monster you were looking at has 4 racial HD. To make it a level 1 character, you'd add its Level Adjustment (LA) to its HD, and on top of that take one level in a class of your choice. So back to the centaur; 4 (Racial HD) + 2 (LA) + 1 (Level in a regular class, such as Fighter for this example) means that a Fighter 1 Centaur is effectively a level 7 character for the purpose of XP. Hope this clears things up :-)

SharkD 15:23, 31 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Thirdly, when determining a creature's advancement, where do the extra HD get added? The gelatinous cube has a normal HD of "4d10+32". The Advancement section in the description says that "5–12 HD" can be added to for the Huge version. Do I just pick a number between 5 and 12 and add it to 32?

Ghostwheel 15:27, 31 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

It means that if you raise the cube's HD to 5-12, you should also increase its size to Huge, since +32 means bonus HP from high constitution and such. The part you're looking at is the 4d10, which tells you how many Hit Dice it has. If you raise it from 4 to 5-12, you should also make it Huge by the rules.

SharkD 15:29, 31 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Awesome, thanks! Am I supposed to leave the other stats (STR, CON, Saves, etc.) the same when "Advancing" a monster?

Ghostwheel 15:35, 31 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

In theory, as the DM you can change whatever you like. However, by the rules you should change the stats as a monster advances in size, as per table 4-2 on page 291 of the Monster Manual. So going from Large to Huge, you would add +8 str, -2 dex, +4 con, +3 Natural Armor, and -1 to attack and damage from size penalties. The con would change the +32 to something higher--before it was a +8 bonus, which becomes +10, so you'd multiple the number of HD by 10 to find the extra HP from high constitution.

SharkD 16:15, 31 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Darn. I don't own this book. Thank you for the impressively fast response, though!

SharkD 16:28, 31 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

I found an article here on the subject: SRD:Improving Creatures. I'm having difficulty understanding the "Ability Score Arrays" section, however. Do I just add the values in the table to the creature's existing ability scores? Or, do I multiply by the value and then divide by 10? Is this section mandatory? Which values in the table are which? I.e which is STR, which is CON, etc.?

Ghostwheel 23:10, 31 July 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Yeah, that's the page. The table I mentioned is identical to this one. And yes, you add the values on top of the monster's existing ones. So if we were looking at the Cube whose base Constitution is 26, making it Huge would increase it to 30 (+4) giving it a +10 Constitution modifier. If we went about making it Gargantuan, according to the table it would increase by another 4 to 34, becoming a +12 modifier to Constitution. For the table, look at the top; the first column is the old size, the second is the new size, third is Strength change, then Constitution change, followed by Natural Armor and then size penalties/bonuses. And finally, no, as the DM you do not "have" to do anything. These are simply suggestions by the game designers, since creatures that are bigger are usually stronger to compensate for having to move more body mass.

SharkD 01:28, 1 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

I think you misunderstood. My last post was in regards to SRD:Improving Creatures#Ability Score Arrays, specifically what to do with the "Elite" and "Nonelite" arrays.

Ghostwheel 01:39, 1 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Ah, gotcha. Monster stats are usually given for an average monster--that is, 10 in every stat. For example, an average half-orc would have the stats of 12 10 10 8 10 8, while the average gnome would have 8 10 12 10 10 10. By taking the elite array, you simply insert the numbers where-ever you wish. So for example, A half-orc with the elite array might have the following stats: 17 (15+2), 13 (13), 14 (14), 8 (10-2), 12 (12), 6 (8-2). We simply substituted the base scores with the elite array, placing them where we wished. So basically, you take the number, subtract 10, and then add (or subtract if it's negative) to the creature's current scores. That make a bit more sense?

SharkD 03:31, 1 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Yes, thanks! However: the article also says, "Most creatures are built using the standard array of ability scores: 11, 11, 11, 10, 10, 10, adjusted by racial modifiers." As opposed to having all 10s I guess. This makes sense, since the benefits and costs of the Nonelite array then cancel each other out.

TK-Squared 04:25, 1 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

"All 10s" and "standard array" are pretty much the same thing. The standard array just counts for the odd numbers. --TK-Squared 04:25, 1 August 2009 (MDT)

SharkD 20:50, 1 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Now, on to SRD:Improving Creatures#Increasing Hit Dice. I find the table to be confusing. What do they mean by "HD x3/4"? What if the number of HD is 3? Do I add a fraction such as 9/4 to the attack bonus? Do I modify each and every one of a creature's attacks? Do I add only a single point to each saving throw listed in the fourth column?

Ghostwheel 21:16, 1 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

That's the BAB of a given creature type; so Dragons and Outsiders (for example) gain BAB as if they were an equal-level Fighter (1:1), while Elementals gain BAB as though they were an equal level cleric (+3 BAB for every 4 HD they gain). See the cleric/rogue classes for how their BAB progression stands, which will show you how to advance a creature's BAB by their HD. This should clear up the fraction questions. And yes, since it's an increase to their base attack bonus, you would add the number of every one of the creature's attacks.

The saves are the same--just compare the number of HD to the number of levels an equal-level XYZ gets that has high (or low) saves for that saving throw (cleric gets Fort and Will high, Rogue gets Ref high) and adjust accordingly.

SharkD 23:34, 1 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

What do I do in the case of Humanoid creatures, where the table says, "Varies (any one)" for the high save?

Also, regarding the BAB, is this value already included in the creature tables? For instance, the SRD:Bugbear has a BAB of +2, and his attacks are "Morningstar +5 melee (1d8+2) or javelin +3 ranged (1d6+2)". Has the BAB already been added to the attacks' hit die? What about the SRD:Gnoll? It has a BAB of +1 and his attacks are "Battleaxe +3 melee (1d8+2/x3) or shortbow +1 ranged (1d6/x3)".

According to SRD:Attack Roll, the melee attacks should be BAB + STR BONUS + SIZE BONUS. For the Bugbear this means 2 + 2 + 0 = 4. For the Gnoll this means 1 + 2 + 0 = 3.

SharkD 23:48, 1 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

I forgot about the Bugbear's Weapon Focus feat which adds +1 to the melee attack bonus, so that explains that.

However, I'm still not sure how the damage values in the parentheses are calculated. I know the die part comes from the weapon table, but I can't figure out the bonus. Is it simply the strength bonus? If so, why does the Gnoll not have a strength bonus on his ranged attack?

SharkD 00:15, 2 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Finally, is a creature's Level Adjustment something that is calculated based on its stats, or is it simply something that was made up by whomever created the creature?

Ghostwheel 08:20, 2 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

A creature's LA should be based on their stats; unfortunately, some game designers don't understand "balance" and thus assign an LA that is too high (the psionic goblin, Blues) or too low (some White Dragonspawn, if I remember correctly) to various templates. Thus, both a DM and a player should have a sense of what is balanced and what's not, and redo LA if it's incorrect.

The Bugbear's damage comes from its +2 Str mod, since it isn't wielding either of the two weapons two-handed. If it was, it would be dealing 1.5 * str mod, or +3. The gnoll doesn't get his str bonus on the bow because one only adds str mod to damage on thrown and melee weapons, not on bows. However, one can buy special Composite bows to add one's strength damage to the attack. That clear things up?

SharkD 09:47, 2 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Thanks! That's what I thought. But, SRD:Attack Roll says that a Dex bonus is added to ranged weapon attacks. Are they not listed in the table by convention?

TheWarforgedArtificer 10:01, 2 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Yes, the Dexertiy bonus is also always added for you, just like the strength bonus. But, if you look closer at the gnoll, you'll find their dexterity is only 10, so they don't have a bonus to add. Is that what you were asking?

SharkD 11:32, 3 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Thank you, I overlooked that. I've got tons of figures written down in front of me. :)

SharkD 18:34, 3 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

I'm a little confused about Epic levels. Let's say a character has 10 cleric levels and 15 fighter levels. Do I continue to refer to the class tables when determining saves and attack bonuses, or do I stop and instead refer to the Epic levels table once the character reaches 20 levels in total? I've got a spreadsheet full of characters who I want to advance by one level. Some of them are epic, and this will make things a lot more difficult (but not impossible).

Ghostwheel 18:45, 3 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

The first, as soon as you hit level 21, you refer to the epic table for BAB/saving throws.

SharkD 18:47, 3 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Do you mean the second? Also, does the same go for monsters, and do I first have to calculate the ECL for them?

Ghostwheel 18:53, 3 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Right, meant the second. And same would go for monsters if they have class levels, but not for HD, I believe. So in general, you wouldn't need to figure out the ECL.

SharkD 19:00, 3 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

What do I do if they don't have class levels? The Improving Creatures article refers me to the class tables when determining saves and attack bonuses, but these tables only go up to level 20.

Ghostwheel 07:45, 4 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Simply continue the progression--it's not hard to figure out every how many levels each save rises, etc.

SharkD 19:52, 4 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

As soon as the 20+ level monster gains a class I must immediately start using the epic levels table for the class levels, right?

SharkD 20:53, 4 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

A couple of questions regarding classes. First, most spellcasting classes begin the "Spells per Day" portions of their charts with "0th" level spells. The Ranger table begins with "1st" level spells. Does the Ranger not have any 0 level spells? Second, the Cleric table has "+1" next to every spell per day. Do I simply add these two numbers together?

Ehsteve 21:17, 4 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Okay, Rangers DO NOT gain any 0 level spells because that was the way they were designed, much like the paladin. do not concern yourself with this as it is simply the class design. As for the cleric spell slots per day with the +1. This is a tricky subject, so i'll try and surmize it asap.

Clerics get 2 'domains' at 1st level granted by their deity (whom they designate upon character creation, although this may be changed at any given time but it is best to consult your dungeon master first) now each of these domains has a specific given ability as well as a list of spell as seen this common example: The Sun Domain. Now at '1.' this is a first level spell you may prepare that '+1' slot in for a first level spell slot or higher. This +1 slot may ONLY be used for domain spells. Each number next to the domain spell is the spell level - i.e. 1 is 1st, 2 is 2nd blah blah up until 9 which is 9th. You CANNOT use this slot to prepare any spell other than ONE of the two domain spells of that level.

i.e. if i choose both the Healing Domain and Sun Domain and i am a first level cleric, i get a choice between either endure elements or cure light wounds to prepare in that '+1' slot.

If I am a 3rd level cleric I now have a '+1' for my 1st level AND 2nd level spell slots (I have two '+1' spell slots). This means that i get to choose two out of the four domain spells (endure elements, cure light wounds, heat metal or cure moderate wounds now available to me and prepare then in a chosen '+1' slot. REMEMBER: you cannot prepare a spell in a slot lower than the spell level (i.e. i can't prepare a 2nd level spell in a 1st level slot) but you can do vice versa (i can prepare a 1st level spell in a 2nd level slot to improve the DC of the spell)

SharkD 22:42, 4 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Thanks for the explanation!

SharkD 02:17, 5 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

In the Cleric article it says, "Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)". Does the "×" mean I should multiply "2 + Int modifier" by four, or add four? Also, does "1st level" mean the first class level or first character level?

Ghostwheel 02:20, 5 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

You multiply the whole thing by 4. So an elf cleric with 12 int would have (2 + 1) * 4 = 12 skill points at first level. And it's only at your first character level, not class level.

SharkD 02:43, 5 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

So, a monster or multiclass character would forgo this one-time bonus?

Ghostwheel 02:45, 5 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Monsters get it at their first HD anyway, and multiclass characters get it with their first class, so they don't really forgo it--just don't get it twice.

SharkD 03:10, 5 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Thanks! How many points do monsters get on their first HD? Also, where might I find info on how many additional ability points characters (not monsters) can get when they level up? Is it race or class-dependant?

Ghostwheel 03:19, 5 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

If a character gains a racial HD, it's the same as for monsters--simply goes off their type, else it's by their class.

SharkD 04:13, 5 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

The table in SRD:Improving Creatures#Increasing Hit Dice doesn't explicitely say what the starting skill bonus is for each type. Should I instead go by the class name listed in the "Attack Bonus" column of the table? Or, should I try and match up the values in the "Skill Points" column with a class, and then go by the class's starting bonus? (Every class gives a x4 starting bonus, BTW.) Also, the table doesn't say anything about ability score increases.

Ghostwheel 04:21, 5 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Nah, go by type, as per the page I linked before. For example, every Aberration hit die gives an extra 2+int skill points.

SharkD 04:32, 5 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Duh, I didn't realize the types had their own articles.

SharkD 04:50, 5 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

The article says:

  1. As long as a creature has an Intelligence of at least 1, it gains a minimum of 1 skill point per Hit Die.
  2. Creatures with an Intelligence score of “—” gain no skill points or feats.

What do I do when Intelligence is zero?

TheWarforgedArtificer 10:21, 5 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

No creature has an Intelligence score of zero naturally (to my knowledge). If something -does- have an intelligence score of zero (usually because somethin happened to it to reduce scores), then it is now a vegetable. And I'm not talking about the Plant Type, either. It ain't waking up.

Rith (talk) 10:37, 5 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Just, for future reference, things having zero's in ability scores, means something up:

  1. Strength-If you've got a zero in strength, then your body is too weak to even move, and you are effectively helpless.
  2. Dexterity-If you've got a zero in dexterity, then your body is effectively in a state of rigir mortis, and, you are helpless again.
  3. Constitution-If you've got a zero in constitution, then you have the health of a corpse.
  4. Intelligence-If you've got a zero in intelligence, then you are everything the metal artist above me said.
  5. Wisdom-If you've got a zero in wisdom, then you would prolly drink a gallon of acid, thinking that it'd give you acid breathe.
  6. Charisma-If you've got a zero in charisma, then you have no will to live, and just sit there, starring at the cieling.

Hope this helps.

SharkD 11:39, 5 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Yes, it helps. Thanks!

SharkD 09:57, 6 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

OK, back to epic levels. It seems I misunderstood an important point my first time around. I know that I'm supposed to refer to the epic table for saves and attack bonuses as soon as a character reaches character level 21. However, what about feats, special abilities and spells per day? For these things, is class level the only important factor? I.e., do I refer to a class's "normal" table as when a character's class level is below 20, regardless of its character level?

SharkD 11:09, 6 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

I guess a chart would help. I created one on my user page. Did I do everything correctly?

Ghostwheel 11:49, 6 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

What are the 15 levels made of? How many are racial HD, how many are LA, and what type of creature?

SharkD 12:38, 6 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Assume the creature is a Human. The first 15 levels are simple HD increases--i.e. no classes. No level adjustment. (However, I'm also interested in knowing what differences having some LA would incur.)

SharkD 19:00, 6 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

I updated the table slightly to reflect the fact that ability scores and non-bonus feats increase at the same rate, regardless of character or class level.

SharkD 04:34, 8 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

I'd really like to know whether I constructed the table properly.

Ghostwheel 17:46, 8 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Humans don't have any racial HD, so you need classes there.

SharkD 00:27, 9 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Are you sure? The Creature Improvement by Type table says Humanoids have d8 racial hit die. The article doesn't say anything about treating Humans differently.

SharkD 00:32, 9 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Correction. It does say this:

"[Humanoid] Creatures with 1 or less HD replace their monster levels with their character levels. The monster loses the attack bonus, saving throw bonuses, skills, and feats granted by its 1 monster HD and gains the attack bonus, save bonuses, skills, feats, and other class abilities of a 1st-level character of the appropriate class."

It doesn't mention hit die replacement, but I assumed it was implied. The level 1 example Warrior in SRD:Human also has the same number of hit die sides.

SharkD 02:37, 9 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

I think this section answers my other questions. Four new questions however:

  1. Can creatures have a negative HP bonus?
  2. Which bonus feats are rogues allowed to select instead of special abilities?
  3. When selecting a non-bonus feat, what limitations are there? Can a character select from among any of the epic or non-epic feats?
  4. When determining which skills do or do not receive a bonus, do all of a character's classes count or just the most recent class?

Ghostwheel 03:10, 9 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

  1. Yes, if they have a Constitution score below 10.
  2. I (and I think most DMs would also agree) would say any bonus feat for which you fulfill the prerequisites. However, some builds claim that you can get any feat in any book, including epic feats. Check with your DM.
  3. What do you mean? Feats that aren't bonus feats are usually specified. But in short, you usually have to fulfill the prerequisites for the feats unless it explicitly says otherwise, for example with the Reventant Blade from Player's Guide to Eberron.
  4. Bonus? What bonus? You mean skill points? You put ranks into skills for each class you have individually, though the maxes of previous class skills remain at the normal height.

Valentine the Rogue 03:20, 9 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

  1. Sorry, Ghostwheel, but no, you can't. In the PHb, page 58, Experience and Levels, 5. Hit Points, it says "Even if the character has a Constitustion penalty and the roll was so low as to yield a result of 0 or fewer hit points, always ad at least 1 hit point upon gaining a new level.
  2. The original intent was for it to be any feat for which you fill the prerequisites, but many decide to take it literally where it says any feat and ignore the prerequisites. Check with your DM, though he's likely to say you must met the prereqs. I'm agreeing with Ghostwheel.
  3. Nonbonus feats as in feats from leveling up? Any feat from leveling up or that otherwise doesn't have to be from a specific list must have its prerequisites met to be taken. Epic feats require the character to be at least level 21 to take them, besides having exorbitant prereqs that you probably won't fill until much later.
  4. I'm going to go with Ghostwheel again and ask what do you mean by bonuses?

SharkD 03:43, 9 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

  1. OK.
  2. OK.
  3. Yes, I meant the normal feats upon level-up. Thanks.
  4. I meant "bonus" in the sense that you get a full rank per skill point for class skills, whereas cross-class skills only get 1/2 a rank. My question is, do you get the full rank per skill point if the skill is a class skill of any one of your classes (i.e. a multiclass character)?

Ghostwheel 10:50, 9 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Valentine, on #1 I meant for, say, a character with 8 constitution and 10 HD. If they take average HP (for example), they'll still take a -10 penalty to HP due to low con. Or if someone suffers 2 points of con damage, they'll take another -10 penalty to HP due to their Constitution score worsening.

And you only consider skills a class skill if the class you're taking it during the time that you buy it considers it a class skill.

SharkD 21:55, 11 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

Awesome, thanks! And, I'm glad to see the site is up and running again (I am wondering why it was down). However, I have more questions:

  1. Are there any feats which affect skill point usage or accumulation?
  2. I'm creating a table of abilities. How should I best organize them according to whether they are natural, supernatural, spell-like or psi-like? The table should also include monster and class abilities. I've been looking at SRD:Special Abilities, but I find it confusing because the abilities' type isn't always listed.
  3. What is the difference between a feat, class feature and special ability? They seem very similar in the types of things they allow a character or NPC to do. Are they only different in when and where they can be used or gained?

SharkD 02:34, 15 August 2009 (MDT)[edit]

In addition to the above questions, I have the following question:

  1. In the description of the SRD:Improved Spell Capacity feat, the prerequisite is, "Ability to cast spells of the normal maximum spell level in at least one spellcasting class." What does it mean when it says "spellcasting class"? Does it mean spellcasting school or type (e.g. Arcane, Divine)?

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