UA:Reducing Level Adjustments

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Reducing Level Adjustments

When a character with a Level Adjustment advances in experience, the Level Adjustment he started with becomes more and more of a burden. Eventually, the benefits of the creature type may come to be eclipsed by those of his class features, and the player may regret his choice of race. Under this variant system, the character can pay an experience cost at certain intervals to decrease the burden of his Level Adjustment.

Once the total of a character's class levels (not including any Hit Dice from his creature type or his Level Adjustment) reaches three times his Level Adjustment, his Level Adjustment is eligible to be decreased by 1.

For instance, a gnoll's Level Adjustment is +1. When a gnoll character gains his third class level (remember, the gnoll's 2 starting Hit Dice don't count as class levels), he can pay an experience cost to reduce his Level Adjustment to +0.

If the Level Adjustment is greater than +1, this process repeats until the creature's Level Adjustment reaches +0. Each time, use the creature's current Level Adjustment to determine the point at which the Level Adjustment can go down by 1. For example, a drow (level adjustment +2) may drop to Level Adjustment +1 after gaining her sixth class level, and then to +0 after gaining an additional three class levels.

Experience Point Cost

Each time a character's Level Adjustment is eligible to be reduced, the character may pay an experience cost to take advantage of the reduction. The character must pay an amount of experience equal to (his current Effective Character Level -1) times 1,000. This amount is immediately deducted from the character's experience total. The deduction should reduce the character's Effective Character Level by 1. If this deduction would not reduce the character's Effective Character Level by 1, the character's experience total is set at the maximum of the level below his current Effective Character Level instead. This experience cost can't be reversed in any way (and so not even by miracle or wish), and the payment must be voluntary on the part of the character. The payment must be made immediately upon becoming eligible to reduce the character's Level Adjustment.

For instance, a 2nd-level gnoll fighter (Effective Character Level 5) who later gains a third class level has a minimum of 15,000 XP (his Effective Character Level has just gone from 5 to 6). He is eligible to reduce his Level Adjustment from +1 to +0. He must pay 5,000 XP, since his Effective Character Level is now 6 (2 Hit Dice plus 3 class levels plus his +1 Level Adjustment). After he pays the experience, his Level Adjustment decreases from +1 to +0. He now has 10,000 XP. His Effective Character Level falls to 5 (2 Hit Dice plus 3 class levels). Even if the experience payment would not reduce him to 5th level—for instance, if his experience total after reaching 6th level were 20,000 or more — his experience total can't remain above the maximum for 5th level, which is 10,000. Effectively, the gnoll has "paid off" his Level Adjustment with an experience cost, and he is now permanently a 5th-level character.

Similarly, a drow cleric who has just reached 6th level (Effective Character Level 8) is eligible to reduce her Level Adjustment by 1, from +2 to +1. She must pay 7,000 experience, and her Effective Character Level becomes 7 (6 class levels plus her +1 Level Adjustment). When she gains her 9th class level (Effective Character Level 10), she can reduce her Level Adjustment to +0 (and her Effective Character Level to 9) by paying another 9,000 experience.

At first, this tradeoff may look like a bad idea. The drow cleric has now sacrificed 16,000 experience points, putting her behind her comrades in total class levels. Now, however, she progresses as if she had never had a Level Adjustment. With the self-correcting nature of the experience point system, she will soon catch up to the rest of her party, and will reach 20th level after earning a total of 206,000 experience (190,000 plus the 16,000 in experience costs for the Level Adjustment reduction). If she had not used this reduction system, she would have had to amass 231,000 experience to reach her 20th class level (which is Effective Character Level 22 for a normal drow with a +2 Level Adjustment).

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