I'm currently playing a D&D 3.5 campaign, and I'm playing a gnoll that is Large sized. (Gnolls are normally Medium.)

A long time ago, I was told that a Player Character could be one size larger with a +1 Level Adjustment. However, we never found out where that person read that in any of the books. So, the other day, my friend is researching monsters and comes across Table 4-2 on Page 291 of the Monster Manual, which points out size adjustment causes stat adjustments to AC, Natural armor, and Strength, Dexterity and Constitution. From Medium to Large, the Str, Dex, and Con Adjustments(+8, -2, +4 and nat armor +2, respectively) would — according to acid testing rules — make the LA higher.

The ECL Limit of the Campaign is 10. As it stands now, I am a Gnoll 2(Hit Dice)/Fighter 2/ Dragonfire adept 4, with a LA of +2 (because I am a gnoll and under the assumption that making him large is a +1 LA.)

My questions are as follows:

  • Do these stat adjustments apply to any character who increases in size?
  • Is there a place in the D&D books where it says making your character one size larger is only LA +1? If so, where?
  • Is it even possible to create a character with a Size that is atypical of its race?

The details of my character are largely irrelevant to the questions at hand, except that if indeed the second question's answer is no, then I would have to kill off the current character and make a new one. The reason I want a large Gnoll is to be unusual and creative, and gnolls are cool. The reason I'm not trying to go over the suggested cap is because it makes it easier on the DM when it comes to Encounter and EXP calculations.


2 Answers 2


I believe Savage Species, which is 3.0 but was the last thing put out before 3.5 and is therefore a pretty good guide to such things (and way more comprehensive than the blurbs in the 3.5e MM). It leads me to answer these questions thus...

  1. Sometimes. Savage Species says about applying templates,

    If the template changes the base creature’s size, use the Size Increases table in the introduction of the Monster Manual to calculate changes to natural armor, Armor Class, and attack rolls. Check the text of the template to see if you apply size modifiers to Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution. The Abilities line may already account for those. Add all ability score modifiers, from size and the Abilities line, from the template to the base creature’s ability scores.

  2. Not per se. When discussing how to come up with the LA of a monster, it says,

    Size: A Large creature gets no level adjustment for size. Its level adjustment is based on its reach instead. A Small creature gets a –1 level adjustment. It is somewhat harder to hit than a Medium-size one, but it moves more slowly and must use smaller weapons. A Small creature also typically has a lower Strength score than a Medium-size creature. Reach: Beyond 5 feet, every additional 5 feet of reach is worth an additional +1 level adjustment. A monster with a 10-foot reach gets a +1 level adjustment, and a monster with a 15-foot reach gets a +2 level adjustment.

  3. If your GM allows it, anything's possible. You might want to look into Savage Species for more guidance. If he were to sign off on you being a Large gnoll with a starting ECL of 4 and a LA of +2, you could then have six character levels to cap out at ECL 10.


Half-Minotaur template (DR 313) is quite good.

Among other benefits (which could be found in indexes, for example here) it offers a size increase for small and medium creatures - with all the corresponding changes in statistics, as per Monster Manual. For medium creatures that means heaps of Strength and a pack of other bonuses for a meager +1 LA.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have investigated this this thoroughly and it works best when combined with something that is both medium and has powerful build. though in its own is still worth +1 LA. \$\endgroup\$
    – Novian
    May 12, 2013 at 15:07

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