I'm familiar with UA's "LA Buyoff", wherein a high-level character can spend XP to reduce their level adjustment, as well as PGtF's "Powerful Races at 1st Level", which basically gives negative level penalties for LA races that turn into regular level adjustments as you gain your first few levels. (There's also "Savage Progressions", but those aren't really ways for getting rid of LA, since they come with the full LA of the final monster.)

Both of these approaches simply take the issue of level adjustments and move them to different spots in character progression, though. Is there any way to simply get rid of level adjustments altogether?

I have seen one method, used in E6, where LA races simply get fewer points with which to buy ability scores. Does this have any basis in official Dungeons and Dragons products, though, or is it just for E6? It seems to imply that regular races get a 32-point point buy, so I'm guessing the latter, but I thought I'd bring it up.

(I also know Savage Species had some general guidelines on how to determine level adjustments, but they seem more intent on giving LA based on features rather reducing LA, like by converting LA into RHD (since working backwards with its LA guidelines is basically going backwards through a savage progression, aka removing racial features))

All that is to say, I'm looking for a method that: Gets rid of LA (from 1st level all the way up), doesn't sacrifice racial features, and isn't homebrew/houserule. Is there such a thing, or would I have better luck chasing unicorns?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you accepting cheese? I can recall some dirty trick where you change species to dodge LA. \$\endgroup\$
    – J. Mini
    Apr 20, 2020 at 1:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ If nothing else, I'm willing to hear what the cheese is so that I know all my options! \$\endgroup\$
    – 47948201
    Apr 20, 2020 at 2:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @47948201 I think any request for cheese should be a separate question, with a lot more detail about precisely what you’re trying to do—what race you want, what template, what you need to keep, what you need to get rid of, and so on. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 20, 2020 at 16:40

2 Answers 2


No official product, to my knowledge, recommends reduced point buy, or otherwise weakened ability score generation, for powerful races. I have seen (and used) this idea myself on a number of occasions, from various sources (including E6), but none of them were official. It’s just a semi-common houserule.

That isn’t to say that Wizards of the Coast was unaware of the problems that LA caused. You can see a progression in the options that they produced where they tried harder and harder to avoid LA—for example, see how they provided the draconic template as a “lesser half-dragon” to avoid the LA on the latter, and then when even the minimal LA on draconic still proved too much (and it is), they tried the dragonblood subtype. LA buy-off, Savage Species-style leveling, and so on, were all experiments in trying to work around the problems of LA, but none of them worked. In the end, most attempts were primarily similar to dragonblood—see Libris Mortis’s necropolitan, or Eberron Campaign Setting’s warforged, for LA +0 approaches to the undead and construct types, respectively.

But if you want the full-power LA’d option, and there isn’t just some alternative out there, then you’re out of luck. Your question covers all of the extant schemes for getting out of LA, barring extreme cheese like shapechanging or reincarnation.

For what it’s worth, Wizards’ movement towards LA +0 options is my approach as well: any time a player wishes to use a race or template with LA, I try to homebrew an LA +0 replacement for it instead. I don’t allow LA at all in my games—if I can’t come up with a fair LA +0 replacement, it just isn’t an option. LA causes far too many problems for me to be willing to deal with it any other way—for all I am totally on-board with unusual PCs.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Something that I've had luck with, from both sides of the screen, is for the GM to grant all PCs X levels of free LA (where X is usually 1 and once or twice 2). It seems to have gotten around the worst of LA's problems, especially with regards to casters. \$\endgroup\$
    – minnmass
    Apr 20, 2020 at 2:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @minnmass It’s better than a lot of other approaches, but I find that far too many LA things are just... problems, that the game is just better off without. Too many games I’ve been in with that approach have just been... not great, so I don’t use it myself. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 20, 2020 at 2:48

There may be no RAW, but there is a RAI method that comes close.

Savage Species presents the concept of converting racial HD and LA into racial levels, and provides guidance on the conversion process. It also presents the concept of 'younger' version of races that have weaker or not yet obtained signature abilities. Sadly, it stipulates taking all of a monster's "levels" before taking any class levels. (But read on....)

Savage Progressions takes the concept a step further and converts templates with and without HD into levels (in other words, pure LA templates too). This solidly grounds the concept of converting LA and HD into class-equivalent levels.

Savage Progressions also presents the concept of no longer having to finish a monster/template progression before taking class levels, and freely 'multiclassing' HD levels, class levels, and LA levels. The rules presented appear to be most frequently read by the community to mean that they only apply to the templates listed in the articles, rather than a global alternate ruling. (But read on....)

Unearthed Arcana presented the concept of buying off LA.

Combining these existing rules and allowing the more recent Savage Progression ruling on taking levels freely to apply to and override both Unearthed Arcana (when one is allowed to buy off LA) and Savage Species (apply the concept to all non-template levels - HD, classes, templates, etc) and applying the ruling concept in general rather than specifically (the RAI part), and we have a method of almost accomplishing what you are after.

Take one level of LA, buying it off at the third level subsequent, then take the second level of LA, buy it off three levels later, and repeat.

This interpretation of the rules provides a method that allows one to buyoff 6 levels of LA over the course of an 18 level build, at a reasonable cost in XP.

Furthermore, as KRyan noted, using Savage Species as guidelines, it is quite possible to convert LA races/templates into LA+0 using various methods and guidelines provided in Savage Species: such as spreading out the abilities over multiple levels, or weakening the abilities into lesser versions of themselves over multiple levels.

Using the rules in this fashion is technically official, as guidance is given for how to apply it globally, much in the way that using the magic item creation rules to create an item also technically makes that item official, since it follows the official rules presented for doing exactly such, or how the research rules can be used to create official spells and powers that were not printed anywhere, again, because official rules were given for accomplishing exactly that.

Please note that not everyone agrees with this interpretation of combining these rules in this fashion, but it is as close to official as one will be able to get, since it is using the official rules already presented in only minimally creative ways.

Furthermore, I quote both the authors of the original books that I have personally communicated with and discussed rules interpretations with, as well as the DMG:

(DMs)'re in charge... ...(they) are the final arbiter of the rules within the game... ...(DMs) have ultimate authority over the game mechanics, even superseding something in a rulebook.

DMG p.6

(The original quote was speaking directly to the DM and used the words you and yours, etc..)

And that is the official rules. Since the rules themselves grant the DM authority exceeding all rulebooks, anything the DM decides IS official (in your game) as per the rules themselves.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don’t endorse “tak[ing] Savage Species as guidelines” for anything. Their guidance is often worse-than-useless. Do the conversion, but figure it out yourself—and if you lack the skills to do so, just don’t. Savage Species will not help you. Also, it’s pretty disingenuous to claim that your twisting of the logic from LA buy-of and Savage Species is in any way official, sanctioned, or intended by the authors. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 20, 2020 at 15:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ My so-called "twisting of the logic" contains far less cheese or homebrew than many other unofficial suggestions you have endorsed with your answers. I have consulted with the original authors, multiple times, on rules interpretations, so I have a tiny bit of insight into what was intended, rather than extrapolating solely from published materials. Furthermore, as the DMG states, anything the DM adjudicates is official, more than anything in the rulebooks. Plus I clearly stated that my method is RAI, not RAW. So I am interpreting a combo of the rules (slightly) in favor of the OP. \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Apr 20, 2020 at 16:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ You are welcome to not endorse something, but Savage Species, the other rules cited, and all the guidance laid out therein (with all of it's warts and glory) is official whether you like it or not. Applying some (very minimal) cheese to the official rules (Savage Species, Savage Progressions, and Unearthed Arcana), which my RAI could certainly qualify as, absolutely meets the request of the OP. Plus it's using official material with minimal alteration. \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Apr 20, 2020 at 16:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, another problem with your answer: misuse, or abuse, of “RAI” as a term. Please avoid using it. I have no idea if you mean to assert “intent”—which you do not demonstrate, “clearly” or otherwise—or simply mean “not RAW,” but that very ambiguity is why you should simply never use the term “RAI” in the first place. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 20, 2020 at 16:32

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