I wanted to make a weaker succubus character, so I didn't need all the features of the ECL 12 version in the Monster Manual. Savage Species offers a progression on pages 195-197 that gives everything I really want by ECL 5--problem being, that's still 3 HD with a +2 LA. But that's at least way better than 6 HD, LA+6, so I decided to go with it, at least as a starting point.

(The specific homebrew aspects are as follows: 1: Savage Species says you need to finish an entire progression, but I'm cutting it off at ECL 5 to describe a "lesser succubus"--characters can't take any more Succubus class levels even if they wanted to. 2: Since Savage Species is 3.0, where succubi had way more spell-like abilities and a few other differences compared to 3.5, I'm taking only the features they have in common--so claws that deal 1d3, SLAs beginning and ending with detect good, detect thoughts, and suggestion, and only the following class skills: Bluff, Concentration, Disguise, Escape Artist, Hide, Knowledge (any 1), Listen, Move Silently, Search, and Spot. In the case of Alternate Form/Change Shape which is inconsistent between editions, I just made it work like the Changeling ability (RoE p.41), but usable as a standard action and with the option to hide wings/tail. 3: Since bonus languages aren't listed, I gave it "Any" (other than Druidic, etc.). 4: Since favored classes aren't specified beyond the Succubus class used for the savage progression, I made its favored classes any of the three listed as "the best multiclassing choices" (p.197), whichever one the character takes a level in first. 5: A very minor change to its type/subtype, to make it Native. 6: Not a change to the race itself, but while Savage Species only ever tells players to use standard ability score assignments, the character uses a 15-point point buy and doesn't gain full hit points from her first HD, to represent being nonelite (with the huge racial ability score bonuses, the result is an ability score array that isn't too far from what a standard character gets, anyway))

Almost everything that the ECL 5 "lesser succubus" has is important, so I don't want to remove features beyond what I've taken out already. But LA+2 is pretty harsh (and LA is just dumb anyway), so I'd like to get rid of that, too. I don't want to add any class levels, so LA Buyoff is sadly not going to work. I'm willing to add RHD, although I worry that doing so might give the race combat strength approaching the "full-powered succubus". All in all, my goal is to bring the level adjustment to +0 (and keep it at +0, from character creation all the way to 20th level+) without sacrificing racial features, and ideally without increasing number of HD (but absolutely not giving more HD than the MM succubus).

(I'd rather keep the race as intact as possible, but I am willing to get rid of detect good, which is alright but not as useful as the other SLAs, and the Automatic Languages, which are made pretty much obsolete by tongues. A lower NA bonus would be acceptable, but NA is always nice so I'd like to keep it as high as I can)

It's my understanding that nothing fully-RAW will get the race where I'd like it. So how can I accomplish the stated goals while being as-close-to-RAW-as-possible? Minor homebrew and/or cheese is welcome where necessary.

(Also, it's not campaign-dependent, so I can't just "ask the DM". Ideally I'd like a general-use setup that's as close to "legal" as possible. In effect, if joining campaigns and convincing DMs to allow homebrew races is a skill check, I'd like to keep the DC as low as possible, so that out of X-many possible DMs, a higher percentage of them would theoretically approve.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ What about the race do you find interesting that you're trying to simulate? (To be clear, I am totally against comments that recommend the asker just make up something himself, but with all the changes that the Savage Species succubus racial class undergoes in this question, it's almost impossible to evaluate this based on its closeness to RAW. Honestly, it sounds like to me like you should consider writing up a new homebrew lesser succubus race that has the features you want and, as a new question, post it and ask Is this balanced?) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Apr 21 '20 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Despite the high number of individual differences, I didn't really feel like I changed the Savage Species succubus too much beyond tidying it up for 3.5 standards (erring on the side of underpowered, since I feel that's generally a safer way to approach homebrew)--the big two are just reducing the level and changing its native plane. But I suppose that could just be because my perspective is flavored by intentions (or maybe you mean the changes that it would need to undergo to meet the question's goals), so anyway: \$\endgroup\$ – 47948201 Apr 21 '20 at 20:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Between poison immunity shutting down lots of common hazards (acid res helps too) and fire/cold resistance giving great climate protection, and of course flight, darkvision, change shape, tongues/non-combat SLAs, telepathy, and those huge Cha/Spot/Listen bonuses, succubi are, like, perfectly equipped for scouting/intel, espionage, and generally blending in anywhere they feel like, with enough natural offense/defense/mobility that they're still able to handle things going wrong. Also, Fiendish Codex I indicates demons have indefinite lifespans, so their plans aren't limited by that, either. \$\endgroup\$ – 47948201 Apr 21 '20 at 20:07

I hate to say this, but you're kind of asking for a heck of a lot here. We'd have to strip away the bulk of this stuff to get remotely close to LA 0. Here's the closest I would allow:

Type Outsider (Native); no ability score adjustments; two claws (1d3); +2 resistance bonus on saves vs. electricity and poison; +2 racial to Listen and Spot; equivalent of Dragon Wings feat (from Races of the Dragon, lets you glide, you buy extra feats for actual/better flight over time); SLAs alter self (1/hour, CL 3rd), charm person (1/day, CL 1st), touch of fatigue (3/day, CL 1st); favored class warlock.

Honestly, there's way better options than trying to shoehorn a succubus the way you're doing. The best, optimized way is a fey'ri (from Races of Faerun) warlock with LA Buyoff (from Unearthed Arcana). It starts you off with a really, really strong package that allows everyone to catch up to you, and then just as you start lagging slightly, you can buy off the LA and stay pretty competitive. At level 13, dip the chameleon prestige class (Races of Destiny) for 2 levels to get that juicy floating bonus feat, then swing right back to warlock all the way (for warlock 18 / chameleon 2); this lets you not only make magic items (your floating bonus feat can use warlock 12 ability to qualify for item creation feats), but you can also give yourself handy, situational invocations (such as the dead walk, giving you undead minions like a necromancer that you keep even if you get a different feat the next day).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Wow, Fey'ri gets... Amazingly close! It's still got LA, but some of these features seem much more "worth it", for what you get. One thing about that build, though: Doesn't the Chameleon class only apply to Humans and Doppelgangers? It also requires a feat that has those racial requirements, so I'm not seeing any way for a Fey'ri to get in? \$\endgroup\$ – 47948201 Apr 23 '20 at 0:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @47948201 Fey’ri is not, in fact, worth its LA. Almost nothing in the game is worth any LA—and fey’ri have +2. (Saint is probably the only LA +2 in the entire game worth it.) Anyway, you are correct that chameleon requires human heritage, which a fey’ri doesn’t have. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Apr 23 '20 at 13:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Although I agree that it isn't exactly "worth a whole +2 LA" (I haven't seen Saint but yeah thus far I haven't seen anything that I'd actually consider that a worthwhile trade for), it generally seems to be more "worth LA+2" than what I had previously, especially considering it's official. And if nothing else, it gives a canon example for how (mostly) succubus features can get "watered down". Which is... Well, that's all information I'd rather have, than not have! \$\endgroup\$ – 47948201 Apr 23 '20 at 23:44

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