I am planning to add a template to my level 12 swashbuckling-type character by using a wish, for example I think the radiant template would be ideal. But I have a strong disagreement with my DM about how the Level Adjustment would work, so I am looking for the exact official 3.5 rules to solve the dispute.
We are not only speaking about acquired templates (BTW radiant is an inherited one), so I am also interested in more general rules, and if it appears that I am wrong about XP calculations, I am also interested into rules that allow to acquire a template through rebuilding, eg by exchanging levels or using specific rituals.
I made a lot of research and read the online rules about Monsters as races and Reducing level adjustment. I came to the conclusion that someone who is level 12 and applies a level adjustment of +3 has an ECL of 15 and therefore needs the XP someone would need to get from level 15 to 16 when trying to reach class level 13. That means paying 15,000xp instead of 12,000xp and so forth until reaching level 20.
But my DM said no, you need to pay three levels blank (that is 39,000xp) and then you can reach class level 13 (and refused to apply the rules about reducing level adjustment). I found that decision horrific because it means that the later you apply a template, the more it cost you, although it should be the opposite because it is at low level that templates give the most significant relative improvements. As for templates with high LA like vampires (+8), they would need to take 8 level blank, so basically one could say they are done with that kind of progressing
And today I was reading Savage Species and fell across that quote (on page 145):
Once a character transforms, she has a new effective character level. This ECL determines how many experience points she needs to gain her next class level, and how many experience points her parry gets from each encounter. The DM must explain these effects to her players before allowing them to begin transforming their characters.
For example, a human rogue just gained 5th level and has 10,000 experience points. On her next adventure, a wererat bites her. The rogue decides she wants the abilities that lycanthropy brings; perhaps envisioning a gang of wererat thieves all working for her. She voluntarily fails her Fortitude save against the curse of lycanthropy (see Lycanthropes, below) and, after her first change, becomes a wererat. Now her ECL is 8, Instead of needing 5,000 experience points to go from 5th level to 6th, she needs 26,000 experience points (the difference between 5th and 9th level). The average level of her party increases, so everyone gets fewer experience points from the ensuing encounters (see Table 7–1: Experience Point Awards in the DUNGEON MASTER'S Guide) unless the DM tweaks those encounters to increase their Encounter Level. When she has 36,000 experience points, the rogue can add her 6th level as a rogue (or any other class level she chooses), and she will be an ECL 9 character. She needs 3,000 XP to reach her next level (the difference between 9th and 10th level).
Would it be that my DM was right? (at least if applying the hybrid 3.25 half-broken ruleset)? But I still don't understand the full rule:
- The character from the example is level 5 and has 10,000XP, OK
- We apply a +3 template, his ECL is now 8 and he needs to reach 9 to get to rogue level 6, that is a 26.000XP difference, OK
- She needs 3000XP to reach her next level???? WTF? I would have said 45,000-36,000=9000XP to reach ECL 10, why is it only 3000XP in the rule? Is that a typo?
So my main question is where are the official 3.5 rules on that topic, and in the case they would be unclear, how is it commonly understood? And if you all agree with my DM, what about the things you gain when you progress in level that are not related to your class, such as Hit Dice, skill points, bonus feats, abilities bonus and such?
I am also considering applying the template by using the wish ritual, rather than by being bitten by some random monster (Savage Species, p. 150):
A spellcaster casts wish and transforms the character.
Ritual Time: 1 action, as the spell.
Ritual Cost: The ritualist must spend 5,000 XP (the spell’s XP component). The ritualist charges the subject a number of gold pieces equal to caster level × 90, plus an additional 25,000 gp (to compensate for the experience point loss).
Ritual Caster Level: 17th, as the spell.
Casting wish to become a new kind of creature, with full access to all extraordinary, spell-like, and supernatural abilities (see End Result, below), while retaining Intelligence, memory, and personality, falls under the “wishing for greater effects” rules in the spell description. While this is the quickest method of transformation and potentially the least expensive, it has substantial risks.
The DM may, for instance, require the spellcaster to make a Spellcraft check. For every point by which the check result exceeds 20, the transforming character gains a 5% chance to have the goal creature’s abilities. The transforming character must roll for each ability. For instance, if the spellcaster gets a 28 on her Spellcraft check, the transforming character has a 40% chance to have any of the goal creature’s abilities. He rolls for each special attack or special quality, and each time he gets a 61 or higher on d%, he gains that ability. It is entirely possible to fail every roll and gain the characteristics of a goal creature but none of the creature’s special attacks or special qualities.
Wish is expensive (a cost of at least 26,530 gold pieces) and may not work. Since characters of lower than 8th level shouldn’t be able to afford this method of transformation, a DM who uses this ritual it is setting a minimum level at which transformation can occur. If the DM wishes to discourage transformation, she can enforce the Spellcraft check described above. If so, she must inform her players that transforming via wish may not grant all the special abilities and special qualities of the goal creature.
Unlike others rituals (unlearning and vitality, see Savage Species p. 145-150) that explicitly state that there is an XP cost for the character getting the template, that one only mention a cost in gold pieces, and that there is an XP cost for the caster. And also that it might be the least expensive method and that you get full access to all powers (rather than having to get the level one by one as in normal progression, or at least that is how I understand it)
What I understand is that you get full access to the template and no ECL (or gain the ECL but don't have to pay XP), because I don't see why they would have omitted such a crucial point when they addressed it in every other ritual, and also because if you had an XP cost for the ritualist when using the wish, it would be much more interesting to use the ritual of vitality (you pay 3,000XP to get an ECL of +3, a joke). By the way if you ask the ritualist to pay an XP cost, why would you charge a 5000XP fee to the caster of the wish?
But I am curious to know what you would think of this?