So we're starting a 3.5 game soon and I decided to roll my first non-core character. I'm usually the guy who sticks with Orcs/Elves/Humans etc. But this time I decided to be a Hound Archon.

What I found says that as a PC an Archon starts with 6 levels of Outsider and gets the corresponding bonuses. We're also apparently starting at level 15 and this is where my confusion comes in. Since I've never rolled a character like this I'm a little confused as to whether or not I get 15 levels of my chosen class AND the levels of Outsider.

My thoughts were if I were rolling a level 1 character they'd still be level one just get the bonuses from the 6 levels of Outsider. Am I correct in this thinking or do I need to roll for a 9th level character to compensate for the 6 levels of Outsider? Also, I've heard of something called "level adjustment"; what is that, and is it relevant for my character?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: How exactly does a level adjustment work? \$\endgroup\$
    – mike32
    Aug 21, 2015 at 14:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mike32 Good catch. I thought for sure we must have a duplicate around but I couldn't find one. It sounds like the asker needs level adjustment (since I assume hound archons have one) and racial levels covered, and that question is just about level adjustment. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Aug 21, 2015 at 14:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ObliviousSage Indeed, but the top/accepted answer also references racial hit die and gives a good example. Solid base to answer this but I'm a bit short on time. \$\endgroup\$
    – mike32
    Aug 21, 2015 at 14:37

1 Answer 1


So hound archons have 6 Racial Hit Dice and a Level Adjustment of +5. These both count towards Effective Character Level, so a plain hound archons with no class levels is an eleventh-level character. A fifteenth-level hound archon would therefore have four class levels, on top of simply being a hound archon with all that entails.

Effective Character Level affects how much XP it takes to level up, and is the level your DM tells you when he tells you to create a character above first level.

For effects that care about hit dice, however, Level Adjustment doesn't count, so you only have ten hit dice. That means your HP, base saves, and maximum skill rank are all those of a tenth-level Character, not a fifteenth-level one.

Which is why I must warn you that the Level Adjustment system is poorly designed and does not produce fair characters. Your hound archon will be much weaker than a real fifteenth-level character.


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