I understand that a newly minted drow (LA +2) sorcerer will have an ECL of 3, meaning that for XP purposes he is treated as being level 3. Thus he will require a total of 6,000 XP to gain his second level of sorcerer, just as a human sorcerer would require a total of 6,000 XP to advance from level 3 to level 4. (Please correct me if this is not the case.)

My question is, would the drow character begin play with 3,000 XP, the minimum required for a 3rd-level character, or would he begin with 0 XP as normal characters do? In other words, how much of an XP "debt" does LA +2 represent?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ As an aside: If rest of the party is starting at level 1 with 0 xp, the ECL of 3 is telling you that this is not really a valid starting character. There are a couple of ways around that, but with your relatively low ECL, one simple fix would be to start with 0xp (or, if you like, a 3000xp "debt') so you are in sync with the rest of the group. If the whole team is starting at level 3, then your accepted answer by Momonga-sama is all you need. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 6:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NeilSlater note that if your ECL3 character starts with 0 xp, then because he will earn less xp per encounter than his CL1 allies, he will actually be the last one to hit ECL4. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 19:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanHenderson: Maybe true in general for higher ECLs, but IIRC there is no difference between xp rewards granted at levels 1 to 3. This calculator for instance shows no difference however you structure an encounter vs PC team of 1st, 2nd, 3rd level characters, they all get same xp: d20srd.org/extras/d20encountercalculator \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 20:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, that's right, I forgot that the difference didn't apply until level 4. D'oh! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 20:45

1 Answer 1


The character will begin with 3000 EXP


To determine the effective character level (ECL) of a monster character, add its level adjustment to its racial Hit Dice and character class levels. The monster is considered to have experience points equal to the minimum needed to be a character of its ECL.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Ah! That's simple enough. I must have overlooked that line a dozen times. Thank you! \$\endgroup\$
    – Piedmont
    Commented Jun 12, 2016 at 22:53

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