The Level Adjustment rules (found in the Unearthed Arcana, and updated somewhat in the Savage Progression web articles) allow one to reduce the LA portion of a character's ECL (Effective Character Level), but not the racial HD (Hit Dice).

Savage Species (a hybrid 3.0/3.5 book) gives rules for breaking monsters down into racial HD levels and LA, which was also effectively, if partially, updated by the Savage Progressions web articles.

The Rebuilding rules from the PHB2 allow one to replace racial HD with class levels.

Can these three rule sets be used on a creature, whose example was not given in any of the three locations, with racial HD and a level adjustment and class levels, to remove some or all of the LA and racial HD, or do they conflict?

If one should remove all racial HD, is that character still a member of that race? If not what do they become?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Your own home game's regulations have to be managed by yourself. There is no such thing as a “standard” mixed 3e/3.5e game called “D&D 3.x” that we are going to have a tag for — we can help with interactions between specific rules described clearly in questions, but cannot provide technical support for a mythical beast. If this is a problem or you see an error in this reasoning, it would be better to open a discussion post on Role-playing Games Meta to sort it out. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 19:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I politely disagree. 3.x play style has been standardized, and it is not a homebrew specific to my game. It is quite widespread. Nonetheless, I shall leave the tags alone for now, as it seems important to you. \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Politely disagree on Role-playing Games Meta, as there is not enough room in comments for such a discussion. If there is a such a thing and it is widespread enough to be a well-defined game in its own right, we will reflect that wider community usage in our local tagging. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 19:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ (Also note the comment on this question.; that is, the 3.5e revision includes 3e material.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 19:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, is THAT what the meta is for? I thought it was more for bugs reports or something. And here I was trying to figure out how to contact you directly (and failing). Seems there is a chat somewhere too? (which I also can't seem to find...) I keep stumbling over stuff here, my apologies for my newb-ness. I finally posted a comment in frustration at not finding any other way to ask about the matter directly and privately. \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 19:31

1 Answer 1


The rules don't really work together

Let's start with retraining (PHBII page 191). It cannot change your class levels - for that, you need rebuilding (PHBII page 196).

However, you cannot rebuild a monster class, because Savage Species page 152 says:

A monster may not multiclass until it completes the full progression of its monster class.

As soon as you "trade out" any monster class levels, the only thing you can replace them with is the same levels you just gave away. So no, you cannot just dump RHD and put class levels in their place. You could use the rebuilding option to change your race, but that removes the benefits of your old race as well as its RHD and LA.

There are monster class rules in other sources, most notably the Savage Progressions archive on the Wizards of the Coast website. Those rules do let you multiclass, but this brings with it another issue - you lose the monster's abilities when you trade out the levels that gave them to you.

Since level adjustment buyoff only works on class levels, not RHD, you will have a lot of difficulty buying off LA if you can't get rid of RHD.

Once the total of a character's class levels (not including any Hit Dice from his creature type or his level adjustment) reaches three times his level adjustment, his level adjustment is eligible to be decreased by 1.

But there are other rules that can help you

Since monster class rules are unfriendly, we can ignore them entirely and just take a typical monster without a monster class, but with an LA. The monster then goes on a night out and meets a fellow succubus, who hits him with a bunch of negative levels. In 24 hours...

If a negative level is not removed before 24 hours have passed, the affected creature must attempt a Fortitude save ... On a failure, the negative level goes away, but the creature’s level is also reduced by one.

After becoming a creature with 1 RHD and however much LA, the monster embarks on an adventure to gain character levels the old-fashioned way. With many fewer RHD, it will also be easier to buy off level adjustment (though you can't buy off more than 3 LA before level 20).

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd started an answer, but you're welcome to add that race rebuilding actually changes a creature's race. The Process says, "Each time your character completes a rebuild quest, you can change his race" (PH2 198). A creature can't keep all its racial superpowers from its old race after rebuilding to a new race. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ The asker fixed their word mistype, making the opening title and sentences obsolete. I would have edited to fix it, but I'm not sure what you want the replacement section title to be. :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 19:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oddly enough, your answer seems to be saying that it can be done... Since SP allows the multi-class, and updates SS, that WOULD allow one to dump RHD - at the loss of racial abilities - reducing the ECL required for LA buyoff. Also, since SP rules state that LA may also be taken fractionally, one could in theory dump RHD, obtain only one LA at a time of a given template or creature, and then buy it off as soon as possible at the reduced price (ie: @ 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18), thus fitting in 6 LA buyoffs into a 20 level span. Or did I miss something obvious? \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 19:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ SP does not update SS. \$\endgroup\$
    – SPavel
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 19:30
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Savage Species monster classes and Savage Progressions template classes are not the same thing, nor are they called the same thing. They accomplish something similar, but there are many different ways in this game to accomplish the same thing. For example, the template classes never grant HD, only LA (Lycanthropes have their own, special-er rules for animal HD under this system). \$\endgroup\$
    – SPavel
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 19:36

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