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I see on many places people explain LA, ECL, and Racial hit dice for D&D 3.5, but no one really explains which comes first.

Lets say that I am planing on either a Troll half dragon, ogre half dragon or even ogremage half-dragon but I am will not start at level 15. may be about 10th level. So how do I calculate my character's HD?

If I decide on the Troll, at level 10 would I have 6HD + 4LA and 4LA to level up? Or would I have to start with the all the levels of level adjustment and increase HD as I level up further?

At first I was planning on making a halfdragon orc fighter that would specialize in grappling, tripping and other methods of disabling damage output of foes. And then I strayed off my path and wandered to trolls and ogres. So I wanted to calculate how my character ideas would fair against each other and which would be better suited for doing its task.

But I started wondering most about, and thus here is my question, how does D&D treat level adjustment and HD if I can't start at the ECL for that race. If I am ECL 5 and I need to have 3HD and 3LA, how do I continue leveling my character and how does my character look like at ECL5? Do I have 3HD and 2LA with 1LA to gain, to continue on with my levels? Or do I have 3LA and 2HD with another HD waiting before I can continue with CL? Or is this up for interpreting by the GM only?

Thanks in advance.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The game setting is D&D 3.5. At first I was planning on making a halfdragon orc fighter that would specialize in grappling, tripping and other methods of disabling damage output of foes. And then I strayed off my path and wandered to trolls and ogres. So I wanted to calculate how my character ideas would fair against each other and which would be better suited for doing its task. But I started wondering most about how D&D treats level adjustment and HD if I can't start at the ECL for that race. If I am ECL 5 and I have 3HD and 3LA, how do I continue leveling my character? - Silverflame \$\endgroup\$ – Silverflame May 15 '17 at 9:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just to clarify, you don't gain anything for LA, its a dead penalty applied to powerful monsters to make them balanced for PC use. So a troll with +4 LA and 6 RHD is, without any modifications by you, a 10 ECL character. If you wanted to play this character in a lower-level game, you'd have to either find a source that gave a progression or talk to your DM. Additionally, LA is generally assumed to be no unless the DM explicitly says yes in my experience, so you should run your plans by him anyway. \$\endgroup\$ – godskook May 15 '17 at 21:34
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Neither.

A character's ECL (Effective Character Level) is a combination of their HD (Hit Dice) and LA (Level Adjustment). If playing a race with LA/Racial Hit Dice (RHD) then you need to be starting at a sufficient level to cover the full amount.

So if you are playing a 3HD race with +3 LA then you will have to start an ECL of 6. If you don't have sufficient ECL to play with, then you shouldn't play that race.

Having said that, in Savage Species there are 'monster classes' which allow you to gradually level up as a number of different races. Each 'monster' has what is effectively a class progression equal in length to their total LA plus their RHD during which you gradually unlock all their abilities.

These are widely regarded as being under-powered however so you may wish to speak to your GM.

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