Unbalanced planar races



Jan 28, 2004 4:34:15
First, sorry for my poor English.

Standard PHB races like elf, human, dwarf a pretty well balanced. Another situation is with planar races:

For example let’s compare a fire-genasi, aasimar, and chaond (from planewalker.com chapter 2). All this creatures has +1 LA.

As we know from DMG (p.173): every bonus point in Physical score is equivalent to 2 points in mental score. For other special abilities I have tried to put some score based on my humble opinion.


+2 Wisdom, +2 Charisma. (+4 points total)

Acid, cold, and electricity resistance 5. (lets give 0.5 for every 5 points of resistance – 1.5total)

Daylight (Sp): non damaging spell of 2nd level. Good flavor but no power use (unless you battle with the shadow creatures ). 1 point

+2 racial bonus on Listen and Spot checks. (it is always good to have additional skill bonus, but it is not SO important. Near 0.2 points.)

Darkvision up to 60 feet. All other compared races have it. (smth like 0.3)
Level Adjustment +1:

Total: 7 points

Chaond Racial Traits

+4 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, -2 Charisma: (+10 total)

Acid, cold, and sonic resistance 5. (1.5 points total).

Shatter (Sp. 2nd level spell that can be used in combat or in adventure. 1 point (maybe a bit more)

+2 racial bonus on Escape Artist and Tumble checks. (some additional points, though skills a pretty combat oriented 0.2)

Darkvision up to 60 feet. (0.3 total)

Favored Class: The first class chosen by a chaond is their favored class. (favored class is not fixed – 1 point total)
Level adjustment +1:

Total: 14 points!


+2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma. (0 points total)

+1 racial bonus on saving throws against fire spells and effects. Its good, but I would prefer 3 kinds of resistance 5. (1 point total)

Darkvision up to 60 feet. (0.3)

Control Flame (Sp): I didn’t find the actual spell with such name, but it is not a combat spell and have a pretty limited use, and I think it can match only 1st level spell. (0.5 total)

Favored Class: Evoker. ( pretty restricted favorite class, IMHO)
Level Adjustment +1:

TOTAL: around 2 points. Why +1LA??

It is not bad in Prime Material Compaign when players occasionally use non-standard races to make their characters, but in situation when almost all players in a group are non-standard races, these races have to provide an equal choice.

I think, all Planescape character races have to be balanced compared to their level ajustment.
What do you think?

P.S. And I don’t like that Air-genasi have -2 penalty to charisma.


Jan 28, 2004 6:18:16
Originally posted by yurimaru
Standard PHB races like elf, human, dwarf a pretty well balanced. Another situation is with planar races:

For example let’s compare a fire-genasi, aasimar, and chaond (from planewalker.com chapter 2). All this creatures has +1 LA.

As we know from DMG (p.173): every bonus point in Physical score is equivalent to 2 points in mental score. For other special abilities I have tried to put some score based on my humble opinion.

The only guidelines I'm aware of for determining a creature's LA are in Savage Species, and they are as follows:
  • Unbalanced ability scores
  • Size
  • Natural Armor Bonus
  • Speed
  • Natural Weapons
  • Reach
  • Skills and Feats
  • Special Attacks and Special Qualities
  • Playtesting

Let's look at each of the races using these criteria...

The aasimar has unbalanced ability scores, which equals +1 LA. (Unbalanced means when the modifiers are totaled, it is a positive number.) The aasimar is Medium in size, has no natural AC bonus, has no burrow, climb, or fly speed, has no natural weapons, and has no reach. It gains no further adjustments for those. An aasimar has racial bonuses for only two skills, so it gains no adjustment; it needs bonuses for at least three skills to gain another point. It also has no bonus feats, so it gets no adjustment for that. Only certain special attacks and qualities apply for level adjustments, and the aasimar only falls into two of the categories -- spell-like abilities and resistance to energy. For the former, it gets an adjustment only if the ability exceeds that which an equivalent character could do...casting daylight with a caster level equal to its HD does not meet the criteria. For the latter, the aasimar gains a +1 adjustment for every 10 points of resistance; with 5 points for acid, cold, and electricity, that makes +1.5. Final score: +2.5

The chaond has unbalanced ability scores (+1), a spell-like ability that exceeds what an equivalent character can do (+1), and 5 energy resistance for acid, cold, and sonic (+1.5). It only has two racial bonuses to skills, so they don't count. Final score: +3.5

The fire genasi has balanced ability scores (+0), a spell-like ability used as a 5th-level caster (+1), and scalable fire resistance (+1). (Incidentally, you left that out of your list of fire genasi abilities.) Final Score: +2

The final step in the process is playtesting, of course, and even though the chaond has more points when you break it down, other factors like the low base ability scores (see the conversion guide) drag it down to on par with the other two.

Overall, I think they're quite balanced. Certain planar races will shine in certain situations, of course, and it's a DM's job to structure adventures so each character has its moment in the spotlight.


Jan 28, 2004 10:07:03
These races are taken from official WotC books and so are their LA's, so in the end it isn't even a decision for the PSCS crew to make.


Jan 28, 2004 10:50:17
Well, I never understood fire genasi LA. I have created characters and did some playtesting and I still think chaonds' are too powerfull and fire genasi too weak for LA +1. I think fire genasi should gain a feature to reach appropriate power level, while Chaonds maybe should migrate to LA+2 (with a feautea adde maybe). Still the point system's you've worked out show the fact that chaonds are more powerful than fire genasi.


Jan 28, 2004 15:08:54
I agree that most planetouched are too weak for their LA/ECL. Aasimar, genasi, and tieflings aren't really anymore powerful at low levels than a human. Their energy resistances don't come into play as much as something like DR or SR might. Their (sp) aren't too impressive either, light and darkness are hardly the combat spells they were in 2e. They're either utility spells or battlefield obstacles now. I run them at ECL 0. I had no problem running them alongside the same level PC's in 2e and they balance now with the core races (especially powerhouses like elves and dwarves) in any of my playtesting.

I would rather use the MotP bariaur than the BoED version. It's easier to integrate as a PC and isn't that much better with 40 speed and a charge attack, though it's SR does help. I can live with it as +1 or 0. The new one using monster levels is just a pain.

The Chaond (and zenethri) I just hate as monster concepts in general, so I use the Dragon #298 planetouched (Cansin, Axani, etc.) IMC's.


Jan 28, 2004 16:36:12
The bladelings -are- a tad overpowered, if you combine that somewhat high AC bonus AND the DR, with all of those other abilities added on... Not sure its a +2 race, but one could argue it rather easily, considering how many creatures, particularly at low levels, wouldn't have a chance of harming it... and then you give it monk or barbarian levels... things add up quickly.


Jan 28, 2004 16:40:44
Hehe, yup.

Monk is especially nice cause those Mages whose stuff doesn't get dulled by DR are screwed with hand to hand and grappling. Especially ones with touch phobia...


Jan 29, 2004 0:31:51
I also think that the Bladelings are a tad too powerfull comparied to other races that have the same Level Adjustment, such as the Tieflings, Genasi and Aasimar. The Genasi are not really much more powerfull that Humans and Elves.

I also perfered the version of the bariaur that was +1 Level Adjustment and did not have any monster levels. It just makes it simplar without the monster levels.



Feb 05, 2004 9:54:47
Genasi are LA +1 and are underpowered for that level adjustment. The planewalker.com docs have more powerful stats for them, however.

Aasimar and tiefling are right on at LA +1. Chaonds do seem the most powerful at LA +1, but not too bad.

Bladelings have been errata'ed to LA +2, where they belong, in the 3.5 update docs.


Feb 05, 2004 10:04:17
Could you provide the link to this errata?


Feb 05, 2004 17:51:41
Well I'm glad bladelings are more fair now. I love the spiney little berks and I'd love to see them made more balanced.