Table 9:

Maximum Levels for Variant Races

Prime Requisite Score
Level Limit

Unlike the standard demihuman races, new character races never gain additional levels for high ability scores. It is unusual enough that a member of the race has become a player character at all! Without the aid of many wish spells, a character from a non-standard race can never rise above 12th level.

Alignment: The Monstrous Manual lists alignments for most races. If an absolute alignment is listed (e.g., "good"), the player character has that alignment. If only alignment tendencies are given, the player can choose any alignment.

Hit Points: All creatures roll their hit points using the die appropriate to their chosen class. At 1st level, Large and greater size creatures gain one additional hit point for every Hit Die the creatures would normally receive (pluses to the die are ignored) in addition to their normal Constitution bonus. Thus, an ogre fighter with a Constitution of 12 would still gain a +4 hit point bonus at first level, since ogres normally have 4 Hit Dice. (Remember that Large size creatures suffer larger-than-man-sized damage from weapons!) Thereafter, all new races earn hit points according to level advancement, Constitution, and character class.

Level Advancement: The character progresses like all others of the same character class. Being a nonstandard race does not give the player character any special benefits to his character class.

Armor: Most creatures (orcs, gnolls, goblins) have an Armor Class of 10 (and thus wear armor for protection). Some creatures, however, have natural armor which is retained by the player character. These characters gain the benefit of a +1 bonus to their AC only if the armor worn is worse than or equal to their natural Armor Class (as per horse barding).

If better armor is worn, natural armor is ignored and Armor Class is determined by the armor being worn. Odd-sized and odd-shaped creatures can't wear off-the-shelf armor; it must be made to order and costs extra (and takes longer to make).

Movement: The creature's movement rate is the same as that listed in the Monstrous Manual.

Attacks: The player character is allowed the number of attacks given his character class and level, not the number listed in the monster description in the Monstrous Manual.

Size Problems: Players who play Large-sized creatures hoping to get an advantage over others should quickly discover many problems they didn't anticipate. Consider the plight of the player who decides to have a hill giant. Right away, he'll have a hard time buying basic equipment. Who makes pants for giants in a human town? Everything must be special ordered at two to four times--or more--its normal cost.

This is a minor inconvenience compared to other difficulties. Buildings and dungeons are built for humans and other Medium-sized creatures, denying the large fellow the opportunity for both a hearty drink and exciting adventure. Even the toughest character will tire of drinking from measly cups and buying five dinners at a time. Will he enjoy spending the night in a leaky stable while his companions enjoy warm feather beds upstairs in the inn?

Days of traveling will quickly show him the joys of walking while everyone else rides (no horse can carry him), especially when his companions gallop spryly away from oncoming danger, leaving him in its path. The costs of replacing broken furniture will quickly become prohibitive. Ropes will have an annoying tendency to break when the big lunk tries to climb them. And the hill giant better have at least 20 friends handy to pull him out of that 30-foot pit!

NPC Reactions: On the personal side, expect NPCs to have strong negative feelings about unusual player character races, even to the point of bigotry and hatred. These reactions will make life more difficult for the player character, but they are the price the player pays for his unusual choice.

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