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Alien levels

Here is one of the many things that I don't understand about the rules that I need help on.
If your character is of an alien race then the book says that the has x amount of levels of alien. So if I make a charater that is a 3rd level Navy and say that his race addes 4 levels of alien that would make him a 7th level character right? But does he get the skills points of a 7th level charatcer or does he only get the skill points for the 3levels he was in the Navy. Plus does he have the hit points, attacks, resistance bonus, and feats of a 7th level character or 3rd level? If 7th level then how do you figure out the skill points, hit dice, etc for the missing 4 alien levels?
In the core d20 rules the above character would just be a 3rd level navy guy but would need to receive enough XP to reach 4th level that would normaly let a human character reach 8th level.
Ok, it's simpler than it looks, here we go...

A race has alien level 3. This means that just for the benefits that the race gives, that race will always be considered 3 levels higher for gaining XP than a standard race. The race gets no skill points, no save modifiers, no nothing, except the stated benefits of the race for the "Alien Levels". When you take your first level in an actual class, that class level is still considered your "first level" (so get your x4 skill points, etc). However your XP total at 1st level in that class will be equal to 0 (for a first level class) + XP needed to be the "level" of the race's Alien level. So, a race with Alien Level 3, who chooses to be a 1st level Rogue, will actually have 6000 XP total (enough to be a 4th level character (3+1)). But to get to 2nd level Rogue, the character now has to earn an additional 4000 XP (which will total 10000 XP, enough for a 5th level CHARACTER), whereas a standard human 1st level Rogue has 0 XP, and only needs 1000 XP to get to 2nd level Rogue.

Make Sense?

The One Warlock
Ooops, made a mistake...0+alien level sentence is wrong, should be:

Your total XP when you take your 1st level in a class will be the total XP of whatever character level your class level + your alien level would be (3+1 = 4th level).

But all the Numeric XP examples were right.

The One Warlock
Thanks, that helps. So a 1st level rogue with 3 levels of alien is not a 4th level character just a 1st level character that needs 10,000 XP to reach 2nd level.
Exactly. While they need the XP to go up of a 4th level character, they don't gain any of the total character level benefits (Character level feats, attribute improvements, etc). That 1st level rogue with an Alien Level of 3, acts as a 4th level character ONLY for the purposes of determining how much XP is needed to advance to his next class level. This example creature doesn't get any generic total character level benefits till the sum of class levels only would get him such bonuses. Alien Level, while appropriately termed for the setting may not be as clear a label as it could be. Other D&D and D20 products refer to this a the Effective Character Level penalty, or ECL.

One last note, for high level aliens, you will have to extrapolate the XP chart past 20th level to get a alien race's XP totals so they can advance in classes to 20th (which they can). Remember that the XP progression is as follows:
Current Character level x 1000 which is added to the current level advancement total, ie..
Level 1 x 1000 + 0 (starting XP) = 1000 XP to get to 2nd level;

Level 2 x 1000 + 1000 (level 2 XP) = 3000 XP to get to 3rd level..ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

The One Warlock
Does a 4th level alien character (3 alien levels +1 class level) get the feats for level 1 and 3 and the ability increase for level 4? If not then how does that work.

Also I did notice that in one of the Forgotten realms books they have a chart for this. I'll have to dig it out and see what it says.
Sigh. Thanks to WotC really screwing up ECL in the first place, this is never easy to explain.

ALL Alien Levels do is make the experience chart steeper by 1000 exp per "Alien Level" at each character level.

This can be *represented* most readily by treating the alien character as if they were that many levels higher, then looking at the EXP chart, BUT THIS IS NOT WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING. Those "Alien Levels" don't exist.

That makes soooo much more sense to me than any of the other explanations I have read.

It puts pevious explanations into a perspective that I can now understand them and they now make sense.

<Sheeping grin> Well aren't I a silly duffer taking this long to understand something that is fundamentally not that hard.