• Welcome to the new COTI server. We've moved the Citizens to a new server. Please let us know in the COTI Website issue forum if you find any problems.

Starting Skill For Aliens

It is stated that alien races (with alien levels) treat their classes as Multiclasses. Does this mean that aliens don't have any starting skills because their alien races were their first class(es)?

For example: Would a 1st level Ursa Mecenary only have 2 + Int Modifier in skills or (2 + Int modifier)*4?

I've noticed the following from reading other threads, (Because the Handbook hasn't made it to australia yet)

If an Ursa has an alien level of 3 (picking a number from the air) a first level ursa is roughly the same power as a 4th level human character and will need to accumulate enough XP to get to 5th level before they advance to be second level.

What that means is that a "1st" level Ursa has an "XP Debt" that they have to work off before they start going up levels. They will always be 3 levels "behind" a human character.

So at first level they get the same skills etc that any other first level character gets, however by the time the party is assembled (and everyone has finished prior history), they should be roughly comparable to the other players.

PS This is very much my understanding and I'm sure people with the actual rules will correct me.

PPS nevertheless, it seems to me to be a play balanced way, so I might be tempted to have it in MTU even if I am very wrong.
That's the way I read it.

basically a 1st level Ursa get's all the starting stuff of a first level character. However just being Ursa bumps him to being a 3rd level character in terms of XP needed for his next class level. This means when a 9th level human on a comparable career track is 5th level rogue 2 level academic and 2nd level army. The Ursa will be instead 2nd level alien /7 levels of other stuff. (maybe only 1st and 1st for rogue and army or maybe losing the army entirely...up to the player.)

but his innate abilities are supposed to be worth the trade....
Previous d20 systems work that way, a monster or something that is more powerful has an xp debt to work off. What's confusing me is that T20 doesn't give the alien a debt, it gives them the xp. An Ursa has one alien level and gets 1000xp to start with, making them a 2nd level character to start with. Another alien in the race section has 3 alien levels and gets 3000 xp to start with.

Using the Prior History section would allow lower characters to reach a level equal to the starting aliens in the party.

I guess in the end though, that aliens would get the starting skills appropriate for their first class (core or service).
Even though the "aliens" start with 1 or 2 or more "alien levels", if the Ref sets a guidleine of only allowing chars of 6-8th level max...these aliens are going to start at the same Character Level as humans, but their total Class Levels will be 1 or 2 (or more) less than their human compatriots. This will generally leave them with much fewer skills/feats, supposedly offsetting any racial benefits they receive for being an "alien"

I think the book assumes that the Ref is going to set some sort of level limit or parameter.

Personally I prefer my players to have characters within a level of whatever the mode is for the group. meaning that the lowest character and the highest might be two levels apart. (though I'd mention that to the lowest during Chargen)
This is my take on the alien classes that have alien multiclass, only the Ursa and the Virushi have it. when you take one of these aliens you start out with the xp and level listed without skills or feat of that level, so when you begin your prior history you have to get more xp to achieve levels in your chosen service or career.
Thus when a virushi character begins his life he is 3rd level, this represents his freakin big bonus, plus 10, to strength and other big bonuses. So when he enlists in the marines at first level he has no skills or feats from being an alien, but getting the skills and feats for 1st level marine, and is at the starting age listed for his race. This young Virushi then goes thru 1 term in the marines getting the xp for the term but because he is already third level he will advance more slowly, the xp reqiurements for 5th level being greater, so while he maybe the same level as other characters the first 3 are taken up with being an alien so he will have fewer skills and feats. This maybe what everyone has been saying but this is the way I understand it.
Originally posted by Big Vinni:
Previous d20 systems work that way, a monster or something that is more powerful has an xp debt to work off. What's confusing me is that T20 doesn't give the alien a debt, it gives them the xp.
For character classes that have ECL levels, at least in all WOTC d20 systems, do NOT have an xp debt. They simply require more xp per level. For example, say you have a race with an ECL of +1.

That means that a level 1 character of that race is in reality 2nd level already and thus has 1000 xp. In order to gain their second class level they now need to accumulate 2000 more xp (whereas a normal 1st level character would only need to accumulate 1000 to reach second).

Giving them an XP debt, or rather having them start at 0 xp is a bit of overkill, as they would need 3000xp to reach their second class level. An XP debt makes a character work way to hard, and is not worth the ECL as they are already paying extra between classes anyway.

The Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book, page 21 explains this pretty clearly.

Hope that helps.
actually, the 'alien class' works the same way that the 'monster class' does in D&D -- monsters start at a level, say, level 7 if you're a minotaur. So, to be a 2nd level character the monster has to earn enough experience to become 8th level.
I do have one question. Let's take a Virushi, it has 3 alien levels. Let's say it takes one class level, let's say as a Professional, so it's now a 1st level Professional, 3rd Virushi. I know that being a Virushi, with no character class has no skills and feats per-se, but since the total number of levels is 4, would the Virushi in question get the two bonus feats and the one attribute bonus point that a normal 4th level character get? I'm assuming no, that one only counts actual levels in a character class, not level "debt" given for being an alien, but call me clueless, but I can see how the other could apply also.

Hope my question makes sense.
The alien races with Alien Levels do not get Skill points, bonus feats, or ability increases due to their higher effective character level. The experience is an offset to the racial bonuses making it a bit harder for these races to advance in class level as quickly and other races.

A Virushi say starts out as a 3rd level Virushi, 1st level Professional. He or she is a 4th level character. To get to 2nd level as a Professional the Virushi will require an additional 4,000xp for a total of 10,000xp.

Sadly, this whole concept was so badly explained by WotC, that it is a source of constant confusion in all the D20 games that use ECL or similar.

In T20, where balance between characters and "monsters" (or characters and characters) is not nearly as important, the Alien Level has precisely one effect: it steepens the EXP needed for each level by 1000 EXP per "Alien Level". Most people seem to comprehend it best by treating ECL or Alien Levels as real levels, but it just isn't so.