Level Adjustment and Hit Die (3.5)

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Okay, this is one little ruling that has never come up in a group I've been in and I want to figure out soon because I could see myself potentially playing a gnoll in a campaign that's coming up.

So, they have +1 level adjustment and 2 humanoid hit dice. Do those hit dice count as part of the existing adjustment or do they add to it?
So does a level 1 gnoll fit into a party of level 2, or level 4?

I know this probably seems really basic to some people, but this one little thing has just always confused me. 
Effective Character Level=Hit Dice + Level Adjustment.

A gnoll with no class levels is considered the equivalent of a Level 3 character; adding 1 class level makes him the equivalent of a 4th level character.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Ya know, Tempest, I see that you have the ability (or is it the pull?) to get forum stickies put up there...   You should sticky these ECL/HD/Lv adjustment rules in some concise form, since so many people have been asking the same advice once a week for months.  

Just a suggestion, it's always nice to try and help them individually, as well.

Neue 
Okay, this is one little ruling that has never come up in a group I've been in and I want to figure out soon because I could see myself potentially playing a gnoll in a campaign that's coming up.

So, they have +1 level adjustment and 2 humanoid hit dice. Do those hit dice count as part of the existing adjustment or do they add to it?
So does a level 1 gnoll fit into a party of level 2, or level 4?

I know this probably seems really basic to some people, but this one little thing has just always confused me. 


It is pretty simple, but the alphabet soup tends to confuse people at times.

"Hit Dice" count as "levels" in most cases - so a creature with 2 Humanoid hit dice is a level 2 Humanoid (sort of like how a creature with 2 Fighter hit dice is a level 2 Fighter).

"Level Adjustment" is intended to account for stronger or weaker racial traits, and alters what level you count as, for all purposes relating to XP and starting wealth, but for no other purpose. So a level 1 creature with a +1 level adjustment is level 1 for all purposes except XP (including what level party they're appropriate for) and starting wealth. For those purposes, the creature is level 2 (i.e. it is appropriate to play in a level 2 game and starts with level 2 equipment).

In the case of a gnoll, they start with 2 levels of Humanoid (and, since this includes their first HD, this also includes quadruple Humanoid skill points and maximum Humanoid HP - it's the first HD that does this, not the first class level), and are level 2 characters, but they're appropriate to play in a level 3 party and start with level 3 wealth.

If you add class levels on top of this (i.e. the poorly-named "level 1 gnoll ranger": this is actually a Humanoid 2 / Ranger 1 character!), it works normally. A gnoll with one ranger level is appropriate for a level 4 party, but is level 3 for most gameplay purposes. 

Cancer prognosis: I am now cancer-free.

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DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

When used as PCs you always need to count any racial HD as levels in addition to the LA when trying to determine the creature's effective character level.

Of course they need to be included.  If you only looked at LA then why would you play an Ogre if you could play a Minotaur?  The answer is because the Ogre includes four levels in "Giant" while the Minotaur includes six level in "Monstrous Humanoid" so you'd always want the higher level if you get them for free.  Those racial HD (when there are two or more) can't be replaced with class levels either because sometimes the LA is actually lower then it could be due to all the racial HD; getting +10 STR for just +2 LA is HUGE if you could start adding on class levels right away but when it includes four levels in Giant it isn't as impressive.