This article originally appeared in d20 Weekly

Savage Species

Savage Species

Published by Wizards of the Coast

Written by David Eckelberry, Rich Redman, and Jennifer Clarke Wilkes

223-page color hardcover; $29.95

Have you ever wanted to play a Lizardman shaman? How about a sentient golem, or a renegade demon? How many fascinating and unique character concepts have you had to discard simply because they were too difficult, if not impossible, to translate into game mechanics?

Savage Species opens up new avenues of play by allowing nearly any creature in the MM to be used as a player character race. The heart of the system presented in the book is rules to determine the effective character level any given monster. This is accomplished by adding the monster's hit dice to a level adjustment that reflects a level balance for any special abilities the creature may have. The result is the monster's effective character level (ECL). Character classes may be added as normal to bring the character up to the average party level. The system is simple and straightforward, and the rules include several examples, including the creation of an ECL 5 Bugbear Barbarian from start to finish. The resulting character is intended to join a party of 5th-level adventurers.

The book also presents an innovative alternative to monster advancement and regression by introducing the concept of monster levels. Each monster race has its own racial character class consisting of a number of class levels equal to its hit dice plus its level adjustment. The rules are explained . . .

This article originally appeared in the second volume of Pyramid. See the current Pyramid website for more information.

Article publication date: April 23, 2003

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