[RPG] How to handle PC’s acquiring templates

pathfinder-1e

As far as i know there is no actual level adjustment system in Pathfinder so what do i do if a player ends up becoming bitten by weresomething or decides to turn himself to a lich? In D&D 3.5 when you got a template you got a level adjustment to compensate for the power boost. Do i just treat the increased CR as level adjustment?

Best Answer

PC's are not "supposed" to have templates.

A template is a set of rules that you apply to a monster to transform it into a different monster. All templates give precise directions on how to change a monster’s statistics to transform it into the new monster.

There is no Effective Player Level adjustment because Paizo front-loaded PC power with a lot of their Featured, Uncommon, and Advanced Races. Players are not "supposed" to attain Templates, so there aren't any rules for it.

A GM could allow PC's to gain templates...

As always, a GM could allow the Rule of Cool (a derivative of Rule 0) and allow this, but they're going to have to figure it out themselves. They could also decide that a PC that becomes an NPC if they completely turn into a were or lich (etc.) because they are no longer valid PC's and/or have lost some of the free will inherent to the PC concept.

Of course, if they don't want to do that to their players, Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 templates are slightly different, but the level adjustment should stay relatively close. If you apply the Pathfinder template and D&D level adjustment, the PC may end up fairly close to what you expect.

A third option, if I may...

Don't give PC's templates. Instead, give them superficial effects to represent the changes that don't alter day-to-day adventuring as much. A Lich might have Undead traits and a phylactery... but lack the Natural Armor bonus, DR, Touch Attack, Special Abilities, Skill Bonuses and Ability Score adjustments. The exact nuances could be bartered by the GM and player so that the PC doesn't instantly become significantly more powerful but does feel like their character is living out its monstrous plans.

And the 'balance in all things' option...

Allowing all PC's to attain a +1 or +2 template would keep the PC's equal(ish) to each other and allow you to 'calculate' their new CR and simply send stronger creatures at them. This way, no PC is left asking why (Lich player) gets to paralyze everything infinitely forever and he's stuck with normal PC rules. Keeping the CR close means that encounters can still be kept at an appropriate level for the party without significant rewrites.