Lesson #18: .lst - Converting HD and LEVEL template tags

By Professor Eddy Anthony (MoSaT).

File(s) Covered: *template.lst

Tags used:

HD , LEVEL , PREHD , PRELEVEL , PREPCLEVEL , CR , DR , SA , SAB , SR , ABILITY , BONUS:DR , BONUS:MISC|CR , BONUS:MISC|SR

The template tags HD and LEVEL are used in templates to grant a character feats and abilities at specific levels based on the character's total levels and are independent of any specific character classes. The HD tag is counted against levels of Monster Classes and the LEVEL tag is counted against the character's total levels from all classes. Both the HD and LEVEL tags provide the following functions: granting Damage Reduction, granting additions to Challenge Rating and Spell Resistance, granting Special Abilities and granting automatic feats.

Both of these tags have been around a long time and have been problematic at times in the past. Recently much work has been done to standardize the tags used in PCGen LST and these two tags stand out for not following the more recent preferred syntax. For these reasons these two tags will likely be deprecated in the future, as of version 5.14 they are still valid but may be deprecated in the 5.15 line.

Fortunately as of version 5.14 all the functions provided by these tags can be replicated with other tags using the latest syntax. This page will show you how to convert each existing use of HD and LEVEL using different tags with newer syntax.


HD and LEVEL Syntax

At its core the HD and LEVEL tags are an older form of PRExxx tags, the HD tag is a prerequisite for a specified number of monster levels and the LEVEL tag is a prerequisite for the number of total levels the character has. Both of these tags can be expressed with this syntax:

<Prerequisite>:<levels specified>:<Object granting tag>:<Object to be granted>

The more modern syntax which replaces this can be expressed in this way:

<Object granting tag>:<Object to be granted>|<Prerequisite>:<levels specified>

The function of the HD tag is replaced by the prerequisite tag PREHD and the function of the LEVEL tag is replaced by the prerequisite tag PRELEVEL . All of the ranges that can be specified by the HD and LEVEL tags can be replicated with the syntax that PREHD and PRELEVEL use as well as a good deal more because of the flexibility these tags have. For example:

HD:2+ is now PREHD:MIN=2

HD:5-7 is now PREHD:MIN=5,MAX=7

HD:1-10 is now PREHD:MAX=10

The same syntax applies to LEVEL and PRELEVEL. In addition there is now a PREPCLEVEL tag which is a prerequisite for the number of non-monster levels the character has. This is quite useful if you need a prerequisite based on the number of character levels the character has regardless of the number of racial hitdice. This is commonly used to regulate feats which can only be taken at first level with PREPCLEVEL:MAX=1, if PRELEVEL:MAX=1 were used then an Ogre with no character class levels would not qualify because it has more than 1 level total even though they are all monster class levels.


CR (Challenge Rating)

All Characters have a CR value which is initially set by the CR tag in the race line. A CR tag by itself in a template will add to this value. HD:x:CR:y and LEVEL:x:CR:y will both add to the CR value at the levels specified. BONUS:MISC|CR|x can be used to replace this function in both HD and LEVEL

HD:2+:CR:3 is now BONUS:MISC|CR|3|PREHD:MIN=2

HD:1-10:CR:2 is now BONUS:MISC|CR|2|PREHD:MAX=10

LEVEL:5-7:CR:5 is now BONUS:MISC|CR|5|PRELEVEL:MIN=5,MAX=7

Keep in mind that CR is additive and there can be several way to express things, for example a template containing:

HD:1-3:CR:2 <tab> HD:4-6:CR:3 <tab> HD:7+:CR:4

Can be converted most literally as:

BONUS:MISC|CR|2|MAX=3 <tab> BONUS:MISC|CR|3|PREHD:MIN=4,MAX=6 <tab> BONUS:MISC|CR|4|PREHD:MIN=7

But can also be converted more economically as:

CR:2 <tab> BONUS:MISC|CR|1|PREHD:MIN=4 <tab> BONUS:MISC|CR|1|PREHD:MIN=7


DR (Damage Reduction)

DR granted by the HD or LEVEL tags can also be handled directly by the DR tag and the BONUS:DR tag since these both take PRExxx tags. There are two aspects to these tags which need to be kept in mind, the first is that the DR tag does not stack with itself. The second is that the BONUS:DR tag requires that the character must already have a DR tag of the kind it will bonus or it will have no effect. This means that if you have DR:5/Magic and DR:10/Magic from 2 different templates they will not stack and you will only get the better of the two (in this case 10/Magic). It also means that for the tag BONUS:DR|Magic|2 to have any effect you must first have a DR:x/Magic tag.

HD:2+:DR:10/+1 is now DR:10/+1|PREHD:MIN=2

HD:1-10:DR:5/Cold Iron is now DR:5/Cold Iron|PREHD:MAX=10

LEVEL:5-7:DR:20/Silver is now DR:20/Silver|PRELEVEL:MIN=5,MAX=7


FEAT

Feats granted by the HD and LEVEL tags are automatic and do not adjust the feat pool. Feats granted by the HD and LEVEL tags can be converted to the ABILITY tag.

HD:1-10:FEAT:Blind Fight is now ABILITY:FEAT|AUTOMATIC|Blind Fight|PREHD:MAX=10

LEVEL:5-7:FEAT:Alertness is now ABILITY:FEAT|AUTOMATIC|Alertness|PRELEVEL:MIN=5,MAX=7

The FEAT function of HD and LEVEL also supports TYPE.x which will trigger a pop up window with a list of feats of type x. This is the only HD and LEVEL function that will trigger a pop up window. The recommended method to replace this function is to set up an ability pool so the feats can be manually selected. See Lesson #17: .lst - Converting Feats to Abilities for more detailed information on this subject.


SA (Special Ability)

The SA tag is deprecated, it's replacement is the SAB tag. SA tags granted with HD and LEVEL should be converted to SAB tags with the proper PRE tags.

HD:1-10:SA:Banana toss is now SAB:Banana toss|PREHD:MAX=10

LEVEL:5-7:SA:Fire in the Hole is now SAB:Fire in the Hole|PRELEVEL:MIN=5,MAX=7


SR (Spell Resistance)

All Characters initially have an SR value of 0 which can then be raised by the Global SR tag and the BONUS:MISC|SR|x tag. It is not necessary to have an SR tag raise the value above 0 before you can use BONUS:MISC|SR|x to raise it further unlike DR and data defined variables. HD:x:SR:y and LEVEL:x:SR:y will both add to the SR value at the levels specified. BONUS:MISC|SR|x can be used to replace this function in both HD and LEVEL

HD:2+:SR:3 is now BONUS:MISC|SR|3|PREHD:MIN=2

HD:1-10:SR:2 is now BONUS:MISC|SR|2|PREHD:MAX=10

LEVEL:5-7:SR:5 is now BONUS:MISC|SR|5|PRELEVEL:MIN=5,MAX=7

Keep in mind that SR is additive and there can be several way to express things, for example a template containing:

HD:1-3:SR:2 <tab> HD:4-6:SR:3 <tab> HD:7+:SR:4

Can be converted most literally as:

BONUS:MISC|SR|2|MAX=3 <tab> BONUS:MISC|SR|3|PREHD:MIN=4,MAX=6 <tab> BONUS:MISC|SR|4|PREHD:MIN=7

But can also be converted more economically as:

SR:2 <tab> BONUS:MISC|SR|1|PREHD:MIN=4 <tab> BONUS:MISC|SR|1|PREHD:MIN=7


Eddy
LST Chimp