I was thinking about making the Lizardmen of my Barbarian Conqueror King (BCS) setting more appealing to players, and part of that is faster XP progression. This is especially true at higher experience levels, as the Thrassians they were based on progress MUCH more slowly than demihumans after level 8. This wouldn’t be a problem in a regular setting where demihumans exist and Thrassians are an exotic class; but in BCS, the only non-human characters are Lizardmen and Geckomen (the latter are much rarer and I’ll describe them later on). So if I want a Thrassian to be a good choice to the average player, I need him to be more similar to the regular demihumans in terms of level progression.
I want my Lizardmen to be similar/equivalent in power and in post-level-8 XP progression to Dwarves. How should I change this race to get a faster XP progression at higher levels? What should I drop?
If Lizardmen are that prevalent, you’ll probably want to make several classes of different configurations. In general, you can expect that the less extra points you take in the racial score, the faster they’ll level up.
I don’t think that’s necessarily spelled out anywhere, but I believe it bubbles up out of the fact they are gaining custom powers not normally accessible to humans and demihumans - the fangs & claws, the AC bonus, wings, swimming, probably also the Fighting Value stacking.
Essentially, because they are monsters.
The Star Trek answer would be to make all of that merely decorative, rather than functional - humans in lizard suits. (like the humans with the pointy ears and the short humans with beards)
The thing that I’d do, probably, is attempt to reconcile the extra XP-per-level-after-8 that the other non-human races take on with those extra powers and turn it into the same flat penalty. At the same time, though, I’d limit the racial value (Thrassian) to 2, to halt them at “lizardman” and not get into the “draconian” range.
There’s some revelations on how the XP value for each racial value was calculated here:
I have no need of them becoming draconian, and will drop levels 3 and 4 or Lizardmen. Only Lizardmen. And I am willing to live with D3 claw damage and D6 bite damage at Lizardman 2. Would that be enough to have them use a static XP penalty beyond level 8 rather than doubling XP every level?
In the context of your setting, the slimmed down version would probably work just fine without doubling XP after 8th level. I would use the version you just described and use an XP progression similar to that of Dwarves.
In a nutshell, they tend to be secretive, reserved and very, very patient. They are yellowish in color with pale brown spots, have fat tails, and bulging, lidless eyes with vertical pupils. In game rules, they are very good climbers (automatic success on normal surfaces, climb on sheer surfaces - even glass - as a Thief of their level); they have very good night vision (not necessarily infravision, but seeing in starlight as in daylight to a certain distance); and they are very stealthy (move silently/hide in shadows like a thief of their level).
What would be cute is some sort of Savage Resilience variant that allows the Geckoman to sacrifice their tail for a reroll or bonus on the Mortal Wounds table (and then unavailable for XdY months as it grows back)
Sacrificing the tail will make the Geckoman completely avoid a roll on the Mortal Wounds table. HOWEVER, a tail is important to a Geckoman’s health, as well as balance, and as long as he is tail-less, he will suffer a -2 penalty to his Dexterity and Constitution scores (if either of these scores is reduced to zero by this, the Geckoman must roll on the Mortal Wounds table anyway) until the tail regrows. Regeneration takes 3d3 months.