Energy Drain and Negative Levels

Some horrible creatures, especially undead monsters, possess a fearsome supernatural ability to drain levels from those they strike in combat. The creature making an energy drain attack draws a portion of its victim’s life force from her. Most energy drain attacks require a successful melee attack roll—mere physical contact is not enough. Each successful energy drain bestows one or more negative levels (the creature’s description specifies how many). If an attack that includes an energy drain scores a critical hit, it drains twice the given amount. A creature gains 5 temporary corrupt hit points (10 on a critical hit) for each negative level it bestows (though not if the negative level is caused by a spell or similar effect). These temporary hit points last for a maximum of 1 hour.

A creature powered by positive energy takes the following penalties for each negative level it has gained:

  • -1 on all skill checks and ability checks.
  • -1 on attack rolls and saving throws.
  • -5 hit points.
  • -1 effective level (whenever the creature’s level is used in a die roll or calculation, reduce it by one for each negative level).
  • -1 caster level

Negative levels are usually temporary until 24 hours have passed or until they are removed with a spell, such as restoration. If a negative level is not removed before 24 hours have passed, the affected creature must attempt a Fortitude save (DC 10 plus ½ draining creature’s racial HD plus draining creature’s Cha modifier; the exact DC is given in the creature’s descriptive text). On a success, the negative level goes away with no harm to the creature. On a failure, the negative level becomes permanent (though it can still be removed with Greater Restoration).

A creature with temporary negative levels receives a new saving throw to remove the negative level each day. The DC of this save is the same as the effect that caused the negative levels.

Some abilities and spells (such as raise dead) bestow permanent level drain on a creature. These are treated just like temporary negative levels, but they do not allow a new save each day to remove them. Level drain can be removed through spells like restoration. Permanent negative levels remain after a dead creature is restored to life. A creature whose permanent negative levels equal its Hit Dice cannot be brought back to life through spells like raise dead and resurrection without also receiving a restoration spell, cast the round after it is restored to life.

A character with negative levels at least equal to her current level, or drained below 1st level, is instantly slain.

A creature powered by negative energy instead gains 5 temporary corrupted hit points per negative level received.

Energy Drain and Negative Levels

Skies of Glass Ganny