Positive and Negative Levels

Some spells and a number of creatures have the ability to focus the energies of life or death and use them to strike directly at their opponent’s essence. If a creature or spell focuses life energy, they create “positive levels” if they strike a creature fueled by negative energy (typically undead creatures). If a creature or spell focuses death energy, they create “negative levels” if they strike a creature fueled by positive energy (typically living creatures).

If these focused energies happen to strike a creature normally fueled by that same energy type – for instance, if a negative level effect strikes a creature fueled by negative energy – they are typically unaffected. However, many spells that deliver such focused energies will often bolster that struck creature (always noted within the spell’s description).

Positive Levels

Positive levels weaken creatures fueled by negative energy. For each positive level a creature has, it takes a cumulative –1 penalty on all ability checks, attack rolls, combat maneuver checks, Combat Maneuver Defense, saving throws, and skill checks. In addition, the creature reduces its current and total hit points by 5 for each negative level it possesses. The creature is also treated as one level lower for the purpose of level-dependent variables (such as spellcasting) for each negative level possessed. Spellcasters do not lose any prepared spells or slots as a result of negative levels. If a creature’s positive levels equal or exceed its total Hit Dice, it dies.

Negative Levels

Negative levels weaken creatures fueled by positive energy. For each negative level a creature has, it takes a cumulative –1 penalty on all ability checks, attack rolls, combat maneuver checks, Combat Maneuver Defense, saving throws, and skill checks. In addition, the creature reduces its current and total hit points by 5 for each negative level it possesses. The creature is also treated as one level lower for the purpose of level-dependent variables (such as spellcasting) for each negative level possessed. Spellcasters do not lose any prepared spells or slots as a result of negative levels. If a creature’s negative levels equal or exceed its total Hit Dice, it dies.

Long Duration Lost Levels

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

Permanent Lost Levels

Some abilities and spells (such as raise dead or revive undead) bestow permanent level drain on a creature. These are treated just like temporary positive or negative levels (as appropriate to the creature), but they do not allow a new save each day to remove them. Level drain can be removed through spells like restoration. Permanent positive or 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 (or unlife).

Positive and Negative Levels

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