Pathfinder Energy Drain


Rules Questions

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Scarab Sages

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Recently it has come up in my group that some of my players think they get a saving throw immediately when receiving an energy drain attack.

I have looked over the rules in the Core Rulebook, Heroes of Horror, the Pathfinder Bestiary, the 3.5 books and I cannot find anyplace where it says anything about an intial saving throw. My understanding is that the only saving throw comes at 24 hours to see if the negative levels become permanent (unless the levels are restored through restoration).

It seems to me the negative levels take effect immediately and then there is a save 24 hours later but that is the only saving throw.

I wish the book was just a bit more clear on this one. Somehow some of my players read it differently.

Thanks for all your input.


Shem wrote:
It seems to me the negative levels take effect immediately and then there is a save 24 hours later but that is the only saving throw.

To my knowledge, this is correct.


Dork Lord wrote:
Shem wrote:
It seems to me the negative levels take effect immediately and then there is a save 24 hours later but that is the only saving throw.
To my knowledge, this is correct.

You are correct in your ruling, at least how I intepret the rules.

This is from the universal monster rules:

Negative levels remain 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 + 1/2 draining creature's racial HD + 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. A separate saving throw is required for each negative level.


Of course, now negative levels are no big deal at anything but low levels, even to spellcasters. They used to lose spells when taking negative levels, but no longer.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Yes, I have read the universal monster rules. I have read everything I can get my hands on. My player read the same thing and has the idea that there is an initial saving throw. Hope one of the rules developers weighs in on this.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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Shem wrote:
Yes, I have read the universal monster rules. I have read everything I can get my hands on. My player read the same thing and has the idea that there is an initial saving throw. Hope one of the rules developers weighs in on this.

Unless the monster or effect description SPECIFICALLY SAYS you get an initial saving throw... you don't get an initial saving throw.

Effects that grant initial saving throws against an energy drain effect are pretty rare. I actually can't think of any that are in the rules right now, in fact.

Scarab Sages

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Thanks James. I appreciate you clarifying it. This will make my run through Ravenloft later this month easier for me.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Dork Lord wrote:
Of course, now negative levels are no big deal at anything but low levels, even to spellcasters. They used to lose spells when taking negative levels, but no longer.

WHAT???

*sigh*

I keep running across stupid stuff like this in the Pathfinder rules that disenheartens me.

Why would they (I say 'they' .. but we all know who I mean) do away with the spell loss?

That is HUGE for spellcasters. I mean, what the heck does a caster care about -1 to hit? Spell save DCs are not tied to level, so even after losing 4 or 5 levels, a caster, now, still has ALL their original spells, and the save DCs are exactly the same.

PLUS, the Spell Drain feat (yes, I still use 3.5 material) is now completely irrelevant, since level drain doesn't cause spell loss!!

Yet another tool for the DM ground up and tossed in the garbage :(

Stuff like this is why I will probably never switch my campaign to be full Pathfinder. I really don't like the arbitrary nature of a lot of the rule changes. Instead, I'm gradually backporting all of the Pathfinder stuff to 3.5.


Quote:
The creature is also treated as one level lower for the purpose of level-dependent variables (such as spellcasting) for each negative level possessed.

Actually the feat would still have a function in preventing the above from happening.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Pathos wrote:
Quote:
The creature is also treated as one level lower for the purpose of level-dependent variables (such as spellcasting) for each negative level possessed.
Actually the feat would still have a function in preventing the above from happening.

Which is important, because you still have to be able to meet the minimum caster level of the spell in order to cast it. You don't lost prepped spells anymore, but level drain usually still takes away your ability to cast your most potent spells, especially if you lose more than one level.


gbonehead wrote:
Dork Lord wrote:
Of course, now negative levels are no big deal at anything but low levels, even to spellcasters. They used to lose spells when taking negative levels, but no longer.

WHAT???

*sigh*

I keep running across stupid stuff like this in the Pathfinder rules that disenheartens me.

Why would they (I say 'they' .. but we all know who I mean) do away with the spell loss?

That is HUGE for spellcasters. I mean, what the heck does a caster care about -1 to hit? Spell save DCs are not tied to level, so even after losing 4 or 5 levels, a caster, now, still has ALL their original spells, and the save DCs are exactly the same.

PLUS, the Spell Drain feat (yes, I still use 3.5 material) is now completely irrelevant, since level drain doesn't cause spell loss!!

Yet another tool for the DM ground up and tossed in the garbage :(

Stuff like this is why I will probably never switch my campaign to be full Pathfinder. I really don't like the arbitrary nature of a lot of the rule changes. Instead, I'm gradually backporting all of the Pathfinder stuff to 3.5.

I'm not sure you realize this, but Pathfinder did away with a LOT of the "tee hee, I win" spells from 3.5. Yes, negative levels are much less of a threat in 3.PF, but it also means that you can't take theh negative level shortcut when it comes to casting, and neither can your enemies.

They're still a pretty decent hindrance. You take the penalty to caster levels, and lose 5 HP for every one you gain- that's rough on spellcasters, especially the squishy ones with d6 hit dice.

Scarab Sages

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Also, spellcasters have lower fortitude saves and are more likely to fail their saves and therefore, making their negative levels permanent - meaning they will lose the ability to use the spells at the previous level anyway.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

The changes to the way level drain works in Pathfinder were done to minimize the "STOP THE GAME AND REBUILD YOUR CHARACTER" moments. By having level drain not remove spells, the game runs more smoothly... and it doesn't overly penalize one kind of class.


James Jacobs wrote:
The changes to the way level drain works in Pathfinder were done to minimize the "STOP THE GAME AND REBUILD YOUR CHARACTER" moments. By having level drain not remove spells, the game runs more smoothly... and it doesn't overly penalize one kind of class.

At the same time, I wonder if Energy Drain should still be a 9th level spell since the effects of negative levels aren't so severe. Maybe 8th or 7th? Just a thought.


Dork Lord wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
The changes to the way level drain works in Pathfinder were done to minimize the "STOP THE GAME AND REBUILD YOUR CHARACTER" moments. By having level drain not remove spells, the game runs more smoothly... and it doesn't overly penalize one kind of class.
At the same time, I wonder if Energy Drain should still be a 9th level spell since the effects of negative levels aren't so severe. Maybe 8th or 7th? Just a thought.

The D&D version does 2 levels.

The Pathfinder version does 2d4 levels.

This should still be a 9th level spell.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4

No, the D&D version also does 2d4 levels. Even enervation does 1d4 and that's a 4th level spell.

Energy Drain (d20 SRD)


Opps, sorry was thinking of 2nd ed.

Still think it should be a 9th level spell.

The over all effect is the same. While the penalties might be less in Pathfinder for the first 24 hours, the spells still has the same overall effect in both version after 24 hours = The Permanent loss of levels

The permamanent loss in levels = Rebuilding the character with the lower level (aka=loss spell access, HP, BAB, class abiliyes, etc)


Oliver McShade wrote:

Opps, sorry was thinking of 2nd ed.

Still think it should be a 9th level spell.

The over all effect is the same. While the penalties might be less in Pathfinder for the first 24 hours, the spells still has the same overall effect in both version after 24 hours = The Permanent loss of levels

The permamanent loss in levels = Rebuilding the character with the lower level (aka=loss spell access, HP, BAB, class abiliyes, etc)

I agree (except for the fact that there are no BaB/spell/class abilities losses even with permanent Negative levels, only permanent penalties). We have to remember that, no matter the changes Pathfinder made to Negative Levels, this essential rule stil applies:

"If a creature's negative levels equal or exceed its total Hit Dice, it dies."

A no save (the Save allowed is only to remove the Negative Levels the following day), extremely powerful debuffer spell which has the ability to kill outright any kind of creature not immune to Negative Energy is legitimate (IMHO) to be a 9th-level spell. Especially if you consider that on average it deals 5 negative levels (-25 hp, -5 hit, -5 saves, -5 effective caster level). And it's a ray - subjected to Critical Hits (let's hope the enemy Wizard/Sorcerer doesn't score a Crit AND rolls an above average result, or you could not survive to a massive 12-16 Negative Level hit !!!).
Maybe it is his little brother (the Enervation spell) which is still too low level (true, the '1d4-crittable' negative levels it inflicts do not last more than 15 hours - PROVIDED they do not kill you outright before...).

Just my 2c.


I never considered the negative levels to double when critted, it is not damage in the traditional sense of the word in my opinion.

Also I can't see creatures losing spells of permanent level loss in the current pathfinder rules, as I see it, it seems like the same as temporary negative levels, just not temporary.

Don't forget they get - 1 on ability and skill checks too. ^_^

I wish it gave undead a bit more spectacular buff though, just a few temporary hitpoints seems a bit cheesy.. I'd like to see something extra there. (something more akin to heroism's effect maybe)

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

Remco Sommeling wrote:
I wish [negative levels] gave undead a bit more spectacular buff though, just a few temporary hitpoints seems a bit cheesy.. I'd like to see something extra there. (something more akin to heroism's effect maybe)

Well, if you're still using Libris Mortis, you can use Improved Energy Drain:

Libris Mortis wrote:
Improved Energy Drain: Whenever you bestow a negative level upon a creature, you gain a +1 bonus on skill checks, ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws for 1 hour.

You can also use Life Drain:

Libris Mortis wrote:
Life Drain: Whenever you bestow a negative level upon a creature, add your Charisma modifier to the hit points lost by the creature due to that negative level. You then gain temporary hit points equal to the amount lost by the creature due to the negative level. These temporary hit points last for up to 1 hour.

You just can't use Spell Drain :)

BTW, I'm still on the fence about the spell thing, but I see their point. As they've said so many times before, the sweet spot for RPGs is under 10th level. It's been four years since I've run my personal game at that level, so I have an entirely different perspective. This particular change makes a huge difference to energy drain for advanced creatures - but not so much at lower levels.

18th level caster (this alone is well above the sweet spot) is hit with energy drain and loses an average 5 levels. He's now a 13th level caster, and even without losing the highest level spell slot, he can't even cast 8th level spells, never mind 9th, and he's been hit with an almost 30% drop in power.

50th level caster is hit with energy drain and loses an average 5 levels. He's now a 45th level caster. No effect on spellcasting other than a 10% drop in power - and that only for spells without caps - which is most of 'em.

9th level caster (top of the sweet spot) is hit with energy drain and loses an average 5 levels. He's now a 4th level caster, has lost his 3rd, 4th and 5th level spells, is down 25 hit points (probably bringing him within a good hit of unconsciousness), and is darn happy his opponent didn't crit. Then again, what's a 9th-level caster doing against a minimum 17th level caster anyways?

Huge difference there. Kind of like a flat tax, I suppose - hits the bottom more than the top.

Now, in the sweet spot, we're talking about spells with a maximum level of 5, so it's not like energy drain even matters. We're only looking at creatures with energy drain, which is typically only 1 level, maybe 2 for the nasty ones, or enervation.


I am aware it is easy to come up with something, just thought it would be a nice change from the standard, since the temporary hitpoints for undead are a bit underwhelming.

If you have a creature especially fond of draining spells I don't see a reason why not add a feat that does something similar. It would fit some handcrafted by DM wraiths in the ruins of an old magic school or magetower for example or a vampire with sorcerer levels.

it makes energy draining creatures more accesible to lower level play though, it will hurt the players badly but it won't be utterly devastating.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

James Jacobs wrote:
The changes to the way level drain works in Pathfinder were done to minimize the "STOP THE GAME AND REBUILD YOUR CHARACTER" moments. By having level drain not remove spells, the game runs more smoothly... and it doesn't overly penalize one kind of class.

The more I think about it, the more I am on board with this.

And it makes the ones that can drain spells something special, rather than yet another annoyance that interrupts game play.

In order to minimize disruption to my game, I'm going to add a feat called Arcane Drain that causes spell loss, thus allowing Spell Drain to still be relevant. But creatures with this ability will be the exception rather than the norm - making them noteworthy opponents.

(hurries off to update the stats for an undead 'familiar')

Scarab Sages

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I say don't rebuild the character. Just keep your old character sheet and fall back to those levels. The advantage of having your character sheet on the computer these days...

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 4

9th level caster being hit by energy drain? Did he just spit in the face of the mandatory first meeting with the BBEG??


gbonehead wrote:
Remco Sommeling wrote:
I wish [negative levels] gave undead a bit more spectacular buff though, just a few temporary hitpoints seems a bit cheesy.. I'd like to see something extra there. (something more akin to heroism's effect maybe)

Well, if you're still using Libris Mortis, you can use Improved Energy Drain:

Libris Mortis wrote:
Improved Energy Drain: Whenever you bestow a negative level upon a creature, you gain a +1 bonus on skill checks, ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws for 1 hour.

You can also use Life Drain:

Libris Mortis wrote:
Life Drain: Whenever you bestow a negative level upon a creature, add your Charisma modifier to the hit points lost by the creature due to that negative level. You then gain temporary hit points equal to the amount lost by the creature due to the negative level. These temporary hit points last for up to 1 hour.

You just can't use Spell Drain :)

BTW, I'm still on the fence about the spell thing, but I see their point. As they've said so many times before, the sweet spot for RPGs is under 10th level. It's been four years since I've run my personal game at that level, so I have an entirely different perspective. This particular change makes a huge difference to energy drain for advanced creatures - but not so much at lower levels.

18th level caster (this alone is well above the sweet spot) is hit with energy drain and loses an average 5 levels. He's now a 13th level caster, and even without losing the highest level spell slot, he can't even cast 8th level spells, never mind 9th, and he's been hit with an almost 30% drop in power.

50th level caster is hit with energy drain and loses an average 5 levels. He's now a 45th level caster. No effect on spellcasting other than a 10% drop in power - and that only for spells without caps - which is most of 'em.

9th level caster (top of the sweet spot) is hit with energy drain and loses an average 5 levels. He's now a 4th level...

Wait. I thought neg levels didn't affect a spellcaster's spells at all anymore.


They don't make you forget spells, but you must have caster level X to cast spells of Y level (where X and Y vary based on spell progression). For example, a Wizard must have caster level 11 to cast 6th level spells. If his caster level drops below 11 for any reason -- for example, because he's affected by some number of negative levels -- he cannot cast 6th level spells.

Pathfinder Core Rulebook, page 208 wrote:
You can cast a spell at a lower caster level than normal, but the caster level you choose must be high enough for you to cast the spell in question, and all level-dependent features must be based on the same caster level.


Yeah but I thought the rules for Negative Levels were changed so as to not affect spells at all.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dork Lord wrote:
Yeah but I thought the rules for Negative Levels were changed so as to not affect spells at all.

It just says you dont lose prepared spell slots. They are still there, you are just not a high enough caster level to use them.


Dork Lord wrote:
Yeah but I thought the rules for Negative Levels were changed so as to not affect spells at all.

If you mean they don't affect the spells you know you are correct, but if you mean spells are not affected in any way, shape or form that is incorrect due to the above reason.


In other words, it royally screws over Wizards, but not Sorcerers.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No, it pretty much screws over every caster equally. The level points that effect a character can be different depending on class, but over all everyone has the same concerns. If a wizard is knocked to 4th level then he can't use his 3rd level spells. A Sorcerer could be knocked down to 5th for the same effect. Course if he is knocked down to 3rd level then he lost 2nd level spells to.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dork Lord wrote:
In other words, it royally screws over Wizards, but not Sorcerers.

Um huh? How do you get that exactly? 10th level sorceror gets energy drained for 2 levels, cant cast his 5th level spells anymore. A 9th level wizard gets energy drained for 2 levels, same deal. The progression is a little different. Odd level wizards and even level sorcerors are more vulnerable, but it screws them both equaly.


Dork Lord wrote:
In other words, it royally screws over Wizards, but not Sorcerers.

Uh, no, not at all. It affects all spellcasters more or less equally. The difference is that in 3.5, whenever you took a negative level (which have no saves to prevent, remember, just saves to cure) you lost one or more spells for the day with no chance to get them back, and lost the ability to cast spells that were beyond your modified caster level. In Pathfinder, you don't lose the spells per day, so if you cure the negative level(s), or fix your caster level some other way (hey, maybe Practiced Spellcaster has a use outside of multiclassing!), you can still cast them.


Zurai wrote:

They don't make you forget spells, but you must have caster level X to cast spells of Y level (where X and Y vary based on spell progression). For example, a Wizard must have caster level 11 to cast 6th level spells. If his caster level drops below 11 for any reason -- for example, because he's affected by some number of negative levels -- he cannot cast 6th level spells.

Pathfinder Core Rulebook, page 208 wrote:
You can cast a spell at a lower caster level than normal, but the caster level you choose must be high enough for you to cast the spell in question, and all level-dependent features must be based on the same caster level.

I disagree that the above quote applies to the situation with negative levels. There is no "choice" involved with negative levels. Seems like a grey DM discretion issue.

I personally have no problem with an enervated wizard casting a 3d6 fireball.

Any 18th level wizard (or sorcerer, same effects regardless of the above) who gets hit with an energy drain will be crying at the drop in damage, range, and SR.


Majuba wrote:
Zurai wrote:

They don't make you forget spells, but you must have caster level X to cast spells of Y level (where X and Y vary based on spell progression). For example, a Wizard must have caster level 11 to cast 6th level spells. If his caster level drops below 11 for any reason -- for example, because he's affected by some number of negative levels -- he cannot cast 6th level spells.

Pathfinder Core Rulebook, page 208 wrote:
You can cast a spell at a lower caster level than normal, but the caster level you choose must be high enough for you to cast the spell in question, and all level-dependent features must be based on the same caster level.

I disagree that the above quote applies to the situation with negative levels. There is no "choice" involved with negative levels. Seems like a grey DM discretion issue.

I personally have no problem with an enervated wizard casting a 3d6 fireball.

Any 18th level wizard (or sorcerer, same effects regardless of the above) who gets hit with an energy drain will be crying at the drop in damage, range, and SR.

Either you have the level or you don't. Since energy drain just took X levels you don't have them.

It's pretty hard to be a 10th level caster with only 4 levels, as an example.

More proof from the PRD

Energy Drain and Negative Levels

Some spells and a number of undead creatures have the ability to drain away life and energy; this dreadful attack results in “negative levels.” These cause a character to take a number of penalties.

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.


I think you guys all read too much in it, same as caster level increases don't give a sorcerer more spellslots neither are they taken away.

It adjusts level-dependent variables doesn't mean all that, it means in any case where you use level in a calculation your level is treated lower, such as the effects of spells or penetrating spellresistance.

"Spellcasters do not lose any spells or slots as a result of negative levels"

seea bove quote.. just after the bold part.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

I would interpret "level dependent variables" as things dependent on level. Such as what spells you are capable of casting.

The level of spell you can cast (i.e. the variable) depends on your wizard level (or sorcerer, or whatever). If you lower the caster level, you lower the dependent variable - the level of spell you can cast.


Remco Sommeling wrote:
I think you guys all read too much in it, same as caster level increases don't give a sorcerer more spellslots neither are they taken away.

You're correct. Those spell slots are not taken away. They are unusable, however. If the negative levels were to be healed, those spell slots would immediately become usable again. This is in contrast to 3.5 negative levels, where you lose spell slots upon being afflicted and do not regain those spell slots if the negative levels are restored.


Kolokotroni wrote:
Dork Lord wrote:
In other words, it royally screws over Wizards, but not Sorcerers.
Um huh? How do you get that exactly? 10th level sorceror gets energy drained for 2 levels, cant cast his 5th level spells anymore. A 9th level wizard gets energy drained for 2 levels, same deal. The progression is a little different. Odd level wizards and even level sorcerors are more vulnerable, but it screws them both equaly.

Since Wizards would have to prepare metamagic spells ahead of time and Sorcerers can cast them spontaneously, the Sorcerer is in better shape than the Wizard since he can still at least immediately make use of those slots. The Wizard is limited by what he already prepared with metamagic, so the negative levels hurt him more.

Quote:
"Spellcasters do not lose any prepared spells or slots as a result of negative levels".

Actually, that seems really cut and dry. Your level drops but you're not actually a lower level, so you can still cast all your spells... at least that seems to be the implication.

Zurai wrote:
You're correct. Those spell slots are not taken away. They are unusable, however.

Where does it actually say that? Specifically, I mean.


Zurai wrote:

You're correct. Those spell slots are not taken away. They are unusable, however.

I don't think they're unusable. In the spirit of another discussion on this board about caster level, spell slots and so on, I think it could be used for metamagic.

Example:
16-th level sorcerer gets knocked down 4 levels to 12. He has an 8th level slot unused.
The requirement for casting Horrid Wilting (as a sorcerer) is that you are 1. 16th level and 2. have an unused 8th level slot.
The requirement for casting Cone of Cold is that you are 1. 10th level and 2. have an unused 5th level slot.
Using Maximize spell only increases the spell slot required - not the caster level (as it doesn't increase spell level). Thus, a maximized Cone of Cold requires that you 1. are 10th level and 2. have an unused 8th level spell slot.

As you fulfill both, you should be able to cast a maximized cone of cold.

EDIT: Realized I may be totally wrong in this, as the other discussion was rather the opposite. When I reread the rules and the other discussion, it seems this would not work. You need caster level to have access to the spell slots.


Dork Lord wrote:


Zurai wrote:
You're correct. Those spell slots are not taken away. They are unusable, however.
Where does it actually say that? Specifically, I mean.

"In addition to having a high ability score, a spellcaster must be of a high enough class level to be able to cast spells of a given spell level."

- http://www.d20pfsrd.com/basics-ability-scores/ability-scores

Negative levels affect your class level. This is the general rule, and exceptions to it should be noted. The only exception noted is that:
"Spellcasters do not lose any spells or slots as a result of negative levels"

It states that it does not lose any spells or slots, not that it retains the ability to use them. If they retained the ability to cast them, it would probably have said something like "Spellcasters do not lose any spells or slots as a result of negative levels, and may cast them as if they had the drained levels".

By RAW, it works much like putting manacles on a Monk - he does not lose his ability to hit things hard, but unless someone removes the manacles, it's going to be pretty useless. I would think this is also how the rules were intended.

The "nerf" was to make the spell smoother (as stated above) - not to make the spell that much weaker.


concerro wrote:

Either you have the level or you don't. Since energy drain just took X levels you don't have them.

It's pretty hard to be a 10th level caster with only 4 levels, as an example.

More proof from the PRD

Energy Drain and Negative Levels

Some spells and a number of undead creatures have the ability to drain away life and energy; this dreadful attack results in “negative levels.” These cause a character to take a number of penalties.

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...

I disagree. Above, James Jacobs stated that it was not the intention for Enervation to affect one type of class beyond how it affects others. How does this not affect spellcasters way beyond what James said it didn't do (Or I'd rather lose a slot versus all of my slots for a certain level, with NO SAVE).

Additionally, it may be argued that the caster's level to cast a spell is not actually variable.


Robert Young wrote:
I disagree. Above, James Jacobs stated that it was not the intention for Enervation to affect one type of class beyond how it affects others.

Uh, well, since not affecting spells at all would mean that negative levels were essentially meaningless to wizards or sorcerers (they're already fodder if something gets to attack them directly, and their attack rolls rarely matter), I'd wager that James Jacobs didn't mean that spellcasters with negative levels are immune to the rules that require them to have a caster level equal to that required to cast a given spell.

Dark Archive

Robert Young wrote:

I disagree. Above, James Jacobs stated that it was not the intention for Enervation to affect one type of class beyond how it affects others. How does this not affect spellcasters way beyond what James said it didn't do (Or I'd rather lose a slot versus all of my slots for a certain level, with NO SAVE).

Additionally, it may be argued that the caster's level to cast a spell is not actually variable.

To kinda underline what Zurai said.

James said it doesn't mean you can't get the levels back, and retain the spells. Basically for the purposes of the spells, when you lose levels, even if you get them back later, under 3.5 the spells prepared in those slots are gone, no longer available. In Pathfinder, if the cleric casts restoration to get rid of them right quick, the spells are still there.

That's the big difference.


Robert Young wrote:
concerro wrote:

Either you have the level or you don't. Since energy drain just took X levels you don't have them.

It's pretty hard to be a 10th level caster with only 4 levels, as an example.

More proof from the PRD

Energy Drain and Negative Levels

Some spells and a number of undead creatures have the ability to drain away life and energy; this dreadful attack results in “negative levels.” These cause a character to take a number of penalties.

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...

I disagree. Above, James Jacobs stated that it was not the intention for Enervation to affect one type of class beyond how it affects others. How does this not affect spellcasters way beyond what James said it didn't do (Or I'd rather lose a slot versus all of my slots for a certain level, with NO SAVE).

Additionally, it may be argued that the caster's level to cast
a spell is not actually variable.

Do you need to be level X to cast Y spell? The answer is yes

Are you level X after an enervation or energy drain? No

Then you can't cast the spell.


concerro wrote:

Are you level X after an enervation or energy drain? No

I think that's what's in question here. It's not necessarily a "no". You're not actually a lower level until you fail your save 24 hours later. Until then, you get some penalties but the implication is you're not actually a lower level yet.


Zurai wrote:
Remco Sommeling wrote:
I think you guys all read too much in it, same as caster level increases don't give a sorcerer more spellslots neither are they taken away.
You're correct. Those spell slots are not taken away. They are unusable, however. If the negative levels were to be healed, those spell slots would immediately become usable again. This is in contrast to 3.5 negative levels, where you lose spell slots upon being afflicted and do not regain those spell slots if the negative levels are restored.

They would not be totally unusable as you could prepare lower level spells in a higher level spell slot when you get the opportunity.

To add to the discussion:
Common sense would dictate that you cannot cast a spell if your caster level is not high enough to meet the minimum caster level at which a given spell may be gained. For instance, if you are a 9th level wizard, and you gained 4 negative levels, you would have CL 5th. In the spirit of "not having to rebuild your character," you would not have to retroactively unbuild your character (which would include figuring out what spells and spell slots are lost among other things). However, since your caster level is 5th, you would not be able to prepare and cast your 4th level spells (since the minimum caster level to cast these spells is 7th for you) and you would not be able to prepare and cast your 5th level spells (since the minimum caster level to cast these spells is 9th for you). It should work similar to not having a high enough Intelligence score to cast a given spell level.

However, you still possess those spell slots, and thus could prepare and cast spells you are still able to cast (those of levels 1st - 3rd) using those slots. And the metamagic idea mentioned above is an interesting point. I don't see any reason why it can't be done.


Dork Lord wrote:
concerro wrote:

Are you level X after an enervation or energy drain? No

I think that's what's in question here. It's not necessarily a "no". You're not actually a lower level until you fail your save 24 hours later. Until then, you get some penalties but the implication is you're not actually a lower level yet.

You immediately take the level drain. The save is not to determine if you take the level drain. It is to determine if it's permanent or not.

Quote:

From the PRD

Energy Drain (spell):
Saving Throw Fortitude partial; see text for enervation

This spell functions like enervation, except that the creature struck gains 2d4 temporary negative levels. Twenty-four hours after gaining them, the subject must make a Fortitude saving throw (DC = energy drain spell's save DC) for each negative level. If the save succeeds, that negative level is removed. If it fails, that negative level becomes permanent.

An undead creature struck by the ray gains 2d4 × 5 temporary hit points for 1 hour.

Enervation

Duration instantaneous

Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance yes

You point your finger and fire a black ray of negative energy that suppresses the life force of any living creature it strikes. You must make a ranged touch attack to hit. If you hit, the subject gains 1d4 temporary negative levels (see Special Abilities). Negative levels stack.

Assuming the subject survives, it regains lost levels after a number of hours equal to your caster level (maximum 15 hours). Usually, negative levels have a chance of becoming permanent, but the negative levels from enervation don't last long enough to do so.

An undead creature struck by the ray gains 1d4 × 5 temporary hit points for 1 hour.

Both explicitly state the condition is immediate. All the save for energy drain does is decide if its going to last forever(or until removed by magic).

PS: Why is english a 2nd language for me when I am online?

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