Energy Drain is Broken


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Some spoilered info on this specific encounter from Vaults of Madness:

Spoiler:
The room with the specters is not optional, it must be passed through to get to the rest of the dungeon. It's also only 15 feet across so it's tough to not be next to a wall, or within a 5' step of a wall. There are actually 4 specters, one in the sarcophagus and the rest in the walls. The room description says that when the coffin lid is moved, that specter attacks and the others come out a round later. I interpret that to indicate that the specters don't attack unless the sarcophagus is disturbed, but I can see how a GM may read it differently than I did.

I looked it up because I didn't remember running this one when I ran Serpent's Skull. My party didn't disturb anything so never fought the specters (per my interpretation). Also a little bad luck on the OP's part as this adventure consists of six dungeons that can be done in any order. This adventure is for levels 10-12, so they could have had two more levels on them before fighting.

Specters are harsh. I once gamed in a split group (two GMs, two groups, shared world, we could occasionally swap groups) where one GM loved the heck out of specters and so I made all ghost touch stuff for my group. The look on the other GM's face when she jumped us with ghosts and our incorporeal touch ACs were almost as good as our normal ACs was priceless.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Atarlost wrote:
When rust monsters and incorporeal undead were introduced the casters just weren't as good except at high levels and some spotlighting may have been merited at low levels. That's no longer the case. Of course this was also the era of the room of death and trial and fatal error trap disarming so it may be that Gygax was just a sadist.

If you thought Gygax was a sadist (by his own admission, he was), you never read Grimtooth's Traps. But then again, sadism was an expected component of DM's in those days as well as the expectation that players would do purely stupid things like stick their heads into idol mouths (which is why in one module, Gygax stuck an orb of annihilation into one such mouth). As it was, the adventure was pretty much JUST the dungeon run with everything else just designed to get you there in the first place. That's a measure on how much the game and the community surrounding it has evolved.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Arturick wrote:

Once you start having Specter strike teams that take full advantage of terrain and other tactical opportunities, you create a world that should have already been converted into Spectres.

Except that you're talking about Spectres that are really going against type. (and maybe watching a bit too much Zombie apocalypse media lately) Spectres tend to be bound to the spot where they died in life. So pretty much they're only going to be taking down foolish adventurers who keep breaking into crypts. They're not going to breaking out and going on cross country feeding frenzies. (they're also powerless in Sunlight)


LazarX wrote:
Arturick wrote:

Once you start having Specter strike teams that take full advantage of terrain and other tactical opportunities, you create a world that should have already been converted into Spectres.

Except that you're talking about Spectres that are really going against type. (and maybe watching a bit too much Zombie apocalypse media lately) Spectres tend to be bound to the spot where they died in life. So pretty much they're only going to be taking down foolish adventurers who keep breaking into crypts. They're not going to breaking out and going on cross country feeding frenzies. (they're also powerless in Sunlight)

I think you're going against type by having tactical Spectre SWAT teams even if they are bound to a specific location.

Also, their sunlight vulnerability isn't much of a weakness since they can move through the ground and strike indoors/at night. Although it does have me thinking about using big mirrors to light crypts (like in "The Mummy").

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Johnmatrix1786 wrote:
I'm just incredibly frustrated because my group has gone through adventure path after adventure path in which we just die. This is a group of intelligent, veteran players (some of whom power build the duke out of their PC's). It doesn't seem to matter. We always die, and it's rarely because of a boss-fight. We're not idiots (or at least the others aren't).

Sounds like a GM issue TBH.

Johnmatrix1786 wrote:

And Charlie, I find your viewpoint frustrating, because when you say, "If you can't take the heat, take a level in commoner," I hear, "Dude, it's okay. You're supposed to die EVERY time you play this game."

Brain. Explodes. From Rage.

It's not that you are supposed to die every time you play this game, it is that you have the possibility of death every time you enter combat.

It's combat. People die in it. That's kind of the point. Sometimes it's not just the badguys.

Think of it this way. There is a sliding scale of risk from "somebody dies every session" to "autowin." Most players prefer that scale to be calibrated somewhere in the middle. Some players just want to win the game; others don't consider success satisfying unless there's real risk involved--and the greater the risk, the greater the reward of success.

If you are mad because you took a risk and died in a game in which outcomes are decided by dice, then so sorry, bro, better luck next time. If you are mad because you think the sliding scale of risk is out of whack in your games, then that's a discussion you need to have with your GM. Either way, the problem is not that energy drain is broken.


yep those same spectres did an almost TPK for our Party also and those that survived were inflicted with madness that took forever to heal. iT was one of the harder encounters in the game and the most frustrating I was a monk/unarmed fighter and because i didn't have an amulet of mighty fist i couldn't do magic damage to them.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
AnnoyingOrange wrote:
An incorporeal creature moves silently and cannot be heard with Perception checks if it doesn’t wish to be. It has no Strength score, so its Dexterity modifier applies to its melee attacks, ranged attacks, and CMB. Nonvisual senses, such as scent and blindsight, are either ineffective or only partly effective with regard to incorporeal creatures. Incorporeal creatures have an innate sense of direction and can move at full speed even when they cannot see.

Perception is all your senses, included the ability to notice small details betraying the spectre presence. Spectres in particular have the unnatural aura characteristic, animals perceive it automatically but a perceptive character can notice something. What made a difference with the old pot and listen skill isn't relevant when you are rolling perception.

Then there is the little thing that the spectres weren't attacking through the wall, they did take a 5' step and then attacked. So there is no reason to deny a perception check to the players.

You can give a bonus to the stealth skill if they stay within the walls, but nothing more.

Silver Crusade

Usually spells that hurt have either an attack roll (often a touch attack or ranged touch attack) or a saving throw, but not both.


Some have neither (Enervation for example, but there are many like that).


Avh wrote:
Some have neither (Enervation for example, but there are many like that).

Last I heard enervation is a ray, ergo you have to hit with a ranged touch attack.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Negative levels are one of the few true dangers left in the game. Every party needs to do whatever they can to prepare for handling them, or they will suffer the consequences.


Ouch, my mistake ^^'


DesolateHarmony wrote:
Usually spells that hurt have either an attack roll (often a touch attack or ranged touch attack) or a saving throw, but not both.

Not a fair comparison.

Medium BAB casters don't have dangerous touch no save spells. Undead have medium BAB. Their attack abilities are at will rather than only having a few uses per day. Incorporeals can bypass almost all AC for a flat miss chance by attacking from an object.

The Exchange

Thanks for all of this. Since I notice so many PFS scenarios have undead, I'm trying to come up with a character to deal with them (No, not a one trick pony!)A possibility - Knight of Ozem but a specter would eat him for lunch - lots of heavy armor of no use. Or a Holy Vindicator - another tank.
Would the channeling into his shield/armor protect him? (I don't think so - just looks like a buff)
A necromancer has been suggested but he's not up to controlling specters
A Cleric of Iomedae with Sun and Glory could do damage but enough damage? And has no protection.


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Negative levels are kind of a lame premise as far as i am concerned. as are abilities that directly attack attributes themselves rather than die rolls that utilize the attributes.

both are just a cheap way to bypass hit points that are nearly exclusively the domain of casters, and monsters.

plus incorporeal monsters should include a warning and a recommended CR plus a recommended minimum APL they should be introduced.

i really hate the idea that some sorcerer with the ghost template could hide inside a damned wall to guarantee an ambush, inflict a bunch of near permanent and crippling penalties that could potentially unravel the efforts of countless months of game time, ignore a creature's primary defenses (Armor, Saving throws), augment it's own defenses with it's freaking casting attribute that it likely freaking maximized out the wazoo, receive a fat bonus to it's casting attribute that also improves it's health and armor class, is effectively immune to weapon damage without a niche enhancement, is more mobile than any player will ever be, and can kill a non-metagaming non-powergamed player faster than they can kill it due to a combination of it's nearly unbeatable defenses, ability to completely ignore your primary defenses, bypass your damned hit points, and if you do manage to kill it, you will only die more easily in the future due to the near permanent and costly to remove penalties to deal with.

it's not just ghost sorcerers, but most of these reasons have to deal with the incorporeal features. in fact, incorporeal creatures shouldn't exist in Pathfinder, because they are just a big "Screw You!" to the players whom invested countless months into their characters.

attribute loss, and negative levels, both of which are commonly associated with incorporeal foes, and undead in general, are so costly to recover from, in a combination of spell slots from the cleric, in the opportunity cost to prepare them, the shipload of money spent on diamonds, that cuts into your magical equipment budget, and the amount of interruptable actions spent removing them, that the concept of attribute loss and negative levels should go the way of the dodo and just die.

i know that adventuring needs risk, but incorporeal creatures are way too dangerous, give way too little reward, require ridiculous amounts of metagaming, powergaming, and tailoring your gear specifically to defeat them, demand a cleric or other divine with access to a near endless supply of spells from the restoration line, require a shipload of diamonds, and require the foolish assumption that the creatures won't eliminate the cleric first.

Shadow Lodge

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I don't like that paper beats rock either. I should always win when I throw rock.


A Dhampir isn't immune to level drain (it can still kill 'em), but they don't take penalties for negative levels either.

Deathless is a +1 armor enhancement that gives 25% resistance to level drain.

The black soul shard negates one level drain a week; the scarab of protection can absorb 12 drains.


IMO, the only problem with Negative Levels is that they're such a bother to keep track of. Too many things are affected by it.


TOZ wrote:
I don't like that paper beats rock either. I should always win when I throw rock.

Jan-Ken and d20 are two different systems.

ever had to deal with a g%#~*!ned ghost sorcerer before?

DCs out the Damned Wazoo

Ludicrous Hit Points and Armor Class

Immune to Weapon Damage without a niche enchantment

Completely bypasses your hit points

Completely ignores your saving throws

Completely bypasses you armor class

is a complete "Screw You" to martial characters

requires a shipton of metagaming to defeat

requires you to specifically tailor your gear to counter it

requires the creature to ignore the cleric

requires the fudging of casting times and material components

requires the preparing and fudging of spell slots to deal with

offers no compensation for your struggle against it

has practically no weaknesses

invalidates several system based assumptions

in other words, Ghost Sorcerers should at least be an invalid option because of how badly they screw martial characters

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
TOZ wrote:
I don't like that paper beats rock either. I should always win when I throw rock.
Jan-Ken and d20 are two different systems.

Yeah, but it was a funny joke.

Kirthfinder runs on the same concept. This beats that which beats this which beats that around to this again.

Assistant Software Developer

I removed an unconstructive post.


Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
TOZ wrote:
I don't like that paper beats rock either. I should always win when I throw rock.

Jan-Ken and d20 are two different systems.

ever had to deal with a g@&#++ned ghost sorcerer before?

DCs out the Damned Wazoo

Ludicrous Hit Points and Armor Class

Immune to Weapon Damage without a niche enchantment

Completely bypasses your hit points

Completely ignores your saving throws

Completely bypasses you armor class

is a complete "Screw You" to martial characters

requires a shipton of metagaming to defeat

requires you to specifically tailor your gear to counter it

requires the creature to ignore the cleric

requires the fudging of casting times and material components

requires the preparing and fudging of spell slots to deal with

offers no compensation for your struggle against it

has practically no weaknesses

invalidates several system based assumptions

in other words, Ghost Sorcerers should at least be an invalid option because of how badly they screw martial characters

All this is just a problem when you got a GM that is not interested in challenging the players but wants to destroy and humiliate them.. Seriously a GM needs none of this to cripple a character, just trust your GM to create a fair challenge.


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So the initial encounter was run harshly by the DM. Probably too harshly.

Somehow the specters (who could not see or communicate with each other) all jumped out at precisely the same instant, not allowing perception checks to avoid surprise, and all focus-fired on the same guy (yeah, one of them made a pity move and attacked someone else for a round after the first guy was basically near-death anyway). All done with no way to coordinate their attack. I bet, though I'm not sure, there was only 1 initiative die rolled for the group of them.

What should have happened.

The specters might have left the group alone. Let's assume they were aggressive and hostile.

The specters hid in the walls. Maybe even smart enough to assume the adventurers would go to a specific place (the encounter description seems to suggest they would go near the sarcophagus so they would know if it got disturbed). Maybe they figured out that the group ignored the sarcophagus, and then assumed they headed for the exit. Each specter assumed this differently and moved toward that exit on his own without communicating with the other specters.

Sooner or later one of them gets within 5' of a PC and decides to attack. This one has no idea where his two friends are, has no idea whether the other specters will even attack, let alone whether they'll attack the same target - heck, they might even be back by the sarcophagus.

So this one specter jumps out and attacks. I would give him the surprise round, fair enough, because the rules say he gets one when he is aware and the enemy are not aware - he can charge and make one attack. The other two probably need to make perception checks, but only if they're actually within 5' of their friends, or within 5' of a PC who reacts to the first attack (probably no perception checks needed, come to think of it, since that would all be self-evident).

The surprise round would probably consist of only one specter attacking, whichever one found the PCs first.

Now roll initiatives. Absolutely, in this case, roll a separate initiative check for each specter. I'm perfectly fine with rolling group initiatives for the bad guys, but I only do so when they can see and communicate with each other. This is not the case here. Sure, I get it, there is no specific rule in the CRB that says the DM must play it this way, but I think it makes sense.

Now, maybe those fast specters all rolled well and beat every PC. Maybe they all can attack first, against flatfooted foes. I agree, they're smart enough to eliminate the most obvious danger (I say the cleric, if there is one, so they don't get group-channeled to death). That's probably not the one who got attacked in the surprise round (randomly, he's only 1 possible random target out of what, 4 choices). So now they all attack the cleric. Even if they all hit, the cleric survives.

Now the party finally can act. The cleric is at -6 levels and someone else is at -2 (maybe the cleric is at -8). But the cleric doesn't lose any spells, so he can still cast Death Ward on himself, removing his negative level penalties, and begins channeling 5d6 of damage on the specters every round. If a cleric that level doesn't have Death Ward ready, well, that's the group's fault.

The rest of the fight is pretty easy. Some restorations after the fight and everyone is back on their feet.

*****************************************

This seems like a perfectly fair way to run the encounter based on what the monsters know and what they can do, without giving them "Omnipotence" to know exactly where and when to coordinate their tactics and without playing them as idiots either.

So, yeah, the DM seems to have been pretty harsh here. If he's always that harsh, and these guys got to level 10 dealing with this kind of harshness, then I would think they'd be more accustomed to stuff like this. If not, if this was out of character for his style, then, well, I guess sometimes the world is harsh.

Final note, with proper preparedness, that group even without a fighter should be able to go back in, kill the specters (including the new one that looks disturbingly like their former companion), and simply raise their dead fighter with a normal Raise Dead. I think this option has been mentioned already.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:

Negative levels are kind of a lame premise as far as i am concerned. as are abilities that directly attack attributes themselves rather than die rolls that utilize the attributes.

both are just a cheap way to bypass hit points that are nearly exclusively the domain of casters, and monsters.

I agree that ways to bypass hit points are too often concentrated on spellcasters rather than martial characters, but the idea of getting around the all-important hit point ablation? Sign me the hell up!

Ability damage and negative levels were, I thought, brilliant methods of getting around hit point ablation and keeping some dangers relatively dangerous to nearly any level of adventurer.

Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
it's not just ghost sorcerers, but most of these reasons have to deal with the incorporeal features. in fact, incorporeal creatures shouldn't exist in Pathfinder, because they are just a big "Screw You!" to the players whom invested countless months into their characters.

Why don't we give all the monsters whiffle swords too? Seriously, a fantasy game without ghosts and other spirit creatures? Not a game I want to really play.

Here's a thought: If you don't like incorporeal creatures, then don't use them in your campaigns. That's the power of a toolkit style game with hundreds of creatures in its Bestiaries. If a creature or even a type of creature doesn't float your boat, you have literally hundreds of others to choose from.

Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
attribute loss, and negative levels, both of which are commonly associated with incorporeal foes, and undead in general, are so costly to recover from, in a combination of spell slots from the cleric, in the opportunity cost to prepare them, the shipload of money spent on diamonds, that cuts into your magical equipment budget,...

It's like they managed to keep undead really scary. Which is just how I like them.


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I agree with just about everything you said, DM Blake, but the entry for Raise Dead reads: "A creature who has been turned into an undead creature or killed by a death effect can't be raised by this spell."

My interpretation of that wording is that even once the undead creature has been killed, the spell still will not work because...

Resurrection says specifically: "You can resurrect someone killed by a death effect or someone who has been turned into an undead creature and then destroyed."


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
ryric wrote:

Some spoilered info on this specific encounter from Vaults of Madness:

** spoiler omitted **

Respect the 10 foot square. You will find them very common in Pathfinder modules (mildly annoying yes, but common all the same). You don't need to make the encounter more lethal than the module wrote it, if you don't wish to.


Atarlost wrote:

It is fundamentally impossible to set the CR for something with a no save incorporeal touch attack.

* It's a touch attack so armor doesn't help defend against it.
* It's incorporeal so it can attack out of walls or floors to also face flatfooted AC

Objection floors are impossible because it can't enter/pass into object(s) larger than itself. Floors are larger than most incorporeals.


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So, the PCs' couldn't affect a hasty retreat? The wizard didn't have dimension door? I find that hard to believe.

Beat feat, rest up, prepare sufficient mage armor and protection from evil, communal or shield of faith spells to ward the group - along with the stupefyingly obvious death ward and daylight spells and get to work.

Incorporeal touch attacks are subject to mage armor, shield and shield of faith spells - along with other sources of AC such as insight, dodge, luck, morale, etc etc. Incorporeal touch attacks are the easiest ones to deal with.

It still won't be easy - but you group should be packing a solid Incorporeal Touch AC of 20+ with a bit of preparation and be able to utterly ignore the touch attack's damage/effects thanks to death ward. A few magic stone and magic weapon spells will pretty handily take care of laying the smack down. Channeled positive energy, lay on hands, magic missile, spiritual weapon and spiritual ally spells will cabbage the spectres in very, very short order.

BWMCs... so many of late ...


'Daylight' has no effect on spectres.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Starbuck_II wrote:
Atarlost wrote:

It is fundamentally impossible to set the CR for something with a no save incorporeal touch attack.

* It's a touch attack so armor doesn't help defend against it.
* It's incorporeal so it can attack out of walls or floors to also face flatfooted AC

Objection floors are impossible because it can't enter/pass into object(s) larger than itself. Floors are larger than most incorporeals.
PRD wrote:
An incorporeal creature can enter or pass through solid objects, but must remain adjacent to the object's exterior, and so cannot pass entirely through an object whose space is larger than its own.

Hiding in floors is possible. What is not possible is entering on this side of an object larger than the incorporeal creature and leaving through the other side.

- * -

"BWMCs"?
What I find is "Baltimore Washington Medical Center (BWMC)". I doubt it is what you mean, Turin.


Incorporeal combats are good, as are fighting xorns and xerans that shift and move through walls. Xerans with their ranged attack can be so dirty (a book on them is on paizo).

After a battle with some xerans a player said to me it was the dirtiest most dishonourable battle he had played in a long time. I was thrilled.


Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
Immune to Weapon Damage without a niche enchantment

Huh? Last time I checked, about any magic weapon was able to affect incorporeal creatures. What is this immunity you are speaking of?

Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:

Completely bypasses your hit points

Completely ignores your saving throws
Completely bypasses you armor class

Umm... take your choice. I don't know of too many effects that completely bypass all three, unless your whole concept of AC consists of wearing as much metal as you can tote around.

Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:
is a complete "Screw You" to martial characters

Even if this were the case, what exactly is your problem? If a monster is a complete "Screw you" to casters, that's perfectly fine, even desirable; but if an encounter requires martials and casters to work together with one another, it's the end of civilisation as we know it?

Newsflash: It is not the aim of the game that the burly guy with the two-handed ragehammer (or pouncelance) should be able to clobber everything into submission with ease.

Lumiere Dawnbringer wrote:

requires a shipton of metagaming to defeat

requires the fudging of casting times and material components
requires the preparing and fudging of spell slots to deal with

Huh? Come again?

I am aware that a ghost sorecerer is vastly under-CR'ed. Which means it is a lucid dream for a GM who wants to cram as much oomph as humanly possible into a given CR.
I am aware that a ghost sorcerer is among the nastier things the system can throw at you, due to its layers of defense, along with a SADness that isn't even remotely funny.
To add insult to injury, it is SAD on the very stat ever self-respecting martial (and most non-martial) characters will dump all the way down to 7. How dare the game designers mock us that cruelly?

Sorry, but I don't buy into your 'Casters are waaaay to powerful already, so anything and everythin in the game that has the edge over martials should be nixed immediately' view.


Diego Rossi wrote:


"BWMCs"?
What I find is "Baltimore Washington Medical Center (BWMC)". I doubt it is what you mean, Turin.

You are correct. ;)


Matthew Downie wrote:
'Daylight' has no effect on spectres.

True ... but there isn't anything else that is as large a hands-free maximum illumination level for as extended a duration in between the other spells (<5th level) mentioned.


Turin the Mad wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:


"BWMCs"?
What I find is "Baltimore Washington Medical Center (BWMC)". I doubt it is what you mean, Turin.
You are correct. ;)

Boundary Weed Management Committee, oh so important in keeping out undead.

Alternatively, thinking about Turin's kick-ass tactical advice, I think perhaps Urban Dictionary has the answer...

...if you say so Turin :-)


Lemmy wrote:
IMO, the only problem with Negative Levels is that they're such a bother to keep track of. Too many things are affected by it.

Until you fail the save 24 hours later you just subtract 1 from every d20 roll you make.

Once you fail the save you then have to account for more things, but unlike 3.5 you don't actually have to rewrite your character.

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wraithstrike wrote:

Until you fail the save 24 hours later you just subtract 1 from every d20 roll you make.

Once you fail the save you then have to account for more things, but unlike 3.5 you don't actually have to rewrite your character.

Er, what? Temporary negative levels never become permanent in PF, unlike 3.5. You just retain the temp negative level until you make the daily save.

PRD wrote:
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.

Even permanent negative levels don't have any stronger effect, they just never go away on their own.

Silver Crusade

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As an old grognard I find it amusing that people find this harsh. In 2nd edition negative levels were just that, you lowered your character's level by one and recalculated your stat block accordingly. No save, no nothing.

Modern players don't know how lucky they have it.


Dazylar wrote:
Turin the Mad wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:


"BWMCs"?
What I find is "Baltimore Washington Medical Center (BWMC)". I doubt it is what you mean, Turin.
You are correct. ;)

Boundary Weed Management Committee, oh so important in keeping out undead.

Alternatively, thinking about Turin's kick-ass tactical advice, I think perhaps Urban Dictionary has the answer...

...if you say so Turin :-)

i don't know what Urban Dictionary says, but I know what my meaning is. ;)


FallofCamelot wrote:

As an old grognard I find it amusing that people find this harsh. In 2nd edition negative levels were just that, you lowered your character's level by one and recalculated your stat block accordingly. No save, no nothing.

Shadow Dragons were particularly nasty. They had a breath weapon which did 2d4 negative levels or 1d4 if you saved. Either way you were pretty screwed. A fight against a Shadow Dragon was almost always lethal and on the few occasions that the party survived they would be left drained and out of resources.

Modern players don't know how lucky they have it.

This is why I chalk it up to BWMC. Does energy drain suck eggs? Sure - but by comparison, it's VERY manageable.


FallofCamelot wrote:


Shadow Dragons were particularly nasty. They had a breath weapon which did 2d4 negative levels or 1d4 if you saved. Either way you were pretty screwed. A fight against a Shadow Dragon was almost always lethal and on the few occasions that the party survived they would be left drained and out of resources.

Modern players don't know how lucky they have it.

The amount of negative levels is based on age catergory in 3.5, you deal 1/2 the amount on save. So you negate wyrmlings (1/2 of 1 is 0 for them).

But the higher HD ones were dangerous.


I more fear CON drain.


FallofCamelot wrote:

As an old grognard I find it amusing that people find this harsh. In 2nd edition negative levels were just that, you lowered your character's level by one and recalculated your stat block accordingly. No save, no nothing.

Modern players don't know how lucky they have it.

You call it luck, I call it missing out :/

Grand Lodge

Johnmatrix1786 wrote:


At this point, there are no animals around so the unnatural aura is not an issue, and detect evil/detect undead cannot penetrate the 1 foot of rock that the spectres are behind)

Just curious why no animals? Fighters have Handle Animal as a class skill. A trained animal is a great combat companion, providing flanking, and guarding the camp, etc. Additionally, some of them have good senses and can alert you to enemies before you are within encounter range.

in this case you would have been alerted to the undead by their unnatural aura. this would have allowed you plenty of warning to expect combat, eliminating the surprise round at least.

Honestly just seems like you chose not to take advantage of your character options and left yourself wide open with a huge area to exploit. Sort of like a two-handed fighter complaining his AC is a bit too low. It all comes down to choices you made.


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I just wanted to say something about the tactics of the specters.

Just because they have an Int of 14 does not mean they all have to attack the same person. From what I read about spectres is that they were once evil humans and retain some of their identity.

As such try to think of them as mean gangmembers.
Now the three gangmembers have found a group of 4 tourists that have somehow ended up in the wrong part of town. They grin and begin whirling their chains and put on their brass knuckles and whatnot.
The tourists are scared to death, shivering.

And then all gang members pile on top of the one guy that looks a little tougher than the other guys and pummel him while the rest run away. That's not how they would act. Each one would grab one victim, feeling totally superior and invulnerable compared to some scrawny and unarmed tourist. One would probably try to grab two at once so no one escapes.

I imagine the spectres would act similar. They don't see you as potential danger. The are immortal ghosty people now. Weapons can't hurt them and if they touch something it dies. What would they have to fear?
You are just a container of delicious lifeforce they wanna suck out. Why should they bother all ganging up on a single one, when each could have his own feast?

I know it doesn't help the situation since it already happened, but just arguing that because of high int they would coordinate attacks, does not take into account how a creature sees and interprets the world.


FallofCamelot wrote:

As an old grognard I find it amusing that people find this harsh. In 2nd edition negative levels were just that, you lowered your character's level by one and recalculated your stat block accordingly. No save, no nothing.

Modern players don't know how lucky they have it.

That people in the past put up with even worse game mechanics doesn't make stupid game mechanics tolerable. It makes me wonder what was wrong with people in the past that they put up with Gygax's sadistic crap.

People being people they probably actually mostly didn't. They either quietly ruled that negative levels were stupid and over-complicated and didn't use them (just like the vast majority seem to have not used the special armor resistance table) or they jumped ship for a game system that wasn't designed to make players miserable. The success of White Wolf and GURPS seems to indicate a lot of people did the latter.


Turin the Mad wrote:
Dazylar wrote:
Turin the Mad wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:


"BWMCs"?
What I find is "Baltimore Washington Medical Center (BWMC)". I doubt it is what you mean, Turin.
You are correct. ;)

Boundary Weed Management Committee, oh so important in keeping out undead.

Alternatively, thinking about Turin's kick-ass tactical advice, I think perhaps Urban Dictionary has the answer...

...if you say so Turin :-)

i don't know what Urban Dictionary says, but I know what my meaning is. ;)

Well, considering you used it in a different context in your next post, I'd say that UD does NOT have the answer!

OT: What use is an acronym only one person knows?! :-)

EDIT: Did a post-stalk, I get it now.

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