Energy Drain, Negative Levels, and access to spell slots.


Rules Questions


3 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

According to the rules when a caster loses a level he does not lose the spell slot. That makes since because that removes any character rebuilding, which was not fun in 3.5.

However it is basically understood that to cast a spell of level ____, and to have access to spell slots of a certain level you still need to have a certain caster level.

Let's say the following takes place:

I am originally an 11th level wizard which give me access to 6th level spells. I get ambushed by a vampire. After the energy drain hits me I am down by two negative levels. Do I still have access to my 6th level spells or can I only access spell slots that are at level 5 and below?

Sovereign Court

SRD:
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.

Yes you have them, you do not lost your prepared 6th level spells or those (unused) slots. It does affect your caster level.

Sovereign Court

The bad news:

Permanent negative levels do remove spell slots and other class features. You get one save per negative level taken. DC equal to 10 + 1/2 the draining creature’s racial HD + the draining creature’s CHA modifier. Negative levels can kill you. Greater restoration can remove them.


taldanrebel2187 wrote:

The bad news:

Permanent negative levels do remove spell slots and other class features.

Where is this written at?


taldanrebel2187 wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Yes you have them, you do not lost your prepared 6th level spells or those (unused) slots. It does affect your caster level.

I said you did not lose them in my opening post. That is different from losing access to them.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

wraithstrike wrote:
However it is basically understood that to cast a spell of level ____, and to have access to spell slots of a certain level you still need to have a certain caster level.

This is not a rule, it's a pattern you've taken for granted.

You don't gain new spell levels as a function of caster level, you gain new spell levels when the chart in your class features says you do.

Extra attacks are a function of your BAB. Spell levels are not a function of your CL.


Jiggy wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
However it is basically understood that to cast a spell of level ____, and to have access to spell slots of a certain level you still need to have a certain caster level.

This is not a rule, it's a pattern you've taken for granted.

You don't gain new spell levels as a function of caster level, you gain new spell levels when the chart in your class features says you do.

Extra attacks are a function of your BAB. Spell levels are not a function of your CL.

I know this, but as a caster you caster level increases by class level. I never said spell levels were gained by caster level.

If that was the case any item or feat granting a caster level woudl give you new spells.

Really, you don't think I know that already? O.o


Are there still spells that give you nothing if you cast them at below the minimum caster level (e.g. by rounding so you get 0 rays, or 0 dice)? Or did Paizo fix that?


CRB p562 Negative Levels wrote:
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.

Do you lose caster levels? No.

Do you count as one lower for the purpose of level-dependent variables such as caster levels? Yes.
That is an important distinction. It means your caster level has not changed any more than a strength damage changes your strength score.
It will mean that the calculations are changed but that doesn't change the original stat (in this case Caster Level).

Still, does your caster level determine your spell level? No.
While they may be related in the underlying mechanics of the game they are not actually spelled out as one being dependent upon the other.

Liberty's Edge

I think that the bolded part is his problem:

PRD wrote:

Caster Level

A spell's power often depends on its caster level, which for most spellcasting characters is equal to her class level in the class she's using to cast the spell.

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.

In the event that a class feature or other special ability provides an adjustment to your caster level, that adjustment applies not only to effects based on caster level (such as range, duration, and damage dealt), but also to your caster level check to overcome your target's spell resistance and to the caster level used in dispel checks (both the dispel check and the DC of the check).

As you don't choose to lower your caster level, but you are forced to lower it, I think you will be capable to cast the spell, even if that mean that you cast it at a normally insufficient strength.

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