Poss new thoughts for undead level drainers?

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Poss new thoughts for undead level drainers?

Postby garhkal » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:22 pm

Over on DF we have one thread going right now, about undead and someone who got drained to L0 but not further (so didn't die)..
Some are saying they use a rule that levels stripped from you by undead, are given as a Temp boost (kind of like heroism potions) TO the undead that drained you..

IF You were to implement such a rule;
A) How long of a boost would you allow it to give the undead that sucked a character? A few combat rounds? A turn? Hour?

B) How MANY level boosts< could he stack up? A max of his HD (so a wight could temp boost himself 4hd)? Something else

C) Do these boosts do anything other than increase his HP and Thac0? Ie if i stripped 3 levels from a mage, can a wight now cast spells as a L3 mage? Backstab as a L3 thief? If they shift up enough HD, does their # attacks increase like fighters going up in level??


Another often banded around HR, is that if you slay the undead that drained YOU in a sufficient short period of time after last being drained (most seem to have it as a day or less), you can get an "Energy rush" back restoring half or maybe even all of the levels lost to that undead..
If you was to use such a rule
A) How swiftly would a pc require to kill said undead to regain the lost levels? 1 day? A week? Doesn't matter as if at any time that undead dies, all live levels he took will come back to those he took it from??

B) If Multiple characters got drained by the same undead, would the one killing it restore just HIS lost levels, or would he restore all pcs who lost levels?

C) Would it restore only some of the stolen levels, or all?
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Re: Poss new thoughts for undead level drainers?

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:07 am

I think there's a serious misunderstanding there.

Characters drained to 0th-level are dead, and become undead. They're not living, 0th-level characters. From the 1E DMG:

"When a character is drained of all energy levels, he or she might become an undead monster of the same sort which killed him or her."
- 1E DMG, pg. 119

It does not say: "A character drained below 0 levels". A drain from 1st level to 0th level means all life levels are drained.

1-1 = 0.

10-10 = 0.

I've never seen or even heard of it being done otherwise.

1E Spectre:

"Any human totally drained of life energy by a spectre becomes a half-strength spectre under the control of the spectre which drained him."
- MM1, pg. 89

2E Spectre:

"Any being drained totally of life energy by a spectre becomes a full-strength spectre under the control of the spectre which drained him."
- MM, pg. 323

1E Vampire:

"Any human or humanoid creature drained of all life energy becomes an appropriately strengthed vampire under the control of its slayer."
- MM1, pg. 99

2E Vampire:

"Any human or humanoid creature slain by the life energy drain of the vampire is doomed to become a vampire himself."
- MM, pg. 356

1E Wight:

"Any human totally drained of life energy by a wight will become a half-strength wight under the control of its slayer."
- MM, pg. 100

2E Wight:

"Persons who are slain by the energy draining powers of a wight are doomed to rise again as wights under the direct control of their slayer."
- MM, pg. 360

1E Wraith:

"If a wraith drains all life energy levels from a human (including dwarves, elves, gnomes, half-elves, or even halflings), the victim becomes a half-strength wraith under the control of the wraith which drained the victim."
- MM, pg. 102

2E Wraith:

"Any human killed by a wraith becomes a half-strength wraith under its control."
- MM, pg. 365

And how about the absolutely unambiguous energy drain spell:

"Humans or humanoids brought to zero energy levels by this spell become ju-ju zombies."
- Unearthed Arcana, pg. 65

I know the sloppily-written 2E DMG talks about being drained below 0th-level, but in the 1E DMG and in both the 1E and 2E Monster Manuals and Unearthed Arcana, it clearly shows that being drained of all levels by energy/level draining undead results in death, then un-death under the control of the slayer. Again, 0th-level is not a level. 0th-level NPCs do not gain levels. If you are a 10th level character and you are drained of "all your life energy levels", that's simple math - 10th level - 10 levels = 0. All your levels are gone. Zero is zero.

Nowhere does it say "...if a vampire/wraith/wight/spectre drains a character into negative life levels...".

That's pretty much the math regardless of what we're talking about in AD&D:

At 0 hp, you die. (Death's door being optional rules)
If a shadow drains you to 0 hp or 0 STR, you die and come back as a shadow.
If your CON reaches 0, you die and cannot be raised.

So people who are allowing characters to survive after being drained to zero levels are doing it wrong. I don't care about the sloppy editing of 2E. At 0 levels, you are drained of all levels - by definition, as a character who has 10 levels and is drained of all levels is now at 0 levels - and so you die and come back as an undead. If I have 10 levels and they're all drained, I have no energy levels, same as if I had 10 apples and lost 10 apples. I have no apples. I don't have some ambiguous, strange state of having apples even though I have no apples. That makes no sense. To me this is the as clear as can be, and is the most basic math as well as the clearest of rules.
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Re: Poss new thoughts for undead level drainers?

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:34 am

That being said/clarified...

Garhkal wrote:

Some are saying they use a rule that levels stripped from you by undead, are given as a Temp boost (kind of like heroism potions) TO the undead that drained you..


I wouldn't give the undead a boost. It's their connection to the Negative Material Plane that is draining the life level energies of living beings. It's sucked into that plane, not into the undead. They feed off their connection to the Negative Material Plane, not the Positive Energy of life forms. They're just a conduit.

B) How MANY level boosts< could he stack up? A max of his HD (so a wight could temp boost himself 4hd)? Something else


I don't like the idea because undead are already powerful, and giving say a vampire a boost equal to his HD means he's now walking around with 16 HD. Way too much. At most, I would allow the drained energy to be used to "heal" missing hit points, up to their max hp.

C) Do these boosts do anything other than increase his HP and Thac0? Ie if i stripped 3 levels from a mage, can a wight now cast spells as a L3 mage? Backstab as a L3 thief? If they shift up enough HD, does their # attacks increase like fighters going up in level??


Again, not me. I think that's way too powerful, and there's no precedent for the undead gaining those abilities via draining.

Another often banded around HR, is that if you slay the undead that drained YOU in a sufficient short period of time after last being drained (most seem to have it as a day or less), you can get an "Energy rush" back restoring half or maybe even all of the levels lost to that undead..


That can make sense, for example with vampires - it matches legend and/or horror movie precedents. If I did this, I would first determine how long a time passes before the drained (and now dead) victim comes back to life. Maybe with a vampire it would be midnight of the following night. If the vampire was killed before this, I'd say the now-dead drained PC does not come back as a vampire, but he's still dead because all his energy levels (life energy) were drained into the Negative Material Plane. It cannot become converted into Positive Energy and somehow restored to him by the passing of the vampire. In a less-strict campaign, I'd allow a resurrection spell to raise him and have him return will full levels restored. In a more-strict campaign, the resurrection spell would restore him to life at 1st level, then he'd had to adventure to regain levels or use a restoration spell. I prefer the former.

With shadows, I would say that killing the shadow who drained someone to 0 STR has no effect on the outcome .It's a curse where the victim's life force is shifted to the Negative Material Plane. I might allow a resurrection after a remove curse to allow him to come back.

And so on...

If you was to use such a rule
A) How swiftly would a pc require to kill said undead to regain the lost levels? 1 day? A week? Doesn't matter as if at any time that undead dies, all live levels he took will come back to those he took it from??

B) If Multiple characters got drained by the same undead, would the one killing it restore just HIS lost levels, or would he restore all pcs who lost levels?

C) Would it restore only some of the stolen levels, or all?


Overall/in general, I would say that as long as the slaying undead creature is destroyed before the victim rises as an undead himself (the time of which is determined by the DM), the victim does not rise as an undead. As far as regaining levels, it would depend on how hardcore the campaign was. In a campaign where adventuring and character development are the main factors, if the undead creator was destroyed before the victim rose as an undead himself, I favor allowing a resurrection spell to restore him to full life with all levels restored. In a more merciless campaign where the players are simply using the PCs as chess pieces (the gamist approach as originally done in Gygax's and Kuntz's campaigns), then I'd say the resurrection spell only brings him back to life at 1st level.

In any case, these rules would apply to any and every victim drained by that undead, subject to the time limits imposed by the DM.
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Re: Poss new thoughts for undead level drainers?

Postby garhkal » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:22 pm

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:I think there's a serious misunderstanding there.

Characters drained to 0th-level are dead, and become undead. They're not living, 0th-level characters. From the 1E DMG:

"When a character is drained of all energy levels, he or she might become an undead monster of the same sort which killed him or her."
- 1E DMG, pg. 119

It does not say: "A character drained below 0 levels". A drain from 1st level to 0th level means all life levels are drained.


I am not sure if it was 1e or 2e they were on about, but someone did quote the DMG where it said "A character drained to 0-levels cannot regain his lost class" or something like that..

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:I wouldn't give the undead a boost. It's their connection to the Negative Material Plane that is draining the life level energies of living beings. It's sucked into that plane, not into the undead. They feed off their connection to the Negative Material Plane, not the Positive Energy of life forms. They're just a conduit.


While normally i would agree.. Allowing SOME undead a boost like that, can certainly make for a more scary fight!

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:I don't like the idea because undead are already powerful, and giving say a vampire a boost equal to his HD means he's now walking around with 16 HD. Way too much. At most, I would allow the drained energy to be used to "heal" missing hit points, up to their max hp.


So stolen life levels could only be used to heal itself up..

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:Again, not me. I think that's way too powerful, and there's no precedent for the undead gaining those abilities via draining.


That's why its being discussed as a HOUSE rule..

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:That can make sense, for example with vampires - it matches legend and/or horror movie precedents. If I did this, I would first determine how long a time passes before the drained (and now dead) victim comes back to life. Maybe with a vampire it would be midnight of the following night. If the vampire was killed before this, I'd say the now-dead drained PC does not come back as a vampire, but he's still dead because all his energy levels (life energy) were drained into the Negative Material Plane. It cannot become converted into Positive Energy and somehow restored to him by the passing of the vampire. In a less-strict campaign, I'd allow a resurrection spell to raise him and have him return will full levels restored. In a more-strict campaign, the resurrection spell would restore him to life at 1st level, then he'd had to adventure to regain levels or use a restoration spell. I prefer the former.


The thing is that rule is being banded around for those who DON'T die, as a possible method of them staying IN THE FIGHT, hoping to land the killing blow on the undead who drained them, rather than running like girly men and begging a priest to cast restoration..
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Re: Poss new thoughts for undead level drainers?

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:03 am

Garhkal wrote:

I am not sure if it was 1e or 2e they were on about, but someone did quote the DMG where it said "A character drained to 0-levels cannot regain his lost class" or something like that..


I remember something along those lines in 2E. But I swear, I think that half the time the developers for 2E just didn't understand the rules they were trying to update, because so often it reads as if the rule wasn't changed, but rather misinterpreted. By 1E standards, you can't have a character drained to 0 levels. If the character is drained of all life levels, he's dead and then undead. 0-level has two meanings. First, a 0-level character is how we define non-classed characters. Second, when it comes to PCs (classed characters), if they're drained of all levels (0 level), they die and become undead.

While normally i would agree.. Allowing SOME undead a boost like that, can certainly make for a more scary fight!


So true though! I think if I went with that, I'd allow it for some of the corporeal draining undead - wights and vampires. Not wraiths or spectres. Not sure I can explain why, it just seems to make more sense intuitively off the cuff, that corporeal undead would gain energy rather than incorporeal undead.

So stolen life levels could only be used to heal itself up..


Pretty much, yeah, that's how I'd do it.

That's why its being discussed as a HOUSE rule..


I get that. I'm just saying I can't justify it for my own house rule.

The thing is that rule is being banded around for those who DON'T die, as a possible method of them staying IN THE FIGHT, hoping to land the killing blow on the undead who drained them, rather than running like girly men and begging a priest to cast restoration..


I see what you're saying. It's just that to me personally, I don't see how a character is drained of all his life levels and ends up living. His life force is all gone. I'd definitely allow those who were drained to 0 levels by level-draining undead to not come back as undead themselves if the others manage to kill the undead being responsible for that draining (within a time limit set by the DM).

Beyond that, it's really uncharted territory where I'd have to make it up.

Part of me likes the idea where if the undead is killed, the drained person can be brought back to life (with full levels restored) by a resurrection spell - assuming proper use of the resurrection survival roll rules, appropriate cost and difficulty of obtaining a resurrection spell, etc.

On the other hand, I also like the idea similar to that stated above, with the exception being that the resurrected being comes back with just 1 level and must regain the rest. Again, which one I would go with probably depends on the type of campaign and players I was working with.
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Re: Poss new thoughts for undead level drainers?

Postby garhkal » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:21 am

You are still not getting me.. The whole "Kill it to regain what was lost" IS NOT In relation to anyone totally drained to death..

IE Persius the fighter (L8) gets drained down to L4 fighting a pair of wraiths with his group.
IF HE kills the wraith that drained HIM say within 24 hrs, he can get some of that life energy back. BUT after 24hrs, its gone for good and needs a restoration spell to bring it back.
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Re: Poss new thoughts for undead level drainers?

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:44 pm

Garhkal wrote:

You are still not getting me.. The whole "Kill it to regain what was lost" IS NOT In relation to anyone totally drained to death..


You lost me. In your first post, you said:

Over on DF we have one thread going right now, about undead and someone who got drained to L0 but not further (so didn't die)..


Emphasis mine. I thought that was what the thread was about.

IE Persius the fighter (L8) gets drained down to L4 fighting a pair of wraiths with his group.


Oh, well that changes everything! :wink: :lol:

IF HE kills the wraith that drained HIM say within 24 hrs, he can get some of that life energy back. BUT after 24hrs, its gone for good and needs a restoration spell to bring it back.


Ok, in that case I'd go this way...

Normally I would simply leave the level drain in place, BTB. He's now going to need wishes or restorations or a lot more adventuring to re-gain those levels.

However...if I were going to do house rules to allow something like that, I would say that regardless of who kills the undead who drained him - whether it was the victim himself or other party members - then he would be able to regain his lost levels. To keep it from being too easy, I would probably require a single restoration spell, but that would restore all his lost levels, not just one level.

So if a spectre drained him 4 levels by hitting him twice, and he/they killed that spectre within whatever time limit was set (I'd say 24 hours is good, maybe 48), then all he needs is one restoration spell to regain all 4 lost levels.

At least, I think that's how I'd do it. I'd have to think it over harder if I had that going on in the campaign.
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Re: Poss new thoughts for undead level drainers?

Postby garhkal » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:48 pm

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:You lost me. In your first post, you said:


That was about the 'can they come back portion.
The "Can you regain your lost levels part' was BELOW
Another often banded around HR, is that if you slay the undead that drained YOU in a sufficient short period of time after last being drained (most seem to have it as a day or less), you can get an "Energy rush" back restoring half or maybe even all of the levels lost to that undead..


So it was a separate question..

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:Oh, well that changes everything! :wink: :lol:


Musta had some foggy glasses..

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:However...if I were going to do house rules to allow something like that, I would say that regardless of who kills the undead who drained him - whether it was the victim himself or other party members - then he would be able to regain his lost levels. To keep it from being too easy, I would probably require a single restoration spell, but that would restore all his lost levels, not just one level.

So if a spectre drained him 4 levels by hitting him twice, and he/they killed that spectre within whatever time limit was set (I'd say 24 hours is good, maybe 48), then all he needs is one restoration spell to regain all 4 lost levels.

At least, I think that's how I'd do it. I'd have to think it over harder if I had that going on in the campaign.


Ok.. So even if some other group came along and killed the undead, "bam" he got his levels back once he gets restored? OR is it only limited to if HIS group does the slaying.
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Re: Poss new thoughts for undead level drainers?

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:07 am

Garhkal wrote:

Musta had some foggy glasses..


Forget the glasses! I'm blaming it on brain fog! :lol:

Ok.. So even if some other group came along and killed the undead, "bam" he got his levels back once he gets restored? OR is it only limited to if HIS group does the slaying.


I'd go with no matter who kills the undead, even if it's an unrelated NPC. The idea would be that there is some connection between the draining undead and the drained victim. Once the draining undead is killed, that "link" is severed. Who severs it wouldn't matter to me.
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Re: Poss new thoughts for undead level drainers?

Postby garhkal » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:30 pm

Then how would you decide if "Off screen" someone else came along and ganked the undead that had stolen levels from some pcs??

Roll a dice?
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Re: Poss new thoughts for undead level drainers?

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:25 pm

I wouldn't. If the party didn't kill it, I'd assume it's still alive (in most cases).

But let's say that the PCs weren't the only ones looking to hunt down that particular undead. Say it was a vampire and it was known that several adventuring parties had gone looking to destroy it over the course of several months, with the PCs being just one of those parties. If that were the case, I'd probably assign a small possibility chance of another party destroying it. Of course, that sorta defeats much of the purpose of the game and isn't a very satisfying solution.

Where this would work well is if you had multiple parties of players in the same campaign. I've had this a few times before, where we had lots of players so we split them into 2 parties and each worked independently. So in that scenario, say the fighter on Party #1 got drained, but the vampire was killed (within the time limit) by Party #2, then the drained fighter from Party #1 would be spared.
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Re: Poss new thoughts for undead level drainers?

Postby garhkal » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:12 am

That's kind of why i was wanting to limit it to either YOU have to kill it to get the levels back, OR your party does..
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