Negative Levels

I’ve heard a lot of complaints about negative levels, but I’ve never actually seen them used. They don’t feel very complicated to me, and I like that there is another way to kill the players that is not straight HP damage.

I’m going to use negative levels my D&D game at 5 today, so I guess I will finally see how they work out. The monster I made is full of ways to drain your levels. If you grapple him, do a touch attack against him, or in any way touch him, you get a negative level. if he hits you, you get a negative level. He also has a breath weapon: reflex save or get a negative level. And against those that try to get away from him: a ranged touch attack dealing 1d3 negative levels. I’m not too worried about the numbers game, in nothing else I can just take the negatives into account myself so that my players don’t have to deal with it. Easy enough.

If things go according to plan, this will be the last session of my current campaign. If the players win, hooray! I’ll start a new world for my next campaign in 2-3 weeks. If not, then I will have a nice launching point for a 4e campaign if I want. We shall see! I’ll publish this post after the game with the answers to all my questions.


So I ran the game, and I think my players had a lot of fun. I’ve decided that I am fine with negative levels in D&D3.5. They are really not any more complicated than any other debuff, except that they stack with each other. Also, I really like having an extra way I can kill my players ^_^. Unfortunately, my monster went down super fast because I underestimated the attack capability of my players. Oh well, live and learn. Although now I’ve ended that campaign and am switching to fourth edition…. I better start planning now. I want this campaign to be a good one that all of my friends remember and talk fondly about. *COMMITMENT!*

Oh yeah, the characters beat the game. The end boss was actually a pretty fun battle. What made it fun was his 288 HP so he could take a lot of beating before going down. This is another thing that has me really excited about 4e- in general it looks like HPs have gone up and damage has gone down. I’m REALLY looking forward to it.

Well, blog. That’s all for tonight. I’ll see you at the barbecue tomorrow!

~ by episoen on June 1, 2008.

One Response to “Negative Levels”

  1. My beef with negative levels isn’t that they’re complicated. Although it’s not saying much, I like ’em way better in 3e than I did in 2e.

    I guess we discussed this last night, but I feel compelled to comment anyway. 🙂 My problem is really that there aren’t enough good ways to get rid of debuffs, negative levels among them. You have to markedly diminish your combat ability in exchange for possibly maybe healing someone of a debuff, assuming it even comes up.

    To some extent, you can mitigate this by letting your players know ahead of time what they’re fighting with some foreshadowing, sort of like a silver-and-lycanthropes deal. A more comprehensive solution, and what I’m hoping 4e does, is powers that can help with this in general.

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