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    Default Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    It has been brought up from time to time that Belkar's loss of a lvl in the Battle of Azure City might put him behind of other members of the order in terms of progress and related power.

    Now that he's been drained again (this time it being a plot point) I wondered: I always took fro granted that his lvl was restored, much like wounds and other injuries are often cured off-panel. Now I know that this is not quite the same and restoration of lvls is quite a bit more challenging than restoring hit points.

    But that plus the fact that it was more or less a thowaway joke to end the page on a gag informs my question: Was the mentioned lvl loss permanent?

    What about other losses (not Belkar's current ones)?

    I'd very much like to have an answer from the Giant personally, seeing as he is the only one who can know. I know there's quite a lot of speculation possible on the topic, but that won't answer the question.

    I used google to search the boards, I'm sorry if this has been answered before.
    Last edited by Daywalker1983; 2013-09-07 at 11:07 AM.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Level drain can be undone through a Restoration spell as long as you cast it within 24 hours.
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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Belkar certainly didn't seem to think he was getting that level back.

    However. Based on Rich's writing style, I doubt that any two members of the Order are at different levels--unless a joke requires them to be, in which case they are at different levels for the duration of that joke's strip. All these hundreds of strips later the level Roy lost from being resurrected has never ever been mentioned directly or indirectly in the comic, after all...
    Last edited by Kish; 2013-09-07 at 11:04 AM.
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    "You are what you do. Choose again, and change." --Miles Vorkosigan

    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by Shale View Post
    Level drain can be undone through a Restoration spell as long as you cast it within 24 hours.
    My point was: Should we expect to see it cast or are we just to assume it was?

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daywalker1983 View Post
    My point was: Should we expect to see it cast or are we just to assume it was?
    I had to check the level of the spell--it's fourth level, so Durkon could cast it on himself. So I'd assume he did so off-panel.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daywalker1983 View Post
    My point was: Should we expect to see it cast or are we just to assume it was?
    Assume. Rich has repeatedly expressed his disinclination to worry about mechanical fidelity to the rules of D&D and will only explicitly show things like that if it will serve the ongoing plot or the humor of the strip.

    Additionally, none of the Order have explicit levels in Rich's mind. So, even with losing a level, he likely thinks of Roy and Belkar as "high" levelled characters.
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    Thank you, FujinAkari.
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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    With the first one, he most likely made the save later. It's a fort save, not too high and Belkar has a pretty good fort save. For the ones right now, Durkon shouldn't worry since he's undead and he'll most likely cast restoration on Belkar provided both survive either off-panel with barely (if any) mention or in a corner.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by FujinAkari View Post
    Assume. Rich has repeatedly expressed his disinclination to worry about mechanical fidelity to the rules of D&D and will only explicitly show things like that if it will serve the ongoing plot or the humor of the strip.

    Additionally, none of the Order have explicit levels in Rich's mind. So, even with losing a level, he likely thinks of Roy and Belkar as "high" levelled characters.
    Thank you.

    While it still would be nice to have it heard from the giant, it still puts my mind at ease. It's one of those point in the comic that seems to get far too much attention.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daywalker1983 View Post
    Thank you.

    While it still would be nice to have it heard from the giant, it still puts my mind at ease. It's one of those point in the comic that seems to get far too much attention.
    You may get one, Rich has been more active in the forums lately, but this is about the best quote I can find in the meantime :)

    Check out phantasm's amazingly useful Index of the Giant's Quotes for more information!
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Thank you, FujinAkari.
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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by FujinAkari View Post
    You may get one, Rich has been more active in the forums lately, but this is about the best quote I can find in the meantime :)

    Check out phantasm's amazingly useful Index of the Giant's Quotes for more information!
    Thank you again.

    I've checked the index, but found nothing that fits 100%. Problem to me is: There are points were lvl drain is story central and sometimes it isn't. Therefore there are cases where I would expect a remedy, whereas I don't in others. That clearly muddies the issue.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    I've never played D&D, but I have played enough RPGs that I'm very emotionally invested in levels. When Belkar lost that level I nearly dropped to my knees and screamed "Noooooo!" The idea that Belkar lost a level and can never get it back is a really painful thought for me, probably because I over-level to ridiculous degrees in RPGs.

    I totally understand that not everybody feels this strongly about levels. But whether he could get that level back was a really important question to me, personally.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by BroomGuys View Post
    I've never played D&D, but I have played enough RPGs that I'm very emotionally invested in levels. When Belkar lost that level I nearly dropped to my knees and screamed "Noooooo!" The idea that Belkar lost a level and can never get it back is a really painful thought for me, probably because I over-level to ridiculous degrees in RPGs.

    I totally understand that not everybody feels this strongly about levels. But whether he could get that level back was a really important question to me, personally.
    Wonderfully put :-) Nothing to add.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by BroomGuys View Post
    I've never played D&D, but I have played enough RPGs that I'm very emotionally invested in levels. When Belkar lost that level I nearly dropped to my knees and screamed "Noooooo!" The idea that Belkar lost a level and can never get it back is a really painful thought for me, probably because I over-level to ridiculous degrees in RPGs.

    I totally understand that not everybody feels this strongly about levels. But whether he could get that level back was a really important question to me, personally.
    This is not exactly how it works in D&D. What Belkar got was a negative level. Then, 24 hours later, he makes an easy Fort save to see if he actually loses the level or not.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Fortitude save DC for a wight drain is 14, so unless Belkar made a pretty bad roll, there's good chances that he got it back after 24h, yes. Considering he's ranger/barbarian, his base fort save should be in the +10th, over which you can add his constitution modifier. We can reasonably consider that he would succeed unless he rolled a 1.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chantelune View Post
    Fortitude save DC for a wight drain is 14, so unless Belkar made a pretty bad roll, there's good chances that he got it back after 24h, yes. Considering he's ranger/barbarian, his base fort save should be in the +10th, over which you can add his constitution modifier. We can reasonably consider that he would succeed unless he rolled a 1.
    Correct as that might be, it is still beside the point of this thread.

    It's exactly the kind of reasoning I wanted to avoid.

    No offense meant.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by Chantelune View Post
    Fortitude save DC for a wight drain is 14, so unless Belkar made a pretty bad roll, there's good chances that he got it back after 24h, yes. Considering he's ranger/barbarian, his base fort save should be in the +10th, over which you can add his constitution modifier. We can reasonably consider that he would succeed unless he rolled a 1.
    Despite OP's express of disinterest in theorycrafting, I'd like to thank you for actually pointing out, what was he talking about. I was wondering who could drain Belkar's level during the battle of Azure City and only after reading your mention of the wight I realised out that it was actually not during the battle at all, but during the rebellion phase (link for anyone having the same trouble as me).
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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    It seems to me that, unless there is an easy way to restore negative levels, it's WAY too strong of a spell. You spend all that time tying to gain a level, and someone can reverse it in one round?

    Can you imagine a video game where you fight for days to level up for a boss, and in the fight he removes your levels and you have to do it all again? I wouldn't play that game for long.

    Also, I agree with Rich 100% that a good story is better than an accurate story, but how cool would it be if he had a dozen people working under him who did nothing except scour through books trying to find legitimate ways to do what he wanted in the confines of the d&d rules. That would certainly be a relief to the more OCD among us. I'm still trying to figure out what feats Belkar has which makes him a dual dagger wielding killing machine
    Last edited by littlebum2002; 2013-09-07 at 05:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    It seems to me that, unless there is an easy way to restore negative levels, it's WAY too strong of a spell. You spend all that time tying to gain a level, and someone can reverse it in one round?

    Can you imagine a video game where you fight for days to level up for a boss, and in the fight he removes your levels and you have to do it all again? I wouldn't play that game for long.
    I detect a slight problem with what you're saying*. Is Magic Missile, and indeed every damage spell, WAY too strong? They can kill a character, after all. A character who you've been fighting for days to level up to fight a boss because that's what RPGs are about...uh.
    Also, I agree with Rich 100% that a good story is better than an accurate story, but how cool would it be if he had a dozen people working under him who did nothing except scour through books trying to find legitimate ways to do what he wanted in the confines of the d&d rules.
    100 degrees Celsius.

    *I mean, other than that I'm not sure what spell you're referring to with "way too strong of a spell." The lowest-level spell I know that inflicts negative levels that stick around long enough that they might actually remove levels, is Energy Drain, a ninth-level spell!
    Last edited by Kish; 2013-09-07 at 05:06 PM.
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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daywalker1983 View Post
    Now that he's been drained again (this time it being a plot point) I wondered: I always took fro granted that his lvl was restored, much like wounds and other injuries are often cured off-panel. Now I know that this is not quite the same and restoration of lvls is quite a bit more challenging than restoring hit points.
    Note that this time, his level is not drained, but his constitution is. And with low constitution score comes a penalty to hit points. It's more like back when V had her strength drained to the point that she couldn't move her hands to cast spells.

    Quote Originally Posted by Subaru Kujo View Post
    His constitution is presumably at a negative modifier, meaning if he rolled low HP, the con mod is biting into the dice. From what Malack said, (drink from the halfling but not the last drop), I'd wager he's at a -3/-4 Con mod. So yeah, several concentrated farts from the enemy could knock him down.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Vampire attacks include Ability Drain and Negative Levels. So Belkar probably has a CON of 1 and Negative Levels equal to CL-1.

    At this point, a stubbed toe could possibly kill him.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    Also, I agree with Rich 100% that a good story is better than an accurate story, but how cool would it be if he had a dozen people working under him who did nothing except scour through books trying to find legitimate ways to do what he wanted in the confines of the d&d rules. That would certainly be a relief to the more OCD among us. I'm still trying to figure out what feats Belkar has which makes him a dual dagger wielding killing machine
    But that's the issue isn't it? Whenever Rich gets into something even slightly rules-specific it just confuses all his readers who DON'T play D&D.

    In the end, if you have the choice between making people who enjoy rules spoof happy, or making people who enjoy reading happy, you're going to go with the people who enjoy reading, since that encompasses the other group.
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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    I detect a slight problem with what you're saying*. Is Magic Missile, and indeed every damage spell, WAY too strong? They can kill a character, after all. A character who you've been fighting for days to level up to fight a boss because that's what RPGs are about...uh.

    100 degrees Celsius.

    *I mean, other than that I'm not sure what spell you're referring to with "way too strong of a spell." The lowest-level spell I know that inflicts negative levels that stick around long enough that they might actually remove levels, is Energy Drain, a ninth-level spell!
    I on the other hand think he is right on the money.

    My first experience with lvl drain BGII, when you go up against the vampires in the graveyard. The way they were able to tear thorugh my group with but a few hits evoked exactly that feeling of helpless despair. It wasn't the damage, it was just that every succesful hit took away lvl until my guy was dead.

    Now, editions, balancing and maybe my own ineptitude aside, lvl draining is rather hard to counteract (mainly because it happens so seldomly that you can hardly be expected to prepare for it). Which ties nicely into my question how we are to handle it and it's consquences.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by Daywalker1983 View Post
    I on the other hand think he is right on the money.

    My first experience with lvl drain BGII, when you go up against the vampires in the graveyard. The way they were able to tear thorugh my group with but a few hits evoked exactly that feeling of helpless despair. It wasn't the damage, it was just that every succesful hit took away lvl until my guy was dead.

    Now, editions, balancing and maybe my own ineptitude aside, lvl draining is rather hard to counteract (mainly because it happens so seldomly that you can hardly be expected to prepare for it). Which ties nicely into my question how we are to handle it and it's consquences.
    Ah, how remember the same experience of Bohdi knocking off five levels with every hit. Negative Plane Protection is your friend. Items that grant it permanently are your best friends.
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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by littlebum2002 View Post
    I'm still trying to figure out what feats Belkar has which makes him a dual dagger wielding killing machine
    Plot power. Prerequiste : filling a narrative need. Weapons do normal damages + plot so they would inflict just enough damages for the narrative's purpose.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ebon_Drake View Post
    Ah, how remember the same experience of Bohdi knocking off five levels with every hit. Negative Plane Protection is your friend. Items that grant it permanently are your best friends.
    Just use Boots of Speed and kite them to death. I found that segment very easy. Then again, I was one of those guys who removed the level cap and soloed both BG1 and BG2, so that by the time I was up to Bodhi my Turn Undead could instantly destroy a Demilich.
    Last edited by DeadMG; 2013-09-08 at 12:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chantelune View Post
    Plot power. Prerequiste : filling a narrative need. Weapons do normal damages + plot so they would inflict just enough damages for the narrative's purpose.
    There is also the fact that base damage becomes less important the further you Progress.

    Right now Belkar is on par with (even better actually) someone using a longsword and a shield (if Belkar did the same), since other boní like the ones from strg or dex would add up normally. He uses two daggers, so he does even more damage on account of the extra attacks. He might miss more often, but that ist beside the Point for damage purposes, and more important it is not for certain.

    Since he is using two daggers, he is losing out on AC if anything.

    I neglected size penalties, but I think it's clear that Belkar can do a lot of damage wwith his daggers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daywalker1983 View Post
    I on the other hand think he is right on the money.

    My first experience with lvl drain BGII, when you go up against the vampires in the graveyard. The way they were able to tear thorugh my group with but a few hits evoked exactly that feeling of helpless despair. It wasn't the damage, it was just that every succesful hit took away lvl until my guy was dead.

    Now, editions, balancing and maybe my own ineptitude aside, lvl draining is rather hard to counteract (mainly because it happens so seldomly that you can hardly be expected to prepare for it). Which ties nicely into my question how we are to handle it and it's consquences.
    I remember that Bodhi fight in BGII myself, and the first play through dealing with the vampires was just frightful. Then I wised up and had Anomen prepare negative plane protection in place of the wad of restorations I had been packing. Subsequent runs were a breeze.

    Now for some 2e geekery!

    Those level drains in 2e were a beast. They were permanent until restored and took massive chunks out of a character's capabilities. Even high level characters could take quite a beating from a pack of wights just due to level drain.

    It was bad enough that, when putting together 3e, WotC decided to add a "level drain lite" effect called negative levels. These offer smaller (but still significant) penalties than level drain did, and allow secondary saves before progressing to drained levels. Most attacks and spells inflict negative levels rather than level drain in 3.X, and this is what characters get hit with most often in OotS. It's far more forgiving than a massive level drain, and a little easier to fix.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    I detect a slight problem with what you're saying*. Is Magic Missile, and indeed every damage spell, WAY too strong? They can kill a character, after all. A character who you've been fighting for days to level up to fight a boss because that's what RPGs are about...uh.

    100 degrees Celsius.

    *I mean, other than that I'm not sure what spell you're referring to with "way too strong of a spell." The lowest-level spell I know that inflicts negative levels that stick around long enough that they might actually remove levels, is Energy Drain, a ninth-level spell!
    Actually, the arcane spell Enervation inflicts 1d4 Negative Levels on ranged touch, no save, spell resistance applies.

    I think there is some confusion at what a Negative Level actually is. A Negative Level isn't the REMOVAL of a level, it is a cumulative penalty. A negative level gives you -5 max hp, and -1 on all d20 rolls. Your skills, stats, and abilities are all still there, they are just modified. A level 5 wizard with one Negative Level would throw down a 4d6 Fireball and take small penalties. Spellcasters lose one spell slot of their highest spell level (or use per day for spontaneous casters).

    Also, the character can make a DC (10 + ½ draining creature’s racial HD + draining creature’s Cha modifier) Fortitude save after 24 hours to shrug off the effect (usually low 'teens). Failure means the Negative Level becomes "permanant," which only means that it'll stay until it is removed by a Restoration spell, as long as the spell is cast within 1 day/ caster level.

    And now you know...the {i}rest{/i} of the story.

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    t sure what spell you're referring to with "way too strong of a spell." The lowest-level spell I know that inflicts negative levels that stick around long enough that they might actually remove levels, is Energy Drain, a ninth-level spell!
    Quote Originally Posted by illyahr View Post
    Actually, the arcane spell Enervation inflicts 1d4 Negative Levels on ranged touch, no save, spell resistance applies.
    Check the bolded part and/or the description of Enervation; Enervation lasts for a maximum of 15 hours.

    Also...
    Failure means the Negative Level becomes "permanant,"
    ...what, is this Pathfinder again? In 3.xed D&D the negative level goes away after 24 hours, whether you pass or fail the Fortitude save. If you fail the Fortitude save, then it takes an actual level with it.
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    "You are what you do. Choose again, and change." --Miles Vorkosigan

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    Default Re: Lvl Draining (Belkar's and also in general)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    *I mean, other than that I'm not sure what spell you're referring to with "way too strong of a spell." The lowest-level spell I know that inflicts negative levels that stick around long enough that they might actually remove levels, is Energy Drain, a ninth-level spell!
    Thank you for the clarification. I was actually worried then that I'd been playing incorrectly - energy drain is an appropriately high enough level spell to risk permanent level drain. The idea that enervation or such could actually do such a thing terrified me.
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