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How many negative levels does a creature gain when trapped by a devourer? Does he gain the neg. levels immediately or only when the devourer drains the essence point from the pool (for casting)?

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The trapped creature only gains negative levels as the Devourer uses it to fuel its spell-like abilities. It gains 1 negative level for every five uses of its spell-like abilities, so it gains its first negative level the fifth time the Devourer uses a spell-like ability since trapping it, then another on the 10th time, and so on. These are independent from any negative levels gained from the Devourer’s claw attack or spectral hand; a trapped creature is not subject to those effects but might have been subject to them before getting trapped. Negative levels from all of these sources stack, though the Pathfinder version of the Devourer states that when you’re brought back after being trapped, the negative level from being brought back doesn’t stack with those from the Devourer (so you effectively have one fewer negative level than you would otherwise).

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"Negative levels from all sources stack." -- Although, the PF devourer states that the neg levels "do not stack with any negative levels imparted by being brought back to life" –  starwed Jan 25 '13 at 3:52
    
@starwed: OK, that basically means you get one less negative level than you would otherwise (minimum 1). Worth mentioning; I'll add it. But when I said "all sources" though, I really meant "everything I've mentioned;" there are plenty of cases where negative levels explicitly do not stack. I'll try to clarify –  KRyan Jan 25 '13 at 4:19
    
This is just a case of the exception proving the general rule. In general, negative levels stack. It will be explicitly noted when they don't, such as with the Devourer. –  Bacon Bits Jan 26 '13 at 16:12
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As usual, @Kryan hit the nail on the head. I would just add one more thing about gaining the neg lvls..For every negative level the character receives they must succeed on a DC 19 Fort Save or lose it permanently.

While you could technically make force them to make the save (or all of them) immediately upon exiting the Devourer I would allow them atleast one round for a chance to be "buffed" assisting the save. I would also allow 1 round between every save for additional chances. However, I might even allow them to wait until after 1 round of combat (assuming they were freed before the devourer was killed.)

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Personally, I'd just eliminate that rule entirely as atrocious. Mixed-level parties are just a bad idea in 3.x. –  KRyan Jan 26 '13 at 1:58
    
I'm tempted to agree, but thats one of the things that makes this monster so PAINFULLY dangerous. Maybe I'd rule that a <a href="d20srd.org/srd/spells/deathWard.htm">"Death warded"</a> member wouldn't have to worry about the save. And then I think I would house rule that <a href="d20srd.org/srd/spells/limitedWish.htm">Limited Wish</a>/<a href="d20srd.org/srd/spells/wish.htm">Wish</a>/<a href="d20srd.org/srd/spells/miracle.htm">Miracle</a>; could remove the levels drained by this creature. –  Ben-Jamin Jan 26 '13 at 2:15
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Note that being consumed by the devourer gives permanent negative levels -- there's no save there. –  starwed Jan 26 '13 at 21:18
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@starwed, This is a difference between 3.5 & Pathfinder? SRD says: "If an essence is freed, the restored creature must succeed on a DC 19 Fortitude save for each negative level or lose that level permanently." –  Ben-Jamin Jan 30 '13 at 0:03
    
@Ben-Jamin Yes, looks to be a difference between the versions. (Pathfinder v. 3.5) –  starwed Jan 30 '13 at 0:09
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