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A friend of mine has asked me to help him create an escort mission for his April Fool's game (actually held this weekend, because, you know, scheduling). The players will be escorting a tenth-level Wizard (indeterminate race) whose magic all revolves around water and fish. To up the challenge, he's asked me to make this wizard as frail as possible, so: how can I create a tenth level wizard with the least amount of maximum hit points possible without being dead? I'm aware that the normal minimum would be 10 HP (one per level) but I believe there may be resources in 3.X that let me go below this limit - those are the resources I'm seeking.

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up vote 15 down vote accepted

The lowest max hp you can reach is well below -10.

Still, for practical reasons, we'll stop at -9, at which point the character is still technically alive without constant magical support.

Kobold Wizard 10

  • Draconic Rite of Passage (Races of the Dragon, p43) -1 hp
  • Ur weapon of legacy (Weapons of Legacy p174) -8hp by the 10th level.
  • Frail flaw (-1 hit point per hit die to a minimum of 0)
  • Quick trait (-1 hit point per hit die)
  • Con 6 (8 base -2 race)
  • 1 more flaw leaves 5 feats open.

Hit Dice 10d4-40-9, hp -9.

Please note that these hit point losses are not per hit die and therefore are not subject to the minimum-per-hit-die restriction.

As for the leveling up while at negative max hp, the issue is pretty much alleviated by magic (persisted aid will do, there may be more viable solutions).

For those wanting to delve deeper (and able to afford Delay Death permanently on):

  • Greater Draconic Rite of Passage nets another -3 hp
  • Draconic Grafts (Races of the Dragon p126) can cost a horrible amount of hp to their wearer, which is actually good now. With a maximum of 5 grafts allowed we can lose another 8 (Buffeting Wings for arms) + 6 (Frightful Crest for head) + 6 (Metabolic Fire for flesh) + 6 (Resilient Scales for skin) + 4 (Smashing Tail for legs) = 30 hit points.
  • 9 negative levels -45 hit points
  • have spectral hand cast -1d4 hit points for 1 minute (even with 9 negative levels wizard 10 still has a 2nd level spell slot)
  • I can't find any restrictions against wielding several weapons of legacy simultaneously. That means that theoretically the character can unlock the abilities of all the legacy items he fulfills the prerequisites for. Still, the cost of doing that is prohibitive - and under standard wealth by level guidelines plainly not affordable, though if that is not an issue, wasting the remaining 5 feats and almost all skill points on prerequisites nets another -124 hp.

That gets us to

Hit Dice 10d4-40-87-1d4, hp -89, hp -213 with multiple legacies

For those in need of reference, Weapons of Legacy hit point costs (Weapons of Legacy p9):

Personal costs are permanent and can range from hit point loss to forfeiting spell slots. You must pay a personal cost immediately upon reaching the level at which it is assessed, after all other level-related adjustments.

Draconic Rite of Passage:

Cost:This rite requires sacrificing a gem of at least 100 gp in value. The kobold also permantly loses 1 hit point upon completion of the rite.

Draconic Grafts:

The draconic grafts presented here take a toll on a creature’s body. In most cases, a graft simply applies a permanent reduction to the character’s hit point total.

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It'd be greatly appreciated if you can break down how precisely this works out. – Lord_Gareth Apr 1 '13 at 20:10
I'm not convinced that Quick lacks Frail's minimum of 0. It says 0 is possible (which it ordinarily isn't), while saying nothing about negatives (which are also ordinarily impossible). Thus there's no specific wording trumping general. Draconic Rite of Passage is a good call, though I personally deny that Weapons of Legacy exists. – KRyan Apr 1 '13 at 20:12
Rite and weapon are flat modifiers to your hp total, not per-die, and therefore are not subject to minimum-per-die restrictions anyway. – Jeor Mattan Apr 1 '13 at 20:26
I've accepted this answer because it's the most comprehensive answer to the question; however, I'll be using the resources in another answer because it helps in my specific situation more. Extreme kudos for the creativity, though! – Lord_Gareth Apr 2 '13 at 1:05
You can't go below 1hp/die with low Con. – Loren Pechtel Apr 3 '13 at 4:41

Constantly-disabled-or-dying Wizard

Elf Wizard 10 with 8 base Constitution: −2 brings you to 6 total, for a −2 modifier. Then take the Frail flaw:


You are thin and weak of frame.


Subtract 1 from the number of hit points you gain at each level. This flaw can reduce the number of hit points you gain to 0 (but not below).


You must have a Constitution of 4 or higher to take this flaw.

and Quick trait:


You are fast, but less sturdy than average members of your race.


Your base land speed increases by 10 feet (if you don't have a land speed, apply the benefit to whichever of your speeds is highest).


Subtract 1 from your hit points gained at each level, including 1st (a result of 0 is possible).


You must have a Constitution of 4 or higher to select this trait.

Roleplaying Ideas

Characters with this trait typically try to stay away from physical combat, but a rare few might relish it, striving to see if their superior speed is enough to best hardier warriors.

No matter what you roll, d4−4 equals zero or less. This would result in a character with 0 max HP.

I recommend, assuming you do not literally want the character be Disabled at max HP, that you take Toughness for 3 HP. That way he’ll at least be functional.

Note that this works at any level.

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I can think of a couple of non build ways to get that Wizards hit points down:

Level loss will sort out that Wizards hit points if the GM is vicious; if the Wizard was originally level 13 and had rolled 1 for every single levels hit points (13 total) then three level losses will drain 3d4 hit points, roll a 4 each time and they're down to 1 hit point.

Negative levels drain 5 hit points a time, so a couple of these could see the Wizard down to 1 hit point (if they had 11 to start with) they do however only last 24 hours and then it's level loss instead (depending on save). You can get quasi-permanant negative levels if the character is wielding a Sunblade, Nine lives stealer, Unholy, Holy, Anarchic or Axiomatic weapon (and are of the corresponding incorrect alignment)

A Bestow curse spell allows for some leeway: You may also invent your own curse Such a curse could be -9 to permanent hit point total until removed. This could also be from a cursed item of course.

If the wizard has a tendancy to cast spectral hand all the time then they're going to be d4 hit points down whenever the spell is cast; sadly this spell can't be made permanent that I can see.

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Permanent level loss is probably outside the scope of the question since he did say level 10 and being at level 10 after having lost three levels from 13 is not quite the same. Still, some good ideas that haven't been mentioned yet; +1. – KRyan Apr 1 '13 at 21:06

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