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If you suffer a negative level, can you select a different combination of classes when leveling up again?

For example, Bob is fighter 5 when he is attacked by a shadow dragon and loses 3 levels. When he gains another level, can he multiclass into wizard (ftr 2/wiz 1) or does he have to level up as a fighter with the exact same feats, skill points etc.?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Awfully similar. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 8 '18 at 22:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ The question that @HeyICanChan links to is a different question, but the top answer to it also answers this one. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jun 8 '18 at 22:33
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Yes

The Dungeon Master's Guide (3.5) p.296 and Rules Compendium, p.49 describe the process of level loss, but say nothing about regaining levels. Hence, there are no restrictions on what new levels you can take.

According to the D&D 3.5 FAQ, regarding a character who suffers level loss after being killed and brought back with a spell like raise dead:

The character is under no obligation to make the same selection(s) when he next gains a level with XP.

The only restriction is that if you use restoration to quickly restore levels lost to level drain, unlike gaining new levels normally by acquiring XP, that spell only restores the same class level you lost:

A character who regains a lost level from restoration or a similar effect must regain the same class level (and other abilities) that he lost. In other words, you can't use level drain and restoration to rebuild your character.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Edited answer to make it clear that restoration can only store levels lost to level drain, not to death. \$\endgroup\$ – Quadratic Wizard Jun 9 '18 at 11:32
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It depends. If it's strictly a "negative level" then no, as that is a condition. However, if you fail the 24 hour saving throw after suffering a negative level, then the negative level goes away and you lose a level (which is very different). In that case, yes, with the caveat that there is a short window, one day per caster level minus one with restoration, and one week per caster level minus one day with greater restoration, where the spell can remove energy drain that has become a lost level (not just a negative level). In that case, you must "restore what was lost".

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I meant level loss. I will update the post. \$\endgroup\$ – MrHiTech Jun 8 '18 at 21:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please give a source \$\endgroup\$ – MrHiTech Jun 8 '18 at 21:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ref d20srd.org/srd/… may help. \$\endgroup\$ – joedragons Jun 8 '18 at 21:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ voluntarily failing a save seems to apply, however it would raise the question of whether the character would be in-character-context aware of the consequences and be willing to make such a choice. \$\endgroup\$ – nijineko Jun 11 '18 at 15:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nijineko You mean voluntarily forgoing the saving throw? That's specific to spells (and the like) and explicit edge cases like drugs. A dude can't voluntarily forgo the saving throw against, for example, a disease or level loss. (Although a dude could totally hunt down enough penalties so failure would almost be assured, he'd still succeed on a natural 20.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jun 11 '18 at 21:35

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