I'm planning to start building my human character from level 1 with the intention of becoming "necropolitan" and "evolved undead". Naturally, given the requirements of the "necropolitan" template, I must be at least level 2 and have at least 1000 extra XP to avoid perishing in the attempt.

However, I'm struggling to grasp exactly how the loss of levels and XP would function mechanically.

Here are my two interpretations, based on my lack of familiarity with the system, using the example of my character having 4000 XP:

  1. Would I lose 2000 XP (which is the amount needed to go from level 2 to 3) plus an additional 1000 XP? This would leave me with a total of 1000 XP, which should be sufficient to be at level 2.

  2. Would I lose all of my accumulated XP, resulting in a reset to level 2, leaving me with 1000 XP? Then, subsequently losing 1000 XP would leave me at level 1 (with 0 XP).

I would greatly appreciate any clarification you can provide on this matter. Thank you in advance for your help.


1 Answer 1


This is an annoying goose chase of tracking down a chain of references to rules elsewhere, but here it is:

Immediately upon opening its undead eyes, a new necropolitan loses a level as if the spell raise dead had been used on it and it was alive instead of animate. (If the subject has no levels to lose, it is simply destroyed.) It then also loses an additional 1,000 XP. If the loss of this much XP forces the necropolitan to lose another level, then it loses another level. […] Petitioners may not spend experience points they don’t have—if the level loss and the 1,000 XP cost drains a creature to 0 XP or less, it is destroyed, turned to dust, and can never be raised or revived again using any means.

(Libris Mortis, Creating a Necropolitan, Ritual of Crucimigration, pg. 115)

So to survive the Ritual of Crucimigration, one must have enough XP to lose a level, as with raise dead, and still have at least 1,001 XP remaining.

So how much XP do you have left after raise dead?

Coming back from the dead is an ordeal. The subject of the spell loses one level (or 1 Hit Die) when it is raised, just as if it had lost a level or a Hit Die to an energy-draining creature.

(Player’s Handbook, raise dead spell description, pg. 268)

The same amount of XP you’d have after a negative level becomes permanent…

Negative levels remain for 24 hours or until removed with a spell, such as restoration. After 24 hours, the afflicted creature must attempt a Fortitude save […] If the save fails, the negative level goes away, but the creature’s level is also reduced by one (see Level Loss, page 296).

(Dungeon Master’s Guide, Energy Drain and Negative Levels, pg.293)

…which is apparently described at yet another location…

A character who loses a level instantly loses one Hit Die. […] The victim’s experience point total is immediately set to the midpoint of the previous level. For example, a character drained from 2nd to 1st level would drop to 500 experience points.

(Dungeon Master’s Guide, Level Loss, pg. 296)

…and now we finally have actual rules, halfway between our previous level and the level we lost. Note that this doesn’t care how much XP you had towards the next level: if you lose 5th level, you go to 8,000 XP (halfway between 4th and 5th), regardless of whether you had exactly 10,000 XP (the minimum for 5th) or 14,999 XP (the maximum for 5th, since 6th requires 15,000 XP).

Anyway, we still have to consult the table of how much XP is required for each level:

Table 3–2: Experience and Level-Dependent Benefits

Character Level XP […]
1st 0 […]
2nd 1,000 […]
3rd 3,000 […]
4th 6,000 […]
5th 10,000 […]
6th 15,000 […]
7th 21,000 […]
8th 28,000 […]
9th 36,000 […]
10th 45,000 […]
11th 55,000 […]
12th 66,000 […]
13th 78,000 […]
14th 91,000 […]
15th 105,000 […]
16th 120,000 […]
17th 136,000 […]
18th 153,000 […]
19th 171,000 […]
20th 190,000 […]

(Player’s Handbook, Level-Dependent Benefits, pg. 22)

So if you undergo the Ritual of Crucimigration while 2nd level, you drop to 1st level and 500 XP, and then lose 1,000 XP, bringing you to −500 XP and death. It doesn’t matter if you have 1,000 XP or 2,999 XP; you will die the same. To survive, you need to be 3rd level: then you drop to 2nd level and 2,000 XP, and then lose 1,000 XP to go to 1,000 XP, which is enough to still be 2nd level. Again, it doesn’t matter if you have 3,000 XP or 5,999 XP, the result is the same, so ideally you’d perform the Ritual as soon as you level up to 3rd.


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