The feat Death Devotion says

Once per day as a swift action, you can cause one of your melee weapons to radiate negative energy for 1 minute. When you make a successful attack with this weapon, the target must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Cha modifier) or gain a negative level. You can bestow only one negative level per target for every four character levels you possess (minimum one, maximum five negative levels at 20th level). (Complete Campaign 57)

Unlike, for example, the feat Fell Drain (Libris Mortis 27), the negative levels bestowed unto a foe by the melee weapon affected by the feat Death Devotion appear to remain, possibly causing permanent level loss, much like the effect of special ability energy drain. Does a creature possessing the feat Death Devotion (or the foe suffering from negative levels because of the feat) gain the other effects of what is, virtually, energy drain?


  • Does a foe that has all of its levels replaced by negative levels bestowed by the effects of the feat Death Devotion rise (immediately? the next night?) as a wight?
  • If the foe fails the saving throw, does the creature that's activated the feat Death Devotion bestow unto his foe up to his weapon's critical multiplier in negative levels (if the creature possessing the feat is of sufficient level) if the attack is a critical hit?
  • Does the creature that bestowed the negative level gain 5 temporary hit points (10 on a critical hit) for each negative level bestowed? (This last I'm pretty sure is a No because domain feats' benefits are specifically spell-like abilities.)

"Who cares? Nobody's taking the feat Death Devotion anyway"

A human Clr1 with Cha 16, the feat Death Devotion, and the feat Extra Turning (PH 94) can potentially create several packs of wights each day. Such a cleric couldn't do anything with them, though, instead having to convince the wights (Int 11, Cha 15, Diplomacy +2) that he should be allowed to live. (On second thought, maybe only a few gangs of wights per day would be better, skipping the feat Extra Turning and taking instead the feat Undead Empathy (ECS 61)?) While this is for a potential villain, a protagonist who can command (or, at least, negotiate with and, if not, redirect the wrath of) wights early in his career is also an interesting prospect.

Also, while this question comes close, my specific questions remain unanswered.


1 Answer 1


Death Devotion is specifically not an energy drain effect, though the negative levels operate as if they had been applied through energy drain. None of the other effects of energy drain are applied other than those that are specifically caused by negative levels.

  • Because Death Devotion doesn't say otherwise, the negative level(s) last for 24 hours or until removed by a spell such as restoration. If they remain for the 24 hours, the affected creature must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + ½ draining creature’s racial HD + draining creature’s Cha modifier) or they become permanent (the negative level is removed, but the creature's level is reduced by 1, allowing the feat owner to affect that creature with Death Devotion again). Each negative level requires another save.

  • If a creature receives more negative levels than they have character levels by Death Devotion, they are instantly slain and will rise as a Wight on the next night.

    Depending on the creature that killed her, she may rise the next night as a monster of that kind. If not, she rises as a wight.

    (Emphasis mine.) These Wights are not under the control of the draining creature (unless they have the create spawn ability of a Wight or a similar special ability).

  • Only 1 negative level is bestowed per attack, even if the attack is a critical hit. Because Death Devotion is not an energy drain effect, it does not inflict twice its given amount of negative levels as energy drain would.

    Note that energy drain effects do not use the critical multiplier of the weapon that bestowed them unless stated otherwise. A critical hit on an energy drain attack will normally apply twice the number of given negative levels, regardless of critical multiplier.

  • The bestowing creature does not gain any temporary hit points from a successful attack, even a critical hit.

  • RAW, undead creatures are only immune to energy drain effects, and would still be technically vulnerable to Death Devotion. However, considering it causes your weapon to radiate negative energy, your DM will most likely rule that it does not affect undead.

Be aware that Death Devotion can be used once per day plus an additional use for every 3 uses of turn/rebuke undead you expend. A human Clr1 with Death Devotion can activate it for one minute per day. She could make up to 10 attacks, applying 1 negative level to at most 10 targets, which would rise the next night as 10 Wights (she must wait for the next nightfall. If it's currently night time, she must wait a day for the dead to rise again). If she has two weapons, she could only apply Death Devotion to one of them. Spending 3 uses of turn/rebuke undead gives her 10 additional attacks. Therefore, with 16 CHA, she would be able to create 30 Wights (by spending 6 uses). With the Extra Turning feat, she could create 40 Wights.


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