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After finish a fight with a small group of vampire spawn, one of the player characters ended up suffering enough energy drain to kill him.

when the fight was finished the rest of the party began looking for a way to bring him back to life.

However this is where things got confusing, since the universal monster rules for energy drain say the following:

This attack saps a living opponent’s vital energy and happens automatically when a melee or ranged attack hits.

Each successful energy drain bestows one or more negative levels (the creature’s description specifies how many).

If an attack that includes an energy drain scores a critical hit, it bestows twice the listed number of negative levels.

Unless otherwise specified in the creature’s description, a draining creature gains 5 temporary hit points for each negative level it bestows on an opponent.

These temporary hit points last for a maximum of 1 hour. Negative levels remain until 24 hours have passed or until they are removed with a spell such as restoration.

If a negative level is not removed before 24 hours have passed, the affected creature must attempt a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the draining creature’s racial HD + the draining creature’s Cha modifier; the exact DC is given in the creature’s descriptive text).

On a success, the negative level goes away with no harm to the creature.

On a failure, the negative level becomes permanent. A separate saving throw is required for each negative level.

Now it's the last part that confused me, since the UMR about negative levels says:

Some abilities and spells (such as raise dead) bestow permanent level drain on a creature. These are treated just like temporary negative levels, but they do not allow a new save each day to remove them.

Level drain can be removed through spells like restoration.

Permanent negative levels remain after a dead creature is restored to life.

A creature whose permanent negative levels equal its Hit Dice cannot be brought back to life through spells like raise dead and resurrection without also receiving a restoration spell, cast the round after it is restored to life.

Implying that temporary negative levels disappear after being resurrected.

Now the question is: if the character is resurrected before 24 hours have gone by, does he loss the energy drain negative levels, or does he still need to save for them, or do they automatically become permanent once you die?

Bonus: what happens if 24 hours do pass do they make the fortitude save or get them as permanent levels?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You realize you've answered your own question with text you've quoted? \$\endgroup\$ – Zangief Feb 1 '17 at 6:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ What part of what i have quoted answers the question?, the only thing i can find is that permanent negative levels stay after you die, however energy drains only become permanent if you fail the fort save. \$\endgroup\$ – Phratzz Feb 1 '17 at 7:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll create an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Zangief Feb 2 '17 at 6:25
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So, you fought some Vampire Spawn, which have the annoying:

Energy Drain (Su): A creature hit by a vampire spawn's slam (or other natural weapon) gains one negative level. This ability only triggers once per round, regardless of the number of attacks a vampire spawn makes.

Those negative levels provided by the vampire spawn are temporary until after the duration specified and saving throw mechanics. After 24 hours, and after a failed save, they would then become permanent.

Negative levels remain until 24 hours have passed or until they are removed with a spell such as restoration. If a negative level is not removed before 24 hours have passed, the affected creature must attempt a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 1/2 the draining creature’s racial HD + the draining creature’s Cha modifier; the exact DC is given in the creature’s descriptive text). On a success, the negative level goes away with no harm to the creature. On a failure, the negative level becomes permanent. A separate saving throw is required for each negative level.

What does this mean? The character is dead. The temporary negative level remains. The negative level would have to be removed, otherwise he'd just die again.

Raising the character from the dead would have to have a restoration spell handy to remove the temporary negative levels, the same as if it were permanent negative levels.

The temporary negative levels have a 24 hour duration. That duration doesn't wipe itself off the table by character death. If that were the case, then undead with a create spawn ability would never be able to create spawn - as their energy drain attacks would simply go away when the character died.

The only rule supporting spell effects that end upon death, without special text stating otherwise, is a spell effect that require concentration. Obviously, a spell caster can't concentrate when he's dead.


What can you do?

  1. If the GM considers a dead1 creature, as still a creature, cast Restoration on the dead creature. There's a little bit of precedence to back that up. Raise Dead, for example, says, Target: Dead Creature. Of course, Restoration obviously doesn't have the word dead in front of Target: Creature Touched, but, ask the GM to work with you a little. The worst he can do is say no.
  2. If you don't have a Restoration spell handy, raise the dead character back to life, and the proceeding round cast Death Ward. That would make the character immune to the negative effects of the negative levels for the duration of the spell. That could afford you more time, especially with multiple castings of Death Ward.
  3. Raise him from the dead at exactly 24 hours from his death. That would give the party time to rest, have that much more preparation time (i.e. hireling services from a cleric, purchases of scrolls, pray for spells, etc.) and allow the newly raised character, with the negative levels, a quick chance at a fortitude save.
  4. Wait for the negative levels to expire and become permanent, and proceed to raise and restore as the rules are explicitly clearer on - probably with the assistance of higher level spell caster NPC's in a temple at the next town.
  5. Make a new character.

1Being dead doesn't say you become an object. It just says you are a dead character. It also doesn't say effects end when you're dead. It does say, if you are raised, you're raised in the same condition as when you died. If you have temporary negative levels when you died, and are then quickly raised, you'd still have the temporary negative levels.

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Negative levels do not disappear after being resurrected.

Energy Drain and Negative Levels

A creature whose permanent negative levels equal its Hit Dice cannot be brought back to life through spells like raise dead and resurrection without also receiving a restoration spell, cast the round after it is restored to life.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Here the problem is about temporary negative levels. You didn't nailed it \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Feb 1 '17 at 12:54

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