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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
    NinjaGirl

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    Default [3.5] Regarding Vampire Slams

    One of my characters in a campaign was recently transformed into a vampire (woot!) and as a result has gained many of the abilities of the vampire template presented in MM1. Among those is, of course, the dreaded energy drain slam attack. Now, there are two paragraphs in the vampire entry that are causing some confusion:

    Quote Originally Posted by srd
    A vampire retains all the special attacks of the base creature and gains those described below. Saves have a DC of 10 + ½ vampire’s HD + vampire’s Cha modifier unless noted otherwise.
    and

    Quote Originally Posted by srd
    Energy Drain (Su)

    Living creatures hit by a vampire’s slam attack (or any other natural weapon the vampire might possess) gain two negative levels. For each negative level bestowed, the vampire gains 5 temporary hit points. A vampire can use its energy drain ability once per round.
    My DM is telling me that there is a save to just acquire one negative level (not just against me, but against all vampires) equal to the one named in the first paragraph. Of course, I defer to him since he is the one running the game, but should that technically be the case? Nowhere is there a save described for the energy drain, but if you look at another ability of the vampire that is not the case:

    Quote Originally Posted by srd
    Dominate (Su)

    A vampire can crush an opponent’s will just by looking onto his or her eyes. This is similar to a gaze attack, except that the vampire must use a standard action, and those merely looking at it are not affected. Anyone the vampire targets must succeed on a Will save or fall instantly under the vampire’s influence as though by a dominate person spell (caster level 12th). The ability has a range of 30 feet.
    I suspect that since the gaze attack specifically bothers to list a saving throw, energy drain does not have a save.

    Which one is technically correct?
    Last edited by TaintedLight; 2009-02-10 at 01:19 AM.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: [3.5] Regarding Vampire Slams

    Quote Originally Posted by srd
    Energy Drain And Negative Levels
    Some horrible creatures, especially undead monsters, possess a fearsome supernatural ability to drain levels from those they strike in combat. The creature making an energy drain attack draws a portion of its victim’s life force from her. Most energy drain attacks require a successful melee attack roll—mere physical contact is not enough. 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 drains twice the given amount. A creature gains 5 temporary hit points (10 on a critical hit) for each negative level it bestows (though not if the negative level is caused by a spell or similar effect). These temporary hit points last for a maximum of 1 hour.

    A creature takes the following penalties for each negative level it has gained:

    -1 on all skill checks and ability checks.
    -1 on attack rolls and saving throws.
    -5 hit points.
    -1 effective level (whenever the creature’s level is used in a die roll or calculation, reduce it by one for each negative level).
    If the victim casts spells, she loses access to one spell as if she had cast her highest-level, currently available spell. (If she has more than one spell at her highest level, she chooses which she loses.) In addition, when she next prepares spells or regains spell slots, she gets one less spell slot at her highest spell level.
    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 + ½ draining creature’s racial HD + 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 goes away, but the creature’s level is also reduced by one. A separate saving throw is required for each negative level.

    A character with negative levels at least equal to her current level, or drained below 1st level, is instantly slain. 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.
    Other abilities mention a save but neither this one nor the general energy drain rules do. Even though it goes as far as to mention that it requires a hit on an attack to work, and specifies a save after 24 hours to permanently lose the level. Spells with the same effect don't allow a save. The wight has the same ability and it's the same way: It specifies a save DC to remove the negative level later, but nothing about making a save or gaining a negative level. Just gaining a negative level if you get hit. I think it's safe to say that energy drain effects in general don't require a save, but you do have to hit on your attack.

    That said, it's really just a -1 to everything and if the target wins the fight or flees he might remove the negative level later. So it isn't the end of the world for the target.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2009-02-10 at 01:31 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Regarding Vampire Slams

    I have a vague memory that Vampire Energy Drain granted a save in 3.0 Edition. Maybe he's thinking of that?
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    NinjaGirl

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    Default Re: [3.5] Regarding Vampire Slams

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    Other abilities mention a save but neither this one nor the general energy drain rules do. Even though it goes as far as to mention that it requires a hit on an attack to work, and specifies a save after 24 hours to permanently lose the level. Spells with the same effect don't allow a save. The wight has the same ability and it's the same way: It specifies a save DC to remove the negative level later, but nothing about making a save or gaining a negative level. Just gaining a negative level if you get hit. I think it's safe to say that energy drain effects in general don't require a save, but you do have to hit on your attack.

    That said, it's really just a -1 to everything and if the target wins the fight or flees he might remove the negative level later. So it isn't the end of the world for the target.
    Can you give me a book and page number for that info in Core? I'd like to show my DM that page so we can either straighten this out or I can at least feel some (meaningless) sense of satisfaction.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: [3.5] Regarding Vampire Slams

    Energy drain attacks only grant saves to avoid permanently losing levels (although some few types of energy drain require no such save, and never cause permanent loss of levels). A vampire's energy drain works this way: you gain the negative levels automatically, but get to make saves later on to avoid losing levels permanently. This is what makes vampires and other energy-draining creatures so incredibly dangerous to fight.

    Your DM blew it when he made someone a vampire (LA +8) without requiring any sort of price - wriggling and trying to change the rules around is unfair, if understandable. Your DM should instead recall that vampires are under the control of the vampire who created them, making them pretty useless PCs in most campaigns, and interesting ones in others. (Of course, if your character wasn't turned into a vampire by another vampire's energy drain, that's a bummer for your DM.)

    The rules for energy drain and negative levels are in the DMG (energy drain is in that big list of general abilities and powers). Just look them up in the index at the back of the book.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    NinjaGirl

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    Default Re: [3.5] Regarding Vampire Slams

    Quote Originally Posted by Tsotha-lanti View Post
    Energy drain attacks only grant saves to avoid permanently losing levels (although some few types of energy drain require no such save, and never cause permanent loss of levels). A vampire's energy drain works this way: you gain the negative levels automatically, but get to make saves later on to avoid losing levels permanently. This is what makes vampires and other energy-draining creatures so incredibly dangerous to fight.

    Your DM blew it when he made someone a vampire (LA +8) without requiring any sort of price - wriggling and trying to change the rules around is unfair, if understandable. Your DM should instead recall that vampires are under the control of the vampire who created them, making them pretty useless PCs in most campaigns, and interesting ones in others. (Of course, if your character wasn't turned into a vampire by another vampire's energy drain, that's a bummer for your DM.)

    The rules for energy drain and negative levels are in the DMG (energy drain is in that big list of general abilities and powers). Just look them up in the index at the back of the book.
    Oh, he's edited down my abilities somewhat (destroyed by the beginning of my next turn if immersed in water at all, suggestion gaze instead of dominate, no Children of the Night, gaseous form limited to 10 rounds per day). The circumstances were kind of wierd but totally appropriate, and the vampire who created me was under an obligation to release me from servitude (don't ask :D).

    Thanks for the page reference btw.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Regarding Vampire Slams

    Quote Originally Posted by TaintedLight View Post
    Oh, he's edited down my abilities somewhat (destroyed by the beginning of my next turn if immersed in water at all, suggestion gaze instead of dominate, no Children of the Night, gaseous form limited to 10 rounds per day). The circumstances were kind of wierd but totally appropriate, and the vampire who created me was under an obligation to release me from servitude (don't ask :D).

    Thanks for the page reference btw.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    NinjaGirl

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    Default Re: [3.5] Regarding Vampire Slams

    Oh what the hell, why not.

    The character is a favored soul of Belial and Fierna, so she already has a strong bent towards seduction and trickery. I was hired by the party leader to accompany him on a mission to retrieve a powerful artifact, but we discovered that it had been stolen already when we got there. In the course of our investigation into the issue, we ran into a coven of vampires who act as mercenaries, spies, and thieves for an appropriate sum of gold (I have no idea why the DM put them there, but that's the case). Anyways, at one point in our travels we meet back up with one of the vampires and she decides to stay the night with us. Being the sneaky, conniving creature that I am, I snuck away in the middle of the night to try to extract information from her. Notice the first of the two things I said I had a bent towards. I got the information I was looking for, but in the process she bit me and turned me. That was a direct result of my "methods." I trusted her initially because she had demonstrated a strong sense of conscience, which I suspect is the reason that she released me from domination.

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    Thurbane's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Regarding Vampire Slams

    I always found it exceedingly odd that there is no initial save against energy drain from undead. Almost every similar special attack I can think of allows some kind of initial save to avoid the effect. I generally house-rule it that way anyway.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: [3.5] Regarding Vampire Slams

    I remember seeing the save to negate negative levels right on the spot in the 3.0 stuff, like the Wight template in Savage Species.

    However, 3.5 generally doesn't have that. You get hit, you take the negative level. Whether it's a wight, a vampire, or an enervation laser. Which I don't think is too bad, given that the debuff isn't really that crippling (it hits lots of things a little bit) until you start taking many, many negative levels, which won't happen if people keep making saves.
    Last edited by ChaosDefender24; 2009-02-10 at 09:08 PM.

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    Surgebinder in the Playground Moderator
     
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    Default Re: [3.5] Regarding Vampire Slams

    This quote
    A vampire retains all the special attacks of the base creature and gains those described below. Saves have a DC of 10 + ½ vampire’s HD + vampire’s Cha modifier unless noted otherwise.
    Means that for abilities that have saves that is the DC of the save. Each ability that has a save must still note it individually.

    The Vampire's energy drain attack does not mention a save and does not involve any effect that falls under an "always has a save" category, so it does not allow a saving throw. The major point of failure for the ability is the attack roll vs full AC.

    Negative levels in general do allow a save 24 hours later to remove the negative level or lose a level permanently, but that is separate from the immediate effect.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    NinjaGirl

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    Default Re: [3.5] Regarding Vampire Slams

    Quote Originally Posted by douglas View Post
    This quote

    Means that for abilities that have saves that is the DC of the save. Each ability that has a save must still note it individually.

    The Vampire's energy drain attack does not mention a save and does not involve any effect that falls under an "always has a save" category, so it does not allow a saving throw. The major point of failure for the ability is the attack roll vs full AC.

    Negative levels in general do allow a save 24 hours later to remove the negative level or lose a level permanently, but that is separate from the immediate effect.
    I thought that was the case. I guess my DM didn't want me to debuff his encounters every time I hit them :D.

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    Default Re: [3.5] Regarding Vampire Slams

    I'll probably houserule that negative levels only last for up to 24 hours each in my games (I know it would nerf Restoration, but the idea of a party member ending up 1 level behind everyone else without being killed irritates me). Do you think you'll try to cure yourself if there's a way of doing it?
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