Practiced Spellcaster and Negative Levels

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Just looked at this article:
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/tt/20050711a

My question: can Practiced Spellcaster offset Negative Levels in terms
of Caster Level?


Example: Warlock 1 / Ranger 4 with Practiced Spellcaster (Ranger)
gets hit by an Enervation spell, gaining two negative levels. He
then proceeds to cast his Entangle in the direction of the ray.
What's his caster level? 3 or 4?


Donald
13 answers Last reply
More about practiced spellcaster negative levels
  1. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Donald Tsang wrote:
    > Just looked at this article:
    > http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/tt/20050711a
    >
    > My question: can Practiced Spellcaster offset Negative Levels in terms
    > of Caster Level?
    >
    >
    > Example: Warlock 1 / Ranger 4 with Practiced Spellcaster (Ranger)
    > gets hit by an Enervation spell, gaining two negative levels. He
    > then proceeds to cast his Entangle in the direction of the ray.
    > What's his caster level? 3 or 4?

    Oh god. Okay. The rules say nothing about the interaction between
    Praticed Spellcaster and negative levels. _Technically_, there's
    nothing preventing the feat from counteracting the negative levels,
    since negative levels don't do anything to your Hit Dice, and that's
    all Practiced Spellcaster cares about.

    The only thing that needs to be decided is whether the Practiced
    Spellcaster bonus must be applied before the negative level "layer", in
    which case the answer is 3, or whether it can be applied after the
    penalties for the negative levels. It's worth noting that all official
    examples with Practiced Spellcaster show that it always applies in a
    way that is as beneficial to the player as possible. This would argue
    in favour of the answer being 4.

    It's really your call (or your DM's). I'd probably rule CL 3, because I
    think that fits the spirit of the "negative level" rules better.

    Laszlo
  2. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    In article <1121110506.487420.234700@g49g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
    laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu says...

    > > Just looked at this article:
    > > http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/tt/20050711a
    > >
    > > My question: can Practiced Spellcaster offset Negative Levels in terms
    > > of Caster Level?
    > >
    > >
    > > Example: Warlock 1 / Ranger 4 with Practiced Spellcaster (Ranger)
    > > gets hit by an Enervation spell, gaining two negative levels. He
    > > then proceeds to cast his Entangle in the direction of the ray.
    > > What's his caster level? 3 or 4?
    >
    > Oh god. Okay. The rules say nothing about the interaction between
    > Praticed Spellcaster and negative levels. _Technically_, there's
    > nothing preventing the feat from counteracting the negative levels,
    > since negative levels don't do anything to your Hit Dice, and that's
    > all Practiced Spellcaster cares about.

    Don't they? Isn't this warlock/ranger now treated as a 3rd-level
    character for all effects related to level or HD? For instance, he'd be
    susceptible to the sleep spell, would he not?


    --
    Jasin Zujovic
    jzujovic@inet.hr
  3. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Jasin Zujovic <jzujovic@inet.hr> wrote:
    >> Oh god. Okay. The rules say nothing about the interaction between
    >> Praticed Spellcaster and negative levels. _Technically_, there's
    >> nothing preventing the feat from counteracting the negative levels,
    >> since negative levels don't do anything to your Hit Dice, and that's
    >> all Practiced Spellcaster cares about.
    >
    >Don't they? Isn't this warlock/ranger now treated as a 3rd-level
    >character for all effects related to level or HD? For instance, he'd be
    >susceptible to the sleep spell, would he not?

    No. From the SRD 3.5:

    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 creatures 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.

    No mention of hit dice, see?

    --
    Donald
  4. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Donald Tsang wrote:
    > Jasin Zujovic <jzujovic@inet.hr> wrote:
    > >> Oh god. Okay. The rules say nothing about the interaction between
    > >> Praticed Spellcaster and negative levels. _Technically_, there's
    > >> nothing preventing the feat from counteracting the negative levels,
    > >> since negative levels don't do anything to your Hit Dice, and that's
    > >> all Practiced Spellcaster cares about.
    > >
    > >Don't they? Isn't this warlock/ranger now treated as a 3rd-level
    > >character for all effects related to level or HD? For instance, he'd be
    > >susceptible to the sleep spell, would he not?
    >
    > No. From the SRD 3.5:
    >
    > 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 creatures 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.
    >
    > No mention of hit dice, see?

    On the other hand, in 3.x D&D there is only a paper-thin line between
    Hit Dice and levels; I can't think of a single example where a Hit Die
    is not also a level (monster Hit Dice, for instance, are levels of
    Outsider, or Aberration, or Monstrous Humanoid, or whatever).

    I think the intent was to make them lose a Hit Die. The wording is poor
    (as it often is), but it's what makes the most sense.

    (In case you're wondering why I just reversed myself: I used the
    wording in the Condition Summary:
    http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#energyDrained, which is
    quite different from the wording in Special Abilities:
    http://www.d20srd.org/srd/naturalSpecialAbilities.htm#energyDrainAndNegativeLevels,
    which Donald used, and is probably more in line with the intended
    wording).

    Laszlo
  5. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    "Donald Tsang" <tsang@soda.csua.berkeley.edu> wrote in message
    news:daumde$12os$1@agate.berkeley.edu...
    > Jasin Zujovic <jzujovic@inet.hr> wrote:
    >>> Oh god. Okay. The rules say nothing about the interaction between
    >>> Praticed Spellcaster and negative levels. _Technically_, there's
    >>> nothing preventing the feat from counteracting the negative levels,
    >>> since negative levels don't do anything to your Hit Dice, and that's
    >>> all Practiced Spellcaster cares about.
    >>
    >>Don't they? Isn't this warlock/ranger now treated as a 3rd-level
    >>character for all effects related to level or HD? For instance, he'd be
    >>susceptible to the sleep spell, would he not?
    >
    > No. From the SRD 3.5:
    >
    > 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 creatures 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.
    >
    > No mention of hit dice, see?

    I was under the impression that the rules used the terms "level" and "hit
    dice" fairly synonymously.

    --
    All the best,
    RF
  6. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Mon, 11 Jul 2005 20:56:14 +0000 (UTC), tsang@soda.csua.berkeley.edu
    (Donald Tsang) dared speak in front of ME:

    >Jasin Zujovic <jzujovic@inet.hr> wrote:
    >>> Oh god. Okay. The rules say nothing about the interaction between
    >>> Praticed Spellcaster and negative levels. _Technically_, there's
    >>> nothing preventing the feat from counteracting the negative levels,
    >>> since negative levels don't do anything to your Hit Dice, and that's
    >>> all Practiced Spellcaster cares about.
    >>
    >>Don't they? Isn't this warlock/ranger now treated as a 3rd-level
    >>character for all effects related to level or HD? For instance, he'd be
    >>susceptible to the sleep spell, would he not?
    >
    >No. From the SRD 3.5:
    >
    > 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 creatures level is used in a
    > die roll or calculation, reduce it by one for each negative
    > level).
    <Snip>
    >No mention of hit dice, see?

    While arguably true, it may just be semantical weaselling around the
    intended meaning of "-1 effective level."
    --
    Address no longer works.
    try removing all numbers from
    gafgirl1@2allstream3.net

    --
    Posted via NewsDemon.com - Premium Uncensored Newsgroup Service
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  7. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Donald Tsang wrote:
    > Just looked at this article:
    > http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/tt/20050711a
    >
    > My question: can Practiced Spellcaster offset Negative Levels in terms
    > of Caster Level?
    >
    >
    > Example: Warlock 1 / Ranger 4 with Practiced Spellcaster (Ranger)
    > gets hit by an Enervation spell, gaining two negative levels. He
    > then proceeds to cast his Entangle in the direction of the ray.
    > What's his caster level? 3 or 4?

    Since when do negative levels reduce your caster level? His caster
    level is the same as it is without the negative levels.

    DougL
  8. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Rupert Boleyn wrote:
    > On 12 Jul 2005 13:56:05 -0700, "DougL" <doug.lampert@tdytsi.com>
    > carved upon a tablet of ether:
    >
    > > Donald Tsang wrote:
    > > > Just looked at this article:
    > > > http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/tt/20050711a
    > > >
    > > > My question: can Practiced Spellcaster offset Negative Levels in terms
    > > > of Caster Level?
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > Example: Warlock 1 / Ranger 4 with Practiced Spellcaster (Ranger)
    > > > gets hit by an Enervation spell, gaining two negative levels. He
    > > > then proceeds to cast his Entangle in the direction of the ray.
    > > > What's his caster level? 3 or 4?
    > >
    > > Since when do negative levels reduce your caster level? His caster
    > > level is the same as it is without the negative levels.
    >
    > From the PH glossary, p.310: "...and takes a -1 pentaly to effective
    > level. (That is, whenever the creature's level is used in a die roll
    > or calculation, reduce its value by 1 for each negative level.)"
    >
    > That looks like a loss of caster level to me.

    If that applies to caster level then you can make scrolls with
    a level 3 spell at Caster level 1. Give a level 8 Sorcerer with
    18 Cha seven negative levels (given save boosters he can assure
    recovery on any roll but a 1, which only requires a greater
    restoration spell to recover). Since he loses his top seven spells
    that is 4 level 4 and 3 level 3 slots, leaving plenty of slots
    for the CL 1 fireball, GMW, or invisibilty sphere.

    Are you sure you believe that losing a level is equivelent to
    losing a caster level?

    I can have a multiclass caster, ranger, or paladin throwing
    spells at caster level zero easily enough with this logic. Heck
    I can have a negative caster level and still have spell slots by
    that logic. How many dice of damage does a caster level -5 fire
    ball do anyway? Caster level and character level are not the same,
    and references to level without any modifier are references to
    character level except inside the classes chapter.

    DougL
  9. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On 12 Jul 2005 13:56:05 -0700, "DougL" <doug.lampert@tdytsi.com>
    carved upon a tablet of ether:

    > Donald Tsang wrote:
    > > Just looked at this article:
    > > http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/tt/20050711a
    > >
    > > My question: can Practiced Spellcaster offset Negative Levels in terms
    > > of Caster Level?
    > >
    > >
    > > Example: Warlock 1 / Ranger 4 with Practiced Spellcaster (Ranger)
    > > gets hit by an Enervation spell, gaining two negative levels. He
    > > then proceeds to cast his Entangle in the direction of the ray.
    > > What's his caster level? 3 or 4?
    >
    > Since when do negative levels reduce your caster level? His caster
    > level is the same as it is without the negative levels.

    From the PH glossary, p.310: "...and takes a -1 pentaly to effective
    level. (That is, whenever the creature's level is used in a die roll
    or calculation, reduce its value by 1 for each negative level.)"

    That looks like a loss of caster level to me.


    --
    Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz>
    "Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
    should be free."
  10. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    DougL <doug.lampert@tdytsi.com> wrote:
    >> > Donald Tsang wrote:
    >> > > Just looked at this article:
    >> > > http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/tt/20050711a
    >> > >
    >> > > My question: can Practiced Spellcaster offset Negative Levels in terms
    >> > > of Caster Level?
    >
    >[...]
    >
    >Are you sure you believe that losing a level is equivelent to
    >losing a caster level?

    You didn't read the referenced article, did you?

    "Pittfalls: The biggest threat to your ability to overcome spell
    resistance is likely a negative level, which reduces your
    effective caster level."

    I'm not sure you should be allowed to cast spells if your effective
    caster level is negative, but that would be a question for the Sage.

    Donald
  11. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    tussock wrote:
    > DougL wrote:
    > > Rupert Boleyn wrote:
    > >>On 12 Jul 2005 13:56:05 -0700, "DougL" <doug.lampert@tdytsi.com>
    > >>carved upon a tablet of ether:
    > >>
    > >>>Since when do negative levels reduce your caster level? His caster
    > >>>level is the same as it is without the negative levels.
    > >>
    > >>From the PH glossary, p.310: "...and takes a -1 pentaly to effective
    > >>level. (That is, whenever the creature's level is used in a die roll
    > >>or calculation, reduce its value by 1 for each negative level.)"
    > >>
    > >>That looks like a loss of caster level to me.
    > >
    > > If that applies to caster level then you can make scrolls with
    > > a level 3 spell at Caster level 1.
    >
    > The minimum casterlevel of a magic item is the minimum level
    > required to cast the prerequisite spells. I don't see that the odd case
    > of negative levels needs to override that.

    If I can cast the spell, by definition I can cast the spell.

    If I can cast the spell at caster level zero then the spell can
    be cast at caster level zero and the minimum caster level required
    CANNOT be higher than zero. That is what minimum and required mean.

    Free wands of level zero scorching ray anyone?

    > IOW, if it hurts, stop doing it.

    Right, stop ruling that you have reduced Caster Level when the
    RULEBOOKS don't require it. Character level != Caster level.

    Simple.

    >
    > > I can have a multiclass caster, ranger, or paladin throwing
    > > spells at caster level zero easily enough with this logic. Heck
    > > I can have a negative caster level and still have spell slots by
    > > that logic.
    >
    > So? Spells that do 1d6/level will do no damage, spells that do 1d8
    > +1/level will do 1d8. Range will be minimal, duration will often be
    > zero, and various other pretty obvious effects.
    > Fixed duration, range, effect, and no SR are what you're after with
    > unusually low casterlevel.

    Magic missile, scorching ray, acid arrow, ext... are all still VERY
    useful at caster level 0, and wands cost 0.0GP and no EP.
  12. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    DougL wrote:
    > Rupert Boleyn wrote:
    >>On 12 Jul 2005 13:56:05 -0700, "DougL" <doug.lampert@tdytsi.com>
    >>carved upon a tablet of ether:
    >>
    >>>Since when do negative levels reduce your caster level? His caster
    >>>level is the same as it is without the negative levels.
    >>
    >>From the PH glossary, p.310: "...and takes a -1 pentaly to effective
    >>level. (That is, whenever the creature's level is used in a die roll
    >>or calculation, reduce its value by 1 for each negative level.)"
    >>
    >>That looks like a loss of caster level to me.
    >
    > If that applies to caster level then you can make scrolls with
    > a level 3 spell at Caster level 1.

    The minimum casterlevel of a magic item is the minimum level
    required to cast the prerequisite spells. I don't see that the odd case
    of negative levels needs to override that.

    IOW, if it hurts, stop doing it.


    > I can have a multiclass caster, ranger, or paladin throwing
    > spells at caster level zero easily enough with this logic. Heck
    > I can have a negative caster level and still have spell slots by
    > that logic.

    So? Spells that do 1d6/level will do no damage, spells that do 1d8
    +1/level will do 1d8. Range will be minimal, duration will often be
    zero, and various other pretty obvious effects.
    Fixed duration, range, effect, and no SR are what you're after with
    unusually low casterlevel.

    --
    tussock

    Aspie at work, sorry in advance.
  13. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    DougL wrote:
    > tussock wrote:

    <Re: negative levels and item creation>

    >> The minimum casterlevel of a magic item is the minimum level
    >>required to cast the prerequisite spells. I don't see that the odd case
    >>of negative levels needs to override that.
    >
    > If I can cast the spell, by definition I can cast the spell.

    Not true in this context, there's a few subtle ways of gaining the
    ability to cast a spell at various odd casterlevels unrelated to your
    own normal ability. Negative levels are just one.

    > If I can cast the spell at caster level zero then the spell can
    > be cast at caster level zero and the minimum caster level required
    > CANNOT be higher than zero. That is what minimum and required mean.

    Not in this context. When the magic item creation rules mention
    minimum casterlevels they're pretty obviously balanced in terms of the
    *normal* minimum casterlevel. Trying to rules-lawyer anything else out
    of it is obviously stupid, and so you shouldn't do it.

    Legalese interpritation does not override the things the rules are
    obviously trying to represent.

    > Free wands of level zero scorching ray anyone?

    Can't happen. Minimum casterlevel 3, or 4 for a Src; that's true
    even if you managed to get a /higher/ casterlevel with your Sor/Wiz
    before getting 2nd level spells (it's possible these days).
    Hell, certain domains mean a specific clerics "minimum" casterlevel
    for spells is one higher. That obviously doesn't apply to item creation
    the way you're thinking above.

    >> IOW, if it hurts, stop doing it.
    >
    > Right, stop ruling that you have reduced Caster Level when the
    > RULEBOOKS don't require it. Character level != Caster level.

    Casterlevel is defined in terms of character level (well, class
    level, technically).

    <snip>
    > Magic missile, scorching ray, acid arrow, ext... are all still VERY
    > useful at caster level 0, and wands cost 0.0GP and no EP.

    Yes they are, and no they don't.

    --
    tussock

    Aspie at work, sorry in advance.
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