Equipment Granting Negative Levels

Rule Description: The granting of "Negative Levels" to characters by equipment.

PCGen Version: 5.8.x to current.

Gamemode/Dataset: 35e/RSRD Complete

File(s) Covered: equipment.lst and feat.lst

Tags Used:


NOTE: In this section we will discuss only those LST tags specific to this implementation, and how they are used to implement the subject rule. For more general information on the associated tags, please visit the LST File Tag Index section of the PCGen Documentation.

Implementation Discussion

Implementing "Negative Levels" for equipment that is "equiped" requires two specific LST entries. These are a feat.lst entry titled "Negative Levels" and a specifc application of this feat in the appropriate item entry in the equipment.lst file. Fortunately, this ability has already been implemented in the RSRD, SRD, and the MSRD, as well as several other distributed datasets, so incorporating the rule into a Homebrew dataset is fairly simple, as long as the homebrew rules are based upon one of the datasets that have the rule already implemented. The steps to follow in this case are as follows:

  1. Make sure the hidden feat "Negative Levels" is loaded when you load your datasets on the "Source Materials" tab.
  2. When creating the equipment.lst entry for the piece of equipment in question, include the appropriate tag to grant the "Negative Levels" feat. This is usually done with the VFEAT:Negative Levels tag. See the VFEAT tag below for more information on how it works.
  3. Add a BONUS:VAR|NegLevels|#|PRExxx tag in the equipment.lst file, replacing the "#" with the number of negative levels being lost. See the BONUS:VAR tag below for more information on how it works.
  4. The PRExxx tag used in the BONUS:VAR tag above is used to define what prerequirements must be met before applying the negative levels. The most common prerequirement is the alignment of the character, in which case the PREALIGN|x,x tag would be used. See the PREALIGN tag description below for more information on how it works.

If you are not using a dataset that already implements the "Negative Levels" rule you will follow the same steps above except that you will need to create the feat of the same name in the feat.lst file. We discuss tags used in this feat entry, as well as the tags used to apply the rule within an equipment.lst entry, in more detail below. To help you better understand these entries, we will be using the Demon Armor entry from the RSRD.

Finally, for assistance in understanding how to read this page you may review the Rules Style Guide .

Feat File

The specific feat entry in the feat.lst file is called Negative Levels and will provide all of the penalties, or enhancments, required when a negative level is applied. The penalties, in this case, include a reduction to "Fortitude", "Reflex", and "Will" checks, the reduction of the characters "To Hit" bonus, and a reduction in skill bonuses across the board. The tags used are explained below:

Tag Used: SA:% negative level(s) (-% effective level(s) and loses access to % spell(s) from the highest spell level castable)|NegLevels|NegLevels|NegLevels

What it does:

Tag Used: DEFINE:NegLevels|0

What it does: Creates the NegLevels variable and initializes it to a value of zero.

Tag Used: BONUS:CHECKS|Fortitude,Reflex,Will|-1*(NegLevels)

What it does: Subracts the number of negative levels granted from the "Fortitude". "Reflex", and "Will" saving throws.

Tag Used: BONUS:COMBAT|TOHIT|-1*(NegLevels)

What it does: Subtracts the number of negative leves granted from the primary attack bonus.

Tag Used: BONUS:SKILL|TYPE=Strength,TYPE=Dexterity,TYPE=Constitution, TYPE=Intelligence,TYPE=Wisdom,TYPE=Charisma|-1*(NegLevels)

What it does: Subtracts the number of negative levels granted from all skills.

Equipment File

In the equip.lst file we must first apply the new feat Negative Levels by using the VFEAT tag in the specific equipment entry and then we must apply the specific number of negative levels through the BONUS:VAR tag.

Tag Used: VFEAT:Negative Levels

What it does: Grants the Negative Levels feat and initializes the NegLevels variable. (see Feat File Entry above.)


Variables Used (x): Number (number of negative levels applied.)

What it does:

Example: - Demon Armor (RSRD)


Demon Armor bestows one negative level to all non-evil characters.


What it does: Sets an "Alignment" based restriction upon when the associated bonus will be applied.

Known Issues


LST File Entry Examples

These examples come from the RSRD.

Feat File: Negative Levels feat

Negative Levels



SA:% negative level(s) (-% effective level(s) and loses access to % spell(s) from the highest spell level castable)|NegLevels|NegLevels|NegLevels




BONUS:SKILL|TYPE=Strength,TYPE=Dexterity,TYPE=Constitution, TYPE=Intelligence,TYPE=Wisdom,TYPE=Charisma|-1*(NegLevels)

Equipment File: Demon Armor

Demon Armor


. (See the RSRD for full detail on this item.)


VFEAT:Negative Levels