|Good Day Sir! You're Fucked!|
But then I started thinking about how leveling works in D&D. Typically, you have to roughly double your XP to gain a level. For example, a fighter in AD&D takes 35,001 XP to hit 6th and then 70,001 XP to hit 7th. Yup - double. Now let's take the explanation from the DMG (page 119) of how level draining works. It states, among other things, that XP will be drained "sufficient to bring the total possessed to the mid-point of the next lower level."
Now that is very significant! Here's why:
Let's say you are an average 6th level fighter who runs into a Wight and *oh shit* gets hit and energy drained (no save allowed of course). On average, a 6th level fighter will have 52,500 XP (the mid-point between 6th and 7th level). When he gets drained, his XP will drop to the mid-point between 5th and 6th level - which means he drops to 26,500 XP. That means he loses HALF HIS XP GAINED - EVER! EVER!
Now this may be obvious to most but it hit my dumb ass like a ton of bricks. When you get energy drained, you lose (on average) HALF YOUR XP. HALF. OK, I'm done with CAPS LOCK. But still, that sucks. And nobody is exempt from it. Even high level PC's who have been in multi-year campaigns on average will lose half their XP.
Granted, it could be a little less than half. But it could also be more than half. What if that same 6th level fighter was almost to 7th level when he got zapped. So instead of 52,500 XP he had 69,000 XP. He would then still get zapped down to 26,500 XP. Meaning you can even lose TWO THIRDS of your XP if you're not careful (OK, I used caps lock again).
And don't even get me started on the Vampire, who drains 2 energy levels in D&D with one successful hit!
Sorry, level draining is just too frustrating. Too much blood, sweat, and tears go into gaining that XP. I won't be using level-draining going forward. Or if I do, I'll be house-ruling it somehow. If that makes me a wuss, so be it.