Question about defiling (3.5)

I wonder if a defiler may tap into its own life to cast magic (if he has no choice but doing it or wants to do it because he’s a preserver who wants to cast a powerful spell but do not want to harm others) ? Do you think it would fit or magic always has tom come from outside the caster ?


My understanding is that without some outside ability or effect (like Ktandeo’s Staff or becoming a Dragon or a Cerulean), all Wizards must draw energy from their spells from plants, per all the rules for all the various (official) editions of DS I’ve ever seen.

I can’t personally imagine the average Defiler willingly drawing energy from themselves to cast a spell, though that might mark the spellcaster as a good candidate for learning to be a Preserver.

I guess if there was LITERALLY nowhere else to draw energy from - like, say a prison Demi-Plane that was completely empty except for the caster, i could see them maybe eventually working out a way to escape by defiling themselves to cast an escape spell. But that’d be a research situation, IMO, not a thing they could just know how to do.

At least, that’s my read of various editions, rules, and setting info.

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Your question is pretty interesting.
The answer I can come up with is - “yes, but really no”.

In theory, yes. You can capture that life energy in a couple different ways and store it, such as with the Essence Amphora when you kill a creature, or a specifically utilized obsidian orb if I understand correctly. An Essence Amphora, once it is drank from, can provide spell levels, reducing the effect of defiling. It is noted to be used by agents that want to infiltrate the Veiled Alliance.

So, the item is talking about the last ebbs of life, storing it so that the energy could be used later. In that interpretation, you can use life force to pay for a spells, though that’s by the last ebbs. Just skimming the surface of your life would not be enough. Luckily though, there’s a prestige class that helps us out.

The Leech prestige class in’s Prestige Class Appendix I allows a Defiler to do a Cannibalizing Raze on themselves, taking d8’s of damage to boost their caster level. Your DM might allow that to prevent external defiling, but all the same you are draining your own life source to cast. Its still defiling. You cannot be a Preserver and be a Leech, as you are knowingly pulling more power, and its kind of like a damning act in a separate alignment chart. Its an addictive action to Defile, and its a path of redemption to become a Preserver.

If you wanted to push the envelope on taking power, and avoid plantlife, you can look at pulling from the Grey, or pulling from the Cerulean Storm if that exists in your campaign setting. If you wanted to REALLY push the envelope, a character could try to get a Sanctum Amulet, and connect to a Tree of Life, using its wellspring of energy. The tree would be fine, given enough time to recover, and as long as no one else was actively defiling it, it should be fine in a day or so unless there is a serious spell battle going on.

Magic in Dark Sun requires sacrifice, willing or unwilling.
But that way you can have some ways that at least on the surface, do not hurt the world around you.

To Summarize the options:

  • Essence Amphora: take life from foes/creatures/living things and drink it later.
  • Leech prestige class: using Cannibalizing Raze and sacrifice HP
  • Pull energy from a powerful, adjacent source such as the Grey or Cerulean Storm
  • Sanctum Amulet: pull life from a specific tree of life within range.
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