Drain life is a monster attack damage type that may reduce the experience level of the defender.


When a drain life attack hits, it has a 1 in 3 chance of taking effect. It may be prevented by drain resistance, magic cancellation, or if the attacker is a cancelled monster.[1][2][3]

The precise effects then depend on whether it is a monster or a player that is hit.

On playersEdit

If a player's level was one, he dies. Otherwise, the player's level is reduced by 1. His experience is reduced to the maximum for his new level. Maximum and current hit points are reduced by the same amount as they would have been increased had the player gained a level. They cannot be reduced below one hit point.[2][4]

On monstersEdit

Main article: Monster level

If a monster's level was zero, it dies. Otherwise, the monster's level is reduced by 1. Its maximum and current hit points are reduced by 2d6. If its hit points are reduced below 1, it dies.[1][3]

Monsters with the attackEdit

The following monsters have this attack by default:[5][6][7]

Additionally, if the compile-time option SEDUCE is not defined, the seduction attack of the following monsters becomes a drain life attack:[8]


Drain life is represented by the macro AD_DRLI.[9]


Drain resistance completely negates this attack. This is not usually necessary however, as each successful attack only has a (1/50 * 1/3 =) 1 in 150 chance of affecting a player with a magic cancellation of 3. One lost level is immediately regained due to the experience gained when the attacker is killed. To permanently lose a level, a player must lose two levels without earning any experience in between; the chances of permanently losing even one level over the lifetime of a game are therefore sufficiently small that many players choose to ignore the possibility.


  1. 1.0 1.1 mhitm.c, line 991 monster draining a monster
  2. 2.0 2.1 mhitu.c, line 1130 monster draining a player
  3. 3.0 3.1 uhitm.c, line 1467 player draining a monster
  4. losexp in exper.c player loses a level
  5. Vampires in monst.c all V have a drain life attack
  6. Wraiths in monst.c all W have a drain life attack
  7. monst.c, line 2731 Demogorgon has a drain life attack
  8. monst.c, line 2554 foocubi have a drain life attack if SEDUCE is not defined
  9. monattk.h, line 52 AD_DRLI macro

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