The Big McStrongmuscle comment on one of my level drain posts raised a couple questions. One being: what's level drain supposed to be? He asks: "Why would losing life force make you forget your experiences?" I've heard others ask this as well. I have some problems with this, not the least of which is that I don't buy the concept of level = memory or skill. I think it represents confidence, cool, and comfort with your talents; first level types have book-learning or general practice, but actually using their talents in a tense situation is something else entirely and they occasionally blow it. After many battles, they are hardened and more sure of themselves, better able to respond to the chaos of the adventure.
But more to the point, level drain as a mechanic is meant to model the various soul-shaking wounds in fantasy and horror fiction. When Dracula attacks someone, the victim isn't just injured, they're shaken to the core.. If not killed, they recover from blood loss within a few days, but they don't recover psychologically at the same rate, and might not ever recover; they've lost something besides blood. Similarly, when Frodo is stabbed by the Witch-King's blade, the physical wound wouldn't be too hard to heal, but the wound is far more than physical and never really heals. There are several points later in Frodo's quest where he fails, specifically because he's no longer as energetic or confident as when he first begun; the text is clear that it's not just the Ring, but also the lingering effects of the Witch-King's wound that cause him to fail.
Here's another more recent example: the Dementors from the Harry Potter stories. In this case, there is clearly no physical injury at all, nor is there a loss of memory; Harry still knows how to do all the things he could before, and can usually do them just as well, except in certain stressful situations, particularly those involving the Dementors. When the Dementors show up at a quidditch match, Harry falls. Is it because he's forgotten how to ride a broom, or is it because he is so shaken by his previous experience that he buckles under the stress? And when he is finally able to deal with the Dementors, is it because he learned all the things he's forgotten, or is it because he's learned a new "spell" that draws upon his ideal of strength and support?