5E Banshee Wail: 0 hp and stable or 0 hp and dying?

[MENTION=18333]Rhenny[/MENTION] has nailed the answer.

For relevant portion of rules text, page 197 of the Player's Handbook, specifically from "Dropping to 0 Hit Points" heading onward.
 

Dausuul

Legend
"Whenever you start your turn with 0 hit points, you must make a special saving throw, called a death saving throw, to determine whether you creep closer to death or hang onto life."

"You can use your action to administer first aid to an unconscious creature and attempt to stabilize it, which requires a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check. A stable creature doesn’t make death saving throws, even though it has 0 hit points, but it does remain unconscious. The creature stops being stable, and must start making death saving throws again, if it takes any damage. A stable creature that isn’t healed regains 1 hit point after 1d4 hours."

So, since you have not been stabilized, you must start rolling death saves as soon as you start your turn with 0 hit points.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
They used to be anyway. CR 4 where the wail only drops you to 0 isn't that scary.
I have to disagree. I've used banshees at low levels and been on the receiving end as well, and they are definitely scary IME. The wail alone can TPK a party that rolls badly.

My friend once used multiple banshees against us in a high level fight (a powerful undead and his banshee minions). He was "nice" and only used one wail a round. We managed to pull though, but it was a nail biter. Several party members went down. If he'd spammed wail in the first round while we were all grouped up, it would have almost certainly been a TPK.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I have to disagree. I've used banshees at low levels and been on the receiving end as well, and they are definitely scary IME. The wail alone can TPK a party that rolls badly.
And that's why it's not scary to me. The party has to roll badly. In 1e-3e, it just took a single character rolling badly. THAT was scary.

My friend once used multiple banshees against us in a high level fight (a powerful undead and his banshee minions). He was "nice" and only used one wail a round. We managed to pull though, but it was a nail biter. Several party members went down. If he'd spammed wail in the first round while we were all grouped up, it would have almost certainly been a TPK.
A banshee to me should be the powerful undead. I get that it's still got some bite, but it's waaaay diminished from prior editions.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
And that's why it's not scary to me. The party has to roll badly. In 1e-3e, it just took a single character rolling badly. THAT was scary.

A banshee to me should be the powerful undead. I get that it's still got some bite, but it's waaaay diminished from prior editions.
I never found save-or-make-a-new-character to be all that scary. More annoying than anything. In my experience, having multiple party members go down during a dangerous encounter is much more effective at ratcheting up tension, because then the party has to scramble to save the dying characters while simultaneously fending off the (likely uninjured) monsters. If the character is dead then, short of someone living having revivify on hand, they're no longer relevant to this scene (outside of possible reactions to that character's death).

To each his own.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I never found save-or-make-a-new-character to be all that scary. More annoying than anything.
I invest heavily in my characters. The chance that I would lose one just like that *snap* was terrifying.

In my experience, having multiple party members go down during a dangerous encounter is much more effective at ratcheting up tension, because then the party has to scramble to save the dying characters while simultaneously fending off the (likely uninjured) monsters. If the character is dead then, short of someone living having revivify on hand, they're no longer relevant to this scene (outside of possible reactions to that character's death).

To each his own.
Yep! Different strokes for different folks and all that. :)
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
I invest heavily in my characters. The chance that I would lose one just like that *snap* was terrifying.
As do I. Which is why it was annoying to me. To me, scary is more than someone jumping around a corner and shouting "Boo!", which is what SoD is like to me. It's a single roll, pass or fail. Frequently, when I faced SoD, there was little choice in the matter for a heroic character, which is the style I like to play (kill the banshee or let the innocent villagers die horribly). So either it did nothing, which was anti-climactic but pleasing to me in an I-didn't-just-lose-my-character kind of way, or it stole my investment in a way that I could not have reasonably averted. To me that was flat-out annoying, akin to the DM openly cheating (obviously it was not cheating because the rules supported it). As I DM, I avoided SoD like the plague, which annoyed me further because it prevented me from using some otherwise cool creatures (I wish I had thought of simply dropping the PC to zero).

For me at least, there's a lot more tension when PC(s) are unconscious and the rest of the party is scrambling to save them. This will often play out over several rounds, or RL minutes, creating a lot of tension at the table as the party struggles to stay alive and save their friend. I should mention that I wrote a program that randomizes initiative every round, that way no one knows if the healing will arrive in time, which certainly helps with this.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
As do I. Which is why it was annoying to me. To me, scary is more than someone jumping around a corner and shouting "Boo!", which is what SoD is like to me. It's a single roll, pass or fail. Frequently, when I faced SoD, there was little choice in the matter for a heroic character, which is the style I like to play (kill the banshee or let the innocent villagers die horribly). So either it did nothing, which was anti-climactic but pleasing to me in an I-didn't-just-lose-my-character kind of way, or it stole my investment in a way that I could not have reasonably averted. To me that was flat-out annoying, akin to the DM openly cheating (obviously it was not cheating because the rules supported it). As I DM, I avoided SoD like the plague, which annoyed me further because it prevented me from using some otherwise cool creatures (I wish I had thought of simply dropping the PC to zero).

For me at least, there's a lot more tension when PC(s) are unconscious and the rest of the party is scrambling to save them. This will often play out over several rounds, or RL minutes, creating a lot of tension at the table as the party struggles to stay alive and save their friend. I should mention that I wrote a program that randomizes initiative every round, that way no one knows if the healing will arrive in time, which certainly helps with this.
I'd like to see a middle ground. Maybe failed save is 0 hit points, and if you fail a single death save you're a gonner. That would give it the teeth I'm looking for without it relying on a single roll.

I also get where you are coming from We just play a bit differently is all.
 

cas206

Visitor
Thanks for the reply's. I've reread the relevant parts of the handbook and agree with 0 hp and death saves. I must have remembered incorrectly from either one of the the playtests or previous edition that drop to exactly 0 was a special circumstance that just knocked you out.
 
They used to be anyway. CR 4 where the wail only drops you to 0 isn't that scary.
It depends on your playstyle.
In our campaigns enemies tend to make sure characters are actualy dead unless they want to take prisoners.
combines with some low level melee undead they are very scary, each atack being 2 failed death saves.
 

Nebulous

Adventurer
And that's why it's not scary to me. The party has to roll badly. In 1e-3e, it just took a single character rolling badly. THAT was scary.

A banshee to me should be the powerful undead. I get that it's still got some bite, but it's waaaay diminished from prior editions.
The greater banshee in the (highly recommended and not to be missed Monster Manual Expanded) is CR 13, can cause paralysis as well as fear, a death kiss, and the wail to zero HP, but all the DCs are much much higher, spellcasting up to 6th level and legendary actions. It's terrifying.
 

Nebulous

Adventurer
It depends on your playstyle.
In our campaigns enemies tend to make sure characters are actualy dead unless they want to take prisoners.
combines with some low level melee undead they are very scary, each atack being 2 failed death saves.
This too. Have the banshee immediately touch someone at 0 hp next turn. This is the most effective way to kill 5e characters, hit them while they're down before someone raises them back up.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The greater banshee in the (highly recommended and not to be missed Monster Manual Expanded) is CR 13, can cause paralysis as well as fear, a death kiss, and the wail to zero HP, but all the DCs are much much higher, spellcasting up to 6th level and legendary actions. It's terrifying.
Is that a third party product? If so, who sells it?
 

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