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Damage at 0 hp / Massive damage clarification?

If a monster – with a Multiattack (x2) dealing 6d12+4 damage with each attack – hits a PC/NPC with hit points equal to or less than that number, reducing the PC to 0 hit points, and then hits with its second attack...how is that second attack within its Multiattack resolved?

Do I use the Instant Death rule or do I use the Damage at 0 Hit Points rule?

Instant Death:
PHB 197 said:
Massive damage can kill you instantly. When damage reduces you to 0 hit points and there is damage remaining, you die if the remaining damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum.
Damage at 0 Hit Points
PHB 197 said:
If you take any damage while you have 0 hit points, you suffer a death saving throw failure. If the damage is from a critical hit, you suffer two failures instead. If the damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum, you suffer instant death.
Thanks!
 

Ristamar

Explorer
Damage at 0 hit points. It's essentially the same rule with additional consequences for being at 0 hit points when taking damage. The effects are resolved for each instance of damage.
 

guachi

Villager
The latter. If you already at 0 HP the first rules won't apply. It's one of the rare nasty effects that can actually lead to death in 5e.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
there are two very different situations. the first is catastrophic damage, where the total remaining after taking you to 0 HP equals your HP maximum. The second is if you’re hit while at 0 hp.

So your multi attack fits into the second case: the first attack takes you to 0, the second attack takes a death save, or two if it’s critical.
 

leogobsin

Villager
The second. The first only refers to taking damage that takes you to 0 and has remaining damage all from one source. The multiattack is two different sources of damage: the first takes the character down to 0 (and kills them if there's remaining damage greater than or equal to their max HP), the second causes a failed death save (and kills them if the damage is equal to or greater than their max HP).
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Roll damage, and if the total is greater than the character's hit points, the character dies. If the roll is less that the total hit points and not a critical hit, it's 1 death save failure; if it was a critical hit, it's 2 death save failures. Either way, not great news for that character.
 

S'mon

Hero
Does the second attack get advantage and be an automatic critical, since the target was already at 0 hp & helpless when it was rolled? AFAICT that's the RAW.
 

leogobsin

Villager
Does the second attack get advantage and be an automatic critical, since the target was already at 0 hp & helpless when it was rolled? AFAICT that's the RAW.
It would always have advantage, and would be a critical if the attacker is within 5 feet.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
Use whichever is more likely to make the player cry. :.-(

Rulings, not rules. (Would that be 5e's rule zero?)
 

MarkB

Adventurer
Resolve each attack in the multiattack sequence sequentially, and apply their damage separately. If nothing else, after the first attack reduces the character to 0 hp, the second will be made with advantage, and will be a critical hit if the monster is within 5 feet of the character.

Here's an oddity, though. The Instant Death rule only applies when an attack reduces you to 0 hp - which can't happen if you're already there. If that second attack hits, and deals damage equal or higher than the character's maximum hit points, it will not be instantly fatal. At most, it will instantly inflict two failed Death saves due to being a critical hit, leaving the character with one more remaining before death.
 

Ristamar

Explorer
Here's an oddity, though. The Instant Death rule only applies when an attack reduces you to 0 hp - which can't happen if you're already there. If that second attack hits, and deals damage equal or higher than the character's maximum hit points, it will not be instantly fatal. At most, it will instantly inflict two failed Death saves due to being a critical hit, leaving the character with one more remaining before death.
Unfortunately, that is incorrect. Here's the exact text from the PHB, p. 197:

Damage at 0 Hit Points
If you take any damage while you have 0 hit points, you suffer a death saving throw failure. If the damage is from a critical hit, you suffer two failures instead. If the damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum, you suffer instant death.​

EDIT: Which is the exact text Quickleaf already had placed in his initial post. Ugh. I need more sleep.
 
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Satyrn

Villager
Here's an oddity, though. The Instant Death rule only applies when an attack reduces you to 0 hp - which can't happen if you're already there. If that second attack hits, and deals damage equal or higher than the character's maximum hit points, it will not be instantly fatal. At most, it will instantly inflict two failed Death saves due to being a critical hit, leaving the character with one more remaining before death.
as [MENTION=1207]Ristamar[/MENTION] says. But don't feel bad, I never noticed that until this thread, too.


And [MENTION=20323]Quickleaf[/MENTION], are you essentially asking if everything in a multiattack counts as a "single" attack?
 
Thanks for your help, guys! If I'm interpreting this correctly, the Multiattack (x2) would play out like this...

Attack #1: Monster attacks and hits PC with 40/44 HP. The PC takes 6d12+4 (42 avg) damage, dropping the target to 0 HP. It is now unconscious and dying.

Attack #2: Monster attacks unconscious PC (with advantage if within 5 feet). The PC takes 6d12+4 damage again; if this doesn't kill the PC outright, they still suffer 1 death save failure. If the monster was within 5 feet, this attack is an automatic critical dealing 12d12+4 damage (avg 82), which very likely kills the PC outright; in the off chance that it does not, the PC still suffers 2 death save failures.

The reason I ask: I'm including an eidolon (Mordenkainen's; CR 12) in an adventure this Sunday for 5th-level PCs. However, it's not necessarily their adversary; if it's activated the goal is not to kill it, rather to escape with something. It's an Indiana Jones kinda situation with a rival NPC party. So my sense of running the eidolon for 5th-level PCs – with some element of "fair play" – is that it should divide its attacks among multiple targets (potentially KO a PC), rather than focusing fire (auto-killing a PC).
 
as [MENTION=1207]Ristamar[/MENTION] says. But don't feel bad, I never noticed that until this thread, too.


And [MENTION=20323]Quickleaf[/MENTION], are you essentially asking if everything in a multiattack counts as a "single" attack?
Yeah, that was the main line of my question!
 

Satyrn

Villager
My answer is that I've always considered them completely separate.

As for whether you should split up this thing's attacks: Since the monster's focus wpuld be reclaiming the object, I don't see why you're considering having it focus fire on any PCs in the first place. If it KOs a PC without this something, that PC oughtn't matter to it. If it KOs the PC with the something, wouldn't it grab that thing and run?
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
You also have to ask yourself if the monster would keep hitting a downed foe or if it would attack another foe...
 

Satyrn

Villager
My other suggestion would be to reduce this thing's damage a little, so that a character has a chance of staying on his feet after 2 hits. Or remove the multiattack.

It seems just a little too deadly too quickly to be fun.


(But I'd double its hit points so that it will be just as deadly if the PC's stick around.)
 

S'mon

Hero
So my sense of running the eidolon for 5th-level PCs – with some element of "fair play" – is that it should divide its attacks among multiple targets (potentially KO a PC), rather than focusing fire (auto-killing a PC).
Best approach is to have one or two tough NPCs in the party and have it shred them first. IME when the PCs see Rod the Barbarian take 83 damage and be chopped into salami in 1 round, they scarper. I STRONGLY advise against using any kind of nerfs that give the impression "Hey, we can win this thing!" - and dividing up attacks or reducing damage will do that.
 

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