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Death and 0 Max HP

dnd4vr

Explorer
Just from a rules lawyering perspective, "The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0" is a trigger, not a status effect. At the moment the vampire reduces the hp maximum to zero, the target dies. If the target is later raised, then even it it remains at 0 hp, the "die when you are reduced to zero" no longer applies because the triggering condition was not met. There is no general rule that you instantly die whenever your hp maximum is zero.
"The reduction lasts until the target finishes a Long Rest."

The triggering condition is still present until a long rest is completed, which the corpse cannot do because, well, it is a corpse. If you raised the target, which is still at maximum 0 hit points due to the vampire bite, it would simply die again immediately since that is the effect of the vampire bite.

The effect of the triggering condition is why our DM is ruling Greater Restoration is required (to restore the loss of hit points from the vampire bite) and it will have to be done just at the completion of the Raise Dead so both spells are completed simultaneously.

Otherwise, in general, at 0 maximum hit points, you would be unconscious until your maximum hit points were raised above zero.
 

Hroc

Explorer
It sounds like your DM has a solution he likes with his multi-cleric idea, so this is just for discussion's sake.

Anyway, did you destroy the vampire, or just defeat him? Because one way to get past the "0 hit point maximum" problem is to bury the PC so they come back as a vampire spawn - they seem to come back with a positive hit point total. Then all you need to do is get the newly-risen vampire spawn to drain some blood from their master, kill the now-full vampire and bring them back to life. Too easy!

I'm relying here on the "Player Characters as Vampires" inset and "Born from Death" section of the Vampires MM entry. The process really vague and probably doesn't lend itself to the strict RAW approach being used in this thread by some (including, it appears, the OP's DM), but that pathway does seem to exist in the "rules" for vampires.

There are some complications. Vampire spawn are described as being "under the control of the vampire that created them". How does that work? If your DM rules it works like "Dominate Person" - ie, telepathic and requiring no actions - then I think you're down to trying to convince the master vampire to allow their spawn to draw their blood, which sounds unpleasant. Otherwise you could stake and gag the vampire, and then let the spawn loose on them (hoping, of course, the spawn doesn't choose to try and free their master).

There's also some unhelpful language in "Raise Dead" about not bringing undead back to life. In the context of this situation that's really unclear - is it just saying that "Raise Dead" cannot re-animate a destroyed undead, or is it meant to prevent turning undead back into living people? If it's the latter, you'd need to use "Resurrection", a 7th level spell, which doesn't have that language.

Finally, if you want to lean on the RAW interpretation, there's nothing that says vampire spawn are not created simply because their master vampire is dead - you could argue they are instead created as free-willed spawn. Similarly, nothing says it has to be their master's blood which turns them into a "real boy" full vampire. I think those arguments are a bit weak, but it might be worth trying.
 

jaelis

Explorer
The triggering condition is still present until a long rest is completed, which the corpse cannot do because, well, it is a corpse.
Yes, granted, the raised creature is still at 0 hp. (Though this is in fact debatable since the vampire condition and the raise dead spell conflict, and its not obvious which should have priority.)

If you raised the target, which is still at maximum 0 hit points due to the vampire bite, it would simply die again immediately since that is the effect of the vampire bite.
No, that is wrong. The effect of the bite is to kill you when the bite occurs, not to keep you dead if you are later revived. It says "The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0." Well, the effect reduced the target's hit point maximum, and it died. The rule took effect, did what it said, and now it is done. There's nothing here that says the target will die again in the future if its hp maximum is still zero.
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
Yes, granted, the raised creature is still at 0 hp. (Though this is in fact debatable since the vampire condition and the raise dead spell conflict, and its not obvious which should have priority.)
Good, you agree the raised creature still has a maximum 0 hp (well, you don't say maximum, but I have to assume you mean that because otherwise the Raise Dead would restore the raised creature to 1 hp, and you said 0). Now you do think this is debatable, so until you decide to argue for Raise Dead over the vampire condition, I have to disagree with your next assessment:

No, that is wrong. The effect of the bite is to kill you when the bite occurs, not to keep you dead if you are later revived. It says "The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0." Well, the effect reduced the target's hit point maximum, and it died. The rule took effect, did what it said, and now it is done. There's nothing here that says the target will die again in the future if its hp maximum is still zero.
Vampire bites reduce target to 0 h.p. (effect) => target dies (result).

How is effect removed? Target must complete long rest.

Can target complete long rest? No, target is dead. Therefore, target cannot remove the effect.

Result: effect is still in effect since target has not completed a long rest. (You claim the effect is done, but it isn't because it is only removed by a long rest as per the vampire description.)

It follows then that:

Action: Raise Dead character with 0 h.p.

Is effect still in effect? Yes, because it was never removed.

Result: The effect kills the target because its maximum hp is 0. Target dies again.

So, how is the effect removed other than a long rest? A Greater Restoration or similar powerful magic.

While you say "nothing here says the target will die again in the future if its hp maximum is still zero," I have to ask, "WHY is it still a maximum hp of 0?" If your answer is "Due to the vampire bite." Then, the creature dies again since that is the result of the vampire's effect.
 

Quartz

Explorer
I'm late to the thread as usual. :)

I'm not seeing the problem here on two counts: PCs can routinely exceed their maximum HPs through temporary HP and 5E is an exception-based system. So someone casts Raise Dead or Revivify on the PC and she awakens with 0 max HP and 1 actual HP. Actions can then be taken to change the current HP maximum. Whether or not the 1 HP is temporary or fixed is up to the DM, but the PC still has 1 HP.

But what's most important is whether or not it's fun for the participants.
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
I'm late to the thread as usual. :)

I'm not seeing the problem here on two counts: PCs can routinely exceed their maximum HPs through temporary HP and 5E is an exception-based system. So someone casts Raise Dead or Revivify on the PC and she awakens with 0 max HP and 1 actual HP. Actions can then be taken to change the current HP maximum. Whether or not the 1 HP is temporary or fixed is up to the DM, but the PC still has 1 HP.

But what's most important is whether or not it's fun for the participants.
Better late than never!

Hmm... Nice and interesting argument. I'll have to discuss that one with the DM. I'll get back to you on his interpretation after work late tonight.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad day
As we finished the session, the NPC cleric explained "perhaps" a great restoration spell will remove the power of the vampire's bite and then she can be raised, but it was beyond his power. Honestly, as others have pointed out, RAW even Greater Restoration won't work for the same reason Aid won't--because she is now an object, not a creature. We might find a powerful priest and have them explain we need something greater even... who knows?
I think it's worth a quick player-to-DM discussion.

"We have a player who is sitting out unable to play until this is resolved. Is there a viable solution to this what is within our character's reach? We don't want to know what it is, just that the player is sitting out forever / a long time / multiple of sessions where it's better if they just make a replacement character."

Just validate that the DM does think there's a solution in your grasp, otherwise it's time for a new character for that player.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad day
Better late than never!

Hmm... Nice and interesting argument. I'll have to discuss that one with the DM. I'll get back to you on his interpretation after work late tonight.
I have brought that up as one of my possibilities, but it means the revivify would have worked. So I think we can guess your DM's interpretation already.

BTW, this is a fascinating question in general where it lies between multiple rules. There have been a bunch of answers that I've gone "while that's not how I would rule it when running, I would definitely accept that as a player" - there's no single answer.

I'm now a bit caught up in this so I've very interested in how your DM resolves this. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.
 

jaelis

Explorer
Vampire bites reduce target to 0 h.p. (effect) => target dies (result).

How is effect removed? Target must complete long rest.
What effect? The hit point reduction. So until you take a long rest, your hit point maximum is zero.

The fact that you die when your hp max is reduced to zero is not a status effect, it is just something that happens when you get bit. You seem to be reading it as, "The target dies if its hit point maximum is zero due to this effect." But that is not what it says.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad day
What effect? The hit point reduction. So until you take a long rest, your hit point maximum is zero.

The fact that you die when your hp max is reduced to zero is not a status effect, it is just something that happens when you get bit. You seem to be reading it as, "The target dies if its hit point maximum is zero due to this effect." But that is not what it says.
One concept from an earlier edition of D&D was specific overrides general. If that's the case, the specific of the spell returning at 1 HP should overcome the general rule that HPs can not exceed max HPs.
 

jaelis

Explorer
One concept from an earlier edition of D&D was specific overrides general. If that's the case, the specific of the spell returning at 1 HP should overcome the general rule that HPs can not exceed max HPs.
I think that's a sound argument, but debatable because it is a bit of a tangle of specific and general rules. (For instance, cure wounds can't heal you above your hp max, but that is due to the general rule.)

But for the purpose of this argument, I'm willing to assume that the hp max reduction takes precedence over the spell.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
The mechanic, "Dies when max hit points are 0 from the vampire bite." remains, though. The blood loss was just mentioned, because it's a freaking vampire that just drained you via a bite. It's pretty obvious that no blood is why the PC died from that mechanic. You would only survive if the DM believes that the Raise Dead spell restores the hit point maximum to normal. Me, I don't see the death occurring from poison or nonmagical disease, so I would answer that with a no.
The rules don't say anything about blood drain. In fact, we know that in this scenario the PC died because they had their max HP lowered by wights. Wights don't drain blood.


Vampires do piercing and necrotic damage. They may do that by sucking blood but as far as the rules are concerned there is no mention of irrevocable blood loss.


As for raise dead not working, I disagree with that as well. There is a clause in raise dead that if vital bits like your head are missing the spell doesn't work. There's no clause for not being able to regain a hit point.

Feel free to run it differently in your home game, but there's no rule that the max HP damage is caused by blood loss. Blood loss may be contributing to it, but wights are not draining blood, so I view it as more as absorbing life energy. AKA necrotic damage.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad day
I think that's a sound argument, but debatable because it is a bit of a tangle of specific and general rules. (For instance, cure wounds can't heal you above your hp max, but that is due to the general rule.)

But for the purpose of this argument, I'm willing to assume that the hp max reduction takes precedence over the spell.
I am as well in 5e. I was more saying that I enjoyed that there was that guidance in which way to make ruling which could have been helpful.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Is there another loophole?


Okay, so we know that raise dead has no effect on undead. But if you kill a vampire (or vampire spawn) they are no longer undead. They're just plain old dead.


So ... bury the PC, let them rise as a vampire spawn, kill them (and get some sweet XP). You now have just a body. Cast raise dead. You aren't casting the spell on an undead creature, it's just being cast on a regular old corpse. As long as it's within 10 days of the original death it seems like it might work.


P.S. Yes, this post is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but this whole thread basically boils down to "ask your DM".
 

MarkB

Adventurer
Is there another loophole?


Okay, so we know that raise dead has no effect on undead. But if you kill a vampire (or vampire spawn) they are no longer undead. They're just plain old dead.


So ... bury the PC, let them rise as a vampire spawn, kill them (and get some sweet XP). You now have just a body. Cast raise dead. You aren't casting the spell on an undead creature, it's just being cast on a regular old corpse. As long as it's within 10 days of the original death it seems like it might work.
Well, that depends on what happens when a vampire is destroyed (the Monster Manual doesn't really specify). If it's the traditional "turns to dust" then you don't have a body, and you'll have to resort to Reincarnate or True Resurrection.
 

Telvin

Villager
We can debate this forever.
But what's most important is whether or not it's fun for the participants.
It is supposed to be fun. That is why we play the game. Right?

A wise man once said, "the job of the GM is not to say no, but find a way to say yes to the players".
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Well, that depends on what happens when a vampire is destroyed (the Monster Manual doesn't really specify). If it's the traditional "turns to dust" then you don't have a body, and you'll have to resort to Reincarnate or True Resurrection.
True, if by traditional you mean "Buffy the Vampire Slayer traditional". The lore is all over the place on this though. Sometimes they poof sometimes they decay to the level that they would have decayed had they not been undead, sometimes they just leave a corpse. Depends on the lore.

I always assumed they "poofed" on Buffy for much the same reason Star Trek has transporters; it's a cheap and easy special effect. It also makes it easier for Buffy to fight multiple vamps, no worries about stepping over/around dead bodies.
 

MarkB

Adventurer
True, if by traditional you mean "Buffy the Vampire Slayer traditional". The lore is all over the place on this though. Sometimes they poof sometimes they decay to the level that they would have decayed had they not been undead, sometimes they just leave a corpse. Depends on the lore.

I always assumed they "poofed" on Buffy for much the same reason Star Trek has transporters; it's a cheap and easy special effect. It also makes it easier for Buffy to fight multiple vamps, no worries about stepping over/around dead bodies.
True, and on closer examination there is at least an implication that D&D vampires leave a corpse. Under its Shape Changer ability, it notes that the vampire reverts to its natural form if it is destroyed.
 

Harzel

Explorer
One concept from an earlier edition of D&D was specific overrides general. If that's the case, the specific of the spell returning at 1 HP should overcome the general rule that HPs can not exceed max HPs.
I'm pretty sure specific beats general explicitly applies to 5e as well, since there is a section on it right in the front of the PH. However, I think that people try to apply it in cases where it really doesn't fit. Generally when two rules collide, trying to figure which is 'general' and which is 'specific' is like one of those pictures where there is a foreground/background ambiguity - the actual answer is 'neither'. In this case, one could just as easily say, "The specific circumstance of the target having 0 max HP should take precedence over the general rule about this spell returning the target to 1 HP." This is just the intersection of two sets of circumstances, neither one of which is a subset of the other - neither one is demonstrably more specific than the other.
 

Harzel

Explorer
We can debate this forever.

It is supposed to be fun. That is why we play the game. Right?
Yes.

A wise man once said, "the job of the GM is not to say no, but find a way to say yes to the players".
Not sure whom you are quoting, but he has, at least, a rather narrow view of GMing - in particular, what makes a game fun. Applying the stated principle is fun for some players, but for others it strips out (or at least deprioritizes) some aspects of the game that they find most enjoyable. Unless your table uniformly enjoys that sort of thing, a neutral stance - neither (intentionally) an advocate, nor (intentionally) an adversary - seems, to me, a better spot from which to provide a game that everyone will find engaging.
 

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