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Death and 0 Max HP

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
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.
The blood portion was pretty irrelevant, though, which I mentioned in a prior post. The max hit points hitting zero and dying is the important part. Whether from a wight or from a vampire, the effect is the effect. That said, the OP is very clear that it was death by Vampire. No wight was mentioned.

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.
I agree that it works. Then, because the hit point maximum is 0 and death happens at zero due to the vampire bite, the PC immediately dies again.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
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.
In this case neither is general, though. The specific beats general section lists both monster abilities and spells as examples of specific rules. Both the vampire drain and raise spell are specific rules, and there's no rule about what happens when two specific rules collide. It's clearly a DM call on this one.
 
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.
That's a really interesting interpretation. I like it because it means that there is some lasting effect from getting killed by something nasty like that (you need to take a long rest to restore your ability to regain hit points), but it doesn't require doing some convoluted spell-mixing that was probably never intended by the designers.
 

Harzel

Explorer
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.
Um, ok, you have reiterated your position, but you didn't respond to anything in my post. I could, in turn, repeat what I said, but that doesn't feel like progress.
 

Harzel

Explorer
In this case neither is general, though. The specific beats general section lists both monster abilities and spells as examples of specific rules. Both the vampire drain and raise spell are specific rules, and there's no rule about what happens when two specific rules collide. It's clearly a DM call on this one.
Yeah, I think that is more or less what I said, except that I don't regard "general" and "specific" as absolute attributes - they are relative. One could have three rules, A, B, and C, with A being the most general, B being more specific, and C being more specific yet. Is B specific or general? Depends on what you are comparing it to.
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
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.
The player has a second character, so removing the one from the campaign for a time, or it might end up being permanently, is just part of the game.

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.
The effect that if the target's hit point maximum is reduced to 0 by the vampire's bite, it dies. The effect that is causing this, the hit point reduction, is only removed by a long rest. It doesn't stop until removed.

You also realize the way I am reading this, as interpreted by your quote, is equivalent to what is written in the vampire's description, right?

Your quoted interpretation: "The target dies if its hit point maximum is zero due to this effect."

The quote from the vampire: "The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0."

Anyway, I am only continuing this to this point because you said in an earlier post "No, that is wrong." and that sort of bugged me. I'm over that now. There is no "right or wrong" in this. I hope you understand that. As others have pointed out, this is entirely an issue of DM interpretation. Yours differs from our DMs, so no worries.
 

Oofta

Explorer
To me, the only time the max HP reducing the PC to 0 slays them is when that reduction happens as part of the Bite action because that's where the result is specified. If the target was automatically and forever slain the instant they had 0 max HP*, it should have been a separate paragraph.

But ultimately it just wouldn't be fun. It's a "Sorry Bob, you're just SOL, write up a new character."

But this has come down to "You're wrong" vs "No, you are" so have a good one.

*And what if they're somehow miraculously returned to life and then are reduced to 0 max HP by some other creature, such as a wight? Are they then cursed to be a vampire spawn again?
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
To me, the only time the max HP reducing the PC to 0 slays them is when that reduction happens as part of the Bite action because that's where the result is specified. If the target was automatically and forever slain the instant they had 0 max HP*, it should have been a separate paragraph.

But ultimately it just wouldn't be fun. It's a "Sorry Bob, you're just SOL, write up a new character."

But this has come down to "You're wrong" vs "No, you are" so have a good one.
You seem to have missed the part early in the thread where it appears like corpses are intended to count as creatures. You can remove curse on an object, but not cure diseases, yet Raise Dead states you need to cure the corpse of magical diseases before raising. Just cast greater restoration or something on the corpse before it comes back to life.
 

Sadras

Explorer
Having just read the Raise Dead spell I pretty much agree that the 0hp-victim due to the vampire's bite would require a Greater Restoration otherwise Raise Dead castings appear to be futile.

Really cool corner case this! ;)
 

jaelis

Explorer
You also realize the way I am reading this, as interpreted by your quote, is equivalent to what is written in the vampire's description, right?
Only if you ignore the tenses of the verbs involved. I gather you feel OK with that, but I don't know why.

The text has the form "Something happens (present tense) if something happens (present tense)." Try substituting some other phrases in:

"You collect $10,000 if the hurricane destroys your home." Your insurance company will not pay you another $10k next month, even if your home is still destroyed.

"You get a ticket if an officer catches you speeding." You don't continue to automatically get a ticket every time you speed for the rest of your life.

"Joe gets mad if you beat him at Mario Kart." That doesn't imply Joe will be mad at you tomorrow, even if you haven't played Mario Kart again.

i can't think of an everyday example of that form where there is a clear implication the effect is ongoing. You would use the past perfect for that: "Something happens if something has happened."


Just to be clear, this is rules lawyering, and not particularly relevant to how I would play the game, or suggest anyone else should play it. (I put my 2 cents in on that early on in the thread.) But if you're going to argue about the text of the rules, then rules lawyering is what you are doing, and you should do it accurately.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Only if you ignore the tenses of the verbs involved. I gather you feel OK with that, but I don't know why.

The text has the form "Something happens (present tense) if something happens (present tense)." Try substituting some other phrases in:

"You collect $10,000 if the hurricane destroys your home." Your insurance company will not pay you another $10k next month, even if your home is still destroyed.

"You get a ticket if an officer catches you speeding." You don't continue to automatically get a ticket every time you speed for the rest of your life.

"Joe gets mad if you beat him at Mario Kart." That doesn't imply Joe will be mad at you tomorrow, even if you haven't played Mario Kart again.

i can't think of an everyday example of that form where there is a clear implication the effect is ongoing. You would use the past perfect for that: "Something happens if something has happened."


Just to be clear, this is rules lawyering, and not particularly relevant to how I would play the game, or suggest anyone else should play it. (I put my 2 cents in on that early on in the thread.) But if you're going to argue about the text of the rules, then rules lawyering is what you are doing, and you should do it accurately.
On the other hand, if something says, "When all your walls are turned to jell-o, the house collapses.", it is expected to be ongoing. Nobody is going to think that the next day the walls on the collapsed house are no longer jell-o. You are going to have to fix those walls before the house can be rebuilt.
 

jaelis

Explorer
On the other hand, if something says, "When all your walls are turned to jell-o, the house collapses.", it is expected to be ongoing. Nobody is going to think that the next day the walls on the collapsed house are no longer jell-o. You are going to have to fix those walls before the house can be rebuilt.
Yes but that's not the form used here. The right analogy is "When all your walls turn to jell-o, the house collapses." Present tense, not a verbal phrase like "are turned."

Now you might be saying, "yes but your house won't stand as long as the walls are jello." Sure I agree, but that is because of what I know about jello and houses, not because of what (my version of) the sentence says.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Yes but that's not the form used here. The right analogy is "When all your walls turn to jell-o, the house collapses." Present tense, not a verbal phrase like "are turned."

Now you might be saying, "yes but your house won't stand as long as the walls are jello." Sure I agree, but that is because of what I know about jello and houses, not because of what (my version of) the sentence says.
Sure, but we also know about draining and when something is drained to death, what is drained doesn't come back. Bringing a vampire/wight drained corpse back to life still leaves you at 0 max hit points due to the draining, which is the condition necessary for instant death.
 

jaelis

Explorer
Sure, but we also know about draining and when something is drained to death, what is drained doesn't come back. Bringing a vampire/wight drained corpse back to life still leaves you at 0 max hit points due to the draining, which is the condition necessary for instant death.
No, being at 0 hp is not a condition for instant death. Being bitten by a vampire and getting reduced to 0 hp is. Not "having been bitten by a vampire," but actually being taken to 0 hp by a bite. Just like in "When all your walls turn to jell-o, the house collapses" the condition for collapsing is being turned to jello, not being jello.
 

Oofta

Explorer
After a bit of caffeine I thought I'd clarify what I was saying.


A person is slain when reduced to 0 max HP from a vampire bite. "The target dies if this effect reduces it hit point maximum to 0." It does not state "The person cannot be raised from the dead if this effect reduces it hit point maximum to 0."


So when raise dead is cast one of two things happen.


Either they are raised to 1 HP and there is no issue. Specific overrides general, the max HP of 0 is ignored and the person is alive with 1 HP. Go take a long rest.


The other option is that they can not be raised to 1 HP because their max is 0. They're still brought back to life because there's no reason to negate that part of the spell. They're unconscious at 0 HP and need a greater restoration (you can't long rest while at 0 HP). Their max HP remains unchanged, therefore the clause "if this effect reduces it hit point maximum to 0" is not invoked and they are not slain.


Personally I'd rule the former works, it's specific wording of the spell that overrides the general max HP. The latter also works. Or just allow a greater restoration on the corpse even though it is no longer considered a creature.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :p
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
After a bit of caffeine I thought I'd clarify what I was saying.

A person is slain when reduced to 0 max HP from a vampire bite. "The target dies if this effect reduces it hit point maximum to 0." It does not state "The person cannot be raised from the dead if this effect reduces it hit point maximum to 0."

So when raise dead is cast one of two things happen.

Either they are raised to 1 HP and there is no issue. Specific overrides general, the max HP of 0 is ignored and the person is alive with 1 HP. Go take a long rest.

The other option is that they can not be raised to 1 HP because their max is 0. They're still brought back to life because there's no reason to negate that part of the spell. They're unconscious at 0 HP and need a greater restoration (you can't long rest while at 0 HP). Their max HP remains unchanged, therefore the clause "if this effect reduces it hit point maximum to 0" is not invoked and they are not slain.

Personally I'd rule the former works, it's specific wording of the spell that overrides the general max HP. The latter also works. Or just allow a greater restoration on the corpse even though it is no longer considered a creature.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :p
Option 1: Raise dead works. Character at max XP 0, in coma, never wakes up. Cast Greater Restoration, will wake up.

Option 2: Raise dead fails. Cast Greater Restoration first (allowing it to be cast on the former-creature which is technically now an object), then Raise Dead works fine.

Option 3: EXTREME DMing. Raise Dead fails. Greater Restoration can't be cast on an object. Good luck finding a Wish spell. :p

I agree with your alternatives, and this here is I think the most sensible way to play it.
FYI the Greater Restoration/ Raise Dead combo is how our DM is ruling it. For story-flare, they have to be cast in conjunction during a "special ceremony", etc. Now we just have to find two clerics high enough level and get the money to pay them. LOL.

As for the annoying rules lawyering, as I said I am finished with it. It is all about interpretation of the vampire bite effect. You feel once the character dies, the effect no longer keeps them at max hp 0, I (and my DM obviously) feel otherwise. Have a nice day.
 

Oofta

Explorer
FYI the Greater Restoration/ Raise Dead combo is how our DM is ruling it. For story-flare, they have to be cast in conjunction during a "special ceremony", etc. Now we just have to find two clerics high enough level and get the money to pay them. LOL.

As for the annoying rules lawyering, as I said I am finished with it. It is all about interpretation of the vampire bite effect. You feel once the character dies, the effect no longer keeps them at max hp 0, I (and my DM obviously) feel otherwise. Have a nice day.
I think the simplest interpretation is that the specific wording of raise dead overrides the general max HP restriction. But even if it doesn't, the trigger for being slain by having max HP reduced to zero cannot be met. If you're already at 0 max HP, your max HP can't be reduced. Since they aren't reduced you aren't slain.

But the only important thing is that there's a fun alternative to resolve the obstacle.
 

WaterRabbit

Villager
While everyone is dancing around this, to me the most obvious solution is to have the Raise Dead spell return the character with 1 hp. The character can now be healed from that point forward. Raise Dead requires a 9th level character to perform -- it is a powerful spell and requires that both the deity granting the spell and the character receiving the spell agree. It would be pointless to allow the spell to go forward and have the character immediately die.

To me, the Raise Dead spell supersedes the "long rest" requirement and as part of the spell would reset the character's HP maximum. Anything else seems to be trying to hard to rules lawyer the problem.
 

jaelis

Explorer
Raise Dead requires a 9th level character to perform
Well to be fair, a vampire is a CR 13 monster. It's not absurd to decide that it takes more than a 5th level spell to counter a vampire's effects.

Not that I object to your solution, just that I wouldn't say it was a no-brainer. Allowing wish to work is a no-brainer.
 

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