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Death and 0 Max HP

jaelis

Explorer
Only because they didn't consider this corner case. The reduces portion is not really relevant as it is only there to let us know that 0 max hit points from the necrotic damage causes instant death. All the conditions for death are still present. You can "rules lawyer" the technicality all you want. I'm going to go with RAI.
This is what I mean. Clearly there is a way of thinking about the vampire effect that makes sense to you, and you are willing to flex the wording of the rule to conform to that idea. Which is really totally fine, and I have no objection to your way of thinking about it. But most of the rest of us are discussing what the rule as written actually says, and confusing the two approaches is just frustrating for everyone.
 

Hriston

Explorer
The rule is that if at 0 max hit points due to being drained by the vampire's necrotic damage, you die.
Not really. It’s more like, “If your hit point maximum being reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken reduces your hit point maximum to 0, you die.”

So 3d6 are rolled, generating a numerical amount of necrotic damage, and that number is subtracted from your current hit point maximum. If the difference is a non-positive number, you die.
 

Oofta

Explorer
Only because they didn't consider this corner case. The reduces portion is not really relevant as it is only there to let us know that 0 max hit points from the necrotic damage causes instant death. All the conditions for death are still present. You can "rules lawyer" the technicality all you want. I'm going to go with RAI.

As a DM you can change or ignore rules all you want. So in your game you get to decide when part of a rule is relevant or not. It does make it easier if you can just ignore things that don't match your conclusion. Have a good one.
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
No one is changing the rules or ignoring them. They are all interpretations of the rules and are all valid. I am not trying to cast Revivify on this "dead horse", but I think some people should understand that there is no right or wrong answer here and rules lawyering doesn't work because... well, it is still all about interpreting the rules.

Anyway, our DM is informed me that HIS interpretation means the following for us:

1. Revivify won't work. Yep. Vampire sucking stopped it. A character is dead. Boo-hoo. Hopefully we can bring her back. In order to do that...
2. Greater Restoration is needed. But...
3. Due to Gentle Repose, Revivify can work, or Raise Dead or greater magic, if cast in conjunction with Greater Restoration.

So, once we find a cleric who can cast Greater Restoration, our Bard can cast the Revivify. If we find two high-level clerics, we will go with Raise Dead since our house-rule on Revivify makes it uncertain.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
No one is changing the rules or ignoring them. They are all interpretations of the rules and are all valid. I am not trying to cast Revivify on this "dead horse", but I think some people should understand that there is no right or wrong answer here and rules lawyering doesn't work because... well, it is still all about interpreting the rules.
This.
 

jaelis

Explorer
No one is changing the rules or ignoring them. They are all interpretations of the rules and are all valid.
What do you mean exactly? I agree in the sense that it is the right and responsibility of the DM (and players) to use the rules in a way that works for them. If that means ignoring something that doesn't work for you, then that is absolutely a "valid" thing to do.

On the other hand, the words in the rules say something. English is ambiguous, so often the same words can be interpreted in different, but valid ways. But not all ways are "valid" in that sense. Claiming that "The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0" has the same English meaning as "The target dies if this effect has reduced its hit point maximum to 0" is, IMO, wrong, and disputing that is a matter of grammar not interpretation.

Yes that is rules lawyering, and if you don't care about that kind of argument, the right response is "whatever, I don't care." But if you tell a rules lawyer "No, you're wrong," well duh they are going to argue with you about it.
 
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dnd4vr

Explorer
What do you mean exactly? I agree in the sense that it is the right and responsibility of the DM (and players) to use the rules in a way that works for them. If that means ignoring something that doesn't work for you, then that is absolutely a "valid" thing to do.

On the other hand, the words in the rules say something. English is ambiguous, so often the same words can be interpreted in different, but valid ways. But not all ways are "valid" in that sense. Claiming that "The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0" has the same English meaning as "The target dies if this effect has reduced its hit point maximum to 0" is, IMO, wrong, and disputing that is a matter of grammar not interpretation.

Yes that is rules lawyering, and if you don't care about that kind of argument, the right response is "whatever, I don't care." But if you tell a rules lawyer "No, you're wrong," well duh they are going to argue with you about it.
No one is ignoring anything, they are just interpreting it differently.

Rules lawyering is about arguing concrete rules. There is nothing concrete in this scenario to argue about. If you don't believe someone else's interpretation of how something works is valid then that is your issue, especially when other people understand and agree with the that as a valid interpretation.

And while I might not agree with someone's interpretation, and even argue against it to try to "win them over" to mine, I will never tell someone they are flat out "wrong." Some rules in 5E are concrete, but many effects, scenarios, etc. lead to situations where interpretation is required and this was done by design.
 

jaelis

Explorer
So if I roll an 11, add my +4 bonus, and claim to have a result of 17, your response would be, "that's your interpretation"?

But that is probably not fair, you say
Rules lawyering is about arguing concrete rules. There is nothing concrete in this scenario to argue about.
So the disagreement seem not to be whether concrete rules exist, but whether grammar is concrete? If I say "the sun will rise yesterday" is that wrong?
 
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dnd4vr

Explorer
So if I roll an 11, add my +4 bonus, and claim to have a result of 17, your response would be, "that's your interpretation"?

But that is probably not fair, you say

So the disagreement seem not to be whether concrete rules exist, but whether grammar is concrete? If I say "the sun will rise yesterday" is that wrong?
If you want to do math that way, that is up to you, but I hope you have someone else do your taxes! But hey, if your table is okay with it then kuddos. Otherwise, you're just being silly.

We aren't discussing grammar unless you want to return to your statements. Of course, that is pointless since you continue to ignore the idea that the effect can only be removed by a long rest or powerful magic as per the vampire description. That is where the interpretation comes in.

To you, the effect is gone when the character is killed by the initial reduction to 0 max hp, to our group the reduction remains--preventing Revivify, until removed. Again, both are valid and neither has anything to do with grammar.
 

jaelis

Explorer
If you want to do math that way, that is up to you, but I hope you have someone else do your taxes! But hey, if your table is okay with it then kuddos. Otherwise, you're just being silly.

We aren't discussing grammar unless you want to return to your statements. Of course, that is pointless since you continue to ignore the idea that the effect can only be removed by a long rest or powerful magic as per the vampire description. That is where the interpretation comes in.

To you, the effect is gone when the character is killed by the initial reduction to 0 max hp, to our group the reduction remains--preventing Revivify, until removed. Again, both are valid and neither has anything to do with grammar.
To me, this sounds like you are saying "The rule says that the the effect can only be removed with a long rest. But grammar is not relevant for understanding what the rule says."

I can't comprehend this at all. How can you know what the rule says without thinking about the language that the rule uses?

I can understand saying "The grammar of that particular sentence isn't important because I'm thinking about the bigger picture of how the rule works." (I think that is where maxperson is at.) And I can understand saying "The language of that rule does not mean what you think it means." (Blue and I had an argument along those lines.) But I don't understand saying "I am basing my interpretation on this rule, but I don't need to analyze the language of the rule to do so."
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
On the other hand, the words in the rules say something. English is ambiguous, so often the same words can be interpreted in different, but valid ways. But not all ways are "valid" in that sense. Claiming that "The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0" has the same English meaning as "The target dies if this effect has reduced its hit point maximum to 0" is, IMO, wrong, and disputing that is a matter of grammar not interpretation.
This is semantics. They are two different ways of saying essentially the same thing.

Yes that is rules lawyering, and if you don't care about that kind of argument, the right response is "whatever, I don't care." But if you tell a rules lawyer "No, you're wrong," well duh they are going to argue with you about it.
There's a reason that rules lawyers often get kicked out of groups. Arguing semantics is a big part of it.
 

jaelis

Explorer
This is semantics. They are two different ways of saying essentially the same thing.
That ... is one of the main things semantics is about? Deciding whether two phrases mean the same thing. So yes, I agree with the first statement. But if you reject semantics, what basis do you have for the second?
There's a reason that rules lawyers often get kicked out of groups. Arguing semantics is a big part of it.
Rules lawyering at the gaming table is rude. Discussing semantics on a forum is something you are welcome to take or leave, as you like.
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
Bite (Bat or Vampire Form Only): Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one willing creature, or a creature that is Grappled by the vampire, Incapacitated, or Restrained. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) piercing damage plus 10 (3d6) necrotic damage. The target's hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken, and the vampire regains Hit Points equal to that amount. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a Long Rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0. A humanoid slain in this way and then buried in the ground rises the following night as a Vampire Spawn under the vampire's control.
So, this is really about the idea that the effect is completed when the target dies vs. the effect remains until the target finishes a long rest or it is otherwise removed via magic somehow.

1. You believe the effect ends with the target's death, then things like Revivify and Raise Dead should work without any issue.
2. You believe the effect remains until removed by finishing a Long Rest, then Revivify and Raise Dead will fail unless Greater Restoration is somehow used.

Both are valid, neither has anything to do with grammar.

If the description read: "The reduction lasts until the target finishes a Long Rest or the target dies when this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0." I would completely agree the effect ends when the target dies. But, it doesn't say that.

Again, nothing to do with semantics or grammar, no one is ignoring anything, it is just two valid interpretations of how the effect works (or stops working) once the target is dead.
 

Hriston

Explorer
There are three effects of the vampire’s bite:
(a) the target takes 7 (1d6 +4) piercing damage plus 10 (3d6) necrotic damage,
(b) the target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken, and
(c) the vampire regains a number of hit points equal to the amount of the reduction.
All three of these effects happen immediately on a hit. I think everyone agrees on this.

The disagreement in this thread hinges on different understandings of the following two sentences:
1. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a Long Rest.
2. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0.​
Let’s take them one at a time.

I think the the meaning of the first sentence is clear. The reduction referred to is the reduction to the target’s hit point maximum that was caused by effect (b), and the purpose of the sentence is to say that the reduction is not permanent. Upon the target finishing a long rest, the target’s hit point maximum will automatically be restored to what it was before it was reduced. I don’t think this is meant to imply that the target’s hit point maximum can’t be restored by other methods, such as casting greater restoration on the target, for example.

The second sentence is the one which I think is causing the most trouble, but I think it’s clear that “this effect” refers to effect (b). Given that (b), like the other effects of the bite, happens immediately on a hit, the condition for the target dying can only be met at that time. I don’t see anything to imply that, once dead, the target can’t be brought back to life by any suitable means, such as casting revivify
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
The second sentence is the one which I think is causing the most trouble, but I think it’s clear that “this effect” refers to effect (b). Given that (b), like the other effects of the bite, happens immediately on a hit, the condition for the target dying can only be met at that time. I don’t see anything to imply that, once dead, the target can’t be brought back to life by any suitable means, such as casting revivify
Yep, that is one of the valid resolutions and many people are in that camp. Of course, there are many who interpret it otherwise... Gotta love 5E! :)
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Yep, that is one of the valid resolutions and many people are in that camp. Of course, there are many who interpret it otherwise... Gotta love 5E! :)
Yep. Both ways are valid interpretations. You aren't going to convince those who think that semantical rules lawyering somehow constitutes absolute correctness and the other side is wrong, though.
 

jaelis

Explorer
You misunderstand the point. I don’t think anyone is saying the semantic argument is “absolutely” correct. We are only saying it is semantically correct. I believe however that dnd4vr is arguing that both interpretations are in fact semantically correct. Or possibly that there is no distinction between semantics and other ways of thinking about it, I don’t really know.
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
I believe however that dnd4vr is arguing that both interpretations are in fact semantically correct. Or possibly that there is no distinction between semantics and other ways of thinking about it, I don’t really know.
Oh, there are absolutely truths about semantic arguments, the problem is often different arguments can both be correct semantically.

Consider Shield Master, there was a thread a while back about whether the bonus action could be first or had to come after the attack action. The wording "If you take the Attack action on your turn" doesn't specify timing, only that the condition exists. The problem is, people argued that for the condition to exist, you must have already taken the attack action. Others argued you as long at it was taken at at some point in the turn, you did satisfy the condition. Both are understandable interpretations and true semantically.

Some rules are concrete and absolute due to their wording, others aren't. When the necrotic effect of the vampire's bit ends is one such case IMO, which again, is why I started the thread because it leads to how other things might or might not work. Hopefully that is clear enough.
 

Oofta

Explorer
I just don't buy the "it's semantics" argument. Sorry. That's kind of like saying "it's just the rules."

Let's compare other ways of dying with one hit. Take instant death from massive damage.
"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."​

To the vampire
"The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0. "​

Both are worded as "the target dies if [condition]". I've never seen anyone claim that if you die from massive damage you can't be raised. We know you can be alive at 0 HP and there is no rule that says you can't be raised from the dead if you have 0 max HP. The vampire "curse" can't reduce you to 0 max HP because you can't be raised above 0 max HP.

Run it the way you want*, but to me it's not just "rules lawyering semantics".

*And if this happened in a game I'd briefly question it because I don't see it at all but go with the DM's call.
 

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