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Death and 0 Max HP

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I just don't buy the "it's semantics" argument. Sorry. That's kind of like saying "it's just the rules."
Only when the rules can be interpreted multiple ways like the situation we are discussing.

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.
This is a False Equivalence. The first example has no ongoing condition. The second does, so the two examples are treated differently.

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.
Fortunately for us, it doesn't matter what it is to you. Your opinion on the matter doesn't stop what you are doing from being rules lawyering semantics. You are stuck on trying to prove meaning of words in order to prove your argument and prove someone else wrong. Arguing meaning is semantics and doing so to try and prove yourself right and someone else wrong is rules lawyering. What our side doing is just semantics, since the words used can also be interpreted differently and mean other things, but we are open minded enough to admit that your side can interpret it the way you guys see it, so we are not rules lawyering.
 

jaelis

Explorer
.
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.
Absolutely, but I don’t believe this is one of those ambiguous cases, and if you want to argue otherwise I think you actually have to talk about the words and grammar involved.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
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.
As Maxperson said, the two are not equivalent. Massive damage does not affect your maximum hit points, which the vampire's necrotic damage does as part of its effect. With massive damage, your maximum hp are still the same. You can be raised normally.

Absolutely, but I don’t believe this is one of those ambiguous cases, and if you want to argue otherwise I think you actually have to talk about the words and grammar involved.
Well, that is because that is your view. Enjoy it. For others, it is ambiguous for the reasons I've stated repeatedly, along with the reasons including the words and grammar involved, and it can be interpreted in different ways. I have no reason to argue with you about it because you have your view and I have mine. If you don't agree, not a problem, it is not my job to convince you otherwise. Again, no right or wrong involved. :)
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Being at 0 HP doesn't kill you. There is no rule that says you automatically die whenever you have 0 max HP. You die from a vampire's attack if you are reduced to 0 max HP. Just like massive damage, if X happens then you die.

In other words if you're already at 0 max HP, you can't get more than 0. Since you're already at 0 you can't be reduced to 0. The effect doesn't trigger.

I write code for a living which is why this bothers me. The condition you insist on can never be met.
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
Being at 0 HP doesn't kill you. There is no rule that says you automatically die whenever you have 0 max HP. You die from a vampire's attack if you are reduced to 0 max HP. Just like massive damage, if X happens then you die.

In other words if you're already at 0 max HP, you can't get more than 0. Since you're already at 0 you can't be reduced to 0. The effect doesn't trigger.

I write code for a living which is why this bothers me. The condition you insist on can never be met.
No, being at 0 hp doesn't kill you. Massive damage kills you because the overflow damage exceeds your maximum hp. The rule is this amount is sufficient to forego death saves and simply state you are dead.

No one has ever said being at maximum 0 hp kills you, the rule is the effect of the vampire's necrotic damage kills you, foregoing death saves, if it reduces your maximum hp to 0.

The effect was triggered when you were reduced to maximum 0 hp, and our (valid) interpretation is the effect is still on-going until removed via a long rest or powerful magic. Others believe once triggered, the effect is done. Perfectly valid POV as well, just not our table's or DM's.

While I don't write code for a living, I have been doing it since the mid-80's in school and as a hobby and write programs for myself as well as others. It doesn't bother me at all and I fail to see why it bothers you, but to each their own I suppose.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Being at 0 HP doesn't kill you. There is no rule that says you automatically die whenever you have 0 max HP. You die from a vampire's attack if you are reduced to 0 max HP. Just like massive damage, if X happens then you die.
But there is a rule about 0 max hit points AND necrotic damage FROM a vampire. You interpret that rule differently than we do. That's all. Let the rules lawyer go and just accept that it can be interpreted differently.

I write code for a living which is why this bothers me. The condition you insist on can never be met.
Aha! This is the problem. The rule isn't code and was never intended to be. That's why they use natural language as the benchmark, not code.
 

Hriston

Explorer
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! :)
I’m trying to understand your “resolution” to the vampire bite conundrum. It would help if you engaged with the reasoning I laid out in my post, rather than dismissing it as just my interpretation, so I could understand where our reasonings differ. I’m going to try to piece together what you might think the difference is based on some quotes from your posts. Let me know if I have it right.

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.
I’m not sure what you mean by “the necrotic effect of the vampire’s bite”. One effect of the bite is that it does necrotic damage, which ends instantly after taking away some of your hit points, but I don’t think that’s what you mean. Another effect of the bite is that it also reduces your maximum hit points by the same amount as the necrotic damage you've taken. That effect also ends instantly after reducing your maximum hit points. The thing that lasts is the reduction, i.e. your maximum hit points stay reduced until you have finished a long rest.

No one has ever said being at maximum 0 hp kills you, the rule is the effect of the vampire's necrotic damage kills you, foregoing death saves, if it reduces your maximum hp to 0.

The effect was triggered when you were reduced to maximum 0 hp, and our (valid) interpretation is the effect is still on-going until removed via a long rest or powerful magic. Others believe once triggered, the effect is done. Perfectly valid POV as well, just not our table's or DM's.
You seem to be using the word "effect" for a lot of different things. In your first paragraph above, you correctly (IMO) refer to the effect that reduces your hit point maximum as an effect of the bite. This is the effect that kills you if it reduces your maximum hit points to 0.

In your second paragraph above, however, you seem to be saying that dying is the effect and that it's triggered by your maximum hit points being reduced to 0. I'm not sure how to make sense of this except to say that dying is a secondary effect of the bite, contingent upon your maximum hit points being reduced to 0 by the primary effect that reduces your maximum hit points. You then go on to say that the secondary effect (dying) is the thing that lasts until you finish a long rest. I think you're getting questions about this from people who are reading the rules because the rules say the reduction, the fact of your maximum hit points having been reduced, is what lasts until you've finished a long rest, not the fact of being dead. Once reduced, your maximum hit points stay reduced until you've finished a long rest. This doesn't imply that once dead, you stay dead until you've finished a long rest. To support this reading, I'd just like to point out that you can't take a long rest if you're dead, so I'm not sure what that sentence would even mean if by "The reduction" the writers meant "Death".
 

dnd4vr

Adventurer
I’m trying to understand your “resolution” to the vampire bite conundrum. It would help if you engaged with the reasoning I laid out in my post, rather than dismissing it as just my interpretation, so I could understand where our reasonings differ. I’m going to try to piece together what you might think the difference is based on some quotes from your posts. Let me know if I have it right.

I’m not sure what you mean by “the necrotic effect of the vampire’s bite”. One effect of the bite is that it does necrotic damage, which ends instantly after taking away some of your hit points, but I don’t think that’s what you mean. Another effect of the bite is that it also reduces your maximum hit points by the same amount as the necrotic damage you've taken. That effect also ends instantly after reducing your maximum hit points. The thing that lasts is the reduction, i.e. your maximum hit points stay reduced until you have finished a long rest.

You seem to be using the word "effect" for a lot of different things. In your first paragraph above, you correctly (IMO) refer to the effect that reduces your hit point maximum as an effect of the bite. This is the effect that kills you if it reduces your maximum hit points to 0.

In your second paragraph above, however, you seem to be saying that dying is the effect and that it's triggered by your maximum hit points being reduced to 0. I'm not sure how to make sense of this except to say that dying is a secondary effect of the bite, contingent upon your maximum hit points being reduced to 0 by the primary effect that reduces your maximum hit points. You then go on to say that the secondary effect (dying) is the thing that lasts until you finish a long rest. I think you're getting questions about this from people who are reading the rules because the rules say the reduction, the fact of your maximum hit points having been reduced, is what lasts until you've finished a long rest, not the fact of being dead. Once reduced, your maximum hit points stay reduced until you've finished a long rest. This doesn't imply that once dead, you stay dead until you've finished a long rest. To support this reading, I'd just like to point out that you can't take a long rest if you're dead, so I'm not sure what that sentence would even mean if by "The reduction" the writers meant "Death".
While normally I appreciate discussions, I am sorry but I am so entirely done with this thread. I don't mean to dismiss your contribution out-of-hand and I don't mean any offense as I value your input at a member of this community, I truly do (when I recognize a handle as someone's views I respect, I remember the name). However, I have been going on with this since something like page 5. Enough is enough already and I am not about to rehash everything I have already said over and over again. I'm sorry if the way I expressed some points lead to confusion. I will sum up one final time:

1. The necrotic damage is what "reduces the maximum hp" (effect).

2. The reduced maximum hp can only be restored by finishing a long rest.
(Obviously Greater Restoration will also work.)

3. Until this happens, the effect of "reduced maximum hp" is still working.
(That is our interpretation and the main point of contention. It doesn't say it stops, it doesn't say it continues; all it says is how to remove it. Until removed, we believe it is on-going.)

4. If it reaches 0 maximum hp, the target dies.

Revivify and Raise Dead won't work (for us) because the effect hasn't been removed and the target cannot be restored to 1 hit point until it is. Your hit points cannot exceed your maximum except via temporary hit points. These spells do not bring the target to 1 temporary hit point, but simply 1 hit point. Anyway, since Greater Restoration targets a creature and not an object (the corpse), our DM is ruling the two spells can be cast in a ceremony together, requiring two casters to cast the spells simultaneously.

I hope that explains everything more clearly. If not, maybe someone else will try to satisfy you on the issue. When it is all resolved in-game, I will try to post the results for the curious.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I’m not sure what you mean by “the necrotic effect of the vampire’s bite”. One effect of the bite is that it does necrotic damage, which ends instantly after taking away some of your hit points, but I don’t think that’s what you mean. Another effect of the bite is that it also reduces your maximum hit points by the same amount as the necrotic damage you've taken. That effect also ends instantly after reducing your maximum hit points. The thing that lasts is the reduction, i.e. your maximum hit points stay reduced until you have finished a long rest.
The necrotic effect does not end instantly. Only the damage ends instantly. If the effect also ended, there could be no reduction in maximum hit points. There must be some sort of ongoing necrotic effect that reduces the maximum hit points and keeps them reduced. That ongoing effect is also what kills the PC at 0 maximum hit points.
 

Hriston

Explorer
While normally I appreciate discussions, I am sorry but I am so entirely done with this thread. I don't mean to dismiss your contribution out-of-hand and I don't mean any offense as I value your input at a member of this community, I truly do (when I recognize a handle as someone's views I respect, I remember the name). However, I have been going on with this since something like page 5. Enough is enough already and I am not about to rehash everything I have already said over and over again. I'm sorry if the way I expressed some points lead to confusion. I will sum up one final time:

1. The necrotic damage is what "reduces the maximum hp" (effect).

2. The reduced maximum hp can only be restored by finishing a long rest.
(Obviously Greater Restoration will also work.)

3. Until this happens, the effect of "reduced maximum hp" is still working.
(That is our interpretation and the main point of contention. It doesn't say it stops, it doesn't say it continues; all it says is how to remove it. Until removed, we believe it is on-going.)

4. If it reaches 0 maximum hp, the target dies.

Revivify and Raise Dead won't work (for us) because the effect hasn't been removed and the target cannot be restored to 1 hit point until it is. Your hit points cannot exceed your maximum except via temporary hit points. These spells do not bring the target to 1 temporary hit point, but simply 1 hit point. Anyway, since Greater Restoration targets a creature and not an object (the corpse), our DM is ruling the two spells can be cast in a ceremony together, requiring two casters to cast the spells simultaneously.

I hope that explains everything more clearly. If not, maybe someone else will try to satisfy you on the issue. When it is all resolved in-game, I will try to post the results for the curious.
I think you're correct in that our main point of contention is in your #3. You say the effect that reduced the target's maximum hit points "is still working", but that doesn't seem right to me. In #1, you correctly identify the effect as reducing the target's hit point maximum by the amount of the necrotic damage taken, but once it has reduced the target's hit point maximum, the effect's work is done. It doesn't keep reducing the target's hit point maximum, so I don't see how it can be said that it's "still working".

I also don't understand why the target's maximum hit points being set at 0 would pose any hindrance to it being raised. The healing effect of a spell like revivify isn't a prerequisite to its effect that restores the target to life, so the spell should bring the target back to life with 0 hit points, and the 1 hit point of healing provided by the spell would simply be lost.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I think you're correct in that our main point of contention is in your #3. You say the effect that reduced the target's maximum hit points "is still working", but that doesn't seem right to me. In #1, you correctly identify the effect as reducing the target's hit point maximum by the amount of the necrotic damage taken, but once it has reduced the target's hit point maximum, the effect's work is done. It doesn't keep reducing the target's hit point maximum, so I don't see how it can be said that it's "still working".

I also don't understand why the target's maximum hit points being set at 0 would pose any hindrance to it being raised. The healing effect of a spell like revivify isn't a prerequisite to its effect that restores the target to life, so the spell should bring the target back to life with 0 hit points, and the 1 hit point of healing provided by the spell would simply be lost.

I agree. There is no "reduced maximum hp". It's "The[FONT=&quot] target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0". Dying is a direct result of the event of being reduced to 0 with no reason to indicate it's an ongoing effect any more than any other reason a creature could die.

But it's pointless to argue any more, apparently this cause and effect relationship is somehow different and permanent and anybody who disagrees is just a rules lawyer.[/FONT]
 

Hriston

Explorer
The necrotic effect does not end instantly. Only the damage ends instantly. If the effect also ended, there could be no reduction in maximum hit points. There must be some sort of ongoing necrotic effect that reduces the maximum hit points and keeps them reduced. That ongoing effect is also what kills the PC at 0 maximum hit points.
On a hit, the target’s hit point maximum is reduced instantly. If that reduces the target’s hit point maximum to 0, the target dies instantly. No effect is required for a creature’s maximum hit points to stay the same. That’s what happens normally. An effect is only required to change the value of a creature’s maximum hit points, and once changed, they will stay the same until some further effect takes place, such as the effect of finishing a long rest on a creature that has had its maximum hit points reduced by a vampire’s bite, or the effect of a greater restoration spell.
 
On a hit, the target’s hit point maximum is reduced instantly. If that reduces the target’s hit point maximum to 0, the target dies instantly. No effect is required for a creature’s maximum hit points to stay the same. That’s what happens normally. An effect is only required to change the value of a creature’s maximum hit points, and once changed, they will stay the same until some further effect takes place, such as the effect of finishing a long rest on a creature that has had its maximum hit points reduced by a vampire’s bite, or the effect of a greater restoration spell.
I think the real disagreement doesn't even hinge on whether or not the fact of the hp having been reduced counts as an ongoing effect. Rather, it's whether you stay dead as long as your max hit points are at zero (and/or die again whenever your max hit points become zero). Some people think there is an implied "remains dead" or "dies whenever it is true that their max hp is zero, which is true until they finish a long rest or receive greater restoration" in the feature even though it isn't explicitly stated such. Others (such as myself) believe that, regardless of whether the case of the max hp remaining zero is considered an ongoing supernatural effect or not, the dying when they hit zero is a one time thing that only applies when the bite happens.
 

Hriston

Explorer
I agree. There is no "reduced maximum hp". It's "The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0". Dying is a direct result of the event of being reduced to 0 with no reason to indicate it's an ongoing effect any more than any other reason a creature could die.

But it's pointless to argue any more, apparently this cause and effect relationship is somehow different and permanent and anybody who disagrees is just a rules lawyer.
Well, the reason people are thinking there's an ongoing effect is because of how they're reading the sentence, "The reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest." They're seeing it as establishing a duration for some effect that reduced the target's maximum hit points (and killed the target if its maximum hit points was reduced to 0), while to me it seems fairly obvious that this sentence places an additional end-point on a change to the value of the target's maximum hit points than would otherwise exist. Without this sentence, the only way to return the target's maximum hit points to normal would be through a spell like greater restoration. By allowing the maximum hit points value to be restored by a long rest, this sentence is making the effect of the bite less severe, not more so.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I think you're correct in that our main point of contention is in your #3. You say the effect that reduced the target's maximum hit points "is still working", but that doesn't seem right to me. In #1, you correctly identify the effect as reducing the target's hit point maximum by the amount of the necrotic damage taken, but once it has reduced the target's hit point maximum, the effect's work is done. It doesn't keep reducing the target's hit point maximum, so I don't see how it can be said that it's "still working".
If it doesn't keep working to keep the max hit points reduced, then there is no max hit point reduction at all. Hit point maximums don't remain reduced by themselves.

I also don't understand why the target's maximum hit points being set at 0 would pose any hindrance to it being raised.
It's the necrotic effect that kills when you reach 0 maximum hit points due to the nectrotic damage. 0 maximum hit points due to the necrotic damage are still reached until such time as the maximum rises. Whatever the effect was that killed you must remain or your max hit points would have gone back up when you died.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
On a hit, the target’s hit point maximum is reduced instantly. If that reduces the target’s hit point maximum to 0, the target dies instantly. No effect is required for a creature’s maximum hit points to stay the same. That’s what happens normally.
No it's not. what happens normally is your hit point maximum is unaffected entirely. There is no "normally" when talking about maximum hit points being reduced. Something reduced them, and something is keeping them reduced or there would not be continued reduction.

An effect is only required to change the value of a creature’s maximum hit points, and once changed, they will stay the same until some further effect takes place, such as the effect of finishing a long rest on a creature that has had its maximum hit points reduced by a vampire’s bite, or the effect of a greater restoration spell.
Why is max hit points reduced in the first place? It's not necrotic damage that does it, because lots of things do necrotic damage and max hit points don't get reduced.
 

Hriston

Explorer
I think the real disagreement doesn't even hinge on whether or not the fact of the hp having been reduced counts as an ongoing effect. Rather, it's whether you stay dead as long as your max hit points are at zero (and/or die again whenever your max hit points become zero). Some people think there is an implied "remains dead" or "dies whenever it is true that their max hp is zero, which is true until they finish a long rest or receive greater restoration" in the feature even though it isn't explicitly stated such. Others (such as myself) believe that, regardless of whether the case of the max hp remaining zero is considered an ongoing supernatural effect or not, the dying when they hit zero is a one time thing that only applies when the bite happens.
I think it comes from confusing the "reduction" with "this effect". They aren't the same thing. The "reduction" is the state of having your maximum hit points lower than it was. "This effect" is the thing that reduces your maximum hit points in the first place. The fact that "this effect" can also kill you if it reduces your maximum hit points all the way to 0 means that you stay killed until you've finished a long rest for those who see the "reduction" and "this effect" as synonymous.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I think it comes from confusing the "reduction" with "this effect". They aren't the same thing. The "reduction" is the state of having your maximum hit points lower than it was. "This effect" is the thing that reduces your maximum hit points in the first place. The fact that "this effect" can also kill you if it reduces your maximum hit points all the way to 0 means that you stay killed until you've finished a long rest for those who see the "reduction" and "this effect" as synonymous.
Nobody on our side is confusing anything. Disagreement with you does not imply confusion. It's just a different, but valid opinion we have about how the attack works.
 

Hriston

Explorer
If it doesn't keep working to keep the max hit points reduced, then there is no max hit point reduction at all. Hit point maximums don't remain reduced by themselves.
There’s no rule that says your hit point maximum bounces back to its former value in the absence of an ongoing effect that keeps it down. Your hit point maximum is whatever value the rules say it is. Except for specific monster and spell effects, there are only two general rules in the game that change your hit point maximum: you add the total of a Hit Die roll to your hit point maximum when you level up, and your hit point maximum increases by 1 per level when your CON modifier increases by 1. Neither of those say it rebounds in the absence of an effect that lowered it.

The effect in question just does what it says it does. It doesn’t say it keeps working to keep the target’s hit point maximum reduced. It just says it reduces the target’s hit point maximum by the amount of the necrotic damage taken. Once it has done that, it’s work is over, and the target’s hit point maximum is at a new, lower value.

It's the necrotic effect that kills when you reach 0 maximum hit points due to the nectrotic damage. 0 maximum hit points due to the necrotic damage are still reached until such time as the maximum rises. Whatever the effect was that killed you must remain or your max hit points would have gone back up when you died.
The effect that killed you was that your hit point maximum was reduced to 0 by being reduced by the amount of the necrotic damage taken. Once that happened, no further reduction took place. The effect had done what it said it would do and was done. Your hit point maximum didn’t jump back up on its own because that requires a casting of greater restoration, or in this case finishing a long rest works just as well.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
There’s no rule that says your hit point maximum bounces back to its former value in the absence of an ongoing effect that keeps it down. Your hit point maximum is whatever value the rules say it is. Except for specific monster and spell effects, there are only two general rules in the game that change your hit point maximum: you add the total of a Hit Die roll to your hit point maximum when you level up, and your hit point maximum increases by 1 per level when your CON modifier increases by 1. Neither of those say it rebounds in the absence of an effect that lowered it.

The effect in question just does what it says it does. It doesn’t say it keeps working to keep the target’s hit point maximum reduced. It just says it reduces the target’s hit point maximum by the amount of the necrotic damage taken. Once it has done that, it’s work is over, and the target’s hit point maximum is at a new, lower value.

The effect that killed you was that your hit point maximum was reduced to 0 by being reduced by the amount of the necrotic damage taken. Once that happened, no further reduction took place. The effect had done what it said it would do and was done. Your hit point maximum didn’t jump back up on its own because that requires a casting of greater restoration, or in this case finishing a long rest works just as well.
Your interpretation is equally valid. I just don't agree with you that the hit point maximum is mystically reduced by nothing. All the bite does is necrotic damage and we know that necrotic damage does not reduce maximum hit points. My interpretation that there is some other effect going on that is reducing maximum hit points, and since necrotic damage doesn't kill at 0 max hit points, is also responsible for the death, is just as reasonable.
 

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