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Overlapping and Stacking False Life

The Souljourner

First Post
I thought of this last night and was reminded by the death knell thread...

If temporary hitpoints overlap... wouldn't they eventually effectively stack anyway? Check this out... cast False Life twice, one for +8hp and once for +13 hp. This is important, both spells are in still effect, but they overlap, so you only have +13hp. You get hit for 6 damage, which comes from the "active" FL. That one goes down to +7hp... meaning that the better of the two spells is now the +8 hp false life, so it becomes "active". Get hit for 6 again, active FL goes to +2, and the other one is higher, so it's now the active one.... see what I mean? They overlap, but because of the way overlapping works, they kind of effectively stack, since the "highest bonus" is constantly switching back and forth such that in this case, you will eventually have used up 21 temporary hitpoints.

Even if you don't subscribe to them switching back and forth, it's still effectively the same for this spell - the spell has a duration of 1h/lvl, or until discharged. So once the first one runs out of hitpoints, the spell ends. However, the other one's duration hasn't changed, and it's still affecting you. Since it is no longer being overlapped by anything, you get the benefit from that spell. Boom, more temporary hitpoints just as the old spell dies.

Is there a flaw in my logic somewhere?

-The Souljourner
 

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nsruf

First Post
Tricky question!

I would look at it the following way: the damage you take is not applied against each spell, but against a common temporary hp "buffer" you have. If you have multiple spells in effect and the size of the buffer drops below the level granted by any of them, *all* these spells drop in effectiveness. Or in other words, if you have two spells granting 1 temporary hp, they both grant the *same* single hp (as they do not stack), and both run out if you are hurt.

Maybe an examples is in order:

I am under the effect of two castings of false life, one granting 10 hp and the other 5 hp. First, I suffer 4 points of damage from an attack, which drops my temporary hp from 10 to 6 and has no effect on the weaker casting. Later, I suffer another 4 points of damage, dropping my temporary hp to 2, but since the second spell granted me more than 2, it is now also reduced to 2 temporary hp.

That's what I believe is meant by "not stacking" in this case.
 
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The Souljourner

First Post
Hrm... I don't know.... a character has x temporary hitpoints, for each damage he takes, you reduce the number of temporary hitpoints by 1. I don't see how this can affect the number of temporary hitpoints another spell is giving you if it's not even in effect. You don't have those temporary hitpoints from spell 2 to lose until the first spell goes away.

-The Souljourner
 

nsruf

First Post
The Souljourner said:
I don't see how this can affect the number of temporary hitpoints another spell is giving you if it's not even in effect.

Both are in effect, they are just not stacking. If you have two non-stackable effects granting you 5 temporary hp, the loss of 1 hp has to reduce both spells to 4 hp because the point you lost was granted to you by both/either of them. Treating it any different would mean that the spell effects stack.
 

The Souljourner

First Post
The SRD said:
In cases when two or more identical spells are operating in the same area or on the same target, but at different strengths, only the best one applies.

You're only granted temporary hitpoints from one of the spells, which means you can only lose temporary hitpoints from one of the spells. Yes, this means the spells indirectly stack. However, there's no other logical way you can do it, without going way outside the rules. You can't lose temporary hitpoints from a pool of hitpoints that aren't there.

-The Souljourner
 

hazmat

First Post
How would dispelling work?

What if you took no damage in nsruf's example but instead the 10 hp False Life was dispelled?

What if you took one point of damage before the dispell happened?
 

The Souljourner

First Post
If one of the spells was dispelled and no damage has been taken, I can't see anyone arguing that you suddenly lose the effects of the second spell as well.

However the second one goes into the same question nsruf was asking.... if you have temporary hitpoints from two identical sources and take damage, what happens? I still think my explanation works for that one... you really are only being affected by one of the spells, so you can only possibly lose hitpoints from the spell that is in effect.

So if you took 3 damage and then the 10hp FL was dispelled, you'd start being affected by the 5hp false life, and its pool of temporary hitpoints hasn't been touched yet.

-The Souljourner
 

allenw

Explorer
I'm not sure I buy that temporary hit points never stack.
I know that this has been discussed in detail before, but I don't recall seeing anyone bring up this point:
Per the MM, a monster that drains ability scores "gains 5 temporary hit points (10 on a critical hit) whenever it drains an ability score no matter how many points it drains. Temporary hit points gained in this fashion last for a maximum of 1 hour." And for Energy Drain, "a draining creature gains 5 temporary hit points (10 on a critical hit) for each negative level it bestows on an opponent. These temporary hit points last for a maximum of 1 hour." The words "whenever" and "each" certainly make it *seem* like temporary hp gained from multiple attacks stack.
I also note the following similar-implication text from the Vampire Spawn descriptions:
"Blood Drain (Ex): A vampire spawn can suck blood from a living victim with its fangs by making a successful grapple check. If it pins the foe, it drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of Constitution drain each round. On each such successful drain attack, the vampire spawn gains 5 temporary hit pints." (Presumably they mean "points," though pints may also be involved. ;) )
"Energy Drain (Su): Living creatures hit by a vampire spawn’s slam attack gain one negative level. The DC is 14 for the Fortitude save to remove a negative level. The save DC is Charisma-based. For each such negative level bestowed, the vampire spawn gains 5 temporary hit points."

Based on this, while I'm convinceable that temporary hp from spells such as Aid and False Life might not stack, I'd rule that those from "drain" attacks (including the Vampiric Touch spell) *do* stack.
 
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Thanee

First Post
Maybe you remove the damage from each instance of temporary hit point, thus effectively rendering the stacking/overlapping useless.

That's more of a wild guess, tho, how it might work with the overlapping.

Bye
Thanee
 

hazmat

First Post
Maybe you remove the damage from each instance of temporary hit point, thus effectively rendering the stacking/overlapping useless.

Unfortunately, I agree with this :(

I'd much rather have temporary hitpoints stack.
 

FrankTrollman

First Post
Skip Williams once said that when you had more than one copy of Protection from Fire up and got hit with a fire attack, you reduced both copies of Protection from Fire.

That's pretty much exactly the same idea as temporary hit points. So if you buy Skip's reasoning (which is, btw, "because I said so."), then it should apply to False Life as well.

Of course, that's not actually what the rules say - the rules essentially have the non-stacking bonus inactive until the larger bonus ends - but that is what Skip Williams says. If you think that the Sage is more important than the written rules, then this question is essentially answered. If you think the written rules override the Sage - this question is also answered - just not in the same way.

If you really want some fun: Temporary Hit Points from the same source stack. So a Wraith who hits someone and gains 5 temporary hit points can gain 5 more temporary hit points the next round by hitting someone else. So I can't see any reason why you couldn't just cast a bunch of False Lives, one after another. But if you instead replace an Aid and a False Life - then the quandary remains.

-Frank
 

Philip

First Post
See it like this, if you get a Strength bonus (from two Bull's Strength's for example) and you receive ability damage to your Strength score, your strength drops, because the ability damage does not affect the spell, the spell affects your ability, and your abi+ity gets affected by the ability damage.

There is no subtraction from False Life's effect when you take damage, its a subtraction of temporary hit points. Its just too bad that temporary hit points are always subtracted first....
 

FrankTrollman

First Post
There is no subtraction from False Life's effect when you take damage

That's not true. When you run out of temporary hit points from false life, the spell is discharged.

Therefore it very much is subtracting from False Life. And that's why it is different from Bull's Strength and Scorpion Venom. Bull's Strength does not discharge when you run out of extra strength.

-Frank
 


allenw

Explorer
I also note that temporary hit points gained from being on the Positive Material Plane definitely stack, hence the eventual exploding. :D

allenw said:
I'm not sure I buy that temporary hit points never stack.
I know that this has been discussed in detail before, but I don't recall seeing anyone bring up this point:
Per the MM, a monster that drains ability scores "gains 5 temporary hit points (10 on a critical hit) whenever it drains an ability score no matter how many points it drains. Temporary hit points gained in this fashion last for a maximum of 1 hour." And for Energy Drain, "a draining creature gains 5 temporary hit points (10 on a critical hit) for each negative level it bestows on an opponent. These temporary hit points last for a maximum of 1 hour." The words "whenever" and "each" certainly make it *seem* like temporary hp gained from multiple attacks stack.
I also note the following similar-implication text from the Vampire Spawn descriptions:
"Blood Drain (Ex): A vampire spawn can suck blood from a living victim with its fangs by making a successful grapple check. If it pins the foe, it drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of Constitution drain each round. On each such successful drain attack, the vampire spawn gains 5 temporary hit pints." (Presumably they mean "points," though pints may also be involved. ;) )
"Energy Drain (Su): Living creatures hit by a vampire spawn’s slam attack gain one negative level. The DC is 14 for the Fortitude save to remove a negative level. The save DC is Charisma-based. For each such negative level bestowed, the vampire spawn gains 5 temporary hit points."

Based on this, while I'm convinceable that temporary hp from spells such as Aid and False Life might not stack, I'd rule that those from "drain" attacks (including the Vampiric Touch spell) *do* stack.
 
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ovrzls

First Post
I have this issue in my game. My player chose Fiendish Vigor and feels strongly that False Life should stack. The fundmental issue I have with this is how this would be game breaking as he can continually cast False Life with no cost and would never feel any risk in adventuring. So as I am DM the stat doesn't stack and replaces the previous cast. Also, I think of it as I would a potion of giant strength. If I have 18 strength and drink the potion the bonus I get is not in addition to my strength but replaces.

I feel it doesn't correlate to leaching effects such as Wraiths, etc that are absorbing life force in a supernatural sense.

Ultimately it's about the story and I think if the risk is too muted than the engagement is dulled...also I'm old.
 


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