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5E Saving throw for Arcane Ward

Harzel

Adventurer
Does anyone know if there is RAW answer for the following? If not, how do you handle it?

If Arcane Ward is subject to a damage effect that allows a saving throw, does the ward a) use the wizard's saving throw, b) make it's own saving throw using the wizard's stats and proficiencies, c) make it's own saving throw using some other ??? stats and proficiencies, d) get no saving throw, e) other?

The only hint I know of is that in Rules Answers (July 2015), JC said, "An Arcane Ward is not an extension of the wizard who creates it. It is a magical effect with its own hit points." That would kind of make me steer away from (a) and (b), but it's certainly not definitive.

Thanks for any input.
 

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Mort

Adventurer
Supporter
Is there ever such an occurrence (where the ward itself makes a saving throw)?

The ward simply states that IF the caster takes damage the ward takes the damage instead. So the caster is always the one making the saving throw and whatever damage he takes is first applied to the ward.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Arcane Ward- When you cast an abjuration spell of 1st level or higher, you can simultaneously use a strand of the spell’s magic to create a magical ward on yourself that lasts until you finish a long rest. The ward has hit points equal to twice your w izard level + your Intelligence modifier. Whenever you take damage, the ward takes the damage instead. If this damage reduces the ward to 0 hit points, you take any remaining damage. While the ward has 0 hit points, it can’t absorb damage, but its magic remains. Whenever you cast an abjuration spell of 1st level or higher, the ward regains a number of hit points equal to twice the level of the spell. Once you create the ward, you can't create it again until you finish a long rest.

I agree with @Mort using the wizard saves and take damage off the ward first.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Saving throws happen before damage is applied. At the time the save is being rolled, no damage has been dealt; there is just a potentially-damaging effect which is aimed at the wizard. So the wizard rolls the saving throw normally. Only when the saving throw is resolved and the effect actually tries to damage the wizard can the damage be redirected onto the Ward.

A more interesting question is when resistance comes into the picture. Per the resistance rules, resistance and immunity are applied "after all other modifiers to damage," which suggests that the Ward does not benefit from the wizard's resistances. If you are a tiefling wizard with a 15-hp Ward, and you get fireballed for 25 damage, you first send 15 damage to the Ward (reducing it to 0). Your racial fire resistance is then applied to the remaining 10, reducing it to 5.

This appears to be the way it was intended to work.
 

Mort

Adventurer
Supporter
Saving throws happen before damage is applied. At the time the save is being rolled, no damage has been dealt; there is just a potentially-damaging effect which is aimed at the wizard. So the wizard rolls the saving throw normally. Only when the saving throw is resolved and the effect actually tries to damage the wizard can the damage be redirected onto the Ward.

A more interesting question is when resistance comes into the picture. Per the resistance rules, resistance and immunity are applied "after all other modifiers to damage," which suggests that the Ward does not benefit from the wizard's resistances. If you are a tiefling wizard with a 15-hp Ward, and you get fireballed for 25 damage, you first send 15 damage to the Ward (reducing it to 0). Your racial fire resistance is then applied to the remaining 10, reducing it to 5.

This appears to be the way it was intended to work.
Yes this seem to be RAW. As also stated here.

Note that the Ward takes damage even if the caster is himself immune. So a 17th level abjurer who has cast Invulnerability (9th level spell) can still have his ward depleted from damage (though at that level, and with that spell up he's likely using it to protect others anyway).

Here's one that's not obvious (at least to me). Arcane Ward interaction with magic missile and the shield spell. Shield states that you take no damage from the magic missile spell, not that you are immune but that you take no damage. Does the Ward take damage? The spell doesn't say you have immunity - it says you take no damage. For consistency, the answer would seem to be yes, it takes damage, but through plain reading of the spell the answer would seem to be no.

has never come up in my game (only wizard is a diviner).
 

FarBeyondC

Explorer
Yes this seem to be RAW. As also stated here.

Note that the Ward takes damage even if the caster is himself immune. So a 17th level abjurer who has cast Invulnerability (9th level spell) can still have his ward depleted from damage (though at that level, and with that spell up he's likely using it to protect others anyway).

Here's one that's not obvious (at least to me). Arcane Ward interaction with magic missile and the shield spell. Shield states that you take no damage from the magic missile spell, not that you are immune but that you take no damage. Does the Ward take damage? The spell doesn't say you have immunity - it says you take no damage. For consistency, the answer would seem to be yes, it takes damage, but through plain reading of the spell the answer would seem to be no.

has never come up in my game (only wizard is a diviner).
There's no damage for the ward to take in this case (Shield vs Magic Missile), so I'd say the ward is not affected.

The real question is what happens if you're affected by damage that heals you (like say, a yuan-ti wearing the green dragon mask gets hit with poison breath or a wizard shapechanged into an Iron Golem sets themselves on fire). Does the Arcane Ward intercept that 'damage', thereby lowering it, or does that pass through unimpeded?
 

Dausuul

Legend
Here's one that's not obvious (at least to me). Arcane Ward interaction with magic missile and the shield spell. Shield states that you take no damage from the magic missile spell, not that you are immune but that you take no damage. Does the Ward take damage? The spell doesn't say you have immunity - it says you take no damage. For consistency, the answer would seem to be yes, it takes damage, but through plain reading of the spell the answer would seem to be no.
Yeah, unlike the previous cases, there doesn't seem to be a defined order for this one.

There is an optional rule from Xanathar's that would seem to apply: "In rare cases, effects can happen at the same time, especially at the start or end of a creature's turn. If two or more things happen at the same time on a character or monster's turn, the person at the game table - whether player or DM - who controls that creature decides the order in which those things happen."

This rule is clearly intended for scenarios where you have multiple start-of-turn or end-of-turn effects, but it could technically apply in this case as well: You have two different effects triggering on damage (the shield spell negating the damage, and the Arcane Ward absorbing it), and they are happening at the same time on a creature's turn. So the creature whose turn it is gets to decide the order. In almost all cases, this would be the caster of the magic missile, who would presumably choose to have the Ward trigger first. However, there are scenarios (e.g., magic missile being cast as a readied action) where it might be the target of the spell, or even a third party, who gets to choose.

I'm not a big fan of this solution, because it results in these interactions being weirdly affected by whose turn it is. My personal ruling would be, any time damage is being dealt to a creature, that creature decides the order of any effects that would modify the damage (other than resistance/immunity which always comes last). So you could put the shield spell in first to stop the damage from connecting.
 
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