Are monsters subject to the massive damage instant-death rules?

I have been looking at the following two questions recently:

  • Are Trolls immune to all instant death effects?
  • Does the Instant Death rule apply to zombies too?

The first states the following in the question itself:

[…] In addition to such spells, there are more general effects that cause death, mainly massive damage and failing three death saves […]

That and the answers there seem to work under the assumption that massive damage does apply to monsters.

However the second question’s currently most upvoted answer (36 upvotes) states the following:

The rule for dealing damage in excess of your total hit points is intended for player characters, not monsters […]

These two seem to be in direct opposition and I’m unsure then what the correct ruling is.


Here are the passages I believe are relevant to answering this question:

Monsters and Death

Most DMs have a monster die the instant it drops to 0 hit points, rather than having it fall unconscious and make death saving throws […]

Instant Death

Massive damage can kill you instantly. 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 […]


Does the rule on instant death from massive damage apply to monsters?

Getting around massive preventing of damage [on hold]

I’m currently running a game where one of the players has the ability to reduce/prevent a ton of damage. I’m looking for ways around this, such as the old school wights that did ability score damage, things like Ray of Enfeeblement that grants a strength penalty, diseases, etc.

Is there something I can search in the compendium, or is there a list somewhere online, that could save me hours of digging through every monster in 4e to find new and interesting ways to damage players other than just dishing out huge amounts of damage?

How does the Death Ward spell work if you are at 0 hit points and take massive damage?

The death ward spell states:

[…] The first time the target would drop to 0 hit points as a result of taking damage, the target instead drops to 1 hit point, and the spell ends.

If the spell is still in effect when the target is subjected to an effect that would kill it instantaneously without dealing damage, that effect is instead negated against the target, and the spell ends.

The rules section on “Instant Death” states:

Massive damage can kill you instantly. 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 […]

Thanks to user @Xirema for showing that we can combine this with the section on Death Saving Throws, which states:

Damage at 0 Hit Points. If you take any damage while you have 0 hit points, you suffer a death saving throw failure. If the damage is from a critical hit, you suffer two failures instead. If the damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum, you suffer instant death.

Thus we know that instant death applies even while at 0 HP.

That said, I’m unsure what happens in the following scenario:
A creature has 0 hit points and death ward is cast on them. They then take damage equal to double their maximum HP.

Does the creature die outright? Do they live but with 0 HP and the spell ends? Do they somehow now have 1 HP and the spell ends? How do these interact with each other?

Can massive damage kill you while at 0 HP?

The rules on “Instant Death” state:

Massive damage can kill you instantly. 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 […]

Does this only apply if you aren’t already at 0 HP? Or rather, what happens if you are currently at 0 HP and take massive damage?

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Massive window I can’t reduce in size – how to alter the “Program supplied minimum size”

I have a window (TortoiseHg) that whenever I open it is massive and I can’t reduce the size. I know about Alt-drag and I can (eventually) get to the edge, but I can’t reduce the size. If I run xwininfo -all the information includes:

xwininfo: Window id: 0x7200005 "TortoiseHg Workbench"    Root window id: 0x192 (the root window) (has no name)   Parent window id: 0x111e83a (has no name)      1 child:      0x720000e (has no name): ()  1x1+-1+-1  +4271+546    Absolute upper-left X:  4272   Absolute upper-left Y:  547   Relative upper-left X:  1   Relative upper-left Y:  28   Width: 16383   Height: 16383   Depth: 24   Visual: 0x139   Visual Class: TrueColor   Border width: 0   Class: InputOutput   Colormap: 0x7200004 (not installed)   Bit Gravity State: NorthWestGravity   Window Gravity State: NorthWestGravity   Backing Store State: NotUseful   Save Under State: no   Map State: IsViewable   Override Redirect State: no   Corners:  +4272+547  --15135+547  --15135--15850  +4272--15850   -geometry 16383x16383+4272+547    ...    Normal window size hints:       Program supplied minimum size: 16383 by 16383       Program supplied window gravity: StaticGravity   No zoom window size hints defined    No window shape defined   No border shape defined 

In particular this line:

      Program supplied minimum size: 16383 by 16383 

I have tried:

  • removing ~/.config/TortoiseHg/ and re-running
  • searching for files in ~/.cache/ or ~/.local/share/ for something that might cause this
  • searched dconf and gconf using this technique for any keys referring to thg or tortoise (case insensitive grep)
  • running with strace -f thg looking for files it is opening that might set the minimum size

But I have not found anything that tells me where the “Program supplied minimum size” might be coming from. Anyone know?

I’m using Ubuntu 18.04 with the Ubuntu Mate session, installed via the ubuntu-mate-desktop package. The system is a laptop with 2 extra monitors attached via a USB-C docking station. I have disabled HiDPI/scaling options.