The death ward spell states:
[…] 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.
One example of such an effect would be failing a third death saving throw. Ordinarily you would die immediately after failing your third death saving throw but this is not the case for the Zealot Barbarian currently Raging Beyond Death:
You still must make death saving throws, and you suffer the normal effects of taking damage while at 0 hit points. However, if you would die due to failing death saving throws, you don’t die until your rage ends, and you die then only if you still have 0 hit points
So what happens if the Barbarian has three failed death saves and then their Rage ends?
What instantaneously killing effect is the Barbarian being subjected to?
What exactly is negated by death ward?
Is the third death saving throw removed?
Let’s say a Zealot Barbarian is using Rage Beyond Death and thus they do not fall unconscious at 0 HP. Let’s further say that they’re currently at 0 HP.
If death ward is cast on them, then by RAW it seems like they do not go back up to 1 HP. But what if they receive damage afterwards? Does death ward kick in and return them to 1 HP, or does it not kick in because you can’t drop to 0 HP while already at 0 HP?
Does the Abjurer have to activate the Projected Ward before or after damage is rolled?
For example, if another player is at 10hp, can the wizard wait to see if 10hp damage is done before choosing to use the Projected Ward on that player?
Projected Ward: Starting at 6th level, when a creature that you can see within 30 feet of you takes damage, you can use your reaction to cause your Arcane Ward to absorb that damage. If this damage reduces the ward to O hit points, the warded creature takes any remaining damage.
I am curious about ways of using Death Ward and wondered what happens if you cast Death Ward on yourself and then throw yourself off a great height.
For example, would it be possible to cast Death Ward and jump off a very high cliff (enough to kill the PC), fall and hit the ground, where the outcome is that she/he ends up with 1 HP instead of being dead?
This question provides an answer to dying as a result of a spell like Disintegrate:
Is there a difference between “When you are reduced to 0 hit points” and “when you would be reduced to 0 hit points”?
But, I would like a specific answer to how “Death Ward” interacts with damage done from falling from a greath height.
Thanks for your expertise with this.
The Way of the Drunken Master Monk gets the Drunkard’s Luck feature which states:
When you make an ability check, an attack roll, or a saving throw and have disadvantage, you can spend 2 ki points to cancel the disadvantage for that roll.
The Great Old One Warlock’s Entropic Ward feature states:
[…] When a creature makes an attack roll against you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on that roll […]
Both of these happen “when a creature makes an attack roll” though Entropic Ward requires a reaction which might do something. I’m confused as to the timing of these events, though we do know that both occur before the roll is made.
This is clear not only because it would be odd to give somebody disadvantage after they rolled (after all, what happens if they had already rolled with advantage and you have them disadvantage), but also because features which can be used after a roll explicitly say so like the Bard’s Cutting Words:
When a creature that you can see within 60 feet of you makes an attack roll […] you can use your reaction to expend one of your uses of Bardic Inspiration […] You can choose to use this feature after the creature makes its roll, but before the DM determines whether the attack roll or ability check succeeds or fails […]
So what happens when a Drunken Monk attacks a Great Old One Warlock and the Warlock uses Entropic Ward? Can the Monk then use Drunkard’s Luck?
Additionally, what if the Monk already has disadvantage; can Entropic Ward force disadvantage even after Drunkard’s Luck has removed all disadvantage from the attack roll?
Are you able to entropic ward an attack from stealth? Or would it just be assumed that you didn’t know it was coming therefore you can’t cast a reaction.
For reference the Great Old One Warlock gets the Entropic Ward feature which states:
[…] When a creature makes an attack roll against you, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on that roll. If the attack misses you, your next attack roll against the creature has advantage if you make it before the end of your next turn […]
Suppose I am an abjuration wizard with 3 temporary hit points and 5 hit points on my Arcane Ward. If I take damage, which hit points absorb damage first? For example, what will be my status after taking 4 damage? Will this damage force me to make a saving throw to maintain concentration? (In case it matters, assume that I have 30 hit points.)
As written, it seems that both effects trigger simultaneously (emphasis added):
Whenever you take damage, the ward takes the damage instead.
Temporary hit points:
When you have temporary hit points and take damage, the temporary hit points are lost first, and any leftover damage carries over to your normal hit points.
I have a player whose character has been using Death Ward constantly. This on it’s own is not a problem, but every time he takes a large chunk of damage while at low health, he tries to argue that he’s only taking the amount of damage that reduces him to 1, thereby reducing his concentration save. For example, if he has 11hp, and takes 50 damage, he believes all the damage beyond the first 10 is negated when it stops at 1hp, giving him a concentration DC of 10. Is that right? Or should he still have a concentration DC of 25?
If a Wizard of the abjuration tradition takes the martial adept feat and chooses the parry combat maneuver, how will it interact with their Arcane Ward?
Can the Wizard parry and reduce the need for their Arcane Ward to absorb the damage?
I am designing a trap for my players. One of them has Disintegrate (known to their enemies), which would make escaping the trap relatively easy. I would like to block this method, once. To achieve this, I have designed the spell below, and in the spirit of not overusing magic that’s not available to the players against them, plan to make it available to them too.
Before implementing this spell in game I would like to be aware of the potential ways in which this spell could be unbalancing and/or exploitable. I have already considered making the spell a general (single-use) ward against any spell, and dismissed that as frightfully overpowered. I am aware that putting this spell in the world will increase the power available to my players (it’s something they can set up prior to an encounter with no tradeoff in capabilities during that encounter) – my aim is that it not cause a very large increase in power because I missed an edge case.
3rd level abjuration
Casting Time: 1 Action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Until dispelled
Choose any creature or object within range, and name a spell known to you. You place a ward on that creature or object. An unwilling target must make a Wisdom saving throw to resist the ward being placed on them.
While the ward remains on the creature or object, the next time they are targeted with the named spell or an effect of the named spell, they are unaffected and the ward is dispelled.
The ward offers no protection against spells that would be immune to Dispel Magic.
If Dispel Magic is named as the warded spell, no other spells on the warded creature or object are dispelled when the ward is dispelled.
So: how balanced/exploitable is this homebrew spell?
Here is a non-exhaustive list of possible changes I’ve thought about that could balance the spell if certain aspects are unbalanced.
- If the spell is unbalanced as an offensive/in-combat/shortly-before-combat tool:
- Remove the ability to cast this spell on unwilling targets
- Increase the casting time to 10 minutes
- Reduce the range to Touch
- Remove the special Dispel Magic case, stopping it from being a counter to an enemy dispelling effects
- If the spell is unbalanced as a counter to high level spells
- Require an ability check like Dispel Magic’s when the ward is hit by a spell of a higher level than it
- Only allow the ward to affect spells of the same or lower level than the level it was cast at
- If the spell is unbalanced due to its infinite duration
- Reduce the duration to 10 days, in line with Contingency
- Require a material cost for the spell along the lines of Glyph of Warding