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Damage, Dying, Death


Whenever a creature takes damage, that damage is subtracted from its hit points. The loss of hit points has no effect on a creature’s capabilities until the creature drops to 0 hit points. (96) See Damage Rolls.

When you drop to 0 hit points, you either die outright or fall unconscious, as explained below. (97)
  • Massive damage can kill you instantly(98)
  • If damage reduces you to 0 hit points and fails to kill you, you fall unconscious. This unconsciousness ends if you regain any hit points. (98)
  • Whenever you start your turn with 0 hit points, you must make a special saving throw, called a death saving throw, to determine whether you creep closer to death or hang onto life. (98)
  • A stable creature doesn’t make death saving throws, even though it has 0 hit points, but it does remain unconscious. (98)
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. (98) 

Monsters and Death. Most GMs have a monster die the instant it drops to 0 hit points, rather than having it fall unconscious and make death saving throws. (98)


Mighty villains and special nonplayer characters are common exceptions; the GM might have them fall unconscious and follow the same rules as player characters. (98)

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