Death Saving Throw

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A death saving throw is a special type of saving throw that a Downed creature must make to avoid dying. Typically, death saving throws are only performed by player characters, companions, and certain notable non-player characters. Most enemy creatures simply die when reduced to 0 hit points.

Rolling death saving throws[edit | edit source]

The death saving throw tracker, with one success on the left and two failures on the right

When an eligible creature is reduced to 0 hit points, they fall unconscious and become Downed Downed. While downed, the creature must use their full turn to roll one death saving throw per round.

The die rolled is a D20.png d20 and the Difficulty Class of the roll is 10. A roll of 9 or lower results in one failed save, and 10 or higher results in one successful save. A "critic failure", a roll of 1, results in failure regardless of the modifiers to the roll.

If the Downed creature rolls a total of three failures, they die die. If the creature rolls three successes before rolling three failures, they become Stable - though still unconscious - and no longer need to make death saving throws.

Note that stabilised creatures will retain their current failed save count. This means, for example, if they have one failed save and three successes, two more failures will cause death even while stabilised. Death saving throw values are reset upon healing or Helping the stabilised creature.

Healing a Downed creature[edit | edit source]

At any time while Downed Downed, if a character is Helped or healed by another creature they immediately lose the Downed condition. The character will return to consciousness and no longer need to make death saving throws. However, for the round in which they are healed they may only take Bonus actions.

Note that granting a creature temporary hit points is not the same as healing them, and does not remove the Downed condition.

Receiving damage when Downed[edit | edit source]

Whilst Downed Downed, if a creature receives ranged damage (either magical or martial), they automatically fail one death saving throw per damage application (for example, 3 separate Magic Missile hits would cause the target to fail 3 saves and instantly die).

A critical hit against a Downed target results in 2 failed saves. Further, melee attacks are always critical against a Downed target.

Reviving the Dead[edit | edit source]

A Dead Dead creature cannot be healed by normal means and can only be resurrected by powerful magic.

Methods of revival include:

Gallery[edit | edit source]