Energy Drain Question

I have a question pertaining to the D&D Next Wight, specifically the Energy Drain ability.  Per the current version of the rules, the power upon hitting would do 1d8+2 points of necrotic damage and reduce the target’s hit point maximum by 5. The reduction lasts until the end of the target’s next long rest.

So, here is a scenario:

A creature that has 13 hit points at full health is struck by the Wight’s Energy Drain attack for 5 points of damage would be down to 8 hit points, which would then become his new maximum hit point total. What happens if the damage is less than 5 points?  In this case, let’s say the creature is hit for 3 points of damage, reducing his total hit points to 10. The second part of the power indicates that the maximum hit points are then reduced by 5. Would this then reduce his hit points down to 5? If so, the wight has effectively caused 8 points of damage, and not 3.

This power might want to be reworded to be less ambiguous.

The way I understand it is this:

The Wight's main attack is called "Melee Attack--Energy Drain". When the Wight hits, there are two damaging components to the attack.
1) You take physical damage from the claws or whatever. That's 1d8+2 necrotic damage. This is subtracted from your HPMax as normal.
2) You suffer an additional Energy Drain effect that reduces your HPMax by 5.

Player with 18/18 HP gets hit by the Wight. He suffers 1d8+2 necrotic damage. Let's say that comes out to 7 damage. He's now at 11/18 HP. The player also suffers from Energy Drain and his HPMax is reduced by 5....making his hp 11/13.
Let's say he gets hit by the Wight again and suffers another 7 necrotic damage. His hp is now 4/13. The Energy Drain brings his HPMax down by another 5 pts, so his final HP is 4/8.
On round 3, the player gets hit a third time. The Wight rolls low damage, thankfully, and the player takes 3 necrotic damage. He's at 1/8....the Energy Drain puts him at 1/3 hp.

I would rule that the Energy Drain takes place after the necrotic damage. I agree that this should be explicitly stated. It is FAR WORSE to reduce your HPMax and THEN take the necrotic damage.

Hope this helps.

Please introduce yourself to the new D&D 5e forums in this very friendly thread started by Pukunui!


Make 5e Saving Throws better using Ramzour's Six Ability Save System!


Lost Mine of Phandelver: || Problems and Ideas with the adventure ||  Finding the Ghost of Neverwinter Wood ||

Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus


The scenario I think Jaden is talking about is when you start 18/18 HP and the wight hits for low damage of 3 necrotic.  This would put you at 15/18 then the energy drain moves his max to 13.  Does this mean the PC loses an additional 2 Hp putting him at 13/13, or is he somehow above the new max Hp at 15/13?

My guess would be that the HP maximum is just that, you can't go above it. Effectivly the Wight would be putting your current HP down by 5 even though you took 3 points of necrotic damage.  This seems like a meta way of thinking about it in terms of straight numbers.
Sign In to post comments