From the DMG page 272:


Festering Wound. Your hit point maximum is reduced by 1 every 24 hours the wound persists. If your hit point maximum drops to 0, you die. The wound heals if you receive magical healing. Alternatively, someone can tend to the wound and make a DC 15 Wisdom (Medicine) check once every 24 hours. After ten successes, the wound heals.

Does a creature suffer from the same "-1 hit point maximum" condition for the whole period the wound persists, or does it continue to lose 1 hp every day? (so the second day it will be "-2 hit point maximum" and so on)

When "the wound heals", it no longer persists, so the creature no longer loses its hit points. But will the hit points maximum be restored? The description doesn't say it will be.

Does a successful Medicine check prevent the hit point loss from a Festering Wound for this 24-hour period? Or the creature still lose a hit point regardless?


1 Answer 1


Healing the wound restores your hit point maximum.

The effects of Festering Wound can be rephrased as:

Until the wound is healed, your hit point maximum is reduced by 1 for every 24 hours since the wound was inflicted.

Once the wound is healed by either method, its effects are removed, and your hit point maximum is restored. Until then, the reduced hit point maximum keeps accumulating — if a character with 20 maximum hit points takes such a wound, after 24 hours, their new maximum hit points are 19, and 24 hours later that is reduced by 1 again to 18, and so on.

Compare this to other lingering injuries listed on the table with lasting effects — many of them describe what is required to heal their long-term effects:

Lose an Eye. ... Magic such as the regenerate spell can restore the lost eye.

Lose an Arm or a Hand. ... Magic such as the regenerate spell can restore the lost appendage.

Lose a Foot or Leg. Magic such as the regenerate spell can restore the lost appendage.

Limp. ... Magical healing removes the limp.

Internal Injury. ... The injury heals if you receive magical healing...

In all of these cases, the specified mechanism for healing the injury removes all of the effects of the injury. There's no reason to assume Festering Wound is any different.

As for the Medicine check: the effects of Festering Wound don't say that the Medicine check prevents the loss in maximum hit points, so it doesn't. All it does is get closer to healing the wound. That means that the recipient of a Festering Wound without access to magical healing will have their maximum hit points reduced by at least 10 until the wound is healed. For a low-level character, such a wound is life-threatening without magical assistance.


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