28
\$\begingroup\$

The Phoenix sorcerer (from Unearthed Arcana: Sorcerer) gains the Phoenix Spark feature at 6th level, part of which states:

If you are reduced to 0 hit points, you can use your reaction to draw on the spark of the phoenix. You are instead reduced to 1 hit point, [...]

Would it allow the sorcerer to avoid being disintegrated by the disintegrate spell? While disintegrate turns you to ash at 0 HP, when you're reduced to 0 HP you can also use Phoenix Spark to be reduced to 1 HP instead of 0. What ends up happening?

\$\endgroup\$
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ +1 - And after all this discussion, we can come to the conclusion (again) that UA material need to be used with care, least the game be broken. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Oct 10 '17 at 13:35
44
\$\begingroup\$

It comes down to DM ruling

Even the designers leave the timing of reactions up to the DM (Sage Advice). So that leaves both events as instantaneous. (Reactions are said to be that on PHB 170, for disintegrate it is inferred from the spell text.)

Why not both?

Turning to ashes and then rising in flames is pretty much a phoenix's thing. Also, another similar feature (Relentless Endurance of half-orcs) specifically calls out the case of getting killed instantly as stopping the feature from working. Phoenix Spark includes no such restriction.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 10
    \$\begingroup\$ I think the coolest option is to have the sorcerer turn to ashes due to disintegrate, then right when they would take their turn, they would rise like a phoenix with 1 HP and act immediately. Such burn. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Oct 9 '17 at 13:10
13
\$\begingroup\$

Phoenix Spark Prevents Disintegration

Definitions:

From the spell description of Disintegrate:

A creature targeted by this spell must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the target takes 10d6+40 force damage. If this damage reduces the target to 0 hit points, it is disintegrated.

From the Phoenix Spark description:

If you are reduced to 0 hit points, you can use your reaction to draw on the spark of the phoenix. You are instead reduced to 1 hit point.

From the PHB:

A reaction is an instant response to a trigger of some kind, which can occur on your turn or on someone else's.

Reasoning:

  1. The Phoenix Sorcerer is hit by Disintegrate.
  2. Disintegrate deals enough damage to reduce the Phoenix Sorcerer to 0 HP.
  3. The Phoenix Sorcerer uses their reaction to activate Phoenix Spark, which is triggered instantly (i.e. after the damage is received but before they are turned to dust).
  4. The Phoenix Sorcerer is instead reduced to 1 HP.
  5. As Disintegrate did not reduce the Phoenix Sorcerer to 0 HP, the Phoenix Sorcerer is not turned to dust. Carried items are also not affected.
\$\endgroup\$
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I think you're right, but from a visual standpoint I love @Szega's "Turning to ashes and then rising in flames is pretty much a phoenix's thing." \$\endgroup\$ – mattdm Oct 10 '17 at 11:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree. The similar wording of features like the Orc's Relentless Endurance, combined with the fact that this is UA content, and prone to missing text errors, we cannot objectively say that this is how this works. I agree it probably should, but it is up to DM interpretation as to if the "and doesn't kill you outright" caveat was intended to be included as part of this feature. \$\endgroup\$ – Shem Oct 10 '17 at 17:50
7
\$\begingroup\$

Yes, Phoenix Spark saves the sorcerer from disintegrate (as of November 2018)

This has been established via the November 2018 Player's Handbook Errata:

Disintegrate (p. 233). The last sentence of the second paragraph now reads, “The target is disintegrated if this damage leaves it with 0 hit points.”

The description of the disintegrate spell previously read:

If this damage reduces the target to 0 hit points, it is disintegrated.

The wording changes the trigger from "being reduced to 0 hit points", to "being left with 0 hit points". Phoenix Spark means you are not left with 0 hit points, and thus are spared disintegration.

\$\endgroup\$
6
\$\begingroup\$

Unclear


Ordinarily, the fact that Phoenix Spark lacks the description "When you are reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright" would indicate that it does function when you hit 0 hp, regardless of if you are dead or not.

However, the Phoenix Sorcerer is a UA archetype, meaning it is in playtest, and has not reached it's final form. So we cannot assume that something left out was left out on purpose.

Bottom line, your DM (or you if you are the DM) will have to rule this one. I think thematically it's cool to come back from the dead, and since it is a 6th level feature, it is reasonable to expect it to be stronger than a racial ability.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you are going to down vote this, please let me know why, rather than just down-voting. \$\endgroup\$ – Shem Oct 12 '17 at 13:11
-2
\$\begingroup\$

It would not overcome disintegrate

This class feature is very similar to the half orcs Relentless Endurance

When you are reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright, you can drop to 1 hit point instead. You can't use this feature again until you finish a long rest.

In this sage advice it is stated that:

If the damage from disintegrate reduces a half-orc to 0 hit points, can Relentless Endurance prevent the orc from turning to ash? If disintegrate reduces you to 0 hit points, you’re killed outright, as you turn to dust. If you’re a half-orc, Relentless Endurance can’t save you.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 20
    \$\begingroup\$ But relentless includes the caveat: "does not kill you outright", while phoenix spark does not. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Oct 9 '17 at 10:43
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Well I would rule that if your character is turned into dust (killed outright) she can't use class features because she is dead. But yes spark of the phoenix seems to lack the caveat. \$\endgroup\$ – MolagMal Oct 9 '17 at 10:50
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Besides, phoenix rise from the ashes all of the time. \$\endgroup\$ – Garret Gang Oct 9 '17 at 13:48
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @MolagMal, the fact that the caveat does not exist in the ability description, lends credence to the idea that they survive. They use the ability to go to 1 hp after hitting 0, but before dying. \$\endgroup\$ – Shem Oct 9 '17 at 13:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Second what @szega commented up there. The wording changes everything. those two abilities cannot be basis for one another. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Oct 10 '17 at 13:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.