It's well documented that in 5e, you can deal 0 (but not negative) damage on an attack roll, usually if you have a negative ability modifier. The same, presumably, would apply to spell damage.

A 1st-level Cure Wounds restores 1d8+spell mod in hit points. What happens if I have a -2 modifier, and roll a 1? Would it heal 0 hit points? Would it stabilize a dying character?

Official sources (including tweets from Crawford) preferred.


Mike Mearls tweeted that it should be a minimum of 1 point, but I can't find the same from Jermey Crawford. Mike Mearls can talk about what was intended, but it isn't an official ruling:

no, should be minimum 1


Jeremy did weigh in about hit dice though:

You regain no hit points if you spend a Hit Die and your Constitution modifier reduces the total to 0 or lower. #DnD


If Mike is right about this spall, then the player becomes stable. If Jeremy's tweet about Hit Dice also apply to spells like cure wounds there would be no reason to assume that healing for 0 would stabailize someone, as the spell text doesn't say anything of the sort; but I think as a DM I'd let it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That was my intuition as well, in the same way a Medicine check stabilizes but doesn't grant any HP. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – wilcroft Nov 15 '17 at 22:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hey...I recognize that tweet! Who is that dashing Airatome fellow.....? No but, really, +1 for including both sides of a (backed up) argument. \$\endgroup\$ – Airatome Nov 16 '17 at 8:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, it is still as clear as mud, as the designers posts conflict. At least we know that healing in either case won't hurt you, like it could on terrible rolls in previous editions. I remember healing an NPC to death. \$\endgroup\$ – J. A. Streich Nov 16 '17 at 15:18

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