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Can Life Transference consume your temporary HP?

Last session our only healer (paladin) fell unconcious because he didn't have enough time to cast his healing abilities before he reached 0 HP (he was trapping an harpy with his arms). So I want to get some healing capabilities... but I am a wizard and Life Transference is the only spell I found to heal others.

So my idea is in the first turn cast False Life (I already have the spell) to get temporary HP, then cast Life Transference to "send" that "self-healing" to another PC, and finally use False Life or Vampiric Touch (I can learn it) to recover some HP (temporaly or real ones). But I am not sure if that is possible.

Our GM said about Life Transference:

  1. "You do it willing over yourself, so it surpass any effect, shield (I think that includes temporary HP)"

    And that is an huge problem because that do 4d8 and I only have 32 HP... it can kill me.

  2. "Necrotic damage always surpass temporary HP"

    Again the same problem.

  3. "If I want (but I don't), necrotic damage could rotten your body, or need high level healing spells"

    Oh, oh, that dosn't sound very fine.

I don't know much of D&D 5e so I am not sure if what he is saying is true. Could someone help me? I'll be very glad if you could quote some of the guide books (our GM accept any book).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hey all, remember not to answer in comments. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 3 '18 at 15:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Thanks for the edit! Now it seem much clear \$\endgroup\$ – Ender Look Mar 3 '18 at 15:50
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Yes

A wizard can use False Life and Life Transference to heal someone else.
From OP:

So my idea is in the first turn cast False Life (I already have the spell) to get temporary HP, then cast Life Transference to "send" that "self-healing" to another PC, and finally use False Life or Vampiric Touch (I can learn it) to recover some HP (temporaly or real ones). But I am not sure if that is possible.

Long answer:

Temporary Hit Points:

When you have temporary hit points and take damage, the temporary hit points are lost first, and any leftover damage carries over to your normal hit points.

Vampiric Touch:

Make a melee spell Attack against a creature within your reach. On a hit, the target takes 3d6 necrotic damage, and you regain hit points equal to half the amount of necrotic damage dealt.

By RAW a character which uses Life Transference or is attacked by Vampiric Touch spell would eliminate the target's temporary hit points first with any additional damage caused to normal HP after it, the spell does not care if the damage dealt was to real (permanent) or 'fake' (temporary) HP and still restores half of the total necrotic damage dealt.

Being immune or resistant to necrotic damage matters for the Vampiric Touch or Life Transference damage and regained HP, the HP being temporary doesn't.

Unless your GM house-ruled this then indeed you can turn temporary HP into actual, real permanent HP as by the book.

Life Transference is not different from how necrotic damage is handled. You should by RAW/RAI be able to cast False Life on yourself then transfer real HP to the one in need. Necrotic damage is just like fire or ice damage which one could have resistance or immunity against but it does not ignore temporary HP. No powerful divine healing or such is required just because it is necrotic instead of ice or piercing damage (as example).

You do it willing over yourself, so it surpass any effect, shield (I think that includes temporary HP)"

"Necrotic damage always surpasses temporary HP"

"If I want (but I don't), necrotic damage could rotten your body, or need high level healing spells"

These are not by RAW or RAI, no such rules exists, Either these are house rules or a big misunderstanding about necrotic damage, a GM mistake.

If the GM indeed rules that necrotic damage ignores temporary HP and shields (which makes no sense) then the use of that form of damage just greatly increased in your game, making magical weapons with that type of bonus damage, or the spell Vampiric Touch a more potent offensive option. If necrotic damage ignores in your GM's house rules a shield ask if it also ignores a full plate.

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None of what your DM said is a rule from any rulebook. Damage is the same, no matter the source (barring specific special rules). There is no general rule about damage inflicted upon yourself. Temporary HP should protect you from it as per the rules governing it:

When you have temporary hit points and take damage, the temporary hit points are lost first, and any leftover damage carries over to your normal hit points. (PHB 198)

Necrotic damage is no different from other damage:

Different attacks. damaging spells, and other harmful effects deal different types of damage. Damage types have no rules of their own, but other rules, such as damage resistance, rely on the types. (PHB 196)

By the book, it should not have lasting effects on your body, nor does it interact with temporary HP in any special way.

If your DM wants to introduce any of these as rules to his game, he is free to do so, but it will be a houserule. I also recommend discussing it with his players.

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