Suppose I have an Order of the Mutant blood hunter who has a Wisdom score of 3, and is level 9 (or greater) so has a "mutagen bonus" of 3+.

If this character uses the celerity mutagen, the following effects apply:

Your Dexterity score increases by an amount equal to your mutation score, as does your Dexterity maximum.

Side effect: Your Wisdom score decreases by amount equal to your mutation score.

This would mean the mutagen drops the blood hunter's Wisdom score to 0 (or less, if they're higher level). What consequence does using the mutagen have for this character?

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ related question: What happens when ability scores reach 0? \$\endgroup\$
    – MACN
    Aug 6, 2018 at 15:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 6, 2018 at 19:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ Has this occurred for real at the table? Why does the character have a Wisdom score of 3? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 6, 2018 at 22:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ This has not occurred for real at the table, but the celerity mutagen can decrease wisdom by as much as 5 at lvl 16. Then, the BH's wisdom would be reduced to 0 with a base of 5 wis. To get a wisdom of 5 or less, you'll have to roll for stats. \$\endgroup\$
    – moskus4
    Aug 7, 2018 at 7:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ As a note for anyone who might come to this question later, Mercer released a revised version of the Blood Hunter class in 2020 (which D&D Beyond updated to). The newer version of the class does not have the problem described in this question as the mutagen drawbacks no longer include any direct ability score penalties - Celerity's side effect is now simply disadvantage on Wisdom saving throws. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    May 28, 2020 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


This is really an instance of a broader question: What happens to a character if an ability score is reduced to 0?

There are no official rules for this as far as I'm aware. Ability score damage/reduction is incredibly rare in 5th edition with currently only a few monsters that do it (Shadows deal strength damage; an Intellect Devourer can reduce your intelligence score to 0).

For monsters, in each case, it specifies what happens when an ability is reduced to 0. This implies it depends on what actually causes the ability damage (e.g. for Shadows it states that the character dies, but this is a specific rule for Shadows).

Since it doesn't say what happens in the Blood Hunter feature, I would say it would be up to the DM (until Matt Mercer declares otherwise!).

A reasonable answer, in a general case, would be that a character is stunned when Wisdom reaches 0, although if that makes the feature useless for a very unwise character (he must be if he took this feature with a low Wisdom!) then a compromise would be to just say "to a minimum of 1 Wisdom".

Related question (as posted by MACN in the comments above)

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    \$\begingroup\$ This question was originally closed as a duplicate of the linked question until I rewrote it - the intention of the edit being to specifically scope it down from being a broader, general question. I am hoping that Mercer will respond to tweets asking for a ruling. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Aug 6, 2018 at 15:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Carcer: Not sure now if the question is specifically related to the Blood Hunter feature rather than the more general question of 'what happens when Wisdom hits 0'. \$\endgroup\$
    – PJRZ
    Aug 6, 2018 at 16:00
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ the answer to the general question is "the individual effect should specify", so this is instead a specific question about what happens when the celerity mutagen reduces your wisdom to 0. \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Aug 6, 2018 at 16:02

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