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For reference: Does casting Aid stack? (No), What happens to the current hit points when Aid ends? (You lose the current hit points that you gained, effectively taking 5 damage).

My question is:
If I have a 2nd-level Aid spell that increases my current and maximum hit points by 5, then drop to 4 HP, and then have a 3rd-level Aid spell cast on me, what happens?

I see a few possibilities:

  1. I return the 5 HP I gained from my 2nd-level Aid, drop to 0 HP (and start dying), and then the 3rd-level Aid spell brings me back to 10 HP with no delay.
  2. My current Aid spell is simply superseded by the 3rd-level Aid spell, so the circumstances simply change to being granted 5 current HP to 10 current HP. Since I'm still due 5 HP, my current HP goes up by that value (now at 9) and I and never touched the Dying condition.
  3. Another possibility that you can explain.

Which of the above is true?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I once tried to write an app to manage my 3.5e character's combat stats, since there were typically large numbers of buffs and debuffs flying around at high level. Properly handling properly multiple overlapping sources of temporary hit points was by far the most tricky logic (especially when some overlapping effects might go down due to anti-magic and later come back, but not others) \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Oct 4 '18 at 5:26
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When the duration multiple spells of the same name overlap, you use the effect of the most potent. From the rules on combining magical effects (PHB, p. 205):

The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don't combine, however. Instead, the most potent effect—such as the highest bonus—from those castings applies while their durations overlap.

So, the first casting gets suppressed and replaced by the second casting. Never does the first spell stop, unless or until the spell ends - but its effect is replaced with the more powerful spell effect. Which would be your option "#2".

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    \$\begingroup\$ Right, so if the second spell were to end for whatever reason, you would drop down to your previous 5 extra hit points from the first Aid spell. \$\endgroup\$ – Columbia says Reinstate Monica Oct 4 '18 at 0:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you could come up with a scenario that would "dispell" the higher level spell but not the lower one then yes. \$\endgroup\$ – Spade Oct 4 '18 at 12:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Spade the first thing that comes to mind is casting Dispel Magic on only the higher level Aid (for example, if the character were under the effects of a harmful spell the caster of Dispel Magic would prefer to leave in place). \$\endgroup\$ – Larkeith Oct 11 '18 at 14:08

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