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Supernatural Defense, the level 7 Monster Slayer ranger feature (XGtE, p. 43), states that, if the target of your Slayer's Prey forces you to make a saving throw, you may add 1d6 to your roll.

If you take damage while concentrating on a spell, you must make a Constitution saving throw to maintain concentration.

Does Supernatural Defense provide a bonus to your concentration saving throw, assuming the triggering damage came from the target of your Slayer's Prey feature? In other words, is the target of your Slayer's Prey forcing you to make the Constitution saving throw, or are you technically being forced by the damage taken, not by that target?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there an ambiguity that makes you think it doesn't apply? \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Nov 6 '18 at 22:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Bloodcinder The triggering damage is pretty universal. Reoccuring poison damage might be caused by your target's weapon as part of their attack. Would I add 1d6 to every concentration save? Or does it cease to be forced by something other than my opponent after the initial attack? Or what happens if some other effect my opponent did caused me to take damage, like pushing me off a cliff, or into a trap? \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel Zastoupil Nov 6 '18 at 22:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Okay, so the issue is whether it is the target that's forcing you or technically something else (the damage) that's forcing you. That's what you mean, right? \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Nov 6 '18 at 22:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Bloodcinder That's correct. Additionally, does an attack even count, since the saving throw is only made because you are casting a spell, not because it's a saving throw directly created by your opponent? \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel Zastoupil Nov 6 '18 at 22:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Okay, I edited that detail into your question. Please review and improve/reject if I messed up your meaning. \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Nov 6 '18 at 23:07
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Supernatural Defense will not help with saving throws to maintain concentration

From the question "When must the wizard choose to overchannel?", we know that if something says "When you cast a Wizard spell... that deals damage" it does not mean you wait to see if the spell deals damage; you decide to use Overchannel immediately when casting the spell.

Thus we must know whether a spell deals damage before its effects take place (otherwise how would we know what spells are eligible for Overchannel?); the only way to know this is the spell's description. Therefore, a spell that doesn't deal damage normally but happens to move a creature onto a damaging area does not suddenly count as "a spell that deals damage". Whether such an area existed is outside of the spell's control.
What is forcing you to take damage is not the spell, but the area of effect.

The Sorcerer's Careful Spell Metamagic uses similar wording, stating:

When you cast a spell that forces other creatures to make a saving throw, you can protect some of those creatures from the spell’s full force...

Similarly then, we must know whether a spell forces a saving throw before its effects take place (otherwise how would we know what spells are eligible for Careful Spell); the only way to know this is the spell's description. Therefore, a spell that doesn't cause a saving throw normally but happens to damage a creature that is concentrating on a spell does not suddenly count as "a spell that forces a saving throw". Whether the target was concentrating is outside of the spell's control.
What is forcing you to make the saving throw is not the spell, but the damage.

This also prevents the unusual scenario of a Sorcerer using Careful Spell on a spell like firebolt. If the target were concentrating on a spell, and firebolt counted as forcing them to make a saving throw, then the Sorcerer could use Careful Spell but it would have no effect whatsoever. Though this isn't necessarily disallowed, it is exceptionally odd and points towards saving throws to maintain concentration not counting as having been forced by the spell.


I don't see any greater link between a spell happening to move a creature onto a damaging area and a spell happening to damage a creature that is concentrating on a spell (neither results are under the spell's control as they rely on outside forces). So if a spell resulting in a saving throw to maintain concentration counted as "a spell that forces a saving throw" then a spell which moves a creature onto a damaging area would count as "a spell that deals damage", which is almost certainly incorrect.

I believe that a spell only forces a creature to make a saving throw if the saving throw is part of the spell's description, not if it just happens to result in a saving throw being made.

All of this argument extends to the Hunter feature:
A creature moving you onto a damaging area of effect would not count as them forcing you to take damage and a creature damaging you would not count as them forcing you to make a saving throw to maintain concentration. It was not in their control whether the damaging area exists or whether you are concentrating on a spell.

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Supernatural Defense assists with concentration.

Supernatural Defense stats that

At 7th level, you gain extra resilience against your prey's assaults on your mind and body. Whenever the target of your Slayer's Prey forces you to make a saving throw and whenever you make an ability check to escape that target's grapple, add 1d6 to your roll.

However, I can't find any other instances out side of the Monster Slayer that use the wording "forces you to make a saving throw" so we have to look elsewhere for an answer.

The rules for concentration state that

Whenever you take damage while you are concentrating on a spell, you must make a Constitution saving throw to maintain your concentration. The DC equals 10 or half the damage you take, whichever number is higher. If you take damage from multiple sources, such as an arrow and a dragon's breath, you make a separate saving throw for each source of damage.

This draws a direct link between the concentration check, the damage, and the source.

We can safely say that a dragon's breath is the source of a Dexterity saving throw. Therefore, the dragon who exhaled that breath onto you, forced you to make that saving throw.

Given the rules for concentration, we can equally say that an arrow is the source of a Constitution saving throw. Therefore, the archer who shot you with that arrow, forced you to make that saving throw.

This can be generalized to just about any situation in which the target of your Slayer's Prey forces you to make a Constitution saving throw to maintain concentration.

Moreover, I think that this ruling is supported by Supernatural Defense's flavor. After all, the damage involved is certainly an assault on your body, while the attempt to break your concentration is an assault on your mind.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Most likely sounds like this answer is unsure, but there's no reasoning against it working. Could this answer be more definitive or make it clear on why it might not work \$\endgroup\$ – GcL Nov 7 '18 at 14:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are other similar wordings such as the Whisper Bard's Shadow Lore feature which states: "On a failed saving throw, the target is charmed... until you or your allies... force it to make a saving throw.". Also the Arcane Archer's Beguiling Arrow, and the Careful and Heightened Spell Metamagics \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Sep 10 at 5:25

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