The guardian of faith spell description states that it disappears after it has dealt a total of 60 points of damage.

There are two things about that which I am questioning:

  1. What about creatures which are vulnerable, resistant or immune to radiant damage? Do you factor in the amount of damage it actually does, or the attempted damage (10 or 20 depending on save)?
  2. What happens if it has done 50 damage after several creatures have gotten close to it (e.g. one saved, two didn't), and then a creature enters its range and fails the save? Do they take 10 damage or 20 damage?
  • \$\begingroup\$ We encourage asker to wait at least 24 hours before accepting an answer to give other people chance to answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Vylix Dec 12 '18 at 9:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Vylix Just as a note, there is actually serious disagreement about that. See this meta for the current discussion. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Dec 12 '18 at 21:03

The rules differentiate between dealing and taking damage.

The Damage and Resistance section of the Basic Rules (emphasis mine) gives an example of such wording:

Resistance and then vulnerability are applied after all other modifiers to damage. For example, a creature has resistance to bludgeoning damage and is hit by an attack that deals 25 bludgeoning damage. The creature is also within a magical aura that reduces all damage by 5. The 25 damage is first reduced by 5 and then halved, so the creature takes 10 damage.


Emily casts fireball and rolls a total of 20 damage.
- A red dragonborn fails its DEX save. The fire damage is halved by the dragonborn's fire resistance, so the dragonborn takes 10 damage after reduction.
- A goblin succeed its DEX save. The fire damage is not reduced, so the goblin takes 10 damage without reduction.

The fireball deals 20 damage to the dragonborn, but only 10 damage to the goblin. The dragonborn and goblin take only 10 damage each.

The spell description says:

The guardian vanishes when it has dealt a total of 60 damage.

Failing the save means the guardian deals 20 damage, while succeeding means the guardian only deals 10 damage.

You factor in the outgoing damage towards 60, regardless of the damage the creature actually receives. The last creature failing the save on your example also takes 20 damage; after that, the guardian vanishes.

  1. First enemy fails. The guardian deals 20 damage. Has the guardian dealt 60 damage? No. Then do nothing.
  2. Second enemy fails. The guardian deals 20 damage. Has the guardian dealt 60 damage? No. Then do nothing.
  3. Third enemy saves. The guardian deals 10 damage. Has the guardian dealt 60 damage? No. Then do nothing.
  4. Fourth enemy fails. The guardian deals 20 damage. Has the guardian dealt 60 damage? Yes. Then guardian vanishes.

Total damage accumulated: 70 damage.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I am confused. If the damage taken and the damage dealt are distinct then the guardian will trigger at most 3 times before vanishing. However, the "last creature failing the save" in Allan's example, is the 4th creature to trigger the guardian of faith. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruse Dec 12 '18 at 8:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ruse success on the save means the spirit deals only 10 dmg, not 20 dmg. Succeeding save is not "reduction" mentioned in the "Damage and Resistance". The guardian can deal 10 and 20 damage, depending on the target's save. \$\endgroup\$ – Vylix Dec 12 '18 at 8:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ I still don't understand why halving the damage with the save is considered "damage dealt" and not damage taken. In fact, guardian of faith never even says it deals damage, it just says that "The creature takes 20 radiant damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one". I'm starting to think that the rules do not differentiate between damage taken and dealt as you claim, but rather that it is only happenstance on the subject of the sentence: targets take damage, and sources deal damage. Can you provide other examples of this differentiation? \$\endgroup\$ – Ruse Dec 12 '18 at 8:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Your last paragraph is WAAY to brief an answer to the other half of this question; if the last creature takes 20 damage then the spell has dealt 70 damage rather than 60, which the querent is unsure the spell can do. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Dec 12 '18 at 9:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ I still think that your own examples prove you are wrong, including fireball. If damage dealt only refers to the damage before resistances then why doesn't fireball use the "dealt" verb to describe its damage? If damage taken only refers to damage after resistances (etc) then why does the fireball say that each " target takes 8d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one" even though resistances (etc) have yet to be applied? The answer to both questions is simple, dealt and taken damage have no special relation to resistance. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruse Dec 12 '18 at 11:14

Guardian of Faith accounts for all modifiers and multipliers.

A similar question was asked about vampiric touch and the argument is essentially the same.

There is no distinction between damage "taken" and "dealt", except for the subject of the sentence: targets take damage from sources, and sources deal damage to targets. Damage taken and damage dealt are one and the same, just described from different perspectives.

For example:
The first creature is vulnerable to radiant damage and fails it's save so it takes 40 damage and the Guardian deals 40 damage.
The second creature is resistant to radiant damage and passes it's save so it takes 5 damage and the Guardian deals 5 damage.
The third creature is immune to radiant damage and so it takes 0 damage and the guardian deals 0 damage.
Overall the Guardian has dealt a total of 45 damage.

The Guardian can deal more than 60 damage.

The spell does not say that the Guardian can only deal 60 damage, just that it vanishes once it has dealt that much.

To illustrate this, lets continue the previous example with the guardian that has dealt 45 damage.
The fourth creature fails its save and has no relevant resistances, vulnerabilities, or immunities so it takes 20 damage and the guardian deals 20 damage.
Overall the Guardian has dealt a total of 65 damage so now it vanishes.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It's interesting that in the question you've linked, there is also two answers that argues exactly like we have here :P \$\endgroup\$ – Vylix Dec 13 '18 at 4:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Vylix I know right? Maybe the issue deserves it's own question \$\endgroup\$ – Ruse Dec 13 '18 at 5:02

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