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Can the D&D 5th Edition cantrip Chill Touch prevent regeneration and similar abilities?

Do specific forms of regeneration (like a troll's) circumvent this?

Chill Touch:

You create a ghostly, skeletal hand in the space of a creature within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the creature to assail it with the chill of the grave. On a hit, the target takes 1d8 necrotic damage, and it can't regain hit points until the start of your next turn. Until then, the hand clings to the target.

Troll rule text:

The troll regains 10 Hit Points at the start of its turn. If the troll takes acid or fire damage, this trait doesn't function at the start of the troll's next turn. The troll dies only if it starts its turn with 0 Hit Points and doesn't Regenerate.

(emphasis mine)

Here is the now-unofficial ruling from Jeremy Crawford.

I can't tell if this is a classic case of specific-vs-general or just designer intent being unclear in RAW.

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Yes, chill touch prevents regeneration. The spell's text says that the target can't regain hit points, and there's nothing in the text of the troll's regeneration feature that contradicts that. Just because the trait doesn't function if the troll takes acid or fire damage doesn't mean that's the only condition under which the trait doesn't function; saying otherwise is affirming the consequent.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If the troll is at full HP its not going to gain more and it wont fall over dead. The regen is still in effect, it just does not gain HP for the round. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Oct 12 at 23:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ A great example of something similar is that spells such as darkness do not say that dispel magic ends them, but clearly it does \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Oct 13 at 0:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Another way to read it is the troll regeneration adds an extra effect to Acid and Fire damage, namely, prevent its regeneration. The regeneration ability doesn't bypass other things that explicitly prevent regeneration. If the ability says "Only Fire and Acid can prevent this regeneration", then it'll be different. \$\endgroup\$ – Nelson Oct 14 at 2:32
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Only partially, and not permanently.

Regeneration here has three effects:

  1. The troll regains 10 Hit Points at the start of its turn.
  2. If the troll takes acid or fire damage, this trait doesn't function at the start of the troll's next turn.
  3. The troll dies only if it starts its turn with 0 Hit Points and doesn't Regenerate.

Chill touch directly prevents 1 as stated, but it neither fulfills 2 nor otherwise prevents 3.

The net effect is that, absent acid or fire damage, the troll won’t regain hit points until it’s no longer under the effects of chill touch, and will then start regaining hit points.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm pretty sure that Chill Touch will kill the troll. The Regeneration trait doesn't state that it can only be stopped by fire or acid damage, it only says that that's one method of stopping it. Therefore, your point 2) is irrelevant, as Chill Touch also prevents regenerating hit points. Taking this into accoutn, 3) is fulfilled, if the troll has 0 HP and took damage from Chill Touch during that round. \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Oct 13 at 11:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PixelMaster 3 does not say “doesn’t regain hit points”. It says “doesn’t Regenerate”. \$\endgroup\$ – 40355 says Reinstate Monica Oct 13 at 16:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ You raise an interesting point, but you could certainly interpret "Regenerate" as meaning "regain hit points". i.e. if this race feature has an effect this turn, it prevents death. It would make sense for the troll to killable if anything stops its healing. Your interpretation can't be ruled out, it also seems like a plausible intent and also compatible with the phrasing. But I didn't upvote this answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Cordes Oct 14 at 1:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ How do you think this answer could be improved, then? \$\endgroup\$ – 40355 says Reinstate Monica Oct 14 at 4:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am not sure that rules were even intended to make "Regenerate = regain hit points". Flavour-wise, fire or acid damage destroys the troll, while Chill Touch simply stalls his recovery. I agree with this answer. \$\endgroup\$ – AnalysisStudent0414 Oct 14 at 8:58

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