A vampire's bite deals 10 necrotic damage1 and also reduces the target's maximum hit points by the same amount. Suppose I am at full health with 50 hit points, and a vampire bites me twice. My maximum hit points are now reduced to 30. (My current hit points are even lower since the bite also deals piercing damage, but that's irrelevant to this question.) After the battle, my party cleric tries to heal this maximum hit point reduction by casting Greater Restoration on me, which can end

one effect reducing the target's hit point maximum

What is my maximum hit point value now, after having Greater Restoration cast on me once? Does it remove the effect of a single bite, or all bites?

1It's actually 3d6, but I'm abstracting the dice rolls since they're not relevant to the question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you asking about how magical/game effects stack? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14, 2020 at 14:51
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Sort of. It seems clear that max HP drains do stack, or else there would be no way for a vampire to create a spawn from a creature with more than 18 HP. Given that, it's not clear whether it's all counted as one effect or not. (Also maybe max HP drain doesn't stack? I've never seen the rules interpreted that way, but maybe it's the intent.) Bottom line, this case doesn't seem like a straightforward application of the effect stacking rule. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14, 2020 at 15:04
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Perhaps this question requires a "prerequisite" of asking how max HP drain effects stack, because now that I think about it, I'm not entirely sure of that. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14, 2020 at 15:07
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Related: Do Life Drain attacks from wights stack? \$\endgroup\$
    – Sdjz
    Jan 14, 2020 at 15:14

1 Answer 1


Hard to tell, but logic suggests 'all of them'

Game effects generally do not stack.

Different game features can affect a target at the same time. But when two or more game features have the same name, only the effects of one of them —the most potent one— apply while the durations of the effects overlap.

But this seems unlikely to be the case here, because that would mean that you could only ever become a vampire if it managed to deal all your max HP in a single bite, so the logical interpretation is that Bite max HP reduction stacks itself into a single effect that reduces your maximum HP or somehow breaks the game feature stacking.

But there's another reason, and that is because it's simply far more convenient for the players. If the intend was that every single bite was a separate effect cured by Greater Restoration, then you'd have to track every single bite separately as a different thing that reduced your max HP.

I think realistically everybody simply writes down that their max HP went down by 20, not that it went down by -3-5-3-3-6, this seems like a lot of extra work for something that only really matters with a single spell in the game.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Does this mean one Greater Restoration would end all max HP reductions, even from 2 or more different sources? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14, 2020 at 15:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ (Admittedly, putting multiple HP drain sources in the same fight is something the DM can easily avoid doing if they don't want to deal with the associated rules minutiae.) \$\endgroup\$ Jan 14, 2020 at 15:25
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @RyanC.Thompson Pure RAW, most likely not, because they aren't the same effect. But I don't think anybody in existence is keeping track of their max HP reduction separately just in case greater restoration comes along, so it'd be something you have to specifically point out to people if they encounter a Mummy Lord and a Vampire in the same day, I think 99% of people would forget that those two effects are different sources of max HP reduction. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Jan 14, 2020 at 15:28
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ “While the durations overlap” - vampire bites are instantaneous, the hp loss is not a game effect. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Jan 14, 2020 at 18:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Dale M's comment ^^^. The max HP drain is simply not affected by the stacking/overlapping rule. Also: Do Life Drain attacks from wights stack? \$\endgroup\$
    – PJRZ
    Jan 15, 2020 at 8:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .