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Do the rules for Combining Game & Spell Effects apply to damage? A player argued that damage wasn't an effect so the rules regarding "Combining Game & Magical Effects" didn't apply. This was in regard to spell damage from multiple Moonbeams cast on different tiles of a large creature where the areas don't overlap.

The following is defined under "Conditions"

Conditions alter a creature's capabilities in a variety of ways and can arise as a result of a spell, a class feature, a monster's attack, or other effect.

If multiple Effects impose the same condition on a creature, each instance of? the condition has its own Duration, but the condition’s Effects don’t get worse. A creature either has a condition or doesn’t.

The following are the rules on Combining Effects.

PHB ("Combining Magical Effects"):

The effects of different spells add together while the durations of those spells overlap. 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, or the most recent effect applies if the castings are equally potent and their durations overlap.

DMG ("Combining Game Effects"):

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. For example, if a target is ignited by a fire elemental’s Fire Form trait, the ongoing fire damage doesn’t increase if the burning target is subjected to that trait again.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there a reason to believe this wouldn't fall under common usage, or dictionary definition? What do you need? \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o Jan 30 at 2:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeanCulligan Perhaps "Do the rules for Combining Game & Spell Effects apply to damage?" would be a better question. Or "Is damage considered an effect?" but that one probably still falls under "how English speakers use it." Either way, details regarding the situation could be helpful. What specific rules came into conflict with your player? \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o Jan 30 at 4:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sean Culligan Here is a related topic which might help: How do the rules on Combining Game Effects and Combining Magical Effects relate to damage types? \$\endgroup\$ – Orc's Plunder Jan 30 at 9:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeanCulligan please describe the situation where it does matter. There might be a specific ruling, not a common rule. \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Jan 30 at 10:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't understand what the question here is. At what point does 'damage is an effect' come into play, exactly? How and when do you take multiple instances of damage at the same time? \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Jan 30 at 10:07
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There is no D&D specific definition

So it takes its normal English one:

something that inevitably follows an antecedent (such as a cause or agent)

(source)

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Damage is an effect, not a feature

Combining game effects says:

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. For example, if a target is ignited by a fire elemental’s Fire Form trait, the ongoing fire damage doesn’t increase if the burning target is subjected to that trait again

Damage has to be a game effect. It has rules and consequences in the game but it is not a feature. It isn't a feature because it has no name such as Fire Form or Acid Arrow and therefore the rule state above can't apply. Not only is it not a feature, but there is no way to ever have 2 simultaneous attacks (that I know of), all attacks are consecutive (save for a select few spells).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch I'm suggesting the opposite. For the Combining Game Effect to apply the game features need the same name. I'm saying that weapon attacks have no name and therefore can't have that rule applied to them. Is there a way I can clear this up in my answer? \$\endgroup\$ – Glenn Driver Jan 30 at 14:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe saying just that...or wait until OP clarifies exactly what they're trying to ask. \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Jan 30 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Specifically damage from spells such as multiple Moonbeams cast on the corners of large (or larger) creatures. \$\endgroup\$ – Sean Culligan Jan 30 at 15:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeanCulligan Isn't that a question you've already asked? In that case combining magic effects does take effect because they share a name and duration (if they're affecting the same creature at the same time) \$\endgroup\$ – Glenn Driver Jan 30 at 15:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I asked the question regarding Moonbeam earlier and the response was split 50/50. My player agreed with the rules on combining magic effect however he claimed that damage is not an effect. I could find nothing to refute that so I figured I would ask the experts here. \$\endgroup\$ – Sean Culligan Jan 30 at 23:29

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