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The Abjuration Wizard's 2nd level ability Arcane Ward reads:

Starting at 2nd level, you can weave magic around yourself for protection. When you cast an abjuration spell of 1st level or higher, you can simultaneously use a strand of the spell’s magic to create a magical ward on yourself that lasts until you finish a long rest.

In the context of this ability, the wizard is the "warded creature", obviously.

The 6th level ability, Projected Ward, reads:

Starting at 6th level, when a creature that you can see within 30 feet of you takes damage, you can use your reaction to cause your Arcane Ward to absorb that damage. If this damage reduces the ward to 0 hit points, the warded creature takes any remaining damage.

To use Projected Ward, you must already have your Arcane Ward active, thus before using your reaction, you are definitely "the warded creature". In the description for Projected Ward, it says you are using "your ward", as in the ward that is warding you, to absorb the damage.

In the context of this ability who is the "warded creature", the wizard or the creature who took the damage that triggered the reaction?

The RAI seems obvious here, but I would prefer a RAW focused ruling.

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2 Answers 2

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The creature who was about to be hurt takes the damage.

If this feature was intended to have you take any remaining damage, I would expect it to be worded "you take any remaining damage" the same as the level 2 feature. It's only necessary to change that wording and say "the warded creature" if that's the easiest way to specify which creature is intended; in this case, because it's not necessarily you.

"The warded creature" here refers to the creature being protected from damage by this activation of the Projected Ward ability, not the creature the ward belongs to.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1: Your observation of the lack of parallelism with the 2nd level ability makes it much more clear. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 1, 2020 at 14:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep, the seeming intent is "the creature you just warded with this reaction", not just "a creature that is still warded while there's damage remaining". \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Jul 14, 2020 at 3:04
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There is no clear RAW here, but it is clear that the ward that is projected to another target wards THAT creature.

You project the ward towards the area that the damage is dealt, so it absorbs the damage there and when it is reduced to 0 hit points, the remaining damage continues to affect the targeted creature.

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