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An abjuration wizard has the Arcane Ward class feature (PHB, p. 115):

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. The ward has hit points equal to twice your wizard level + your Intelligence modifier. Whenever you take damage, the ward takes the damage instead. If this damage reduces the ward to 0 hit points, you take any remaining damage.

A Banshee (MM, p. 23) has the Wail action:

Wail (1/Day). The banshee releases a mournful wail, provided that she isn’t in sunlight. This wail has no effect on constructs and undead. All other creatures within 30 feet of her that can hear her must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, a creature drops to 0 hit points. On a success, a creature takes 10 (3d6) psychic damage.

If an abjuration wizard who has an Arcane Ward active fails their saving throw against a Banshee's Wail, they would drop to 0 hit points. What happens to their ward?

  • Does it drop to 0 hit points instead of the wizard (meaning the wizard does not drop to 0 hit points)? The Wail ability is not damage (if you fail the save), whereas the Arcane Ward specifically mentions damage, so I assume this isn't how it works...
  • Does it disappear when the wizard drops to 0 hit points? I don't think anything about the Banshee's Wail or dropping to 0 hit points generally would make it disappear...
  • Does it remain active? I'm assuming this is the most likely answer, given my above reasoning...
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What happens to their ward:

  • Does it drop to 0 hit points instead of the wizard? No, since it's not a damage dealing effect, the ward is not affected.

  • Does it disappear when the wizard drops to 0 hit points? No: there's nothing in its description that would make it do this. The wizard is at 0, but their ward is still as effective as it were if said wizard was at 1hp or more and still alive.

  • Does it remain active? Yes, as mentioned above. Notably, that means the ward can still absorb the damage the wizard would take when unconscious and making death saving throws, potentially negating automatic death save failures by damage if the ward reduces damage to 0.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, you anticipated my next question (about death saves and such); I'll still ask it separately in case it's more complicated than it seems... \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Oct 12 '20 at 11:54

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