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The rules for Temporary Hit Points are described in the following fashion:

Some spells and special abilities confer temporary hit points to a creature. Temporary hit points aren't actual hit points; they are a buffer against damage, a pool of hit points that protect you from injury.

(emphasis mine)

However, the Wish spell details stress as such:

The stress of casting this spell to produce any effect other than duplicating another spell weakens you. After enduring that stress, each time you cast a spell until you finish a long rest, you take 1d10 necrotic damage per level of that spell. This damage can't be reduced or prevented in any way.

(emphasis also mine)

I've been playing around with this one for quite a bit. While some might argue that using temp HP to nullify the stress damage qualifies as reducing it, others would say that they are still technically taking the damage, so the bonus HP should be able to absorb it. However, why leave it up to the DM when we can reach a consensus here instead?

My question is, according to RAW (above samples included): does the stress damage from Wish reduce temporary hit points?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: "Can a wizard use False Life and Life Transference to heal someone else?" \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1, 2022 at 10:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you mean to ask "can Wish stress damage be reduced by temporary hit points?" Your title asks whether taking Wish stress damage can reduce the amount of temp HP you have. That's not a damage reduction, that's an HP reduction. And your question seems to be about whether to interpret temp HP as a damage reduction or not. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1, 2022 at 16:38

2 Answers 2

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Temporary hp do not reduce or prevent wish damage, they absorb it

The damage is necrotic damage that is different from normal damage in that it cannot be reduced or prevented. Reducing according to the dictionary means:

make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size.

The damage wish deals is not being reduced or prevented by the temp hp. Wish still deals all the damage. Instead, the temporary hit points are reduced by the damage, thereby buffering the amount of damage to normal hit points. So yes, the stress of wish reduces temporary hit points.

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The damage is no different from any other damage

It’s just damage so it works the same as being hit with a sword - temporary hp first.

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