So, let's say we've got a character who can learn both Wizard's and Cleric's spells up to 9th spell level. The said character knows that he will face something that deals massive damage (and, by additional rules, it makes him roll Fortitude so he just does not die right away) and wants to find a way NOT to roll that Fort regardless of amounts of dices that will be thrown at him (so he, you know, dies if his HP are less than -10), and preferably at least for several minutes. What spells can he use to do that exactly?

The rules of massive damage are:

If you ever sustain a single attack deals 50 points of damage or more and it doesn’t kill you outright, you must make a DC 15 Fortitude save. If this saving throw fails, you die regardless of your current hit points. If you take 50 points of damage or more from multiple attacks, no one of which dealt 50 or more points of damage itself, the massive damage rule does not apply.

The amount of HP cap steps by 10 for every size category different from Medium (not that it really matters in the question), and as far as I understand, if one wants to cancel the Fort roll, he has to be immune to crits at all (through, I may be mistaken about it).

This is not question about invulnerability/invincibility, so those won't do the trick. Damage Reduction won't do it as well. No magic items or even a slight failure chance

  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, you could use a combination of boosting the saves beyond all chances of failure and removing the autofail on nat 1 (probably through items), but I doubt that that's what you are looking for. \$\endgroup\$
    – kravaros
    Jan 16, 2014 at 19:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, it's not what I meant. No magic items, and even a slight chance of not working is bad as well. I'm adding it to the description XD \$\endgroup\$ Jan 16, 2014 at 19:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, the method is foolproof, it will work, but it requires the item. \$\endgroup\$
    – kravaros
    Jan 16, 2014 at 19:05
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The feat Steadfast Determination eliminates the auto-failure on a nat-1 for Fortitude saves (and also switches Will to use Constitution instead of Wisdom, which is probably a bad thing for a divine caster). It requires Endurance, though, so that is two feats. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jan 16, 2014 at 19:26
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I feel like I'm missing something here, but... why not Shapechange into a Construct? They have immunity to massive damage as one of their Special Qualities. \$\endgroup\$
    – user5834
    Jan 17, 2014 at 19:37

2 Answers 2


Acquiring Immunity to Death from Massive Damage Is Weirdly Difficult

Immunity to precision damage or critical hits doesn't make one immune to death from massive damage. Having the elemental, ooze, or plant type doesn't make one immune to death from massive damage. A creature under the effect of the spell gaseous form [trans] (PH 234) isn't immune to death from massive damage. Even becoming incorporeal doesn't render one immune to death from massive damage. Apparently, massive damage is supposed to kill living things, and the way to become immune to massive damage is not to live.

That means immunity to death from massive damage can be gained only from the 7th-level Sor/Wiz spell body of war [trans] (SpC 35), the 7th-level Sor/Wiz spell undead mask [necro] (SS 71), and the 8th-level Sor/Wiz spell veil of undeath [necro] (SpC 229).

The mask and veil leave the target's type unchanged but grant many undead features, including immunity to death from massive damage. The body grants the caster, by turning him into a warforged titan, the construct type, hence immunity to death from massive damage; the caster can't cast--even via magic items--while affected by the spell.

So, um, yeah. That's it. That's all of 'em.

You can go sideways. Use the spell magic jar [necro] (PH 250-1) to move your mind into a body that's immune to death from massive damage or the spell polymorph any object [trans] (PH 263) to change form into a creature (or sandwich) that's immune to death from massive damage, for instance, but of the thousands of Wizards of the Coast spells published for D&D 3.X no spell exists that simply says, "You're immune to death from massive damage."

What You Can Do

  • Lug around a talisman of undying fortitude (MIC 188) (8,000 gp; 0 lbs.). As a swift action twice per day for 3 rounds gain immunity to death from massive damage.
  • Use the 2nd-level Sor/Wiz spell heroics [trans] (SpC 113) to gain the feat Martial Study (ToB 31-2) and pick the maneuver mind over body (ToB 64). Spend an immediate action to make a Concentration skill check that replaces a Fortitude saving throw.
  • Use a wand of conviction [abjur] (SpC 52) (1st-level spell at caster level 18) (or just cast the spell if you're level 18 or higher) and the spells superior resistance [abjur] (SpC 174) and recitation [conj] (SpC 170). In other words, just have a +14 bonus to all saving throws. Then get a golf bag of luck blades with zero wishes (DMG 227) (22,060 gp; 2 lbs.) or a mantle of second chances (MIC 115) (12,000 gp; 0 lbs.) or access to the granted power of the pride domain (SpC 278-9) or whatever to reroll failed saving throws.

The spells Iron Body (sor/wiz 8), Elemental Body (sor/wiz 7) and similar Stone Body (sor/wiz/cl 6) give explicit immunity to critical hits. So does Sandform (sor/wiz 4) and the Heart of Air/Earth/Fire/Water spells (sor/wiz 2-5), not Heart of Stone though. Veil of Undeath (sor/wiz 8) Body of War (sor/wiz 7). Amorphous form (sor/wiz 3), with it's obvious disadvantages.

Additionally if you are already a construct, such as warforger, construct essence and its greater version do the same.

Additionally, if you can cast druid spells, tree shape and plant body work too.

Note that all of these spells do not make you immune to death from massive damage, but do usually help in preventing massive damage in the first place.


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