3
\$\begingroup\$

Hellfire Blast (Sp) [...]
Each time you use this ability, you take 1 point of Constitution damage. Because the diabolical forces behind the power of hellfire demand part of your essence in exchange for this granted power, if you do not have a Constitution score or are somehow immune to Constitution damage, you cannot use this ability.

(Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells, p.90)

A heavy web belt of cyan energy wraps around your torso. When you wear it, you feel energized and revitalized. When you are struck by an attack that would damage your ability scores, a wave of incarnum energy passes through you, blunting the effectiveness of the attack.

The strongheart vest protects you from attacks that would reduce your ability scores. Any time you would take ability damage, such as Constitution damage or Strength damage, the amount of the damage is reduced by 1 point, to a minimum of 0.
For example, if you fail a saving throw against the poison of a monstrous centipede and would normally take 2 points of Dexterity damage from its poison, you take 1 point instead. Ten rounds later, if you fail a second saving throw against the poison and would normally take 1 point of Dexterity damage, you take no Dexterity damage instead.

(Magic of Incarnum, p.89)

Question separated from Can at-wills be used to fuel other abilities that require spending uses?

\$\endgroup\$
3
\$\begingroup\$

With the rules strictly as written yes, but I've never met anyone who allows it.

Quite simply, the strongheart vest does not make you immune to Constitution damage, which is the condition that Hellfire Blast applies. It's kind of odd that they didn't mention mitigation, since they customarily do, but then that's usually HP damage, since ability damage mitigation is very rare.

On the other hand, strongheart vest does make you immune to the damage that Hellfire Blast wants to do, which is really the relevant point, one would think. As such, I've never met a DM who allowed it, even though the rules are not really phrased that way. It's just a weird corner-case.

That said, it's not as if allowing it would imbalance anything. It saves a warlock one level on binder, since the strongheart vest can be gotten with feats while the ability damage healing effect of Naberius is not allowed to non-binders, but it's still only one level. The Hellfire Blast damage is clearly so good for a warlock that almost any optimal warlock build should take the class, which is problematic, but ultimately the damage isn't that great, and warlocks are a weak class that could use the help.

With Eldritch Claws + Beast Strike or eldritch glaive, I'd be somewhat more concerned, but only somewhat. The former prefers unarmed strike damage over eldritch blast damage and is no longer a touch attack to boot, while the latter has a whole lot of awkward restrictions on it.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I think many DM's focus on "or are somehow immune to Constitution damage" meaning that the reduction to a minimum of 0 would make them "immune." I would actually allow it. With all of the CoDZillas out there, Warlocks need something. \$\endgroup\$ – Ruut Sep 29 '14 at 9:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.