Here's the situation:

The party rogue comes up against a rather nasty enemy (homebrew) that does 1d8 bludgeoning damage and 1d8 psychic damage on a melee attack. The bludgeoning damage drops her to 0 hitpoints, and then I roll the psychic damage. Does the psychic damage, which is part of the same attack, cause her to fail a death save? The rules say:

If you take any damage while you have 0 hit points, you suffer a death saving throw failure. If the damage is from a critical hit, you suffer two failures instead. If the damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum, you suffer instant death.

Does this mean that the psychic damage, being "any damage" causes her to fail a death save? Or was this meant to be a per-attack basis? If the monster hit her again with the same attack, how many failures would she have?

At the time, I was thinking that she would be dead, but my players talked me out of it and I want to be sure before something similar happens again.

If it is one failure per damage roll, then I'm concerned about things like a dagger that does 1 slashing damage, 1 acid damage (from some being applied), and 1 fire damage (from being enchanted) flat out killing a character at 0 hp. It seems a little cheesy.


2 Answers 2


It's one attack even though it has multiple damage types. You roll both damage dice and apply the damage.

She drops to 0hp. With 0 death fails or saves. On her next turn she makes a death save. If she then gets hit again while down at 0hp she will automatically gain 1 death fail.


No, it's all one attack. The bludgeoning damage should not have been applied to her hit points until after you'd also rolled the psychic damage; then you apply it all at once as a single attack.

Death saves are per damage roll, not per damage die or damage type. Damage rolls frequently have multiple dice and types, but they are still a single damage roll.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .