The Situation:

The Sword of Wounding has the following magic effect:

Hit points lost to this weapon's damage can be regained only through a short or long rest, rather than by regeneration, magic, or any other means. (DMG, p.207)

If you deal nonlethal damage to a creature it you will knock it out.

When an attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack, the attacker can knock the creature out. The attacker can make this choice the instant the damage is dealt. The creature falls unconscious and is stable. (PHB, p. 198)

Normally that creature will regain 1 hit point after 1d4 hours (PHB, p. 198), but it cannot regain hit points by anything but a rest.


Is there a way to bring the creature back on its feet?

My first assumption was that you may be able to take a rest while unconscious, but Miniman pointed out a related Question which may answer that.

Is there anything that allows a unconscious creature to take a (short) rest? Or a spell/item which bypasses the effect of the Sword of Wounding?

  • 10
    \$\begingroup\$ Ooh... devious. Really good question, and really good bind to put a character (and GM!) in. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 3:46
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Related, possibly even a duplicate: Can a zero-HP, unconscious and stable character be woken up prematurely? \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 4:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman I will reword my question, so that it does not seem to be a duplicate. The question ist not only whether the creature can rest, more if there is any way to get it back. A rest was only my first assumption. Thanks for linking! \$\endgroup\$
    – Thyzer
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 4:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ At the risk of self-promotion, I'll say that I just posted a competing answer on the linked 0HP question which would, if correct, have strong bearing here. In fact, it's researching this question that led me to that answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 4:50

3 Answers 3


If we assume that all spells and items at your disposal restore your health by regaining hit points, and we also assume that all the damage dealt to our hypothetical character was dealt by the Sword of Wounding, it would seem that the character is eternally stuck at 0 HP.

However, let us turn to the "Recuperating" downtime activity listed on page 187 of the PHB (emphasis mine):

You can use downtime between adventures to recover from debilitating injury, disease, or poison.

After three days of downtime spent recuperating, you can make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw. On a successful save, you can choose one of the following results:

  • End one effect on you that prevents you from regaining hit points.
  • For the next 24 hours, gain advantage on saving throws against one disease or poison currently affecting you.

So, after 3 days you can make a DC 15 Con save to try and remove the effect of the Sword of Wounding from your character. If you fail, you can try again in another 3 days, provided that your unconscious body is actually allowed to have downtime to recuperate (i.e. left to rest somewhere in a bed, while the rest of the party does their own downtime activities). Once you have made the save, you are both:

  • stable at 0 HP, and
  • able to regain hit points again, meaning that in 1d4 hours you will be back up with 1 hit point (or sooner with potentially more HP if you receive healing).
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ That's a really great point about ending the effect rather than trying to regain hit points despite it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 16:25

There are 2 possibilities that I found. To begin with, there are a few key points that have to be considered.

The description of the sword of wounding states, in part:

Hit points lost to this weapon's damage can be regained only through a short or long rest, rather than by regeneration, magic, or any other means.

  1. Using the aid spell

    The description of the aid spell says:

    Your spell bolsters your allies with toughness and resolve. Choose up to three creatures within range. Each target’s hit point maximum and current hit points increase by 5 for the duration.

    First, the hit points granted by aid are not, per se, healing, since a character with full health still benefit with this increase.

    Second, the description of the sword of wounding states that hit points lost to the weapon's damage cannot be regained (through means other than a rest), but the spell has not healed those; it simply granted new hit points.

    And thirdly, even if the victim had aid active on them at the beginning of the battle and was at full health, they just have to wait until the previous aid spell's duration ends to apply a new aid spell (new spell, new hit points).

  2. Just heal the damage that was not inflicted by the weapon

    This one needs the consideration that, if damaged by anything else, you can heal those points back. Since the weapon states that only the HP lost to the weapon's damage cannot be regained by anything but rest, means that if the target was damaged by a fireball, you only need to heal that damage.

    In the case that all damage was done by the weapon in question, aid is still a viable alternative.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Does adjusting HP maximum through temp HP fill those HP as well? Or just increase your max? I think it's the latter so Aid would NOT "revive" someone.However, #2 resolves the issue nicely :) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 15:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch The Aid text quoted here says it increases current hit points as well as max hit points. (Or are you saying that there is a rule that disqualifies unconscious creatures from receiving the spell-specified increase in current HP? Or that adding current HP without using an explicit "heal"-type spell would not end unconsciousness? Or something else?) \$\endgroup\$
    – apsillers
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 15:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @apsillers I don't remember where I read that the difference between aid and, for example, false life is that aid gives true HP while false life is just a buffer. When I said that is not healing (just a way of speaking) I meant in the way that it breaks the traditional healing magic (by restoring lost HP), aid just "add" extra HP, thus is ideal for this scenario. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chepelink
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 15:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Important note: "Temporary hit points" is a specific concept. You can gain temporary HP through spells such as False Life; I don't have a quote convenient but I'm pretty sure that temp HP would not revive a downed character. The HP added by Aid is very much not "temporary hit points" - even though it's hit points that are temporarily added. Your assumption of just increasing the max is wrong either way though: temp HP do not contribute to (or count against) your maximum, while Aid, as quoted in the answer, increases "hit point maximum and current hit points". \$\endgroup\$
    – Tin Wizard
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 17:40
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Per the title, in this scenario, the creature has been reduced to 0 HP entirely by damage from the sword of wounding, so #2 wouldn't really be an option. Good idea about aid, though :) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 2:31

You have 2 specific rules that seem to lead to incompatible results.

However, there is a clear sequence here: the Sword of Wounding rules are in force first, they are then modified by the knocking people unconscious rule. The unconsciousness rule is more specific since it applies to only the hit that led to 0hp, the wounding applies to every hit. So after 1d4 hours the person awakes with 1hp but cannot heal thereafter except by resting.

Alternatively, if it is a PC on the receiving end they fall unconscious automatically unless killed by massive damage. Again, the rules on unconsciousness/stability are more specific so they make death saves as normal, they can be made stable by a medicine check and they awake after 1d4 hours with 1hp.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm curious as to how you determine that the unconscious rule is more specific. Both are specific overrides to damage. Degrees of specificity are not something that is clearly laid out. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 20:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LinoFrankCiaralli 2nd sentence 2nd paragraph \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 23:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes I read it but I fail to see how that makes it more specific. Sword of Wounding is exclusive to that item. That is also very specific. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 11:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LinoFrankCiaralli but the sword doesn't always deal a wound that leads to unconsciousness \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 8:13
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Technically, every wound leads to unconsciousness. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 16:09

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