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I am trying to determine what conditions will create Advantage on a Death Saving Throw for a player character who drops to 0 hit points during combat.

Thanks to the "Lucky" racial feature, a Halfling can negate a natural roll of a 1 on a d20(two failed saves). This is similar to but different from having Advantage on a Death Saving Throw.

Spells, skills and features that add bonuses to saving throws don't apply: the death saving throw feature of 1 or 20 comes from the raw die roll of 1 or 20. There are two reasons to need advantage on this saving throw:

  1. To avoid character death (when you've missed one already and don't want a double miss to kill the character)

  2. To have a higher chance to "quick revive" to 1 HP without further expenditure of resources from the party.

When you make a death saving throw and roll a 1 on the d20, it counts as two failures. If you roll a 20 on the d20, you regain 1 hit point. (PHB, pg. 197)

The significant difference between 0 HP and 1 HP is the difference between being unconscious, and being able to take actions, reactions, cast spells, flee, hide, etcetera. While another character can cast a healing spell as soon as you drop to 0 HP ("quick revive" to greater than 0 HP), in certain combat situations they may be too busy with the fight to do that.

The responses to the use of Portent were mixed. As I understand that approach, portent could not be used by the wizard on himself, but perhaps on another character. If the latter, it's even less desirable than a use of in-combat healing.

I have found two spells, two items, and one feat that will provide advantage on a generic saving throw, and thus on a death saving throw (death saves are not tied to any of the six abilities, as so many other saves are):

  1. 9th level spell Foresight (while under its influence, duration 8 hours)
  2. 8th level spell Holy Aura (if within 30' of the cleric maintaining that aura)
  3. Candle of Invocation (very rare wondrous item, if it is burning and you are within 30' of it)
  4. Luck Blade(Legendary). (Once per day advantage on any save/attack or ability check) property can’t be used again until the next dawn.
  5. The Lucky feat: the character can choose to apply advantage on a saving throw roll.

    The spell levels and the rarity of the magic items I have found suggests that this benefit, advantage on death saving throws, won't be available until at least 12th level (items) or beyond (spells and items).

Question restated:

Are there other ways (beyond the Lucky feat) to gain Advantage on a Death Saving Throw that work at lower level than those mid-to-late game choices that I found and listed above?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not capital-A "Advantage", but I can think of two features that add modifiers to death saving throws: the Monk's Diamond Soul feature (14th level) and the Paladin's Aura of Protection (6th level). \$\endgroup\$ – Pink Sweetener May 19 at 17:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PinkSweetener And for that matter the Bless spell. :) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast May 19 at 20:30
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The easiest way to gain advantage on a death saving throw is to use inspiration.

If you have inspiration, you can expend it when you make an attack roll, saving throw, or ability check. Spending your inspiration gives you advantage on that roll.

Alternatively, you could be a Wild Magic Sorcerer, and use Tides of Chaos. Well, probably.

Starting at 1st level, you can manipulate the forces of chance and chaos to gain advantage on one attack roll, ability check, or saving throw.

The 3rd- level spell Beacon of Hope explicitly grants advantage on death saving throws for its duration.

Fighters can use Indomitable to reroll a failed saving throw - not precisely the same as advantage, but pretty close.

Beginning at 9th level, you can reroll a saving throw that you fail.

There are almost certainly more options that I've missed - getting advantage on things is a pretty fundamental part of 5e.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Using Inspiration is definitely the easiest way and EVERYBODY gets to use it too! \$\endgroup\$ – LeHill Aug 8 '16 at 20:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LeHill If it is a feature at a given table. (I am a big fan of inspiration, however there is no requirement to award it) See this previous question and this other previous question for more. And see p. 240 DMG. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 8 '16 at 22:14
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In addition to Miniman's answer, "Human Determination" is a UA-only feat from UA: Feats for Races; one of its benefits is:

When you make an attack roll, an ability check, or a saving throw, you can do so with advantage. Once you use this ability, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What is the UAFFR? \$\endgroup\$ – Davo May 18 at 19:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Davo: I'm guessing it's some sort of unofficial compilation of actual UA. I've added a direct link to the UA it's from. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 18 at 20:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 18 at 20:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Davo It was an acronym for Unearthed Arcana: Feats For Races, my bad. \$\endgroup\$ – MrVauxs Jul 12 at 0:39

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