The creature stops being "Stable" and makes Death Saving Throws normally
A stable creature doesn't make death saving throws, even though it has 0 hit points, but it does remain unconscious. The creature stops being stable, and must start making death saving throws again, if it takes any damage. ...[snip]
Stabilizing a creature removes it from the death ...
I think option 1 would be most likely.
Taking damage while unconscious, whether stable or not, would be a Very Bad Thing.
In the Damage at 0 Hit Points section it states:
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
This particular ...
The creature takes death saving throw failiures on the initial hit
Unfortunately for the character in question, your first scenario is correct.
A stable creature is unconscious with 0 hp - the fact that they are currently exempt from having to make death saving throws (and that the number of sucesses / failiures they have previously made has been reset) is ...
The best I could come up with is 2,084 damage.
Use an Oathbow (1d8+3d6)
Drink a Potion of Giant Size from SKT (Oathbow now deals 3d8+9d6)
Use an Arrow of Slaying (+6d10)
Have Dexterity 20 then use Dex Tome (+6 dmg)
Paladin 3 - use Branding Smite (+2d6) also gives you Martial Prof to
use the Oathbow
Rogue Assassin 17 - get "Assassinate" "Death Strike" and ...
Damage occurs all at once, thus, very technically, your contingency will not activate
The rules on "Damage and Healing" state:
[...] Whenever a creature takes damage, that damage is subtracted from its hit points [...]
It doesn't state that the damage is dealt 1 hit point at a time, it is all at once. This means that you will immediately drop to 0 hit ...
The extra damage does not count against the heal spell, but you made a mistake on your contingency trigger.
The dnd-5e rules basically state that when you take extra damage over your total, you're reduced to zero hit points and need to start making death saving throws.
Dropping to 0 Hit Points
When you drop to 0 Hit Points, you either die
Contingency occurs after the event defined.
The contingent spell takes effect immediately after the circumstance is met for the first time, whether or not you want it to, and then contingency ends.
This means that the damage has to occur. There's no way to "stop" in between the damage numbers, so to speak.
If you actually meant "when I drop to 1 hit ...
There are lots of ways to save a character that has died. NPCs can provide restorative services if the body is brought back to town, for example, and the PCs could take on a debt if they don't have enough money to pay for the spell used. The party could find a Scroll of Resurrection if you felt like being heavy-handed about it. Your afterlife could ...
The Sorcerer is, RAW, dead.
It's OK for PCs to die. Rolling up a new character isn't that hard once one has done it a few times. (When this happens, for the rest of the session I often invite the player make the dice rolls for the monsters and keep track of their HP, so that they have something to do to stay engaged with the adventure).
You and your ...
I want to focus on the moments just before death.
Consider character health when preparing for encounters
Honestly, I wouldn't generally send a CR 2 monster after level 1 characters (even if an adventure calls for it), because they're so squishy and prone to dying. I'm sure there are exceptions I'm forgetting, but as a rule, I baby them at level 1, because ...
There isn't an override to massive damage
But that doesn't mean you are without resources. As you've noted, by pure RAW the character would die. Fudging rolls is always an option. I'm generally not a fan of doing that, but I have used it at times because the consequences were greater than I had planned and it didn't seem reasonable for my story to use the ...
These aren't mutually exclusive strategies
The options you have laid out aren't simply exclusive of each other. Each one has different "costs" associated with it. Let's look at them in turn:
Switching to plate armour will give you +2 to AC, but disadvantage to Dexterity (Stealth) checks and if you have a Strength below 15 reduce your speed by 10 ft.
By RAW, that PC is dead, and there is nothing you can do to save them
The situation you describe, with that much damage being dealt to a level 1 PC with that little health, results in insta-death, as you know. There is no RAW way to prevent that, short of somehow being able to reduce the damage (certain classes may have certain features that can do that, ...
The 'best' method (subject to specific games)
If your game has Mythic rules in play, Mythic Weapon Finesse does what you want at Mythic Tier 1.
The easiest method
Elven Curve Blades come stock with Weapon Finesse compatability, and are therefore a valid choice for the Agile weapon Special Ability. This does exactly what you want for a +1 enhancement bonus ...
You have a few good options against resistance, but immunity is harder to overcome
Against resistance, you have a few spells that can be used to give vulnerability to poison to creature. They are:
hallow (Energy Vulnerability)
contagion (Flesh Rot)
At the DM's fiat, you may also use bestow curse to negate a creature's resistance to poison damage.
With spells only, 80d6, for an average of 280 or maximum of 480 damage.
With the Boon of High Magic, 2 levels of Fighter, 17 or more levels of Sorcerer or Wizard, and the spell Meteor Swarm.
Step 1: Cast Meteor Swarm on the target 40d6 damage.
Step 2: Use Action Surge (from your 2 levels of Fighter) to gain a second action.
Step 3: Cast Meteor Swarm ...
With perfect rolls, arbitrarily much
We need a 1st level Wild Magic sorcerer with the Boon of Spell Mastery epic boon (DMG p. 232). We choose one of our sorcerer spells that deal damage for that boon, let's say chaos bolt.
Our loop is quite simple. We cast our chosen 1st level spell without expending a slot. This triggers Wild Magic surge, we roll a 1 and ...
If the zombie has resistance or vulnerability to the attack, the DC is calculated by the final damage amount.
From PhB: Resistance and Vulnerability
For example, a creature has resistance to bludgeoning damage and is hit by an attack that deals 25 bludgeoning damage. The creature is also within a magical aura that reduces all damage by 5. The 25 damage ...
Adding vulnerability doesn't remove immunity
There's nothing in the rules about any of vulnerability, resistance, or immunity being mutually exclusive. In fact, in the case of vulnerability and resistance, the rules explicitly cover the case of a creature having both (emphasis added):
Resistance and then vulnerability are applied after all other ...
No, it doesn't
The definition of 'vulnerability':
If a creature or object has vulnerability to a damage type, damage of
that type is doubled against it.
If a creature is immune to a damage type, then damage of that type is reduced to 0. This is from a plain English reading of the meaning of "immunity" - to be unaffected by something.
There is nothing ...
The Specific Effect of the Feature Beats the General Immunity
This is a case of specific beats general via a class feature effect.
For instance, an adventurer can’t normally pass through walls, but some spells make that possible.
In this instance, a creature can't normally be damaged by fire, but the class feature makes that possible for a very ...
The ongoing damage cannot be a crit.
When you cast Acid Arrow, it requires an attack roll. Since you're making an attack roll, it can be a crit. The subsequent damage does not require (or even allow) attack rolls, and without an attack roll, it can't be a crit. Effects that create ongoing damage do not multiply on a critical hit unless they are specifically ...
Spatial overlap is irrelevant for combining effects
In the DMG section on combining game effects1:
Different game features can affect a target at the same time. But when two or more game features have the same name, only the effects of one of them—the most potent one—apply while the durations of the effects overlap. For example, if a target is ignited by ...
The creature takes damage from both effects
(based on an optional rule)
However the area is only lit by dim light by one of the beams. This is because moon beam has two parts:
Until the spell ends, dim light fills the cylinder.
This is a continuous effect and the duration of that effect overlaps for both moonbeams, therefore the area is only lit by dim ...
The creature takes damage from both
Everybody is quoting the DMG on spell effects, but that is completely irrelevant here because nobody is trying to overlap moonbeams over each-other.
If the question was 'can I cast two Moonbeams ontop of each-other and have a creature take damage twice?', the answer is, indeed, no, because you can't overlap spell effects,...
Size doesn't matter; you cannot stack the same spell on the same target within its duration.
Let's compare PHB ("Combining Magical Effects"):
The effects of different spells add together while the durations of those spells overlap. The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don't combine, however. Instead, the most potent effect--such as the ...
The creature takes damage from both spells.
Moonbeam is cast on an area, not a creature. It then causes damage to creatures within that area. The effect of said damage is instantaneous, and so the rules for overlapping spells doesn't apply.
This is combining the same spell multiple times.
The rule you're referencing is found in chapter 10 of the PHB, Spellcasting, in the subsection Combining Magical Effects. [emphasis mine]
The effects of different spells add together while the durations of those spells overlap. The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don't combine, however. ...
Here are some more options not listed in the other answers:
The Battle Master Fighter's Parry Maneuver:
When another creature damages you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction and expend one superiority die to reduce the damage by the number you roll on your superiority die + your Dexterity modifier.
The Bladesinging Wizard's Song of Defense:
I'd like to take a different approach to the other answers here:
Talk to the DM about removing the house rule for Monster critical hits
Monsters already have average damage values, rather than rolling. Average crits wouldn't be substantially different. The party impacts of a player critting are vastly different than a monster.
If a PC crits a monster for ...
Take the Lucky Feat
You can also spend one luck point when an attack roll is made against you. Roll a d20, and then choose whether the attack uses the attacker's roll or yours.
The Lucky feat allows, 3 times per long rest, a player to roll a d20 in addition to any d20s rolled as part of the attack. Afterwards, you get to choose whether your d20 or the ...
Play as a Grave Cleric
The Grave Cleric domain from XGtE (p. 20) has the following ability at level 6:
As a reaction when you or a creature you can see within 30 feet of you suffers a critical hit, you can turn that hit into a normal hit.
This ability has a limited number of uses between long rests but unless you are getting critical hit too often, it ...
It has the property:
While you're wearing it, any critical hit against you becomes a normal
hit. (DMG 150)
It is only classified as uncommon, but it is still a magic item. Depending on how the DM handles that, the difficulty of acquiring one may change. You also need to be proficient in at least medium armor to properly use one.
FALLING is the action of rapid uncontrolled descent. IMPACT is the consequence of abruptly ceasing to fall. FALLING is potential energy. IMPACT is kinetic energy. SLOW FALL reduces the potential energy that is a key component of the resulting kinetic energy of IMPACT.
From a theoretical physics perspective, Slow Fall reduces the acceleration to terminal ...
You use your reaction when you fall, before damage is rolled
The trigger for Slow Fall's reaction is "when you fall". This trigger occurs as soon as you find out you are falling, not after the fall when you take damage. Note that the Feather Fall spell has the same trigger (plus the ability of the spell to affect others as well), and the mechanics of ...
Before damage rolls
The ability states
You can use your reaction when you fall
This is the trigger and so you must choose to use the reaction as soon as you start to fall. The ability does not say anything about "when you land". If you choose to use your reaction after you impact the ground you would realistically not be able to avoid damage and would ...
You must use your reaction as you fall. After taking damage, you are no longer falling.
The trigger is specific:
you can use your reaction when you fall
You take falling damage when you hit the ground, and at that point you fell, you are not falling anymore. Therefore, a Monk spends its reaction before taking damage.
Narratively, it doesn't make much ...
It happens after damage rolls
Most reactions interrupt or happen after their trigger. (Link thanks to Medix2)
Although the linked example leaves out Slow Fall the results are the same. You must Take Damage to use Slow Fall.
Let's frame it this way though. A Monks slowfall is, or at least appears to be, a nonmagic ability. Since it doesn't require them to ...
You have to choose before the damage is rolled
A reaction generally interrupts the thing that triggered it, (such as an attack of opportunity from an opponent moving, or from a readied action to do [X] when [Y] happens) and happens either after or during the action that triggered it. I believe you would have to choose to use slow fall before the damage is ...