The creature takes death saving throw failures 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 successes/failures they have previously made has been reset) is ...
No, you must start your turn with 0 HP
Under the section titled Death Saving Throws the Basic Rules state:
Whenever you start your turn with 0 hit points, you must make a special saving throw, called a death saving throw.
Before you start your turn, how many hit points do you have? If it is more than 0, then you will not make a death saving throw, because ...
It's unclear but...
Looking at the definitions provided for Wisdom and Charisma on the abilities page, there is not a clear definition of saving throws listed for the abilities.
Wisdom reflects how attuned you are to the world around you and represents perceptiveness and intuition.
Charisma measures your ability to interact effectively with ...
If you succeed on a Death Saving Throws 3 times, you don't recover any hitpoints. Instead, you become stable:
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
A stable ...
It is difficult to counteract homebrew rules/items
"Spell resistance" is only ever specified under the 7th level class feature of Oath of Ancients paladin granting resistance to all spell damage to anyone in their aura. This homebrew is basically combining that mechanic with magical resistance or the use of a Rare magic item like the mantle of ...
Don't get knocked unconscious
While this is not the answer you're looking for, it's about the best one we can give. An unconscious character can, by the plain English definition of the word, not act. Both in the reality of the game world as well as the rules, that not bleeding out is the only thing your character can do.
If your character keeps getting ...
From a plain English reading, failing by 5 or more means having a saving throw roll that is a number 5 below the normal DC or less (see detailed explanation below). This does nothing in general but certain abilities care about how much you failed your save by. For example, the pseudodragon's sting (emphasis mine):
(..) and the target must succeed on a DC 11 ...
They are not "both willpower". They're as different from one another as they are from a DEX or STR save.
I know that's blunt, but it's an important lead-in to any answer to this question. The mistaken premise here is that you are defining these explicitly distinct qualities in terms of an analogy (that each equals willpower in some sense), and then ...
Yes, they will still take half damage.
This doesn't contradict the text at all, because you have successfully protected them from the full force of the spell. You aren't able to protect them completely, but they haven't taken the full damage the spell would have otherwise inflicted.
In my experience playing and running D&D, unless you have an unusually high number of spellcasting enemies, this won't actually be that big of a deal — your once-per-short-rest-advantage feature should cover it. (You might want to move it down from 11th level, maybe starting with once per long rest.)
But, I also want to challenge one of your statements. ...
Your answer is also contained in your first descriptive sentence.
You touch a willing creature and put it into a cataleptic state that is indistinguishable from death.
If you are flailing around, singing and making saves, that is very obviously distinguishable from death. So just by that caveat alone it would prevent the activity you ...
Dungeon Master Guide calls this Degrees of Failure or Success at a Cost
The opening paragraph of the Resolution and Consequences section of the DMG (p. 243) encourages non binary results to player actions:
As a DM, you have a variety of flourishes and approaches you can take when adjudicating success and failure to make things a little less black-and-...
No, a 1 on the d20 for a death saving throw is still two failures
As you've pointed out, the death saving throw has a specific rule that says:
When you make a death saving throw and roll a 1 on the d20, it counts as two failures. (PHB, p. 197)
It specifically mentions the number on the die, not the total, which implies that even if you somehow managed to ...
Cleric's Spell Save DC
You are correct that RAW the saving DC is not specified. I have been unable to find any source that officially corrects this oversight. However, I think using the cleric's spell save DC is a fairly safe assumption.
Most cleric features that require a save come under the Channel Divinity set of features. In the text for that feature we ...
Any effect that removes the Restrained condition would suffice.
The ability you quoted states:
The Restrained target must repeat the saving throw at the end of its next turn. On a success, the effect ends on the target. On a failure, the target is Petrified until freed by the Greater Restoration spell or other magic.
If the Restrained condition is removed, ...
The immolated creature makes a save as normal and, on a fail, suffers the illumination effect but not the fire damage.
The interesting thing in this situation is that the creature is making a dex save to avoid the immolation. Essentially, they are jumping out of the way of the incoming flames. How dexterous they are has no impact on their immunity to fire.
In general you'll need to look to the specific effect's rules. Most often you probably have something like this, from the Giant Poisonous Snake statblock:
Hit: 6 (1d4 + 4) piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw, taking 10 (3d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
If the rules ...
The spell says, among other things:
You touch a willing creature and put it into a cataleptic state that
is indistinguishable from death.
For the spell’s duration, or until you use an action to touch the
target and dismiss the spell, the target appears dead to all outward
inspection and to spells used to determine the target’s status. The
You probably use your own spell save DC, but RAW is unclear
The description of the Ring of Shooting Stars (DMG, p. 192) does indeed not give a spell save DC for faerie fire. It also gives access to dancing lights and light, the latter of which may also require a spell save DC ("if you target an object held or worn by a hostile creature"), which the item's ...
No, you only get one reaction per round.
Unfortunately, once you've used your reaction on one effect, you can't use it on another effect the same round.
Reactions are bounded as follows:
When you take a reaction, you can't take another one until the start of your next turn.
Shield Master also specifically says (my emphasis):
If you are subjected to an ...
Rules as written (and excluding house rules or specific rules for the effect that called for a save) there is no added effect from rolling a 20 on a saving throw (nor ability check).
The general description of saving throws in the Player's Handbook (p. 179) make no mention of rolling a 20 (nor a 1). However, the DMG section on ability checks and saving ...
Saving throws aren't reactions
Reactions are a special type of action you can take in response to something, i.e. when a rule says you can use your reaction. They are part of the action economy, as you only get one per round (See PHB 190 for the general definition of reactions).
Saving throws are a type of roll you are forced to make by some rule, feature, ...
A creature cannot be actively affected by two instances of the same spell, this includes the warded creature; one saving throw is made
The rules on "Combining Magical Effects" state:
[...] The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don't combine, however. Instead, the most potent effect—such as the highest bonus--from those castings applies while ...
Yes, death saving throws are saving throws
Death saving throws are a type of saving throws (right there in the name)†, so bane and bless can affect them. The spells also don't end because the target is at 0 hit points. The only exception is if you are the one casting the spell, because the falling unconscious that happens before making death saves would ...
The bite has to hit
From the basic rules on monsters, we can see the following description of the "hit" notation (emphasis mine):
Hit. Any damage dealt or other effects that occur as a result of an attack hitting a target are described after the "Hit" notation.
Since the cockatrice's Bite includes the saving throw to avoid being petrified after the hit ...
Spells do what they say they do, and there is no 'flavor' text
If a word in a rule/spell/whatever isn't specifically defined by the game, it has it's normal English meaning.
You're right that 'cataleptic' is undefined by the game, but it's English meaning is very easily understood, as is 'indistinguishable from death'. You hit the nail on the head with "...
Natural 1s on death saves count as 2 failures
The ability Brutish Durability simply mentions:
Whenever you make a saving throw, roll 1d6 and add the die to your saving throw total. If applying this bonus to a death saving throw increases the total to 20 or higher, you gain the benefits of rolling a 20 on the d20
Since nothing is mentioned for rolling a ...
There would be rounding errors. Player's Handbook page 7 tells you to always round down. Thus, if you rolled 7 and the Mummy Lord succeeded at the saving throw to halve damage, it would be halved to 3. Then, this 3 would be doubled due to vulnerability, for a total of 6 damage.
Many DMs I know would just rule that halved, then doubled means it just stays ...
Nothing in the spells description exempts the caster.
According to the Earthquake spell, not only would you need to make a DEX save to avoid falling prone, but you'd also need to make a CON save just to maintain concentration on the spell!
Each creature on the ground that is concentrating must make a
Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the creature'...
A friendly Sorcerer with Careful Spell could help you achieve this effect
There is no general rule that exempts casters from making saving throws for their own spells and, if a specific spell had such a rule, it would state it overtly.
However, Sorcerers can choose to take this useful metamagic ability:
When you cast a spell that forces other ...