[RPG] Is Absorb Elements cast before or after a save? Is it cast before or after damage


I was wondering where on "the stack" I can cast Absorb Elements. Is it when I get targeted, when I get hit, after I fail a save, or after the damage is rolled?

Best Answer

When you take damage.

The casting time of absorb elements (Elemental Evil, 150) is with my emphasis:

Casting Time: 1 reaction, which you take when you take acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage

This means that the trigger is when you take damage, and that is when you can cast the absorb elements. Not before, not later.

Being targetted, making a saving throw, rolling damage, etc. are not the trigger, so absorb elements has no "before" or "after" relation with those things. For example, you could take damage with none of those things occuring and you would still be able to cast absorb elements[1][2]. Conversely, even if all those things do happen, if in the end you take no damage then you can't cast absorb elements[3].

  1. You walk into a natural occuring fire. You weren't targetted, but you take fire damage so you can cast absorb elements.
  2. You suffer the secondary effect of green-flame blade (the caster's level is less than 5). You didn't make a save, and no damage was rolled, but you take fire damage so you can cast absorb elements.
  3. You were targetted by fireball, you made the save, and fire damage was rolled, but you are immune to fire damage so you take no damage and therefore can't cast absorb elements.