Damage causes allow you to specify that a player is only allowed to keep their items if they die for a specific reason. Some of the more useful damage causes are listed below. A full list is available here.
- block_explosion - Damage caused by being in the area when a block explodes.
- contact - Damage caused when an entity contacts a block such as a Cactus.
- drowning - Damage caused by running out of air while in water.
- entity_attack - Damage caused when an entity attacks another entity.
- entity_explosion - Damage caused by being in the area when an entity, such as a Creeper, explodes.
- fall - Damage caused when an entity falls a distance greater than 3 blocks.
- fire - Damage caused by direct exposure to fire.
- fire_tick - Damage caused due to burns caused by fire.
- lava - Damage caused by direct exposure to lava.
- lightning - Damage caused by being struck by lightning.
- magic - Damage caused by being hit by a damage potion or spell.
- poison - Damage caused due to an ongoing poison effect.
- projectile - Damage caused when attacked by a projectile.
- starvation - Damage caused by starving due to having an empty hunger bar.
- suffocation - Damage caused by being put in a block.
- suicide - Damage caused by committing suicide using the command "/kill".
- void - Damage caused by falling into the void.
Some commands in third-party plugins, such as CommandBook's /slay command, kill players without specifying a damage cause. If a player is killed by such a command, their items and experience will be dropped at their death location, and their death location will be recorded in the server logs.