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Unconsciousness caused by Nonlethal Damage (and other related questions)

Rules Questions

Shadow Lodge

Someone who is below 0 hp and stable has a chance to regain consciousness every hour. What happens to someone who is unconscious due to nonlethal damage? Is he forced to wait to wake up until his nonlethal damage is reduced back to his current hp?

Do smelling salts work on someone reduced to unconsciousness via nonlethal damage?

If someone with the Diehard feat (or half-orc racial) is reduced to 1 hp, can you hit him with a sap to knock him unconscious without him being able to activate it?

What does this quote mean:

Spellcasters who fall unconscious retain any spellcasting ability they had before going unconscious.

Does this allow characters to use spell-like abilities (since they only require mental actions, not physical ones)?

I would need to research your first question but I don't have the time atm. As to your second, it means that they do not lose spells memorized if they go unconcious. This is as opposed to being brought back from the dead where you might lose spells that are memorized.

- Gauss

Sovereign Court

1. Someone reduced to unconsciousness by nonlethal damage has to heal enough nonlethal damage to wake up again. The target number is equal to their current hit points.

2. Smelling salts will not work if they are unconscious via nonlethal damage.

3. Effectively, yes. Die Hard and the half-orc racial ability only apply when the target reaches 0 hit points or below. A non-lethal attack would not do that unless it exceeds his total maximum hit points.

4. The quote is a clarification; it states that spellcasters do not automatically lose their spells because of unconsciousness, and are still counted as spellcasters for the purposes of spells and effects despite being unconscious.

5. No. An unconscious character cannot take actions, even mental ones. Actually, this isn't addressed in the PRD, but has probably come up in rules questions before.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Seems kind of odd that someone who was knocked unconscious with nonlethal damage is harder to wake up than someone who is near death.

I came across this last night. One of my players became unconscious last night due to non-lethal damage, leaving the PC with 7 HPs, carrying 9 non-lethal damage, but unconscious. Having looked through the CR for some time to find a) a specific rule for this and b) ANY rule about waking up from unconsciousness when having HPs left, I was frustrated to find nothing. Cue coffee break. I decided that it made sense to rule that once the non-lethal damage was less than the PCs current HPs, the PC became conscious again i.e the orignal cause of the condition was addressed and given that PCs can act normally carrying non-lethal damage less than their current HPs. So 2 hours rest and the PC was back on his feet, though staggered. Maybe I missed something in the CR but it seemed a reasonable way to proceed.

From what I can understand, once the nonlethal damage done to a person exceeds their max hp, it becomes lethal (sort of like hitting a person with a glass just hard enough to knock them out but doing some physical damage). Once a person is healed at all, they become conscious again. here is the point in the book about nonlethal damage:

Nonlethal Damage
Nonlethal damage represents harm to a character that is not life-threatening. Unlike normal damage, nonlethal damage is healed quickly with rest.

Staggered and Unconscious: When your nonlethal damage equals your current hit points, you're staggered. You can only take a standard action or a move action in each round (in addition to free, immediate, and swift actions). You cease being staggered when your current hit points once again exceed your nonlethal damage.

When your nonlethal damage exceeds your current hit points, you fall unconscious. While unconscious, you are helpless.

If a creature's nonlethal damage is equal to his total maximum hit points (not his current hit points), all further nonlethal damage is treated as lethal damage. This does not apply to creatures with regeneration. Such creatures simply accrue additional nonlethal damage, increasing the amount of time they remain unconscious.

Healing Nonlethal Damage: You heal nonlethal damage at the rate of 1 hit point per hour per character level. When a spell or ability cures hit point damage, it also removes an equal amount of nonlethal damage.

So if a person were to recover say 10 nonlethal damage per hour, they would have to come back from the difference between their max hp and their nonlethal damage.
Character with 100 max hp takes 50 lethal damage and 70 nonlethal. Goes unconscious. Current hp 50 current nonlethal 70, if they recover 15 hp, it heals non lethal and normal. Current HP 65, current nonlethal 55, character wakes up. So combining lethal and nonlethal can actually be far more effective.

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