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GM hitting a man when he is down!?


Pathfinder Society GM Discussion

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Andoran ****

Matthew Morris wrote:
@Feral, This is always a possibility.

Yes, I was defending Kyle. That was an example of a reasonable reason for a PC to die.

When the perfectly rational and intelligent enemy chooses to start a full attack to finish off a downed PC that hadn't done anything to hurt him, in a party with no healers, and otherwise hadn't shown himself to be a threat in any capacity, when other threats are directly adjacent to them - that's a problem.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Agreed, Feral.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I will give you an example of something I have done with "Dumb" creatures instead of finishing off the PC with another attack.

With what attacks he has left I would Try to Grab the downed PC to drag him out of the fight to eat in peace or away from the threats.

This will give the chance for the group to save him but still leave the chance of death if the PCs still up are being dumb.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think such a thing was mentioned earlier...

Cheliax **

I was at that table for the Game, I don't think what the Monster did was out of Character for the Monster at the time, and even more so now that I read his Stat block/Tactics.

Part of the Issue was playing with 5 players.. that kept the GM from using the lower level encounters (req. 4 players).

If I recall correctly, the monster had moved up to the cleric, and paladin standing next to each other, and cleaved them once. On the Cleric's turn, he backed up and healed. Then the Paladin moved very far away to assist on the other side of the field, and swift healed. This left just the monster, and the Cleric in that area of the field.

Monsters next turn, GM states he takes both swings at the cleric, before he cleric dropped. 1st hit drops cleric, 2nd kills him. I can't remember if ther was a pause by the gm to decide if the monster kept attacking or not.

I think the real error here was the paladin running off and leaving the Cleric to deal with one of the "bosses" of the encounter.

***

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Josh Shrader wrote:
I think the real error here was the paladin running off and leaving the Cleric to deal with one of the "bosses" of the encounter.

This is what I was talking about. If you openly mock and insult an NPC while rolling your Diplomacy check, you're probably going to fail. If you fight with no coordination as a group, one or more of you might die.

Just to set the record straight, I've killed exactly one character. It was a level 1 Valeros, and he got hit with a crit while low on HP. And perhaps to your point, the person who was playing him has never come back. But I'm not going to handwave it or fudge the roll. As a GM and as a player, I feel that it would invalidate everything else the party has done up to that point.

When a character is about to go down, I will help them look for every last bonus or penalty they may have overlooked to help them squeeze through. But sometimes you get crit, and sometimes your party abandons you in front of the BBEG.

**

Killing a PC when he goes down and there are other threats doesn't make sense....Unless the NPC was CE. Seriously, those guys live just to see others die...even if it means they die next. I would even rule that an Evil NPC of any alignment may use an action to finish off a PC if they even THINK there's healer in the group. After all, most adventuring groups have a healer of some type, even if it's just a rogue with a wand. Making sure someone is dead and a very tactical choice in combat.

In my campaigns, I rule that once an enemy is at -1 hps, he's dead. I assure you, however, if I ran them normally, and included a healer in even 25% of the enemy groups, my players would be making sure the baddies were dead even if it took an extra option because tactically it just makes sense. When it takes (on average) 2-4 full round to kill off a person, using 1 rd to make sure he/she can't come back does make sense sometimes.

Again, a lot of this stuff is *awefully* subjective. My advice to players is to always play each fight as if it's for keeps...because you rarely know the motives of your enemies, and what they're capaible of. Fight as if you're fighting for your life.

Taldor ****

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The reason Triomega hasn't convinced me of anything is because there are people who are turning away from PFS because all they do is show up and die. It's ok to kill PCs for making mistakes. It's another thing to openly boast about your player death toll.

Free RPG Day was a blood bath, and I've not seen any of the 10 new players I ran for come back because their impression of PFS was just for min/maxers, and they were trying to get away from that. That's 10 fewer Core Rulebooks sold. That's 10 fewer customers to support my LGS and keep it open.

I've seen numerous posts on this board about new players at GenCon who didn't want to come back to PFS after having levels ones TPKed. How many more players have we lost in the community, how many more dollars has the company lost to keep the game going beacause of this mentality.

People have been follwoing your advice. I've watched one store go from having to struggle to find a 5th GM to struggle to fill a 2nd table because they've not liked the taste of the kool-aid and haven't been coming back. New players don't know to research their GM. They just want to show up and have fun.

I've killed people in my games. I've enjoyed a few of them because they were bullies to other players in other games. I've also pulled punches to keep people from dieing and scared them at the threat of possibly losing their character. I feel bad if someone does die, and I try to help them find ways to save their characters. If a player walks away upset, it's not generally their fault. It's mine for not making sure they enjoyed their game. I've done a disservice to them, and to the other great people who play Society. And you'll never convince me that callous uncaring for other players and customers is good for business.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

I've never really paused to consider it, as death is a speedbumb in this game past level 3 (we have a local player with 12 deaths on the same PC), but I have actually iced a surprising amount of players in this last year. Although I did sacrifice countless virgins and part of my soul to enhance the critical chance of all my d20s, I still find that a surprising majority of these deaths are because players make mistakes.
----------------------
The breakdown:
1 PC - died to a misread spell on my part (I thought the radius on a spell was larger, and retconned to allow the PC to not spend money for the rez)

2 PCs - died to a very scary creature being GMd by me in a very cruel and scary way (involving a shield other spell causing the KO'd cleric to die as well). I felt bad on this one, so I talked to the primary PC involved after and explained the creature's reasoning and he agreed, begrudgingly, commenting that it was a pretty cool way to die.

5 or so "Walter PPKs" (partial-party kills) - where PCs died because of really poor planning. Numerous times one character charged in first, causing the party to spend valuable actions trying to triage mid fight. Some were because the players ran headfirst into that brick wall (not dispelling ice storm / black tentacles / etc; going toe to toe with that CR 15 dragon; attacking the enemy spellcaster last; etc). All of these (minus one glorious game) resulted in the party limping away and giving up on completing the scenario.

5 or so TPKs - these were all the result of players being unable to recover from a PPK. They were spread too thin already, and just couldn't hold together long enough to have a man or two standing at the end. They could have all been avoided if the PCs had worked together better.

some number of oddball PC kills (20-30?)- lucky hits, bad PC placement (between two rogues), excellent rolls (nothing less than a 4 per die on a 21d6 cone of cold), and so forth. And there are just some creatures that will mess a character up (we all know these BBEGs and their scenarios), and there's nothing you can do but pray for 1s when you roll their attacks.
--------------------------

I post all this to try and make a point -- I never softball a game. If you get through a scenario I've GM'd, you'll feel like you earned it. That said, I've never had a player come to me, or heard through others that I was GMing something "too hard," or having a monster "hitting a man while he's down" (although I did eat a cleric's brain when he was paralyzed... but I had the Brain Eater feat so it was legit). You do the best you can when you GM to provide an adequate challenge for your players (RP or otherwise). If you don't challenge them, they're going to stagnate and we'll drown in a flood of complaints from the Season 4 scenarios.

What's been said before is all good advice -- play the monsters as written, filling in the gaps left open logically. Would the starved aquatic giant drag the unconscious PC underwater to have snackums with later? Probably. Would the gugs take the mutilated bodies back to their lair to be eaten after winning the fight? Definitely. Would the Aspis consortum thug-for-hire risk his neck as he provokes multiple AOOs to coup de grace the pathfinder at his feet? Not likely.

Andoran *****

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quote:
And you'll never convince me that callous uncaring for other players and customers is good for business.

Good thing no one was saying any such thing.

Grand Lodge **

Well, of course, Vincent, when 1st level characters get killed (specifically new players) it can discourage them from the game. That's why things like the Red box and the Intro PFS modules are a bit on the easy side. And when it comes specifically to new players, when I run tables, I tend to play my mosters less than optimally if I feel there's a chance of them totally killing players. With that being said, the PFS are pretty clear that we cannot change the encounters and we should call dice as they are rolled. While I may fudge a roll for a brand new player to PFS that came up confirmed critical on a x3 weapon in the interest of keeping that new player interesting, I would call it like it rolled for anyone else...including experienced players running 1st level characters. Sometimes, dem's da brakes.

As far GMs bragging about players they killed...yeah, it happens. Heck, I've heard Paizo staff ask "How many players have you killed today?" and people laugh. When GM's talk, laugh, etc about that... it isn't because they are manical beasts that take enjoyment breaking player's hearts. It's because it's a game, and sometimes crap happens...and you laugh about it. And, seriously, if you can't kick back and enjoy the game for what it is, including the occasional player death, you might be in the wrong after-school hobby :)

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Josh Shrader wrote:

I was at that table for the Game, I don't think what the Monster did was out of Character for the Monster at the time, and even more so now that I read his Stat block/Tactics.

Part of the Issue was playing with 5 players.. that kept the GM from using the lower level encounters (req. 4 players).

If I recall correctly, the monster had moved up to the cleric, and paladin standing next to each other, and cleaved them once. On the Cleric's turn, he backed up and healed. Then the Paladin moved very far away to assist on the other side of the field, and swift healed. This left just the monster, and the Cleric in that area of the field.

Monsters next turn, GM states he takes both swings at the cleric, before he cleric dropped. 1st hit drops cleric, 2nd kills him. I can't remember if ther was a pause by the gm to decide if the monster kept attacking or not.

I also read it, and It is also not out of character (Since it did not state either way what to do with downed pcs) for that "Monster" to instead of taking it's second attack against the Cleric to chase after the Paladin that ran away, which is allowed by the rules and leaves the chance for the Cleric to survive the encounter...

**

Hmmmm....if a players/monster declared a full round attack, and knocks down the monters/player with the first hit, I don't interrupt and allow that player/monster the choice to move instead of taking his iterative attacks. I think it can be argued that, if there was another viable target within 5 ft that the player/mob be allowed the choice to use their remander attacks on another target...but otherwise, the player/mob is going down.

If a player/mob doesn't want to kill the person they are attacking, they need to either hold themselves back to single attacks or declare non-lethal damage. Clearly, that isn't want the monster was trying to accomplish here. RP-wise, It was fighting with lethal force, and it probably didn't miss a heartbeat in finishing it's natual combonation of attacks with the PC went down to consider whether or not it might really kill a PC. What you guys are asking the GM to do here is to "meta" in the interest of saving a PC. That's not really the spirit of PFS. It's pretty clear that modules should be run as written as closely as possible.

It does go on to say that GMs may need to make creative decisions in the interest of everyone having a good time. If you're going to lean on that, consider what you're really asking here. You're basically asking GMs who run PFS tables to have monsters/baddies pull punches whenever possible becausing, dang nab it, dying just isn't condusive to a fun PF experience. If that's the case, I know a few players who would actually disagree with you on that point.

IMHO, if you've been playing PF for sometime, you need to accept that character death is a part of the game... especially when poor tactical decisions or bad lack work their way into combat. If you can't afford a res, take a deep breath, relax, and roll up one of the many other cool character ideas you have!

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
JCServant wrote:
Hmmmm....if a players/monster declared a full round attack, and knocks down the monters/player with the first hit, I don't interrupt and allow that player/monster the choice to move instead of taking his iterative attacks.

Then you are using a House Rule, which should not be used in PFS.

I quoted this before..

PFRPG Core pg 187 wrote:
You do not need to specify the targets of your attacks ahead of time. You can see how the earlier attacks turn out before assigning the later ones.

And like I said to the last person who said this..

"By the rules they don't have to do that, what you are doing is a House Rule, house rules can't be used in PFS and I respectively ask you to consider that."

**

Dragon, I said that I would allow players to reassign attacks if the target went down...

JCServant wrote:
I think it can be argued that, if there was another viable target within 5 ft that the player/mob be allowed the choice to use their remander attacks on another target...but otherwise, the player/mob is going down."

However, YOU are going away from that very rule quote when you allow a player/monster who declared a full round attack to change his mind after the first hit is resolved and change it to a standard attack (allowing him to move afterwards). No where does that rule allow a player to change a full round attack into a standard one. Alternatively, a player who declares a standard attack can NOT change it to a full round attack (e.g. if it misses)

With that being said, please re-read my above post. Again, you are asking the GM to either meta heavily, or make mob decisions based on a presumption that PCs dying in combat makes a poor gameplay experience.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

JCServant wrote:
Dragon, I said that I would allow players to reassign attacks if the target went down...However, YOU are going away from that very rule quote when you allow a player/monster who declared a full round attack to change his mind after the first hit is resolved and change it to a standard attack (allowing him to move afterwards). No where does that rule allow a player to change a full round attack into a standard one. Alternatively, a player who declares a standard attack can NOT change it to a full round attack (e.g. if it misses)
Core Rules wrote:
Deciding between an Attack or a Full Attack: After your first attack, you can decide to take a move action instead of making your remaining attacks, depending on how the first attack turns out and assuming you have not already taken a move action this round. If you've already taken a 5-foot step, you can't use your move action to move any distance, but you could still use a different kind of move action.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
JCServant wrote:
Dragon, I said that I would allow players to reassign attacks if the target went down...However, YOU are going away from that very rule quote when you allow a player/monster who declared a full round attack to change his mind after the first hit is resolved and change it to a standard attack (allowing him to move afterwards). No where does that rule allow a player to change a full round attack into a standard one. Alternatively, a player who declares a standard attack can NOT change it to a full round attack (e.g. if it misses)

So not to purposely dispute you, I am not targeting you...

PFRPG Pg 187 wrote:
Deciding between an Attack or a Full Attack: After your first attack, you can decide to take a move action instead of making your remaining attacks, depending on how the first attack turns out and assuming you have not already taken a move action this round. If you’ve already taken a 5-foot step, you can’t use your move action to move any distance, but you could still use a different kind of move action.

Sadly, I don't remember if this particular incident involved a 5' step or not.

Edit: Jiggy are we on the same wavelength today?..;)

**

PFS Guide gives GM's a guideline in how to handle death for both new players and vets.

Page 35 wrote:
Given the dangers characters face once they have made the choice to become Pathfinders, character death is a very real possibility (and a necessary one to maintain a sense of risk and danger in the game). Consider, however, that for players new to Pathfinder Society Organized Play, or to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game in general, a violent death in a first experience can turn them off to the campaign and the game altogether. While we do not advocate fudging die rolls, consider the experience of the player when deciding whether to use especially lethal tactics or if a character is in extreme danger of death, especially when such a player is new to the game. Most players whose first experience in a campaign results in a character death do not return to the campaign.

Like I said above, making suboptimal choices for a group of new players to PFS makes sense...we want to encourage new people to join, not discourage them by having their first few adventures end in a TPK. Otherwise, however, the GM should play the encounter as written, and the monster's choices should follow the tactics laid out and within reason. And, I hate to say, most monsters/bad guys play for keeps. Combat IS dangerous.

Cheliax ***

Jiggy wrote:
JCServant wrote:
Dragon, I said that I would allow players to reassign attacks if the target went down...However, YOU are going away from that very rule quote when you allow a player/monster who declared a full round attack to change his mind after the first hit is resolved and change it to a standard attack (allowing him to move afterwards). No where does that rule allow a player to change a full round attack into a standard one. Alternatively, a player who declares a standard attack can NOT change it to a full round attack (e.g. if it misses)
Core Rules wrote:
Deciding between an Attack or a Full Attack: After your first attack, you can decide to take a move action instead of making your remaining attacks, depending on how the first attack turns out and assuming you have not already taken a move action this round. If you've already taken a 5-foot step, you can't use your move action to move any distance, but you could still use a different kind of move action.

In a foolhardy attempt to prevent a thread derail, I'll just say that this topic has been discussed at length more than once, and the most recent thread can be found here.

I sincerely hope we can avoid turning this topic into another full attack debate and stay on topic to the thread title.

**

Quote:
"Deciding between an Attack or a Full Attack: After your first attack, you can decide to take a move action instead of making your remaining attacks, depending on how the first attack turns out and assuming you have not already taken a move action this round. If you’ve already taken a 5-foot step, you can’t use your move action to move any distance, but you could still use a different kind of move action.

I stand corrected. (Learn something new everyday....3 campaigns and no player has ever tried to do that)

However, my other points remain...and I will be happy to conceed those as well if you can point out the error in my logic. A vicious monster/beast/etc that goes off on a cleric in front of him is not going to stop attacking in the middle of a round. You're asking the GM to meta in order to save a player. That hardly seems to be in line with PFS rules which ask GM's to pretty much run the table as written.

If I pulled punches as you described every time I was concerned about a player going down, I dare say, very few players would experience death until higher levels (where Raise dead is freely available). I'm not saying that isn't a valid way to enjoy PF, but I do believe it contradicts the spirit of PFS organized play.

Andoran ****

There's play for keeps and then there's just being vindictive.

Spending a full attack action to attack an already down character with no reason whatsoever is just silly both in character and out of character.

Just so I'm clear, what region are you in so I make sure to avoid playing there too.

**

Ninjaiguana wrote:
[I sincerely hope we can avoid turning this topic into another full attack debate and stay on topic to the thread title.

No debate necessary. It's right there in the rules as quoted. I'm sure one could argue certain other things and minor nuances...but I would say that's up to GM. However, if you're just declaring a standard full round attack, it would appear you can change your mind, after the first hit, and go move instead. Fair enough.

Andoran *****

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JCServant wrote:
However, my other points remain...and I will be happy to conceed those as well if you can point out the error in my logic. A vicious monster/beast/etc that goes off on a cleric in front of him is not going to stop attacking in the middle of a round. You're asking the GM to meta in order to save a player. That hardly seems to be in line with PFS rules which ask GM's to pretty much run the table as written.

'The giant's massive fist smashes into your chest, shattering ribs and sending you crashing to the stone in a broken heap. Seeing you lie there lifeless, he lowers his other cocked arm and lumbers towards your compatriots.'

**

Eh, What's this? Yer still breathing? BAM. Not anymore. What's so hard to understand about that? You can't bluff if you're unconscious. These guys aren't called evil because they play nice in sandbox.

There's no doubt that some...even MOST monsters won't bother a downed PC. However, as I said above, CE's and intelligent NPCs who think you have a healer would probably go for the kill. I think you're taking a lot away from the game (not to mention just outright meta'ing) to say that a monster would ALWAYS go for the standing party members.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes Combat Is dangerous...

I have killed PCs before...

But I am under the opinion as a GM if we have the option not to kill the PC that fits within the encounter and keeps the scenario challenging within the encounter tactics and the specifics of the monster. It is easy to rationalized with any monster a route that would not lead to the helpless PCs death

There are Many options that can be taken other then killing the helpless PC with your next shot that that PC has no way of surviving.

I know Helpless PCs die, I have killed them, usually when they get stuck within an AoE or the specific tactics of the creature call for it (Good example was the Ghoul with the brain eater feat mentioned above). But even with an AoE there is the chance of survival, I saw it happen my last game I ran at GenCon.

The group seeing the opponent was using Channel Neg Energy round after round, pulled a down pc out of the range of the AoE so he would not been killed by the next one.

We as GMs can keep it challenging without giving senseless deaths that can be used for other purposes.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
JCServant wrote:

Eh, What's this? Yer still breathing? BAM. Not anymore. What's so hard to understand about that? You can't bluff if you're unconscious. These guys aren't called evil because they play nice in sandbox.

There's no doubt that some...even MOST monsters won't bother a downed PC. However, as I said above, CE's and intelligent NPCs who think you have a healer would probably go for the kill. I think you're taking a lot away from the game (not to mention just outright meta'ing) to say that a monster would ALWAYS go for the standing party members.

Who said always?

Also, what is the check to determine if a character is dying vs dead?

**

Feral wrote:

There's play for keeps and then there's just being vindictive.

Spending a full attack action to attack an already down character with no reason whatsoever is just silly both in character and out of character.

Just so I'm clear, what region are you in so I make sure to avoid playing there too.

Mwhahahaha...you'll never find out...until its TOO LATE.

LOL. Don't worry dude. I think I've had maybe 8-9 deaths in 3 campaigns...(not any in PFS yet) and never a TPK. And in all instances, the players were able to pay for the raise dead if they wanted to. I'm not really vindictive. And I never really said that what I described was MY playstyle, did I? I'm simply defending the nameless GM here because, while I may even agree it was a bit mean, I don't see what he did wrong here. Monsters kill crap. They're mean and evil most of the time. They want to eat your toes and fingers. So, it's probably a very unwise decision to leave the squishy cleric alone with one. And it is even sillier to complain about it aftewards, IMHO.

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM

TriOmegaZero wrote:
JCServant wrote:

Eh, What's this? Yer still breathing? BAM. Not anymore. What's so hard to understand about that? You can't bluff if you're unconscious. These guys aren't called evil because they play nice in sandbox.

There's no doubt that some...even MOST monsters won't bother a downed PC. However, as I said above, CE's and intelligent NPCs who think you have a healer would probably go for the kill. I think you're taking a lot away from the game (not to mention just outright meta'ing) to say that a monster would ALWAYS go for the standing party members.

Who said always?

Also, what is the check to determine if a character is dying vs dead?

I often call for a heal check. DC 15 is to apply first aid and stabilize, so I use that. "You bend down and check for a pulse... it's faint, but there."

Regarding this current line of arguing -- we all agree: some NPCs will attack helpless PCs, others will not. Unless we want to create a definitive list of yes and no for each creature in each PFS game (which will be subjective, because every game is different), this line of discussion is heading nowhere constructive. IMO.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:

Who said always?

Also, what is the check to determine if a character is dying vs dead?

That is a very good question Tri, and there is nothing in the rules that really point out for that.

I think this falls into the area that allows GMs in PFS to adjudicate rules that are not covered and come up with their own system.

I personally allow Heal check as a free action.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

As do I, although it usually requires more than a free action.

Andoran ****

JCServant wrote:
LOL. Don't worry dude. I think I've had maybe 8-9 deaths in 3 campaigns...(not any in PFS yet) and never a TPK. And in all instances, the players were able to pay for the raise dead if they wanted to. I'm not really vindictive. And I never really said that what I described was MY playstyle, did I? I'm simply defending the nameless GM here because, while I may even agree it was a bit mean, I don't see what he did wrong here. Monsters kill crap. They're mean and evil most of the time. They want to eat your toes and fingers. So, it's probably a very unwise decision to leave the squishy cleric alone with one. And it is even sillier to complain about it aftewards, IMHO.

Right. Your attitude is indicative of a DM that I never want to play under.

To repeat, I've said there are times when it makes sense for a monster to finish off a downed PC. My point was that in most situations, that is not the case. Some DMs (you seem to be one of them) seem to think that it is always appropriate to attack downed PCs and people should just accept it.

I refuse.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
As do I, although it usually requires more than a free action.

Yeah, Well this is one of those areas since there are no rules that cover it, I can't dispute your Move or Standard action over my Free action.. ;).

Qadira ***

a Perception check perhaps? - to see if they are breathing?

also so that Undead can sense (percieve) living creatures - as many undead would be able to tell, but are not likely to have much in the way of a Heal skill.

and so you could do it from a distance?

If you use a Heal check, I would think the DC would be less than the First Aid DC of 15 - perhaps (10+ HP below zero) or even (5+HP below zero), so that someone can "look deader" if they have more damage against them.

**

TriOmegaZero wrote:


Who said always?

Also, what is the check to determine if a character is dying vs dead?

There's no rule given for that in the game. It's usually assumed that players and monsters can tell whether something is breathing or not. (And I wouldn't want a rule there...it would slow down the game too much) And, whether or not you are breathing, if the monster is attacking because it is starved, it will generally kill you and begin eating even if there are heroes down the hallway who will threaten it later.

Now, PFS does allow GM's wiggle room in areas where there are no detailed rules and some gray area. Since there's no rule (that I can think of) that answers what you asked above, and assuming it isn't a starved monster, that's an area for opportunity.... What I'm about to suggest isn't RAW, but I believe it is in the spirit of PFS and therefore, allowable.

PFS rules state, "We understand that sometimes a Game Master has to make rules adjudications on the fly, deal with unexpected player choices, or even cope with extremely unlucky (or lucky) dice on both sides of the screen."

So, a monster telling if a PC is still alive? My rule of thumb is perception check vs negative HPs (The more dead you are, the less likely he can still tell you are alive). Does the monster still kill the PC even if he does know he's alive? INT or WIS check.

As someone said earlier, (and I agree) if a player is going to die, I'm first going to check all the dice rolls and rules to make sure it's the right call. If there is a decent chance, from an RP perspective, that a bad guy may not notice them NOT being dead or make another decision, I'll either go in that direction or assign a die roll to it. I will always make sure that when a player is declared dead, it was the right call from a rules AND rp standpoint, make sure I take every reasonable opportunity to rule in the player's favor. HOWEVER, I will not straight up meta or fiat rolls to save a player unless they new to the table.

And because that RP viewpoint is subjective, everyone should understand, not all GM's are going to rule the same...and should learn to respect the GMs call in that area even if they do not agree. Players who do not like it can politely discuss it with the GM afterwards, but the call is the call. Players who STILL don't like it do what I do...become a GM :) For some reason, you get a different perspective on that other side of the screen and get beat up a few times because you didn't run everything the way the 'experienced players' thought you should have.


I'd say a heal check would do the trick, no?

Qadira ***

Grimmy wrote:
I'd say a heal check would do the trick, no?

Why Heal over Perception?

I mean other than the fact that so many things are perception now...

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Just as long as we don't have monsters who keep attacking an unconscious PC without a check and then move on to a new target once the PC is dead, also without a check. That would just be silly.


nosig wrote:
Grimmy wrote:
I'd say a heal check would do the trick, no?

Why Heal over Perception?

I mean other than the fact that so many things are perception now...

I feel like I've seen precedent for it in published adventures, but I read/play/run mostly 3PP stuff so I'm not sure if there are such examples in PFS Scenarios or Paizo AP's. I've certainly seen a lot of Heal Check DC's listed to identify cause of death.

Just re-read the Heal Skill description in the PRD though, and it doesn't mention such a use of the heal skill.

Shadow Lodge *

Dragnmoon wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:

Who said always?

Also, what is the check to determine if a character is dying vs dead?

That is a very good question Tri, and there is nothing in the rules that really point out for that.

I think this falls into the area that allows GMs in PFS to adjudicate rules that are not covered and come up with their own system.

I personally allow Heal check as a free action.

What's this? I asked the same question, and was told by you that it was unimportant! D:

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So I am going to spoiler this so those who have not read Rise of the Goblin Guild or plan to play it before GMing it you have been forewarned.

So this kind of fits in with this subject but I will admit barely, this is just one of many examples of a "Good" exciting death that left a chance for the PC to survive but left the game challenging and exciting. A PC death by a GM should strive for things like this IMO. This is from my Second running of Rise of the Goblin Guild at GenCon.

Rise of the Goblin Guild:
So we had an 2nd level Elf in the group (Don't remember his class but I think it was a Martial one), who seemed to constantly through out the scenario get in the way of the Goblins Alchemist Fire Attacks and every time he put himself out he would just get set on fire again.

There was a Battle with 3 Goblins with Alchemist Fires that did 1d6 + 1d4 damage on the initial attack and then of course burn for a round for an additional 1d6 damage and a Level 2 Goblin Alchemist with explosive
bombs. During the Battle the Elf would seem to find himself the only PC within range of these attacks and during this time we nicked named him the "Flaming Elf". Well He decided since they were having problems getting to the Goblins since they were at an upper level that was not easy to reach that he would try to do so himself, Heroic but deadly.

On his way up just after he jumped up to the top of the broken stairway he was hit with multiple Alchemist Fires and then after words an Alchemist Bomb, which not only put him down but the explosive bomb nature of the attack meant not only was he bleeding out but he was on fire until he was put out. We all knew that this meant in a round our 2 he would be dead.

So we have a Flaming Elf on Fire that if unlucky has 1 round to Live (I needed to roll a 6 on my Fire damage) or more if he got lucky. Instead of the group chancing luck one of the players a 3rd Level Dwarf Ninja decided to Jump up to the stairs and pull the PC down falling purposely to take the brunt of the fall damage and being burnt by the Fire.

Sadly He failed in his attempt to put out the fire and I rolled a 6 on my Next Fire Damage, But Damn that was an exciting and dramatic death that added to the game.

The group afterwords pulled their money to bring him back.

That his how a Death should be in a PFS game IMO.

Andoran *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Serum wrote:

What's this? I asked the same question, and was told by you that it was unimportant! D:

Personally, I go with DC 15 Heal check as a move action.

I was going to say that again, but instead just decided to answer the question.. ;)...

Shadow Lodge *

It is important, though, at least for verisimilitude. If an NPC doesn't know whether the PC they just downed is dead, and if they wouldn't know how many attacks it would take to make sure the PC is dead (short of a coup-de-grace like stabbing the heart/cutting off the head), then they're that much more likely to leave the downed PC alone and deal with more immediate threats.

Osirion *

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Dragnmoon wrote:

I am curious how other GMs feel about this? I don't get to play often and I experienced this at GenCon while playing there and was so surprised when it happened.

With me, it would depend on the group.

If the group is playing in character with a minimum of meta-gaming, then I'll hit downed characters only if specifically called out in the tactics.

If with a group of meta-gaming, highly optimized characters, I'm likely to play the same way. That would include focus firing and coup-de-grace. Wargames are my other passion and I fall into this mode of thought when the players are approaching everything from a tactical perspective instead of a roleplay perspective.

**

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I wouldn't make it a move action... why would the monster waste time testing to see if you're alive when he can just finish the full round make SURE you're dead :P

I guess it depends on the intelligence of the creature. A vicious rabid wolf might take a moment to discern if you're dead before moving on. That makes sense.

Yeah, I mean, we probably all agree more than we care to admit. Personally, I do take some liberties, as described in my last post (with PFS guidelines), to give players every non-meta chance to survive. However, if a GM doesn't do a perception check, followed by a heal check, followed by an INT check and, instead, just completes the full round attack, I don't hold that against him either (unless the tactics in the book say other wise, or it really can be shown that it was against that bad guys nature against all reasonable doubts). I think we need to allow GM's a bearth, as long as it is within the rules, to run the tables as they see fit. If you critsize every GM who you felt didn't make enough RP checks/thinkology before killing a player for your liking, you're going to find it even harder to find GMs than you do today.

I will tell you, for the one player I've had complain about deaths (which is 1 of the 8 or so I mentioned before...), I've had several players tell me straight up that they want me to run the dice as they fall. In fact, several of my groups have opt'd (when given the choice) to see the monster rolls on the table, so I cannot fiat the dice in the player's favor (which I did more often when I was new to the game)

**

To clarify, I don't think those players are masochisic, or WANT to die...They just want to know that combat is a real danger, and that punches aren't being pulled. That's why I'm a bit sensative to posts implying or stating that GM's should pull punches and look for every way (including some possible meta thinkology) to keep things non-lethal. I think most experienced players just want things to be run straight up with no hand holding.

Shadow Lodge *

JCServant wrote:
I wouldn't make it a move action... why would the monster waste time testing to see if you're alive when he can just finish the full round make SURE you're dead :P

He generally wouldn't. But, since it required a move action to figure it out in the first place, he'd be more likely to use said move action to deal with more immediate threats than finishing a full-attack on someone who is out of the fight.

Nosig, checking to see if someone is breathing isn't exactly easy in the middle of battle. It's not like you breath fast and heavy when you're unconscious, and most people are, at the least, wearing heavy clothing that would obscure that tell-tale. There's a reason why, in First-Aid, "checking to see if the person is breathing" is more than just quickly glancing at him. Even checking to see if someone's stopped bleeding profusely because his heart's no longer working requires the insight as to whether the blood that's still flowing out of him is due to gravity or the heart pumping it out.

Grand Lodge **

The other player's weren't an immediate threat, from what I understand, they were further down the room.

He's a monster. He's attacking with lethal force. I really would lean towards him finishing his full round attack rather than stopping and rushing down to the other side of the room to attack more people.

I know it isn't easy...but remember, this is also a game. Making it a move action means that it takes up resources (opportunity) that a monster probably wouldn't use up to make sure a player was dead, and pretty much just favors the players. Normally, I'd rule that the monster shreads ya to bits before dealing with other adventurers further away. Monsters have killed a few times before, and generally do it right. Adding in a perception and INT check are just RP flavored reasons to give the player a chance to live. Keeping them as free actions insures that the monsters are not penalized for a mechanic the GM invented on the fly to double check how a monster would proceed given the circumstances.

Shadow Lodge *

I don't see your point here. You seem to think that I'm saying that every NPC must check to see if the person they're attacking is dead before finishing him off. I'm saying that requiring the expenditure of resources to know the exact status of an opponent helps determine the NPC's/PC's actions. Otherwise, you're giving Deathwatch to everyone.

I would have the monster do the same thing in your scenario.

I don't think there's much verisimilitude if you can tell at a glance if someone is dead unless it's extremely obvious (Stabbed in the chest as opposed to head cut off).

Qadira ***

Serum wrote:
JCServant wrote:
I wouldn't make it a move action... why would the monster waste time testing to see if you're alive when he can just finish the full round make SURE you're dead :P

He generally wouldn't. But, since it required a move action to figure it out in the first place, he'd be more likely to use said move action to deal with more immediate threats than finishing a full-attack on someone who is out of the fight.

Nosig, checking to see if someone is breathing isn't exactly easy in the middle of battle. It's not like you breath fast and heavy when you're unconscious, and most people are, at the least, wearing heavy clothing that would obscure that tell-tale. There's a reason why, in First-Aid, "checking to see if the person is breathing" is more than just quickly glancing at him. Even checking to see if someone's stopped bleeding profusely because his heart's no longer working requires the insight as to whether the blood that's still flowing out of him is due to gravity or the heart pumping it out.

I didn't say it would be an EASY Perception check, just that I am more likely to make it a Perception DC 15+HP below zero (free action), than a DC 15 Heal check (move action). I would do this partly because the wolf in the example above is more likely to have Perception than Heal, and a Shadow is sure to have more Perception than Heal.

Not that I would say a PC can't tell if someone is still alive using a heal check, just that in the heat of battle, in the middle of sword strokes, I think knowing if the guy that just took a blow to the head is dead should be Perception (free action) rather than Heal (free action).

After the battle, as the PC bends over and checks the body? Sure, take an action (or move action) and make a heal check. Though, perhaps even then I might give it a perception to "hear a faint raspy breath in the pile of bodies".

But I appear to have wondered off topic, and am discussing what should actually be on the Rules Board.

Sorry for the de-rail!

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