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Can a snake be knocked prone?


Rules Questions

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5 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

It seems counter intuitive but the rules don't indicate they can't.

Its not like all snakes get the AC bonus or penalty for always being prone.

In real life snakes can be flipped on their backs.

Should they be able to be made prone and if not why shouldn't they get the advatages/diadvantages of the prone condition always??


insaneogeddon wrote:


It seems counter intuitive but the rules don't indicate they can't.

Its not like all snakes get the AC bonus or penalty for always being prone.

In real life snakes can be flipped on their backs.

Should they be able to be made prone and if not why shouldn't they get the advatages/diadvantages of the prone condition always??

They explicitly cannot be tripped. What effect are you considering that could knock them prone? I would probably rule that they cannot be knocked prone since they cannot be tripped, but I have no RAW off the top of my head to support that.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

They cannot be tripped.

It states so in their statblock.

They otherwise have no immunity to the prone condition stated.

How do you plan on making them prone?


blackbloodtroll wrote:
How do you plan on making them prone?

By the book, I think you can overrun a snake to knock it prone.


Or Twin Shot Knockdown from a Pistolero or Punishing Kick.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

If they're prone, they can't move. They can only crawl.... hey wait a minute.


You could also throw force bombs at them and hope they fail their reflex saves.

It's more than likely that a normal snake would just die outright, though.


It says nothing in the stat block.
It says nothing under the prone condition.

It does say in the entry for trip:

"Some creatures—such as oozes, creatures without legs, and flying creatures—cannot be tripped."

As mentioned above there are ways other than trip to knock things prone. Spells also do it as does the simple task of knocking them to 0, if they are healed do they need to 'get up... i.e. flop over'?

Specificly its regarding a eildolon in my campaign. Just another irritant,not the summoners fault, but the rules for monsters are rarely as complete.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

afaik, no.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Rathendar wrote:
afaik, no.

Evidence?


A snake can take the prone condition voluntarily to gain the AC benefits.

Consider a naga.


I think a fair summary is:

Snakes cannot be tripped, but other effects which result in the prone condition (e.g. Overrun, twin shot takedwon, punishing kick, voluntarily assuming the prone position) work as normal by RAW. In many cases, DMs will houserule these situations as... it's a freakin' snake.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm of the opinion that immunity to trip equates to immunity against the prone condition. Clearly that's not RAW, but I'm willing to bet it's RAI.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

It's like knocking a dolphin prone underwater. It happens. The dolphin has to stand up to get rid of the prone condition. (Or keep the prone condition and crawl 5 feet.)


GM Jeff wrote:
It's like knocking a dolphin prone underwater. It happens. The dolphin has to stand up to get rid of the prone condition. (Or keep the prone condition and crawl 5 feet.)

A dolphin is iffy.

prone wrote:
Prone: The character is lying on the ground.

If the Dolphin was on the seafloor, sure. Otherwise, I don't think so.


Being immune to trip attempts does not necessarily being immune to being knocked prone, but it could indicate such depending on the circumstances. For instance, while a beholder could be knocked prone even though it can't be tripped, it is doubtful that a gelatnous cube could be knocked prone.

As a more specific example, consider an animated tree. Even though such a foe doesn't have an "Immune to being knocked prone" special quality, it is still immune to being knocked prone.


Ganymede425 wrote:
Being immune to trip attempts does not necessarily being immune to being knocked prone, but it could indicate such depending on the circumstances. For instance, while a beholder could be knocked prone even though it can't be tripped, it is doubtful that a gelatnous cube could be knocked prone.

Gelatinous cubes are handled the same way snakes are. They are immune to being tripped, anything more than that is a house rule. Knocking prone flying creatures is still a grey area for me. The prone condition indicates you are on the ground; what happens if you knock an eagle prone at 360 feet up in the air? Or a dolphin underwater, for that matter.

Quote:
As a more specific example, consider an animated tree. Even though such a foe doesn't have an "Immune to being knocked prone" special quality, it is still immune to being knocked prone.

Animated trees being immune to being knocked prone is a house rule (or a judgement call, if you will; either way, not supported by RAW). Animated Trees (as animated by a treant) have a move speed and thus walk about and can be tripped (just as you can trip a treant).


...you're seriously asking this? Apply some logic here, please.

It's impossible to knock a snake prone if realism has any say in this.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Whale_Cancer wrote:
Ganymede425 wrote:
Being immune to trip attempts does not necessarily being immune to being knocked prone, but it could indicate such depending on the circumstances. For instance, while a beholder could be knocked prone even though it can't be tripped, it is doubtful that a gelatnous cube could be knocked prone.

Gelatinous cubes are handled the same way snakes are. They are immune to being tripped, anything more than that is a house rule. Knocking prone flying creatures is still a grey area for me. The prone condition indicates you are on the ground; what happens if you knock an eagle prone at 360 feet up in the air? Or a dolphin underwater, for that matter.

Quote:
As a more specific example, consider an animated tree. Even though such a foe doesn't have an "Immune to being knocked prone" special quality, it is still immune to being knocked prone.
Animated trees being immune to being knocked prone is a house rule (or a judgement call, if you will; either way, not supported by RAW). Animated Trees (as animated by a treant) have a move speed and thus walk about and can be tripped (just as you can trip a treant).

I doubt your contribution here has any value in answering the question of the original poster, especially considering I already pointed out that the models lack a "Immunity to being prone" special quality.

Saying "According to RAW, the rules work this way" is as helpful as saying "In an alternate dimension where people are made of candy, being eaten by ants is a serious concern;" neither statement does anything to help the original poster.


Ganymede425 wrote:

I doubt your contribution here has any value in answering the question of the original poster, especially considering I already pointed out that the models lack a "Immunity to being prone" special quality.

Saying "According to RAW, the rules work this way" is akin to saying "In an alternate dimension where people are made of candy, being eaten by ants is a serious concern."

Yeah, this is the rules forum. Rules forum. This is where we discuss the rules. Like, you can play monopoly and invent house rules for investing in pork belly futures, because this makes sense in the real world... but that is not a part of the rules of the game.

Rules Forum wrote:
House rules, variants and conversions should be posted in the appropriate Community Content forum.

I don't get why so many people don't understand this. House rules can be mentioned in passing, sure (I would certainly houserule most of these creatures as immune to being knocked prone if they cannot be tripped); but actually figuring out what the rules mean by RAW is what this forum is for.

Also, you gave examples that were even by 'house rule' logic incorrect (animated trees; they have legs made out of their roots, that's how they move around). Such an incorrect statement shouldn't be left to stand for others to read and be confused by.

[as a note, I certainly could be wrong and would enjoy having this pointed out if it were the case]


Whale_Cancer wrote:
Ganymede425 wrote:

I doubt your contribution here has any value in answering the question of the original poster, especially considering I already pointed out that the models lack a "Immunity to being prone" special quality.

Saying "According to RAW, the rules work this way" is akin to saying "In an alternate dimension where people are made of candy, being eaten by ants is a serious concern."

Yeah, this is the rules forum. Rules forum. This is where we discuss the rules. Like, you can play monopoly and invent house rules for investing in pork belly futures, because this makes sense in the real world... but that is not a part of the rules of the game.

Rules Forum wrote:
House rules, variants and conversions should be posted in the appropriate Community Content forum.

I don't get why so many people don't understand this. House rules can be mentioned in passing, sure (I would certainly houserule most of these creatures as immune to being knocked prone if they cannot be tripped); but actually figuring out what the rules mean by RAW is what this forum is for.

Also, you gave examples that were even by 'house rule' logic incorrect (animated trees; they have legs made out of their roots, that's how they move around). Such an incorrect statement shouldn't be left to stand for others to read and be confused by.

[as a note, I certainly could be wrong and would enjoy having this pointed out if it were the case]

The original poster indicated clearly in his post that he already knows that a snack lacks the "Immune to being knocked prone" special quality. He is not disputing this central tenent, and is instead asking if this 'should' be the case. You ignoring his central question by repeating what he already holds to be true is imminently unhelpful.

If you want to flag this entire thread to go to the house rules and suggestions thread, you are welcome to. You seem like you have the free time.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Is this a question on creating houserules?

The OP seemed vague in that regard.


Ganymede425 wrote:

The original poster indicated clearly in his post that he already knows that a snack lacks the "Immune to being knocked prone" special quality. He is not disputing this central tenent, and is instead asking if this 'should' be the case. You ignoring his central question by repeating what he already holds to be true is imminently unhelpful.

If you want to flag this entire thread to go to the house rules and suggestions thread, you are welcome to. You seem like you have the free time.

The OP asked "Can a snake be knocked prone?"; a discussion emerged out of that.

Read the OP's second post:

insaneogeddon wrote:

It says nothing in the stat block.

It says nothing under the prone condition.

It does say in the entry for trip:

"Some creatures—such as oozes, creatures without legs, and flying creatures—cannot be tripped."

As mentioned above there are ways other than trip to knock things prone. Spells also do it as does the simple task of knocking them to 0, if they are healed do they need to 'get up... i.e. flop over'?

Specificly its regarding a eildolon in my campaign. Just another irritant,not the summoners fault, but the rules for monsters are rarely as complete.

This makes it clear he is asking about the mechanics of knocking a snake prone by the rules. He asks additional questions to clarify how such creatures interact with the prone condition. If you don't understand that, you (may)* have failed to correctly parse his posts.

*I could always be wrong.


That's what it seemed like to me.

He acknowledged that a strict reading of the rules conflicts with a sense of fidelity and coherence to the game world, and asked if how it should be played in light of this conflict.


blackbloodtroll wrote:

Is this a question on creating houserules?

The OP seemed vague in that regard.

I would direct you to his second post; it seems clear he wants to know how the prone condition works with snakes and other legless creatures.


The original poster is evidently a whimsical dude, a colorful study in contradiction. Maybe he's chaotic neutral.


Ravingdork wrote:
I'm of the opinion that immunity to trip equates to immunity against the prone condition. Clearly that's not RAW, but I'm willing to bet it's RAI.

Pretty much how I also see it.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Perhaps prone means something different for some creatures, but the mechanical effect is the same.

RAW, nothing is immune to the Prone condition, just because it can't be tripped.


Icyshadow wrote:

...you're seriously asking this? Apply some logic here, please.

It's impossible to knock a snake prone if realism has any say in this.

A snake can't be knocked on its side, or upsided down, needing to adjust and get back on its belly?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

There's a lot going on here, and this is clearly one of those instances where the designers put the rules in the hands of capable and intelligent human beings and want them to adjudicate to the best of their ability.

That said, the RAW do not prevent any creature from acquiring the prone condition, unless it is clearly stated in their stat block. Being immune to trip is not the same as being immune to the prone condition. Can a snake change from "its normal condition" to "lying on the ground?" Can a snake "stand up?" Well, if you look at a snake like the king cobra, and realize that many times when that snake is in the middle of combat (which is when these rules would be being applied anyway) it does clearly rear its head above the ground, and I would call that as close to "standing up" as a snake can get. Edit: I find it somewhat germane too, that many of my prepainted plastic snake miniatures are depicted in just such a pose, head reared, body coiled so they can strike.

An interesting corroboration for this theory of mine is that every snake stat block that I looked at lists a flat footed armor class for the reptile in question. Clearly we all know that snakes (at least in our world) don't have feet. So to be "flat footed" is impossible. Yet there it is in in their stat block, which lets us know that the absence of actual feet, does not negate all foot based mechanics.

That's my 2cp anyway.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Logic would state, if you approach this from the reverse angle, that if they don't need to stand, they cannot be prone. You can only remove the prone condition by standing up. They have no legs to stand or legs to be tripped.

I used to be strict 100% RAW, but I am not coming to the realization that there are some parts of the game that a general rule ends up being very silly when applied to a side case. This is one of those cases where RAW needs to give way to RAI, even if nothing specifically says otherwise.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
GM Jeff wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:

...you're seriously asking this? Apply some logic here, please.

It's impossible to knock a snake prone if realism has any say in this.

A snake can't be knocked on its side, or upsided down, needing to adjust and get back on its belly?

That has little effect on a snake, and their body can correct with minimal effort. We have eight boas and pythons at home (and a rat snake, to be complete) and they correct themselves with very little effort. Rolling a snake over does not cause them to be slower, react worse or less deadly.


From the Pathfinder SRD

Quote:


Trip

You can attempt to trip your opponent in place of a melee attack. You can only trip an opponent who is no more than one size category larger than you. If you do not have the Improved Trip feat, or a similar ability, initiating a trip provokes an attack of opportunity from the target of your maneuver.

If your attack exceeds the target's CMD, the target is knocked prone. If your attack fails by 10 or more, you are knocked prone instead. If the target has more than two legs, add +2 to the DC of the combat maneuver attack roll for each additional leg it has. Some creatures—such as oozes, creatures without legs, and flying creatures—cannot be tripped.

Emphasis mine.


MendedWall12 wrote:


An interesting corroboration for this theory of mine is that every snake stat block that I looked at lists a flat footed armor class for the reptile in question. Clearly we all know that snakes (at least in our world) don't have feet. So to be "flat footed" is impossible. Yet there it is in in their stat block, which lets us know that the absence of actual feet, does not negate all foot based mechanics.

That's my 2cp anyway.

Flat-footed is not a foot based mechanic. Its entry (which is linked to in your post) mentions nothing about feet at all. The term itself is just an idiom for being caught unprepared.

To contrast, the prone entry specifically mentions that "the character is lying on the ground."


Yes, but there are ways, other than being tripped, to acquire the prone condition.

I understand that common sense and logic dictate a snake cannot be knocked "off its feet." But this is a rules forum thread, and many times the rules, logic, and common sense are vastly separate from one another, as Shar Tahl pointed out.


MendedWall12 wrote:

Yes, but there are ways, other than being tripped, to acquire the prone condition.

I understand that common sense and logic dictate a snake cannot be knocked "off its feet." But this is a rules forum thread, and many times the rules, logic, and common sense are vastly separate from one another, as Shar Tahl pointed out.

To be fair, the original poster is not asking a rules question. He indicates that he knows the strict rules answer at the begining of his first post. Instead, he is looking for advice on how it "should" be played. Whether that is appropriate in this particular forum is a different question.


Ganymede425 wrote:
MendedWall12 wrote:


An interesting corroboration for this theory of mine is that every snake stat block that I looked at lists a flat footed armor class for the reptile in question. Clearly we all know that snakes (at least in our world) don't have feet. So to be "flat footed" is impossible. Yet there it is in in their stat block, which lets us know that the absence of actual feet, does not negate all foot based mechanics.

That's my 2cp anyway.

Flat-footed is not a foot based mechanic. Its entry (which is linked to in your post) mentions nothing about feet at all. The term itself is just an idiom for being caught unprepared.

To contrast, the prone entry specifically mentions that "the character is lying on the ground."

Yes, all except for the actual title of the condition which is flat footed. I hate to be contrary and contentious, but in order to be "footed" in any way one must first have feet. Which is, again, why the designers put the rules in the hands of capable people. Rules as written need a person with common sense and logic to adjudicate them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MendedWall12 wrote:

Yes, but there are ways, other than being tripped, to acquire the prone condition.

I understand that common sense and logic dictate a snake cannot be knocked "off its feet." But this is a rules forum thread, and many times the rules, logic, and common sense are vastly separate from one another, as Shar Tahl pointed out.

And in those times, you use the RAI, since that's the whole point of what those little written words are trying to convey and this is the Rules forum, not the Ruleswanking forum :)


MendedWall12 wrote:
Ganymede425 wrote:

To contrast, the prone entry specifically mentions that "the character is lying on the ground."

Yes, all except for the actual title of the condition which is flat footed. I hate to be contrary and contentious, but in order to be "footed" in any way one must first have feet. Which is, again, why the designers put the rules in the hands of capable people. Rules as written need a person with common sense and logic to adjudicate them.

As I mentioned previously, flat-footed is an idiom for being caught unaware. It is much like how having a green thumb is an idiom for having significant gardening skills or being caught red-handed is an idiom for being discovered in the middle of a salacious act.


Cheapy wrote:
MendedWall12 wrote:

Yes, but there are ways, other than being tripped, to acquire the prone condition.

I understand that common sense and logic dictate a snake cannot be knocked "off its feet." But this is a rules forum thread, and many times the rules, logic, and common sense are vastly separate from one another, as Shar Tahl pointed out.

And in those times, you use the RAI, since that's the whole point of what those little written words are trying to convey and this is the Rules forum, not the Ruleswanking forum :)

Man I think people are misunderstanding me here, so I'll make it clear: we're I adjudicating this I would certainly say that a snake can't be knocked prone, it is "lying on the ground" in its natural state. What I was trying to do above was to play devil's advocate and show that an illogically strict look at the rules as they are written does not prevent any creature from having the prone condition attached to it, unless otherwise noted in the stat block. (The reason I did that was because many times a rules-lawyering player will use such strict examination as the basis for their arguments.) This is specifically why I said, multiple times now, that the game is put into the hands of intelligent people who need to adjudicate accordingly.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Being flat footed for me has nothing to do with feet - it's a term. To me it is that moment when you freeze in shock at the unexpected - therefore a snake most certainly can be flat footed.

Being knocked prone, again to me refers to be knocked from the stance in which you normally act. If you get knocked onto your butt, you are as prone as lying down as far as the prone condition goes. So for this, the trick for me is to not use the dictionary meaning of the work but the intent. You are out of position and must take some sort of move action to restore normality, e.g. stand up, or in the case of the snake, recoil for a strike and lift head off the floor (the equivalent of stand up for a snake I guess).

My interpretation of intent therefore means that a snake could be knocked prone if it is knocked down in such a way as to not be in its normal acting position (usually coiled, head raised to strike), so a snake can be knocked prone by knocking the head down and possibly even causing the snake to become uncoiled. Even slithering in that s shape, if the snake is knocked out of shape for movement, it can be argued it needs to restore its "walking stance" to be able to continue moving.

That is how I approach many of the terms which seem contradictory in nature - look at the intent, not the hard dictionary definition.


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I know it's a different game, but in 4E this topic came up and someone quoted...

Prone: This condition affects limbless creatures, such as fish and snakes, as well as amorphous creatures, such as oozes. When such a creature falls prone, imagine it is writhing or unsteady, rather than literally lying down. The game effect on that creature is the same as for other creatures.

See bold.

No reason why you can't think of prone in Pathfinder the same way.


GM Jeff wrote:

I know it's a different game, but in 4E this topic came up and someone quoted...

Prone: This condition affects limbless creatures, such as fish and snakes, as well as amorphous creatures, such as oozes. When such a creature falls prone, imagine it is writhing or unsteady, rather than literally lying down. The game effect on that creature is the same as for other creatures.

See bold.

No reason why you can't think of prone in Pathfinder the same way.

While that is one way to handle the problem, there is a compelling reason to go in the other direction. Mainly, the Pathfinder rules for prone take a far less abstract position.

"Prone - The character is lying on the ground."

The rules of 4e have a high level of abstraction, much like a wargame. Pathfinder's rules aren't as abstract.


First time poster. I approached this from a slightly different angle. From Webster: prone-lying flat or prostrate. prostrate- completely overcome and lacking vitality. So yes, a snake could be knocked prone. Yes, its counter-intuitive.

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber

Has no one on this thread ever seen a snake that was on it's back or side have to right itself to move? Also, most snakes have to typically rear up some to attack. Knocking them to the ground would mean they are not in an attack stance and would have to adjust to then attack. Of course this would not really count for most constrictors because of they way they attack.

I see no problem with being able to put a snake in a prone state...by tripping no, but it has already been pointed out there are other ways.


Icyshadow wrote:

...you're seriously asking this? Apply some logic here, please.

It's impossible to knock a snake prone if realism has any say in this.

Actually in real life it is possible to knock a snake prone. I've done it twice to snakes in my garden, once with a stick and once with a hammer. You can hit them in a way that knocks them on their back (usually they catch a little air too) and it takes them a second to recover. They have to twist around back onto their bellies and into a position the can move better from.

Now whether you call that a 'trip' is up for debate. I'd say no. But other effects, attacks and whatnot that can cause the prone condition could still work.


MendedWall12 wrote:

There's a lot going on here, and this is clearly one of those instances where the designers put the rules in the hands of capable and intelligent human beings and want them to adjudicate to the best of their ability.

That said, the RAW do not prevent any creature from acquiring the prone condition, unless it is clearly stated in their stat block. Being immune to trip is not the same as being immune to the prone condition. Can a snake change from "its normal condition" to "lying on the ground?" Can a snake "stand up?" Well, if you look at a snake like the king cobra, and realize that many times when that snake is in the middle of combat (which is when these rules would be being applied anyway) it does clearly rear its head above the ground, and I would call that as close to "standing up" as a snake can get. Edit: I find it somewhat germane too, that many of my prepainted plastic snake miniatures are depicted in just such a pose, head reared, body coiled so they can strike.

An interesting corroboration for this theory of mine is that every snake stat block that I looked at lists a flat footed armor class for the reptile in question. Clearly we all know that snakes (at least in our world) don't have feet. So to be "flat footed" is impossible. Yet there it is in in their stat block, which lets us know that the absence of actual feet, does not negate all foot based mechanics.

That's my 2cp anyway.

This is basically the rub. It SEEMS simple but any reading,talking to wranglers/zoo keepers etc or even watching some mpegs on snake catching indicates they can be flopped on their back, extended out so they cannot attack etc.

Its simplistic to say no legs = no prone as a fair ruling when the rules, life and irritating peripherals like animate trees indicate its more complicated.

Did my head in, thats why I am looking to a blameless higher power...


Shar Tahl wrote:
GM Jeff wrote:
Icyshadow wrote:

...you're seriously asking this? Apply some logic here, please.

It's impossible to knock a snake prone if realism has any say in this.

A snake can't be knocked on its side, or upsided down, needing to adjust and get back on its belly?
That has little effect on a snake, and their body can correct with minimal effort. We have eight boas and pythons at home (and a rat snake, to be complete) and they correct themselves with very little effort. Rolling a snake over does not cause them to be slower, react worse or less deadly.

From the mpegs I have seen not the case but they involve venomous snakes that prep for a bite. The above are constrictors so its like a expert grappler being knocked prone.. they still are dangerous and threaten.


Ravingdork wrote:
I'm of the opinion that immunity to trip equates to immunity against the prone condition. Clearly that's not RAW, but I'm willing to bet it's RAI.

Concur. RAW, the answer is no. RAI, the answer is yes.

Alternatively, if you use an ability that would knock the legless creature "prone", you can house rule in another effect with the same AC modifier. Perhaps it's flat-footed because it's "startled" or something?


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Simply see it as a state of physical collapse that leaves one more prone to physical injury from the attacks of others.

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