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Undead and Space


Rules Questions

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

What happens to an undead when it's shunted into space?

Specifically, the Bone Trooper from Incident at Absolom Station (Dead Suns Book 1), but also just in general.


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Well the ships section mentions the undead ships lacking life support as it's not needed, so I'd guess not much. Though floating aimlessly isn't ideal for anybody...


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Eventually they would cease to function due to erosion caused by micro meteors, cosmic rays et.

Being a Flying Dutchman as a sentient undead could severely suck.

Shadow Lodge

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That's the thing, though. It says they don't need an atmosphere in the ship section, but nothing in the stat block suggests they can survive the vacuum of space.

They have immunity to cold, they have undead immunities. They're unliving.

What do those mean?

Cold immunity is obvious.

Undead Immunities (AA 158):
Undead are immune to the following effects, unless the effect specifies it works against undead creatures.

Bleed, death effects, disease, mind-affecting effects, paralysis, poison, sleep, and stunning.

Ability damage, ability drain, energy drain, exhaustion, fatigue, negative levels, and nonlethal damage.

Any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless the effect works on objects or is harmless).

Unliving (AA 158):
The creature has no Constitution score or modifier. Any DCs or other statistics that rely on a Constitution score treat the creature as having a score of 10 (+0). The creature is immediately destroyed when it reaches 0 Hit Points. An unliving creature doesn’t heal damage naturally, but a construct can be repaired with the right tools. Spells such as make whole can heal constructs, and magic effects can heal undead. An unliving creature with fast healing (see page 154) still benefits from that ability. Unliving creatures don’t breathe, eat, or sleep. They can’t be raised or resurrected, except through the use of miracle, wish, or a similar effect that specifically works on unliving creatures.

What does being in a vacuum do?

Suffocation and no save 1d6 damage (CRB 394)

They don't breathe, so no suffocation.

The Bone Trooper has DR 5 (DS1 56), so that helps with a lot of the damage. But occasionally they'll take 1 point of damage. And they can't heal without the right tools.

This means that they'll take 1 point of damage approximately every 6 rounds. A round is 6 seconds (CRB 239), so approximately 2 points of damage per minute in space.

This means our Bone Trooper is going to last about 15-25 minutes in open vacuum.

(Note: a necrovite Eoxian has Fast Healing 10, meaning they regenerate all damage done by space).


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bookrat wrote:

That's the thing, though. It says they don't need an atmosphere in the ship section, but nothing in the stat block suggests they can survive the vacuum of space.

They have immunity to cold, they have undead immunities. They're unliving.

What do those mean?

Cold immunity is obvious.

** spoiler omitted **

** spoiler omitted **

What does being in a vacuum do?

Suffocation and no save 1d6 damage (CRB 394)

They don't breathe, so no suffocation.

The Bone Trooper has DR 5 (DS1 56), so that helps with a lot of the damage. But occasionally they'll take 1 point of damage. And they can't heal without the right tools.

This means that they'll take 1 point of damage approximately every 6 rounds. A round is 6 seconds (CRB 239), so approximately 2 points of damage per minute in space.

This means our Bone Trooper is going to last about 15-25 minutes in open...

At that point though, I'd rather be the bone trooper, as that necrohive's going to spend the rest of eternity floating randomly in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Not an especially appealing fate.

Grand Lodge

9 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 3 people marked this as a favorite.
bookrat wrote:
Suffocation and no save 1d6 damage (CRB 394)

I suspect the word "living" was omitted from that paragraph in the CRB. As written, even a robot takes damage from vacuum, which seems not-quite-right.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Dot.

Anybody want to make a FAQ out of Arutema's idea?


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Arutema wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Suffocation and no save 1d6 damage (CRB 394)
I suspect the word "living" was omitted from that paragraph in the CRB. As written, even a robot takes damage from vacuum, which seems not-quite-right.

Don't forget ships.


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Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
Arutema wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Suffocation and no save 1d6 damage (CRB 394)
I suspect the word "living" was omitted from that paragraph in the CRB. As written, even a robot takes damage from vacuum, which seems not-quite-right.
Don't forget ships.

Yes but 1d6 character damage is 0.1 to 0.6 ship damage, rounded down (as always).


but a ships hull has DR 35 and a bajillion hit points


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Would that damage be stopped by DR?

Just for the record I do believe that unliving things don't take damage in space, I'm just continuing on that thought since it was brought up.


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Arutema wrote:
bookrat wrote:
Suffocation and no save 1d6 damage (CRB 394)
I suspect the word "living" was omitted from that paragraph in the CRB. As written, even a robot takes damage from vacuum, which seems not-quite-right.

Agreed. Seems like that 1d6 damage should only apply to creatures that breathe.


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*nods*

Shadow Lodge

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Why limited to breathing? The suffocation stipulation already covers that.

The damage, to me, simulates the pressure difference between inside your body and the vacuum of space. Your body doesn't have the structural integrity to withstand vacuum.


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Because this:

Quote:
Decompression occurs when a creature suddenly transitions from a pressurized environment to a vacuum, such as by being flung out of an airlock or being inside a sealed structure that becomes heavily damaged. Such a creature takes 3d6 bludgeoning damage (no saving throw) in addition to any suffocation damage.

Is the rule for decompression.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

And that's fine for *sudden* decompression. What about sustained decompression? That's the ongoing 1d6.

No other suffocation rule gives continual damage* like that. You don't take continual damage every round from suffocation by drowning. What makes suffocation by space different?

And if it was due to suffocation, then why not put those rules in the suffocation section, rather than separate it out in this fashion:

"A creature introduced to a vacuum immediately begins to suffocate (see Suffocation and Drowning on page 404) and takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage per round (no saving throw)."

It sounds to me like a creature flung out an airlock gets an immediate 3d6 damage, and then sustains 1d6 damage every round thereafter. In addition, they start suffocating, following the suffocation rules. Undead are immune the to suffocation rules, but not the damage.

*Slow Suffocation does 1d6 nonlethal damage every 15 minutes. Normal suffocation does not do damage, it just removes all HP and then kills you two rounds later. Vacuum does 1d6 lethal damage every six second plus suffocation.


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bookrat wrote:

Why limited to breathing? The suffocation stipulation already covers that.

The damage, to me, simulates the pressure difference between inside your body and the vacuum of space. Your body doesn't have the structural integrity to withstand vacuum.

Of course, if you're not pressurized that doesn't really make sense. In most cases, you only need to pressurized if you're a living kind of being.

A Bone Trooper, like in the original question, doesn't really seem like the kind of creature that's going to have internal pressure. An undead like a vampire or a ghoul maybe.


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I can imagine an undead could have gases in its tissues that do cause some damage as they outgas.


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Xenocrat wrote:
I can imagine an undead could have gases in its tissues that do cause some damage as they outgas.

In its dried long dead skeleton? I suppose.

And such damage will be just the same as that done to a living creature with actual lungs and things.


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bookrat wrote:

And that's fine for *sudden* decompression. What about sustained decompression? That's the ongoing 1d6.

No other suffocation rule gives continual damage* like that. You don't take continual damage every round from suffocation by drowning. What makes suffocation by space different?

And if it was due to suffocation, then why not put those rules in the suffocation section, rather than separate it out in this fashion:

"A creature introduced to a vacuum immediately begins to suffocate (see Suffocation and Drowning on page 404) and takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage per round (no saving throw)."

It sounds to me like a creature flung out an airlock gets an immediate 3d6 damage, and then sustains 1d6 damage every round thereafter. In addition, they start suffocating, following the suffocation rules. Undead are immune the to suffocation rules, but not the damage.

*Slow Suffocation does 1d6 nonlethal damage every 15 minutes. Normal suffocation does not do damage, it just removes all HP and then kills you two rounds later. Vacuum does 1d6 lethal damage every six second plus suffocation.

The problem is that "sustained" decompression damage doesn't really make sense (for all creatures). Eventually the pressure of things reaches 0 absolute pressure. In most biological creatures, this would almost certainly kill it (see Tardigrade as an exception) but it doesn't make sense to assume the same for undead or constructs.

And it really doesn't make sense on technological or magical constructs which would have self contained and pressurized system, or simply have no pressurized systems at all.


On the other hand, the Bone Trooper is wearing armor, and all armors have Environmental Protections built in; so if the trooper gets kicked out an airlock, they can just turn on the suit and ignore the problem for a number of days equal to the armor's level.

Doesn't answer the question, I know, but at least it's a workaround for now...


Claxon wrote:
bookrat wrote:

And that's fine for *sudden* decompression. What about sustained decompression? That's the ongoing 1d6.

No other suffocation rule gives continual damage* like that. You don't take continual damage every round from suffocation by drowning. What makes suffocation by space different?

And if it was due to suffocation, then why not put those rules in the suffocation section, rather than separate it out in this fashion:

"A creature introduced to a vacuum immediately begins to suffocate (see Suffocation and Drowning on page 404) and takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage per round (no saving throw)."

It sounds to me like a creature flung out an airlock gets an immediate 3d6 damage, and then sustains 1d6 damage every round thereafter. In addition, they start suffocating, following the suffocation rules. Undead are immune the to suffocation rules, but not the damage.

*Slow Suffocation does 1d6 nonlethal damage every 15 minutes. Normal suffocation does not do damage, it just removes all HP and then kills you two rounds later. Vacuum does 1d6 lethal damage every six second plus suffocation.

The problem is that "sustained" decompression damage doesn't really make sense (for all creatures). Eventually the pressure of things reaches 0 absolute pressure. In most biological creatures, this would almost certainly kill it (see Tardigrade as an exception) but it doesn't make sense to assume the same for undead or constructs.

And it really doesn't make sense on technological or magical constructs which would have self contained and pressurized system, or simply have no pressurized systems at all.

From my understanding the main issues with decompression in space would be first the small aveoli in your lungs could burst which could mess up your ability to breath even if you get back to an area with air. Second some chemicals in your blood could do weird things like how you can get the bends from surfacing to fast. But for something that is already dead and does not breath I just don't see decompression doing anything other than minor cosmetic changes.

Liberty's Edge

I know this answer won't work for everyone, but I think it boils down to a question of which is cooler; a skeleton who was crushed to death, or a skeleton who is floating randomly in space, waiting for a ship/asteroid/random piece of debris to get close enough to grab on to.

Scarab Sages

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Couple things:

First of all, Undead can survive in space indefinably. Under the Eoxian section of the starships chapter in the core book, it specifically mentions 'necrogliders' which are ships that are piloted by a single creature (usually a sentient skeleton) that are open to the vacuum of space.

Undead are immune to poisons, and radiation is treated like a poison. Also, they are probably straight up immune to radiation, as radiation's biggest problem is that it futzes with the cells in the body's ability to copy themselves, and surprise surprise, undead don't exactly do that.

They don't need to breathe, they are immune to cold, they survive just fine. Now, unless they have some supernatural form of flight, they will be going in the direction they were last going when they took the voyage into the great beyond, but really, that's the only downside.

Now, if they are VENTED into space (from a pressurized area, say a ship) then they suffer the 3d6 bludgeoning damage as the radical drop in pressure will probably do nasty things to ANY solid matter, but that's about it.

Secondly, IRL, people can survive between 15-30 seconds in the vacuum of space and still recover just fine. Found this video online, which, while not the best source, seems really well documented and researched.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Hah! Just saw an episode of SciShowSpace that mentioned the same 10-15 seconds thing!

Shadow Lodge

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VampByDay wrote:

Couple things:

First of all, Undead can survive in space indefinably. Under the Eoxian section of the starships chapter in the core book, it specifically mentions 'necrogliders' which are ships that are piloted by a single creature (usually a sentient skeleton) that are open to the vacuum of space.

So does this mean Androids are also immune to the effects of space? DS1 has an Android piloting a Necroglider.

Shadow Lodge

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Tacticslion wrote:
Hah! Just saw an episode of SciShowSpace that mentioned the same 10-15 seconds thing!

So that's about 2-3 rounds. Plenty of time to hold ones breath for suffocation rules (2x Con score rounds). And the damage is only 3d6 - likely still within the Stamina Points!


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It's noted in the Android entry that they don't breathe and I think it talks about them going on space walks for periods of time without lasting damage but can't recall for sure. Need to reread their entry in the CRB.


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The Android constructed trait says "androids do not breathe or suffer the normal environmental effects of being in a vacuum." So by that I don't think they would even suffer the effects of decompression as that is an environment effect of vacuum.

I also don't think most undead would suffer any I'll effects either. But I don't have a solid source for that, I just think it is implied in the ships section.

Scarab Sages

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bookrat wrote:
VampByDay wrote:

Couple things:

First of all, Undead can survive in space indefinably. Under the Eoxian section of the starships chapter in the core book, it specifically mentions 'necrogliders' which are ships that are piloted by a single creature (usually a sentient skeleton) that are open to the vacuum of space.

So does this mean Androids are also immune to the effects of space? DS1 has an Android piloting a Necroglider.

I think they are fine for short trips in shielded areas.

Androids are not immune to radiation though (remember, they are bio-mechanical, s'why they can heal naturally.). So for a little bit they are fine, but too much exposure, or exposure to an area with a lot of radiation would kill them.

I'm no astrophysicist, but space has a lot of radiation. On earth (and presumably other earth-like planets like castrovel) the atmosphere shields you from that. But in the coldness of space? No shield.


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Wasnt there an android in dead suns that used a necroglider? That means that they need at least a certain degree of protection to use them


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Seisho wrote:
Wasnt there an android in dead suns that used a necroglider? That means that they need at least a certain degree of protection to use them

No, it means Androids don't have built in rockets to fly through space. Spaceships are a convenient solution to that problem.

Shadow Lodge

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baggageboy wrote:
The Android constructed trait says "androids do not breathe or suffer the normal environmental effects of being in a vacuum." So by that I don't think they would even suffer the effects of decompression as that is an environment effect of vacuum.

I agree. I meant to post that last night, but right when I hit submit the Paizo website was down. :(

But do note that it specifies both that they don't need to breathe AND they don't suffer from the environmental effects of space.

Quote:
I also don't think most undead would suffer any I'll effects either. But I don't have a solid source for that, I just think it is implied in the ships section.

That's the thing, it doesn't state it anywhere in any undead section I can find, either in the Core Rulebook, Alien Archives, or Dead Suns. I can find where it says they don't need to breathe (AA 158), but nowhere does it state that they don't suffer the environmental effects of space.

If they were immune to the effects of vacuum, it would say so somewhere. Some undead have the ability to withstand it indefinitely, like the necrovites, and some can just withstand it for longer than most creatures.


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bookrat wrote:
baggageboy wrote:
The Android constructed trait says "androids do not breathe or suffer the normal environmental effects of being in a vacuum." So by that I don't think they would even suffer the effects of decompression as that is an environment effect of vacuum.

I agree. I meant to post that last night, but right when I hit submit the Paizo website was down. :(

But do note that it specifies both that they don't need to breathe AND they don't suffer from the environmental effects of space.

Quote:
I also don't think most undead would suffer any I'll effects either. But I don't have a solid source for that, I just think it is implied in the ships section.

That's the thing, it doesn't state it anywhere in any undead section I can find, either in the Core Rulebook, Alien Archives, or Dead Suns. I can find where it says they don't need to breathe (AA 158), but nowhere does it state that they don't suffer the environmental effects of space.

If they were immune to the effects of vacuum, it would say so somewhere. Some undead have the ability to withstand it indefinitely, like the necrovites, and some can just withstand it for longer than most creatures.

You know, it does strike me that Eox whould put some effort in to secure its vessels against the vacuum of space if their soldiers where hurt by it. Even if the rules don't explicitly state it, I think it's safe to assume that RaI is that they don't suffer much, if at all.


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VampByDay wrote:
bookrat wrote:
VampByDay wrote:

Couple things:

First of all, Undead can survive in space indefinably. Under the Eoxian section of the starships chapter in the core book, it specifically mentions 'necrogliders' which are ships that are piloted by a single creature (usually a sentient skeleton) that are open to the vacuum of space.

So does this mean Androids are also immune to the effects of space? DS1 has an Android piloting a Necroglider.

I think they are fine for short trips in shielded areas.

Androids are not immune to radiation though (remember, they are bio-mechanical, s'why they can heal naturally.). So for a little bit they are fine, but too much exposure, or exposure to an area with a lot of radiation would kill them.

I'm no astrophysicist, but space has a lot of radiation. On earth (and presumably other earth-like planets like castrovel) the atmosphere shields you from that. But in the coldness of space? No shield.

If an android is wearing armor which I believe the one in DS1 was then that pretty much handles the radiation issue. Unless they get hit by a big solar flare although the ships shielding probably protects vs that as well.


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kaid wrote:
VampByDay wrote:
bookrat wrote:
VampByDay wrote:

Couple things:

First of all, Undead can survive in space indefinably. Under the Eoxian section of the starships chapter in the core book, it specifically mentions 'necrogliders' which are ships that are piloted by a single creature (usually a sentient skeleton) that are open to the vacuum of space.

So does this mean Androids are also immune to the effects of space? DS1 has an Android piloting a Necroglider.

I think they are fine for short trips in shielded areas.

Androids are not immune to radiation though (remember, they are bio-mechanical, s'why they can heal naturally.). So for a little bit they are fine, but too much exposure, or exposure to an area with a lot of radiation would kill them.

I'm no astrophysicist, but space has a lot of radiation. On earth (and presumably other earth-like planets like castrovel) the atmosphere shields you from that. But in the coldness of space? No shield.

If an android is wearing armor which I believe the one in DS1 was then that pretty much handles the radiation issue. Unless they get hit by a big solar flare although the ships shielding probably protects vs that as well.

Are there mechanics for radiation damage just from being in space?

If not, and if it's not explicit that it's not covered by androids don't "suffer the normal environmental effects of being in a vacuum", then they're immune to such normal levels of radiation. While not necessary to other higher levels of radiation - unshielded reactors, etc.


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LordRiffington wrote:
I know this answer won't work for everyone, but I think it boils down to a question of which is cooler; a skeleton who was crushed to death, or a skeleton who is floating randomly in space, waiting for a ship/asteroid/random piece of debris to get close enough to grab on to.

That’s actually a type of undead in Alien Archive.

Scarab Sages

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thejeff wrote:

Are there mechanics for radiation damage just from being in space?

If not, and if it's not explicit that it's not covered by androids don't "suffer the normal environmental effects of being in a vacuum", then they're immune to such normal levels of radiation. While not necessary to other higher levels of radiation - unshielded reactors, etc.

Found it: page 404 of the core rulebook, mentions cosmic rays, which are (in game terms) radiation exposure from being in space. It is 1 save/round. If you fail, then radiation sickness sets in, which is a save/day.

I believe space suits under level 7 protect against light radiation, and 7+ protect against moderate radiation.(could be wrong). I would assume different areas of space would expose you to different levels of radiation. Suns throw out an absurd amount of radiation, so near one would probably be bad, but in the disporia, where there are a bunch of rocks to shield you, you would probably be fine.

I would assume the answer to be that an android could go a day in space and the worst that would happen is he/she/Ze would have to go to the doctor for mild radiation poisoning afterwords, but several days uninterrupted in space might me deadly.


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bookrat wrote:

At that point though, I'd rather be the bone trooper, as that necrohive's going to spend the rest of eternity floating randomly in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Not an especially appealing fate.

Unless he's lucky enough to end up as a spaceship bugsplat.

Scarab Sages

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Thejeff wrote:
If not, and if it's not explicit that it's not covered by androids don't "suffer the normal environmental effects of being in a vacuum", then they're immune to such normal levels of radiation. While not necessary to other higher levels of radiation - unshielded reactors, etc.

Also, space and a vacuum are two different things. A vacuum could also be a vacuum chamber, or any other area of exceedingly low pressure. Bottom line, androids are immune to the effects of extreame low pressure, but not nessicarily the other bad stuff of space, like getting fried by UV radiation by being too close to a sun (like, say, on the sunward side of Castrovel in orbit.)

Only the Star Shaman is immune to Space radiation because of weird magic/mysticism stuff.

*edit* undead are immune too. Radiation is treated like a poison and a disease, undead are immune to both.

Scarab Sages

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This video that just came out might also be relevant (watch all the way till the end). Of course real life science and RPG mechanics rarely interact, but it still seems to be related to space radiation and how to deal with it.

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