How can a character detect ability damage?


Rules Questions

Silver Crusade

If an NPC has ability damage, how can a character know that.

Put another way: In game context, how does ability damage manifest itself? How would a character know when he or she needs to cast a Lesser Restoration? How would a character feel if she had lost some Wisdom, or Charisma?


Generally there's no outward signs, with the exception of Constitution, where there's a visible effect of the damage IMO.

Strength - becomes weaker
Dexterity - becomes clumsier
Constitution - skin goes pale, coughing fits etc.
Intelligence - decreased ability to process information
Wisdom - becomes more forgetful
Charisma - becomes less confident


Tanis wrote:

Generally there's no outward signs, with the exception of Constitution, where there's a visible effect of the damage IMO.

I wouldn't agree with that at all - there's nothing *defined* for any of them, but there certainly should be some visible effects for most, depending on the cause.

Strength - flesh could be discolored and soft (e.g. spider venom)
Dexterity - muscles could be spasmodically twitching constantly
Constitution - skin goes pale, coughing fits etc. [good one!]
Intelligence - eyes don't focus as well
Wisdom - tends to stare in one direction, and startle easily (e.g. Allip?)
Charisma - [This one is tough, could be as simple as slumped shoulders. It can be physical deformity. Could also be things like a lovely voice suddenly turning to a scratchy croak.]


Michael New wrote:

If an NPC has ability damage, how can a character know that.

Put another way: In game context, how does ability damage manifest itself? How would a character know when he or she needs to cast a Lesser Restoration? How would a character feel if she had lost some Wisdom, or Charisma?

This is entirely up to the purview of your DM. If he wants there to be outward signs, it can be as obvious or subtle as he chooses.

If you *are* the DM, the above suggestions are good places to start, and our group does similar. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Michael New wrote:

If an NPC has ability damage, how can a character know that.

Put another way: In game context, how does ability damage manifest itself? How would a character know when he or she needs to cast a Lesser Restoration? How would a character feel if she had lost some Wisdom, or Charisma?

I'll typically let my players make a wis roll, (or heal if they have it) and if it suceeds i will tell them the PC feels unwell in some way. Fever, chills, mind foggy, listless, limbs feeling heavy or numbness. I then let a successful heal skill diagnostic identify the stat and source.

EDIT: sorry that was for PC's. To spot in an NPC i would use the heal skill in a method similar to sense motive in social situations.


Michael New wrote:

If an NPC has ability damage, how can a character know that.

Put another way: In game context, how does ability damage manifest itself? How would a character know when he or she needs to cast a Lesser Restoration? How would a character feel if she had lost some Wisdom, or Charisma?

I'll second calling for a heal check. Its like telling when someone has the flue, they look like crap.

If the ability damage was also caused by a spell, knowledge arcana lets you

Identify a spell effect that is in place Arcana 20 + spell level

If the character (pc or not) is the one that lost the ability score, they're going to know. They feel weak, uncoordinated, tired, fuzzy headed , discombobulated, or have a severe case of the blaahs. They may not know WHAT's wrong with them , but if they see that one of the pc's is a cleric they may go up to them and say "hey, i feel like crap, fix me!"


It depends on the source of the ability damage. Most common sources would be poison and disease, which would often have identifiable symptoms. As already mentioned, Heal checks could determine the likely sources of symptoms. Relevant knowledge skills may also help. For example, some suffering ability damage from an undead monster may be more noticeable to someone with Knowledge (religion).

Mark L. Chance | Spes Magna Games

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Michael New wrote:

If an NPC has ability damage, how can a character know that.

Put another way: In game context, how does ability damage manifest itself? How would a character know when he or she needs to cast a Lesser Restoration? How would a character feel if she had lost some Wisdom, or Charisma?

If a character is checking over a willing NPC, then a standard Heal check should detect abnormalities such as a weakened grip, slowed reflexes, etc. The mental losses are a bit more subtle unless they've been seriously drained, but a sudden sucepitbility to suggestion or personality change might give a clue. In other areas failure on a problem that should be easy, or a noticeable lack in "presence" can give a clue to Int an Cha loss repsectively.

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