Suffocation


Rules Questions

Sczarni

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Quote:

CASTING

Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a vial containing a bit of the caster's breath)

EFFECT
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Targets one living creature
Duration 3 rounds
Saving Throw Fortitude partial Spell Resistance yes

DESCRIPTION
This spell extracts the air from the target's lungs, causing swift suffocation. The target can attempt to resist this spell's effects with a Fortitude save-if he succeeds, he is merely staggered for 1 round as he gasps for breath. If the target fails, he immediately begins to suffocate. On the target's next turn, he falls unconscious and is reduced to 0 hit points. One round later, the target drops to -1 hit points and is dying. One round after that, the target dies. Each round, the target can delay that round's effects from occurring by making a successful Fortitude save, but the spell continues for 3 rounds, and each time a target fails his Fortitude save, he moves one step further along the track to suffocation. This spell only affects living creatures that must breathe. It is impossible to defeat the effects of this spell by simply holding one's breath-if the victim fails the initial saving throw, the air in his lungs is extracted.

I just want to clarify how this spell works for the sake of my campaign. Lets lay it out as it would happen in a session.

Witch A casts the spell on Fighter B. The initiative order is Witch A, Cleric C, then Fighter B.

Fighter B failed his save, so on HIS TURN he then is reduced to 0 hit points.

Witch A's turn again. Is this the time Fighter B makes another save? Or does he make the second turn's save during his initiative?

Cleric C's turn. He heals Fighter B for 1d8 hit points. Now Fighter B is no longer at 0 hit points. Is the next effect of the spell still -1 and dying? Or does he revert back to step one and go to 0 and fall unconcious?

Fighter B's turn. He takes the effects of failing the second save on his turn? Or when he failed on Witch A's initiative (if that is when you make the save roll) is when the second stage of effects take place?

Witch A's turn once again. Back to whether the save roll is made on this initiative or Fighter B's initiative? And do the effects of the spell hit Fighter B NOW or on Fighter B's initiative?

Cleric C's turn. If he uses a spell that prevents death effects does it prevent the third stage of the spell's effects? Or if the save took place on Witch A's initiative is it too late and the death effect has already taken place? Does a heal spell that raises Fighter B's health to 10 hit points then revert the spell back, or does the death effect happen regardless of current hit points?

Fighter B's turn. Where are we at with spell effects given the above scenarios?

==================================================================

I guess my confusion is in the order of events, when the save rolls happen, when the effects take place, and outsider interference can change things but do they change what happens in the spell?

It just seems kind of under powered if it only takes 1 heal spell to kind of negate the effects of that spell.


I'm not sure about the cleric healing the fighter and that staving off suffocation. I looked through all the rules that I could find on the subject of healing and suffocation and I came up with nothing.

However, as to when the fighter saves, I can answer that. The fighter always saves on the witch's turn. If it were anything else, he would have to make two saves in the first round (when effected by the spell on the witch's initiative and on his own turn). Since this would further punish characters/creatures with a low initiative count, it makes sense that the save would be at the same time each round. In this case, it would happen at the top of each round on the witch's initiative count.

Sczarni

Mauril wrote:

I'm not sure about the cleric healing the fighter and that staving off suffocation. I looked through all the rules that I could find on the subject of healing and suffocation and I came up with nothing.

However, as to when the fighter saves, I can answer that. The fighter always saves on the witch's turn. If it were anything else, he would have to make two saves in the first round (when effected by the spell on the witch's initiative and on his own turn). Since this would further punish characters/creatures with a low initiative count, it makes sense that the save would be at the same time each round. In this case, it would happen at the top of each round on the witch's initiative count.

Ok. I thought the save would happen on the Witch's turn, but does the effect of the failed save always happen on the Fighter's turn or is that only the first effect?

The way the saves and effects of this spell are VERY vague and different from every other spell. Like for example Phantasmal Killer, when the spell is cast if you fail that Fort save you die. Its not a "I failed the save and on my initiative I die."

Dark Archive

We spent like an hour parsing this spell. We were close to getting out a blackboard a writing out some sort of equation that would make this wording not suck. Here's the order we worked out.

1. Witch's turn. Cast Spell. Fighter saves and is staggered for 1 round or fails and nothing happens until Fighter's turn.
2. Fighter's turn. Fighter folls save. If pass then nothing happens this round. If fail, 0hp and unconscious.
3. Fighter's next turn. Fighter rolls save. If Pass twice, nothing happens. If fail first time, 0hp and unconscious. Second failure, -1 dying.
4. Fighter's next turn. Fighter rolls save. If Pass three times, nothing happens. If fail first time, 0hp and unconscious. Second failure, -1 dying. Third failure death.

Is that more clear?

Now onto healing in the midst of suffocation. I don't think it will have any effect. The effects of failure each round are pretty clear for both the spell and the environmental hazard. Off the top of my head, other than passing your saves or getting this dispelled, only a Necklace of Adaptation will save you.

Edit: Nope even the Necklace of Adaptation won't save you. It will let you breathe in a vacuum but you still have to breathe.


YuenglingDragon: I'm pretty sure the saves are only on the witch's initiative. This keeps the fighter from potentially making two saves if he rolled low, but only one if he rolled high on initiative.

Barring a dispel, I think you are right: lots of made saves, or death in three rounds.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
YuenglingDragon wrote:

We spent like an hour parsing this spell. We were close to getting out a blackboard a writing out some sort of equation that would make this wording not suck. Here's the order we worked out.

1. Witch's turn. Cast Spell. Fighter saves and is staggered for 1 round or fails and nothing happens until Fighter's turn.
2. Fighter's turn. Fighter folls save. If pass then nothing happens this round. If fail, 0hp and unconscious.
3. Fighter's next turn. Fighter rolls save. If Pass twice, nothing happens. If fail first time, 0hp and unconscious. Second failure, -1 dying.
4. Fighter's next turn. Fighter rolls save. If Pass three times, nothing happens. If fail first time, 0hp and unconscious. Second failure, -1 dying. Third failure death.

I believe that the spell would actually work like this:

1. Witch's turn. Cast Spell. Fighter saves. If he makes the save he is staggered for 1 round and the spell ends. If not, he begins to suffocate.
2. Fighter's turn. If fighter made the save, he is staggered and the spell is over. If he failed, he makes an additional save. If he makes it, he he is fine for that round. If he fails, he goes to 0 and unconscious.
3. Fighter's next turn. Fighter rolls save again. If he makes it, he stays at whatever condition he was at (either fine or at 0 and unconscious). If he fails, he moves one step down the suffocation path.
4. Fighter's next turn. Fighter rolls save again. If he makes the save, he stays at whatever condition he was at and the spell ends. If he fails the save, he moves one step down the suffocation path and the spell ends.
5. If the fighter is at -1 and the spell ends without him dying (made his final save), he would then start making normal stabilization rolls on his turn. At this point, healing would work as normal but it would do nothing to counteract the effects of the spell during the 3 round duration of the spell.

So the fighter makes either 1 save or a total of 4 saves. One on the witch's original turn that she cast the spell to stave off the suffocation effects completely. If he fails that he makes a save on each of his next three turns to see if he moves down the suffocation path or not.

That's my 2 cp worth anyway.


I think Ace has it in the bag. I agree with everything he said. :-)


Ace Smith wrote:


I believe that the spell would actually work like this:

1. Witch's turn. Cast Spell. Fighter saves. If he makes the save he is staggered for 1 round and the spell ends. If not, he begins to suffocate.
2. Fighter's turn. If fighter made the save, he is staggered and the spell is over. If he failed, he makes an additional save. If he makes it, he he is fine for that round. If he fails, he goes to 0 and unconscious.
3. Fighter's next turn. Fighter rolls save again. If he makes it, he stays at whatever condition he was at (either fine or at 0 and unconscious). If he fails, he moves one step down the suffocation path.
4. Fighter's next turn. Fighter rolls save again. If he makes the save, he stays at whatever condition he was at and the spell ends. If he fails the save, he moves one step down the suffocation path and the spell ends.
5. If the fighter is at -1 and the spell ends without him dying (made his final save), he would then start making normal stabilization rolls on his turn. At this point, healing would work as normal but it would do nothing to counteract the effects of the spell during the 3 round duration of the spell.

So the fighter makes either 1 save or a total of 4 saves. One on the witch's original turn that she cast the spell to stave off the suffocation effects completely. If he fails that he makes a save on each of his next three turns to see if he moves down the suffocation path or not.

That's my 2 cp worth anyway.

You make a good point about the duration of the spell being a limiting factor. If the fighter fails the first save and makes any of the last three saves, he doesn't die. That really crimps the power of the spell, which isn't a bad thing. It was (under my original reading) a "you just eventually die" spell.

I still hold that the fighter saves on the witch's turn though.


ossian666 wrote:
Quote:

CASTING

Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a vial containing a bit of the caster's breath)

EFFECT
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Targets one living creature
Duration 3 rounds
Saving Throw Fortitude partial Spell Resistance yes

DESCRIPTION
This spell extracts the air from the target's lungs, causing swift suffocation. The target can attempt to resist this spell's effects with a Fortitude save-if he succeeds, he is merely staggered for 1 round as he gasps for breath. If the target fails, he immediately begins to suffocate. On the target's next turn, he falls unconscious and is reduced to 0 hit points. One round later, the target drops to -1 hit points and is dying. One round after that, the target dies. Each round, the target can delay that round's effects from occurring by making a successful Fortitude save, but the spell continues for 3 rounds, and each time a target fails his Fortitude save, he moves one step further along the track to suffocation. This spell only affects living creatures that must breathe. It is impossible to defeat the effects of this spell by simply holding one's breath-if the victim fails the initial saving throw, the air in his lungs is extracted.

As I read it, this spell is one of the most potent Save or Suck spells in the game.

Turn 1.
Wanda Witch casts Suffocation on Fighter Fred. Fighter Fred rolls a saving throw on Wanda's turn as normal. If the save succeeds, Fred is staggered, until Wanda's next initiative count. If the the save fails, when Fred's initiative count comes up, Fred falls unconscious and is reduced to 0 hit points; he DOES NOT get to act (unless somehow immune to unconsciousness).

Turn 2
Wanda can do whatever she wants this turn, including cast another spell. If Fred was previously staggered, Fred stops being staggered at this point. Fred must make another saving throw when Wanda's initiative comes up, regardless of the result of his previous save.

Assuming Fred saved successfully last turn, and succeeds in his save this turn, Fred is staggered, until Wanda's next initiative count. If Fred's save fails, when Fred's initiative count comes up, Fred falls unconscious and is reduced to 0 hit points; he does not get to act when falling unconscious (unless somehow immune to unconsciousness).
Unconsciousness is this:
http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/conditions#TOC-Unconscious
You are helpless. You are not losing more hit points. Healing you to 1 or more hp will render the character conscious.

If Fred failed last turns save, and succeeds in this turn's save, Fred remains unconscious. If he fails this turns save, Fred drops to -1 hit points and is dying.
Note that dying implies constitution checks to become stable (or to lost 1 hp/turn. Yes, this could potentially kill Fred even if he makes his remaining save from the spell ...).
http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/conditions#TOC-Dying
Fred must make a stabilization check when HIS initiative count comes up.

Turn 3
Wanda can again do whatever she wants this turn, including cast another spell. If Fred was previously staggered, Fred stops being staggered at this point. Fred must make another saving throw when Wanda's initiative comes up, regardless of the result of his previous save.

Assuming Fred saved successfully in turn 1 and in turn 2, and succeeds in his save this turn, Fred is staggered, until Wanda's next initiative count (turn 4). If Fred's save fails, when Fred's initiative count comes up, Fred falls unconscious and is reduced to 0 hit points; he does not get to act when falling unconscious (unless somehow immune to unconsciousness).

If Fred failed either of turn 1 and turn 2's saving throws (but not both), and succeeds in this turn's save, Fred remains unconscious. If he fails this turns save, Fred drops to -1 hit points and is dying (and must make a stabilization check on his initiative count).

If Fred fails both of of turn 1 and turn 2's saving throws, and succeeds in this turn's save, Fred is still at -1 hit points and is dying. If he fails this turns save, Fred's dead. Fred also needs to make a stabilization check on his initiative count

The reason this is perhaps the most potent save or suck spell in the game is obvious - the target needs to make 3 successful saving throws or be rendered unconscious (and thereby being coup de grace bait and of course, being unable to act). The one mildly saving grace is that it can be interrupted: a successful dispel magic or anti-magic effect will stop the need for further saving throws. It will not however, eliminate any condition already acquired (eg unconsciousness).

Dark Archive

Mauril, I think since it talks about the effects of the spell on subsequent rounds happening on the targets turn, that it saves on the targets turn. This certainly ups the power of the spell, but considering its level I think it's appropriate.

Pad, I don't parse the spell the way you do. As a Save: Partial (see text) spell, I see the second sentence as talking about only the initial save. When towards the end is talks about delaying that round's effect, I think it's talking about the suffocation. Your GM may vary, but that's how we've been playing it.


Yuengling and Ace are spot on.

It is definitely a powerful spell, but requires 4 failed saves to actually be killing anyone.

But a Rod of Extend would surely be a worthwhile investment for this one.

Dark Archive

HaraldKlak wrote:

Yuengling and Ace are spot on.

It is definitely a powerful spell, but requires 4 failed saves to actually be killing anyone.

But a Rod of Extend would surely be a worthwhile investment for this one.

Well, Ace and I disagree on when the staggered condition come into ply but we are otherwise in agreement.

I hadn't thought of using extend on this one. It would seem to work and give a much higher chance of killing the target if they failed the first save.


YuenglingDragon wrote:
HaraldKlak wrote:

Yuengling and Ace are spot on.

It is definitely a powerful spell, but requires 4 failed saves to actually be killing anyone.

But a Rod of Extend would surely be a worthwhile investment for this one.

Well, Ace and I disagree on when the staggered condition come into ply but we are otherwise in agreement.

I hadn't thought of using extend on this one. It would seem to work and give a much higher chance of killing the target if they failed the first save.

It actually gets worse for the Level 9 version mass suffocation. At the time you can get it, you can select 8 breathing creatures, and they would all have to make successful fort saves for 17 rounds. Of course, at Level 9, most spells are fairly potent.


YuenglingDragon wrote:

Mauril, I think since it talks about the effects of the spell on subsequent rounds happening on the targets turn, that it saves on the targets turn. This certainly ups the power of the spell, but considering its level I think it's appropriate.

Pad, I don't parse the spell the way you do. As a Save: Partial (see text) spell, I see the second sentence as talking about only the initial save. When towards the end is talks about delaying that round's effect, I think it's talking about the suffocation. Your GM may vary, but that's how we've been playing it.

No, the key sentence is clearly

Quote:
Each round, the target can delay that round's effects from occurring by making a successful Fortitude save, but the spell continues for 3 rounds, and each time a target fails his Fortitude save, he moves one step further along the track to suffocation.

Yes, this is nasty, and Extend metamagic makes it really vicious. However, there are other examples of spells that force multiple saves over a duration, for example Enemy Hammer,

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/e/enemy-hammer
Is also fortitude save partial spell that a) has a duration, and b) forces multiple saves (every time the caster tries to use the effect, but the spell is clearly NOT removed by making the save; the caster can try again next turn.
Another example would be River of Winds
http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/r/river-of-wind

Sczarni

Ok so to sum this up:
Everyone has a different interpretation of how this works with the saves and when, but the healing in the middle doesn't effect the outcome regardless.

And side note:
Holy crap Extend makes this evil!

The Exchange

ossian666 wrote:

Ok so to sum this up:

Everyone has a different interpretation of how this works with the saves and when, but the healing in the middle doesn't effect the outcome regardless.

And side note:
Holy crap Extend makes this evil!

Especially since after one failed save you can cut their throat.

Hmm, could you quicken this, cast as a swift and then ready a standard action to attack the target after their init if they fall unconscious? Shame coup d'grace is a full-round action and can't be readied.


ossian666 wrote:

Ok so to sum this up:

Everyone has a different interpretation of how this works with the saves and when, but the healing in the middle doesn't effect the outcome regardless.

And side note:
Holy crap Extend makes this evil!

No, healing in the middle works quite well. You fail a save, drop to 0 hp and become unconscious. Later in the turn, your cleric buddy cast Cure Light Wounds on you for 10 hp of healing. You now have 10 hp, and are no longer unconscious. Failing the next save will not reduce you to phase 2 (-1 hp and dying), rather it will reduce you to 0 hp and unconscious again...

Dark Archive

pad300 wrote:
ossian666 wrote:

Ok so to sum this up:

Everyone has a different interpretation of how this works with the saves and when, but the healing in the middle doesn't effect the outcome regardless.

And side note:
Holy crap Extend makes this evil!

No, healing in the middle works quite well. You fail a save, drop to 0 hp and become unconscious. Later in the turn, your cleric buddy cast Cure Light Wounds on you for 10 hp of healing. You now have 10 hp, and are no longer unconscious. Failing the next save will not reduce you to phase 2 (-1 hp and dying), rather it will reduce you to 0 hp and unconscious again...

I'm not exactly disagreeing with you, but my question is, why does the healing bring you to consciousness?

I'd be more comfortable agreeing with you if the suffocation had brought you to -1 and unconscious, as unconscious is the natural consequence of being at negative hit points. It appears that in this case, it might not be the case. You are at 0 hp, yet unconscious. Which implies that his unconscious may be an effect of the spell (or the suffocation) rather than his hp total.

The rule for healing states:
"Healing that raises the dying character's hit points to 0 makes him conscious and disabled. Healing that raises his hit points to 1 or more makes him fully functional again, just as if he'd never been reduced to 0 or lower. A spellcaster retains the spellcasting capability she had before dropping below 0 hit points."

Again. Not disagreeing, but it's a slightly weird case.

Can you bring out any rules text to support your assertion?

Sczarni

Healing in between would make you concious, BUT on your turn if you failed that save the next step in the spell is going to happen. Its pretty cut and dry. If you fail this save then this happens. So, even if you are at -2 and get healed to 10 then if you failed the third save then BOOM dead.

If it were that easy to counter the spell would be stupid and pointless.

BUT, if you have a spell that prevents death effects then the third effect could be block. You would still be possibly negative hitpoints and dying but not insta-dead.


Brother Elias wrote:
pad300 wrote:

No, healing in the middle works quite well. You fail a save, drop to 0 hp and become unconscious. Later in the turn, your cleric buddy cast Cure Light Wounds on you for 10 hp of healing. You now have 10 hp, and are no longer unconscious. Failing the next save will not reduce you to phase 2 (-1 hp and dying), rather it will reduce you to 0 hp and unconscious again...

I'm not exactly disagreeing with you, but my question is, why does the healing bring you to consciousness?

I'd be more comfortable agreeing with you if the suffocation had brought you to -1 and unconscious, as unconscious is the natural consequence of being at negative hit points. It appears that in this case, it might not be the case. You are at 0 hp, yet unconscious. Which implies that his unconscious may be an effect of the spell (or the suffocation) rather than his hp total.

The rule for healing states:
"Healing that raises the dying character's hit points to 0 makes him conscious and disabled. Healing that raises his hit points to 1 or more makes him fully functional again, just as if he'd never been reduced to 0 or lower. A spellcaster retains the spellcasting capability she had before dropping below 0 hit points."

Again. Not disagreeing, but it's a slightly weird case.

Can you bring out any rules text to support your assertion?

The weirdness of falling unconscious at 0 hp is a carryover from the drowning/suffocation rules (make con checks to hold breath, at 1st fail, 0 hp and unconscious, next round -1 hp and dying, and then 3ed round dead)... This weirdness has been going on since the start of 3.0, where the disabled condition at 0 hp was introduced. Prior to that, in 2nd edition, depending on your house-rules, 0 hp was unconcious, not disabled...(the official rules was 0hp = dead!). I think the original writer was thinking in 2nd ed terms when he wrote the rule...

I don't know that there is a ruling on the saves continuing down the chain, even if healed, but due to the power of the spell, anything that tones it down is probably a good ruling. I might even accept the house rule proposed by one poster above, that the 1st successful save stops the spell for good...


ossian666 wrote:


If it were that easy to counter the spell would be stupid and pointless.

Even if somebody heals you, you're at ZERO hp plus whatever they healed you for. That's like being hit with Harm in 3.0. You are not for long in this world in a combat situation...

Sczarni

pad300 wrote:
ossian666 wrote:


If it were that easy to counter the spell would be stupid and pointless.

Even if somebody heals you, you're at ZERO hp plus whatever they healed you for. That's like being hit with Harm in 3.0. You are not for long in this world in a combat situation...

Here is my problem. Just because you are no longer at 0 hit points doesn't mean you magically have oxygen in your lungs. If you fail your saving throw you still have a vacuum in your lungs. Last I checked you need oxygen to live, so if you don't have it then you are going to be dying shortly.


4 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 2 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't really have anything to add here, but I will add my click as a FAQ question though.

Grand Lodge

Suffocation is a necromancy spell but should it have the death descriptor?

Liberty's Edge

Quickened Ill Omen + Suffocation = Almost Certain Death


zzzzzzz....

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