Healing negative hp characters and there place in initiative


Advice

Liberty's Edge

First off I apologize for the length but it is neccessary....
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I currently am running a game in which I have a halfling Oracle which had been reduced to -5 by a spectral Paladin which had succumbed in a battle with a greater Evil and is now forced to slay any living creature which enters its lair {blah blah blah} the point is the oracle drops at witch point another player (witch) continues magic missiling the paladins ghost. The ghost ignores the witch and continues to feast on the fallen halfling for 2pts negative energy draing per round, in three rounds the halfling will be dead. The witch takes the time to kick the body of the halfling out from under the ghost in an attempt to prevent the draining which did actually give the halfling an extra round to hang on. Hope that sets the picture, now comes the problem the witch casts CMW for 17 points on the halfling oracle minus the -9 he was at (2pts for 2 rounds added to the -5) would leave him at +8 done on the witches initiative. next would be the ghost who knowing what the witch has done planned to coup de grace the halfling with his spectral sword(formerly a +5 holy avenger). First the halfling player pipes up with "I should be able to defend myself because I am at +8" to which I explain that he has been out of the initiative order for 4 rounds and dying and cannot act until the next round which he would have to re roll for new initiative since he is effectively rejoing an ongoing combat. Then he explainse from one of his skills or abilities or such he automatically stabilizes when he goes to 0 or less and cant take any more damage. I explain he can indeed continue to be damaged but it must come from additional attacks on his limp body ( the -4 additional drain point). And regardless of his current hit point total even if we used his original initiative, it would still not come until after the ghosts coup de grace. Now when you get healed after being down for more than one roungd do you automatically jump up and can get right back into the fight or is ther some time frame before your head clears allowing you to fight???? can find no real clarification on this. Also should the ghost get the coup de grace if he is truly awake or does that mean he is no longer considered helpless????? if that is the case then I would feel correct in classifying him as flat footed at the very least. To this last bit he informs me he cannot be caught flatfooted except by a rogue of equal or higher level. Which is fine for combat but this is essentially a special circumstance. I stopped the game for the night at this point so I could review and come up with some sort of fair judgement. If anyone could read this and point me somewhere for a definitive rules answer that would be great otherwise I will just have to make a DM judgement which no one may like.


IIRC if the halfling made stabilization rolls, that used his initiative each turn. If the halfling took no actions but remained alive, that would imply he was delaying his initiative. If he took no action last turn, including stabilization rolls, I would rule that as a delay and allow a turn before the ghost. Otherwise, use the original initiative.

Liberty's Edge

Brambleman wrote:
IIRC if the halfling made stabilization rolls, that used his initiative each turn. If the halfling took no actions but remained alive, that would imply he was delaying his initiative. If he took no action last turn, including stabilization rolls, I would rule that as a delay and allow a turn before the ghost. Otherwise, use the original initiative.

i could grant him stabilization after each ghostly drain and that could be on his initiative but the fact remains he is unconscious and has been for 4 rounds therefore how do I justify giving him a free turn before the ghost, Just because he has no action to take should not award him 1st initiative especially in the middle of a round. BTW: the orininal initiative order was Oracle, Witch, Paladin. I understand the delay part but if your unconscious how could you delay something. Also there is the issue about instant recovery versus coup de grace after all he is still prone and essentially flatfooted by his original inititative order alone. Or am I putting to much into this.


ancientdm wrote:
next would be the ghost who knowing what the witch has done planned to coup de grace the halfling with his spectral sword(formerly a +5 holy avenger). First the halfling player pipes up with "I should be able to defend myself because I am at +8" to which I explain that he has been out of the initiative order for 4 rounds and dying and cannot act until the next round which he would have to re roll for new initiative since he is effectively rejoing an ongoing combat.

Here's how I would handle this in my game...

What is more fun for the player?

1. Being CDG'd by a ghost with no chance to defend?
2. Being told the ghost will CDG them and then making a very heroic escape by tricking the ghost?

If you said #1; any ruling you make will be fine. Thanks for reading my response and you can stop reading here.

---------------

Since you are still reading, you must have said #2. Cool. You tell the player; the Witch has healed you and you are coming around, but the Ghost sees it too. He's going to take a full-round action to CDG you ... unless you can beat him in a Bluff / Sense Motive contest ... if you win, you fake him out and can roll away from the fatal blow at the last second. If you fail ... you die instantly! Give me a Bluff roll...

Now, you roll Sense Motive behind your GM screen. DO NOT announce the result... just look grim and describe the how the ghost carefully moves his enormous blade into place at the Halfling's throat and ...
THE HALFLING ROLLS AWAY AT THE VERY LAST INSTANT
... the ghost's surprise gives way to raging anger in less than half a heartbeat. The clever halfling better figure out something very fast!

(What about the roll behind the screen? Doesn't matter. At all. It was merely a prop to build suspense.)

When your player leaves the game, he'll talk about how his halfling bravely escaped almost certain death with an incredibly daring bluff.
THAT is cool. THAT is fun. That's why it should be your ruling; regardless of what the rules state.


After being healed, the Halfling was no longer at negative hit points and therefore dying which is what gave them the unconscious condition that qualified them for a Coup. Seems to me you have one of those cinematic moments where the hero comes to as the sword is plunging toward their body. Depending on the movie, they might die anyway - but they wouldn't die unaware.

Liberty's Edge

another_mage wrote:


Since you are still reading, you must have said #2. Cool. You tell the player; the Witch has healed you and you are coming around, but the Ghost sees it too. He's going to take a full-round action to CDG you ... unless you can beat him in a Bluff / Sense Motive contest ... if you win, you fake him out and can roll away from the fatal blow at the last second. If you fail ... you die instantly! Give me a Bluff roll...

Now, you roll Sense Motive behind your GM screen. DO NOT announce the result... just look grim and describe the how the ghost carefully moves his enormous blade into place at the Halfling's throat and ...
THE HALFLING ROLLS AWAY AT THE VERY LAST INSTANT
... the ghost's surprise gives way to raging anger in less than half a heartbeat. The clever halfling better figure out something very fast!

(What about the roll behind the screen? Doesn't matter. At all. It was merely a prop to build suspense.)

When your player leaves the game, he'll talk about how his halfling bravely escaped almost certain death with an incredibly daring bluff.
THAT is cool. THAT is fun. That's why it should be your ruling; regardless of what the rules state.

Thats a bit of a problem

1. I never roll behind the screen as I have never wanted my players to think I took advantage of a roll one way or the other. Just a habit of mine. If I changed now everyone would no I was fudging something one way or the other.

2. I am intrigued with the idea of the heroic effort but perhaps I could find a way for the witch to do something maybe throw herself in front of the oracle and take the blow or something then she could use her last fireball in her wand to finish the ghost off as he has only enough left to survive a minor attack and would most likely succumb to the fireball. I suppose thats a possibility.

3.still havent resolved the issue about when you get healed from unconscious how fast do you become competent again. Maybe we will have to do a house rule on this.

4. ooohhh I just thought of something let me run this by you. The witch has a fox familiar which until now pretty much stays out of the fight I could have the fox take the blow and then the witch could just resummon it (once there out of the dungeon as I dont think she could just do it right there but I will check that out.) or even have the witch attempt to cover him up to take the blow and she hears a fearful yip as the fox jumps in to save her.

either 2 or 4 might just solve the issue but neither answers the question or the one about the cdg vs awakening character as well as what happens to the initiative order.


ancientdm wrote:
3.still havent resolved the issue about when you get healed from unconscious how fast do you become competent again.

Just flip it around. At the time of the Coup, did the Halfling qualify as helpless? The thing that had previously made the Halfling helpless was unconsciousness stemming from the negative hit points. Since the Halfling was no longer at negative hit points after the Witch's CMW, the helpless condition no longer applies. If the rules don't specify a "recovery period" there's no reason to add one, imo.

Liberty's Edge

David Moody 170 wrote:
ancientdm wrote:
3.still havent resolved the issue about when you get healed from unconscious how fast do you become competent again.
Just flip it around. At the time of the Coup, did the Halfling qualify as helpless? The thing that had previously made the Halfling helpless was unconsciousness stemming from the negative hit points. Since the Halfling was no longer at negative hit points after the Witch's CMW, the helpless condition no longer applies. If the rules don't specify a "recovery period" there's no reason to add one, imo.

Yeah that makes sense just trying to prevent things from getting out of control at a later time by getting something concrete in place. I do hate to add rules, I have enought to try and remember as is. thanks


Does the halfling have the diehard feat? What kind of oracle is he? What level? We need more info.

The rules are there. I don't think you need to make new ones.


ancientdm wrote:
David Moody 170 wrote:
ancientdm wrote:
3.still havent resolved the issue about when you get healed from unconscious how fast do you become competent again.
Just flip it around. At the time of the Coup, did the Halfling qualify as helpless? The thing that had previously made the Halfling helpless was unconsciousness stemming from the negative hit points. Since the Halfling was no longer at negative hit points after the Witch's CMW, the helpless condition no longer applies. If the rules don't specify a "recovery period" there's no reason to add one, imo.
Yeah that makes sense just trying to prevent things from getting out of control at a later time by getting something concrete in place. I do hate to add rules, I have enought to try and remember as is. thanks

Aldin is corect, the halfling is not a valid target for a Coup. The halfling eats an attack from prone however. And as to the flatfooted question

The Rules wrote:

Improved Uncanny Dodge (Ex): A rogue of 8th level or

higher can no longer be flanked.
This defense denies another rogue the ability to sneak
attack the character by f lanking her, unless the attacker
has at least four more rogue levels than the target does.
If a character already has uncanny dodge (see above)
from another class, the levels from the classes that grant
uncanny dodge stack to determine the minimum rogue
level required to f lank the character.

Note how it says "cannot be flanked" not "cannot be caught flat-footed"


Page 190 of Core:

"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."

From page 568:

"Prone: The character is lying on the ground. A prone attacker has a –4 penalty on melee attack rolls and cannot use a ranged weapon (except for a crossbow). A prone defender gains a +4 bonus to Armor Class against ranged attacks, but takes a –4 penalty to AC against melee attacks. Standing up is a move-equivalent action that provokes an attack of opportunity."

What all of this should be telling you is that the halfling could immediately defend himself upon being healed above zero hit points. He was at that point fully conscious and fully functional again, per the rules. Since he was entitled to his chance to stabilize every round he was below zero hp, on his turn, it only makes sense that his initiative never changed. On his next turn, as it normally comes up in the initiative count, he could indeed try to get up and operate normally, provided he was not reduced to zero again in the interim.

Liberty's Edge

first I want to thank you all for your advice, your input has cleared up a number of issues whether I agree or not and has allowed me to solve the problem as it currently exists. Since I am new to pathfinder I find my old school style sometimes gets in the way which is why I come here for advice.

Again thank you all. each of you has given me some bit of advice that combined as a whole solves the problem.

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