# Bound, Pinned, and Helpless

### Rules Questions

Pinned = Bound
Helpless = Bound
Does Pinned = Helpless?

It's been debated back and fourth, as far as I can tell, all the time. Let's try to get a final answer, shall we?

I do not believe so as you can still attempt to get free. It does not call out in the pinned condition that they are helpless.

"A helpless opponent is someone who is bound, sleeping, paralyzed, unconscious, or otherwise at your mercy."

I believe bound is not a condition.
And "=" means "-->" and "<--" so, A implies B and B implies A.

Also the helpless condition says that a helpless person is bound or other stuff. It doesn't say that a bound person is helpless (altough this can be inferred, language is unclear in comparison to logic). Same counts for pinned character is tightly bound, doesn't mean a tightly bound character is pinned.

Paralyzed for example specifies that the character is helpless, pinned does not.

But you are right that the way it's written isn't perfect, it implies that a monk pinning someone has "bound" him and that a bound creature isn't necessary helpless.

I know that this interpretation is pretty pointless, because it puts logical signs into something that wasn't meant for it, but your equal signs do the same.
Just use logic and if you're unsure ask your GM, if you're the GM I would strongly recommend that pinned does not imply helpless.

@bigkilla: the problem is that pinned has a (in my opinion) flavour description of "bound" in it.

Yeah I really hate the way it is written.

My players are all cool with going the extra step to 'bind' a pinned opponent and THEN be eligible for a CDG.

Problem
Does being pinned render one helpless?

Pinned
A pinned creature is tightly [u]bound[/u] and can take few actions. A pinned creature cannot move and is denied its Dexterity bonus. A pinned character also takes an additional –4 penalty to his Armor Class. A pinned creature is limited in the actions that it can take. A pinned creature can always attempt to free itself, usually through a combat maneuver check or Escape Artist check. A pinned creature can take verbal and mental actions, but cannot cast any spells that require a somatic or material component. A pinned character who attempts to cast a spell or use a spell-like ability must make a concentration check (DC 10 + grappler's CMB + spell level) or lose the spell. Pinned is a more severe version of grappled, and their effects do not stack.

Helpless
A helpless character is paralyzed, held, [u]bound[/u], sleeping, unconscious, or otherwise completely at an opponent's mercy. A helpless target is treated as having a Dexterity of 0 (–5 modifier). Melee attacks against a helpless target get a +4 bonus (equivalent to attacking a prone target). Ranged attacks get no special bonus against helpless targets. Rogues can sneak attack helpless targets.

As a full-round action, an enemy can use a melee weapon to deliver a coup de grace to a helpless foe. An enemy can also use a bow or crossbow, provided he is adjacent to the target. The attacker automatically hits and scores a critical hit. (A rogue also gets his sneak attack damage bonus against a helpless foe when delivering a coup de grace.) If the defender survives, he must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + damage dealt) or die. Delivering a coup de grace provokes attacks of opportunity.

Creatures that are immune to critical hits do not take critical damage, nor do they need to make Fortitude saves to avoid being killed by a coup de grace.

Conclusion
It entirely depends on context and intent.

If you are pinned, then you have a big ugly fighter type on top of you, holding your arms in directions they weren't meant to go with your knees around your head.

If you are helpless in the context of being bound, then you are tied up with rope/chain/paladincode and are unable to help yourself.

You focus too much on the word "bound" which is not a Pathfinder condition.

The argument really falls to "is a pinned character helpless?"

Personally? I would argue yes, they are (and the descriptive text actually supports this side of the argument). You have a chance to become un-helpless, but until you actually succeed at your opposed grapple or escape artist check, the person who has you pinned has you at their mercy.

If balance is the issue that worries people, well it's pretty balanced in favor of the victim. The grappler has to succeed at two separate grapple checks (two simple actions for most characters, which will eat up most of two combat rounds) in order to get someone pinned. That's a whole lot of effort considering the "victim" gets to choose the better of two rolls (CMB or EA) and gets to become totally ungrappled as soon as he succeeds on a single roll.
Even if a pinned character is considered helpless, the balance is still on their side, because keeping them that way is far from easy.

Richard Leonhart wrote:
Also the helpless condition says that a helpless person is bound or other stuff.

Bound or other stuff. Not bound and other stuff.

Richard Leonhart wrote:
I know that this interpretation is pretty pointless, because it puts logical signs into something that wasn't meant for it, but your equal signs do the same.

I was being as short-handed as possible, and I think I got my intent off pretty clearly. However, for your consideration:

I wrote:

The 'helpless' condition is described as a character/creature who is 'bound.'

The 'pinned' condition is also described as a character/creature who is 'bound.'
Considering the above, can a 'pinned' character/creature therefore be considered 'helpless?'

Propane wrote:
You focus too much on the word "bound" which is not a Pathfinder condition.

It's true that "bound" is not a specific condition itself in pathfinder. But words have meanings, and 'bound' is no exception. Since the word is used to describe both conditions in question, then it makes sense that a pinned character could be considered helpless.

I realize rules usually trump logic for balance's sake, but the rule in question here is unclear because of the wording. So we kind of have to fall back to logic, and logic says it works (and as I pointed out above, it doesn't even unbalance the system).

I understand the wording differently.
I understand it as
"If you are helpless you are either bound, paralyzed or something else"
this is equal to
"(bound or paralyzed or something else) --> helpless"
as paralyzed implies helpless, this is always true.

The problem is that "is" does not always mean a double implication.

If I say "he is rich" does not mean that if someone is rich, it must be him, but if it is him, he must be rich.
In this example the answer (the intent) is obvious. In the "bound" problem, it is less so, but in my personal opinion a pinned creature is not meant to be killed with a coup de graçe.

Neo2151 wrote:
Propane wrote:
You focus too much on the word "bound" which is not a Pathfinder condition.
It's true that "bound" is not a specific condition itself in pathfinder. But words have meanings, and 'bound' is no exception. Since the word is used to describe both conditions in question, then it makes sense that a pinned character could be considered helpless.

And again you focussed too much on the word "bound" when you should have focussed here: It entirely depends on context and intent.

The difference is this: Are you being held by another creature so tightly you can scarcely move(pinned), or have you been tied up so tightly you can not move(helpless)? There is no interplay between the two - they can not be mistaken with even just the slightest description. I will use your word.

E.G.1. You come across a blonde woman laying across the road, she's been tied at the wrists and ankles, and those two ropes are also bound together, you think you have about 50 seconds before the golem carriages crush her to jelly.

E.G.2. You come across a hideous troll, his face lowered next to a woman's. She screams but the troll fills her mouth with his tongue. He has her on her knees, one of his huge feet holding her legs still at the bend, his arms have her arms pulled out to their limits. This woman is an adventurer but was never built to take this punishment. She struggles with all her might but the troll knows where to hold her arms to take their strength. You think you have about 50 seconds before she comes apart at the joints.

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Not gonna lie, the title of this topic made me think you were holding someone for ransom...

...and then my mind went somewhere worse with it... :p

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Pinned denies dex bonus. Helpless is dex 0. -5 is not 0, so pinned is not helpless. Either the rules text of pinned is wrong, or the flavor text of helpless is wrong (or a person could be so tightly bound that they count as helpless instead of pinned, no rules for that so by GM fiat only).

A couple factors to consider. The rules may be unclear but they should not be "Interpereted" in any official capacity except by some form pf direct Piazo Authority. Any "Interpretations" are technically 3pp housewife otherwise.

However I also see people applying "Bound" aside it held some form of mechanical significance where,assisted elsewhere,there is no mechanical term of BOUNDin Pathfinder, so it cannot, by rules,equal or not anything in the rules.

The Factor as matters here Iys OP question of Pinned (denies Dex BONUS only) VS the more serious Helpless( denies dex entirely) conditions.

You can Sneak Attack Pinned,but can only CDG Helpless,and the text does list Binding as a descriptive method of attaining Helpless.

And to remind people even further of the time it takes, round 2 you Pin maybe ,sure,but CDG is still a full round action thar provokes an AoO. Your target gets to attempt to avoid grapple, break outin rounds 1 and 2,then again as you ATTEMPTyo CDG round 3.

If you cannot get out in 3 consecutive rounds, can't get help, it's likely ecause things aren't going well for yourfriends either.

Most combats end in 3 rounds. Take my grappler out of the fight to kill 1 enemy? How is that OP?

Better ways to grapple than a flashy CDG

1. You could have waited until April for a ten year anniversary necro. Patience is a virtue, you know.

2. Since 2012, Heroes of the Streets has seen publication. Packaged in it was the Throat Slicer feat, which, together with Greater Grapple and Rapid Grappler, allows a character to maintain a grapple as a move action in round 2, pin their opponent as a swift action, and then perform a coup de grace on them as a standard action.

(That's with the more conservative reading of the feats; my preferred reading would allow for a grapple combat maneuver (standard action), maintaining the grapple (move action), and pin (swift action) so long as only a 5-foot step was needed.)

More to the point, I would imagine grappling-focused characters will likely feats that supplement that approach. Grappling Style allows you to grapple with one arm with no penalty right off the bat, meaning you could potentially maintain a grapple and pin one opponent, while initiating a grapple on another opponent in round 2. Specialized archetypes will only make that sort of character even dangerous. Bottom line, it's perfectly fine to defend a grappling approach as not being over-powered, but "they're out of the combat for three rounds" isn't very accurate at all.

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Phoebus Alexandros wrote:
1. You could have waited until April for a ten year anniversary necro. Patience is a virtue, you know.

I don't know what year you're living in, but april would be an 11 year anniversary.

Optimized Dirty trick bounty hunters can pin several characters per turn.

AwesomenessDog wrote:
Phoebus Alexandros wrote:
1. You could have waited until April for a ten year anniversary necro. Patience is a virtue, you know.
I don't know what year you're living in, but april would be an 11 year anniversary.

The year where my brain is struggling to function after picking up whatever bug my kids had these past two weeks.

Good catch!

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                      Round 3: Revised Magus Playtest                               Round 3: Revised Magus Discussion                         Advanced Player's Guide Playtest                               General Discussion                               Round 1: Cavalier and Oracle                               Round 2: Summoner and Witch                               Round 3: Alchemist and Inquisitor                               Advanced Player's Guide Playtest: Final Playtest                         Pathfinder Roleplaying Game                               Announcements                               Playtest Reports                               General Discussion (Prerelease)                               Design Forums                                     Open Comments                                     Magic Items                                     High Level Play                                     Additional Rules                                     Magic and Spells                                     Combat                                     Equipment and Description                                     Prestige Classes                                     Skills and Feats                                     Classes: Sorcerer and Wizard                                     Classes: Bard, Monk, and Rogue                                     Classes: Cleric, Druid, and Paladin                                     Classes: Barbarian, Fighter, and Ranger                                     Ability Scores and Races                               Alpha Playtest Feedback                                     General Discussion                                     Alpha Release 3                                           General Discussion                                           Races & Classes                                           Skills & Feats                                           Combat & Magic                                           GM Tools                                           New Rules Suggestions                                     Alpha Release 2                                           General Discussion                                           Races & Classes                                           Skills & Feats                                           Combat & Magic                                           GM Tools                                           New Rules Suggestions                                     Alpha Release 1                                           General Discussion                                           Races & Classes                                           Skills & Feats                                           Combat & Magic                         Advanced Player’s Guide Playtest                               General Discussion                               Investigator Playtest                               Oracle Playtest                               Swashbuckler Playtest                               Witch Playtest                   Pathfinder Society Scenario Submissions                   Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Faction Talk                         Dark Archive                         The Exchange                         Grand Lodge                         Liberty's Edge                         Scarab Sages                         Silver Crusade                         Sovereign Court                         Retired Factions                               Andoran                               Cheliax                               Lantern Lodge                               Osirion                               Qadira                               Sczarni                               Shadow Lodge                               Taldor                   Pathfinder Tales Want to post a reply? 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