Can a a troll be killed by death effects?


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

For FAQing:

Regeneration (Ex) A creature with this ability is difficult to kill. Creatures with regeneration heal damage at a fixed rate, as with fast healing, but they cannot die as long as their regeneration is still functioning (although creatures with regeneration still fall unconscious when their hit points are below 0). Certain attack forms, typically fire and acid, cause a creature's regeneration to stop functioning on the round following the attack. During this round, the creature does not heal any damage and can die normally. The creature's descriptive text describes the types of damage that cause the regeneration to cease functioning.

The above statement seems pretty all encompassing. Can a creature with regeneration be killed by an attack-form that doesn't deal hit point damage (such as disintegrate, a death effect, or energy drain) despite its regeneration ability?


I would say yes, but have no evidence.

BTW How do you kill a troll that is a 20 th level Cleric with the Earth and Fire Domains?


Vod Canockers wrote:

I would say yes, but have no evidence.

BTW How do you kill a troll that is a 20 th level Cleric with the Earth and Fire Domains?

Solar dragon breath works.


If it dies by a method that hit points can't fix then yeah its dead. As an example being drained of con kills it. Hit point regeneraton can't fix that.

Ravingdork you did not quote the entire text.

Quote:
Attack forms that don't deal hit point damage are not healed by regeneration. Regeneration also does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation. Regenerating creatures can regrow lost portions of their bodies and can reattach severed limbs or body parts if they are brought together within 1 hour of severing. Severed parts that are not reattached wither and die normally.

That second part also list starvation, thirst and suffocation, as ways to bypass regeneration. The purpose of regeneration is basically to make it really hard to kill creatures by using hit point damage.

link to regeneration


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Regeneration repairs hit point damage and nothing more. So it's pretty clear that a creature with regeneration who is "killed" by something other than hit point damage actually dies because their regeneration can never repair them.

For instance, do Constitution damage to a troll until its Con score is 0. It falls down, functionally dead. And stays that way. It will never get back up.

Yes, you could argue that were someone to apply restoration to the otherwise intact corpse it could potentially rise again but that's not terribly dissimilar from using raise dead on any other corpse.

I'd say since the scope of Regeneration is clear and focused, death imposed by means outside that scope is deadly. This would be one of those many cases where as long as you don't try to parse RAW in a nonsensical way, it's perfectly sensible. What I mean is that the rules are clear (to me) but the language chosen allows this particular rule to be 'Dorked. <Grin>


You left out the part that tells you the answer.

Quote:

Attack forms that don't deal hit point damage are not healed by regeneration. Regeneration also does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation. Regenerating creatures can regrow lost portions of their bodies and can reattach severed limbs or body parts if they are brought together within 1 hour of severing. Severed parts that are not reattached wither and die normally.

A creature must have a Constitution score to have the regeneration ability.

So:

Disintegrate: the spell states if the spell does more damage than the creatures current hit points it turns into a pile of ash - this is a secondary effect that does damage that is not based on hit points.

Death-effect: save or die - if they fail the save does it do hit point damage to kill them? If not they die.

Energy drain: If they loose more levels than they have HD they die - is this based on hit points? No - it's based on Hit Dice - because it's not hit point damage they die.

:)


So a coup de gras would work, too? What kills you is the failed save, not the hit point damage.


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Specific usually trumps general.

The part RD bolded seems rather specific.


Icyshadow wrote:

Specific usually trumps general.

The part RD bolded seems rather specific.

And the part the others quoted isn't specific??? It CLEARLY states that effects that do not deal hit point damage are not healed by regeneration.


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That's exactly why we have this thread, isn't it? However...

wraithstrike wrote:

If it dies by a method that hit points can't fix then yeah its dead. As an example being drained of con kills it. Hit point regeneraton can't fix that.

Ravingdork, you did not quote the entire text.

Quote:
Attack forms that don't deal hit point damage are not healed by regeneration. Regeneration also does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation. Regenerating creatures can regrow lost portions of their bodies and can reattach severed limbs or body parts if they are brought together within 1 hour of severing. Severed parts that are not reattached wither and die normally.

Note the part highlighted here says "are not healed", not "bypass the protection from death granted by regeneration".


I think I agree with Icyshadow.

Just because non-hp damage isn't healed, doesn't mean that attacks ignores the blanket statement that a creature with Regen can't die while the ability is active.

Consider starvation/thirst/suffocation. So they take the normal damage for each. But when "death" should occur, it just doesn't. The troll can't heal this damage, so if you apply the "off switch" to the creature it would then die.

But if the "off switch" isn't applied, and the situation changes (exposed to breathable air, someone puts a Ring of Sustenance on its finger, full round action to administer a potion/bottle of water), then it could recover.

If a Shadow damages it to 0 Str, it just lies there comatose until it can it heals (per the normal rule for healing ability damage, not Regen). But if someone hits it with the "off switch" while at 0 Str, then it would die.

*"Off switch" refers to whatever turns off that specific creature's regen, since it varies between creatures


Icyshadow wrote:

That's exactly why we have this thread, isn't it? However...

wraithstrike wrote:

If it dies by a method that hit points can't fix then yeah its dead. As an example being drained of con kills it. Hit point regeneraton can't fix that.

Ravingdork, you did not quote the entire text.

Quote:
Attack forms that don't deal hit point damage are not healed by regeneration. Regeneration also does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation. Regenerating creatures can regrow lost portions of their bodies and can reattach severed limbs or body parts if they are brought together within 1 hour of severing. Severed parts that are not reattached wither and die normally.
Note the part highlighted here says "are not healed", not "bypass the protection from death granted by regeneration".

Well how is it goign to be alive by healing hp, if hp did not kill it. As an example if the troll or other monster is subject to a spell that removes your soul/death effect regen can't fix that, not does it prevent it.

edit:Another idea is a spell that instantly makes you old enough to die of old age. In other words the spell takes you to the point in your life where old age would have killed you, had you lived that long. Trolls are not immortal so they are not immune to dying of old age. Regen also could not fix that.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Good points made by all, but I still feel it is ambiguous enough to warrant this thread. The question has been asked several times before already, so I know I'm not the only one who thinks this ambiguity to be true.

I just wanted a nice clean, clear format for the development team (as is the case with all my threads that begin with "For FAQing").


It seems pretty straightforward--except the coup de grace thing. RAW aside, is it really intended that you can coup de grace a troll and kill it for good without the use of fire or acid?


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blahpers wrote:
It seems pretty straightforward--except the coup de grace thing. RAW aside, is it really intended that you can coup de grace a troll and kill it for good without the use of fire or acid?

Probably not, since coup-de-grace is more about "execute them, even if the game mechanic says they have hit points". There's not much different about CDG'ing a troll than hacking at it five or six times, conceptually.

Conventional wisdom would say that the only thing Regeneration prevents death from is bodily damage; i.e. HP damage. Magical death effects would bypass that.

Otherwise regeneration would be a lot more powerful than it is, if it outright blocked all death except by specific types.

Also note that the Tarrasque specifically is described as having resistance to death effects. It wouldn't need to say so if it was already part of Regeneration.


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Oh for FAQ's sake...


Bizbag wrote:
blahpers wrote:
It seems pretty straightforward--except the coup de grace thing. RAW aside, is it really intended that you can coup de grace a troll and kill it for good without the use of fire or acid?

Probably not, since coup-de-grace is more about "execute them, even if the game mechanic says they have hit points". There's not much different about CDG'ing a troll than hacking at it five or six times, conceptually.

Conventional wisdom would say that the only thing Regeneration prevents death from is bodily damage; i.e. HP damage. Magical death effects would bypass that.

Otherwise regeneration would be a lot more powerful than it is, if it outright blocked all death except by specific types.

Also note that the Tarrasque specifically is described as having resistance to death effects. It wouldn't need to say so if it was already part of Regeneration.

Coup de grace can kill regardless of HP damage. If the troll failed its Fortitude save, it's toast, looking at RAW as-is. This is probably not intended behavior, though, and I wouldn't play it that way.


Agreed; it does die to CDG, but it probably shouldn't, since it's glorified HP damage.

Edit: actually, can you CDG with nonlethal damage? The troll takes 0 lethal damage from said CDG.


CDG doesn't have to be a cut - it can be suffocation - which is decidedly *not* covered by regeneration.


Bizbag wrote:

Agreed; it does die to CDG, but it probably shouldn't, since it's glorified HP damage.

Edit: actually, can you CDG with nonlethal damage? The troll takes 0 lethal damage from said CDG.

Regeneration no longer means that you take nonlethal damage from other damage types than the mentioned ones. That was how it worked in 3.5 not in pathfinder.


Vod Canockers wrote:

I would say yes, but have no evidence.

BTW How do you kill a troll that is a 20 th level Cleric with the Earth and Fire Domains?

You don't actually have to deal any damage with fire or acid to turn off regenerate, just hitting them with the effect will suffice. Even a fire-resistant of immune troll would have their regen turned off by a Fireball.


Whats wrong with hacking the troll until its like -200 hp and then building a bonfire on it? worked pretty good for my groups...


Evilserran wrote:
Whats wrong with hacking the troll until its like -200 hp and then building a bonfire on it? worked pretty good for my groups...

Not always practical when trying to attack a troll settlement where there are too many trolls to handle at once and thus hit and run tactics needs to be applied. In that case it is slightly more important to know if you can kill them instantly or not even without acid/fire.


ooohh more trolls....... bigger bonfire! Coupdegrace with a torch....boom... fire damage...


Quantum Steve wrote:


You don't actually have to deal any damage with fire or acid to turn off regenerate, just hitting them with the effect will suffice. Even a fire-resistant of immune troll would have their regen turned off by a Fireball.

I don't agree with "dealing no damage still turns off regen."

There is a ruling that if you don't take any damage from an attack, you don't get any rider effects either (the example is if you take no damage from a sword that is poisoned, you aren't poisoned either).

Turning off the regen, to me, is a rider effect from taking the damage.

I would point to the Vampire vs. Disintegrate ruling. Disintegrate makes you a pile of dust if reduced to 0 hp. Vampires turn to mist if they are reduced to 0 hp. The ruling stated that vampire wins and turns into mist.

This is similarly an "exception vs. exception" issue. Death effects kill you without hp damage. Trolls cannot die if regen is active. Which exception wins?

To me, the troll wins. To others, the Death effect wins. Right now, both could be read as valid, depending on your "hierarchy of exceptions."

Since I can imagine how suffocation/thirst/starvation and even Death effects could not kill a troll, I don't have an issue with them not dying.


Samasboy1 wrote:
Quantum Steve wrote:


You don't actually have to deal any damage with fire or acid to turn off regenerate, just hitting them with the effect will suffice. Even a fire-resistant of immune troll would have their regen turned off by a Fireball.

I don't agree with "dealing no damage still turns off regen."

There is a ruling that if you don't take any damage from an attack, you don't get any rider effects either (the example is if you take no damage from a sword that is poisoned, you aren't poisoned either).

Turning off the regen, to me, is a rider effect from taking the damage.

Turning off regen is not a rider effect of the attack. In fact, it has nothing at all to do with the attack and everything to do with the Regeneration ability.

Regeneration wrote:
Certain attack forms, typically fire and acid, cause a creature's regeneration to stop functioning on the round following the attack.

Regeneration says that certain attacks turn off regen, but makes not mention of damage. Fire attacks turn off a Troll's regen, not fire damage (otherwise Regen would read more like "Certain damage types... etc.)


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Both are valid interpretations. Just decide how tough trolls are in your campaign world, and go with it.

Personally, I'd opt for the "trolls don't die" option because I like just about anything that makes monsters more monstrous and frightening without actually boosting their stats.


Quantum Steve wrote:


Turning off regen is not a rider effect of the attack. In fact, it has nothing at all to do with the attack and everything to do with the Regeneration ability.

Regeneration wrote:
Certain attack forms, typically fire and acid, cause a creature's regeneration to stop functioning on the round following the attack.

It certainly seems it has to do with the attack, since the attack is what creates a result, based on your own quote.

You don't have to agree. But since it is specifically caused by the attack , that implies to me the attack has to be successful. Having all damage from the attack negated is not a successful attack.

Another consideration will be spell resistance, since most (but not all) fire/acid/whatever attacks will be magical in nature, if the attack failed to penetrate spell resistance would you still have it stop regen? If no, how is that different than elemental resistance/immunity reducing the damage to 0 to you?

(I would say failing to penetrate SR does not stop regen.)


Quantum Steve: By that same argument any such attack does not even need to hit to suppress regeneration, after all it mentions attacks, not hits.

Personally, I doubt that this is the intention.


Quote:

but they cannot die as long as their regeneration is still functioning *snip*

Attack forms that don't deal hit point damage are not healed by regeneration. Regeneration also does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation.

To whit:

The basis of the 'cannot die' argument seems to rely on 'cannot die as long as their regeneration is still functioning' part.

See the second part however that states 'attack forms that don't deal hit point damage are not healed by regeneration.

What exactly doesn't deal hit point damage that can still hurt a creature? That is explain to me how a creature can be hurt without taking hit point damage where this line is needed.

The only effects that 'hurt' a creature that do not deal hit point damage are death effects.

As to suffocation - it's specifically called out as not affected - if you google 'how to kill a Tarresque as a level 3 character' you'll note that the suffocation exemption has been used for years as a factor in how to put the beast down - along with level drain and con drain.

The order of exemptions goes like so:

Attack
Did the troll die? yes/no
If yes did it die by hit point loss? yes/no
If yes - it regens and lives
If no - it can't regen something that it didn't loose.


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Effects that hurt a creature are things like negative levels (such as from the spell Enervation), Constitution Damage (such as from a poison) or some special riders on abilities like Disintegrate, which calls out that a creature reduced to 0 hp is Disintegrated.

A Mythic Creature that can go down into -60 hp before dying, is still disintegrated at 0 Hp, because that is what the spell does. It doesn't say "A creature killed by this spell is disintegrated" it says a creature reduced to 0 Hp is disintegrated.

The only creature that can regenerate from Disintegration, is the Tarrasque, as his Regeneration is special, and specifically mentions it. That means all other forms of regeneration don't work that way.


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For FAQing:

Is regeneration still negated when the appropriate damage (fire for trolls, for example) is completely negated (such as by immunity, energy resistance, or a similar effect)?


What doesn't deal hit point damage that can still hurt a creature: Ability damage, especially Con damage. You lose hit points, but it's not "damage". You can't have DR soak it, for instance. You can't heal it with cure wounds spells.


Quantum Steve wrote:
Lifat wrote:
Quantum Steve wrote:


What, exactly, is causing their regeneration to cease functioning? Death?
How do they die (shutting off their regen) if they can't die before you shut off their regen?

Attack forms that don't deal hit point damage are not healed by regeneration. Regeneration also does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation.

The above sentence is taken directly from regeneration prd.
Now does that then mean that they can die from suffocation? Honestly I don't know how to call it. How are you so certain in your interpretation that you cannot see why people question it? I would very much like an official ruling on the subject as I think there is sufficient and reasonably well founded confusion on the question.

So you read "cannot die" as "cannot die as a result or effects the regeneration can heal," do I have that right?

I can see why you're confused.

If you don't read more into the ability than what is written it becomes much clearer.

This is taken from the tarrasque:

Regeneration (Ex) No form of attack can suppress the tarrasque's regeneration—it regenerates even if disintegrated or slain by a death effect. If the tarrasque fails a save against an effect that would kill it instantly, it rises from death 3 rounds later with 1 hit point if no further damage is inflicted upon its remains. It can be banished or otherwise transported as a means to save a region, but the method to truly kill it has yet to be discovered.

Now... If we assume that you are correct and that trolls cannot be killed by death effects because they have regeneration then why does tarrasque have it spelled out in its own regeneration? That would be redundant text wouldn't it?
This makes me fairly certain that RAI is that trolls can be killed by death effects. Whether or not it is RAW I still have doubts about.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Just as the rules are vague in some areas, the rules are extremely redundant in others, presumably for the sake of absolute clarity. I don't believe your point holds as much ground as you think, Lifat.

Digital Products Assistant

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Removed a post and the replies quoting it. Leave personal insults out of the conversation.


I would agree that it's not definitive, but I do think it's a strong suggestion that the writers for that text believed that normal regeneration could be stopped by death effects.


seebs wrote:
I would agree that it's not definitive, but I do think it's a strong suggestion that the writers for that text believed that normal regeneration could be stopped by death effects.

I expect, since that's a monster with 3.5 origins, that the writers for that text wrote it for the 3.5 regeneration rules.


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I agree with Atarlost.

For comparison

3.5 Regeneration wrote:

Creatures with this extraordinary ability recover from wounds quickly and can even regrow or reattach severed body parts. Damage dealt to the creature is treated as nonlethal damage, and the creature automatically cures itself of nonlethal damage at a fixed rate per round, as given in the creature’s entry.

Certain attack forms, typically fire and acid, deal damage to the creature normally; that sort of damage doesn’t convert to nonlethal damage and so doesn’t go away. The creature’s description includes the details. A regenerating creature that has been rendered unconscious through nonlethal damage can be killed with a coup de grace. The attack cannot be of a type that automatically converts to nonlethal damage.

Creatures with regeneration can regrow lost portions of their bodies and can reattach severed limbs or body parts. Severed parts die if they are not reattached.

Regeneration does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation.

Attack forms that don’t deal hit point damage ignore regeneration.

An attack that can cause instant death only threatens the creature with death if it is delivered by weapons that deal it lethal damage.

A creature must have a Constitution score to have the regeneration ability.

Pathfinder Regeneration wrote:

A creature with this ability is difficult to kill. Creatures with regeneration heal damage at a fixed rate, as with fast healing, but they cannot die as long as their regeneration is still functioning (although creatures with regeneration still fall unconscious when their hit points are below 0). Certain attack forms, typically fire and acid, cause a creature’s regeneration to stop functioning on the round following the attack. During this round, the creature does not heal any damage and can die normally. The creature's descriptive text describes the types of damage that cause the regeneration to cease functioning.

Attack forms that don’t deal hit point damage are not healed by regeneration. Regeneration also does not restore hit points lost from starvation, thirst, or suffocation. Regenerating creatures can regrow lost portions of their bodies and can reattach severed limbs or body parts if they are brought together within 1 hour of severing. Severed parts that are not reattached wither and die normally.

A creature must have a Constitution score to have the regeneration ability.

Format: regeneration 5 (fire, acid); Location: hp.

The notable differences I see are include 3.5 did not include a blanket "creature cannot die while Regeneration is active" clause.

In 3.5 effects that don't deal hp damage ignore Regeneration, in Pathfinder such effects just can't be healed by Regeneration but it doesn't say they ignore Regeneration (and its "cannot die" clause).

Since Pathfinder Regen isn't ignored by non-hp damage effects (it just doesn't heal it), and Pathfinder introduced the "cannot die" clause, I don't think non-hp effects kill the Regenerating creature.


Samasboy1 wrote:

The notable differences I see are include 3.5 did not include a blanket "creature cannot die while Regeneration is active" clause.

In 3.5 effects that don't deal hp damage ignore Regeneration, in Pathfinder such effects just can't be healed by Regeneration but it doesn't say they ignore Regeneration (and its "cannot die" clause).

Since Pathfinder Regen isn't ignored by non-hp damage effects (it just doesn't heal it), and Pathfinder introduced the "cannot die" clause, I don't think non-hp effects kill the Regenerating creature.

So if the troll gets hit by a disintegrate that damages it enough to bring it to 0 hit points and thus means it is dusted, technically doesn't kill the troll but the regeneration can't heal the effect, so it stays dust for all eternity (or untill someone comes up and reverts the effect)???


Lifat wrote:


This is taken from the tarrasque:
Regeneration (Ex) No form of attack can suppress the tarrasque's regeneration—it regenerates even if disintegrated or slain by a death effect. If the tarrasque fails a save against an effect that would kill it instantly, it rises from death 3 rounds later with 1 hit point if no further damage is inflicted upon its remains. It can be banished or otherwise transported as a means to save a region, but the method to truly kill it has yet to be discovered.

Now... If we assume that you are correct and that trolls cannot be killed by death effects because they have regeneration then why does tarrasque have it spelled out in its own regeneration? That would be redundant text wouldn't it?
This makes me fairly certain that RAI is that trolls can be killed by death effects. Whether or not it is RAW I still have doubts about.

Even that creature falls to a clay golem's wounds, stopping all forms of natural healing other then spells, witch have to make a CL check, from healing wounds made specifically by the golem.

Wanna kill something with regeneration? Have a clay golem mutilate the corpse!


Lifat wrote:


So if the troll gets hit by a disintegrate that damages it enough to bring it to 0 hit points and thus means it is dusted, technically doesn't kill the troll but the regeneration can't heal the effect, so it stays dust for all eternity (or untill someone comes up and reverts the effect)???

Well, Disintegrate does deal HP damage. So theoretically the Troll can heal the HP damage from the spell.

As for the "dust" effect, you can go one of two ways.

The "dust" effect isn't HP damage, so the troll heals but stays dust.

The "dust" isn't HP damage, but Regeneration can specifically regrow missing body parts. Pick one mote of dust to be the "troll" and it slowly regenerates the rest of its body while healing the HP damage. The rest of the dust "withers and dies normally."

I like interpretation 2, but YMMV.


icehawk333 wrote:

Even that creature falls to a clay golem's wounds, stopping all forms of natural healing other then spells, witch have to make a CL check, from healing wounds made specifically by the golem.

Wanna kill something with regeneration? Have a clay golem mutilate the corpse!

That would work. Regeneration is an EX ability, so it should fall under "natural" healing.

And, like I said before, my position doesn't make the troll that much more difficult to kill.

Disintegrate followed by fire. Finger of Death followed by fire. Phantasmal Killer followed by fire.

Once the troll is down, dealing even 1 point of fire/acid/whatever damage to turn Regeneration off for 1 round is enough to finish off the troll.


Evilserran wrote:
Whats wrong with hacking the troll until its like -200 hp and then building a bonfire on it? worked pretty good for my groups...

LOL - That's how we used to take care of them in the old days, yes.

A favorite tactic of 1st Ed DMs was to have every tiny bit of the troll left regenerate into a full clone of the original. So you had to burn the whole village down to make sure you got rid of one.

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