When is a PFS character "dead"?


Pathfinder Society

2/5

I was playing a game today. Due to some foolish tactics and a poor attack roll on my part, I had my fighter get slugged something fierce by a large zombie.

The AOO and regular attack dropped me to exactly negative CON. My understanding had been that my character would have been "dead" at that moment. The GM said that if someone could heal me that round then I'd be ok. So I got tapped with a heal wand, stabilized, and the rest of the group finished the bad guy.

I should note I was playing a level 3 character in a Tier 6-7 game (1-7 scenario), so I was kind of asking for trouble getting into melee. Nevertheless, what ruling is correct? Dead at the instant I hit negative CON (the GM would have declared me dead if I had gone past that point). Or do my allies get one last chance to save me? This isn't the first time I've seen this done.

If if my character should be dead, is it up to me to remove him from play?


GM Derek W wrote:

I was playing a game today. Due to some foolish tactics and a poor attack roll on my part, I had my fighter get slugged something fierce by a large zombie.

The AOO and regular attack dropped me to exactly negative CON. My understanding had been that my character would have been "dead" at that moment. The GM said that if someone could heal me that round then I'd be ok. So I got tapped with a heal wand, stabilized, and the rest of the group finished the bad guy.

I should note I was playing a level 3 character in a Tier 6-7 game (1-7 scenario), so I was kind of asking for trouble getting into melee. Nevertheless, what ruling is correct? Dead at the instant I hit negative CON (the GM would have declared me dead if I had gone past that point). Or do my allies get one last chance to save me? This isn't the first time I've seen this done.

If if my character should be dead, is it up to me to remove him from play?

I know it's a common house rule to allow players to heal someone who was recently downed to prevent them from dying. By RAW I believe you would be dead, the PFSRD says "When your character's current hit points drop to a negative amount equal to his Constitution score or lower, or if he succumbs to massive damage, he's dead."

However at the table the GMs discretion generally rules, and if you want your character to die, you could have a chat with him about it.

The Exchange 4/5

Short version, you died. And are therefore dead

Long version, your GM was trying to be a nice guy.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 5/55/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Sacramento

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Yup dead, that said, I have used the... "Wait if you heal them before then end of the round they live!" With a 9 year old boy who started crying after I killed his pc.

Were you crying after your pc was killed? ;)

Liberty's Edge 2/5

Chronicle sheets get that extra nice sheen when stained by the tears of a person who just lost a character...

5/5 5/55/5 * Venture-Captain, Germany—Hamburg

It's definitely the GM being nice if he made that ruling.

There's actually a spell that can do this (Breath of Life), so giving the ability to heal the recently dead within 1 round to any Cure spell defintely makes them more powerful than intended.

If you want to go by the rules, you should retire your character and maybe ask the GM to edit the reported session by marking your character as dead. This is especially true if you feel like you're cheating by accepting that GM's ruling.

If, on the other hand, you put your heart's blood into that character and are really really happy the GM made that ruling, just accept the ruling as it is and don't talk too much about it to other GMs (who might be less friendly and won't let you play a character that should be dead). ;) (It would still be cheating now that you know you should have been dead. Just don't tell us what you'll decide and we'll never know.*)

If you have the feeling the GM actually thought that's how it works, you should inform him about his error (even if you decide you want to keep the recent game as he ruled it). While it's unpleasant to loose a character (which might then happen to more players), it's better for a GM to know what the actual rules are.

* note: I definitely don't want to encourage cheating, but sometimes this kind of cheating (that doesn't hurt anyone) is neccessary to keep a player playing. It's better than a player who quits playing PFS because he lost his favorite character.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Agent, Nevada—Las Vegas

But don't forget that there are things, abilities, racial traits, and boons that can change the actual number of negative hit points you die at.

I have a character with a boon that gives him a bonus -7 to how far negative he can go before dying.

I have a PC who would have died but for taking the Human alternate racial trait that lets him go past negative Con, on a sliding scale, before dying.

I believe I recall noticing that there is at least one Ioun stone that increases the range for how negative you can go before dying.

Regeneration affects dying, unlike Fast Healing.

Grand Lodge 5/5

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Unless you go back to the GM or your local Venture Officer and get them to overturn the ruling made at the table during play, your PC is fine. It is not cheating. A ruling was made (albeit mistakenly) and play moved on. The game is over. What happened, happened. An honest mistake that turned out to be in your favor is not cheating.

However, now that you know the correct rule, if you were to let it happen again, that would be cheating.

The Exchange 4/5

I have delayed stabilization checks to initiative 0 before.

It is possible he actually thought it was beyond negative hp , easy mistake to make

2/5

Thanks guys! I don't think it's worth the trouble of getting all the reporting revised, but I may simply retire the PC. He was a bit problematic anyway. One of 10 PFS characters I've built, and while I like him, it's not going to be the end of the world. Honestly, I was playing a bit reckless given the circumstances and paid for it in game consequences. I'm fine with that. No tears yet. ;)

Also, I agree that the GM's ruling does stand from a game-legal point of view.

I remember reading the rule in the CRB back when I GM'ed a game and one of the characters (another player at last night's table) got dropped to negative CON. I ruled that player dead. So I understood the rule and brought it up to the GM, but he made the alternate ruling. They all said they had done it that way before. Obviously I didn't want to raise a fuss, so I went with the ruling, but these are people that I'm likely to GM for again, and I am worried that now they all expect the rule to be something that it isn't.

The Exchange 4/5

GM Derek W wrote:

Thanks guys! I don't think it's worth the trouble of getting all the reporting revised, but I may simply retire the PC. He was a bit problematic anyway. One of 10 PFS characters I've built, and while I like him, it's not going to be the end of the world. Honestly, I was playing a bit reckless given the circumstances and paid for it in game consequences. I'm fine with that. No tears yet. ;)

Also, I agree that the GM's ruling does stand from a game-legal point of view.

I remember reading the rule in the CRB back when I GM'ed a game and one of the characters (another player at last night's table) got dropped to negative CON. I ruled that player dead. So I understood the rule and brought it up to the GM, but he made the alternate ruling. They all said they had done it that way before. Obviously I didn't want to raise a fuss, so I went with the ruling, but these are people that I'm likely to GM for again, and I am worried that now they all expect the rule to be something that it isn't.

it might be worth mentioning it at your next session then, just to raise awareness that you die at negative con.

5/5

Benrislove wrote:
GM Derek W wrote:
Obviously I didn't want to raise a fuss, so I went with the ruling, but these are people that I'm likely to GM for again, and I am worried that now they all expect the rule to be something that it isn't.
it might be worth mentioning it at your next session then, just to raise awareness that you die at negative con.

I'd suggest briefly sharing this story, and that you appreciated the GM playing it nice, but you prefer to play it by the rules (and thus retired your character).

I will say I definitely follow this rule, but I do skip the first stabilization check if it comes immediately following the turn that dropped the character negative (i.e. Monster knocks character negative, then that character's turn comes up right after). It just doesn't feel like they have had any chance to bleed/stabilize in that time. No rule-wise justification for it.

The Exchange 2/5

GM Derek W wrote:
I should note I was playing a level 3 character in a Tier 6-7 game (1-7 scenario), so I was kind of asking for trouble getting into melee.

As an aside, if the Scenario is tier 1-7 and the subtier you played 6-7, what was the other subtier? If there are more than two subtiers you can only play with a character within one level of the subtier played. Did you mean tier 3-7?

Liberty's Edge 5/5

Remember that season 0 to 2 had 1-7's with 3 sub-tiers. 1-2, 3-4, and 6-7

5/5

brock, no the other one... wrote:
If there are more than two subtiers you can only play with a character within one level of the subtier played. Did you mean tier 3-7?

Good question - a L.1 or L.2 cannot play 6-7, but a L.3 can (just like in a 3-7 scenario).

If 1-7's had different subtiers (1-2, 4-5, 6-7), then a L.3 couldn't play 6-7, but none of them are tiered like that.

3/5

Benrislove wrote:

I have delayed stabilization checks to initiative 0 before.

It is possible he actually thought it was beyond negative hp , easy mistake to make

You can not do that.

Stable Characters and Recovery
On the character's next turn, after being reduced to negative hit points (but not dead), and on all subsequent turns, the character must make a DC 10 Constitution check to become stable. The character takes a penalty on this roll equal to his negative hit point total. A character that is stable does not need to make this check. A natural 20 on this check is an automatic success. If the character fails this check, he loses 1 hit point. An unconscious or dying character cannot use any special action that changes the initiative count on which his action occurs.


dead

2/5

GM Derek W wrote:
I should note I was playing a level 3 character in a Tier 6-7 game (1-7 scenario)

In answer to the above questions I was barely legal for the game, though that XP would have gotten me to 4th level. Really, I should have simply stood around doing nothing or shooting my bow. I willfully accepted an AOO to get in range for what could have been the finishing blow - creature was squeezing, had taken tons of damage, I just wanted to put him over the edge. But it didn't work, so c'est la vie.

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