"Treated as having a Dexterity of 0"


Rules Questions


I thought I would start a new thread for this:

What does it mean if you are "Treated as having a Dexterity of 0". For example, the Helpless Condition uses that exact wording. Is that any different than actually having enough Dexterity damage to reduce you to 0? Do you gain all of the negatives of having 0 Dexterity? Basically, is a helpless target also immobile, but conscious?


Means treat your dexterity modifier as -5


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

someone who is helpless has no ability to move and thus get's -5 for their dexterity mod. this mostly only matters for their AC.

a helpless character can be either conscious or not. usually someone unconscious is considered helpless.

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Bandw2 wrote:
someone who is helpless has no ability to move and thus get's -5 for their dexterity mod. this mostly only matters for their AC.

It also affects their Reflex saves.


Bandw2 wrote:

someone who is helpless has no ability to move and thus get's -5 for their dexterity mod. this mostly only matters for their AC.

a helpless character can be either conscious or not. usually someone unconscious is considered helpless.

Nowhere in Helpless does it say you are unable to move. It only says you are treated as having a Dexterity of 0.

If being "treated as having a Dexterity of 0" is the same as actually having a Dexterity of 0 then yes, you are unable to move, but if not then someone who is helpless is relatively free to do whatever they want in the absence of other conditions preventing it.


Aldarionn wrote:

I thought I would start a new thread for this:

What does it mean if you are "Treated as having a Dexterity of 0". For example, the Helpless Condition uses that exact wording. Is that any different than actually having enough Dexterity damage to reduce you to 0? Do you gain all of the negatives of having 0 Dexterity? Basically, is a helpless target also immobile, but conscious?

It means exactly that. You have a -5 dex modifier and that impacts AC, Initiative, Reflex Saves and all dexterity related skills and abilities (such as combat if you have Weapon Finesse or are using ranged weaponry).

You dexterity score does not change. It is just treated as 0 for as long as the condition lasts.

It is different than Dexterity damage in that it is a very temporary thing and goes away immediately when the condition that causes it does.

Helpless targets can be either conscious or unconscious, it depends on what made them helpless. For example a character under the effect of Hold Person is conscious but helpless. A character at -1 HP but stable is unconscious but helpless.

And while helpless does not explicity state you cannot move, the examples given in it's description clearly inditcate to me that most of the time you will be unable to do so if your helpess.

Also the word helpless itself and it's descriptive text blatantly indicates that your not able to defend yourself or flee from an opponent.

The Exchange

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Aldarionn wrote:
...If being "treated as having a Dexterity of 0" is the same as actually having a Dexterity of 0 then yes, you are unable to move, but if not then someone who is helpless is relatively free to do whatever they want in the absence of other conditions preventing it.

Well, which one does "helpless" sound like to you?


Aldarionn wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:

someone who is helpless has no ability to move and thus get's -5 for their dexterity mod. this mostly only matters for their AC.

a helpless character can be either conscious or not. usually someone unconscious is considered helpless.

Nowhere in Helpless does it say you are unable to move. It only says you are treated as having a Dexterity of 0.

If being "treated as having a Dexterity of 0" is the same as actually having a Dexterity of 0 then yes, you are unable to move, but if not then someone who is helpless is relatively free to do whatever they want in the absence of other conditions preventing it.

Fortunately, the helpless condition usually coincides with unconscious, paralyzed, dead*, pinned, or another condition that prevents one from acting, so we don't have to worry about the silly idea of helpless creatures taking full-attacks or running.

*Don't get me started on "dead doesn't say you can't take actions!".


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If you are "Treated" as though your Dex is 0. And if a Dexterity score of 0 = You can't move. Then logically you are "treated" as if you can't move.

If A = B

And B = C

Then A = C

QED.

And honestly, just read the text for helpless. Running, full round actions, etc doesn't sound like "Completely at an opponents mercy." And the dictionary definition of "Helpless" is pretty much the same (ie powerless, incapacitated, etc)


blahpers wrote:
Aldarionn wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:

someone who is helpless has no ability to move and thus get's -5 for their dexterity mod. this mostly only matters for their AC.

a helpless character can be either conscious or not. usually someone unconscious is considered helpless.

Nowhere in Helpless does it say you are unable to move. It only says you are treated as having a Dexterity of 0.

If being "treated as having a Dexterity of 0" is the same as actually having a Dexterity of 0 then yes, you are unable to move, but if not then someone who is helpless is relatively free to do whatever they want in the absence of other conditions preventing it.

Fortunately, the helpless condition usually coincides with unconscious, paralyzed, dead*, pinned, or another condition that prevents one from acting, so we don't have to worry about the silly idea of helpless creatures taking full-attacks or running.

*Don't get me started on "dead doesn't say you can't take actions!".

The spell Icy Prison gives you the Helpless condition but does not give you any other condition that prevents you from moving, nor does the spell say you are immobile from the ice. Thus we run into the possibility that a Helpless character can actually make attacks, cast spells or use abilities that require actions while trapped in a solid block of ice.

Relevant thread.

The Exchange

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Taking the questions in the original post one point at a time:

What does it mean if you are 'treated as having a Dexterity of 0'?
It means that your character does not have a Dexterity of 0, but is treated as if he did until the relevant condition wears off.

Is that any different than actually having enough Dexterity damage to reduce you to 0?
The distinction between it and Dexterity damage is that it is usually immediate and total, not incremental, and it will not automatically go away due to restoration spells or natural ability-score recovery - the relevant condition needs to be dealt with instead.

Do you gain all the negatives of having 0 Dexterity?
Yes, because you're being treated as if you have a Dexterity of 0.

Is a helpless target also immobile, but conscious?
A helpless target is treated as if it has a Dexterity of 0. A character with a Dexterity of 0 cannot move or act. Therefore, a character with the 'helpless' condition cannot move or act.

I can tell you badly want another answer to be true, but I don't think you'll get anywhere.


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Aldarionn wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Aldarionn wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:

someone who is helpless has no ability to move and thus get's -5 for their dexterity mod. this mostly only matters for their AC.

a helpless character can be either conscious or not. usually someone unconscious is considered helpless.

Nowhere in Helpless does it say you are unable to move. It only says you are treated as having a Dexterity of 0.

If being "treated as having a Dexterity of 0" is the same as actually having a Dexterity of 0 then yes, you are unable to move, but if not then someone who is helpless is relatively free to do whatever they want in the absence of other conditions preventing it.

Fortunately, the helpless condition usually coincides with unconscious, paralyzed, dead*, pinned, or another condition that prevents one from acting, so we don't have to worry about the silly idea of helpless creatures taking full-attacks or running.

*Don't get me started on "dead doesn't say you can't take actions!".

The spell Icy Prison gives you the Helpless condition but does not give you any other condition that prevents you from moving, nor does the spell say you are immobile from the ice. Thus we run into the possibility that a Helpless character can actually make attacks, cast spells or use abilities that require actions while trapped in a solid block of ice.

Relevant thread.

Quote:
Dexterity: Damage to your Dexterity score causes you to take penalties on Dexterity-based skill checks, ranged attack rolls, initiative checks, and Reflex saving throws. The penalty also applies to your Armor Class, your Combat Maneuver Bonus (if you are Tiny or smaller), and to your Combat Maneuver Defense. A character with a Dexterity score of 0 is incapable of moving and is effectively immobile (but not unconscious).

The character in Icy Prison is conscious, but is incapable of movement. If you're the RAW type, then you could easily make the argument that the 0 DEX doesn't interfere with attack rolls (which are calculated via Strength) and other non-Dex based checks. However, since helpless is typically associated with being bound, pinned, paralyzed, etc, it seems like the intent is for the character to be unable the actions you've specified. It all depends on your the table's established playstyle.


The spell in question literally states that the target is trapped in 9+ inches of solid ice and is helpless. Its sole qualifier as to what they can do until the spell expires or until they break free is that they can still breathe.

If the intent of the writers was not clear enough already, if the target does make their saving throw, they are considered entangled - and can only move at half speed.

I struggle to see how this spell somehow contradicts the obvious consequences of gaining the "helpless" condition.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

the only time a helpless person should be able to move, is if the person is only treated as helpless to a single other individual(which i don't think ever happens in the rules) or the helpless conditions duration is so short that it should not otherwise impede someones movement.


Lincoln Hills wrote:

Taking the questions in the original post one point at a time:

What does it mean if you are 'treated as having a Dexterity of 0'?
It means that your character does not have a Dexterity of 0, but is treated as if he did until the relevant condition wears off.

Is that any different than actually having enough Dexterity damage to reduce you to 0?
The distinction between it and Dexterity damage is that it is usually immediate and total, not incremental, and it will not automatically go away due to restoration spells or natural ability-score recovery - the relevant condition needs to be dealt with instead.

Do you gain all the negatives of having 0 Dexterity?
Yes, because you're being treated as if you have a Dexterity of 0.

Is a helpless target also immobile, but conscious?
A helpless target is treated as if it has a Dexterity of 0. A character with a Dexterity of 0 cannot move or act. Therefore, a character with the 'helpless' condition cannot move or act.

I can tell you badly want another answer to be true, but I don't think you'll get anywhere.

Actually I don't want a different answer. My GM wants a different answer. I'm arguing from his perspective because it's the easiest way to truly understand his argument and the holes in it. If I'm going to make my case I need to know where the holes are.

The Exchange

Ah. Understood. My apologies for leaping to a conclusion.


Lincoln Hills wrote:
Ah. Understood. My apologies for leaping to a conclusion.

It's cool, I didn't give you any reason to think otherwise ;-)


It the book said "treated as ...... except ....." then yhe GM would have a case but since no exceptions were made he takes all negative consequences. Nowhere in the book does it say the target gets to choose which negative effects he wants to apply.


Lincoln Hills wrote:

Taking the questions in the original post one point at a time:

What does it mean if you are 'treated as having a Dexterity of 0'?
It means that your character does not have a Dexterity of 0, but is treated as if he did until the relevant condition wears off.

Is that any different than actually having enough Dexterity damage to reduce you to 0?
The distinction between it and Dexterity damage is that it is usually immediate and total, not incremental, and it will not automatically go away due to restoration spells or natural ability-score recovery - the relevant condition needs to be dealt with instead.

Do you gain all the negatives of having 0 Dexterity?
Yes, because you're being treated as if you have a Dexterity of 0.

Is a helpless target also immobile, but conscious?
A helpless target is treated as if it has a Dexterity of 0. A character with a Dexterity of 0 cannot move or act. Therefore, a character with the 'helpless' condition cannot move or act.

I can tell you badly want another answer to be true, but I don't think you'll get anywhere.

This. The logic is irrefutable.

However, your DM can most assuredly simply say 'we're changing how this spell works' ... and probably should.


Aldarionn wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:

someone who is helpless has no ability to move and thus get's -5 for their dexterity mod. this mostly only matters for their AC.

a helpless character can be either conscious or not. usually someone unconscious is considered helpless.

Nowhere in Helpless does it say you are unable to move. It only says you are treated as having a Dexterity of 0.

If being "treated as having a Dexterity of 0" is the same as actually having a Dexterity of 0 then yes, you are unable to move, but if not then someone who is helpless is relatively free to do whatever they want in the absence of other conditions preventing it.

In reference to the bolded text... If you're free to do whatever you want, then clearly you're not helpless and would be considered as "Normal" condition. Yes, the text of the Helpless condition doesn't specifically state you can't run away, because it doesn't need to. The concept of being helpless, means you cannot help yourself.

Helpless wrote:

Helpless

A helpless character is paralyzed, held, bound, 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.

The bolded text indicates you can do nothing to help yourself in removing yourself from a threat or danger. I'm not quite sure where your GM is getting the idea that someone who is Helpless could make full attacks or run away... I'm utterly boggled that he/she would even consider that argument. If they can run away or attack, then CLEARLY they are not Helpless.

My brain hurts... Good luck with your argument, man. I hope we are able to help your GM see the Light, otherwise...


We more or less resolved the argument last night during our Mummy's Mask session. He agreed that the spell Icy Prison should basically work like I said by RAW and I proposed a gentleman's agreement to remove Icy Prison from my spell list if he promises to not use it against players. I picked a new spell to put in its place (Boil Blood, because it amuses me).

Icy prison is pretty powerful for the level due to the helpless condition and the cold damage, and has fewer ways to get out of it than any similar spell of a similar level. We actually figured it would be better balanced as a 7th level spell rather than 5th level.


At the level you get it at, it's only super powerful if whoever you cast it on doesn't have some brute within 30 ft who can waste an action to free them. The Ice does not have that much hit points. So, like all spells it has its tactical uses, I found even though I had opportunities a plenty to cast it, there were other more useful spells to use first.


Splode linked the answer to your question with his link to dexterity.

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Splode wrote:
Quote:
A character with a Dexterity score of 0 is incapable of moving and is effectively immobile (but not unconscious).
If you're the RAW type, then you could easily make the argument that the 0 DEX doesn't interfere with attack rolls

A RAW type wouldn't ignore page 16 where it says incapable of moving.


If being treated as if you had a Dex of 0 meant you are incapable of moving, how could a person rendered Helpless due to being bound ever use Escape Artist to escape? Thus, the parsing that "treated as having 0 Dex" means that you are incapable of moving" is clearly absurd and, by argumentum ad absurdum, we may throw it out. Therefore, the remaining logical interpretation is that it means you are treated as having a -5 Dex mod but take on none of the other restrictions inherent to a Dex of 0.


Kazaan wrote:
If being treated as if you had a Dex of 0 meant you are incapable of moving, how could a person rendered Helpless due to being bound ever use Escape Artist to escape?

Even though being Tied up confers both the Pinned and Helpless conditions, as noted above that doesn't preclude you from taking actions (you could cast a Stilled spell for instance).

The spell referenced for also allows a special exception to make a Strength check to escape (since you're only treated as having a 0 Dex for the purpose of taking any action, but don't actually HAVE a Dex of 0, it merely means that some outside force is preventing you from moving, not that you can't move due to ability damage). The same is for the Pinned condition and the rules regarding being Tied Up, which specifically allow CMB or Escape Artist check to get out (although there is also a specific counter rule that states if the DC is high enough you flat out fail).

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Kazaan wrote:
how could a person rendered Helpless due to being bound ever use Escape Artist to escape?

Wiggling isn't moving for one. You assume having Dex 0 and unable to move means you can't take the Escape Artist action.


Happy to see both RAW and good sportmanship won in your campaign. Maybe this will mark the start of a new era where people will start realyzing is not one or the other.

Shadow Lodge

Some more snags to throw at this. Does being helpless count as "being denied your sexy bonus to AC"? Since it gives you a -5 dex bonus, you'd probably want to be denied the penalty, but there are some things out there that use wisdom or charisma for their AC bonus instead. And dodge bonuses.


James Risner wrote:
Splode wrote:
Quote:
A character with a Dexterity score of 0 is incapable of moving and is effectively immobile (but not unconscious).
If you're the RAW type, then you could easily make the argument that the 0 DEX doesn't interfere with attack rolls
A RAW type wouldn't ignore page 16 where it says incapable of moving.

A real RAW type would point out that "movement" means "actions that change your position on the grid", as otherwise 5-foot steps wouldn't work.

*ducks*

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thistledown wrote:
Some more snags to throw at this. Does being helpless count as "being denied your sexy bonus to AC"? Since it gives you a -5 dex bonus, you'd probably want to be denied the penalty, but there are some things out there that use wisdom or charisma for their AC bonus instead. And dodge bonuses.

Dex = 0 isn't Denied Dex bonus, so you can make Reflex saves (with Dex 0) while unconscious.

If you are denied your dex bonus, you still take a dex penalty.

Shadow Lodge

James Risner wrote:
thistledown wrote:
Some more snags to throw at this. Does being helpless count as "being denied your sexy bonus to AC"? Since it gives you a -5 dex bonus, you'd probably want to be denied the penalty, but there are some things out there that use wisdom or charisma for their AC bonus instead. And dodge bonuses.

Dex = 0 isn't Denied Dex bonus, so you can make Reflex saves (with Dex 0) while unconscious.

If you are denied your dex bonus, you still take a dex penalty.

Cool. All the more reason to take oracle of lore for sidestep secret.

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