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My wife Lamontia currently plays a level 8 'Oradin' in PFS, essentially a paladin with a dip into Life Oracle.
My Rules Question, however, is not PFS-specific.
Now, in our last PFS scenario, she ran into a GM ruling on her character's "Life Link" revelation, one that we hadn't encountered before.
From the Life Mystery:
Life Link (Su): As a standard action, you may create a bond between yourself and another creature. Each round at the start of your turn, if the bonded creature is wounded for 5 or more hit points below its maximum hit points, it heals 5 hit points and you take 5 hit points of damage. You may have one bond active per oracle level. This bond continues until the bonded creature dies, you die, the distance between you and the other creature exceeds medium range, or you end it as an immediate action (if you have multiple bonds active, you may end as many as you want as part of the same immediate action).
Now, here's what happened. My wife's Oradin had Life Link'd my character, a level 9 Inquisitor with 84 HP.
Near the beginning of the combat, my Inquisitor took some pretty solid damage from an enemy spell, somewhere between 20 and 30 points of damage, if memory serves. I took my turn in the Initiative order for the round and my PC attacked an enemy. Later in this same round, Lamontia's Oradin had her turn and at the start of it, healed me for 5 HP with the Life Link.
This time, the enemy spellcaster changed targets, so when my turn came up in this round I had not taken any further damage, but was still down from the previous spell around 20 HP from my max total, despite Lamontia's 5 HP from last round. When Lamontia's turn came up, she told me to take another 5 HP of healing from her Life Link since I was more than 5 HP below my max HP total...
...at which point the GM stopped her. He told her that no, my PC did not take 5 more points of healing, because I had incurred no damage IN THAT ROUND, despite still being roughly 20 HP below my max total from the 1st round's spell. He interpreted the words "is wounded" in the Life Link in the same way one would say "is attacked and damaged for".
So, while my PC was still around 60ish HP out of a total of 84 HP, since I had NOT taken any damage in the 2nd round, the GM ruled that I could NOT be healed 5 HP through Life Link in that round.
We were...a bit shocked by this ruling, as we had not encountered a single GM who shared a similar viewpoint in 8 levels of organized play.
We attempted to convince the GM that his ruling was incorrect for about a minute but he was adamant about it. We did not want to hold up the game, so we went with his ruling.
All in all, my character was never in any dire threat and his ruling had virtually no impact on the encounter, since a couple of turns later it was over and our party stood victorious with every PC still alive and kicking.
But...is he correct on his ruling regarding Life Link?
TL;DR Question: Does an Oracle's Life Link revelation allow her to heal a Life Linked companion for 5 HP on any round when the companion in question finds themselves to be 5 or more HP below their max total, or can it only be used in a round when the Life Link'd PC has actively taken damage IN THAT ROUND that keeps/takes them 5 or more HP below their total?
It's his ruling, but it kind of ignores the fact that you are still wounded if you are below maximum health. Unfortunately in English 'wounded' is both 'receiving a wound', and 'having an existing wound'.
I think he's misreading that second line into meaning 'wounded for 5 or more damage' (or receiving a wound), but (to me anyway) clearly refers to your current health compared to your maximum health, which lends itself to the 'existing wound' definition.
The text specifies "is wounded". Not "was wounded". If you look on your official character sheet, you will notice that damage taken is called "wounds", making this a bit of a key word. I would say having any "wounds" over 4 points qualifies you to be healed that round.
If Life Link were meant to work the way your GM thought it should work, it would probably be more like the summoner version which happens at the moment of damage.
|Jiggy RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32|
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Two reasons the GM is wrong, and they both relate to the fact that he took one phrase out of context.
Look at the entire sentence:
"Each round at the start of your turn, if the bonded creature is wounded for 5 or more hit points below its maximum hit points, it heals 5 hit points and you take 5 hit points of damage."
1. If "is wounded" referred to an event rather than a condition, then not only would it only apply to damage that round, but it would also only apply to damage taken "each round at the start of your turn". So unless someone readied an attack for the beginning of Lamontia's turn, then your GM's interpretation causes Life Link to do absolutely nothing.
2. It says "is wounded for 5 or more hit points below its maximum hit points". If this is referring to an event rather than a condition, then that means that the amount of damage you have to take that round is defined as "5 or more hit points below your maximum hit points". This would mean that, since your max HP was 84, then Life Link only works if you take 79 or less damage, while taking 80+ damage won't trigger it because the damage amount isn't 5 or more below your max HP.
Your GM was wrong.
The Gm was obviously wrong. The condition for getting back 5 hitpoints is 'if the bonded creature is wounded for 5 or more hit points below its maximum hit points.' There isn't any time limit on when the wounds have to occur, the only limit is that the creature has at least 5 hit points below their total. You could have been hurt days ago, and the lifelink would still heal you.
I frankly don't see how your GM could possibly get the interpretation he did. The text is quite clear.
Jiggy has it in the nuances of the text.
Afterwards, I talked to this evil GM and told him that his own life oracle was more powerful because of all this. :)
I believe the confusion stemmed from how shield other works vs life link, since they are often seen together... shield other occurring when damage occurs.
To be fair though, I've found life link to be "just alright" in level 9-15 play where a 5hp a round "pump" isn't competing with the sheer amount of damage being tossed around, so even if it's run incorrectly, you're talking about maybe 10-15hp in a fight (with the assumption that PCs are taking damage in half the rounds of a high level found, and those fights are 4-6 rounds long). Sometimes 10-15hp matters though.
So, WE seem to be in consensus, but I guess it doesn't much matter if his GM disagrees. What would you guys do in a situation like this? Try to explain things to the GM again? Go on with the weaker ruling? Reroll?
During the session, go along with the ruling. Don't hold up the game to debate a ruling for very long.
Since this was for PFS, it may never come up again, if they never play with that GM again.
But if they do see that GM again, or if they have his email address, I'd send the guy to this thread. Address it with him out of game, when there's more time to debate without slowing down the existing session.