Is there actually a GM rule against attacking downed players?


Pathfinder Society

1 to 50 of 67 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
4/5

It's generally assumed among our local GMs that, unless tactics specifically state otherwise, monsters should never attack players below zero hit points if there are any other targets. Is that accurate? I was told this a long time ago as though it were an official PFS rule, and never questioned it until recently. Is this an actual rule somewhere, or just good GMing practice?

1/5

3 people marked this as a favorite.

never say never

I want my players to have a good time and be successful

that being said, if the monster has nothing else better to do, can't reach another player, tactics infer that it would keep attacking, etc. then yeah, I will do it

I have never had to do it, however, though I have had it done to one of my PFS characters

no complaints on what the GM chose to do during that encounter, it made sense for that particular moment

5/5 5/55/55/5

Nope. Not a rule.

Good idea, but not a rule.

4/5

Good to know. It's a sharp distinction between a low level game where the monster would be better served by leaving the unconscious fighter to bleed and pouncing on the cleric, and a high-level game where the monster has just seen the cleric revive the fighter from two hit points to fifty with channel energy, and knows that the "downed" front-liner is just a standard action away from "back in action."

4/5 *

Depends on the intelligence of the monster, as well. Some animals might just grab the downed guy and make a run for it to go eat in peace. Intelligent bad guys will certainly stop players from getting healed, whether that means killing the fighter dead or killing the healer.

Silver Crusade 3/5

I generally try to avoid dealing focused damage when I'm GMing. I think the game is more fun when everyone is getting a little hurt than if one person is taking all of the damage and might die. (I mention this to provide a frame of reference.)

When a PC drops, the opponents generally will move on to other targets.

However, there have been times when this is not the case (scenario tactics, special abilities, etc.). I have even used coup de grace and death knell in particular situations.

Here's a tip: if you are going to use tactics like that, warn the players that it is coming up as soon as you know it is going to happen. "Okay, that ghoul just paralyzed Dave the Barbarian. There is a good chance that it will try to coup de grace on its next turn."

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Depends on circumstances.

Unless stated specifically in their tactics, Campaign Leadership has strongly expressed that GMs avoid the Coup de Grace action.

Outside of that, everything's fair game, but also don't be a jerk.

If the mindless, flesh-hungry zombie just dropped your frontliner, and nobody else is adjacent to it, I'd be fine having it chow down.

For most other creatures, it'd probably make more sense to continue to attack the party.

If the evil Cleric's tactics are to Channel negative, and someone's bleeding out, they're probably going to die. Same for evoking Wizards.

Some undead want thralls. Downed PCs are fair game there, too. And some Demons want souls.

But, for the most part, leave downed characters be.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Game Master wrote:
It's generally assumed among our local GMs that, unless tactics specifically state otherwise, monsters should never attack players below zero hit points if there are any other targets. Is that accurate? I was told this a long time ago as though it were an official PFS rule, and never questioned it until recently. Is this an actual rule somewhere, or just good GMing practice?

You don't go out of your way to CDG downed players if the other characters remain a viable threat. UNLESS the stat blocks specifically say the creature will do so. There are a few scenarios which such a process or simmilar will happen but they are rare.

4/5

The Fox wrote:
Here's a tip: if you are going to use tactics like that, warn the players that it is coming up as soon as you know it is going to happen. "Okay, that ghoul just paralyzed Dave the Barbarian. There is a good chance that it will try to coup de grace on its next turn."

This is actually the exact situation of my only player kill. A group of four ghouls paralyzed the paladin, and spent three consecutive rounds full-attacking her (it made sense in the situation). No damage because of her high flat-footed AC. Finally on the fourth round I said "Screw it. One of them rips her throat out, coup de gracing her." That finally finished her off. Everyone was glad, as it was a pregen being played for no credit to make a legal table, and because of her sacrifice (and a nat 20 searing light from Kyra on the undead boss), the party prevailed with no other deaths.

Nefreet wrote:
Unless stated specifically in their tactics, Campaign Leadership has strongly expressed that GMs avoid the Coup de Grace action.

99.99% sure that this is what they were referencing. Can you provide a link to any page where this is laid out? I'd like to read the Campaign Leadership's guidelines.

1/5 5/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Haven't GM'd with PFS (yet) but my general rule of thumb in other games I've run is 'Does the character present a viable threat?' (if the entity in question cares about that sort of thing)

Or, if your players are fighting and the enemy mobs are dropping, do they stand there and Coup de Grace every single downed opponent before moving onto the next one?

Not in my experience. That might happen *after* the battle depending on circumstances, but in general, keeping the combat flowing, keeping the threat of wipe high if the party doesn't step up, etc, is better than confirming every person who may have just gotten 'knocked out' (stabilized in some way) versus those who are truly deceased.

Basically, during the whirlwind that is 6 seconds of combat, do you have time to assume the person in front of you that just dropped *isn't* dead without any prior information?

5/5 5/55/55/5

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Remember monks: if you just got healed back to 3 hit points your best kung fu style may be the way of the noble possum.

5/5 *** Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Here is Mike Brock's first post that people are familiar with where he says run as written means don't CDG unless it's in the tactics.

Here is later in the thread where he clarifies to "if the tactics don't warrant a CdG."

I've been subject to CDG exactly once in my PFS career. I thought it was totally appropriate.

Waking Rune Spoilers:
We were playing on hard mode.
Krune had just hit me with an empowered/maxamized horrid wilting for about 115. I was still conscious and in earth elemental form so I hit him back with my earth elemental fist and then backed through a wall into the safety of a hallway.

Krune's next turn he took away our Lissalian toys which was enough to knock me unconscious, used his move to step through the wall I had run through and found me unconscious.

His spear then Coup De Graced Me.

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

Game Master wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Unless stated specifically in their tactics, Campaign Leadership has strongly expressed that GMs avoid the Coup de Grace action.
99.99% sure that this is what they were referencing. Can you provide a link to any page where this is laid out? I'd like to read the Campaign Leadership's guidelines.

I've been looking. It's from a forum post by one of the top 3, but I can't find it right now.

It's not in the Guide, if that's what you're asking for.

Edit: the pirate beat me by 22 seconds =P

Grand Lodge 5/5

It is an old link, but is the one I found

Link Ninja'd by a pirate

Personally, unless tactics call for it, once a PC goes down, the bad guy/monster moves on. Unless they are making a heal check or something, how do they know the character is not already dead?

Shadow Lodge 3/5

Here's the thread you're after, discussed in 2013.

Dark Archive 5/5

No there is not a rule against it

but it is sometimes written as a tactic a bad guy will do ( but rarely)

I have had a bad guy threaten to kill ( downed player)tp party to escape..

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

Thankfully, my players have always moved to safeguard their companions lives, threatening the enemy and offering another target.

In my first scenario ever as a PFS GM, I recall a foe whose tactics specifically called for the CdG, in a 1-2 subtier. Sure enough, the fighter managed to become paralyzed by it, leading to a CdG attempt on the creature's next turn. Only thanks to the rogue's AoO connecting and destroying the foe was the fighter spared a horrible fate.

I was then told only minutes later to ignore that part of the tactics for the rest of the night. :)

Dark Archive 5/5

yeah thats rough for lvl 1-2

4/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Generally, I don't CDG. If there are no other PCs up, that's what happens. I feel most things with a survival instinct will 'quiet the room' before they feed/slit throats. That said, I have CDGed when a PC went off on their own and got ambushed by morhgs. He was paralyzed, there were no other targets, and it was a high level adventure.

I would not CDG newbs.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

I've had occasions where an unconscious pc was chowed on by a hungry/bloodthirsty monster and had that monster inflict a bite attack rather than CDG. Still dangerous, but not outright deadly.

Another time an intelligent foe was left with some breathing space and a ko'd pc and I had hir pick up the pc's fancy weapon and look for healing items on the pc's person.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The only time I've seen attacking an unconscious character has been the following:

The downed character (barbarian) had been healed twice prior and kept immediately attacking the BBEG again for a lot of damage. Since he was the only character doing any appreciable damage and the BBEG could not reach the healer, the next best thing was to full attack the barbarian, unconscious, on the ground. The player was upset, but I think most would agree that in this circumstance, the action was warranted.
Getting healed just enough to act is not usually the best time to provoke attacks from your enemy.

The more common occurrence is with enemies that make minions when they kill, such as shadows. Not particularly intelligent, but smart enough to know that their victims become companions. Thus it is perfectly reasonable to expect them to continue attacking the same character until s/he dies, coming back in d4 rounds as another, fully functional shadow.

As a GM remember, players rarely continue attacking an enemy once their down. They move on to more immediate threats. So, its only fair to do the same with enemies of the players. Unless there are special circumstances like I listed above. CdG on a downed PC is usually seen as vindictive and may even border on breaking the "don't be a jerk" rule so use it sparingly or not at all.

Explore! Report! Cooperate!

Shadow Lodge

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I recently got KO'd while fighting on a platform far above the ground. Everyone else in the party was a heavy-armor wearing ground pounder. Took them about 7 rounds to figure out how to get to where I was.

I stabilized, but figured a CDG was in the offing -- I wouldn't have blamed the GM, because the guy we were fighting had a history with the Pathfinders. But he had something much more sadistic in mind. In the meantime the BBEG very deliberately ransacked my stuff, and looted all my obvious weapons and valuables. In between taking potshots at my slowly advancing comrades, he prepared a noose, tied it around my neck, and when the party finally got close enough to threaten him, tossed my body as a distraction to secure his escape.

Much cooler than a simple coup-de-gras. And more effective - as I was much more use to the BBEG alive but helpless than I would have been dead.

Or at least I should have been...

As it happens, the hanging put me 1 hp away from death, but I was rescued, layed back down on the platform, and healed up to 2 hp -- but I played dead. When the BBEGs first escape route was cut off, he was still left with one clear path to freedom open to him with a full withdrawal...except for the two squares through my threatened area. I killed him with a sneak attack with the Bladed Scarf he hadn't realized was a weapon.

Best boss fight ever. I even got the ligature scars from the hanging noted on my chronicle sheet.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 5/5 RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8

2 people marked this as a favorite.

This one time I CDGd a Seelah.

Green Market:

Back in the day, a party of three and Seelah decided to play up. The first fight was super easy, but the enemy wizard did manage to get a create out cast before folding like wet newspaper. I'm fuzzy on the details, but their noble paladin pregen fell to a sleep arrow at the foot of one of the Aspis thugs, right by the edge of the pit. Seeing the opportunity before him, he took his blade and held it to her neck.

"Surrender, or I'll silt her throat!"

The party exchanged glances, and callously neglected their companions life. The Aspis agent undelayed, killed her, and kicked her lifeless body into the waiting pit.

Then I killed me a Kyra in the same scenario during a second run.

After the first combat, a different party of three and their Kyra pregen, also playing up, ran into some difficulty with the plant life.

Kyra died valiantly, after being drug by the Quickwood 60 ft., savaged by its bite attack, and then being discarded into a nearby pit left over from the first encounter.

Nothing shatters morale like outright murdering a pregen in higher level play.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Remember monks: if you just got healed back to 3 hit points your best kung fu style may be the way of the noble possum.

I don't know many times I've gone Swift Action Ki Point for +4 dodge, Standard Action Total Defense for +4 dodge, GET ME OUT OF HERE.

Silver Crusade 3/5

Maar the Volcano Monk wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Remember monks: if you just got healed back to 3 hit points your best kung fu style may be the way of the noble possum.
I don't know many times I've gone Swift Action Ki Point for +4 dodge, Standard Action Total Defense for +4 dodge, GET ME OUT OF HERE.

Don't forget that if you have 3 ranks in Acrobatics going total defense earns you +6 dodge bonus to AC, not +4.

4/5 *** Venture-Lieutenant, Maryland—Hagerstown

The Fox wrote:
Maar the Volcano Monk wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Remember monks: if you just got healed back to 3 hit points your best kung fu style may be the way of the noble possum.
I don't know many times I've gone Swift Action Ki Point for +4 dodge, Standard Action Total Defense for +4 dodge, GET ME OUT OF HERE.
Don't forget that if you have 3 ranks in Acrobatics going total defense earns you +6 dodge bonus to AC, not +4.

Yep that stack has gotten me out of many shady situations.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
The Fox wrote:
Maar the Volcano Monk wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Remember monks: if you just got healed back to 3 hit points your best kung fu style may be the way of the noble possum.
I don't know many times I've gone Swift Action Ki Point for +4 dodge, Standard Action Total Defense for +4 dodge, GET ME OUT OF HERE.
Don't forget that if you have 3 ranks in Acrobatics going total defense earns you +6 dodge bonus to AC, not +4.

What section of the rulebook is that in? A GM and I were both looking for it the other day, and couldn't find it.

5/5

pH unbalanced wrote:
The Fox wrote:
Maar the Volcano Monk wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Remember monks: if you just got healed back to 3 hit points your best kung fu style may be the way of the noble possum.
I don't know many times I've gone Swift Action Ki Point for +4 dodge, Standard Action Total Defense for +4 dodge, GET ME OUT OF HERE.
Don't forget that if you have 3 ranks in Acrobatics going total defense earns you +6 dodge bonus to AC, not +4.
What section of the rulebook is that in? A GM and I were both looking for it the other day, and couldn't find it.

Acrobatics skill description

PRD wrote:
Special: If you have 3 or more ranks in Acrobatics, you gain a +3 dodge bonus to AC when fighting defensively instead of the usual +2, and a +6 dodge bonus to AC when taking the total defense action instead of the usual +4.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Many of my armored characters invest in Acrobatics both to reduce the penalty when they have to roll it and to be able to total defense as they move through the battlefield, provoking AoOs so less armored characters can move without risk. Nothing like being asked AC at 3-4th level and telling the GM it's 30.

Sovereign Court 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Another "this one time I killed a helpless PC" story:

Spoiler:
I had a fight where a main nasty had 3 ranged mooks for support. The party put the nasty in a pit and focused on the mooks. The party's fighter stood on the edge of the pit, confident he could keep making the reflex saves... only the ranged mooks dropped him unconscious and he subsequently failed his ref save and fell in the pit with the main nasty.

The main nasty, unable to escape the pit and with literally nothing better to do than attack the dying fighter, used a single attack. Not even a full attack, certainly not a CdG. I just decided to throw a softball so as to give the PC a plausible shot at living through the round. I felt bad that they were having such a hard time with the scenario.. I succumbed to a case of the softies.

He did indeed prove to live through the damage, and a teammate summoned a flying, heal throwing azata to get into the pit and save the fighter.

When I took off the kid gloves and had the nasty full attack the barely-above-0 HP fighter, I touched off a rules argument.

"Why isn't the nasty attacking the healer?"
"Because it's not dumb... it knows when the fighter is DEAD it can deal with your summoned critter, and making your critter spend its action healing rather than doing any offense is a win in the form of crowd control for the nasty."
"You're not allowed to keep attacking the fighter after he's down!"
"Uh, yes I am. I'm only not supposed to go out of my way to do it.

Even when you're completely in the right, players with skin in the fight can and will pitch a game-derailing fit. If anything it was probably a mistake to show mercy and not CdG at the first opportunity (in this example, I mean).

TL;DR recap: If you CdG after having shown mercy earlier, expect the players to wail. If you're gonna do it, do it rather than pussy footing with the PC's life. Just be sure that you're not looking for excuses to "get away with killing a PC".

3/5

2 people marked this as a favorite.

random snark:
Pretty sure we're not allowed to attack the players at all, only their characters. You're talking super hard-core mode, man - assault charges and all.

4/5

TimD wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
We can attack them, but only emotionally. Cutting insults, degredation, and "yo mama" jokes seem to be the most effective.
5/5 5/55/55/5

2 people marked this as a favorite.
TimD wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

You mean you don't use a legal waiver as a sign in sheet?

4/5

I think in general GMs don't want to kill the PCs, just push them to the edge. GMs try to follow the instructions in the scenario, but sometimes things go awry or players derail the scenario/invalidate the tactics. However there are situations where deadly force/intent is called for. I wouldn't expect any mercy from evil undead, constructs, demons, devils and their ilk. There are encounters where monsters act as big deadly traps. Robert Hetherington second link above explains the direction from Paizo back in 2011.
Since that posting with the 6 -> 4 player instructions and (generally) no choice in tiering, GMs don't have to adjust anything and run the scenarios as written (just look puzzled when players talk about Hard Mode... lol).
Scenarios have also gotten better with instructions on tactics. Scenarios usually let you know if challenges are deadly. Often I've seen where at a low hit point total the NPCs will flee. I've had some captured and interviewed for info and played them according to their alignment and role in the scenario.

A non-attack when they are down modus operandi(MO) is using "Kid Gloves". That's fine with kids or newbies. I'm not sure it's appropriate at a table of experienced min-maxers facing a rune lord... but table variance will occur as every GM has their own taste and style.

In my recollection (just chatting) I've only seen a few scenarios with deadly encounters where coup de grace(CdG) was specifically addressed and given as options. More often deadly/debilitating tactics & options for NPCs to use on PCs are not addressed and so GMs don't use them or think of them (and GM's aren't supposed to). On the flip side once or twice the players have been given a license to kill. More often I've seen VCs ask the PCs to keep the violence down to a minimum as the PFS is trying to make a good impression. Usually the monster/animals don't take time out to do a CdG as they are not that intelligent and just do a full round attack. Secondly, it is a rare event when someone takes time out of an ongoing battle to do a heal check to see if people are just pretending, unconscious, or dead (hmmm... should I do Death Knell?). Left behind PCs are more likely to get eaten by a monster/critter than CdG'd and that's worse IMO (no body!). As a GM I rarely have the time to do a CdG as I am generally facing multiple PCs and am trying to down as many opponents as quickly as possible. CdG (for me) really is part of battle cleanup for evils and neutrals, to keep fast healers down, when you want to make an impression(circumstance bonus) with Intimidate(demoralize), or when the NPC is just plain Evil and enjoys killing. Practically and tactically you just spent a round to make sure someone stayed down and NPCs generally don't have that time.

1/5

deusvult wrote:
...only the ranged mooks dropped him unconscious and he subsequently failed his ref save and fell in the pit with the main nasty

How would the NPC know he wasn't dead? Did the NPC do a heal check or cast Death Knell? I can't speak for real life ancient warfare or the behavior of monsters, but from a fantasy perspective, monsters don't attack limp bodies because it's the only thing they can do unless they are hungry. However, it would have been far more plausible for the creature to try and climb out and completely ignore the limp body

Quote:
The main nasty, unable to escape the pit and with literally nothing better to do than attack the dying fighter, used a single attack. Not even a full attack, certainly not a CdG. I just decided to throw a softball so as to give the PC a plausible shot at living through the round.

To what end? How is that being soft if you know the character has no way to exit the pit and the party has no way to protect or heal the character. And if they did, you knew you could full round attack and shut that down. So in reality, you suckered the players in to expending resources to save someone and then you made an arbitrary decision to make sure that their rescue attempt did not work.

Quote:
"Because it's not dumb... it knows when the fighter is DEAD it can deal with your summoned critter, and making your critter spend its action healing rather than doing any offense is a win in the form of crowd control for the nasty."

How exactly did it know the fighter wasn't already dead? The 'main nasty" just pawed the fighter and the fighter did not move, how would it know the fighter wasn't dead? How did the "main nasty" even know the summoned creature could heal the fighter? Did the NPC do a Knowledge check on the Azata? Continuing to attack a possibly dead creature doesn't seem like a particularly smart tactic when you have a live one in your face.

1/5

@OP

As a GM, you have to make sure you aren't meta-gaming when you attack downed creatures. The idea that NPCs know the creature isn't dead is typically the GM using their meta-game knowledge of a PC's health and Con.

Using a CDG could certainly be plausible, especially in a situation similar to what Walter describes, but that reads as a GM choice and there are infinite ways to justify not using a CDG for sentient beings.

4/5

On the flip side, I've seen several times where players won't heal one of their own due to the fact that the opponent is right there and would down them again (with a possible kill). It's metagaming or practical and it happens (I've had character's almost die because of it, I just stayed quiet).

BTW - roll the stabilize check even if you're dead so you don't clue in the other players as to your status... (unless it's totally obvious).

1/5

Stephen Ross wrote:
On the flip side, I've seen several times where players won't heal one of their own due to the fact that the opponent is right there and would down them again (with a possible kill). It's metagaming or practical and it happens (I've had character's almost die because of it, I just stayed quiet).

How is that meta-gaming? If a prone and unconscious character goes above 0 hp, the NPC can certainly see that and now it's going to have a legitimate reason to attack a prone PC close to death.

Oh wait... You're saying the PC's wouldn't know how close to death the fellow PC is. Yes, there is some argument for meta-gaming there, but in truth, if you were actually witnessing someone get attacked, you'd have a sense for how vicious the blow was that took them down.

Unfortunately, neither 3.5 nor Pathfinder have a robust way for handling creature health checks. It's odd there is no specific mechanic for checking someone's health status. I know some old school AD&D GMs who wouldn't even let the PC know his own character's health.

I do wish this type of stuff had been addressed in PF.

3/5

I consider it bad form and won't do it.

Grand Lodge 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Arizona—Phoenix

N N 959 wrote:
Stephen Ross wrote:
On the flip side, I've seen several times where players won't heal one of their own due to the fact that the opponent is right there and would down them again (with a possible kill). It's metagaming or practical and it happens (I've had character's almost die because of it, I just stayed quiet).
How is that meta-gaming? If a prone and unconscious character goes above 0 hp, the NPC can certainly see that and now it's going to have a legitimate reason to attack a prone PC close to death.

If the PC takes no action, how does the NPC notice that the PC is conscious? And why can the bad guy see that but not see the unconscious PC is still breathing?

4/5

N N 959 wrote:
Stephen Ross wrote:
On the flip side, I've seen several times where players won't heal one of their own due to the fact that the opponent is right there and would down them again (with a possible kill). It's metagaming or practical and it happens (I've had character's almost die because of it, I just stayed quiet).
How is that meta-gaming? If a prone and unconscious character goes above 0 hp, the NPC can certainly see that and now it's going to have a legitimate reason to attack a prone PC close to death.

please note the (unedited) "metagaming or practical". If a player asks "Are you dead" the best response is to say nothing. It's a natural question to ask so I'm not throwing stones. Saying "yes" or "no" can lead to different actions that player's shouldn't know unless they actually do a heal check.

Sometimes death is very obvious when a person is crushed, in pieces, or dust. That's why I added the edit.

4/5

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
Stephen Ross wrote:
On the flip side, I've seen several times where players won't heal one of their own due to the fact that the opponent is right there and would down them again (with a possible kill). It's metagaming or practical and it happens (I've had character's almost die because of it, I just stayed quiet).
How is that meta-gaming? If a prone and unconscious character goes above 0 hp, the NPC can certainly see that and now it's going to have a legitimate reason to attack a prone PC close to death.
If the PC takes no action, how does the NPC notice that the PC is conscious?

The NPC succeeds verses the PC's Bluff check (in a rule specific way).

1/5

Stephen Ross wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
Stephen Ross wrote:
On the flip side, I've seen several times where players won't heal one of their own due to the fact that the opponent is right there and would down them again (with a possible kill). It's metagaming or practical and it happens (I've had character's almost die because of it, I just stayed quiet).
How is that meta-gaming? If a prone and unconscious character goes above 0 hp, the NPC can certainly see that and now it's going to have a legitimate reason to attack a prone PC close to death.

please note the (unedited) "metagaming or practical". If a player asks "Are you dead" the best response is to say nothing. It's a natural question to ask so I'm not throwing stones. Saying "yes" or "no" can lead to different actions that player's shouldn't know unless they actually do a heal check.

Sometimes death is very obvious when a person is crushed, in pieces, or dust. That's why I added the edit.

I edited my post above as I realized what you were getting at. I'll repeat what I said, there's a huge gap in the game about this on both sides of the screen. While I agree that there is some unavoidable meta-gaming, you're right to acknowledge there is practical limitation on how readily information can be restricted and the value in doing so.

I'll just add that GMs just as often meta-game their NPC knowledge of the same thing. How often does the GM have its NPC healer waste a heal on a dead NPC? I've never seen it done.

Shadow Lodge 4/5

NPCS CAN HEAL?! ;)

1/5

TOZ wrote:
NPCS CAN HEAL?! ;)

I'm pretty sure I read a post back in 2009 about a Season 0 NPC that could heal...or maybe it just had a healing potion. Details are fuzzy.

5/5 5/55/55/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I five foot step back and drink a potion! PHEW. That 5 hit points is really gonna come in hand...

... Awww. The nodachi power attack hit didn't confirm, thats only 37 points of damage.


I've had a monster attack a paralyzed foe for example, but never do a full CDG, just enough to scare the hell out of players, like: "We better help our paralyzed buddy pronto!" Usually, though, it's a fairly stupid monster. If it was an evil intelligent NPC, and the PC had been a persistent threat, I MIGHT CDG the PC, but then I would give the PCs a heads up... "You realize by the look in the evil cleric's eyes that he means business, and intends to slay the paladin. What do you do?" Etc...

Dark Archive 4/5 5/55/5 *** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Midwest

1 person marked this as a favorite.
deusvult wrote:

Another "this one time I killed a helpless PC" story:

** spoiler omitted **

TL;DR recap: If you CdG after having shown mercy earlier, expect the players to wail. If you're gonna do it, do it rather than pussy footing with the PC's life. Just be sure that you're not looking for excuses to "get away with killing a PC".

Perhaps what the thing to do would have been for the BBEG in the pit to have yelled out "Surrender now, or your friend dies!! I want to hear your weapons hitting the ground NOW!" He could delay, waiting to CdG if they do not surrender. If they do not, then WHAM!

Give them a warning... and let the players make the choice. Then, make sure you follow through, right?

Shadow Lodge 2/5

BigNorseWolf wrote:

I five foot step back and drink a potion! PHEW. That 5 hit points is really gonna come in hand...

... Awww. The nodachi power attack hit didn't confirm, thats only 37 points of damage.

It's funny how that tactic survives when its users don't.

Sovereign Court 5/5

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I kept my example somewhat abbreviated for the sake of coming to the point. But since you're curious about the veracity of my conclusions, I'll answer these questions. I don't want to get into TOO much detail to spoil the scenario in question, but I'll do my best to explain what was going on.

N N 959 wrote:
deusvult wrote:
...only the ranged mooks dropped him unconscious and he subsequently failed his ref save and fell in the pit with the main nasty
How would the NPC know he wasn't dead? Did the NPC do a heal check or cast Death Knell? I can't speak for real life ancient warfare or the behavior of monsters, but from a fantasy perspective, monsters don't attack limp bodies because it's the only thing they can do unless they are hungry. However, it would have been far more plausible for the creature to try and climb out and completely ignore the limp body

The nasty had been down in the pit for a couple rounds and already unsuccessfully tried climbing out by the time the meatsack dropped in. It could do several things well, but making a climb check wasn't one of them.

Additionally, it had a highly circumstantial ability that it could only perform on a recently dead corpse. Taking a single attack was in truth a softball (and as I pointed out, probably my mistake to "go easy" in the first place) but I justified it to the table as a test nibble. No, it didn't know if the fighter was dead or alive, but a Test Nibble is a great way to find out while giving at least a flimsy in-character justification for a softball.

Quote:
Quote:
The main nasty, unable to escape the pit and with literally nothing better to do than attack the dying fighter, used a single attack. Not even a full attack, certainly not a CdG. I just decided to throw a softball so as to give the PC a plausible shot at living through the round.
To what end? How is that being soft if you know the character has no way to exit the pit and the party has no way to protect or heal the character. And if they did, you knew you could full round attack and shut that down. So in reality, you suckered the players in to expending resources to save someone and then you made an arbitrary decision to make sure that their rescue attempt did not work.

I didn't intentionally sucker them, but from that side of the screen I can see how they might come to that conclusion. As I said, it was a mistake to NOT just CdG at the instant it became both possible and plausible. I thought (wrongly) that I was doing the player a favor.

And not that the players knew my ulterior motives, but I was perfectly prepared to have the nasty wrongly assume that since the fighter didn't flinch after being bitten that he was already dead.. and I was going to have the nasty waste her ability on the "only mostly dead, which is different from ALL dead" fighter. Obviously the players didn't know they'd be undoing my unnecessarily contrived plan to avoid a CdG when they dropped a healing critter in the pit.

For the record, they weren't upset about having wasted the summon monster spell. They were upset because like so many other PFS players, they confused SHOULD NOT CdG with CAN NOT CdG. That's the larger point of the thread: Hell yes, the GM can CdG. The point of my post was "take it from my example, holding back on a CdG is not doing yourself or the players any favors".

Quote:
Quote:
"Because it's not dumb... it knows when the fighter is DEAD it can deal with your summoned critter, and making your critter spend its action healing rather than doing any offense is a win in the form of crowd control for the nasty."
How exactly did it know the fighter wasn't already dead? The 'main nasty" just pawed the fighter and the fighter did not move, how would it know the fighter wasn't dead? How did the "main nasty" even know the summoned creature could heal the fighter? Did the NPC do a Knowledge check on the Azata? Continuing to attack a possibly dead creature doesn't seem like a particularly smart tactic when you have a live one in your face.

When the fighter was healed, he was above 0 hp. (3 to be exact, iirc) I customarily allow players to roll bluff checks to attempt the "possum strategy", and I did in this example as well. The fighter (understandably) didn't have any real investment in bluff, and the nasty blew him away on sense motive. It knew he was alive when the fighter gasped and his eyes slammed open, or some similar line.

So, when it came back to the nasty's turn, who do you attack? The suddenly back-in-the-fight fighter, or the healer who just recuscitated him? The nasty's calculus had the following considerations:
Fighter is currently prone, and easier to hit.
Fighter is currently unarmed, and thus better to try to kill him now before he rearms and gets a shot at a full attack on me.
Fighter can't possibly have that many hit points, he's bound to be within range of death and immune to future recuscitations on a full attack.
Who's going to hurt me more if left alive? The fighter or the azata?
Azata has demonstrated a healing ability as well as flight. Attacking that target w/o killing in one round would likely be a waste of time.

The nasty was a spellcaster of notable ability, and I did indeed roll a spellcraft for the s&g's on behalf of the nasty. She knew it was summoned, but that still didn't factor into the calculus since the summoned critter was going to end up sticking around at least as long as the pit exists (same PC cast both spells, and would be highly unlikely to have changed caster levels in the interim).

So, once the first attack re-knocked the fighter below 0 hitpoints, the rest of the attacks kept coming to make sure he stayed down.

It's not much of a decision.. even a stupid nasty knows which one to attack in that situation.. let alone a smart one.

Silbeg wrote:

Perhaps what the thing to do would have been for the BBEG in the pit to have yelled out "Surrender now, or your friend dies!! I want to hear your weapons hitting the ground NOW!" He could delay, waiting to CdG if they do not surrender. If they do not, then WHAM!

Give them a warning... and let the players make the choice. Then, make sure you follow through, right?

It's something I have indeed done in the past (I vividly remember swarming a hapless level 2 with stirges in a certain swamp based adventure) and you're right, it probably would have played better than "well, here's to hoping you come up with a miracle... Ooh, no, that attempted miracle isn't gonna work out.."

I'll reiterate: I brought up the example as a case of what not to do. Don't shy away from appropriate CdGs. Embrace them and take them. Just don't abuse the "Don't Be a Jerk" clause of PFS that still applies to GMs.

If you have to think this hard about coming up with an excuse why you're NOT taking the CdG... you should be taking the CdG.

1 to 50 of 67 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Organized Play / Pathfinder Society / Is there actually a GM rule against attacking downed players? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.