Brought back from unconsciousness - when can I act?


Rules Questions


Hello all, hopefully this is a simple one but my Google fu was weak.

If I am unconscious at say -5 hp on Initiative count 15 and a helpful cleric heals me to positive hp on initiative count 10, when do I get to act?

I see three possible outcomes

1. I go on Initiative count 10, on the turn the Cleric has brought me back.

2. I go on initiate count 15, on the following turn.

3. I go on Initiative count 10 on the following turn.

I nearly had a TPK last week because I went with 2. not 1. But I certainly wasn't sure and couldn't easily have an answer.


Does going unconscious change your initiative? I would think you would go on your regular initiative number.


This would also apply to waking sleeping characters as well.

The player just assumed the unconscious/sleeping character would just delay action by default. Which is persuasive.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've always played/GMed as the unconscious character acts on their next initiative turn.


Same as evillmonkey, you go on your next initiative order (option #2 in the OP example).


I don't believe any rules state how to handle this. I would treat this as a late arrival to combat (i.e. get placed last in the initiative roster), or keep your original spot. I've never heard of #1 happening; Being able to act immediately upon waking up seems a bit counter-intuitive to how debilitating falling unconscious during battle is supposed to be.


Cuup wrote:
I would treat this as a late arrival to combat (i.e. get placed last in the initiative roster)

Ids this an official rule? I have late arrivals roll initiative and insert them into the order.


You keep your initiative, you aren't delaying, so 2.


Doesn’t it gets even more interesting if the cleric has initiative 15 and the unconscious comrade has 10?

Say I fall unconscious after my turn in a round and is healed before my initiative in the next, do I loose a turn at all? I think not, but I'm not sure.

Can unconscious take actions? Because the Delay action is an action.


Bacondale wrote:
Cuup wrote:
I would treat this as a late arrival to combat (i.e. get placed last in the initiative roster)
Ids this an official rule? I have late arrivals roll initiative and insert them into the order.

Can't find it with a quick search, but I believe it is a suggested course of action from the Dungeon Master's Guide. So not an official rule, but something I've used.


Blymurkla wrote:

Doesn’t it gets even more interesting if the cleric has initiative 15 and the unconscious comrade has 10?

Say I fall unconscious after my turn in a round and is healed before my initiative in the next, do I loose a turn at all? I think not, but I'm not sure.

Can unconscious take actions? Because the Delay action is an action.

No, an unconscious person can't use the Delay Action. Yes, in that scenario, you would not lose your turn, though you would most likely start your next one with the prone condition, barring corner cases, like falling unconscious in your saddle before succeeding your Ride check to prevent falling.


Interestingly enough, I think this is one of those situations that Paizo didn't think needed an explicit explanation. The rules for Unconscious do not state that the character cannot take actions.

"Unconscious: Unconscious creatures are knocked out and helpless. Unconsciousness can result from having negative hit points (but not more than the creature's Constitution score), or from nonlethal damage in excess of current hit points."

and

"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."

"Knocked out" is not a defined state by rules.

That being said, "knocked out" has a dictionary definition that would indicate the character is incapable of taking any voluntary action. "Delay" is one of a small list of "Special Initiative Actions," so I would rule that the character doesn't have the option to Delay, by default or otherwise. The character just does nothing while unconscious.


Initiative wrote:
"At the start of a battle, each combatant makes an initiative check. An initiative check is a Dexterity check. Each character applies his or her Dexterity modifier to the roll, as well as other modifiers from feats, spells, and other effects. Characters act in order, counting down from the highest result to the lowest. In every round that follows, the characters act in the same order (unless a character takes an action that results in his or her initiative changing; see Special Initiative Actions)."
Stable Characters and Recovery wrote:
"Healing that raises his hit points to 1 or more makes him fully functional again, just as if he'd never been reduced to 0 or lower."

These two rules suggest to me that you become "fully functional" again and then get to act on your next initiative order since you did not "take an action that results in initiative changing"


evillmonkey wrote:
I've always played/GMed as the unconscious character acts on their next initiative turn.

This


Cool, some good advice. It sounds like my gut feeling of 2. chimes with what most people agree.

Thanks for the help.


An unconscious character cannot choose to delay.

Go on your next regular initiative.

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