Is there a check noticing someone is conscious?


Rules Questions


Hi. I full attack and drop someone to negative hp. A cleric I cannot see channels positive energy to heal the fallen character. How do I notice that they are now conscious instead of bleeding out?

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Sense motive seems like the obvious choice here


Or maybe a perception roll, dc of their bluff roll to play dead?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

You need to use bluff to pretend that your condition is different than it currently is.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'd say that's a basic dc 5 + 1/10ft Heal check

The Exchange

Well, since this is the Rules Questions forum, all I can say is "The rules make no mention of noticing a character's condition." Except the deathwatch spell, of course.

(The suggestions already made all have merit - I'd probably make it Bluff vs. Perception - but it's all according to the GM's call.)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

For the most part, I'd assume anyone unconscious who is suddenly healed is going to have a VERY hard time starting out playing possum. I'd make it a bluff vs sense motive check with +5 or so on the sense motive.


Yet another GM discretion thing. I like Bill Dunn's suggestion, but I'd extend it to say the attacker could choose between a buffed Heal or Sense Motive check, against the newly conscious creature's Bluff. Distance mods that Blindmage mentioned would be applied as penalties.

Circumstances might be relevant too. If the killed creature is one among a half dozen other creatures and those other five are still around attacking, maybe there would be no increase to the Heal/Sense Motive. Kinda got more important things to worry about than a KOed body. But if it's the only enemy in sight coming back to life, the +5 is perfectly justified.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

DM's call.

I usually let PC's get away with possum style.

"Now my student, it is time to learn the way of the noble possum. *cane to the head!" Student falls over

"excelent! You were always a fast learner. Get some asprin when you wake up"


Bill Dunn wrote:
For the most part, I'd assume anyone unconscious who is suddenly healed is going to have a VERY hard time starting out playing possum. I'd make it a bluff vs sense motive check with +5 or so on the sense motive.

For something like this you would probably be looking at a heal check (which would require you to get close enough to actually investigate the person) before you could make the sense motive check. If you want to know someone's physical status you need to be in a position to actually able to make the initial check before being able to check if you are being deceived in any way. You don't know how much healing was done so the only thing you can be certain is they are in a less worse condition than they were barring meta gaming.

Just because you are dying, doesn't mean you are automatically a hunk of meat just lying there completely still. And just because you got healed to "not dying" doesn't mean you are instantaneously alert. The combat round is a simplification of what happens in the 6 second time span. Until that person does something to disprove they aren't laying on the ground helpless the only thing you know is.... they are on the ground seemingly helpless.


GM discretion. Not explicitly covered anywhere.

I could see an argument for either sense motive, perception, or heal to identify the creature as awake. Sense motive because it's against the bluff to pretend to be unconscious (or dead), perception to notice the person moving like a conscious person would (probably only if the person actually moved/did something/at least opened their eyes), heal to identify that the creature has recovered from their wounds. Perhaps some combination of the skills. I'd probably even allow the fallen creature to make a heal check to know how to make it seem they're still unconscious to make the opponent's checks harder.

Pretty much "ask your GM".


So does the recently healed creature immediately make this bluff check to play dead? Or would they need to wait till their turn? And if they needed to wait what happens if the enemy is goes first?

Also for the people suggesting various skills. Are any actions involved? Is the sense motive/perception/heal just free action? Or would you think it a swift, move or standard?

Similar-ish question. I've had players request that they pretend to be dead when a blow takes them to single digits, knowing it's safer to be down then at low HP. I've always figured this maybe could only work if you're going immediately after the attack. Otherwise you'd be standing for a few people's turns and then suddenly drop to the attack that happened previously.

Scarab Sages

Dc 5 heal check, dc 10 perception or sense motive. There are some overlap between skills in this situation.


Imbicatus wrote:
Dc 5 heal check, dc 10 perception or sense motive. There are some overlap between skills in this situation.

Don't forget distance modifiers! In combat they can be very relevant!


Imbicatus wrote:
Dc 5 heal check, dc 10 perception or sense motive. There are some overlap between skills in this situation.

DC 5 seems a bit low, unless you are actually sitting next to the creature dedicating action to poke and prod (aka making an actual heal check) leaving yourself open to attacks in the middle of combat.

My understanding is, they are in combat and want to be able to determine consciousness by sight only after the target was dealt enough damage to drop them into the negatives.

You are basically saying, you can make a DC 5 heal check to determine internal bleeding on an unresponsive patient across the room in the middle of combat...by looking at them.


Skylancer4 wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Dc 5 heal check, dc 10 perception or sense motive. There are some overlap between skills in this situation.

DC 5 seems a bit low, unless you are actually sitting next to the creature dedicating action to poke and prod (aka making an actual heal check) leaving yourself open to attacks in the middle of combat.

My understanding is, they are in combat and want to be able to determine consciousness by sight only after the target was dealt enough damage to drop them into the negatives.

You are basically saying, you can make a DC 5 heal check to determine internal bleeding on an unresponsive patient across the room in the middle of combat...by looking at them.

The check isn't to see if they are unconscious. It's if they have regained consciousness. You know they are unconscious cause you dropped them, then they receive healing you cannot see, enough to bring them above 0. How can I tell that they are awake again? I'm just wanting to figure out how to know that the guy can act again so I can drop him again before leaving him be.


Chess Pwn wrote:
Skylancer4 wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Dc 5 heal check, dc 10 perception or sense motive. There are some overlap between skills in this situation.

DC 5 seems a bit low, unless you are actually sitting next to the creature dedicating action to poke and prod (aka making an actual heal check) leaving yourself open to attacks in the middle of combat.

My understanding is, they are in combat and want to be able to determine consciousness by sight only after the target was dealt enough damage to drop them into the negatives.

You are basically saying, you can make a DC 5 heal check to determine internal bleeding on an unresponsive patient across the room in the middle of combat...by looking at them.

The check isn't to see if they are unconscious. It's if they have regained consciousness. You know they are unconscious cause you dropped them, then they receive healing you cannot see, enough to bring them above 0. How can I tell that they are awake again? I'm just wanting to figure out how to know that the guy can act again so I can drop him again before leaving him be.

Same difference in effect.

You want to know information you cannot know without some sort of investment. Until that person does something outwardly to make it completely obvious the only way you can know if they are conscious would be something like a heal check.

Again I'm all for GM call, just because they are no longer bleeding out doesn't mean they jump up and are completely obvious about it. The GM could just as easily say they remain unconscious until it is their turn to act (the whole groggy for a minute after a near death experience or all the sudden they gasp for air after their heart stopped, any of that crap can be used). They aren't pretending to be out of it at that point and no amount of sense motive is going to get you what you want using that rationale if the GM decided to rule it that way. I'm pointing out that the info you want is probably not a simple as a DC5 check. Hit points are the conglomerate of multiple ideas and concepts, just because you get healed doesn't mean there are outward signs that blantently tell you it happened. It could have just as easily been internal injuries that were healed and there would be absolutely no way for you to "see" that. That is why you cannot just look at a creature and tell how many hit points it has, and it requires a spell to get the closest approximation to that action.

Basically you are trying to look for rules that allow you to meta game.


No, I'm just curious if and what it is to notice someone.

And this issue is, someone is going from unconscious to conscious. So it's not like dead and unconscious or how close to unconscious. It seems like you feel that there is no possible way to tell that someone that was unconscious is not conscious without spending a standard action "melee" heal check.


Chess Pwn wrote:

No, I'm just curious if and what it is to notice someone.

And this issue is, someone is going from unconscious to conscious. So it's not like dead and unconscious or how close to unconscious. It seems like you feel that there is no possible way to tell that someone that was unconscious is not conscious without spending a standard action "melee" heal check.

No really, you are trying to meta game.

If you were really that worried about it you would go over and stab the person regardless. What you are trying to do is determine you course of action and are afraid to "waste" a round doing something. Pretty much the definition of meta gaming.

You apparently knew they were "dying" you apparently knew there was some healing. The only in game information you should have is, if they were bleeding out they no longer are. Until they act, how would you know anything other than that? They are breathing and probably in pretty rough shape outwardly, what makes you think you can tell what they are going to do (if anything) next round with a quick glance in combat?

I'm not judging or saying it is good or bad, but you are definitely meta gaming here and are looking for rules to justify it. Ask your GM because there aren't any "official" answers for you.


No, I'm checking to see if there are rules covering this.
I know they are dying because I'm the one that dropped them.
Me the person know they have received healing that the character can't see from the cleric that channeled around the corner.

This came up in a PFS scenario. The enemy has tactics to attack in melee any threat in melee reach. He attacked and dropped a guy. The guy received healing that the enemy didn't see. Next nearest PC is 30ft away down a 20ft cliff. Should the enemy just go and kill the downed PC just in case it receives healing? No, you don't attacked negative PC's.

So here the meta gaming, if there is any, is to know if the enemy thinks there's a threat, aka a conscious PC, in melee range to attack or if he goes to his ranged tactic.

I've always played and thought that you could clearly tell if a character was conscious. So when the player advocated that it shouldn't be free and automatic it got me questioning. Didn't matter cause the character went first and jumped off the cliff to get away. But it left me curious what others think to know how to rule fairly in the future.

So if the "rule" is that you have no way of knowing between unconscious and conscious then that's cool. I really don't care which it is and the PC's would like it. If the rule is you can tell or if I get a fair number of people kinda agreeing on a certain solution because there are no rules then I have a base for making my ruling.

So it's not metagaming because I don't care what the answer is. I'm just trying to play the role of the enemy that has set tactics and trying to figure out if the enemy knows to follow melee tactics or if they wouldn't and would use their ranged thinking the guy was still unconscious.


The "rule" is you have no way to know how many hit points any creature has, and even the one spell mentioned of the few (status and maybe one other?) which does allow it doesn't give you more than a (sometimes very narrow) status effectively.

I think you have a different definition of the term "meta game" then what it means. As in using information from outside the sphere of the game world, that you have no way of knowing (hit points), to determine in game actions. This is why I said you were meta gaming and is a dead on explanation of what you were attempting to do, intentional or not, regardless of if you care about the outcome.

It is also why I said it should be dependent on what the character does. Because in the "game world" that is what would determine what response. Think of it this way, the rounds are all happening simultaneously. But because of the head aches and the impossible situations that occur we deal in rounds and initiative orders. So, if we have a character who is essentially dying all the sudden inexplicably not so, at what point does an observer know that? When the not dead person does something to indicate that they are no longer incapable no? Because of how the round/initiative system works unless the character makes a free action to speak (out of turn) or immediate action (out of turn again) or otherwise does something it shouldn't be capable of (lets say using a shield to defend against an attack) there is no real reason to give that information to another entity in the game until the character acts on it's action. Especially as that type of information isn't actually attainable (mid level spells) "normally".


I don't know why you're being so combative Skylancer, asking to figure out how you'd adjudicate something like this seems perfectly reasonable.


Squiggit wrote:
I don't know why you're being so combative Skylancer, asking to figure out how you'd adjudicate something like this seems perfectly reasonable.

There is nothing "combative" about the discussion. I'm 1) fully explaining a very reasonable way to adjudicate the situation within the frame work of the mechanics and 2) having to repeatedly and politely explain why "no it isn't meta gaming" is totally false.


If you look hard enough you can call nearly everything we do 'meta-gaming'. Threat assessment seems to me like a very real concern to some one in a deadly combat situation where every action you take or fail to take could lead to your success or death. I really don't think you can break out the 'meta-gaming' argument on this one.

Imbicatus wrote:
Dc 5 heal check, dc 10 perception or sense motive. There are some overlap between skills in this situation.

I'd up the DCs here by 5-10 or make them opposed by the bluff if the 'unconscious' guy is faking it, modified by distance.

It is essentially a modified non-reactive perception check, so takes a move action.
I would probably not allow this as a reactive check.


There is no rule for it. I would say a DC 10 heal or perception check is required to noticed that someone is conscious, and applying a distance modifier is a fair rule. I include perception because when a monster has regen or fast healing I tend to let them notice that wounds are closing up. I figure healing magic does the same thing.

PS: I prefer perception to notice wounds healing up, and an actual heal check which requires them to go to the body for anything more specific.


Skylancer4 wrote:
The "rule" is you have no way to know how many hit points any creature has, and even the one spell mentioned of the few (status and maybe one other?) which does allow it doesn't give you more than a (sometimes very narrow) status effectively.

I'm not asking about hit points at all. I'm asking about conscious/unconscious and if/how in the game world one person would be able to tell that a different person that was unconscious is now conscious.

Skylancer4 wrote:
I think you have a different definition of the term "meta game" then what it means. As in using information from outside the sphere of the game world, that you have no way of knowing (hit points), to determine in game actions. This is why I said you were meta gaming and is a dead on explanation of what you were attempting to do, intentional or not, regardless of if you care about the outcome.

Again, I'm trying to figure out if the in game character would be able to tell. I've always ran it similar to invisibility. You can see them, now you can't, no check needed. So I'm trying to figure out what in game information my in game guy knows to figure out his in game actions. I don't get how you can see me asking for if/how would a character in game notice this as being "meta game" because I'm literally trying to figure out what info the in game guy knows so I make a decisions based off of that.

Skylancer4 wrote:
It is also why I said it should be dependent on what the character does. Because in the "game world" that is what would determine what response...

And I'm asking about this exact thing.

1) Person is healed but I go before person. Do I have any way to tell their conscious?
1.b) Does it matter if the person is wanting to pretend to still be unconscious? Are they able to get "immediate actions/ off turn skill checks" to pretend to be dead?

2) Person is healed and goes before me. Can they pretend to be unconscious still? What type of checks would be involved? Bluff v perception? Bluff v heal? Just a heal?

So far all you've done is berate me for asking the question and criticizing me for trying to get an answer to avoid the very thing you're accusing me of doing. If I was meta gaming I'd just go attack the healed person, but I'm just trying to figure out what information my guy knows. You're saying that I'm meta gaming cause I want to attack the healed person that I don't know is healed. This is wrong cause you a presupposing that I have a desired course of action, aka I want to attack the down but conscious guy. But I don't care, I just want to do what the character would do, but I can't unless I know more of what they'd know.


Skylancer4 wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
I don't know why you're being so combative Skylancer, asking to figure out how you'd adjudicate something like this seems perfectly reasonable.
There is nothing "combative" about the discussion. I'm 1) fully explaining a very reasonable way to adjudicate the situation within the frame work of the mechanics and 2) having to repeatedly and politely explain why "no it isn't meta gaming" is totally false.

1 is completely false. You haven't suggested any way to adjudicate this. All you've said is "ask the GM" and "it could depend". Which do nothing to help me as the GM figure out how I'd rule this.

Which leads to 2, I can't possibly be meta gaming if I'm just trying to figure out what a person in the game world knows.

Like if we're fighting a bone golem, but we misidentify it as an undead, my guy would pull out his undead slaying stuff. But I can't do that unless I know he incorrectly thinks it's an undead. If he can't even misidentify it as undead and just doesn't know what it is at all then he's not going to pull out undead tactics because he wouldn't think it's undead and would just use his normal default plan.


I don't recall seeing a official way to do it, but groups I have played in have most often used a simple Heal check.


wraithstrike wrote:
I would say a DC 10 heal or perception check is required to noticed that someone is conscious, and applying a distance modifier is a fair rule.

I can imagine also heal or perception or sense motive opposed by bluff (but not sense motive against plain DC 10).


wrote:

Heal: You are skilled at tending to the ailments of others.

Sense Motive: You are skilled at detecting falsehoods and true intentions.

Perception: Your senses allow you to notice fine details and alert you to danger. Perception covers all five senses, including sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.

I would say this is a Knowledge (Nature) or (Local) to understand if it it's sleeping or dead.


[zoidberg]Disembowling is fatal to your species isn't it? [/zoidburg]


Chess Pwn wrote:


Similar-ish question. I've had players request that they pretend to be dead when a blow takes them to single digits, knowing it's safer to be down then at low HP. I've always figured this maybe could only work if you're going immediately after the attack. Otherwise you'd be standing for a few people's turns and then suddenly drop to the attack that happened previously.

That's based on a misconception about the rules, every action in a round happens at the same time, people aren't actually standing around waiting for their turn, that's just how the rules are because of the limits of human processing power.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Also: Dropping to the floor is a free action, that I'd let the player take immediately.


Franz Lunzer wrote:
Also: Dropping to the floor is a free action, that I'd let the player take immediately.

But you can't take free actions off your turn.


Lilith Knight wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:


Similar-ish question. I've had players request that they pretend to be dead when a blow takes them to single digits, knowing it's safer to be down then at low HP. I've always figured this maybe could only work if you're going immediately after the attack. Otherwise you'd be standing for a few people's turns and then suddenly drop to the attack that happened previously.
That's based on a misconception about the rules, every action in a round happens at the same time, people aren't actually standing around waiting for their turn, that's just how the rules are because of the limits of human processing power.

I get that you're wanting to be helpful, but you're not to me. I'd ask that you stop in this thread please, since, for me, you haven't given anything helpful but have said much that wants to pull this off on a tangent.


I would go with the 5dc heal and 10dc perception for the first question... or perhaps Bluff depending on circumstances.

The second is definitely a Bluff so would handle it accordingly, Bluff VS Sense Motive

Dark Archive

Imbicatus wrote:
Dc 5 heal check, dc 10 perception or sense motive. There are some overlap between skills in this situation.

This sort of thing would be my own GM preference, allowing some actions to be usable with more than one different skill, just adjusting the DC so that the person using a less optimal skill has a harder time of it.


Chess Pwn wrote:
Lilith Knight wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:


Similar-ish question. I've had players request that they pretend to be dead when a blow takes them to single digits, knowing it's safer to be down then at low HP. I've always figured this maybe could only work if you're going immediately after the attack. Otherwise you'd be standing for a few people's turns and then suddenly drop to the attack that happened previously.
That's based on a misconception about the rules, every action in a round happens at the same time, people aren't actually standing around waiting for their turn, that's just how the rules are because of the limits of human processing power.
I get that you're wanting to be helpful, but you're not to me. I'd ask that you stop in this thread please, since, for me, you haven't given anything helpful but have said much that wants to pull this off on a tangent.

Are you that upset about someone telling you that you made a mistake?

All I said is that the player would not in fact be "standing around" they can drop immediately even if it's on their turn because their turn happens immediately.

Scarab Sages

Chess Pwn wrote:
Hi. I full attack and drop someone to negative hp. A cleric I cannot see channels positive energy to heal the fallen character. How do I notice that they are now conscious instead of bleeding out?

Heal check. Perception if it is visibly regenerating their body. Depending on the GM, the positive energy wave may be obvious enough to make it obvious that they are affected or likely to be affected.

Really though, without the heal check, you are really assuming that the character that isn't breathing is dead, not suffocating, and not holding their breath. Still, it would be reasonable to assume life after a living creature is hit with a positive energy wave.

And remember, some creatures can be conscious AND bleeding out...


Chess Pwn wrote:
Franz Lunzer wrote:
Also: Dropping to the floor is a free action, that I'd let the player take immediately.
But you can't take free actions off your turn.

This just in: you don't get to die until your turn because dying isn't an immediate action.


CampinCarl9127 wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
Franz Lunzer wrote:
Also: Dropping to the floor is a free action, that I'd let the player take immediately.
But you can't take free actions off your turn.
This just in: you don't get to die until your turn because dying isn't an immediate action.

Dying isn't an action at all, so this is a non-issue (and a non-action).

OT: The thing I haven't seen addressed in my quick skim through this thread is just how the creature is managing to feign unconsciousness after getting incapacitated then abruptly awakened upon getting healed? How many PCs or NPCs, upon regaining consciousness from a mortal wound, lie on the ground perfectly still, not looking around and assessing the situation in any way, shape or form? I find it really sus that a creature suddenly decides to act that way - it reeks of metagaming.


If whatever put you down is still nearby,it makes sense. It's not much different than playing dead in real life.


Snowblind wrote:
w many PCs or NPCs, upon regaining consciousness from a mortal wound, lie on the ground perfectly still, not looking around and assessing the situation in any way, shape or form? I find it really sus that a creature suddenly decides to act that way - it reeks of metagaming.

Or training. You know. To be an adventurer

Scarab Sages

Snowblind wrote:
How many PCs or NPCs, upon regaining consciousness from a mortal wound, lie on the ground perfectly still, not looking around and assessing the situation in any way, shape or form? I find it really sus that a creature suddenly decides to act that way - it reeks of metagaming.

There is something called a "casualty" in war. The term usually implies that a casualty is killed, but the term actually means that they are killed OR injured to the point where they can't continue contributing to the fight.

The term doesn't really transfer to the Pathfinder game very well, but basically, an NPC or PC doesn't have to be dead to be considered dead for combat purposes.

Basically, if an NPC or PC is lying on the ground during combat, they are probably dead. Especially in melee combat. If unsure, give it a couple rounds, with readied actions to stab them if they move. That's how non-healers detect people faking death.

But, to your point, yeah, most NPCs and PCs aren't pretending to be dead so they can jump up and attack people. Though for Undead, hiding as dead is tactics 101.

There will still be some cowards which pretend to be dead to survive a futile combat. And those may jump up and attack if it becomes clear that their side is winning (or if they become immune to fear).

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Is there a check noticing someone is conscious? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.