Bring em back ali...oops.


Starfinder Society

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Monster and NPC Death:

Most monsters and NPCs don’t have Resolve Points, so injury and death work differently for them. A monster or NPC reduced to 0 HP is dead, unless the last bit of damage it took was nonlethal damage, in which case it is knocked unconscious. If it is ever important to know exactly when a monster dies, such as if you want to capture the creature alive, the GM can decide that a monster reduced to 0 or fewer Hit Points with lethal damage dies in 3 rounds unless it takes any additional damage or receives healing. If a monster or NPC has Resolve Points, the GM can choose whether the monster dies at 0 HP or if it uses the normal rules for dying and death.

That is a big honking pile of table variation on just how murderhoboey your starfinder groups are going to have to be. Any chance of at least giving the person who dropped them the option to leave them bleeding out for 3 rounds? Nonlethal damage is a LOT harder to apply effectively in starfinder than pathfinder.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 **** Venture-Captain, Minnesota

Yes, I have noticed that too! I would like to stabilize monsters more easily too!

Hmm

The Exchange 1/5 5/55/55/55/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Merciful fusion once you get to a decent level seems easy enough.

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Shaudius wrote:
Merciful fusion once you get to a decent level seems easy enough.

If you are the parties dakka person, yes.

But the subdual nonlethal damage doesn't matter unless its the last one, so if you're plunking away for 1d6 merciful and your party members are blowing things away, you're unlikely to be the one that drops them.

The Exchange 1/5 5/55/55/55/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:


But the subdual nonlethal damage doesn't matter unless its the last one, so if you're plunking away for 1d6 merciful and your party members are blowing things away, you're unlikely to be the one that drops them.

If you're playing a PC that is that concerned about it you could always purchase a bunch of merciful fusion seals to hand out to other party members.

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Shaudius wrote:


If you're playing a PC that is that concerned about it you could always purchase a bunch of merciful fusion seals to hand out to other party members.

Thats really problematic because you have to buy the seal that matches their weapon level

Paizo Employee 5/5 Starfinder Society Developer

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I don't necessarily think that this is something that needs an official clarification. Yes there's certainly room for GM interpretation on how these situations could be handled. I like to think of it as: "Hey, I use my shots to kneecap the enemy." vs. "My next black hole grenade is just going to knock them out, OK?"

The GM should get some say in the exact effects of a combat situation and if an NPC should have a chance at receiving resuscitation from the PCs.

Given how this hasn't been a noted issue, except for the theoreticals discussed here, I think we can keep the Core Rulebook definition and empower GMs to handle these situations when they come up. As always, I'll be watching and listening to see if I regret my decision!

4/5

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This thread does remind me of an incident in PFS play :

From the briefing : "Don't leave a trail of bodies behind!"

My gunslinger after confirming a crit on a random mook : "Oops."

The Exchange 1/5 5/55/55/55/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:


Thats really problematic because you have to buy the seal that matches their weapon level

Weapon fusion seals just have to be higher level than the weapon, so if you're playing with people of your same level just make sure you have the highest seals you can purchase. They count toward the number of fusions a weapon can have as the level of the fusion, so in this case 2, it might be problematic if the other person has a lot of seals but it will work in a lot of situations.

The biggest problem, however, is the fact that it won't function at all until its been on the weapon for 24 hours, which shouldn't be a problem in any scenario where you travel outside Absalom Station for the mission but could be a problem on missions set therein.


I like the rule as is. If a character cares, there’s the stabilize spell and DC 15 Medicine checks to stabilize. Just tell the GM beforehand of your PC’s nonlethal intentions.

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The stabalize spell doesn't work, the NPC is dead as soon as they hit zero. (Thats specifically what brought the topic up ...)

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsebo) 4/5 5/5

Do we need to bring them back alive, though? Don't we have the technology to scan their brain tissue for residual memories or question holographs cloned from their DNA? If we can upload Starfinders to Guidance, we should be able to extract information from the dead.

2/5 5/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

As a GM, I don't like making the decision because I don't really have any basis for going one way or the other on what could be a crucial turning point for a mission. I might just start flipping a coin.

The Exchange 4/5 5/5

Jhaeman wrote:
As a GM, I don't like making the decision because I don't really have any basis for going one way or the other on what could be a crucial turning point for a mission. I might just start flipping a coin.

You have all the basis there is... you have read the adventure!

If they need the NPC alive for full rewards, allow them to stabilize.
If it’s not going to matter one way or the other, let the PCs capture the NPCs if they want to.
If they don’t need the NPC to survive but having a prisoner is going to slow things down (either the PCs to where they might fail the mission or the players to the point where you might run out of time in the slot) have the NPC expire.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5 **

Kevin Willis wrote:
Jhaeman wrote:
As a GM, I don't like making the decision because I don't really have any basis for going one way or the other on what could be a crucial turning point for a mission. I might just start flipping a coin.

You have all the basis there is... you have read the adventure!

If they need the NPC alive for full rewards, allow them to stabilize.
If it’s not going to matter one way or the other, let the PCs capture the NPCs if they want to.
If they don’t need the NPC to survive but having a prisoner is going to slow things down (either the PCs to where they might fail the mission or the players to the point where you might run out of time in the slot) have the NPC expire.

Thats pretty darn meta. And punishes those players who want to play characters that don't like killing. "Sorry, it was going to be inconvenient in this story, so they died"

I've previously proposed what seems a very simple answer to me. The PC that puts in the killing blow gets to decide.

The Exchange 4/5 5/5

Paul Jackson wrote:
Thats pretty darn meta. And punishes those players who want to play characters that don't like killing. "Sorry, it was going to be inconvenient in this story, so they died".

Everything the GM does is meta. I’m not saying a GM should tell the players any of that. >90% of the time the solution is going to be “let the players decide.” But occasionally you need to push the story one way or another because of assumptions the scenario author made. The aim is to avoid punishing the players because they made a reasonable choice the scenario didn’t account for.

5/5 5/55/55/5

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Its kind of funny that the lethality of starfinder varies between gi joe and Quentin Tarantino on this point...

The Exchange 1/5 5/55/55/55/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Paul Jackson wrote:
I've previously proposed what seems a very simple answer to me. The PC that puts in the killing blow gets to decide.

That's basically how it works by the rules though, effectively. If the last bit of damage is nonlethal than the enemy is unconscious allowing the person who dealt the killing blow decided they wanted them alive by choosing to deal nonlethal damage, if the last bit of damage was from, for instance, a Mind Thrust the creature dies, but I don't very well think a person Mind Thrusting another should be allowed the option to say that they wanted that enemy alive.

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Shadius wrote:
hat's basically how it works by the rules though, effectively.

Its not. Its the DMs decision not the players which is a huge difference.

ACs are higher and hits a lot harder to come by in starfinder. That -4 doesn't seem as practical.

You also don't know who's doing the last few hit points of damage because you don't know the opponents hit points or how much damage you'll be doing or even if you'll be doing any damage.

1/5 5/55/5 *** Venture-Agent, Online—VTT

The -4 is significantly less practical than carrying taclashes and pulse casters for just such an occasion.

EDIT: I know many players will not carry a low-level nonlethal weapon, but I do put it in the same category as not having a ranged weapon, or an anti-swarm option in pathfinder. It will be weaker than your main attack, but not having the option is a strange decision, to me.

1/5 5/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Shaudius wrote:
Paul Jackson wrote:
I've previously proposed what seems a very simple answer to me. The PC that puts in the killing blow gets to decide.
That's basically how it works by the rules though, effectively. If the last bit of damage is nonlethal than the enemy is unconscious allowing the person who dealt the killing blow decided they wanted them alive by choosing to deal nonlethal damage, if the last bit of damage was from, for instance, a Mind Thrust the creature dies, but I don't very well think a person Mind Thrusting another should be allowed the option to say that they wanted that enemy alive.

Maybe the mind-thrust was so incapacitating the target wishes they were dead?

I get migraines sometimes like that?

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HammerJack wrote:

The -4 is significantly less practical than carrying taclashes and pulse casters for just such an occasion.

EDIT: I know many players will not carry a low-level nonlethal weapon, but I do put it in the same category as not having a ranged weapon, or an anti-swarm option in pathfinder. It will be weaker than your main attack, but not having the option is a strange decision, to me.

here's the difference. Ranged is always a thing. Bad guys exploding at zero is only a thing when the DM says it is. You're going to have people used to one winding up with the other, usually after the fact...

2/5 5/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I don't want to keep them alive just because "the scenario wants me to", because players (many of whom are also GMs) will figure that out and won't worry about trying to capture opponents alive with nonlethal damage--they'll know I've taken care of any risk. On the other hand, I don't want to have the NPCs die out of what may seem like spite (even though it's not). That's why, unless I have grounds to decide one way or the other, I honestly may just flip a coin and handle it transparently at the table.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

The stabalize spell doesn't work, the NPC is dead as soon as they hit zero. (Thats specifically what brought the topic up ...)

Per your rulebook quote: "...the GM can decide that a monster reduced to 0 or fewer Hit Points with lethal damage dies in 3 rounds..."

So the stabilize spell works within 3 rounds of the NPC reaching zero. It works if the GM lets it with RAW.

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Joshua James Jordan wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

The stabalize spell doesn't work, the NPC is dead as soon as they hit zero. (Thats specifically what brought the topic up ...)

Per your rulebook quote: "...the GM can decide that a monster reduced to 0 or fewer Hit Points with lethal damage dies in 3 rounds..."

So the stabilize spell works within 3 rounds of the NPC reaching zero. It works if the GM lets it with RAW.

*points up*

Or it doesn't work when the DM says it doesn't work. Which is functionally not working when you have multiple DMS.

That is a big honking pile of table variation on just how murderhoboey your starfinder groups are going to have to be.

Its kind of funny that the lethality of starfinder varies between gi joe and Quentin Tarantino on this point...

Liberty's Edge 1/5 5/55/55/55/5 ** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Fairview Heights

In pathfinder you can metaphorically slap someone in the face the face then lethally stab them in the heart until they keel over unconscious. In Starfinder, if you if you lethally stab someone in the chest until they keel over, well you killed them. If you bring them to within an inch of their life then choose to act nonlethally, they survive, albeit in rough shape. How does this not make sense? As a GM, I don’t see a plethora of scenarios where paper cuts followed by head shots with a sniper rifle justify simple unconsciousness and even needing the three round rule, but I’m glad it exists, so as not to hamstring. Lethality is a choice. If you want them alive, don’t do lethal damage when they’re about to die. It doesn’t take a doctor to notice that someone is in pretty rough shape and anyone should be able to look at an NPC to notice that they’re pretty bad off. That’s also the GMs job; to accurately describe what you can observe with your character’s senses.

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Pathfinder

Stab stab stab dead

Slap stab stab fine

Stab stab slap fine

Starfinder

Stab stab stab dead if the dm wants. or not

Slap stab stab dead if the dm wants. or not.

stab stab slap fine.

I've been hit with a lot of things but not enough to know if a taser knife or knife taser order matters...

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden

Jhaeman wrote:
I don't want to keep them alive just because "the scenario wants me to", because players (many of whom are also GMs) will figure that out and won't worry about trying to capture opponents alive with nonlethal damage--they'll know I've taken care of any risk. On the other hand, I don't want to have the NPCs die out of what may seem like spite (even though it's not). That's why, unless I have grounds to decide one way or the other, I honestly may just flip a coin and handle it transparently at the table.

Coin flips sound iffy at first but thinking it over, this doesn't seem like such a bad idea to me.

If the party wants to be sure, then make sure to use nonlethal weaponry. I think it would be a good thing if "a nonlethal weapon" gets put into the must-buy equipment advice lists from the start.

If you didn't put in the effort to make sure, then you don't deserve certainty. But still getting an even chance seems fair.

3/5

I would rule that the NPC is "bleeding out" for 3 rds and let the PCs mention that they want to stabilize them (without prompting from the GM.) That puts the onus to act to stabilize on the PCs which if they're in a capture not kill scenario they should have in mind.

It's also very consistent. 3 rounds is not long and would leave most NPCs dead anyways.

5/5 5/55/55/5

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Pre Gap pathfinder: "They just don't make bad guys like they used to. In my day you'd have to bring em down to negative ten before their heads exploded. Young whippernappers don't know how easy you got it...

Liberty's Edge 3/5

see this is what I tell my players "it is not Pathfinder"

People keep comparing the two, but Starfinder has consequences, often (90% of the time) a Pathfidner Scenario allows you to murder hobo with no consequences or sometimes you might require a attonement cause you ignored the "that is evil" prompt.

In Starfinder, you can kill the NPC you needed to keep alive, you can screw up a scenario by not stealthing or bluffing.

I love this, it means players cannot approach with the same attitude they once did, and that in turn means people are having to put some thought into their actions, which is imho enabling more inclusion of other players.

Last night in PFS we had a Diplomacy character and 2 murder hobo's - 5 pages of scripting was skipped because the MH's went "I charge in" which meant the other players were not having as much fun...

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Meadow Lark wrote:

In Starfinder, you can kill the NPC you needed to keep alive, you can screw up a scenario by not stealthing or bluffing.

I love this, it means players cannot approach with the same attitude they once did, and that in turn means people are having to put some thought into their actions, which is imho enabling more inclusion of other players.

Starfinder is not "npcs explode into meat chunks at 0" by default. That isn't the right starfinder, that isn't "the real starfinder". That isn't the starfinder "the way its supposed to be". NPCs either explode by default or have three rounds to stabilize at the DMs call. Both are equally valid ways to run the game, but thats a huge swing in table variation for players to deal with. The idea that you're going to automatically default to the your head asplode version just doesn't work in a setting with multiple dms.

Not every encounter has a skill workaround that should have been used.

Not reading the DMs mind to know whether they're using the NPCs head explodes rule or the "you have three rounds" rule is not a "lack of thought"

Armor classes are higher and hit is harder to come by. That -4 penalty to do non lethal makes it pretty unfeasible.

Standard non lethal weaponry is pretty ineffective on a lot of builds, and you need level 2 items to start slapping merciful on things (takes a little while to get up the cash)

Quote:
Last night in PFS we had a Diplomacy character and 2 murder hobo's - 5 pages of scripting was skipped because the MH's went "I charge in" which meant the other players were not having as much fun...

So, in PFS's bag of mixed nuts some players that did not want to murderhobo were unable to ameliorate the murderhoboation because the DM decided not to use the option that NPCs take 3 rounds to die and in the meantime can be stabilized by the non murderhobos. said players had a worse time and missed most of the story as a result.

How is that not an argument for using the option to give the NPCs three rounds to die?

3/5

BNW,

I don't think the -4 for nonlethal applies to SF combat. It's just last hit decides what type of damage he's doing.

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Nonlethal Damage with a Weapon That Deals Lethal Damage

You can use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage instead, but you take a –4 penalty to your attack roll.

(which lets you shoot people in the butt, which i don't think you could do underpathfinder without special ammo)

Grand Lodge 4/5 **** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento

There are a *lot* of judgement calls GMs need to make, possible more in starfinder than in pathfinder, but even there a lot.

We tried in pathfinder to close off GM call after GM call, only to have GMs continue to make bad calls, only now with a perception that GMs were supposed to behave robotically strict.

I would *rather*, given the chance to start over, give the GMs the leeway to make those calls, and if GMs make bad calls, take that as an opportunity to talk to them about different ways it could be handled, and generally improve the quality of our GMs.

Even in pathfinder, the trend is moving in that direction.

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(from another thread redirecting here)

Quote:
That being said, it's very tricky to empower some people in an environment where people strive for everything to be equal. Take a peek at the SFS boards for the threads entitled: "Bring em back ali...oops." or "To Full Attack, or Not Full Attack, That is the Question."

Its not a matter of consistency for its own sake (which is neither possible or desirable, variety is the spice of life). Its about who decides how the variation happens.

Bad guys actions are left up to the DM, thats their critter. Thats who they play for the night. That's their character even if they're operating it with a few lines of tactics and a backgrounds it's who they get to play for the night. They have to have the freedom to react to the bewlildering variety of circumstances player teams will throw at them because its not possible to list every circumstance up to and including the party polymorphing themselves into a flock of ducks and pecking the bad guy to death.

Three rounds to die for NPCs or not isn't really a decision about the bad guy in question. Its somewhere in between a rule of how the universe works and what a character does. Game rules an area where you strive for consistency but far more importantly the rule drastically affects how murderhoboey the character doing the killing is. Its not that DMs shouldn't have creativity or choice or be stuck on a drop down menu or consistency for it's own sake: its just that i feel that whether or not your character is a mass murderer should be more of a player decision than a DM one.

Not really expecting change on the issue, just trying to increase awareness of it.

1) DMs should be aware that to explode into meat chunks or not to explode into meat chunks, that is the question is a question, not a given or (looks up) the default. The option is there. Players may expect one option to be in play or not. if its going to matter make sure your players know which way it works before the bodies hit the floor.

2) The options for non lethal damage are kind of ineffective given the way non lethal damage works in starfinder. Instead of one person taking a -4 for a few swings you have everyone taking a -4 for whatever you guestimate their hit points are relative to your weapon. Casters don't have a non lethal spell option.

If we're going to get dinged with infamy for a body count or an NPC needs to be alive please remember that some DMs consider Tarantino rules to be in effect

3) Players used to GI joe rules should be aware some DMs are out for the blood of their own NPCs and shop accordingly. *heads off to buy a non lethal flame thrower and a bag of corpse babble spell crystals...:)*

The Exchange 1/5 5/55/55/55/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
...but far more importantly the rule drastically affects how murderhoboey the character doing the killing is.

If the character in question is doing weapon damage (as opposed to other damage) they always still have agency as to how murderhoboy they would like to be, sometimes thats at the risk of not dropping the creature at all, but more often as the campaign progresses (especially once Starfinder Armory comes out), its the conscious choice to not invest in a merciful weapon fusion.

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Shaudius wrote:

If the character in question is doing weapon damage (as opposed to other damage)

Which is also a thing. Damaging with spells is actually pretty damned good in this game and your lethality levels are set by the dm. (I don't want to imagine the clean up after mind thrust II....) Casters havea choice between not using their main class features or going really grimdark really quick.

Quote:
they always still have agency as to how murderhoboy they would like to be

and IF they know Tarintino rules are in effect.

It is really frustrating that you keep taking that as a given that everyone knows they are operating under an optional rule.

The Exchange 1/5 5/55/55/55/5

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:

and IF they know Tarintino rules are in effect.

It is really frustrating that you keep taking that as a given that everyone knows they are operating under an optional rule.

I mean, that's a fair point, I don't believe that players should be caught unaware by rules that require GM discretion. As with any GM discretion ruling, I would be honest and open with my stance if asked, and you've actually convinced me to state it up front before the game starts (although it looks like the same 20 or so players have signed up for my online games so they can also read this thread and comments on on the Discord to hear my stance.)

My personal stance is the NPCs always die at 0 if the 0 comes from lethal damage, if you don't want to kill an NPC and you have no idea how strong it is, then don't turn his brains into soup at any point in the fight.

Wayfinders

Shaudius wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

and IF they know Tarintino rules are in effect.

It is really frustrating that you keep taking that as a given that everyone knows they are operating under an optional rule.

I mean, that's a fair point, I don't believe that players should be caught unaware by rules that require GM discretion. As with any GM discretion ruling, I would be honest and open with my stance if asked, and you've actually convinced me to state it up front before the game starts (although it looks like the same 20 or so players have signed up for my online games so they can also read this thread and comments on on the Discord to hear my stance.)

My personal stance is the NPCs always die at 0 if the 0 comes from lethal damage, if you don't want to kill an NPC and you have no idea how strong it is, then don't turn his brains into soup at any point in the fight.

Mmmmmm. Soup.

Regardless of my food preference, my opinion is that the best bet is slap a Merciful Weapon Fusion on your weapon, make sure your GM is informed of it's activation, and just hope your shot is the one that brings it down. Not really much you can do if you have a bunch of murder hobos in the party. If they really want the NPC dead, they will find a way to kill him/her/it, regardless of your non-lethal tendencies.

1/5 5/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

But again the issue comes down to 'a slight case of overbombing'.

Need to do enough damage to take down the opponent but one integer over and *whups*?

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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


But again the issue comes down to 'a slight case of overbombing'.

Need to do enough damage to take down the opponent but one integer over and *whups*?

You don't even get an intiger. NPCs are fine fit and fighting at 1 and a Jackson Pollock painting at 0

1/5 5/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

...or as a GM in a different organized campaign said many times "Your opponent is still 99 percent combat effective". at 1 hp.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 **** Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

Merciful weapon fusions are pretty cheap at least.

1/5 5/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

...if the target is subject to non-lethal damage, yes?

Shadow Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 **** Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

Yes, but it's a swift action to turn the non-lethal off or on if need be.

1/5 5/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Not the point.

There are certain classes of creature that are immune to non-lethal but are sentient and may need to be 'taken into custody'.

Can a character decide to only do 1 point of damage?

The Exchange 1/5 5/55/55/55/5

Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Not the point.

There are certain classes of creature that are immune to non-lethal but are sentient and may need to be 'taken into custody'.

Can a character decide to only do 1 point of damage?

It's worth noting that generally speaking with limited exceptions creatures that are immune to non-lethal damage also have the unliving trait which says that, "The creature is immediately destroyed when it reaches 0 hit points." Creatures with this trait don't have the GM discretion issue.

1/5 5/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hopefully there won't be any scenarios where that is required.

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