Dying rules dropped in GTM Live game


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You want to play a d20 game where everything one-shots you? Umm... why? Even those of us who like negative HP don't want THAT.

Silver Crusade

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MidsouthGuy wrote:
Personally, I'm hoping for a 'Dying Mechanic' that will give some increased lethality to the game. Unless you have seriously high level magic on your side, getting run through by a spear, roasted by dragonfire, or stomped on by some massive monster should just plain KILL you without getting a thousand and one saves. Just because you made up an epic backstory for your character should not mean they can't die.

You can already do that. You die at 0 HP. Done.


Rysky wrote:
Makeitstop wrote:

More complicated. Less fun. Less fair. Totally immersion breaking and arbitrary.

I can't think of a single positive about all this.

I can survive getting pummeled with enough damage to drop me 10 times over, and make a single save to be back at 1 hp. Or I can get critted by a kobold for 2 points of damage that brings me to 0, roll a 1 on my save and die instantly. Given that massive overkill usually happens because of unfair encounters, while crits make up a disproportionate number of finishing blows, this seems like it is meant to replace a few harsh and frustrating but realistic deaths with unfair deaths that are somewhat more common, completely pointless and unavoidable.

Here's an alternative. Bring back negative hit points, get rid of bleeding out and stabilization, and let the dice fall where they may. It's simple, it's fair, and it works.

You die at Dying 4, not Dying 3. A crit just puts you at Dying 2.

As for a positive? Yes, the fact that crits don't outright kill your characters anymore. Negative HP didn't really help against those.

According to the summary here, fumbling the save hits you with 2 stacks of dying instead of one. So a crit sending you to 0 will have a 5% (or more) chance of killing you outright.

And I would much rather die from being hit by large amounts of damage than because of rolling a 1, or because the boss monster gets to change the rules for no good reason.


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It's not the boss monster specifically changing it, it's anything with high stats.
Also, this save fumble thing would be solved if we just used the PF1 method.


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My issue with tying Dying to CR is that it's unlikely everything in existence will have a CR.

"What is the level of that fall I just took?"
"Let me check.... Aha, that was a level 7 ledge."

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Makeitstop wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Makeitstop wrote:

More complicated. Less fun. Less fair. Totally immersion breaking and arbitrary.

I can't think of a single positive about all this.

I can survive getting pummeled with enough damage to drop me 10 times over, and make a single save to be back at 1 hp. Or I can get critted by a kobold for 2 points of damage that brings me to 0, roll a 1 on my save and die instantly. Given that massive overkill usually happens because of unfair encounters, while crits make up a disproportionate number of finishing blows, this seems like it is meant to replace a few harsh and frustrating but realistic deaths with unfair deaths that are somewhat more common, completely pointless and unavoidable.

Here's an alternative. Bring back negative hit points, get rid of bleeding out and stabilization, and let the dice fall where they may. It's simple, it's fair, and it works.

You die at Dying 4, not Dying 3. A crit just puts you at Dying 2.

As for a positive? Yes, the fact that crits don't outright kill your characters anymore. Negative HP didn't really help against those.

According to the summary here, fumbling the save hits you with 2 stacks of dying instead of one. So a crit sending you to 0 will have a 5% (or more) chance of killing you outright.

And I would much rather die from being hit by large amounts of damage than because of rolling a 1, or because the boss monster gets to change the rules for no good reason.

Ooooooo, I missed that about the fumble, interesting.

Uh, you're still technically dying from the attack that dropped you.

And it's fair bit to disingenuous to claim "the boss monster gets to change the rule for not good reason" when A) there is a rule, B) there is a reason, and C) we know neither of those at this time.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You know if you do want a “High Lethality” game you could rule that a PC is allowed a number of failed death saves equal to their Constitution score in their lifetime. If they exceed that amount, your numbers up your character is permadead.

Mike Mearles suggested that one for 5e recently and it definitely gives concrete stakes for combat.

Silver Crusade

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Milo v3 wrote:

My issue with tying Dying to CR is that it's unlikely everything in existence will have a CR.

"What is the level of that fall I just took?"
"Let me check.... Aha, that was a level 7 ledge."

If that's true what do all those numbers in the elevators mean then?


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Rysky wrote:
Uh, you're still technically dying from the attack that dropped you.

And I'm fine with dying, when it makes sense. But this whole system creates a really unnatural separation between the killing blow, and actually dying. Now it matters what enemy you were fighting and what his attack roll was and what you roll on your save, when before it all came down to how hard you got hit.

Quote:
And it's fair bit to disingenuous to claim "the boss monster gets to change the rule for not good reason" when A) there is a rule, B) there is a reason, and C) we know neither of those at this time.

There's nothing disingenuous about it. We know that the save against death has its DC set based on what creature you are fighting. And that should be irrelevant because what should matter is the damage you are dealt. That's why we have hit points and damage. How they come up with the scaling of the DC may be defensible, or it may add layers of silliness to this design decision, but it can't take away the base level of silliness that has already been revealed.


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Makeitstop wrote:

But this whole system creates a really unnatural separation between the killing blow, and actually dying.

Note: It also creates a really unnatural connection between the killing blow because now Kill Stealing is basically an important mechanic now, where you specifically want to try and get killed by the weakest enemy if your injured by a strong enemy so that you have better chance of beating the saves.

Silver Crusade

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Milo v3 wrote:
Makeitstop wrote:

But this whole system creates a really unnatural separation between the killing blow, and actually dying.

Note: It also creates a really unnatural connection between the killing blow because now Kill Stealing is basically an important mechanic now, where you specifically want to try and get killed by the weakest enemy if your injured by a strong enemy so that you have better chance of beating the saves.

Pro-Tip: Try not to get killed at all.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Pro-Tip: Try not to get killed at all.

Technically, that's what I just said.

One good way to try not getting killed is make sure the final blow is from a random mook. So, Pro-Tip: Try not to get killed at all = Pro-Tip: Try making sure you lose your last hit point to a nameless mook.

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Milo v3 wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Pro-Tip: Try not to get killed at all.

Technically, that's what I just said.

One good way to try not getting killed is make sure the final blow is from a random mook. So, Pro-Tip: Try not to get killed at all = Pro-Tip: Try making sure you lose your last hit point to a nameless mook.

Secret pro strat: Don’t lose that last hit point.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Incidentally, over in the math nerding thread, Dasrak was the first to run a Monte Carlo simulation to see how likely an 18 Con, 200 HP character was to survive in PF1 after being knocked out by a series of either 13d6, 16d6, or 18d6 attacks that continue until the PC is below 0. Think about what you think the chances of survival are for each amount of damage first (most likely to survive with the lower damage? most likely to die with the higher damage? what chances?) and then check it out!


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Milo v3 wrote:
Makeitstop wrote:

But this whole system creates a really unnatural separation between the killing blow, and actually dying.

Note: It also creates a really unnatural connection between the killing blow because now Kill Stealing is basically an important mechanic now, where you specifically want to try and get killed by the weakest enemy if your injured by a strong enemy so that you have better chance of beating the saves.

This is actually the best argument against the scaling death saves I've seen.


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The only bad thing about negative HP is that becomes easy to die in higher levels. A lvl 1 fighter with 1 HP and 14 CON can take a "1d4+1" attack and lives to the tell the tale. However, a lvl 20 fighter with 1 HP left and 14 CON that takes an appropriate damage for his level would probably die.

A good way to alliviate it is to increase the death-threshold with the level. Say, you die when you negative HP reachs CON+Level.

It solves the problm and is simple than the proposed system for PF2.

This "harder the hit, harder to heal" approach proposed is very bad because it creates a lot of edge cases. I prefer the PF1 way "the worse you are, harder to heal".

In addition, Crit Hits and Bosses shouldn't get more deadly they already are.

The starfinder take on this is really ugly , needless complex, and I didn't get it yet. So please, stay away from anything that looks like it.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Sounds like another issue is that it's harder for higher threat creatures to pull their punches and try to not kill someone. Sure they can use non-lethal attacks, but not knowing the rules around that or recovering from that I can still imagine situations where you want to take someone down so they can't be as easily healed, but not overwhelmingly kill them, but if you're a CR 12 creature, they're stuck with a tough recovery check to stabilize. Doesn't matter if you switch from your flaming greatsword of doom to your masterwork dagger.


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Bloodrealm wrote:
You want to play a d20 game where everything one-shots you? Umm... why? Even those of us who like negative HP don't want THAT.

No, I want to play a game where serious injuries actually effect the character. If someone gets filled full of arrows by goblins or gets hit with a minotaur's axe, that should be a very serious problem for weeks if not months afterward, not something they just shrug off in a few rounds. Sure, there are health potions and healing spells, but when someone is seriously injured they usually aren't thinking clearly enough to search through their backpack for a potion or wand. In real life, getting injured is BAD, and certain things will just KILL you. I want a mechanic that reflects that.


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MidsouthGuy wrote:
Bloodrealm wrote:
You want to play a d20 game where everything one-shots you? Umm... why? Even those of us who like negative HP don't want THAT.
No, I want to play a game where serious injuries actually effect the character. If someone gets filled full of arrows by goblins or gets hit with a minotaur's axe, that should be a very serious problem for weeks if not months afterward, not something they just shrug off in a few rounds. Sure, there are health potions and healing spells, but when someone is seriously injured they usually aren't thinking clearly enough to search through their backpack for a potion or wand. In real life, getting injured is BAD, and certain things will just KILL you. I want a mechanic that reflects that.

World of darkness had the would system. You get increaseing penalties as you took wounds and usually only had about 7 wounds. You tended to avoid combat in that one when you can because of how deadly it was.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

A little late to this party, as I'm just now catching up on some of the playtest threads. I'm in total agreement with the folks who think this is a very bad and overly complex idea. As one poster described, "It's a solution in search of a problem."

In general, I'd prefer a PF2e that made changes only when absolutely necessary and preserved as much of the game as possible, particularly those features of the game that go back a great while in D&D. The new dying mechanic, as it has been so far described, appears to profoundly violate this principal.

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It's not precisely on the topic of dying, but since "consequences for wounds" have come up: I'd really like to see Pathfinder Unchained wound thresholds (or a system that fulfills a similar role) made part of the core game (even if it's an optional rule in the vein of PF1's massive damage rule). Along with background skills, those became a default part of my Pathfinder games from the moment they were released.


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Milo v3 wrote:

My issue with tying Dying to CR is that it's unlikely everything in existence will have a CR.

"What is the level of that fall I just took?"
"Let me check.... Aha, that was a level 7 ledge."

They could give damage from environment either specific DC's or a general DC, but the problem that causes, is if you are facing a DC 10 death save from falling off the cliff you are fighting the boss on, or the boss dropping you and the save being DC 20, you will see players jumping off the cliff if the fight looks grim. Or other worse shenanigans.

In the tense and critical moment of the fight, nearly dead from the onslaught of the dragon (1 hp remaining) and locked off from using his healing potions from an earlier fumbled magic use check, Seppuku the samurai decided on his turn to pull a 0-level kitten from his bag and stab himself with its claw, dropping to 0 health and Dying 1 with a DC 5 stabilize check. The dragon turned its attention to the party wizard and executed her with its breath weapon, leaving her at Dying 1 with a DC 25 death save.

I also generally disagree with the perspective coming from people suggesting that essentially death should be less deadly. Neuter it too much and it no longer becomes something player's will ever worry about happening. I am sincerely hoping save or die spells don't get pussified like happened in D&D. Otherwise it will turn into 4E where the only approach to ending any fight was to whack on a big bag of hitpoints.

Liberty's Edge

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I'm not saying I like this system, but the narrow sliver of negative HP was hardly ideal and 5e chumbawumba healing* is terribly immersion breaking, so I support the design goal.

*I get knocked down, but I get up again


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This just seems...needlessly complicated.

- Save DC varying by who hit you will lead to instances where two players take the same damage but one has a harder time getting back up because "reasons"
- As mentioned, one wonders how this interacts with damage that doesn't come from an enemy.
- Needing to still make a save to wake up, even after being healed by someone else. It's already bad enough in PF if you get downed, healed, get up, and immediately get downed again. Now it'll be worse since you can get healed, not wake up, and then get "downed" yet again (because I assume hitting an unconcious opponent is either incredibly easy or automatic).
- Taking 2 stacks of Dying when fumbling is just....ew, no. You've ostensibly designed this system to prevent the sudden crit death of PF1, why would you put something that essentially brings it back in?

If you wish to simply make it harder for PCs to die, there's no reason to jump through so many hoops. Even just using the old PF style but making the negative threshold bigger is a better solution than this.


Yeah, even after a week to think about it and with mostly liking the majority of what they've revealed... this is still the only thing I've seen so far from the PF2 reveals that I actually outright HATE. I'm going to run a bunch of little tests when the survey related to this one comes out, just to frame how deep my scorn should go.

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Stack wrote:

I'm not saying I like this system, but the narrow sliver of negative HP was hardly ideal and 5e chumbawumba healing* is terribly immersion breaking, so I support the design goal.

*I get knocked down, but I get up again

I GMed a game this week for some new 1st level players. I would have really appreciated the PF2 system rather than trying to explain a stabilization check in the middle of combat. The Big Bad getting a crit on the low health raging bloodrager could have been bad. But the cleric in the party would have prevented death by fumble. They don’t have that chance in PF1.


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chumbawumba :)


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I’m wondering how many times crit failure on my part will end my characters. Guess I’ll find out in Playtest.

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BretI wrote:
I’m wondering how many times crit failure on my part will end my characters. Guess I’ll find out in Playtest.

Less often than a lucky crit drops you straight to dead, I imagine. I’m going to value Con and keep a reroll handy just in case.

Paizo Employee Designer

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KingOfAnything wrote:
Stack wrote:

I'm not saying I like this system, but the narrow sliver of negative HP was hardly ideal and 5e chumbawumba healing* is terribly immersion breaking, so I support the design goal.

*I get knocked down, but I get up again

I GMed a game this week for some new 1st level players. I would have really appreciated the PF2 system rather than trying to explain a stabilization check in the middle of combat. The Big Bad getting a crit on the low health raging bloodrager could have been bad. But the cleric in the party would have prevented death by fumble. They don’t have that chance in PF1.

This is true. In fact, assuming that nothing is attacking or damaging you after you already dropped and also assuming that someone in your party provides stabilize or some healing as part of their next turn, you actually can't die, even from the dreaded critical hit -> critical failure on Fortitude save. Now those caveats above don't always happen, so we have had characters die, but it's not super common.


I think I like the new system.

In PF1, often the default response to your friend being cut open is "He's only at -9 HP and probably won't die until he hits -14, so I have a few rounds to take care of these baddies. See you in like 24 seconds, good buddy."

The new system adds some tension - if they crit fail at Dying 2 they will really die, so you better do something to save them! It forces daring action.

At the same time, it gets rid of the insta-kill - if you help your buddy out, you can save them (unless multiple creatures are wailing on them.)

On the whole, "insta-death" and "ya'll be just fine" are being removed, and both replaced by "your life is at risk, someone better do something quick!" That creates more memorable stories.

For verisimilitude's sake I'd like to see some massive damage rules in there, but overall it sounds like it will generate a lot of memorable encounters.


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I don't have a problem with saves vs death and all that instead of negative HP and bleedout. I have a problem with the seemingly fiddly and arcane method in which it appears to be implemented, and I especially have a problem with how they are calculating the save DC. A level 7 opponent who does 5 damage rolling snake-eyes still results in a higher death save DC than a level 4 opponent maxing out a critical hit for dozens of damage, and that breaks my immersion so hard it's like a gnome clown on a unicycle rode up playing an accordion and slapped me with a fish.


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Fuzzypaws wrote:
I don't have a problem with saves vs death and all that instead of negative HP and bleedout. I have a problem with the seemingly fiddly and arcane method in which it appears to be implemented, and I especially have a problem with how they are calculating the save DC. A level 7 opponent who does 5 damage rolling snake-eyes still results in a higher death save DC than a level 4 opponent maxing out a critical hit for dozens of damage, and that breaks my immersion so hard it's like a gnome clown on a unicycle rode up playing an accordion and slapped me with a fish.

That's just how you flavor the hits. A 5 damage doesn't have to be "stepped on a rake"-level, you could describe it as a massive gory guts-spewing-everywhere blow. Whichever way you describe it, it brings you to Dying 1. Likewise, say, a Rogue 1 henchman manages to crit you with a deadly weapon and does 20 damage when you were already struggling - but his Death DC is low, so instead of describing it as a knife straight to your jugular, you can just say "he cuts you across the chest."

It does require a paradigm shift from "describe killing blow commensurate with damage dealt" to "describe killing blow commensurate with Death DC", but once you make that shift that solves your verisimilitude problem.


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RumpinRufus wrote:

That's just how you flavor the hits. A 5 damage doesn't have to be "stepped on a rake"-level, you could describe it as a massive gory guts-spewing-everywhere blow. Whichever way you describe it, it brings you to Dying 1. Likewise, say, a Rogue 1 henchman manages to crit you with a deadly weapon and does 20 damage when you were already struggling - but his Death DC is low, so instead of describing it as a knife straight to your jugular, you can just say "he cuts you across the chest."

It does require a paradigm shift from "describe killing blow commensurate with damage dealt" to "describe killing blow commensurate with Death DC", but once you make that shift that solves your verisimilitude problem.

Regardless of the edge cases, I think the general audience is going to have a hard time doing that, especially considering that the whole paradigm actually has to shift. Everywhere else in the game, damage is a measure of how serious a blow is, even with falling, and yet for death, in the case where how serious a blow is arguably at its most important, it breaks this trend. I find that very sloppy with regards to design and very dissatisfying


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Fargoth's Hiding Place wrote:


Regardless of the edge cases, I think the general audience is going to have a hard time doing that, especially considering that the whole paradigm actually has to shift. Everywhere else in the game, damage is a measure of how serious a blow is, even with falling, and yet for death, in the case where how serious a blow is arguably at its most important, it breaks this trend. I find that very sloppy with regards to design and very dissatisfying

I agree this feels disconnected and will take some getting used to. That said, I agree with the design goals, which I understand from Mark's answers are, well, to make death a less common event in general, and death from stupid-unlucky rolls in particular. I think this is part of what needs to be done to make the game more playable at higher levels. This solution might not be the most elegant, but as Mark explained, anything based on damage taken (negative hp, or death DC proportional to damage) will break at high levels.


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KingOfAnything wrote:
BretI wrote:
I’m wondering how many times crit failure on my part will end my characters. Guess I’ll find out in Playtest.
Less often than a lucky crit drops you straight to dead, I imagine. I’m going to value Con and keep a reroll handy just in case.

A lucky crit is an action done against me that I have no part in. My crit failing is a roll I make and means I have less time than people expect.

That plus dice hate me.

Shadow Lodge

Hmm, just like 5e/13th Age/etc only a little more complicated.

I just had this vision...

Aiding another character grants them Certainty 1 where they are allowed to roll another dice in order to achieve their result. Multiple aiding character can increase this to Certainty 2, Certainty 3 and so on. In some games, the GM may impose penalties, and for each penalty it decreases your certainty level by 1, possibly becoming Uncertainty 1, Uncertainty 2 and so on.

Some additional rules apply at certain levels of Certainty/Uncertainty.

Certainty 2 while you can roll 2 dice, you do not quality for a critical success unless both dice roll critical success.

Certainty 3 while you are rolling 3 dice, any roll of a critical success counts as a critical success.

BTW, the above is a joke. It's just a quick glimpse of the future that flashed through my brain based on how I keep reading the rule previews, "like 5e just a bit more complicated".

Silver Crusade

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Hmm, I'd be interested to see if there's ability or feat, or if the option is already baked in, for if you critically succeed on your stabilize roll to not only stabilize but regain consciousness with a certain amount of HP restore, aka heroic Second Wind.

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Making fortune and misfortune tagged words would make many abilities that allow/make you to roll twice and take the better/worse result take up less wordcount. Those abilities are very much tied to luck in Pathfinder, though. Not nearly as available as advantage/disadvantage.


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Taken in a vacuum, the new rules do seem needlessly complicated for no real gain, but depending on how other rules work it's possible they'll work better than they currently appear

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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Hey there all,

So, we have gone round and round on these rules throughout the design phase. At one point in time we had three competing systems, all trying to reach for the same goals.

1. Make falling unconscious a point of focus in the narrative of the combat. When someone goes down, everyone should stop and take notice. If the other players just shrug and stop worrying about you because you have 8 rounds to live, that is not great for game play.

2. Add an element of randomness to the dying process. It should not be something that is easily predictable (as this violates point 1).

3. Make the condition of the character obvious to the player, so that they know how much peril they are in, even if they cannot predict how that will turn out.

4. Prevent character's from "yo-yo-ing" between conscious and unconscious by giving a system that allows them to possibly return with a handful of hit points.

Taking these into account, we ended up with the system that is currently in the game. Once you get a chance to use it, I think you will find that it is really no more complicated that being poisoned or afflicted with almost any other condition in the game.

That said, all of this will be in the playtest, and subject to your feedback and review.

Hope that helps


Thanks for the design insight, Jason!

Could you confirm how a character returns to consciousness, in the absence of magical healing? My current understanding is: If you hit 0 HP and gain Dying 1 but then make your save, you go to 1 HP, and then if you save again at 1 HP you regain consciousness.

If that's all correct, in the first minute after being downed, virtually every character will either die or return to consciousness. (Which is starkly different than PF1, where a low-level character could easily be unconscious for days if they get KOed and not healed.)

But I'm not sure if that's actually how return to consciousness works?


I am a little concerned about the short clock. I get the narrative point, but I cant help but picture a cleric running over, healing the downed PC, and then both of them getting dropped the following round. Maybe the extra action allows the cleric to put mace to face after saving his ace?


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Hey there all,

So, we have gone round and round on these rules throughout the design phase. At one point in time we had three competing systems, all trying to reach for the same goals.

1. Make falling unconscious a point of focus in the narrative of the combat. When someone goes down, everyone should stop and take notice. If the other players just shrug and stop worrying about you because you have 8 rounds to live, that is not great for game play.

2. Add an element of randomness to the dying process. It should not be something that is easily predictable (as this violates point 1).

3. Make the condition of the character obvious to the player, so that they know how much peril they are in, even if they cannot predict how that will turn out.

4. Prevent character's from "yo-yo-ing" between conscious and unconscious by giving a system that allows them to possibly return with a handful of hit points.

Taking these into account, we ended up with the system that is currently in the game. Once you get a chance to use it, I think you will find that it is really no more complicated that being poisoned or afflicted with almost any other condition in the game.

That said, all of this will be in the playtest, and subject to your feedback and review.

Hope that helps

Wait, this just confuses me even more. Didn't the PF1 system do all of this fine?

1 - Somebody falling unconcious was always important, and you never knew how many rounds you had to reach them. Sure, it's -1 HP per failed stabilisation, but they could get hit in the middle, or be suffering from bleed, or a host of other things that made "Oh they have 8 rounds to live, better leave them there." something that wasn't common.

2 - I thought the point of this system was to remove randomness, yes? To prevent the "One Crit you're dead from near full" kinda situations? Not to mention, as written, isn't this is far more predictable than PF1 was? If you got downed by a normal hit, you've got between 2 (One Crit Failure, one Failure) and 3 checks (3 Failures). If you got downed by a cirt, between 0 (One Crit) and 2 (2 Failures) checks.

3 - I never really ran into the problem of someone not being aware of their condition. They knew being at -2 was better than being at -8; much like how people know being Dying 1 is better than 2. The only thing this system does is make it so that you're sure you won't die in one hit when you've got positives. (Although Mark mentioned this might not be the case, which just raises more questions).

4 - Aside from the fact that getting healed no longer makes you concious, I don't see how this would prevent yo-yoing? Guy goes down, someone casts Stabilize, guy passes save. Gets up, gets downed. Rinse and repeat. At least in PF1 being at low hit points was a bad place to be in because you were closer to death. If you're Dying stacks are removed once you regain conciousness won't that lead to more yo-yoing, not less? Like how it happens in 5th Edition currently.

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Planpanther wrote:
I am a little concerned about the short clock. I get the narrative point, but I cant help but picture a cleric running over, healing the downed PC, and then both of them getting dropped the following round. Maybe the extra action allows the cleric to put mace to face after saving his ace?

Ranged heals! Stay far away from scary monsters and you can bait the bad guys away from your recovering ally.


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If removing the negative hp countdown clock is the goal, can't this be accomplished with the critical fail rule already mentioned? Go negative in hit points, roll to stabilize:

Critical Success: Stop bleeding, stabilize, regain consciousness
Success: stop bleeding and stabilize at your current -hp count
Failure: lose another hp and check again next round
Critical Failure: lose TWO hp and check again next round

Now you still have a simple, familiar system with an unpredictable timer. Doesn't this also meet the stated design goals?


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TheFinish wrote:
2 - I thought the point of this system was to remove randomness, yes? To prevent the "One Crit you're dead from near full" kinda situations? Not to mention, as written, isn't this is far more predictable than PF1 was? If you got downed by a normal hit, you've got between 2 (One Crit Failure, one Failure) and 3 checks (3 Failures). If you got downed by a crit, between 0 (One Crit) and 2 (2 Failures) checks.

One crit dead has no randomness in dying. You are straight dead and don't roll any more dice.

It is predictable, but fast. When two bad rolls can kill you, you want help as soon as possible. A dying ally should be a tense moment.

Shadow Lodge

It could be a design goal is to also lower the switch cost from 5e to 13th Age or other d20 based games to PF2e.

All these games unify on the core concepts:
* No negatives, drop to 0 and unconscious/dying.
* Instant death at damage sustained past 0 equal to full HP (or half HP in 13th Age)

Then there's little differences like how many successes are needed or failures are needed to become active again or die.

5e:
* Collect 3 success or 3 failed death saves to return to active/die
* Natural 20 = count as 2 success, Natural 1 = count as 2 failed

PF2e Playtest:
* Collect 2 success to become active or 3 failed death saves to die
* After 1 success, no more risk of death (ignore fails)
* Becoming stable after 2 success means 2hp (since each fail is +1hp)
* Healing doesn't bring conscious, still need 1 success to act again

--

13th Age:
* Natural 20 = Back in action with some RP
* Roll 16+ use recovery and back in action with some RP
* Roll under 15, collect 4 of these fails and die

--

Comparing 5e vs PF2e...

It's close enough at this point, I'd just run 5e rules here since they're a bit smoother and the PF2e complexities don't seem like material improvements:

1) Remembering 2 success vs 3 fail in PF2e is extra mental hard drive space vs 5e's "collect three" is a simpler rule to memorize.
2) The +1hp and coming back at 2hp is a bit weird. 0hp, 2hp both are brittle enough at most levels of play it's just extra effort erasing your HP or tapping your tablet to revise your HP number for no real benefit.
3) Healing doesn't bring you active again but still need a successful save. I think I'd rather bring a player back to participating sooner without this extra hurdle?


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TheFinish wrote:

Wait, this just confuses me even more. Didn't the PF1 system do all of this fine?

1 - Somebody falling unconcious was always important, and you never knew how many rounds you had to reach them. Sure, it's -1 HP per failed stabilisation, but they could get hit in the middle, or be suffering from bleed, or a host of other things that made "Oh they have 8 rounds to live, better leave them there." something that wasn't common.

We must play in vastly different circles, because I feel like this has been a serious issue in every group I've ever played with. The metagame instinct takes over: "he's at -8, he's fine, let's kill the enemies and then we'll deal with healing later. We'd actually be risking his life by healing him, because if he regains consciousness with 2 HP then one hit will put him to insta-death!"

So yeah, I've seen "they have 8 rounds to live, better leave them there" more times then I can count (and I won't claim I'm innocent of this little bit of metagaming either, but that doesn't mean I don't hate it.) But it's hard to not metagame it when healing someone causes them to be at greater risk of character death, like is often the case in PF1. As much as I would prefer to never metagame, making a decision that risks the death of someone else's character is even more of an anathema.

TheFinish wrote:
2 - I thought the point of this system was to remove randomness, yes? To prevent the "One Crit you're dead from near full" kinda situations? Not to mention, as written, isn't this is far more predictable than PF1 was? If you got downed by a normal hit, you've got between 2 (One Crit Failure, one Failure) and 3 checks (3 Failures). If you got downed by a cirt, between 0 (One Crit) and 2 (2 Failures) checks.

PF1 has three "regimes": (1) Insta-death. Straight to dead, no coming back. (2) Near-death. You are within 2 HP of permanently dying. This is the only situation with any true tension, and also by far the least likely regime to end up in, because the width of this band is 2 HP. (3) Dying-but-really-fine. If you have 4+ rounds before you die, it's all-but-guaranteed the fight will be over before you die.

PF2 removes (1) and (3). Virtually all PC deaths in PF1 were due to insta-death, and those are now gone - but that possibility of death is "spread out" to the other cases, so a situation where you would be "dying-but-really-fine" in PF1 becomes a true life-or-death situation.

Importantly, the other PCs always get one round to save their fallen ally - this reduces the randomness. But by eliminating the case where you are "dying" without truly at risk of death, they add tension to cases where previously there was no tension.

TheFinish wrote:
4 - Aside from the fact that getting healed no longer makes you concious, I don't see how this would prevent yo-yoing? Guy goes down, someone casts Stabilize, guy passes save. Gets up, gets downed. Rinse and repeat. At least in PF1 being at low hit points was a bad place to be in because you were closer to death. If you're Dying stacks are removed once you regain conciousness won't that lead to more yo-yoing, not less? Like how it happens in 5th Edition currently.

I re-listened to the GTM game - when you return to consciousness, you still have the Dying condition at its same level. So, if you come up at Dying 3 and 1 HP, you still have Dying 3, then each round your Dying condition is reduced by 1. But if you take a hit at Dying 3, you go to Dying 4 and you are permadead.

So, say you get KOed and gain Dying 1. Your buddy casts Stabilize to bring you to 1 HP, and on your turn you pass your Fort save and you regain consciousness. If you get right back into the fight, the enemy could crit you and put you immediately at Dying 3. Then if you get stabilized again and come back up, you are still at Dying 3 - one more hit and you're dead. There is still a little bit of "Chumbawamba" (I get knocked down, but I get up again) but it gets to the point that you are really gambling with your life by doing that.

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