Dying rules dropped in GTM Live game


Prerelease Discussion

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KingOfAnything wrote:
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.

The thing is though, the first thing might still happen, after all, Mark said:

Mark Seifter wrote:
Mudfoot wrote:

* It's essentially impossible to kill someone in one blow, even for a 20th level barbarian using a +5 adamantine greataxe on a crippled kobold grandmother.

* It doesn't matter if the blow takes you to -1 or -100; you're still Dying 1. It's simply that on -100 you'll take forever to wake up.
Neither of these is quite true in the full rules, rather than the snippet from the podcast. If you get well and truly annihilated by an attack, you die instantly. Even a 1st PC could probably insta-kill a kobold grandmother, even if the GM chose for full tracking of unconscious and dying NPCs.

In PF1E, except at low levels or with very frail PCs, the kind of Crit that can take you from full to dead in one would qualify as being "well and truly annihilated", so you're in the same spot.

PF1E's ticking clock mechanic worked fine. I don't see how making that more random adds anything to the game.

@RumpinRufus:

As I've said above, the "instant-death" part might still be in play anyway, per Mark's comment.

Furthermore, with your new info on an ally keeping their Dying stacks, isn't it just as flippin' bad as PF1E then?

"I won't heal him back because he'll be at 3 HP and in risk of dying!"

vs

"I won't heal him back because he'll be at Dying 3 and in risk of dying!"

It's the same as PF1E only a bit more lenient. Which leads to more yo-yoing than PF1E ever had, which is.....the opposite of their stated design goal?

Hence my confusion.

Also, healing someone in PF1E only puts them at greater risk of death if you assume someone at negatives is somehow untargetable, which is not really true. Someone at 2 HP is more likely to survive an attack than someone at -5 HP, and cannot in most instances be CDG'd. And I know this depends a lot on GM, but that's how it is.


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Having a chance to pop back up has a certain dramatic flair I like. I'm reminded of the end of The Matrix.

spoilers for The Matrix:
Tank is shot with the lightning gun by Cypher and while Cypher is dramatically egging Neo on with pulling the plug on Trinity, Tank comes back and uses that same lightning gun to blast Cypher in the back.

And the unpredictable nature of "This character can die very quickly if we don't do anything" is really nice for dramatic flair. With the addition of Hero Points, I can see some ways to use that to mitigate the chance, but in a knock-out, throw-down battle, you might have used this resource up. I'm curious to see how this pans out.


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It is now mandatory to listen to Tub Thumping while reading this thread.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

You don’t have to succeed at your Fort check if you don’t want to gain consciousness. In PF1, you wake up at 1 hp.


TheFinish wrote:


@RumpinRufus:

As I've said above, the "instant-death" part might still be in play anyway, per Mark's comment.

Furthermore, with your new info on an ally keeping their Dying stacks, isn't it just as flippin' bad as PF1E then?

"I won't heal him back because he'll be at 3 HP and in risk of dying!"

vs

"I won't heal him back because he'll be at Dying 3 and in risk of dying!"

It's the same as PF1E only a bit more lenient. Which leads to more yo-yoing than PF1E ever had, which is.....the opposite of their stated design goal?

Hence my confusion.

Also, healing someone in PF1E only puts them at greater risk of death if you assume someone at negatives is somehow untargetable, which is not really true. Someone at 2 HP is more likely to survive an attack than someone at -5 HP, and cannot in most instances be CDG'd. And I know this depends a lot on GM, but that's how it is.

If they are at Dying 3 in PF2, you sure as heck better heal them, because otherwise they are dead-dead if they fail one more save! In PF2, you basically always want to heal a downed ally. Which makes sense! And it leads to dramatic and memorable combats. It doesn't have the PF1 weirdness of "he's safer bleeding out, healing would risk his life."

As far as yo-yoing, I think the comparison there is vs 5E, not vs PF1. 5E apparently has a very serious Chumbawamba issue, so they wanted to make sure they're not introducing that same type of issue. It does sound like PF2 might be slightly more Chumbawamba than PF1, but still far less so than 5E.

You are right about CDG, but in general, it makes sense for enemies to only target active threats. It's an exceptional case when an enemy is willing to risk their own life to purposely kill an unconscious PC instead of trying to neutralize active threats. Plus, the GM can always just decide they don't want to do it.

Now, how the AoE situation is going to play out is still going to be interesting. Are AoEs going to become the new PC killers, since that's the most likely way a Dying character would continue to take damage? That'll be interesting to see.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Mark, is there Non-Lethal damage mechanic or is it like Starfinder where it is the last hit that matters for Non Lethal?


thaX wrote:
Mark, is there Non-Lethal damage mechanic or is it like Starfinder where it is the last hit that matters for Non Lethal?

GCP playtest confirmed PF2 is currently using SF-style nonlethal, where only the last hit matters.

However, survey says 60% of voters prefer PF1-style nonlethal to SF-style nonlethal, so hopefully SF-style nonlethal will be dropped in the playtest. Hopefully we can get a hybrid system that reduces bookkeeping without f'ing over nonlethal builds - something like "As long as a creature has taken any nonlethal damage, when they are reduced to 0 the creature who knocked them out may choose to leave them Unconscious instead of Dying."


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KingOfAnything wrote:
You don’t have to succeed at your Fort check if you don’t want to gain consciousness. In PF1, you wake up at 1 hp.

Aside from the fact that this is incredibly metagaming and weird, it's also not good for the character. Being unconcious means you're defenseless. A lot of the talk here stems from people thinking Unconcious=Untargetable. Which is not even close to true.

Just as it's not true that someone at 3 HP is suddenly fine to target because "positives".

Also not sure if you can still willingly fail saves. Wouldn't that go against the intent that there's a Fumble chance now? Like, imagine a guy downed by a crit (Dying 2). If his chances of fumbling are high, wouldn't he just choose to fail so he's guaranteed an extra round? Which sort of goes against the intent of adding randomness to the Downed state?

RumpinRufus wrote:
TheFinish wrote:


@RumpinRufus:

As I've said above, the "instant-death" part might still be in play anyway, per Mark's comment.

Furthermore, with your new info on an ally keeping their Dying stacks, isn't it just as flippin' bad as PF1E then?

"I won't heal him back because he'll be at 3 HP and in risk of dying!"

vs

"I won't heal him back because he'll be at Dying 3 and in risk of dying!"

It's the same as PF1E only a bit more lenient. Which leads to more yo-yoing than PF1E ever had, which is.....the opposite of their stated design goal?

Hence my confusion.

Also, healing someone in PF1E only puts them at greater risk of death if you assume someone at negatives is somehow untargetable, which is not really true. Someone at 2 HP is more likely to survive an attack than someone at -5 HP, and cannot in most instances be CDG'd. And I know this depends a lot on GM, but that's how it is.

If they are at Dying 3 in PF2, you sure as heck better heal them, because otherwise they are dead-dead if they fail one more save! In PF2, you basically always want to heal a downed ally. Which makes sense! And it leads to dramatic and memorable combats. It doesn't have the PF1 weirdness of "he's safer bleeding out, healing would risk his life."

As far as yo-yoing, I think the comparison there is vs 5E, not vs PF1. 5E apparently has a very serious Chumbawamba issue, so they wanted to make sure they're not introducing that same type of issue. It does sound like PF2 might be slightly more Chumbawamba than PF1, but still far less so than 5E.

You are right about CDG, but in general, it makes sense for enemies to only target active threats. It's an exceptional case when an enemy is willing to risk their own life to purposely kill an unconscious PC instead of trying to neutralize active threats. Plus, the GM can always just decide they don't want to do it.

Now, how the AoE situation is going to play out is still going to be interesting. Are AoEs going to become the new PC...

Your ally is never safer bleeding out in PF1, what kind of games are you people even playing? They're much easier to hit, have way less health, and can be CDG'd.

Just because your GM likes to play by ignoring your downed players doesn't mean what I wrote above isn't factually true. And remember, you don't need to CDG to kill someone. If they're at negatives, there's a good chance a normal attack will kill them just fine. It doesn't even need to be the monster that downed them, PCs are generally outnumbered, do you really think a weaker enemy won't go for the dude dying rather than face the other guys?

And if someone is at Dying 3 and you revive them, they're actually in way more danger than a PF1 person.

Imagine I have a fighter with 16 CON, he was downed, he comes back at 5 HP.

I have a PF2E guy with the same Con at Dying 3, he comes back at 5 HP.

The PF2E guy dies from any attack that does 5+ Damage. The PF1E guy only dies if someone manages to deal 21 damage.

This is why I think the system is rather confusing from a design standpoint:

- You wanted prevent yo-yoing, but implemented a system that lends itself precisely to that (even if less than 5th Edition, but not by much given how 5th actually works) much more than 1E ever did.
- You wanted to put randomness in the system so that there's tension. This is fine, but it means people will go heal downed PCs, making it all that more likely they'll get back up.
- But getting back up is even more lethal than it was in PF1, so you enter a vicious cycle of damned if you do (heal the guy, he gets downed, rinse, repeat until Dying 4) damned if you don't (don't heal the severly wounded guy, he fails a save, he dies.)

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
RumpinRufus wrote:
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.)

There's an easy way around that, and one that I encourage at the table - don't allow the number of HP (positive or negative) that a character has to be made public. Comments like "I could do with some healing soon!" are fine, or even "I won't survive another blow like that!". But when a character falls over you don't know whether he's only just below zero, at serious risk of dying, or dead. A heal check will reveal that information, but it's not freely available.

For my own characters I continue to roll stabilize checks (without telling anyone the DC) even if I've passed. I've never yet had to continue rolling after the character has died (although I've had a character come within one round of death before somebody had the time to heal/stabilize him), but should the situation arise I would do that, too.

Sovereign Court

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TheFinish wrote:
Your ally is never safer bleeding out in PF1, what kind of games are you people even playing? They're much easier to hit, have way less health, and can be CDG'd.

Those enemies are usually preoccupied with the guy with the sword standing next to them. If the party isn't bothering to heal them, why bother finishing them off?


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KingOfAnything wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
Your ally is never safer bleeding out in PF1, what kind of games are you people even playing? They're much easier to hit, have way less health, and can be CDG'd.
Those enemies are usually preoccupied with the guy with the sword standing next to them. If the party isn't bothering to heal them, why bother finishing them off?

1) Spite? "I am outnumbered and outgunned, but I will take one of you with me I swear on [God]" - Cue an attack on bleeding out character.

2) The enemy has no sense of self preservation? Like a construct/mindless undead/summoned creature. The first two just don't care and probably work on the assumption of killing people one by one. Especially if they're guardian creatures. Summoned creatures just don't care since they can't die, so why not cause distress and weaken the party by killing a guy (assuming they're smart enough for this)

3) There isn't a guy with a sword standing next to them? Again, PCs are usually outnumbered. If the Boss is duking it out, maybe an underling goes and finishes off a PC in the hope he will be rewarded by the boss if they win.

And those are just 3 off the top of my head.


TheFinish wrote:

Your ally is never safer bleeding out in PF1, what kind of games are you people even playing? They're much easier to hit, have way less health, and can be CDG'd.

Just because your GM likes to play by ignoring your downed players doesn't mean what I wrote above isn't factually true. And remember, you don't need to CDG to kill someone. If they're at negatives, there's a good chance a normal attack will kill them just fine. It doesn't even need to be the monster that downed them, PCs are generally outnumbered, do you really think a weaker enemy won't go for the dude dying rather than face the other guys?

My GMs have almost always had enemies target conscious PCs before unconscious ones. Maybe it's a playstyle difference? (I guess your user name might have tipped me off on that!) Troy from the Glass Cannon Podcast goes even further, he deliberately will not target an unconscious PC, even if it means a creature ends their full-attack early. I don't know if I'd go that far personally in holding back iteratives, but 98% of enemies probably have enough self-preservation instinct to target the people actively trying to kill them rather than spending attacks killing unconscious PCs.

So, unless the GM is deliberately running the enemies to "kill, not win," there are certainly cases in PF1 when you are safer bleeding out than conscious. If you are at -2 and bleeding out, you are at practically 0% risk of death. If you get healed to 2 HP, you're one crit from insta-death.

TheFinish wrote:

And if someone is at Dying 3 and you revive them, they're actually in way more danger than a PF1 person.

Imagine I have a fighter with 16 CON, he was downed, he comes back at 5 HP.

I have a PF2E guy with the same Con at Dying 3, he comes back at 5 HP.

The PF2E guy dies from any attack that does 5+ Damage. The PF1E guy only dies if someone manages to deal 21 damage.

Dying 3 is already an extreme case! A character at Dying 3 should be at serious risk of death - if they're at Dying 3, that means (A) they took a crit, no one healed them on the next round, and they failed a death save, or (B) they've failed multiple death saves, or (C) they've already been knocked down, brought up, and knocked down again, or (D) they've taken hits while they're down, etc... These should be high-stakes situations!

If we take the much more common case that your fighter is at Dying 1, then being revived leaves him at Dying 1, so it's very unlikely that he'll die that round. Whereas the PF1 fighter that is 21 HP from insta-death is still one crit (or just good damage roll on a non-crit) from dying.


RumpinRufus wrote:
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!"

I've played in games where, more likely than not, an enemy will finish off an unconscious PC, for whatever reason. And it's forbidden to know exactly how many HP another player's character has, so there's always tension over whether they are a round away from death, or basically fine, or dead already.

Tables vary.

Paizo Employee Director of Game Design

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I want to point out one subtle point here that really changes the dynamic. In PF1 if you were at death's door, (16 Con fighter at -15) and you got healed to 5 hp by a spell, you would indeed get right back up and be in danger of going down again with almost any hit.

In PF2 that same healing effect would put you up to 20 (because we don't do negatives). Once you made the save to get up, you would stand a much better chance of staying up for at least a hit or two, giving you the time needed to get some more healing if needed. We want you to feel the pressure of being so close to death that it alters your actions and the actions of the other characters around you. When an ally is critically hurt, we want the narrative to respond.


RumpinRufus wrote:
TheFinish wrote:

Your ally is never safer bleeding out in PF1, what kind of games are you people even playing? They're much easier to hit, have way less health, and can be CDG'd.

Just because your GM likes to play by ignoring your downed players doesn't mean what I wrote above isn't factually true. And remember, you don't need to CDG to kill someone. If they're at negatives, there's a good chance a normal attack will kill them just fine. It doesn't even need to be the monster that downed them, PCs are generally outnumbered, do you really think a weaker enemy won't go for the dude dying rather than face the other guys?

My GMs have almost always had enemies target conscious PCs before unconscious ones. Maybe it's a playstyle difference? (I guess your user name might have tipped me off on that!) Troy from the Glass Cannon Podcast goes even further, he deliberately will not target an unconscious PC, even if it means a creature ends their full-attack early. I don't know if I'd go that far personally in holding back iteratives, but 98% of enemies probably have enough self-preservation instinct to target the people actively trying to kill them rather than spending attacks killing unconscious PCs.

So, unless the GM is deliberately running the enemies to "kill, not win," there are certainly cases in PF1 when you are safer bleeding out than conscious. If you are at -2 and bleeding out, you are at practically 0% risk of death. If you get healed to 2 HP, you're one crit from insta-death.

TheFinish wrote:

And if someone is at Dying 3 and you revive them, they're actually in way more danger than a PF1 person.

Imagine I have a fighter with 16 CON, he was downed, he comes back at 5 HP.

I have a PF2E guy with the same Con at Dying 3, he comes back at 5 HP.

The PF2E guy dies from any attack that does 5+ Damage. The PF1E guy only dies if someone manages to deal 21 damage.

Dying 3 is already an extreme case! A character at Dying 3 should be at serious risk of...

Here's the thing, I'm not arguing playstyles, I'm arguing mechanics.

For the record, I don't target characters that are downed or at low HP. Granted, I generally play with the optional rules of wound states so that a guy at lower HP is less of a threat than one at higher HP, therefore giving enemies more reason to attack other people. In that case, sure, being stable at -3 is better than fighting at 4. (My forum handle comes from a time when I was not as good in my dominion of english as I am now, so I actually wanted to be The_End and borked it up. I've kept it due to nostalgia.)

But from a mechanics standpoint, there is absolutely no point where a person at -2 HP is safer than one at 2 HP. Even in the worst case scenario, IE: one good hit kills both, the guy at -2 is defenseless compared to the guy at 2, who still gets all his AC and abilities and whatnot. From the game's point of view, it is always better to have more HP than less.

What I'm going at is that with the rules we've been presented, PF2E is in a weird spot because:

- You've created a system where the uncertainty of saving throws makes it so that PCs want to heal downed people ASAP. This is good! It adds tension, it forces decisions! But:
- It's easy to bring a guy back into the fight, assuming I didn't misread (once you're at positives from healing, a succesful saving throw makes them concious, right?)
- The hero returns to combat with some HP (1, if all you did was cast Stabilise). That means any good hit sends him back to Dying, with one more stack! We better heal him, or he will die!
- Rinse and repeat, until the warrior either dies or remains unconcious long enough for the fight to end.

It's a vicious cycle because you have the same situation as in PF1 (a guy that comes back from Downed is easier to bring down again), but also designed your system in such a way that people waking up and rejoining the fight is up to chance, rather than choice (or, if you can willfully fail the save to regain conciousness, it's up to the player)

In PF1E, if I cast Stabilize on a friend, they're Unconcious, Stable. They won't become concious unless somebody else helps them, which means it's out of their hands. They can remain a non-threat for as long as they want.

In PF2E, if I cast stabilise, my friend is at 1 HP and passing his save will make him concious. If they can willfully fail the save to remain unconcious, then you have the same situation as PF1 (although with the weird situation of a warrior wanting to be unconcious during a fight, but oh well.) However, if they can't wilfully fail, then there's a chance they re-enter the fight without wanting to, and get slapped back down, starting the cycle again.

And the more Dying stacks you have, the more pressed your compatriots are to heal you in order to avoid the chance of you failing your check and dying, but also then the higher chance of you getting back into the fight in no state to do so.

@Jason: I understand that, but having played 5th Edition, it is incredibly common for people to just bring someone back with 1 HP since Stabilise is a cantrip. Granted, their "Dying" stacks go away, but still, that's the issue I see happening.

Sovereign Court

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TheFinish wrote:
But from a mechanics standpoint, there is absolutely no point where a person at -2 HP is safer than one at 2 HP. Even in the worst case scenario, IE: one good hit kills both, the guy at -2 is defenseless compared to the guy at 2, who still gets all his AC and abilities and whatnot. From the game's point of view, it is always better to have more HP than less.

If there is no threat to deal with, then -2 and +2 are equally safe.

Unfortunately, PCs have to contend with enemies, and so what those enemies do or do not do is rather important to the conversation.


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RumpinRufus wrote:
My GMs have almost always had enemies target conscious PCs before unconscious ones. Maybe it's a playstyle difference? (I guess your user name might have tipped me off on that!) Troy from the Glass Cannon Podcast goes even further, he deliberately will not target an unconscious PC, even if it means a creature ends their full-attack early. I don't know if I'd go that far personally in holding back iteratives, but 98% of enemies probably have enough self-preservation instinct to target the people actively trying to kill them rather than spending attacks killing unconscious PCs.

Same here, as I've never seen a DM target unconscious characters in a home game. PFS is the only place this happens, as enemy Clerics using area effects like negative energy channeling frequently kill downed players as collateral damage, which never goes down well.

Every system for death and dying rules seems to come with its own issues, so I'll wait and see the feedback from the playtest.

Grand Lodge

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The only time I've targeted downed PCs is when the enemy is unable to hit active PCs (due to high defenses, not from lack of availability) and has low bonus iterative attacks to waste, along with putting the downed PC at risk to the point that it influences the party's actions. If the monster is smart enough and can force someone to play medic, then he'll savage the at risk PC. Otherwise, focus on the active threats.

(Happened this past weekend, ice devil gibbed the support bard, who got hit with a reach Breath of Life to bring him back from the edge. Faced with a tanking tiger companion, he slapped the unconscious bard back to death to try and get the cleric to waste more resources healing.)


KingOfAnything wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
Your ally is never safer bleeding out in PF1, what kind of games are you people even playing? They're much easier to hit, have way less health, and can be CDG'd.
Those enemies are usually preoccupied with the guy with the sword standing next to them. If the party isn't bothering to heal them, why bother finishing them off?

Right. In the majority of cases the enemies are desperately fighting for their lives, and can't spare a round to finish off someone who is no longer threatening them; or they're mindless automatons with instructions to destroy, and a downed character counts as already destroyed in that logic.

The only exceptions are when the enemy is motivated by extreme personal hatred, such that they're willing to risk their lives to make really sure they kill the PC; or, when they're driven by uncontrollable hunger; or if they've got nothing better to do or some reason.

That's not to say leaving someone to bleed for several rounds is healthy. They could die from area of effect spells or other hazards. But most of the time, at -5 or higher, healing can wait for another round. The motivation to justify healing is usually more tactical, ie you want your pal up so he can help some more with the fight, especially if he's a spellcaster.


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Fargoth's Hiding Place wrote:
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

You're right . . . Paizo should not expect their fan base to have the imaginative capacity to adjust to this. It's simply asking too much for a creatively-driven fantasy RPG! ;)

I've actually noted that this is something that 3.x did in general. People seem to lack the ability to creatively interpret things in their own brain anymore. We often joke around about this in our group when the GM says, "I don't have a map for this section, folks, so you'll have to picture it in your heads."

The joke seems to be, "What?! You want us to use our imagination? Are you insane, man? We stopped having to do that when we gave up 2e!"

That said, I think you'll all do just fine with the paradigm shift. Don't sell yourselves short . . . You'll be amazed at the things your brains can do! =)

Grand Lodge

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Sub-Creator wrote:
The joke seems to be, "What?! You want us to use our imagination? Are you insane, man? We stopped having to do that when we gave up 2e!"

Our local variation was "You're really ruining my immersion with this."


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

I want to point out one subtle point here that really changes the dynamic. In PF1 if you were at death's door, (16 Con fighter at -15) and you got healed to 5 hp by a spell, you would indeed get right back up and be in danger of going down again with almost any hit.

In PF2 that same healing effect would put you up to 20 (because we don't do negatives). Once you made the save to get up, you would stand a much better chance of staying up for at least a hit or two, giving you the time needed to get some more healing if needed. We want you to feel the pressure of being so close to death that it alters your actions and the actions of the other characters around you. When an ally is critically hurt, we want the narrative to respond.

Shouldn't a certain amount of healing also provide a "smelling salts" effect?

In most cases you can force someone back into consciousness, I would think that getting healed for a large amount would do this and not require another save a round later... Maybe a free save when the healing hits with a bonus on your roll for every 10hp healed??

Bam I'm down dying 1.. my cleric buddy hit me with HEAL and I'm full health with no conditional ailments but I can't regain consciousness because I keep rolling a 2.... Ludicrous.

Silver Crusade

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*Thelith wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:

I want to point out one subtle point here that really changes the dynamic. In PF1 if you were at death's door, (16 Con fighter at -15) and you got healed to 5 hp by a spell, you would indeed get right back up and be in danger of going down again with almost any hit.

In PF2 that same healing effect would put you up to 20 (because we don't do negatives). Once you made the save to get up, you would stand a much better chance of staying up for at least a hit or two, giving you the time needed to get some more healing if needed. We want you to feel the pressure of being so close to death that it alters your actions and the actions of the other characters around you. When an ally is critically hurt, we want the narrative to respond.

Shouldn't a certain amount of healing also provide a "smelling salts" effect?

In most cases you can force someone back into consciousness, I would think that getting healed for a large amount would do this and not require another save a round later... Maybe a free save when the healing hits with a bonus on your roll for every 10hp healed??

Bam I'm down dying 1.. my cleric buddy hit me with HEAL and I'm full health with no conditional ailments but I can't regain consciousness because I keep rolling a 2.... Ludicrous.

I think at this point it'd be a good reminder to point out that each round is only six seconds. It's not really all that unreasonable to assume that one character might take 12 or even 30 seconds (though it'd really suck if you failed THAT many rolls) to come to after your body is literally just knitted back together from mortal wounds.


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.

It also requires that you know whether or not the attack is going to put the target down before you start describing it. So you've got to switch the person describing the attack from the attacker to the target, and I don't think every player is going to want to come up with a dramatic description of every attack against their character.

Otherwise it's along the line of:
GM: OK, that does 20 damage
Player with healthy PC: I'm still up
GM: The rogue gets a lucky shot and sticks his knife deeply into your body.

or

GM: OK, that does 20 damage
Player with seriously injured PC: That takes me to 0
GM: The rogue slices across your chest and you fall unconscious


Sub-Creator wrote:


You're right . . . Paizo should not expect their fan base to have the imaginative capacity to adjust to this. It's simply asking too much for a creatively-driven fantasy RPG! ;)

I've actually noted that this is something that 3.x did in general. People seem to lack the ability to creatively interpret things in their own brain anymore. We often joke around about this in our group when the GM says, "I don't have a map for this section, folks, so you'll have to picture it in your heads."

The joke seems to be, "What?! You want us to use our imagination? Are you insane, man? We stopped having to do that when we gave up 2e!"

That said, I think you'll all do just fine with the paradigm shift. Don't sell yourselves short . . . You'll be amazed at the things your brains can do! =)

Yeah we can just imagine everything, just put away those dice! No need for anything like rolls or nothing! ;)

My point is that the mechanic is sloppy, out of place, doesn't fix what they want, and introduces a new host of problems. I think they've lost the forest to the trees on this.

Shadow Lodge

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Fargoth's Hiding Place wrote:
My point is that the mechanic is sloppy, out of place, doesn't fix what they want, and introduces a new host of problems. I think they've lost the forest to the trees on this.

I look forward to the playtest data bearing that out.


TheFinish wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:
TheFinish wrote:

Your ally is never safer bleeding out in PF1, what kind of games are you people even playing? They're much easier to hit, have way less health, and can be CDG'd.

Just because your GM likes to play by ignoring your downed players doesn't mean what I wrote above isn't factually true. And remember, you don't need to CDG to kill someone. If they're at negatives, there's a good chance a normal attack will kill them just fine. It doesn't even need to be the monster that downed them, PCs are generally outnumbered, do you really think a weaker enemy won't go for the dude dying rather than face the other guys?

My GMs have almost always had enemies target conscious PCs before unconscious ones. Maybe it's a playstyle difference? (I guess your user name might have tipped me off on that!) Troy from the Glass Cannon Podcast goes even further, he deliberately will not target an unconscious PC, even if it means a creature ends their full-attack early. I don't know if I'd go that far personally in holding back iteratives, but 98% of enemies probably have enough self-preservation instinct to target the people actively trying to kill them rather than spending attacks killing unconscious PCs.

So, unless the GM is deliberately running the enemies to "kill, not win," there are certainly cases in PF1 when you are safer bleeding out than conscious. If you are at -2 and bleeding out, you are at practically 0% risk of death. If you get healed to 2 HP, you're one crit from insta-death.

TheFinish wrote:

And if someone is at Dying 3 and you revive them, they're actually in way more danger than a PF1 person.

Imagine I have a fighter with 16 CON, he was downed, he comes back at 5 HP.

I have a PF2E guy with the same Con at Dying 3, he comes back at 5 HP.

The PF2E guy dies from any attack that does 5+ Damage. The PF1E guy only dies if someone manages to deal 21 damage.

Dying 3 is already an extreme case! A character at Dying 3
...

I generally agree and only have mindless foes attack incapacitated characters myself, but is there any reason the PC can't just 'play possum?'


Crayon wrote:
I generally agree and only have mindless foes attack incapacitated characters myself, but is there any reason the PC can't just 'play possum?'

If they pass a Bluff check, sure :)


Crayon wrote:
I generally agree and only have mindless foes attack incapacitated characters myself, but is there any reason the PC can't just 'play possum?'

In PF1, if you know a PC is in the "dying-but-actually-fine" regime and they are just going to play possum if they regain consciousness, then there is just no reason to heal them. It's basically a waste of an action.


RumpinRufus wrote:
Crayon wrote:
I generally agree and only have mindless foes attack incapacitated characters myself, but is there any reason the PC can't just 'play possum?'
In PF1, if you know a PC is in the "dying-but-actually-fine" regime and they are just going to play possum if they regain consciousness, then there is just no reason to heal them. It's basically a waste of an action.

I was referring to a character who was no longer dying, but also in no condition to rejoin combat using the tactic to avoid being targeted.


RumpinRufus wrote:

Some notes:

  • There are no negative hit points - if you take damage equal or greater than your HP, you go down to 0 HP and get the Dying 1 condition.
  • If a crit knocks you to 0, you gain Dying 2 instead of Dying 1.
  • Each round, you must make a save to stabilize. The save DC is based off the enemy - a boss may have a higher death DC than a mook, so you are more likely to be killed by bosses.
  • If you reach Dying 4, then you are dead.
  • If you make the stabilize check, you gain a hit point, but are still Dying. If you make another save at 1 HP, you are no longer Dying, and you regain consciousness.
  • If an ally heals you while you are Dying, you still have the Dying condition, even though you have positive HP. You still need to make a stabilize check to regain consciousness. But, once your HP is positive, you are no longer at danger of death from failing your checks - failing a stabilize check just means you stay unconscious.
  • The Stabilize cantrip puts you at 1 HP.

I was actually thinking of homebrewing a means of running a PF game with no bleedout. This might be (roughly?) what I was looking for.


So if I get this right, if you get to or below 0 hp, you gain "Dying 1" and get unconscious. Next round: You have to make a FORT Save. You make it: Lose Dying condition, but still unconscious.
You don't make it: "Dying 2". On Dying 4 you are dead.

So what now, if you are at Dying 3 and get healed? You have positive hp, but still unconscious and at Dying 3. What if you make the save then? Are you up and ok, losind the dying condition? Or does it only bring you up to "Dying 2"? (which would make much more sense to me)


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MasterZelgadis wrote:

So if I get this right, if you get to or below 0 hp, you gain "Dying 1" and get unconscious. Next round: You have to make a FORT Save. You make it: Lose Dying condition, but still unconscious.

You don't make it: "Dying 2". On Dying 4 you are dead.

So what now, if you are at Dying 3 and get healed? You have positive hp, but still unconscious and at Dying 3. What if you make the save then? Are you up and ok, losind the dying condition? Or does it only bring you up to "Dying 2"? (which would make much more sense to me)

Instead of being "Unconscious and Dying 2", you are "Conscious and Dying 2". As I understand it, it fades away automatically now, but that takes a little bit. In the interim, you take some penalties like fewer actions, and getting knocked to 0 would put you at Dying 3. As a result, preventing somebody from going down in the first place is very valuable. (And it has to be! Otherwise, healing somebody after they go unconscious would be a great deal because the damage that would send them negative is erased.)


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There is to me a huge social stigma towards actually finishing off dying player characters by the GM. Especially at low levels when raise dead is still expensive and out of reach, going out your way to remove a player from the game does not feel acceptable, it has feeling of spite to it. This is obviously where each table is very different, but it feels much better to me there to a be a system where it is safe as GM to be deadly without having to regret that this one crit removed your favorite actor from the game or stupid monsters are just going to let that wizard lay safely on the ground till the fight is over.


I'm currently finding D&D 5e (which has a similar 'dying' system) goes a little far in the direction of nonlethality. This is mostly due to the Bard/Cleric/Druid spell Healing Word which heals a few HP, at range, as a bonus action.

So fights can go like this:
1 Monster takes Cleric down to 0HP.
2 Bard casts Healing Word and then attacks the monster.
3 Cleric stands up (which doesn't provoke in 5e) and attacks the monster.
4 If monster is still alive, go back to step 1. Continue until the monster is dead or the Bard completely runs out of spell slots.


Hm, seems to be too unclear now to implement it in my running pathfinder games. Actually I like the new system really much, because it really prevents situations like "Help me, I'm dying here" - "Let me heal you a bit" - "Thanks, I charge the dragon again" - "Oh, I'm dying again, heal me" - "bzzzt" - "Yay, I'm healthy, I charge the dragon!", ...
The new system is more like "You were knocked out by this gargantuan beast, you were nearly dying, you just can't stand up and charge into battle just 6 seconds after having every single bone crushed to dust, you have to recover". I prefer the second situation much more


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Demon Lord of Paladins! wrote:

Seems like the 5e method, but made complex to just be complex.

It solves an issue of people going up and down every round. In 5e, bard heals you back to conscious at 8 HP>you stand up and take a full attack>monster hits you for 40 damage and you fall>bard heals you back to conscious at 8 HP

I prefer the Pathfinder 1e death rules though. Being low on health should be scary.


Rysky wrote:
It makes you less likely to lose characters, f&#* realism (the meta-construct of Hit Points already did that to begin with).

Resurrection already makes it unlikely to lose characters you want to keep.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

So many people defending the idea of a character you spent months/years playing getting killed by an accidental crit from a random hobgoblin who got lucky rather than the dramatically satisfying death by powerful foe.

Simulationism often gets in the way of dramatic tension, fact is died to Hill Giant #3 is a less interesting way to die than killed by The Hill Giant Queen.

Thats what resurrection is for. Death isn't a big deal in Pathfinder.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Death isn't a big deal in Pathfinder after a certain level.

It sucks to lose your 3rd-4th level character because they got crit while low on HP.


No, it isn't a big deal at any level. Even if you can't cast the spell for yourself, a higher level NPC can do it. If you can't pay for it, you owe him a hell of a favor (side quest..) for that.


MasterZelgadis wrote:
No, it isn't a big deal at any level. Even if you can't cast the spell for yourself, a higher level NPC can do it. If you can't pay for it, you owe him a hell of a favor (side quest..) for that.

I have yet to play in a game where 5,450gp in casting services from a 9th level Cleric could be casually sidequested by a 4th level party, and that’s setting aside the 2k in Restoration costs.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
MasterZelgadis wrote:
No, it isn't a big deal at any level.

I'm sorry, I didn't realize derailing the entire campaign to do a favor for a high level NPC wasn't a big deal.

QuidEst wrote:
...and that’s setting aside the 2k in Restoration costs.

And don't forget the week of adventuring with that second negative level, since you can only remove 1 of them a week with Restoration.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

And that's before getting around to the assumption of a 9th level Cleric hanging around who would be willing to do the resurrection for a potential favor.


Oh, of course you are right, absolutely impossible in a fantasy roleplaying game...

Silver Crusade

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Not impossible, just not probable.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Especially if your adventure is in a mountain infested by ogres.


TriOmegaZero wrote:

Death isn't a big deal in Pathfinder after a certain level.

It sucks to lose your 3rd-4th level character because they got crit while low on HP.

At that point, you haven't had the character for very long, so low investment, and rolling up a new one is pretty easy.

Although even at 4th level, Reincarnate is only 1/6th of a characters wealth.

Shadow Lodge

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3rd level is about when most people actually name their characters.

Plus, Reincarnate is not palatable to everyone.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

But seriously. Not everyone has the same time to develop investment, nor does everyone find death the same inconvenience at the same times.

Some people react to character death with a brand new character. Others react to it by leaving the game. And everything in between. Try not to make blanket pronouncements about when character death matters.

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