Dying at 100hp seems Unacceptably Weird


General Discussion


Bob has 110hp.
Bob takes 112 damage, gains the dying 1 and unconscious conditions.
Bob is healed back to 110hp, but is still unconscious and dying.
Bob gets hit for 1 damage three times.
Bob has 107hp and is dead.

That seems super weird. Breaking the connection between hp total, consciousness, and death seems hard to get used to.


I thought there was a stipulation somewhere you can only gain dying levels if you take damage while below 0?


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Taking Damage while Unconscious wrote:
If you take damage while you’re already unconscious, apply the same effects as if you had been knocked out by that damage. If the recovery save DC for the new damage is higher than your current recovery save DC, start using the higher DC.

So yea, what Ring_of_Gyges said could theoretically happen. I would much prefer it if getting to positive hp makes you conscious, then it avoids silliness like this.

They have said they're looking at dying rules


My preference is to stop with 0 HP = Dying. 0 HP should make you 'staggered.' And bleeding to death should take longer than 3 rounds.

RangerWickett's PF2 Dying System Proposal
Falling to 0 makes you Staggered. Getting hit again can make you Dying. You can still be conscious while Dying, for all those tragic last words.

Staggered
Running out of hit points usually means the weight of fending off fatal strikes has worn you out. You can't keep fighting, but you aren't going to die unless someone finishes you off. There's even a chance you can catch a second wind and get back into the fight.

When you drop to 0 HP, you become Staggered. You fall prone, are helpless, and can take no actions, but are aware of your surroundings and can still hold anything you had in your hands. If you rise above 0 HP while staggered, you lose the condition and can act normally.

An ally can spend two actions to make a Medicine check (DC 10 with a Healer's Kit, DC 20 without one). On a success, you gain 1 HP.

At the start of your turn while Staggered, roll a flat d20. On a 20 you gain 1 hit point.

Dying
If you take damage while Staggered, or if the damage that dropped you to 0 HP was a critical hit or the result of a critically failed save, you become Dying 1. Whenever you become Dying or your Dying condition worsens, make a Will save (DC 20). If you fail, you lose consciousness.

While dying you are prone, helpless, and you drop anything you're holding.

At the start of your turn, roll a flat d20. On a 20, you stabilize and no longer need to make saves. On a 1, your Dying condition worsens one step. If you take damage while Dying, your Dying condition worsens by 1. If you reach Dying 3, you perish.

An ally can spend two actions and make a Medicine check (DC 15 with a Healer's Kit, DC 25 without one). On a success, your ally can stabilize you so you don't need to make saves anymore. If you're already stable, the ally can make you Staggered instead of Dying.

If you rise above 0 HP while Dying, the condition ends, though if you'd fallen unconscious you remain unconscious for an hour or until an ally rouses you or you take damage. Additionally, you retain the same Dying condition until you get a night's rest or receive an effect like the restoration spell.

---

The thing I'm unsure about is whether it's too easy to kill someone who's staggered by popping them with magic missiles. I might change it to, "If you take damage equal to or greater than your level, you become Dying."


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There's a danger of making the rules so sticky that nobody ever dies. Not just PCs, who should occasionally die or at least face the real risk of it, but also PC-built NPCs.

After battling monsters in the ancient tunnels and evading his many lethal traps, the party have finally cornered the man behind the murders. He unleashes a horde of winged beasts that assault the fighter and ranger, but the rogue manages to attack from the shadows and impales the murderer. Held in place on the rogue's sword, he's unable to avoid the wizard's lightning.

He laughs at he party as the hit him repeatedly, but he keeps making his save and just won't bloody die...


My version is basically normal until you reach 0. Then you're just 'safely out of the fight.' But if you hit the guy 3 more times, he dies.


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If you can spend 6 seconds stabbing an unconscious person and they are not dead at the end of that, something is wrong.


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Ring_of_Gyges wrote:

Bob has 110hp.

Bob takes 112 damage, gains the dying 1 and unconscious conditions.
Bob is healed back to 110hp, but is still unconscious and dying.
Bob gets hit for 1 damage three times.
Bob has 107hp and is dead.

That seems super weird. Breaking the connection between hp total, consciousness, and death seems hard to get used to.

Bob takes 112 damage, and gains the dying 1 and unconscious conditions AND moves in front of the monster that killed him in initiative order. - unless you have a large amount of monsters you rolled independent initiatives for, Bob will get a turn after all other players but before the monsters.

Bob is healed back to 110 hp, but is still unconscious and dying.
It’s Bob’s turn. Bob can make a saving roll to become conscious. If bob becomes conscious, in this example, he loses the dying condition at the end of his turn.

The rest doesn’t matter. This example also completely ignores the use of hero points, which Bob could spend just as he hits dying 4 to remove the dying condition.

And, like others have said, they are reviewing the death and dying rules.


Vaku wrote:

If bob becomes conscious, in this example, he loses the dying condition at the end of his turn.

The rest doesn’t matter.

You forgot the other side of that "if."

If he doesn't become conscious, then the rest absolutely does matter.

Or, you know, if Bob gets knocked out, has init moved above the monster that knocked him out, then Alice goes and heals him, then three other monsters go before we event get back to Bob and his saving throw...


It's not much weirder than someone being Coup de Graced while at max HP with a sleep ability, even though the damage could be much less than the target's maximum HP. Arbitrary mechanics would dictate Bob being CDG'd for 30 HP out of his 110 can be an instakill by a bad save. Just like arbitrary mechanics would dictate Bob dies at taking 10 damage 3 times.

It's really a matter of if you like vanilla or strawberry ice cream...


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

It's not much weirder than someone being Coup de Graced while at max HP with a sleep ability, even though the damage could be much less than the target's maximum HP. Arbitrary mechanics would dictate Bob being CDG'd for 30 HP out of his 110 can be an instakill by a bad save. Just like arbitrary mechanics would dictate Bob dies at taking 10 damage 3 times.

It's really a matter of if you like vanilla or strawberry ice cream...

My two favorite ice creams... Uh oh


Ring_of_Gyges wrote:

Bob has 110hp.

Bob takes 112 damage, gains the dying 1 and unconscious conditions.
Bob is healed back to 110hp, but is still unconscious and dying.
Bob gets hit for 1 damage three times.
Bob has 107hp and is dead.

That seems super weird. Breaking the connection between hp total, consciousness, and death seems hard to get used to.

Yes, this is why I said healing a PC above 0 should automatically make them gain consciousness and wake them up. If that were true, this weird and not intuitive situation wouldn't happen.


Mbertorch wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

It's not much weirder than someone being Coup de Graced while at max HP with a sleep ability, even though the damage could be much less than the target's maximum HP. Arbitrary mechanics would dictate Bob being CDG'd for 30 HP out of his 110 can be an instakill by a bad save. Just like arbitrary mechanics would dictate Bob dies at taking 10 damage 3 times.

It's really a matter of if you like vanilla or strawberry ice cream...

My two favorite ice creams... Uh oh

Food metaphor aside, it's basically choosing which "arbitrary mechanic" you like more. Saying it's not a fun rule (let's be realistic, character death is rarely fun, if at all,) because it's an arbitrary mechanic that makes you die for no apparent reason is a misnomer when PF1 had similar "arbitrary mechanics" in regards to death, some of which are actually still present in PF2.

I also thought there was a clause where, if you're at positive HP and unconscious while still having the dying condition, that you don't add tiers of Dying for each time you're hit until your HP is back at 0, but I can easily be misremembering that being the case, simply because we've playtested the first part of Doomsday Dawn and (so far) haven't had anyone fall into Dying stages yet. It's been close, but in the lower levels, by the time you're in the Dying stages you have no chance of survival anyway, so...

Dark Archive

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What was the real problem with negative hitpoints that the new dying rules are attempting to fix?


The problem, I'm guessing, was abrupt character death (because -Con is reached very easily by an ogre whacking you while you're on low HP) and magical healing as the only possible method of in-combat recovery (when heroically getting back up is the kind of thing every adventurer should be able to do sometimes).
And maybe some people have trouble with negative numbers?

With the "you don't immediately return to consciousness" rule, they're trying to deal with the "whack-a-mole" problem from D&D5e:
Monster hits PC and reduces them to 0HP.
Ally heals PC for 1HP.
PC is immediately fine, so attacks the monster again.
The monster downs the PC again.
The healer heals them again.
Repeat until the monster dies or you run out of healing.

So any fix to the dying rules should take these issues into account.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
I also thought there was a clause where, if you're at positive HP and unconscious while still having the dying condition, that you don't add tiers of Dying for each time you're hit until your HP is back at 0

Yeah, if you're unconscious at 1 hp you don't increase Dying, but it isn't removed either.


Ecidon wrote:
What was the real problem with negative hitpoints that the new dying rules are attempting to fix?

It means not instantly killing PCs, especially when you are higher level and everyone is doing 20-30 damage per hit easily, when you're down to your last 10 hp, you know you're going to die on the next hit.

Now when I GM I don't need to worry about what everyone's hp are at, I just doing whatever damage and I know I can't kill them outright. For me, it's a huge improvement.

Dark Archive

Jason S wrote:
Ecidon wrote:
What was the real problem with negative hitpoints that the new dying rules are attempting to fix?

It means not instantly killing PCs, especially when you are higher level and everyone is doing 20-30 damage per hit easily, when you're down to your last 10 hp, you know you're going to die on the next hit.

Now when I GM I don't need to worry about what everyone's hp are at, I just doing whatever damage and I know I can't kill them outright. For me, it's a huge improvement.

Isn't that issue trivially solvable by altering the negative HP value that would cause death?


Yes. Death at negative max HP seems reasonable to me.


I don't see it as any weirder than failing a save against an instant death spell and dying, regardless of hp, or the aforementioned coup de gras at full HP on a sleeping/pinned/paralyzed target (I had a grappler that "abused" this, it was fun)


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Alchemic_Genius wrote:
I don't see it as any weirder than failing a save against an instant death spell and dying, regardless of hp, or the aforementioned coup de gras at full HP on a sleeping/pinned/paralyzed target (I had a grappler that "abused" this, it was fun)

But it is very different. With CDG someone is making a serious effort (and expending actions) to do significant damage. This way you can be killed with incidental and trivial damage such as being caught in the splash area of alchemist fire.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I’m not sure how many people watched the Twitch stream on Friday, but they said that death and dying is getting a major revision. They didn’t go into all of it, but they revealed that you immediately lose the Dying condition when you regain consciousness. And, I couldn’t tell from what they said, but it sounded like you might also automatically regain consciousness when healed also. The official errata releases on Monday so we will see at that point.


Ecidon wrote:
Jason S wrote:
Ecidon wrote:
What was the real problem with negative hitpoints that the new dying rules are attempting to fix?

It means not instantly killing PCs, especially when you are higher level and everyone is doing 20-30 damage per hit easily, when you're down to your last 10 hp, you know you're going to die on the next hit.

Now when I GM I don't need to worry about what everyone's hp are at, I just doing whatever damage and I know I can't kill them outright. For me, it's a huge improvement.

Isn't that issue trivially solvable by altering the negative HP value that would cause death?

It is a potential solution, but I'm not sure figuring out the appropriate threshold is trivial. You then need to pretty carefully measure that threshold against expected damage input a PC will be enduring. (Not an easy feat in any system, but probably much harder given the swingy nature of PF2 damage.)

Let's take Matthew Downie's example. It is going to become harder and harder to die as you level up. A 10th level fighter will have over 100 hp with no con investment. Unless things continue to hit the fighter after they are down, or there is some arbitrary scaling bleeding out attrition, basically the only way to die would be "massive damage" that the current rules already have kill you. (Also, it would become very healing intensive it you actually had to heal up to double the character's HP to get them back to full.)

We don't want high level PCs dying so much easier than low level ones, but we also don't want them to be functionally unkillable. The current goal seems to be to make your odds of dying more even across all levels, and it looks like it accomplishes that.

Now, the rules also seem confusing to folks, which is a big problem. And I'm not sure I love the current system for getting knocked out and coming back to consciousness. As far as I can tell there's nothing to it but a random dice roll to determine if you can get back in the action, which can be frustrating. And when you do you have very little to do. You have two action, which may need to be used to grab your weapon and stand up. Feels It feels like a trained medicine use from an ally should let them spend one of their actions to try and wake you up, perhaps with your full three actions.


Captain Morgan wrote:
We don't want high level PCs dying so much easier than low level ones, but we also don't want them to be functionally unkillable.

It's still going to be fairly easy to kill an unconscious PC on purpose if that's what the enemy is trying to do. Why should killing PCs by random accident be a design goal?

Dark Archive

Captain Morgan wrote:
Ecidon wrote:
Jason S wrote:
Ecidon wrote:
What was the real problem with negative hitpoints that the new dying rules are attempting to fix?

It means not instantly killing PCs, especially when you are higher level and everyone is doing 20-30 damage per hit easily, when you're down to your last 10 hp, you know you're going to die on the next hit.

Now when I GM I don't need to worry about what everyone's hp are at, I just doing whatever damage and I know I can't kill them outright. For me, it's a huge improvement.

Isn't that issue trivially solvable by altering the negative HP value that would cause death?

It is a potential solution, but I'm not sure figuring out the appropriate threshold is trivial. You then need to pretty carefully measure that threshold against expected damage input a PC will be enduring. (Not an easy feat in any system, but probably much harder given the swingy nature of PF2 damage.)

If the designers haven't calculated the expected damages that a PC will be receiving at a given level, then they haven't been doing their jobs. It's a pretty fundamental part of the mathematics of the system.


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MUKid wrote:
it sounded like you might also automatically regain consciousness when healed also. The official errata releases on Monday so we will see at that point.

I don't understand why that wasn't the case already. Make the dying rules simpler and easier to remember, sure, I get that, the fort save to stabilize was kind of a pain to remember especially since it kept getting worse and worse and the current system does allow for a character to get back into the fight under their own power. But why remove the parts of the old system that still worked perfectly fine?


Ecidon wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Ecidon wrote:
Jason S wrote:
Ecidon wrote:
What was the real problem with negative hitpoints that the new dying rules are attempting to fix?

It means not instantly killing PCs, especially when you are higher level and everyone is doing 20-30 damage per hit easily, when you're down to your last 10 hp, you know you're going to die on the next hit.

Now when I GM I don't need to worry about what everyone's hp are at, I just doing whatever damage and I know I can't kill them outright. For me, it's a huge improvement.

Isn't that issue trivially solvable by altering the negative HP value that would cause death?

It is a potential solution, but I'm not sure figuring out the appropriate threshold is trivial. You then need to pretty carefully measure that threshold against expected damage input a PC will be enduring. (Not an easy feat in any system, but probably much harder given the swingy nature of PF2 damage.)

If the designers haven't calculated the expected damages that a PC will be receiving at a given level, then they haven't been doing their jobs. It's a pretty fundamental part of the mathematics of the system.

Sure, but how do you translate that into usable rules for players? That could be a pretty nuanced formula, and if you want it to be something with variables for level and constitution scores it probably necessitates the table crunching those numbers on the fly. Which isn't an impossible task, but I see my PF1 players get confused a lot by concepts like "caster level" for example. I don't think that level of math is going to help the excitement surrounding one of the most narratively significant moments these games have.

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