Death by fluffy bunnies: What happens when the drained condition reduces a creature's maximum hit points to 0?


Monsters and Hazards


My 10th-level party was killed by mundane rabbits, but someone else raised a point in that the drained condition is silent on what happens when a creature's maximum hit points are reduced to 0. What actually occurs?


I agree with what the other poster said, at least to my reading. You would be reduced to 0 HP and begin making recovery saves. If you die there, you die. If you stabilize, you'd probably wake up after 24(X)+8 hours depending on how you rule it as GM. 24 hours each for 1 stack of drained to go away until you can actually have a max HP of 1. Then 8 hours of restful sleep. I think of it like a coma of sorts.

Edit: Also, exposure and dehydration might just kill you. If everyone is out for 3 days, or is in the snow or desert, they're probably just dead unless someone finds and cares for them.

On the other hand, this makes vampires a bit odd. They'd have to drink you to 0 and then execute you.


From King's sleep I got the impression that it's supposed to kill you:

King's Sleep wrote:

King’s sleep is an insidious long-term poison

that might seem like a disease or even a death from natural causes if used on a venerable target. The drained condition from king’s sleep stacks with each failed save and can’t be removed until the target is cured of the poison.
Saving Throw Fortitude DC 36; Onset 1 day; Stage 1 drained 1 (1 day); Stage 2 drained 1 (1 day); Stage 3 drained 2 (1 day)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Condition Values, p. 319 wrote:

CONDITION VALUES

Some conditions have a numerical value, called a condition value, indicated by a numeral following the condition. This value might enumerate a bonus or penalty the condition gives you. These values can often be reduced by spells, skills, or simply waiting. If such a value is ever reduced to 0, the condition ends.
If you’re affected by a condition with a value multiple times, you apply only the higher value, although you might have to track both durations if one has a lower value but lasts longer. For example, if you had a slowed 2 condition that lasts 2 rounds and a slowed 1 condition that lasts for 1 minute, after 2 rounds you’d change from being slowed 2 to slowed 1 for the last 8 rounds of its duration.
Conditional penalties, p. 291 wrote:

Conditional penalties are caused by negative conditions.

Being sick 2, for example, imposes a –2 conditional penalty to all your checks and DCs. Conditional penalties range from –1 to –4. Some standardized conditions appear in the list of basic conditions on page 320.

So while condition Values don't have a limit, (you can be drained 14

at level 2, for example), the conditional penalty that condition gives has a limit of -4.

RAI seems to be that you can't really die from being drained (at worst, you lose 4*level hp).

Compare that to enervated, and the Succubus' Passionate Kiss ability, that states that it can kill.


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The hit point reduction is not a conditional penalty.


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The same thing would happen to anything that has 0 maximum hit points. Death.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Nothing in the system actually states that, though, which is a fair point. Drained really should.


Nothing says you can't have negative maximum health either so sure we can play this game of absurdity.

Assuming you get drained to perfectly 0 maximum hit points. Without outside help, you can't recover and are stuck in a permanent coma. Drain only reduces if you can heal a hitpoint while resting and since your hitpoints and Max are both stuck at 0 there's no increasing.

Now a restoration heightened to 4th can remove some of the drained for you starting the natural healing process but if anything causes 0 damage to you while you are waiting for your savior you die. Since that's massive damage to you. Greater than or equal to 0 is 0.

So you hit 0 maximum hit points and someone puts you in stasis right as it happens sure you could probably survive long enough for a perfectly timed restoration spell to heal some of your drained. Giving you enough maximum HP to survive your collapse to the ground


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think it's not absurd to say that the only effect in the game capable of causing you have zero maximum health should explain what happens if you do.


You can never be reduced to 0 hp as a result of the Drained condition.

Conditional penalties like Drained cannot go above 4. This means that at most you can lose 4hp/lv.

Even if you were Octavia, an Elf wizard with 8Con, and were Drained 4, you would still have 6hp (racial hp) and thus not dead.
(You'd probably still die against a fluffy bunny)

Note that I only know this because a dev pointed it out in a DD encounter discussion and mentioned where it was written once: I cannot find it again and it should probably be more obvious.


Ediwir wrote:

You can never be reduced to 0 hp as a result of the Drained condition.

Conditional penalties like Drained cannot go above 4. This means that at most you can lose 4hp/lv.

Even if you were Octavia, an Elf wizard with 8Con, and were Drained 4, you would still have 6hp (racial hp) and thus not dead.
(You'd probably still die against a fluffy bunny)

Note that I only know this because a dev pointed it out in a DD encounter discussion and mentioned where it was written once: I cannot find it again and it should probably be more obvious.

One might think that this information would be found near the Conditions section of the book. It's not. It's on p. 291 of the Playtest Rulebook in PLAYING THE GAME -> CHECKS -> IDENTIFY MODIFIERS, BONUSES, AND PENALTIES -> PENALTIES.

PENALTIES wrote:

Negative circumstances, harmful conditions and spells, and inferior items can impede your rolls. There are four different types of penalties . . .

Conditional penalties are caused by negative conditions. Being sick 2, for example, imposes a –2 conditional penalty to all your checks and DCs. Conditional penalties
range from –1 to –4.
Some standardized conditions appear in the list of basic conditions on page 320 . . . (emphasis added)

Thus, it sounds like Drained should have capped out at drained 4. But that certainly seems to be contradicted by the rules text that Colette quoted in her linked thread

THE AWAKENING CURSE wrote:
https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42bph?My-10thlevel-party-was-killed-by-a -family-of When any creature wakes someone else while in Dvalinheim, the waker is immediately stricken with a powerful curse that manifests as a bone-deep weakness and desire to rest, although rest perpetually eludes her. She is immune to effects that cause the asleep condition (but not other forms of unconsciousness), is drained 3, and cannot reduce her drained condition. If she awakens multiple creatures, her drained condition increases by 3 each time. . .

I don't have the original rules in front of me, and (unlike CB) I would never apply this curse to a whole party at once; however, the quoted text strongly implies that you can increased drained 3 by ... 3. Condition penalties (like drained) are supposed to range from -1 to -4 (from the Rulebook).

So is this a case where

  • Specific trumps general,
  • the writer misunderstood the condition or its allowed penalty values,
  • or there is a typo or omission?


  • Quote:
    You also lose a number of Hit Points equal to your level (minimum 1) times the drained value, and your maximum Hit Points are reduced by the same amount.

    The maximum hit point reduction is not a conditional penalty.


    Cheburn wrote:
    Ediwir wrote:

    You can never be reduced to 0 hp as a result of the Drained condition.

    Conditional penalties like Drained cannot go above 4. This means that at most you can lose 4hp/lv.

    Even if you were Octavia, an Elf wizard with 8Con, and were Drained 4, you would still have 6hp (racial hp) and thus not dead.
    (You'd probably still die against a fluffy bunny)

    Note that I only know this because a dev pointed it out in a DD encounter discussion and mentioned where it was written once: I cannot find it again and it should probably be more obvious.

    One might think that this information would be found near the Conditions section of the book. It's not. It's on p. 291 of the Playtest Rulebook in PLAYING THE GAME -> CHECKS -> IDENTIFY MODIFIERS, BONUSES, AND PENALTIES -> PENALTIES.

    PENALTIES wrote:

    Negative circumstances, harmful conditions and spells, and inferior items can impede your rolls. There are four different types of penalties . . .

    Conditional penalties are caused by negative conditions. Being sick 2, for example, imposes a –2 conditional penalty to all your checks and DCs. Conditional penalties
    range from –1 to –4.
    Some standardized conditions appear in the list of basic conditions on page 320 . . . (emphasis added)

    Thus, it sounds like Drained should have capped out at drained 4. But that certainly seems to be contradicted by the rules text that Colette quoted in her linked thread

    THE AWAKENING CURSE wrote:
    https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42bph?My-10thlevel-party-was-killed-by-a -family-of When any creature wakes someone else while in Dvalinheim, the waker is immediately stricken with a powerful curse that manifests as a bone-deep weakness and desire to rest, although rest perpetually eludes her. She is immune to effects that cause the asleep condition (but not other forms of unconsciousness), is drained 3, and cannot reduce her drained condition. If she awakens multiple creatures, her drained condition increases by 3 each time. . .
    I don't have the...

    Could also be a case where a rule was added (conditional penalties max at 4) after the adventure was written and not everything depending on that rule was found and changed. Hopefully the final rules are clearer (on this and quite frankly everything else).


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    Actually the quoted rule doesn't say anything about penalties "capping out", all it is specifying is the range of values the GM should expect to see (1-4). Paizo treats it's own rules more like weak suggestions.
    However barring the specific rule in the Awakening Curse, multiple instances of being Drained wouldn't normally stack; nor would the reduction in current or maximum hit points in my opinion (but I admit that interaction should be made clearer one way or another). Thus why the curse notes it "increases" the drained condition; otherwise the seperate instances would overlap to little effect like any other condition. If the increase had been intended to 'cap-out', such a clause would have been mentioned in the specific rule that allowed it to stack at all.


    Colette Brunel wrote:
    My 10th-level party was killed by mundane rabbits, but someone else raised a point in that the drained condition is silent on what happens when a creature's maximum hit points are reduced to 0. What actually occurs?

    I think as written the PCs reduced to 0 Maximum HP would be locked into a near-dying state until they finally died. Healing spells and Hero Points would just end up reseting you to Dying 1. As you'd be raised to 1 HP (Maximum 0) by the spell, and immediately start dying again. The Healer also wakes you, automatically cursing themselves (Yay!). Naturally recovering would give you as little as ten minutes of safety while you sit as 0 HP and Unconsious. As soon as the GM decides you awaken though you jitter from 1 HP back to 0 and begin dying again. A kind GM might let them sit at comatose until the Drain faded.

    So I suppose in theory you could keep making your recovery rolls (staying locked around dying 1), or sitting comatose for however many days it would take to recover from being Drained 14+... unless you starve to death, are eaten by monsters, or buried by other adventurers (assuming they don't kill themselves accidently waking you with healing magic).

    It is a truely Gygaxian trap, made worse by an ill-defined trigger element (the sleeping vermin of undefined number).


    Vampires can increase the drained condition, potentially to an arbitrarily high number.


    On another note, could someone with 0 maximum HP be able to act normally while they have some temporary HP? As they can go over your HP maximum...

    They would have to be provided by someone else though. I don't think a 0HP-Barbarian gets an action to rage between awakening and being reset to 0HP and dying again. Or do they? :)


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    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    ...I'm now picturing a barbarian who is conscious in three-round bursts and passes out every fourth round... the angriest narcoleptic... XD


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    MaxAstro wrote:
    ...I'm now picturing a barbarian who is conscious in three-round bursts and passes out every fourth round... the angriest narcoleptic... XD

    Necrolepsy

    A new condition caused by having max HP of 0. You spontaneously fall down dying at inopportune times.

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