I do negative 5 damage, what happens?


General Discussion


Came up in the playtest, characters got so enfeebled they were rolling less than 0 damage. What happens? Do they default to 1 nonlethal (the PF1 default)? Does damage stop at 0 HP? Doe they heal the target by accident?


As I have found no rule regarding this, I assume damage can be 0 now.


I've been wondering this as well as there are some monsters which have 1d4-1 for damage rolls.


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I'm sure the answer to the first question is "No".

There is no way to hit somebody with a sword and "accidentally heal" that target (unless you have a magical sword named Woundhealer, in which case it's the magic that heals, not the metal sword). If there were, I'd pay some weakling villager to come with us and let us keep him enfeebled so that he can heal us between combats without anybody needing to invest in Medicine. He'd just hit us repeatedly with a dagger and accidentally heal us to full HP.

Previous editions did in fact have a minimum of 1 non-lethal HP but that is not included in this edition as far as I can tell, so I assume, as DerNils, that 0 is a valid damage amount and also that negative values are not valid (no accidental healing).


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This seems like an oversight. It should be a minimum of 1 dmg following 1E rules. At least that is how I would rule it.

In fact in many cases where information is missing I simply fall back to P1E and use that as a guide. It makes my playing far smoother.


It could equally have been left out on purpose.

Are there any 'cat versus peasant'-type situations in 2E where house-ruling in the 1E rule makes things more/less sensible?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

DM_Blake, I owe you a dozen more upvotes for that Book of Swords reference. :)

Also general agreement this should be addressed, since atm it's certainly not clear what the intent is. Kinda like how drained really needs to specify what happens if your max hp reaches 0.


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It'd make sense that you would be able to deal 0 damage especially since enhancements require you to deal at least 1 damage. So if you are too weak to deal 1 damage with a poisoned dagger you don't inflict the poison on your enemy.

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This came up in my game and I ruled a minimum of 1 damage. Otherwise things like monsters that deal 1d4-1 damage don't make sense.


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Tamago wrote:
This came up in my game and I ruled a minimum of 1 damage. Otherwise things like monsters that deal 1d4-1 damage don't make sense.

Sure they do. We already accept the idea of hitting but failing to dead damage against creatures with damage reduction, so why not allow it for low damage rolls by weak creatures? At least in your example the possibility of dealing damage remains open.

Now a damage of 1d2-5 would be another matter, as in that case there would be no chance of doing damage unless the base stats got altered.


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PsychicPixel wrote:
It'd make sense that you would be able to deal 0 damage especially since enhancements require you to deal at least 1 damage. So if you are too weak to deal 1 damage with a poisoned dagger you don't inflict the poison on your enemy.

This is how I read it as well.


LOL I vote for hel your enemy! ;P


I don't believe it is addressed in the book, but I suspect the intent is that 1 lethal damage be the new minimum based upon Pest Form's damage being 1 piercing, but it'd be nice to know for sure -- there are a couple monsters in the playtest bestiary that deal 1d4-1 damage, so you don't even need conditions to result in a theoretical 0.


I've been assuming 0 as the minimum due to stuff like this:

Injury poisons pg360 wrote:

An injury poison activates when applied to a weapon, and it affects the target of the first Strike made using the

poisoned weapon. If that Strike is a success or a critical
success and deals piercing or slashing damage, the target
must attempt a saving throw against the poison. If the Strike is a failure or a critical failure, or if it fails to deal slashing or piercing damage for some other reason, the poison is spent but the target is unaffected.

That said, this isn't clear in the slightest and it would be good to clear it up. I'd hardly be surprised if 1 is supposed to be the minimum.


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They made this same omission in 5th Ed, and no minimum hp value for levelling. So, if ability scores and hit points are rolled randomly (the default), it's possible to die upon reaching level 2. The designers even went along with it and said it could emulate dying later in life from a disease...that's just marvellous...


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Vic Ferrari wrote:
They made this same omission in 5th Ed, and no minimum hp value for levelling. So, if ability scores and hit points are rolled randomly (the default), it's possible to die upon reaching level 2. The designers even went along with it and said it could emulate dying later in life from a disease...that's just marvellous...

Couldn't Wizards in 3.0 die during character creation if their Con was low enough? XD


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Another suggestion we had at the table was that if you were so weak as to do -5 damage you instead do 5 negative damage, so it would still hurt some enemies (but would heal the enemies that had us so enfeebled).


MaxAstro wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
They made this same omission in 5th Ed, and no minimum hp value for levelling. So, if ability scores and hit points are rolled randomly (the default), it's possible to die upon reaching level 2. The designers even went along with it and said it could emulate dying later in life from a disease...that's just marvellous...
Couldn't Wizards in 3.0 die during character creation if their Con was low enough? XD

Not sure, but if they can, I think it sucks, or does that make it okay, as it is just about serving the agenda?


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MaxAstro wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
They made this same omission in 5th Ed, and no minimum hp value for levelling. So, if ability scores and hit points are rolled randomly (the default), it's possible to die upon reaching level 2. The designers even went along with it and said it could emulate dying later in life from a disease...that's just marvellous...
Couldn't Wizards in 3.0 die during character creation if their Con was low enough? XD

* Pulls out D&D 3.5 rulebook to check *

Hmm... Both Wizard and Sorcerer got a d4 for their hit die. So with RAW character ability creation rules of rolling 3d6 or even the common houserule of 4d6 take highest 3, it is possible to have a 3 in CON. Which would give a modifier of -4.

Since you always got maximum HP from your first level's hit die, you could end up with a HP total of 0.

Which technically isn't dead or even dying. Just permanently staggered until you gain a level.


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breithauptclan wrote:
MaxAstro wrote:
Vic Ferrari wrote:
They made this same omission in 5th Ed, and no minimum hp value for levelling. So, if ability scores and hit points are rolled randomly (the default), it's possible to die upon reaching level 2. The designers even went along with it and said it could emulate dying later in life from a disease...that's just marvellous...
Couldn't Wizards in 3.0 die during character creation if their Con was low enough? XD

* Pulls out D&D 3.5 rulebook to check *

Hmm... Both Wizard and Sorcerer got a d4 for their hit die. So with RAW character ability creation rules of rolling 3d6 or even the common houserule of 4d6 take highest 3, it is possible to have a 3 in CON. Which would give a modifier of -4.

Since you always got maximum HP from your first level's hit die, you could end up with a HP total of 0.

Which technically isn't dead or even dying. Just permanently staggered until you gain a level.

Ha, that could be one hell of a role-playing challenge, the super sickly wizard. Make Elric and Raistlin, look hardy.


breithauptclan wrote:
Just permanently staggered until you gain a level.

At which point, if you don't multiclass into something with more HP, you fall into a permanent negative-HP coma.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
breithauptclan wrote:
Just permanently staggered until you gain a level.
At which point, if you don't multiclass into something with more HP, you fall into a permanent negative-HP coma.

...Getting closer and closer to dead with every level you gain, if you somehow manage to keep gaining experience. XD

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