Ability Damage and Penalties Stack?


Rules Questions

Dark Archive

Ability Damage can cause a character to fall unconscious if the damage is greater than their ability score.
Ability Penalties can't lower an ability score below 1.

What if a Wizard has 10 Strength. He has had some really bad luck with a poison that has done 8 points of Strength damage. He is then hit with a ray of exhaustion, but makes his save making him fatigued. Fatigue applies a -2 penalty to Strength and Dexterity.

Does the Wizard fall unconscious?
Is the penalties applied in order gained?
Is the fatigue penalties applied before the poison ability damage?
Is the poison ability damage applied before the fatigue penalties?

Source for Ability Damage, Drain, and Penalty PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 555

Love to read you opinion on this and whether you were able to find an FAQ on this.

Thanks <3


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The Wizard does not fall unconscious. The poison happened first, so the Fatigue penalty is applied to his current stat score which is 2. Since Fatigue is a penalty, it can not lower his stat to less than 1.

The answer is in the rules you linked, "While in effect, these penalties function just like ability damage, but they cannot cause you to fall unconscious or die. In essence, penalties cannot decrease your ability score to less than 1."

He now has a Strength of 1. He is most likely Heavily Encumbered now, so he can have fun dealing with that too. Depending on what he is wearing, he might not be able to move more than 5 feet a round. If he has a backpack I'm guessing it's over 10 pounds, which is now his max load. You can lift double your max load off the ground, but can only move 5 feet a round as a full round action.

Dark Archive

So, the ability damage and penalties are added sequentially? In my above example, the wizard would be unconscious if he took another point of Strength damage from the poison, but no further Strength penalties can apply (such a hit from ray of enfeeblement)?


ckdragons wrote:
In my above example, the wizard would be unconscious if he took another point of Strength damage from the poison, but no further Strength penalties can apply (such a hit from ray of enfeeblement)?

No, an additional point of strength damage from poison would put him at 10 - 9 (=1) with a -2 penalty (min 1, hence =1), where the -2 penalty has no effect because they're already at minimum 1 strength.

Penalties would always be calculated after damage.

The Exchange

Megatron777 wrote:

The Wizard does not fall unconscious. The poison happened first, so the Fatigue penalty is applied to his current stat score which is 2. Since Fatigue is a penalty, it can not lower his stat to less than 1.

The answer is in the rules you linked, "While in effect, these penalties function just like ability damage, but they cannot cause you to fall unconscious or die. In essence, penalties cannot decrease your ability score to less than 1."

He now has a Strength of 1. He is most likely Heavily Encumbered now, so he can have fun dealing with that too. Depending on what he is wearing, he might not be able to move more than 5 feet a round. If he has a backpack I'm guessing it's over 10 pounds, which is now his max load. You can lift double your max load off the ground, but can only move 5 feet a round as a full round action.

strength damage does not effect encumbrance, where penalty does. Crazy ruling but I think they did it so people didn't have to refugee all the time cause damage happens a lot.

The Exchange

Joesi wrote:
ckdragons wrote:
In my above example, the wizard would be unconscious if he took another point of Strength damage from the poison, but no further Strength penalties can apply (such a hit from ray of enfeeblement)?

No, an additional point of strength damage from poison would put him at 10 - 9 (=1) with a -2 penalty (min 1, hence =1), where the -2 penalty has no effect because they're already at minimum 1 strength.

Penalties would always be calculated after damage.

Agree


Jeff Morse wrote:
strength damage does not effect encumbrance, where penalty does
rules wrote:
Some spells and abilities cause you to take an ability penalty for a limited amount of time. While in effect, these penalties function just like ability damage, but they cannot cause you to fall unconscious or die. In essence, penalties cannot decrease your ability score to less than 1.

So neither seem to affect carrying capacity. Which is "good" in that it simplifies things (at least until ability drain pops up, which will certainly reduce carry capacity)

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