Does “Raise a Shield” survive unconsciousness.


Rules Discussion

Liberty's Edge

The rules for the Unconscious condition state that “When you gain this condition, you fall prone and drop items you are wielding or holding unless the effect states otherwise or the GM determines you’re in a position in which you wouldn’t.”

Table 6-2: Changing Equipment draws a distinction between “Drop an item to the ground” and “Detach a shield.” I take that to mean that your shield isn’t going to fall to the ground when you fall unconscious, effectively that for an equipped shield “you’re in a position in which you wouldn’t” drop it, and I’m satisfied with that.

But if you use the Raise a Shield action, and fall unconscious, then are healed, do you continue to benefit from the shield? For that matter, while you’re unconscious do you benefit from the shield? The description of the Raise a Shield action states that “Your shield remains raised until the start of your next turn.” Nothing there states that you must remain conscious to continue to enjoy the benefit, and as I said before, I am satisfied that you don’t drop your shield when you fall unconscious.

What do you folks think?


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I think any sane understanding of what is happening in that situation means that you lose the benefits of raising the shield.

RAW may allow you to see things differently for the reasons you describe.


I tend to agree with Schadenfreude. Not all shields are actually attached to you after all. And it naturally progresses that if you are raising your shield protectively, but go unconscious, you are no longer holding the shield up protectively.

Edit: I would also point out that once knocked unconscious you are no longer "wielding" a shield, so would no longer satisfy the requirements of the Raise a Shield action. Even if the shield is still physically attached to you, you wouldn't be wielding it.


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CRB p.272 Wielding Items wrote:
When wielding an item, you’re not just carrying it around—you’re ready to use it.

While unconscious, you are not ready to use anything.

Liberty's Edge

beowulf99 wrote:
Not all shields are actually attached to you after all.

Do you have any citation for that? The rules on shields are a bit spread out, so I could easily have missed something. I haven’t found a general rule that treats equipping a shield any differently from drawing your sword, but getting rid of a shield takes an Interact action, while dropping your sword is Release, which is a free action without the Manipulate trait.

Quote:
I would also point out that once knocked unconscious you are no longer "wielding" a shield, so would no longer satisfy the requirements of the Raise a Shield action.

I’m not sure that the requirement of the action is relevant at that point. I think the requirements of the action only matter when you take the action. For instance, the Step action on CRB p. 471 has the requirement “Your Speed is at least 10 feet.” If you take the Step action and later in the round your Speed decreases you don’t lose the effect of your Step.

Quote:
Even if the shield is still physically attached to you, you wouldn't be wielding it.

CRB p. 277 states that “A shield grants a circumstance bonus to AC, but only when it is raised.” The bonus is dependent on the shield being raised, not on whether it’s wielded. The Raise a Shield action, on CRB p. 472 states that “Your shield remains raised until the start of your next turn.” There are no conditions placed on that.


Luke Styer wrote:
beowulf99 wrote:
Not all shields are actually attached to you after all.

Do you have any citation for that? The rules on shields are a bit spread out, so I could easily have missed something. I haven’t found a general rule thus treats equipping a shield any differently from drawing your sword, but getting rid of a shield takes an Interact action, while dropping your sword is Release, which is a free action without the Manipulate trait.

Quote:
I would also point out that once knocked unconscious you are no longer "wielding" a shield, so would no longer satisfy the requirements of the Raise a Shield action.

I’m not sure that the requirement of the action is relevant at that point. I think the requirements of the action only matter when you take the action. For instance, the Step action on CRB p. 471 has the requirement “Your Speed is at least 10 feet.” If you take the Step action and later in the round your Speed decreases you don’t lose the effect of your Step.

Quote:
Even if the shield is still physically attached to you, you wouldn't be wielding it.
CRB p. 277 states that “A shield grants a circumstance bonus to AC, but only when it is raised.” The bonus is dependent on the shield being raised, not on whether it’s wielded. The Raise a Shield action, on CRB p. 472 states that “Your shield remains raised until the start of your next turn.” There are no conditions placed on that.

Odd, I can't actually find a specific rule where it states that you must meet the requirements of an action for the duration. I will say that any stance feat from Monk or Fighter end if they ever fail to meet said requirements, and in other special actions that have requirements the outcome of not meeting them is rather obvious. Like Fly. If you no longer have a flight speed, you won't be able to fly. So you fall.

That is an odd failing, something that I wasn't aware was not a thing.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Note: retrospectively edited for language.

That is certainly one of the more "interesting" interpretations of the rules I've read on here... It seems really obvious and self-explanatory that your shield does not stay raised if you drop to the ground unconscious.

Similarly, if you raise your shield with your first action, then as your second action interact with it to take if off and with your third action you run away, even though after raising your shield it "remains raised until the start of your next turn”, you're still not getting the AC-bonus for it by the end of your turn.

Losing consciousness or dropping your shield are both definitely costing you that bonus, even if that is not specifically mentioned...


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albadeon wrote:

That is certainly one of the more ridiculous interpretations of the rules I've read on here, to the point that I'm almost wondering if you're just trolling... It seems really obvious and self-explanatory that your shield does not stay raised if you drop to the ground unconscious.

Similarly, if you raise your shield with your first action, then as your second action interact with it to take if off and with your third action you run away, even though after raising your shield it "remains raised until the start of your next turn”, you're still not getting the AC-bonus for it by the end of your turn.

Losing consciousness or dropping your shield are both definitely costing you that bonus, even if that is not specifically mentioned...

Wow. That's a reductive attitude. Almost thought you were just trolling. The dude asked a question that honestly brings up some good points. Why isn't there a clause stating that you must satisfy the requirements of an action to benefit from that action? They put that clause in Stances for Fighters and Monks after all. Does that mean it doesn't apply to anything that isn't a stance?

Legitimate questions deserve legitimate answers, which this is not.

Liberty's Edge

beowulf99 wrote:
Odd, I can't actually find a specific rule where it states that you must meet the requirements of an action for the duration.

I honestly don’t know if that’s odd or not — it might be intended that requirements are there to control when you take the action and not when you benefit from the action. As in my admittedly goofy example of the Step action.

Quote:
I will say that any stance feat from Monk or Fighter end if they ever fail to meet said requirements,

If that’s explicitly stated for those it may be an indication that it’s not the general rule.

Quote:
Like Fly. If you no longer have a flight speed, you won't be able to fly. So you fall.

I’m not sure it’s quite that simple. The Fly action has a requirement “You have a Fly speed.” It also states that “If you’re airborne at the end of your turn and didn’t use a Fly action this round, you fall.” So if you are airborne and lose your fly speed before your turn, you won’t fall until the end of your turn, and technically you don’t fall because you lack a Fly speed, you fall because your lack of a fly speed prevented you from taking a Fly action.

Incidentally, the Fly action has the Move trait, which means it provokes Attacks of Opportunity. That means that if two Fighters are hovering next to one another in melee, then when each uses the Fly action to hover, the other might get a free swing.

Liberty's Edge

albadeon wrote:
That is certainly one of the more ridiculous interpretations of the rules I've read on here, to the point that I'm almost wondering if you're just trolling...

No, I’m not trolling, I’m trying to decide how to rule, but feel free not to participate in the discussion if you don’t find it worth your while.

Quote:
Similarly, if you raise your shield with your first action, then as your second action interact with it to take if off and with your third action you run away, even though after raising your shield it "remains raised until the start of your next turn”, you're still not getting the AC-bonus for it by the end of your turn.

I think the Ambiguous Rules convention on CRB p. 444 covers that situation, but doesn’t cover unconsciousness because I don’t believe you actually drop your shield when you fall unconscious.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

@beowulf99

Quote:
Why isn't there a clause stating that you must satisfy the requirements of an action to benefit from that action?

is a reasonable question.

But

Quote:
Does "Raise a Shield" survive unconsciousness?

is not.

Loss of consciousness obviously causes loss of voluntary muscle control, which in turn makes keeping anything raised flat-out impossible.

Maybe I've had too many rules-lawyer-type players who thought that any imperfection in the rules was there for them to exploit in the most unreasonable way possible. And if you read the original post, OP comes to the conclusion that even after falling unconscious, his character would still have his shield raised and be benefiting from it. It's the same kind of attitude, not approaching rules reasonably but from the point of "where is a loophole for me to exploit" that I resent.

I've edited my post above to tone down the language, but my general point remains.


albadeon wrote:

@beowulf99

Quote:
Why isn't there a clause stating that you must satisfy the requirements of an action to benefit from that action?

is a reasonable question.

But

Quote:
Does "Raise a Shield" survive unconsciousness?

is not.

Loss of consciousness obviously causes loss of voluntary muscle control, which in turn makes keeping anything raised flat-out impossible.

Maybe I've had too many rules-lawyer-type players who thought that any imperfection in the rules was there for them to exploit in the most unreasonable way possible. And if you read the original post, OP comes to the conclusion that even after falling unconscious, his character would still have his shield raised and be benefiting from it. It's the same kind of attitude, not approaching rules reasonably but from the point of "where is a loophole for me to exploit" that I resent.

I've edited my post above to tone down the language, but my general point remains.

Fair dues. I will say that I think you do lose the benefit of Raise a Shield when you go unconscious. However the reason why is not that clear in the rules. Sure, you lose your muscle control. But say the person falls with their shield on top of them? That creates a scenario where it may still be active.

I don't think this is the case, but I can certainly see how you could come to that conclusion. I'm not one for permitting the abuse of the rules in my games either, but in this case, there really should be a blanket "Must meet requirements" clause for anything with said requirements.

So what if a person was petrified after Raising a Shield? Do they have the benefit of the action? I would say no since they can't move the shield. But the rules don't affirm that. And from a certain perspective, why wouldn't they? What if they were taking cover behind a Tower Shield? Do we suddenly have to care about facing and only take away the AC bonus from the side the tower shield is on? They are not on the ground after all, and their shield is just stuck in place.

It's an odd question.

Liberty's Edge

albadeon wrote:
And if you read the original post, OP comes to the conclusion that even after falling unconscious, his character would still have his shield raised and be benefiting from it.

I’m the GM, this came up in a session I ran today. My ruling at the table was that the PC in question lost the benefit, but my practice when I make a ruling that I don’t know I have backing for in the rules is to do a little research and if I am not completely convinced, to seek input.

I generally prefer on-point rules backing over “that’s just common sense” because a lot of the game doesn’t comport with common sense. If, in the end, I am stuck with something that’s ambiguous and offends common sense I’ll go with common sense. I’m on the fence on this one.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Luke Styer wrote:
beowulf99 wrote:
Not all shields are actually attached to you after all.
Do you have any citation for that?

Shield Descriptions [CRB p.277] calls out the buckler specifically as being strapped to your forearm. The implication (weak as it is) is that not all shields are.

Also see Floating Shield [CRB p.587], which is a magical buckler that, when initially strapped to your arm, detaches itself from your arm and floats in the air next to you. The Floating Shield provides the AC benefit as if you had raised it, for the duration of the item activation. The implication is that the proper relative positioning of the shield to the owner must be actively maintained and that is what causes the AC benefit.

Luke Styer wrote:
I’m not sure that the requirement of the action is relevant at that point. I think the requirements of the action only matter when you take the action.

For an example where requirements govern the "duration" of the Raise a Shield action, not only the onset, see the Paragon's Guard feat [CRB p.151].

Paragon's Guard CRB p.151 wrote:

Requirements You are wielding a shield.

Once you’ve had a moment to set your stance, you always have your shield ready without a thought. While you are in this stance, you constantly have your shield raised as if you’d used the Raise
a Shield action, as long as you meet that action’s requirements.


With this style of interpretation I think it is only fair to rule that if someone successfully raises a shield they may then be disarmed or even throw it away and still retain the benefit of the shield. -nods-

They were wielding it, and it lasts until the end of their turn after all. :p

Even better you can create shield chains, where one person raises a shield, takes it off and hands it to the person next to them. So a line of 40 people can get protection from a single shield -grins-

(Jokes aside, I have played in a game where the gm wanted to run things RAW all exploits and misreadings allowed in the 3.5 days. Awful mess of a game that was cancelled after 3 sessions but memorable.)


This is between epic and grotesque.

I suggest also to check how the player falls unconscious.

If he spread his arm with wielded shield, then the bonus is removed.

But if he manage, or simply happens, to take his shield on the chest, he will definitely gain the raise shield benefits.

Cmon, it is obvious that a raised shield needs the user conscious and able to block or deflect the incoming blows.


@OP

Whoever asked you this question;

Give him a shield,
ask him to raise the shield as ready to block incoming weapon swings.
Take a picture of him/her.
Apply blood choke on his neck. If you Know how to do it he will be "out" in 4-5 seconds.
After he drops to the floor take the picture again.
Slap him across the face to wake him up.
Ask if those 2 pictures are the same.


In before "pitture of him with shield raised even while passed out".

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