Can you use a healing potion on someone who is unconcious and dying?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


I would rule you can pour it on their wounds to heal them.

Lantern Lodge

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Yqatuba wrote:
I would rule you can pour it on their wounds to heal them.

RULES SEZ:

"A character can carefully administer a potion to an unconscious creature as a full-round action, trickling the liquid down the creature’s throat. Likewise, it takes a full-round action to apply an oil to an unconscious creature."

EDIT: It's in the rules section for potions.

Scarab Sages

There is one rule I've ever heard of when it comes to this, and its kind of/sort of a different thing all together. If there are multiple creatures/PCs on the ground that are unconscious, the person with the potion can make a heal check to determine who's dead and who isn't. But, if they fail the check and there are multiple allies that need healing, then they heal the closest ally, dead or otherwise. Its a pretty painful ruling if your party is getting curb stomped and needs one of their guys up, but it kind of makes sense.

Sovereign Court

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AsimTheAnubite wrote:
There is one rule I've ever heard of when it comes to this, and its kind of/sort of a different thing all together. If there are multiple creatures/PCs on the ground that are unconscious, the person with the potion can make a heal check to determine who's dead and who isn't. But, if they fail the check and there are multiple allies that need healing, then they heal the closest ally, dead or otherwise. Its a pretty painful ruling if your party is getting curb stomped and needs one of their guys up, but it kind of makes sense.

this might be a "house rule" - but it is simply not a rule I have ever heard of. I know it's not in the RAW...

What's the DC of the "...heal check to determine who's dead and who isn't..."? Would it be modified by how much damage the "dead" guys took? if the 1st level Rogue took 87 HP from a crit with a Great Ax, does he look "more dead" than the guy who is 1 HP into his CON and still bleeding out?

The Exchange

DC 15. While starting first aid you determine it won't matter. There are spells that let others know if you are dead or dying. I inforce this, because too many metagame. I hate when someone falls unconcious and say, I have 7 rounds till dead.

Sovereign Court

Jeff Morse wrote:
DC 15. While starting first aid you determine it won't matter. There are spells that let others know if you are dead or dying. I inforce this, because too many metagame. I hate when someone falls unconcious and say, I have 7 rounds till dead.

I'm sorry, where is this rule from? are you counting "First Aid" as a "Check for Status"? If so, it is a Standard action (and a Heal DC 15?) to determine that a creature is dead, correct? and then I guess you are allowing this to be combined with making it stable? (Does Stabilizing the creature take a second Heal Check? or a second DC15 check?). Does failing the first check mean someone would think that a creature still bleeding out is dead? or that a dead creature is still alive? If a player fails their DC15 First Aid check, do they think they have stabilized a creature when in fact it is dead?

This is clearly a House Rule - and would be better enforced by just asking your players to please don't do it. That you "hate when someone falls unconcious and say, I have 7 rounds till dead". You want your players to play a certain way? Ask them to...

Sovereign Court

Requiring a Heal check to see if a Creature is still alive will make the spell Stabilize much more valuable though. Realizing that the target is "one living creature" it means that only live creatures are target-able, so trying to cast it on a dead creature would tell you that the creature isn't a legal target. I guess you could use bleed much the same way to check enemies...

I guess I could also just use a charge from a wand of CLW. Cast the spell and wander among the bodies, touching each until the spell discharges (on a living creature), which would also stabilize it.

It does kind of make breath of life spells harder to cast, as they are going to get thrown on many more creatures that are in the "not dead yet" category. Go down in the last round of combat? Just as the Fighter drops the last Mook? Should the Cleric cast B.o.L. on you? Just in case you actually went negative CON? Or will a Cure Critical Wounds be enough?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I rarely bother concerning myself with checking for life. Most of my casters that have access just prep stabilize and throw it on characters as the opportunity arises, unless they know it is not needed. (Status, deathwatch eyes, lifesense all help.)

Sovereign Court

TriOmegaZero wrote:
I rarely bother concerning myself with checking for life. Most of my casters that have access just prep stabilize and throw it on characters as the opportunity arises, unless they know it is not needed. (Status, deathwatch eyes, lifesense all help.)

Agreed, and I have most recently had my high level cleric cast Breath of Life on our Front Liner when he got hit with a Force Reincarnation hex and went down "dead" (for a short time) because, as far as my status spell could tell he had just died. So I figured something had hit him that I didn't see, and this was my best chance to avoid having to raise dead on him later. Did I (the player) think it would work? Nope. But my PC would not have recognized the Hex, and so tried the spell that has to be cast right as the creature dies.

Liberty's Edge

If only there was a spell that would let you know how close something was to death.

The Exchange

Yure wrote:
If only there was a spell that would let you know how close something was to death.

Back in first edition days (that would be AD&D days) I actually played in a campaign where the DM (yeah, that's what we called them in those days) actually rolled your HP each day when you got up in the morning, and didn't tell you what your total was. So, not only did you not know what your CURRENT HP were, what didn't kill you yesterday (when he rolled near max HP) could easily kill you today (when he rolled near minimum HP).

Always seemed like a lot of extra work to me, with him having to keep track of how your current HP were each day... - and we always tried to heal up as much as possible before sleeping, not knowing if we might "Die from your wounds in your sleep" when your HP reset to less than the damage you went to sleep with.

Scarab Sages

Every good Alchemist should issue Troll Oil to his party, just before starting that Dungeon Crawl (and try to renew it every hour). Cost of 50gp (1/3 of that if you craft it) for an hour of auto-stabilize and 50% chance each round to end bleed effects...

Sovereign Court

Yure wrote:
If only there was a spell that would let you know how close something was to death.

I've seen different judges run deathwatch differently.

"(alive and wounded, with 3 or fewer hit point left)" might mean you have 3 HP above zero, or it might mean you have 3 HP before you are at Negative Con Death and are down and bleeding out. So be sure to ask when you cast the spell...


Muse. wrote:
"(alive and wounded, with 3 or fewer hit point left)" might mean you have 3 HP above zero, or it might mean you have 3 HP before you are at Negative Con Death and are down and bleeding out.

Do you often have 10 year old judges? I don't know where you're from, but negative numbers should be learned at around 6th grade, and everyone who has learned about negative numbers in school has to know that "3 or fewer" does not mean "-11 HP or less". The "fighting off death" is even more clear, because it doesn't refer to hit points "left", but simply says "4 or more hit points", and any kind of negative number can't possibly be "4 or more".

So any judge/GM ruling Deathwatch in such an utterly nonsensical way a) is very young, b) dropped out of school at a very young age, c) has some mental disability, or d) is delibereately being an antagonistic jerk.

Sovereign Court

Derklord wrote:
Muse. wrote:
"(alive and wounded, with 3 or fewer hit point left)" might mean you have 3 HP above zero, or it might mean you have 3 HP before you are at Negative Con Death and are down and bleeding out.

Do you often have 10 year old judges? I don't know where you're from, but negative numbers should be learned at around 6th grade, and everyone who has learned about negative numbers in school has to know that "3 or fewer" does not mean "-11 HP or less". The "fighting off death" is even more clear, because it doesn't refer to hit points "left", but simply says "4 or more hit points", and any kind of negative number can't possibly be "4 or more".

So any judge/GM ruling Deathwatch in such an utterly nonsensical way a) is very young, b) dropped out of school at a very young age, c) has some mental disability, or d) is delibereately being an antagonistic jerk.

wow - do you often ridicule people with differing opinions from you?

My youngest judge:

Actually no, in my 43 years of playing and running RPGs (10 years of running PFS) I do not recall every having had a judge (or GM) as young as 10. I have had one (a young lady) who was 13 (or as she said "thirteen and three quarters"), who actually was quite good. She understood the rules enough to run the game and was fun to play with/for. When she had issues (misunderstandings) with rules she would consider the "other side" and make a ruling, sometimes changing the way she thought the rules worked. And afterword, she reviewed the actual rule and would evaluate whether or not she had made "a good call". All in all, I thought she had very good qualities in a judge. (She actually taught me a lot on how Summoners worked and convinced me to build and run one myself.) I have lost touch with her over the years though, and by now she would be a young adult (18? 19?)... I do hope she still plays. She was even more fun to have at the table as a player.

While I actually do not care which way it is ruled, I can easily see both sides of this, and have played both ways. Knowing that the PC currently lying on the ground bleeding out is "fighting off death (alive with 4 or more hit points" until death, rather than "within 3 HP of death" would be more important to me as a healer than knowing that the guy yelling at me for healing has 6 positive HP (and a CON of something between 8 and 30) rather than 3 or even 1 (and a CON of something between 8 and 30)... So, for the purpose of playing Devil's Advocate let me go thru the spell...

ah...no. Sorry, I don't think I will bother. That would not be fun.

After all, your mind appears to be made up and if I ever play at your table I have no problem playing the spell (and the item Deathwatch Eyes etc.) with your interpretation. After all, you would be the Judge, the rules would run as you say they do no mater what I think they should be. And my interpretation of the rules (whatever that might be) is actually only secondary. I really try not to antagonize the person who is taking the time and effort to make sure that I am having a fun gaming session.

And I have at this point in my gaming decided that life is just to short for rules arguments.

"que sera sera"


Muse. wrote:
wow - do you often ridicule people with differing opinions from you?

Not normally, no. But there can be no differing opinion here. You cannot have the opinion that -1 is "4 or more". You cannot have the opinion that -1 hit points is not "3 or fewer hit points". That's not an opinion, that's at best a misconception. Which is excusable if they haven't (yet) learned about negative numbers in school.

This is basic math. What I've stated isn't "my interpretation", it's the only possible way to run the spell in accord with the rules of math. I mean, if the spell only had that "with 3 or fewer hit point left", I could at least understand the argumentation, but the "4 or more hit points" part is unambiguous.

Yes, it could be a language problem. Yes, it could be them misreading the spell. It could even be an honest error because they didn't properly think about the spell. Such things happen, especially if one is tired. No biggie. However, if any of this is true, they shouldn't hestitate to change their ruling when I politely make my case. If they refuse to, well... refer to my above post.

To be clear, this doesn't mean that I would verbally attack them or anything. I would presume they they're self-righteous to the point of refusing to accept the possibility of being wrong, downright stupid, deliberately antagonistic, or mentally disabled, in about that order of probability, but I wouldn't say that out loud.
Oh, and your young GM sounds absolutely fine - I didn't mean to imply that someone young could not possibly be a good GM. I wouldn't have any problem sitting down at the table of a teenage GM; quite the contrary, a 13 year old girl probably has an interesting style. Anything younger I'd talk to first.

Sovereign Court

"Using the powers of necromancy, you can determine the condition of creatures near death within the spell's range. You instantly know whether each creature within the area is dead, fragile (alive and wounded, with 3 or fewer hit points left), fighting off death (alive with 4 or more hit points), healthy, undead, or neither alive nor dead (such as a construct). Deathwatch sees through any spell or ability that allows creatures to to feign death."

I do not agree with the statement "But there can be no differing opinion here."

I know judges, and have played for judges, that actually have a difference of opinion on the interpretation of this spell.

I do not agree with the statement "... it's the only possible way to run the spell in accord with the rules of math." as I have had other judges run it differently than the interpretation of the statement "... fighting off death ..." given in the posts above.

(CRB. pg 179, under the heading of Hit Points): "When your hit point total reaches 0, you're disabled. When it reaches -1 you're dying. When it gets to a negative amount equal to your Constitution score you're dead"

So... I can easily see the view that in order for a PC to be "fighting off death" the PC would have to have reached -1 (or more) in current health. Thus the statement "(alive with 4 or more hit points)" implies that the PC has passed 0 HP (the "Staggered" condition) and moved into the "Dying" condition, but still has 4 or more hit points of damage it can sustain before it reaches "Dead" condition (which is a an amount equal or greater than the PCs Constitution Score).

Thus, the spell Deathwatch becomes VERY useful in determining which PC with the "Dying" condition is going to die in less than 4 rounds.

When a PC goes down and the judge asks the player "how close are you to dead? How many HP do you have left?", if the player replies "I'm at -8 HP." this does not answer the question asked. "I'm within 3 of dead" or "I've got 4 HP till I'm dead." or even "I'm down 16 of my 30 CON" tells the judge if the PC is:
"...fragile (alive and wounded, with 3 or fewer hit points left), fighting off death (alive with 4 or more hit points)...".

"Yes, it could be a language problem. Yes, it could be them misreading the spell. It could even be an honest error because they didn't properly think about the spell." Clearly there is a difference in the reading of the spell - I just prefer to use the one that my current table judge is using without labeling one or the other in error. Of the two interpretations, as a player, I find the one which tells me how close a PC is to dying, that tells me which PCs I have less than 4 rounds to stabilize to be more useful. But if my current judge uses the other - I'll adapt. I know the guy still on his feet isn't dying - even if he is currently Staggered.

Cromwell's rule - named by statistician Dennis Lindley, states that the use of prior probabilities of 1 ("the event will definitely occur") or 0 ("the event will definitely not occur") should be avoided. The reference is to Oliver Cromwell, who wrote to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on 5 August 1650, including a phrase that has become well known and frequently quoted..."I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken." Oliver Cromwell


Jeff Morse wrote:
DC 15. While starting first aid you determine it won't matter...I inforce this, because too many metagame. I hate when someone falls unconcious and say, I have 7 rounds till dead.

1. DC15 to determine if a subject is breathing/has a pulse/is not obviously dead? So the village apothecary, with Wis 13 and a 2 ranks in Heal, fails to determine if someone is dead 40% of the time?

I'd call that a DC5 or 10, max. And 0 if the subject was mashed into paste/burned to cinders/ripped limb from limb.

2. More importantly, though--and I know this may well cause an uproar--why is metagaming bad?

We don't like metagaming because it feels unfair and artificial. But if the way we go about avoiding it is equally artificial and arbitrary, what exactly have we done?

Say I'm a cleric with a +11 to Heal. I've seen dozens upon dozens of wounds. Treated more than half of them, with medicine or magic. I think I've got a pretty good eye for trauma. How is it a gross misuse of player knowledge ("metagaming") to say my cleric can, at a glance, know he's got to help his friend in the next few rounds?

Grand Lodge

realizing Mites have HP = 3 ...

Does that mean all Mites register as "...fragile (alive and wounded, with 3 or fewer hit points left)..." when at full health?

and a 1st level Mite Sorcerer would register as "...fighting off death (alive with 4 or more hit points)..." when at full health?

But then I guess all 1st level Sorcerers ARE actually fighting off death (alive with 4 or more hit points). I mean, unless they have a CON modifier of -3 (CON of 5), then they are (alive and wounded, with 3 or fewer hit points left). Heck, everyone, even the 19th level raging Barbarian with over 300 HP fits the criteria of "fighting off death (alive with 4 or more hit points),"...


Quixote wrote:
So the village apothecary, with Wis 13 and a 2 ranks in Heal, fails to determine if someone is dead 40% of the time?

40% of the time in situations where they can't take 10 (e.g. in combat).

Auto-success when they can take 10.

The Exchange

Quixote wrote:
Jeff Morse wrote:
DC 15. While starting first aid you determine it won't matter...I inforce this, because too many metagame. I hate when someone falls unconcious and say, I have 7 rounds till dead.

1. DC15 to determine if a subject is breathing/has a pulse/is not obviously dead? So the village apothecary, with Wis 13 and a 2 ranks in Heal, fails to determine if someone is dead 40% of the time?

I'd call that a DC5 or 10, max. And 0 if the subject was mashed into paste/burned to cinders/ripped limb from limb.

2. More importantly, though--and I know this may well cause an uproar--why is metagaming bad?

We don't like metagaming because it feels unfair and artificial. But if the way we go about avoiding it is equally artificial and arbitrary, what exactly have we done?

Say I'm a cleric with a +11 to Heal. I've seen dozens upon dozens of wounds. Treated more than half of them, with medicine or magic. I think I've got a pretty good eye for trauma. How is it a gross misuse of player knowledge ("metagaming") to say my cleric can, at a glance, know he's got to help his friend in the next few rounds?

why not? in 6 seconds you get a chance. better than most people with technology could these days. if its important to know whether you need a breath of life or a cure spell, use status spell. or delay while a team member checks for you.


Jeff Morse wrote:
why not? in 6 seconds you get a chance. better than most people with technology could these days. if its important to know whether you need a breath of life or a cure spell, use status spell. or delay while a team member checks for you.

What? Better than most people could with technology?

...you just check their pulse. Took about 5 minutes to learn at my last CPR course. And with that, you have a substantially better chance than 60%. Pretty much a hundred, really. In all but the most unusual of situations.

And that's assuming you bothered to check their pulse; if a guy's been decapitated, I'm just going to assume certain things.

These characters are heroic. They know their stuff. On top of that, players who know specific information can act more strategically, and help the game run faster and smoother.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Derklord wrote:
But there can be no differing opinion here.

Know that I interpret the spell as you do. But... the sentence above is incorrect.

"with 3 or fewer hit points left"

From what? It doesn't say if it's 3 or fewer hit points left from 0, or 3 or fewer left from dead. If your negative Con is -10 and you're at -7, you've got 3 hit points left from dead. If you're at 3 hit points, you've got 3 hit points left from zero. Both are valid readings of the words printed in the book.

I'd never rule it meant from negative con, but it's absolutely a valid reading, and - more to the point - the fact that Muse had a DM rule that way proves there in fact can be differing opinion.

Liberty's Edge

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Quixote wrote:
Jeff Morse wrote:
why not? in 6 seconds you get a chance. better than most people with technology could these days. if its important to know whether you need a breath of life or a cure spell, use status spell. or delay while a team member checks for you.

What? Better than most people could with technology?

...you just check their pulse. Took about 5 minutes to learn at my last CPR course. And with that, you have a substantially better chance than 60%. Pretty much a hundred, really. In all but the most unusual of situations.

And that's assuming you bothered to check their pulse; if a guy's been decapitated, I'm just going to assume certain things.

These characters are heroic. They know their stuff. On top of that, players who know specific information can act more strategically, and help the game run faster and smoother.

You can find a weak and thready pulse with 100% accuracy, on someone in under 6 seconds in the middle of a battle, while that person is wearing armor and covered in gore? Damn, you are good!

Sovereign Court

Deathwatch spell says: "Using the powers of necromancy, you can determine the condition of creatures near death within the spell's range. You instantly know whether each creature within the area is..."

- dead,
- fragile (alive and wounded, with 3 or fewer hit points left),
- fighting off death (alive with 4 or more hit points),
- healthy,
- undead, or
- neither alive nor dead (such as a construct).

Which is a creature with 3 HP when undamaged? Would it be BOTH "Fragile" and "Healthy"?

What about a creature with 6 HP when undamaged? Would it be BOTH "Fighting Off Death" and "Healthy"?

What about a creature with 99 HP when undamaged? Would it be BOTH "Fighting off Death" and "Healthy"?

And if it gives more than one "current status", would deathwatch show the current "health" of Constructs or Undead? So if an Flesh Golem was undamaged would it show "Neither alive nor dead" & "healthy" & "fighting off death"? no, wait, it's not alive, so it wouldn't show "fighting off death (alive with 4 or more hit points)". So if the Flesh Golem had sustained a point of damage I would guess it would no longer show "healthy".

Sovereign Court

ShadowcatX wrote:
Quixote wrote:
Jeff Morse wrote:
why not? in 6 seconds you get a chance. better than most people with technology could these days. if its important to know whether you need a breath of life or a cure spell, use status spell. or delay while a team member checks for you.

What? Better than most people could with technology?

...you just check their pulse. Took about 5 minutes to learn at my last CPR course. And with that, you have a substantially better chance than 60%. Pretty much a hundred, really. In all but the most unusual of situations.

And that's assuming you bothered to check their pulse; if a guy's been decapitated, I'm just going to assume certain things.

These characters are heroic. They know their stuff. On top of that, players who know specific information can act more strategically, and help the game run faster and smoother.

You can find a weak and thready pulse with 100% accuracy, on someone in under 6 seconds in the middle of a battle, while that person is wearing armor and covered in gore? Damn, you are good!

well, if a guy has been decapitated, I'm going to guess that I can tell if he is still alive ALMOST 100% of the time, even the middle of a battle, while that person is wearing armor and covered in gore. Maybe even faster than 6 seconds.

But it really is just a guess. I've (thankfully) never had to test that.

The Exchange

Take 10 wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:
Quixote wrote:
Jeff Morse wrote:
why not? in 6 seconds you get a chance. better than most people with technology could these days. if its important to know whether you need a breath of life or a cure spell, use status spell. or delay while a team member checks for you.

What? Better than most people could with technology?

...you just check their pulse. Took about 5 minutes to learn at my last CPR course. And with that, you have a substantially better chance than 60%. Pretty much a hundred, really. In all but the most unusual of situations.

And that's assuming you bothered to check their pulse; if a guy's been decapitated, I'm just going to assume certain things.

These characters are heroic. They know their stuff. On top of that, players who know specific information can act more strategically, and help the game run faster and smoother.

You can find a weak and thready pulse with 100% accuracy, on someone in under 6 seconds in the middle of a battle, while that person is wearing armor and covered in gore? Damn, you are good!

Unless they tell me they done want to play that character any more, I won't do that to them. Or remove other body parts that they have to regenerate. I know you were joking, but thought good time to add that

well, if a guy has been decapitated, I'm going to guess that I can tell if he is still alive ALMOST 100% of the time, even the middle of a battle, while that person is wearing armor and covered in gore. Maybe even faster than 6 seconds.

But it really is just a guess. I've (thankfully) never had to test that.


ShadowcatX wrote:
You can find a weak and thready pulse with 100% accuracy, on someone in under 6 seconds in the middle of a battle, while that person is wearing armor and covered in gore? Damn, you are good!

I'm gonna go with...almost, yeah. I doubt their armor will completely prevent a quick check. Plus, they're still breathing too, no?

More importantly, Heal is a pretty massive abstraction on top of the already even more massive abstraction called hit points. I don't think muddying the waters further is necessary.
And again, the concern behind metagaming here...who cares? Let your players make intelligent decisions based on the numbers and their abilities/resources.
My players know what a monster's AC is. And the DC to it's spell-like ability. Even it's current hp total, sometimes.

The careful application of this information plus that on their character sheets...I want to reward that kind of calculated behavior. I want my players to be smart about their combat. Because if they're not, they'll end up dead.
And on top of all that, it makes my game run more efficiently and takes some of the stress off me.

So it rewards good behavior, keeps the game running, makes my life easier and takes nothing away from the immersion of the game. Win-win-win-win.

Liberty's Edge

Quixote wrote:
ShadowcatX wrote:
You can find a weak and thready pulse with 100% accuracy, on someone in under 6 seconds in the middle of a battle, while that person is wearing armor and covered in gore? Damn, you are good!
I'm gonna go with...almost, yeah. I doubt their armor will completely prevent a quick check. Plus, they're still breathing too, no?

It's funny, skilled doctors have missed patients breathing under good circumstances, but you can do it with 100% accuracy in combat?

Quote:

More importantly, Heal is a pretty massive abstraction on top of the already even more massive abstraction called hit points. I don't think muddying the waters further is necessary.

And again, the concern behind metagaming here...who cares? Let your players make intelligent decisions based on the numbers and their abilities/resources.
My players know what a monster's AC is. And the DC to it's spell-like ability. Even it's current hp total, sometimes.

The careful application of this information plus that on their character sheets...I want to reward that kind of calculated behavior. I want my players to be smart about their combat. Because if they're not, they'll end up dead.
And on top of all that, it makes my game run more efficiently and takes some of the stress off me.

So it rewards good behavior, keeps the game running, makes my life easier and takes nothing away from the immersion of the game. Win-win-win-win.

Now here, I agree. My point isn't to argue the game should be made more complex, it's simply that real life and the game are worlds apart.


ShadowcatX wrote:
It's funny, skilled doctors have missed patients breathing under good circumstances, but you can do it with 100% accuracy in combat?

It's funny, because I said ALMOST. Which means: not 100%. But certainly better than a 3 out of 5.

There are outliers to any statistic. That's hardly going to factor in a game that revolves around a d20.

Quote:
Now here, I agree. My point isn't to argue the game should be made more complex, it's simply that real life and the game are worlds apart.

Not sure how the previous comments made that point. Or how that point bears on the conversation at hand.

I think it is, in this case, fairly easy to come up with mechanics that are (a) simple to use, (b) feel like a reasonably simulated reality and (c) don't needlessly punish players or make their lives harder.


in cases like this its probably more fun for everyone at the table that a character's death status isnt completely concealed information. If you want to know how horrible it could be check out Alfred Hitchcock presents "breakdown".

I cant imagine a player would enjoy having that sort of situation thrust upon their character on top of dealing with the fact that things have already gone south for them in terms of getting dropped to negative hp.


Muse. wrote:

Deathwatch spell says: "Using the powers of necromancy, you can determine the condition of creatures near death within the spell's range. You instantly know whether each creature within the area is..."

- dead,
- fragile (alive and wounded, with 3 or fewer hit points left),
- fighting off death (alive with 4 or more hit points),
- healthy,
- undead, or
- neither alive nor dead (such as a construct).

Which is a creature with 3 HP when undamaged? Would it be BOTH "Fragile" and "Healthy"?

No, because to be Fragile you have to be 'alive and wounded' as well has having <=3 HP. The creature is not wounded, so the condition does not apply.

Muse. wrote:

What about a creature with 6 HP when undamaged? Would it be BOTH "Fighting Off Death" and "Healthy"?

What about a creature with 99 HP when undamaged? Would it be BOTH "Fighting off Death" and "Healthy"?

Taken literally, both would apply.

Since that's a silly result, a good way to fix it is to assume that if more than one situations apply, default to the last item in the list that is true. So 'healthy' takes precedence over 'fighting off death' but 'neither alive nor dead' takes precedence over 'healthy'.


LordKailas wrote:
in cases like this its probably more fun for everyone at the table that a character's death status isn't completely concealed information.

More fun, but less scary. It depends on if you want a tense game or a relaxing one.


Matthew Downie wrote:
More fun, but less scary. It depends on if you want a tense game or a relaxing one.

That's technically true; there are a lot of ways to make a game tense, though. Setting a timer for players to decide on combat actions. General encounter design. Storytelling. Playing Russian Roulette instead of rolling a d20.

But some of these methods add to both fun and excitement. I think it's fairly obvious we want to implement those.

Combat in my games is--ideally--terrifying, stressful and just verging on panic. I tone it down, depending on how green the players are, but I never go for "relaxing."
At the same time, combat is tactical. You need to look at the numbers and make smart choices.

The amount of fear you put into a player by withholding death's door information is significantly less than the loss of strategy and the increase in frustration.

Sovereign Court

Ok, I told myself I wasn't going to come back into this thread - but it keeps sucking me in. Sorry - I really do have a low Will save...

Matthew Downie wrote:
Muse. wrote:

Deathwatch spell says: "Using the powers of necromancy, you can determine the condition of creatures near death within the spell's range. You instantly know whether each creature within the area is..."

- dead,
- fragile (alive and wounded, with 3 or fewer hit points left),
- fighting off death (alive with 4 or more hit points),
- healthy,
- undead, or
- neither alive nor dead (such as a construct).

Which is a creature with 3 HP when undamaged? Would it be BOTH "Fragile" and "Healthy"?

No, because to be Fragile you have to be 'alive and wounded' as well has having <=3 HP. The creature is not wounded, so the condition does not apply.

Thanks to this discussion, I have come to accept the interpretation that the <=3 HP means "...fragile (alive and wounded, with 3 or fewer hit points left)..", means the creature has 3 or fewer HP left before it is dead. Using this spell I "...can determine the condition of creatures near death... ". Does the creature have 3 or less HP left before it is dead? or does it have 4 or more HP left before it is dead? Using this spell I CANNOT determine how close the creature is to being unconscious.

Knowing "Does the creature have 3 or less HP left before it is dead?" is useful, esp. if the creature is unconscious and can't tell me their condition themselves.
Knowing "Does the creature have 3 or less HP left before it is Staggered or Unconscious?" is not as useful, esp. if the creature is conscious, able to communicate and not currently in the process of DYING.

Matthew Downie wrote:
Muse. wrote:

What about a creature with 6 HP when undamaged? Would it be BOTH "Fighting Off Death" and "Healthy"?

What about a creature with 99 HP when undamaged? Would it be BOTH "Fighting off Death" and "Healthy"?

Taken literally, both would apply.

Creatures that are undamaged are not "Fighting Off Death". In fact, I would argue that creatures with a positive HP total are not "Fighting Off Death", and they can even tell me that. Well, I guess if they have a Bleed condition and are loosing HP each round, they could be considered "Dying" or "Fighting Off Death" but they could usually tell me that themselves. If they are in a pile of bodies mixed into the mud and blood and rubble, being able to distinguish which body is:

- dead,
- fragile (alive and wounded, with 3 or fewer hit points left),
- fighting off death (alive with 4 or more hit points),
- healthy,
- undead, or
- neither alive nor dead (such as a construct).
would be very important - with the two [/b]bold[/b] conditions being the most important to distinguish. Which creature needs attention FIRST, which creature is going to DIE in the next few rounds. I believe that is what the spell deathwatch does. It tells the caster which creature is going to DIE in the next few rounds, and tells you that for those creatures can't tell you themselves.

Matthew Downie wrote:


Since that's a silly result, a good way to fix it is to assume that if more than one situations apply, default to the last item in the list that is true. So 'healthy' takes precedence over 'fighting off death' but 'neither alive nor dead' takes precedence over 'healthy'.

Interpreted as:

- fragile (alive and wounded, with 3 or fewer hit points left before death),
- fighting off death (alive with 4 or more hit points before death),

resolves some of the silly results, and makes the spell more useful and actually ADDS TO THE DRAMA OF THE MOMENT.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I will be using that revised understanding going forward as well.


Regardless of the rules, I would say it's up to the GM, like most other things. Would it work in real life? Doubtful. Would it work in the game? I have no problem with it.

J

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