Is there coup de grace in 2e?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


I can't find rules for it anywhere

Liberty's Edge

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There is not. Hitting people who already have Dying usually kills them pretty quick, though, and NPCs are usually assumed to die at zero, anyway.

The Executioner NPC has something like it, but it's a specific ability of that NPC, not a general rule.


Nope, it is essentially covered by GMs handling it in exploration mode if they wish but not codifying it in rules.


What if, say, the rogue stabs a sleeping person in the jugular? Would it just do normal damage?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

If you choose to resolve that stabbing by combat rules, the rogue should have a pretty good chance of that being a critical hit with sneak attack, but nothing special beyond that.

Liberty's Edge

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Yqatuba wrote:
What if, say, the rogue stabs a sleeping person in the jugular? Would it just do normal damage?

GM call to some degree, the combat rules are for combat more than murder.

That said, the Rogue almost certainly does crit under these circumstances, since the sleeping person is down -6 AC just from being asleep (-4 unconscious, -2 Prone), plus the loss of any armor, so all you're losing from PF1 is the Save vs. Death.

And on a narrative level, HP are a reflection of plot armor to some degree, so surviving things like this due to them is pretty reasonable.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Deadly or fatal weapons are the best thing to use for sleep strikes due to the likelihood of a crit. At higher levels you probably aren't one shotting a main bad guy though.

Liberty's Edge

Yqatuba wrote:
What if, say, the rogue stabs a sleeping person in the jugular? Would it just do normal damage?

To be fair, if you're talking about a PC stabbing an NPC who is asleep which has a statblock and level its own that is anything higher than level -1 then you're not just dealing with a random "sleeping person" but more akin to doing this to something as strong and dangerous as an adult Black Bear (Level 1 creature). I cannot imagine that even the most well-aimed, perfectly timed knife attack to the neck of a grown sleeping bear would do much more than throw it into a fit of survival based rage.

Now, if we're talking about equating this to any human in the real world then yeah, there is a good chance this type of thing should kill someone but that, surprisingly, isn't always the case. This is like having just the Human Ancestry HP but the attack ends up rolling really now.

That said, if this is a situation where the PCs are the target of attacks when they're already unconscious by the GM... well, you should expect to be Crit if you're asleep and if you're already at 0 HP... you better hope you saved your Hero Points because the GM is actively trying to get your PC killed.


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I believe the idea is to reduce rules that are generally only fun if the GM knows to not use them on the PCs. Getting your character's throat slit in their sleep wasn't fun, so it's maybe not a great rule to have lying around.

The Exchange

Yqatuba wrote:
What if, say, the rogue stabs a sleeping person in the jugular? Would it just do normal damage?

There are number of threads that have appeared about this and it seems that for many players putting in a mechanic that allows helpless individuals to be significantly more vulnerable to a fatal attack than they would be if armed and alert is considered bad game design.

In 2e there is no CdG mechanic and at the time the game came out it struck me how much hard work this would be for the executioners of Golarion.
In that limited case the executioner sorts that problem.

Perhaps an optional rule can be created for those of us who feel the game is lacking something it could benefit from.

W


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

One other thing worth keeping in mind is that if you try and kill someone in their sleep you probably wwon intititiave and can full attack them. The follow up strikes are less likely to crit of course, because the enemy will only be flat-footed and missing their armor, but a rogue full round sneak attacking someone is gonna hurt like the Dickens. Especially if there's a debilitation to make them clumsy 1 after that first strike.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
heretic wrote:
Yqatuba wrote:
What if, say, the rogue stabs a sleeping person in the jugular? Would it just do normal damage?

There are number of threads that have appeared about this and it seems that for many players putting in a mechanic that allows helpless individuals to be significantly more vulnerable to a fatal attack than they would be if armed and alert is considered bad game design.

In 2e there is no CdG mechanic and at the time the game came out it struck me how much hard work this would be for the executioners of Golarion.
In that limited case the executioner sorts that problem.

Perhaps an optional rule can be created for those of us who feel the game is lacking something it could benefit from.

W

If the story demands the executioner to execute the victim, they just do it without mechanics being involved. PF2 relegates far more to the GM and the narrative.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah, just crunched some numbers. A Hellknight Paravicar (level 11) only has AC of 17 when asleep, which is autocrit territory from a comparably leveled character. A rogue with a +2 flaming frost greater striking pick would deal 87.5 average damage on that first strike alone, more than half of the Paravicar's health. Pretty good chance the rogue can one round the hell knight, and if she has a sneaky buddy it seems near certain.

Against lower level mooks, the rogue should have no problem killing them in their beds.

Liberty's Edge

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In fairness, that damage looks a lot worse vs. on level people who wear armor to bed or only have light armor to start with, but lower leveled foes? Oh yeah, they're gonna get wrecked.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
In fairness, that damage looks a lot worse vs. on level people who wear armor to bed or only have light armor to start with, but lower leveled foes? Oh yeah, they're gonna get wrecked.

Totally, but the Hell Knight also sticks out to me as someone you'd actually try and kill in their sleep. They are the kind of high profile candidate that gets targeted for assassinations in narrative and doing so provides substantial mechanical benefit.


Thankfully not.

As someone with a GM that doesn't subscribe to monster's behavior in combat all that much, my character's have been killed several times because "that's what a monster would do", since even though it was in imminent danger against other threats that were still standing and threatening it (AoOs), it still chose to perform the coup-de-grace, I'm glad that this is not an option anymore.

Most of its effects can be handled through narrative means and in combat it makes less tactically appealing to waste an action to hit a PC when its down (Unless the PC's keeps bouncing up mid-fight, which never happened in our table).


Captain Morgan wrote:

Yeah, just crunched some numbers. A Hellknight Paravicar (level 11) only has AC of 17 when asleep, which is autocrit territory from a comparably leveled character. A rogue with a +2 flaming frost greater striking pick would deal 87.5 average damage on that first strike alone, more than half of the Paravicar's health. Pretty good chance the rogue can one round the hell knight, and if she has a sneaky buddy it seems near certain.

Against lower level mooks, the rogue should have no problem killing them in their beds.

Wait. This monster's base AC is 30. Unconscious give you Flatfooted (-2) and a -4 Status bonus. Which gives us 30-4-2=24. Am I missing something?

Liberty's Edge

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Lightning Raven wrote:
Wait. This monster's base AC is 30. Unconscious give you Flatfooted (-2) and a -4 Status bonus. Which gives us 30-4-2=24. Am I missing something?

It looks to me like they're including the AC bonus from +1 hellknight fullplate as it would work for a PC. That's not technically how it works but I think it's a pretty fair way of handling/improvising it.

Sleeping with ANY kind of armor on just REALLY isn't a thing when you are able to rest somewhere you believe is safe. I imagine only the most paranoid hellknights would sleep in their armor unless they're "on-mission" behind enemy lines.


Now I understand. Makes sense.


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Themetricsystem wrote:

It looks to me like they're including the AC bonus from +1 hellknight fullplate as it would work for a PC. That's not technically how it works but I think it's a pretty fair way of handling/improvising it.

That is how it works per Bestiary 2 on page 7 (maybe the first Bestiary as well):

“Bestiary 2” wrote:

If a creature doesn’t have its armor, find the armor in its Items entry and reduce the creature’s AC by that armor’s item bonus (Core Rulebook 275). If the armor has a potency rune, increase the reduction as appropriate.


Captain Morgan wrote:
Totally, but the Hell Knight also sticks out to me as someone you'd actually try and kill in their sleep. They are the kind of high profile candidate that gets targeted for assassinations in narrative and doing so provides substantial mechanical benefit.

They're also the kind of targets that wake up in time to see the knife in narratives, and roll over, barely escaping with their lives and fleeing wounded.

Themetricsystem wrote:
Sleeping with ANY kind of armor on just REALLY isn't a thing when you are able to rest somewhere you believe is safe. I imagine only the most paranoid hellknights would sleep in their armor unless they're "on-mission" behind enemy lines.

True in reality. In a fantasy world with magic armor and the Comfort trait on your padding? You still won't have all your armor, of course. (And might not have the padding, if you're in your home and feel safe.)

Liberty's Edge

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Themetricsystem wrote:
It looks to me like they're including the AC bonus from +1 hellknight fullplate as it would work for a PC. That's not technically how it works but I think it's a pretty fair way of handling/improvising it.

As BooleanBear notes, this actually is correct per the rules. NPC base damage and AC is figured very differently from PCs, but they generally interact with the equipment rules normally if you change/replace their default equipment due to specific factors (like being in bed).

Themetricsystem wrote:
Sleeping with ANY kind of armor on just REALLY isn't a thing when you are able to rest somewhere you believe is safe. I imagine only the most paranoid hellknights would sleep in their armor unless they're "on-mission" behind enemy lines.

Resting in armor normally makes you fatigued, so most NPCs should not do it. Explorer's Clothing and Padded Armor are the exception (and given the rules on padded armor, should probably result in the Paralictor having +2 more AC, actually...not that AC 19 is much better than AC 17 at that level), but those are both very low bonus forms of armor.

The Exchange

I read the example of the Paravicar vs a similar level rogue with interest. I imagine the example is mechanically sound enough. I am not entirely convinced I draw the same conclusions.

In all sincerity if I am missing something about the effect of the Unconscious, Blinded, Restrained, Paralysed, Prone, Flanked & Flat Footed conditions please set me straight!

I recognise too a character who relies on an armour bonus will be impacted depending on what they wear when bedding down.

Of course there are occasions when a target will be unconscious with more than 1 HP for other reasons than having gone to bed and thus will be normally attired.

As I understand it being asleep gives a -4 status penalty and if also prone a -2 circumstance penalty to AC against the first attack and being flat footed are subject to sneak attack damage. For further attacks they’d be flat footed by dint of being prone. This example assumes they don’t sleep standing up!

So the sleeping character here is down 4 AC compared to, that same character awake but prone, for one attack & then becomes mechanically identical in terms of AC.

A Paralysed or Restrained Character is mechanically no more vulnerable to attacks than any other flat footed one. Naturally these conditions are a big hindrance for as long as they last but not when it comes to being stabbed with the pointy end.

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