Dying and bleed damage help, PC death


Rules Discussion


Hey guys, hoping for some input here. We had a PC death tonight and I want to make sure it was by the book.

Player was wounded 1, with persistent bleed damage. It is his turn, takes an AOO and gets crit to below 0 HP, goes down to dying 3. Now this is where we had some confusion, does his turn now end and he takes the bleed damage, killing him? Or does he immediately move in initiative and the bleed damage does not take effect until his next turn?


How can a dying character get an AoO?


HumbleGamer wrote:

How can a dying character get an AoO?

He had the wounded 1 condition, and provoked an AOO on his turn


J1414 wrote:
HumbleGamer wrote:

How can a dying character get an AoO?

He had the wounded 1 condition, and provoked an AOO on his turn

Got it.

Then by raw is dead because of the persistent damage.


Tricky!

The first thing that happens is his initiative changes, because that's what the Knocked Out and Dying rules say. The question becomes, does initiative then pass to the next in line, or does he first go through the canonical End Your Turn routine?

I'd like to go with the former, where he gets a round to live, on the grounds that the dying rules are meant to produce that effect in general. But that would mean that any spell he had been Sustaining earlier, but hadn't Sustained on that turn, would fail to end until his initiative came around again, which is clearly bogus. So I'm afraid he does have to go through the end-of-turn steps, which kill him. I will be delighted if someone can show this is wrong!

I will note that if he had any Hero Points, he should have spent them for a Heroic Recovery the moment the persistent damage was about to raise his dying condition, whenever that might be.


I think that he dies as well.

Except if he still has a hero point since he can then stabilise immediately as he gains the dying 3 condition back to stabilised/wounded 1 then instantly goes to dying 2/wounded 1 due to bleeding.

Horizon Hunters

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

That's not correct. When you are knocked to 0 HP your initiative is immediately moved to before the creature or effect that reduced you to 0. You skip the end step of your turn entirely.

This would mean, however, if the creature that made the AoO was next they would have still died, but if not they may have had a chance to survive.

Also, if they player had a hero point that would have saved them from death.

Also I should probably refresh before making these posts lol.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Hero points are the key to survival.
Any persistant damage pushes the dying counter at a faster rate, but a player should still be able to use his hero points at the most opportune time to avoid death. Unless he's already spent them.


Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

Tricky!

I'd like to go with the former, where he gets a round to live, on the grounds that the dying rules are meant to produce that effect in general. But that would mean that any spell he had been Sustaining earlier, but hadn't Sustained on that turn, would fail to end until his initiative came around again, which is clearly bogus. So I'm afraid he does have to go through the end-of-turn steps, which kill him. I will be delighted if someone can show this is wrong!

this was my line of thinking as well. The way I see it, bleed damage occurs every six seconds, the passage of time does not stop because you went unconscious

Horizon Hunters

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Normally you wouldn't be KOed on your own turn. This is the question that should be asked:

If you are KOed on your own turn, does your turn go through its "End" phase or is that skipped all together?


i personally dont think that changing initiative directly skips the rest of your turn.

Even in Dealy, that also changes initiative, it has specific language to "skip" your turn till the new initiative (whenver you call it).

And even in this case, it still does all persistent damage at the end of your "old" initiative and doesnt carry it over to the new one.

While it's obvious that this is done to prevent "i dealy till i get healed" scenarios, i dont find that mechanically different than be FORCED to this position by someone else changing your initiative.


Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:
I'd like to go with the former, where he gets a round to live, on the grounds that the dying rules are meant to produce that effect in general. But that would mean that any spell he had been Sustaining earlier, but hadn't Sustained on that turn, would fail to end until his initiative came around again, which is clearly bogus. So I'm afraid he does have to go through the end-of-turn steps, which kill him. I will be delighted if someone can show this is wrong!

This conundrum happens normally when a character goes down not on his turn as well in terms of pure initiative counts. For ex, presume enemies turn is count 2 and then player would be count 3, then 100 other characters take initiative counts 1 and 3+.

If enemy downs player, then the need to sustain a spell before it expires, RAW, skips 100 initiative counts. That’s essentially the same thing as what you’re saying is bogus in the above.

Is tricky though. Comes down to how you define immediate I guess. If it’s immediately not your turn because your turn is later, then why are you taking turn steps?

I think this falls into GM call, and I prefer the suspense of looming death over “write a new character”


J1414 wrote:

Hey guys, hoping for some input here. We had a PC death tonight and I want to make sure it was by the book.

Player was wounded 1, with persistent bleed damage. It is his turn, takes an AOO and gets crit to below 0 HP, goes down to dying 3. Now this is where we had some confusion, does his turn now end and he takes the bleed damage, killing him? Or does he immediately move in initiative and the bleed damage does not take effect until his next turn?

Dying makes you unconscious. Unconscious means you can't act. Therefore, turn immediately ends because you are no longer able to act, your end-of-turn effects take place, and, if still alive, you are thrown in front of the bad guy's initiative.

The player could Hero Point to prevent the death, but they would still be unconscious at 0 HP, and still be bleeding until they get healed or go back to dying 4.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Ok, for one thing, wasn't it change to where when you die your initiative is moved to before the current turn. (normally the creature that took you down, but if you prompted an AoO, I think that moves your initiative to right before your initiative)

The potential way you might be able to word it and potentially have allowed them to survive was... the attack took them down, ending their turn causing them to take their persistent damage, meaning they take all the damage (critical plus persistent) but roll it together as one effect together.

Actually, the potential argument you could make which might leave them alive.

They took the damage. The first step is to move initiative. This means your turn ends right then and there. Any effects on you for during your turn ends right then. This means of course that you take extra damage, but are already at 0 HP but are not dying yet, as that is the next step, so you don't increase your dying condition yet. You next acquire the dying condition. The effect that took you to dying was a critical so you go to Dying 2 +1 for the wounded condition. This means you have ended your turn, are at 0 HP, at Dying 3 and are waiting for their next turn, which comes right before their old initiative. (which means basically the same place, since they moved right before themselves) It might be a little far fetched, but might actually be functional.

Basically moving initiative can be seen as the termination of their turn technically... as it would make sense you need to terminate your turn before moving its order. So they complete their end-of-turn transition before resolving the transition state to dying condition. This gives them the chance to survive. (granted hero point use is an _excellent_ option in this case, however, as well although if using the above case you might wait until your dying condition actually increases again to get the most use out of it, if there is a chance you might get hit again.)


A wounded character, who is also bleeding, is then critically hit, and dies.

Sounds legit to me.

Is there language about "losing your remaining actions" which would seemingly trigger the End of Turn language "with the actions you have available"?

Silver Crusade

If a character is unconscious at 0 hit points (but not dying), and that character is injured, does he gain the dying condition? If so, please show the page or link indicating it if you can.

From what I can tell an unconscious character at 0 who's not dying doesn't gain the dying condition, but that seems weird and maybe I'm just missing the relevant text.


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

So, what, your reading is that because they're already at 0hp, the damage that leaves them at 0 hp can't be damage that reduces them to 0hp and they can't start dying? That seems like you're reading things far more legalistically than is actually warranted.

Grand Lodge

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I think the bigger question is, do you WANT the PC to be dead? If so, rule as has been suggested. They drop to Dying three, their turn ends which triggers the Bleed condition and they die. If you WANT the PC to live, rule that their end of turn effects are skipped, move them in the initiative order and give the rest of the party an opportunity to save them. Seems more reasonable than trying to parse some rules minutia.

Rules discussion are much easier to resolve when you look at what conclusion are you trying to reach rather than simply trying to rigidly interpret the exactness of the language used by the designers.

Good luck!


RAW I think you're out of luck and they would die, but I think it's also pretty clear that the point of the moving initiative is to give PCs time to try and save them before the first death roll (unless, of course, they're attacked again while down). With that in mind it's perfectly reasonable to use that intent as a reason to not trigger the end of turn bleed damage until that new initiative triggers. I disagree with the notion that if you make that exception for bleed damage then you also have to make sustained spells not end. The trigger (end of turn) may be the same, but both thematically and mechanically 2 very different things are happening.

As a GM, I would definitely make this exception, but that's not up to me in other games. If you are the GM, just do what feels right, and don't feel like you have to change the game because a player is complaining, and if you're one of the players I think at this point you should have enough info about the rules to have a conversation about why both ways are valid and see if they change their mind.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
TwilightKnight wrote:

I think the bigger question is, do you WANT the PC to be dead? If so, rule as has been suggested. They drop to Dying three, their turn ends which triggers the Bleed condition and they die. If you WANT the PC to live, rule that their end of turn effects are skipped, move them in the initiative order and give the rest of the party an opportunity to save them. Seems more reasonable than trying to parse some rules minutia.

Rules discussion are much easier to resolve when you look at what conclusion are you trying to reach rather than simply trying to rigidly interpret the exactness of the language used by the designers.

Good luck!

But then the players call foul when inconsistent rulings kill loathsome Billy's character, but not the character of his lovely, can-do-better-than-Billy girlfriend, JoAnna.


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Ravingdork wrote:
TwilightKnight wrote:

I think the bigger question is, do you WANT the PC to be dead? If so, rule as has been suggested. They drop to Dying three, their turn ends which triggers the Bleed condition and they die. If you WANT the PC to live, rule that their end of turn effects are skipped, move them in the initiative order and give the rest of the party an opportunity to save them. Seems more reasonable than trying to parse some rules minutia.

Rules discussion are much easier to resolve when you look at what conclusion are you trying to reach rather than simply trying to rigidly interpret the exactness of the language used by the designers.

Good luck!

But then the players call foul when inconsistent rulings kill loathsome Billy's character, but not the character of his lovely, can-do-better-than-Billy girlfriend, JoAnna.

Yeah, a better question would be "do you want this situation to be able to kill characters?" It's important to be consistent.


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Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Society Subscriber

From my own interpretation, the RAW is clear, they are dead in your above scenario. Their turn doesn't magically extend until their new spot in the initiative, which by the way is their own damn turn as in this case they're actually moving to just before their current turn; Cordell is wrong on this point you move before the TURN that's active, not the creature's turn that knocked you out. This is an errata so check the 2nd printing (CRB 459).

This is actually pretty explicitly the player led to their own demise, so no agency was lost in that sense, which is the only time I as a GM try go out of my way to not kill a player character. If the party did something that led to someone being killed, well that's on them.

Silver Crusade

If the player caused it, it's on them.

There are plenty of ways in 2E to recover the dead PC and bring them back to life.

Whatever anyone does as a GM, it is best to be fair and consistent otherwise it might come back to really bite you in the rear end.

I had my first Pathfinder PC killed at GENCON on the first day. It sucked and I was placed in a no-win situation but it was fair and the dice were just epic fails.

I got rezzed afterwards. Death happens, it is what gives scenarios and encounters meaning and the "thrill".


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

Yeah, the character is dead, for the reasons several folks have stated above. The errata for page 459 of the Core Rulebook is clear.

Grand Lodge

Ravingdork wrote:
But then the players call foul when inconsistent rulings...

I didn't suggest changing it each time. It is simply a methodology to use the first time it happens in your campaign to decide how you will be ruling it moving forward. If you find that its not working as intended/expected then change it and let them know you did so.

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