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This monster regains the listed number of Hit Points each round at the beginning of its turn. Its dying condition never increases beyond dying 3 as long as its regeneration is active. However, if it takes damage of a type listed in the regeneration entry, its regeneration deactivates until the end of its next turn. Deactivate the regeneration before applying any damage of a listed type, since that damage might kill the monster by bringing it to dying 4.
It appears that they could go through the dying phases, though since there's no such thing as negative hit points, I'm not sure it matters except in peculiar cases. (There might be other abilities that trigger off of Dying for example.) I say "could" because when Regeneration is inactive, I'd just count them as dead (unless they meet the special criteria of being a PC/PC-linked/rare NPC of great importance.
Creature gets hit to zero hit points.
If Regeneration is deactivated, I'd simply kill them off as per standard rules. No Dying X. It'd be quite the labor to not only track each case of Dying, but for the players/PCs too.
If Regeneration is active, enemy goes to Dying 1, the enemy gains their hit points on their turn. They lose Dying 1 and perhaps gaining Wounded 1 which has no effect except re: Dying...so doesn't really matter since Dying itself only matters when they reach Dying 4, which they cannot gain while their Regeneration is active. So this loop of hitting the enemy down to zero can continue indefinitely, capping at Dying 3/Wounded 3 which again, only matters for specific abilities (if any!) that require those Conditions. So in the end, you don't need to track the creature's Dying status.
So at the beginning of their turn while fallen, all you have to do is ask whether their Regeneration has been deactivated that round or not.
If not, they're at X hit points from Regeneration X.
If so, they're dead.
Creatures cannot be reduced to fewer than 0 Hit Points. When most creatures reach 0 Hit Points, they die and are removed from play unless the attack was nonlethal, in which case they are instead knocked out for a significant amount of time (usually 1 minute or more). When undead and construct creatures reach 0 Hit Points, they are destroyed.
Player characters, their companions, and other significant characters and creatures don’t automatically die when they reach 0 Hit Points. Instead, they are knocked out and are at risk of death. At the GM’s discretion, villains, powerful monsters, special NPCs, and enemies with special abilities that are likely to bring them back to the fight (like ferocity, regeneration, or healing magic) can use these rules as well.
As a player character, when you are reduced to 0 Hit Points, you’re knocked out with the following effects:
You immediately move your initiative position to directly before the turn in which you were reduced to 0 HP.
You gain the dying 1 condition. If the effect that knocked you out was a critical success from the attacker or the result of your critical failure, you gain the dying 2 condition instead. If you have the wounded condition, increase your dying value by an amount equal to your wounded value. If the damage was dealt by a nonlethal attack or nonlethal effect, you don’t gain the dying condition; you are instead unconscious with 0 Hit Points.
How you particularly deal with Regeneration is largely up to you as a GM. You can treat them exactly like a player, and track their dying and wounded conditions appropriately. Or you can do as Castilliano suggests and just wait for the regenerating creature to be at 0 hp while their regeneration is turned off.
Both are valid ways of running the scenario, and I can see reasons to run it either way. I tend to run it as Castilliano says, but wouldn't be surprised if others run it some other way.
If a troll is unconscious at 0 hp, it only takes three actions to kill-kill it. One has to be a torch or other fire damage. So PC pulls torch lights it and strides up to troll. PC 2 strides to troll, takes torch and Strikes. PC 3 or 4 between them need to do at least 1 point of damage to the dying troll in two of the 6 actions they have between them before the troll gets up.
Even if the PCs don't hit it enough. The Regen doesn't start up again until the end of the troll's next turn, but it only gets hps at the start of its turn. Meaning it will be on the ground for another full round before it is in positive hp territory. So your PCs have 12 more actions to do 1 fire damage to keep it down.
TLDR; if you can deactivate the regen, PCs should have no trouble keeping it down, to the point that it can be handwaved if no one else is in the fight.
|The Raven Black|
Wait, are some people saying the Troll wouldn't get its three actions on the same round it Regenerates back from Dying?
Being allotted actions & regenerating both occur at the start of one's turn, so which comes first could be debated. I lean toward allotting the actions since it's more straightforward IMO, otherwise the creature's as good as dead anyway, and if a PC had Regeneration going, wouldn't that be expectation?
On the flip side, having a "dead" creature rise up after being handled does cause quite the scare. :-O
Troll hordes had used to be a norm, and terrifying if one didn't have fire handy. It was standard DnD army protocol to have handy braziers for just such fights! Nostalgia aside, that Weakness in PF2 is so severe, Fireballs & other fire AoEs would eliminate them rather swiftly...and a lack of those would cause a major fluctuation in the difficulty level. Gulp.
(Seriously though, they & others w/ Regeneration are the primary reason I strive to have consistent fire damage available, even though yes, there are many others too that's worthwhile against.)