Reduced to 0 Hit Points while already there


Rules Discussion


If you have 0 Hit Points, does taking damage still qualify as being reduced to 0 Hit Points?

If yes, a PC or other creature using the dying rules would get their initiative bumped even further if damaged while at 0 Hit Points, causing:
- PCs to be more likely to survive.
- PCs to have their turn further postponed.
- creatures with regeneration to potentially get bullied forever.

If no, a creature with 0 Hit Points is mostly safe from:
- Disintegrate.
- Vision of Death.
- other death spells.
- any damage, provided they've reached dying 0 and removed the dying condition.


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Or just stop nonsensical rules-lawyering and disintegrate them to dust, scare them to death and increase their dying as normal.


I've been leaning towards yes, myself.


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No, when you take hit points while already having the Dying condition you are not counting as being reduced to 0 Hit Points. You just increase the Dying Condition accordingly and that's all.

As for Death effects, they affect you normally so you just die unless you roll a critical success. As for the special case of being stabilized but at 0 hit points, then it's a bit up to the GM. Either they consider you are at Dying 0 and increase your Dying value or they consider you are put back down. I personally consider the character at Dying 0 as otherwise it would be worse to stabilize than not, which doesn't make sense to me.


You can't have and keep dying 0. If you had dying 0, the condition would end immediately, leaving you with 0 Hit Points but not dying.

There are rules that say what happens when you take damage that reduces you to zero Hit Points. There are rules that say what happens when you take damage while dying. I'm guessing now that the intent was for the latter rules to override the former rules when you're dying, so maybe initiative wouldn't get bumped if you're already dying after all.

As for damage while at 0 but not dying, this is a weird blind spot in the rules unless damage at zero counts as reducing to 0. I'm guessing such damage is at least intended to add the dying condition, but I don't know whether it would cause an initiative bump. If so, you could stabilize a downed troll then damage it to delay its turn. However, the same result can already be accomplished by healing then damaging the troll. Readying for the troll to heal would also keep the troll from ever doing anything, though it's initiative wouldn't be changing.

In any case, I just think it's weird to count damage at zero as reducing to zero only sometimes.


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SuperParkourio wrote:
As for damage while at 0 but not dying, this is a weird blind spot in the rules...

There's no way that Paizo could anticipate every interpretation players have of their rules. It probably never occurred to the writers that a player who sees a 30-pt disintegrate destroy someone who is at 25 hp...20 hp...10 hp...5 hp...1 hp would then say "aha! But since it says "reduce to 0" that means since I'm at 0, the rules must mean I'm immune!" No, the rules don't have to mean that. It could mean that the obvious is obvious: a person with less hp than disintegrate does, is disintegrated.

Quote:
In any case, I just think it's weird to count damage at zero as reducing to zero only sometimes.

Are you arguing with yourself now, or one of your players who's not here? Because I think the only person who has argued the "0 makes you immune" is you, in your OP. It doesn't look like the other commenters are defending it.


I'm not really arguing anything at this point. I agree that disintegrate not working against zero Hit Point creatures is too silly to be true. I'm just curious.

So essentially, you need to have more than 0 HP to be reduced to 0 HP, because that's what reduce means. Despite this, damage at 0 HP without dying should grant the dying condition without bumping initiative, and disintegrate should still kill creatures with 0 HP, because that is presumably RAI. Do I understand correctly?

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