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Ubercaledor
2010-07-11, 09:52 PM
I know this is a stupid question, but if a PC is "dying" and then, for whatever reason, spends a healing surge, where is she re-inserted into the initiative? RAW doesn't specify, and technically if the PC's turn has passed, they are the highest initiative character that has yet to act.

Are dying characters considered to have spent their actions rolling a dying save? If so, that would imply that they can take actions...

I just found it difficult to explain following RAW, though it makes sense RAI for the PC to forsake their turn during their... convalescence.

Thajocoth
2010-07-11, 09:59 PM
They shouldn't be removed from initiative for being unconscious. On their turn, they're supposed to roll a death save until they get better. 3 failures and they die. Natural 20 and they get to spend a surge without help.

There are powers usable while unconscious. Maiden's Waking, for example. It's a Sorcerer Utility. No Action. Trigger: You start your turn Dazed, Stunned or Unconscious. Effect: You take your turn as if you're not Dazed, Stunned or Unconscious.

You can't take Standard, Move, Minor, Free, Immediate or Opportunity Actions while Unconscious. You can take No Actions as long as the Trigger's requirements are met.

Ubercaledor
2010-07-11, 10:02 PM
So the death save replaces their action, and they re-enter initiative in the following round?

Thajocoth
2010-07-11, 10:04 PM
So the death save replaces their action, and they re-enter initiative in the following round?

The Death Save is at the end of their turn. Just like saving from ongoing damage. Their turn is still there, it just has no actions in it... Like a Stunned player's turn.

cupkeyk
2010-07-11, 10:06 PM
Some humans/half elves have feats or class features that (and some leader effects) allow you to save at the start of the round. If the dying creature saves, he can act immediately.

Townopolis
2010-07-11, 10:07 PM
Almost. The death save occurs at the end of their turn, and they can't take actions until they succeed at a death save, so it's usually the same difference. There are just a few, rare, circumstances where the distinction is important.

A sorcerer using the above-mentioned power could use it while dying, take his turn as normal, and then make their death saving throw at the end of the turn normally. If they roll a nat. 20, they heal up and get all successive turns normally.

Thajocoth
2010-07-11, 10:09 PM
...A sorcerer using the above-mentioned power could use it while dying, take his turn as normal, and then make their death saving throw at the end of the turn normally...

The Sorcerer could also Second Wind or use a potion during their turn, preventing themselves from needing to roll the save at all.

cupkeyk
2010-07-11, 10:11 PM
Revenants act normally while dying. Lolz

Thajocoth
2010-07-11, 10:31 PM
Revenants act normally while dying. Lolz

Not quite. They can, at best, stay up until they fail a death save, and that's after a couple feats. They also don't get a full turn.

The danger of staying up instead of going unconscious is that you're still a viable target and that if you reach negative bloodied, you die instantly, whether you're conscious or not.

cupkeyk
2010-07-11, 10:44 PM
well enough to self heal

Ubercaledor
2010-07-11, 11:13 PM
The Sorcerer could also Second Wind or use a potion during their turn, preventing themselves from needing to roll the save at all.

then, of course, second wind is a standard action, so you'd only have a move/minor left anyway.

In the game in question the character failed their death save anyway, so it was redundant.

Katana_Geldar
2010-07-11, 11:51 PM
From what I understand, succeeding in a death save brings your hp up to 0. Then you can spend a healing surge and re-enter initative.

Of course, if someone manages to heal you with a power or stabilise you with the Heal skill before that then it changes things.

Death saves are explained fully in PHB and the DM's screen.

Zombimode
2010-07-12, 12:03 AM
From what I understand, succeeding in a death save brings your hp up to 0. Then you can spend a healing surge and re-enter initative.

No.

The effect of a 20 on a death save is: spend a healing surge; no longer dying; if you have no healing surges left, no change.

NecroRebel
2010-07-12, 12:07 AM
No.

The effect of a 20 on a death save is: spend a healing surge; no longer dying; if you have no healing surges left, no change.

Technically, if you are healed when you are below 0 hit points, you first immediately heal to 0 and then receive whatever healing you would have otherwise. As you say, though, rolling a 20 just lets you spend a healing surge to heal, but that means that Katana_Geldar was mostly correct if the dying character has a surge left.

Zombimode
2010-07-12, 01:18 AM
As you say, though, rolling a 20 just lets you spend a healing surge to heal, but that means that Katana_Geldar was mostly correct if the dying character has a surge left.

Not quite.
First, there is no "may". You spend a healing surges if you can. You cant choose not to spend it.
Second, there is no "your life total becomes 0". This is important if you dont have a healing surges left.

Thajocoth
2010-07-12, 04:00 AM
then, of course, second wind is a standard action, so you'd only have a move/minor left anyway.

In the game in question the character failed their death save anyway, so it was redundant.

They need to fail THREE death saves to die. (This gives the other players 3-4 rounds to help them.)

A Move and a Minor can do great things... And if they're a Dwarf, that Second Wind was a Minor, so they've got a Standard. Don't forget Action Points...


From what I understand, succeeding in a death save brings your hp up to 0. Then you can spend a healing surge and re-enter initative.

Of course, if someone manages to heal you with a power or stabilise you with the Heal skill before that then it changes things.

Death saves are explained fully in PHB and the DM's screen.

If you roll 9 or less, you fail a death save. Three failures means death. 10 or better causes no change. Bonuses to saves help these (So a Ring of Protection would give you +1 to Death Saves, as it gives a +1 to all saving throws)

On an unmodified 20, you're stabilized (no more Death Saves) and may spend a surge. If you spend a surge, you suddenly jump to 0hp, then take the healing.

If you roll a natural 20 and decide not to spend a surge or have none to spend, you still stabilize, so you stop rolling death saves and start your 6 hour rest. Unless, of course, somebody pours a potion down your throat to bring you to 1... I'm not 100% sure if the unconscious no-surges heal -> 1hp thing is a houserule or not though.

If you're stabilized, but still unconscious, taking more damage (even from, say, ongoing poison damage), will put you back into the dying condition, causing you to need to roll Death Saves again. Because this is a possibility, you don't remove a stabilized person from initiative.

Your failed Death Saves go away when you take a Short Rest... Meaning that if you fail one, but get back up, you've still failed one... So being knocked down again and rolling another two failures would kill you.

The other way to die is if your hp is your bloodied value into the negatives. So if you have 83 hp, your bloodied value is 41, so you die instantly, no saves, if you reach -41.

Death Saves are, like most other saves, at the end of your turn. You're only removed from initiative if you die and don't have one of those Epic powers that triggers when you die... So when you return to consciousness, you don't return to initiative because you never left initiative. So you're right where you were before.

Technically, if somebody could grant saves, they could grant you a Death Save while you're dying, as it is a savable condition. Failing that would NOT count towards your total of failed saves, but on a natural 20, you'd still benefit. It's only a 5% chance though, so unless you have the feat that lets you treat 18-20 on a Death Save the same as a 20, it's not really worth it. And even then, that's only a 15% chance.

Even if you're conscious from Maiden's Waking, being a Revenant, or something else, if you're at 0 or in the negatives, you still roll Death Saves (unless you stabilized).

A person can use the Heal skill (I think this is a Standard, but check the PHB, skills section, Heal skill) to get someone else to spend their Second Wind if they still have it, or to stabilize them. DC 10 for Second Wind, 15 to stabilize. If your Second Wind is used while unconscious, you don't get it's +2 to defenses that it normally gives.


This should clear up any and all questions regarding the dying, stabilized and unconscious conditions. (Technically, Stabilized isn't a condition... It's the lack of a condition. It's just a word for "Not dying".)

Tiki Snakes
2010-07-12, 05:44 AM
I'm pretty sure that if you second wind, or otherwise are given the option to spend a surge but have no surge to spend, you instead are reset to 1hp.

Been a while since I checked, and it's never really came up, so not entirely sure.

Thajocoth
2010-07-12, 05:52 AM
I'm pretty sure that if you second wind, or otherwise are given the option to spend a surge but have no surge to spend, you instead are reset to 1hp.

Been a while since I checked, and it's never really came up, so not entirely sure.

This sounds right to me. I just wasn't sure if my group's been playing with a houserule or not. Seems like the answer is "not".

taltamir
2010-07-12, 05:56 AM
Technically, if you are healed when you are below 0 hit points, you first immediately heal to 0 and then receive whatever healing you would have otherwise. As you say, though, rolling a 20 just lets you spend a healing surge to heal, but that means that Katana_Geldar was mostly correct if the dying character has a surge left.

that sounds ab-usable... like in 3.5 where you use a spell to not die regardless of how much damage you take (but you die as soon as it expires if your HP is low enough), then use an ability that improves as you take damage (take tons of damage), then get drowned to get 0HP.

so... is there such a spell and ability in 4e?

KillianHawkeye
2010-07-12, 07:26 AM
Technically, if somebody could grant saves, they could grant you a Death Save while you're dying, as it is a savable condition. Failing that would NOT count towards your total of failed saves, but on a natural 20, you'd still benefit. It's only a 5% chance though, so unless you have the feat that lets you treat 18-20 on a Death Save the same as a 20, it's not really worth it. And even then, that's only a 15% chance.

Why doesn't a granted save count against your limit on failed death saves? I mean, if you fail it, you failed it. Right? Do you have a reference for that?

Snowstorm
2010-07-12, 08:14 AM
Why doesn't a granted save count against your limit on failed death saves? I mean, if you fail it, you failed it. Right? Do you have a reference for that?

It was either in the PHB2 or one of the errata updates. Failing a granted save doesn't trigger any 'failed save' mechanics. For example, if you had Sleep cast on you, and a Warlord granted you a save.. you wouldn't fall unconscious if you failed.

Only if you fail your normal, end-of-turn saves, does it count against you.

Angelmaker
2010-07-12, 08:36 AM
I just wanted to add, since I got the impression that most here are using the roll of a natural 20 for spending a healing surge on a death saving throw, that it actually is phrased otherwise in the PHB:


20 or higher: Spend a healing surge. When you do
so, you are considered to have 0 hit points, and then
your healing surge restores hit points as normal. You
are no longer dying, and you are conscious but still
prone. If you roll 20 or higher but have no healing
surges left expressed as a negative number, your
condition doesn’t change.

This means you donīt need a NAT 20 to recover but ANYTHING that improves your saving throws will suffice in pushing your roll over the twenty.

I donīt know if I read this correctly or incorrectly, or what the commonly used interpretation on this topic is ( or if it even was errataed ), I just felt I may have added to this conversation something useful.

Sir_Elderberry
2010-07-12, 09:21 AM
It was either in the PHB2 or one of the errata updates. Failing a granted save doesn't trigger any 'failed save' mechanics. For example, if you had Sleep cast on you, and a Warlord granted you a save.. you wouldn't fall unconscious if you failed.

Only if you fail your normal, end-of-turn saves, does it count against you.

I'd like to confirm this. Our group ran into this while fighting a Beholder Eye Tyrant. (Which has two different two-saves-or-die effects.)

Yakk
2010-07-12, 10:33 AM
I'd like to confirm this. Our group ran into this while fighting a Beholder Eye Tyrant. (Which has two different two-saves-or-die effects.)
I can confirm it in that I remember reading it.

The idea is that otherwise, granting saves is often a bad thing. If a failed save makes things worse, and a successful save makes things better, then an extra unmodified save ... just makes it happen quicker, it doesn't actually help make things better all that much (55% better, 45% worse...)

Eorran
2010-07-12, 10:39 AM
It was either in the PHB2 or one of the errata updates. Failing a granted save doesn't trigger any 'failed save' mechanics. For example, if you had Sleep cast on you, and a Warlord granted you a save.. you wouldn't fall unconscious if you failed.

Only if you fail your normal, end-of-turn saves, does it count against you.

Is that also true for the Warden? They get a save at the beginning and end of their turns as a class feature, as I recall. Does failure count against them on their beginning-of-round saves?

lesser_minion
2010-07-12, 10:51 AM
that sounds ab-usable... like in 3.5 where you use a spell to not die regardless of how much damage you take (but you die as soon as it expires if your HP is low enough), then use an ability that improves as you take damage (take tons of damage), then get drowned to get 0HP.

so... is there such a spell and ability in 4e?

No on both counts, as far as I'm aware.

Quite a lot of 'damage' now comes out of healing surges first, which would probably be the case for any powers that worked like that as well.

Even if it were possible to take damage to improve a power, WotC have tightened up a little, especially considering that's a known exploit in 3rd edition. You'd probably find a "you gain no benefit if the damage puts you into the negatives" clause.

Sir_Elderberry
2010-07-12, 12:17 PM
Is that also true for the Warden? They get a save at the beginning and end of their turns as a class feature, as I recall. Does failure count against them on their beginning-of-round saves?
No. Only your standard save counts.

Snowstorm
2010-07-12, 12:21 PM
The Compendium says it's from Dragon 373, and it references "the effect doesn't change if the creature fails a saving throw against it at a time other then the end of its turn".

Your Warden would be fine with its Font of Life feature.

tbarrie
2010-07-12, 02:53 PM
I'd like to confirm this. Our group ran into this while fighting a Beholder Eye Tyrant. (Which has two different two-saves-or-die effects.)

I suspect it first appeared as errata to the PHB; it's definitely printed on page 219 of the PHB2. I suspect a lot of DMs house ruled this from the start, but it's nice to see it added to the official rules, as while it's pretty obvious it's not completely obvious.

Thajocoth
2010-07-12, 04:35 PM
It was PHB2 that specified. They added that so Wardens wouldn't screw themselves over. Only end of turn saves count towards any save failure stuff. Taking extra saves doesn't hurt you. If you're able to roll a save at a different time INSTEAD OF at the end of your turn, I believe it still counts though. At least by RAI, if not RAW.

Thanks for clarifying about that 20 not needing to be natural. It's been so long since anyone in my group's rolled a death save...

taltamir
2010-07-12, 06:13 PM
No on both counts, as far as I'm aware.

Quite a lot of 'damage' now comes out of healing surges first, which would probably be the case for any powers that worked like that as well.

Even if it were possible to take damage to improve a power, WotC have tightened up a little, especially considering that's a known exploit in 3rd edition. You'd probably find a "you gain no benefit if the damage puts you into the negatives" clause.

Thanks for the info, good to know.

Ubercaledor
2010-07-12, 10:38 PM
Thanks guys, it's pretty clear now. I happened to use the feat "combat medic" and "heal" skill to spend a healing surge as a minor action to the cleric, which was quite useful.

Thajocoth
2010-07-12, 10:38 PM
that sounds ab-usable... like in 3.5 where you use a spell to not die regardless of how much damage you take (but you die as soon as it expires if your HP is low enough), then use an ability that improves as you take damage (take tons of damage), then get drowned to get 0HP.

so... is there such a spell and ability in 4e?

At higher levels, and not for a lot of damage.

Blood Mage Paragon Path from the PHB: Once per turn, you can deal 1d10 or 2d10 damage to yourself as a free action when you're about to use an attack power. You can add the damage you dealt to yourself to the attack's damage.

There are a couple Barbarian powers that let you deal damage to yourself before attacking, then deal twice that as a bonus to the damage roll if you hit.

In all cases, you take the damage before you even know whether or not you hit the enemy... Meaning that you don't necessarily deal any damage for the pain... And if that knocks you unconscious, you don't get to make the attack at all.