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Unconsciousness & Saving Throws

 
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Wolfling
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Joined: Sep 20, 2004
Posts: 471
Location: London, England

PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 1:27 am    Post subject: Unconsciousness & Saving Throws Reply with quote

Hi folks,

A quick rules question ... do unconscious targets get saving throws against spells that could reasonably affect them in that state or that have a duration that persists if they regain consciousness?

Spells like hold person, know alignment, cause blindness, detect lie, confusion et cetera
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Lanthorn
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Joined: Sep 09, 2009
Posts: 2410
Location: SW WA state (Highvale)

PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2019 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends really on the spell.

Those that effect the mind still get a save (though you could penalize them I suppose) since the unconscious mind is still, on some level, active.

Physically damaging spells...that's trickier, but giving a 4 point penalty seems perfectly reasonable. Or double the damage, I suppose.

just my suggestion.

-Lanthorn
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Cebrion
Black Hand of Oblivion
Black Hand of Oblivion


Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 3693
Location: So. Cal

PostPosted: Thu May 16, 2019 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Generally speaking, characters get saving throws vs. most spells, whether they are conscious or not. The spells listed in the OP are all good examples of spells that a character gains a save against, whether they are conscious or not.

As to damaging spells, we have most often imposed a -4 save penalty (representing that the character is at least as bad off as a character who is blind) on spells that normally allow a save for half damage due to dodging for those who are held, unconscious, paralyzed, stuck to the floor, etc. It is also reasonable to treat unconscious characters as having an effective Dexterity score of 1, meaning they suffer a -6 penalty on saves vs. effects that involve dodging to avoid some of the damaging effect. No extra damage is done beyond what a spell can normally do - the character is just more likely to bear the full brunt of the damaging effect. Item saving throws are unaffected by such a penalty; the items are just more likely to have to roll an item saving throw in the first place due to the character failing theirs.

For spells allowing a save for reduced damage unrelated to "dodging" any effects, there is no penalty. Most such spells are about overcoming a character's physical or mental fortitude in some manner, such as finger of death or charm person, and so a character being unconscious or unable to move would be a non-factor anyways.
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Last edited by Cebrion on Fri May 17, 2019 11:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Wolfling
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Joined: Sep 20, 2004
Posts: 471
Location: London, England

PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2019 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your feedback Lanthorn and Cebrion. It was my opinion also that unconciousness shouldn't preclude saves against mind-affecting spells, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't being harsh on my players!
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ragnar
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Joined: Aug 09, 2001
Posts: 640

PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2019 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was NOT letting them make saves, just like I give enemies in meless an automatic hit. However, I like the penalty as if they had a 1 dex. In fact, I don't know why I don't use that for wis too, if it's a mind affecting spell. I may start doing that for all spells in this instance.
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Cebrion
Black Hand of Oblivion
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PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2019 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In what instance would you apply a Wisdom penalty?
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