Author Topic: Help win this RAW debate with DM  (Read 8704 times)

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Jopustopin

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Help win this RAW debate with DM
« on: August 10, 2011, 11:32:52 AM »
My dungeon master has a (from what I can tell) sound argument that takes into account common sense and RAW to make the condition "Helpless" truly a devestating condition.

At low levels you become helpless whenever you fall below 0 hit points.  At higher levels many conditions can render someone helpless.  

So here's my DM stance on what happens when you become helpless during battle:

Premise 1: Falling prone is a free action that can only be performed on your turn.
Premise 2: When you become helpless you fall prone.
Question: Why would a helpless character get to fall prone as (essentially) an immediate action while an active character cannot?
Conclusion: They can't.  The character in question is helpless and "falling" (as combat happens in real time) but for gaming purposes does not fall prone until it is there turn in combat.


Question: When does a character provoke an attack of opportunity?
Premise: "Sometimes a combatant in a melee lets her guard down. In this case, combatants near her can take advantage of her lapse in defense to attack her for free. These free attacks are called attacks of opportunity. " - SRD
Premise: A helpless character by definition has their guard down.
Conclusion: Helpless characters constantly are provoking attacks of opportunity.


This has caused some dangerous situations where mobs make multiple attacks on characters who fall below 0 hit points.  Of course we recently took advantage of it by taking down a corrupted (book of vile darkness) level 4 necromancer with DR 5/magic and fast healing 2 so it works both ways... but still, right? Is he right when he claims that this is RAW?

I'd like to hear what the community has to say on these two "common sense" RAW conclusions.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 11:35:35 AM by Jopustopin »

Solo

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2011, 11:37:27 AM »
"Common sense is not so common."
-Voltaire

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weenog

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2011, 12:29:14 PM »
Your DM is a dumbass.  He's abusing a simplified description of AoOs to ignore the specifics of what triggers them.  You should do the same thing back to make an infinite number of attacks on every enemy within reach all the time, just make shit up for why he's technically not defending himself as well as he could be.
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X-Codes

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2011, 12:36:25 PM »
Your DM is a dumbass.  He's abusing a simplified description of AoOs to ignore the specifics of what triggers them.  You should do the same thing back to make an infinite number of attacks on every enemy within reach all the time, just make shit up for why he's technically not defending himself as well as he could be.
This.

1) In order to provoke an attack of opportunity, you must take an action that provokes an attack of opportunity.  Generally speaking, helpless characters can't take actions (very rare exceptions exist, such as someone under the influence of Hold Person casting a component-less spell).

2) Intentionally falling prone is a free action.  Anything that causes you to become prone, such as becoming unconscious from being reduced to -1 or lower HP, still causes you to fall prone even though you don't take an action.  Also, chain-trippers really don't need this nerf.

Sorator

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2011, 12:52:37 PM »
Also, is there anything stating that you can only take free actions on your turn? I genuinely don't know... seems weird, if talking is actually considered a free action, since then you could only talk IC on your turn in combat. If you can take free actions when it isn't your turn, then you can fall prone when it isn't your turn.
Edit: I checked - the definition of 'free action' doesn't specify that you can't take them on others' turns, but earlier on when describing actions in general it says you take actions during your turn, and it specifically points out intermediate actions as an exception. Likewise, it lists talking as a free action and specifically says you can talk when it isn't your turn. So no help there.


And yeah, being forced to fall prone doesn't require an action of any kind. If you cast hideous laughter or gust of wind on a creature (size Small, for gust of wind), they immediately fall prone, yes? You don't wait for their turn for them to fall down; that makes no sense - they're being forced to fall down, not choosing to do so. Same for successful trip attempts. Same for people who fall unconscious.

With the AoO's... yeah, your DM is an ass. If you can't convince him that it does indeed require an action to provoke an AoO (with a few particular exceptions; I'm thinking of the feat that lets you make an AoO if you're opponent *doesn't* do something, but AFAIK that's one-of-a-kind), then you can at least remind him that you can only make 1 AoO per round, unless you have Combat Reflexes, and then you're limited to your Dex bonus+1 per round. Not much, but it may help a bit if all else fails.

Really though, I would question the motivation behind a DM who did something this blatantly stupid.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 12:56:39 PM by Sorator »

weenog

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2011, 12:57:48 PM »
I had a DM that pulled this same thing way back when, actually, among other stupid stuff.  Eventually I had to just quit playing D&D with that guy.

Regarding your infinite AoOs, remember that that little bit of fluff trumps the actual AoO rules.  If you run out of AoOs in the round, that will lull your opponents into a false sense of security, causing their guard to drop and entitling you to make more AoOs.
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bkdubs123

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2011, 01:34:21 PM »
So here's my DM stance on what happens when you become helpless during battle:

Premise 1: Falling prone is a free action that can only be performed on your turn.

Where is he getting this information? Because it's demonstrably false in many, many ways.

Quote
Question: When does a character provoke an attack of opportunity?
Premise: "Sometimes a combatant in a melee lets her guard down. In this case, combatants near her can take advantage of her lapse in defense to attack her for free. These free attacks are called attacks of opportunity. " - SRD
Premise: A helpless character by definition has their guard down.
Conclusion: Helpless characters constantly are provoking attacks of opportunity.

Willfully, ignorantly, incorrect. There are clear rules written expressly to define what does and does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Your DM's "Premise" that he uses to justify his conclusion is NOT a definition of what provokes attacks of opportunity, but a general explanation for how the concept of provoking and making attacks of opportunity works.

Read everything AFTER the quoted "premise" text to find some real rules.

He might as well use this quote, "No matter how many hit points you lose, your character isn’t hindered in any way until your hit points drop to 0 or lower." as a premise to justify a conclusion that a character is immune to all negative conditions or penalties until it reaches 0 or fewer hit points. Because it carries exactly as much mechanical weight as the one he's attempting to pull rules out of in the above "helpless characters constantly provoke" example (hint: none).

RobbyPants

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2011, 03:11:06 PM »
Your DM might want to be careful about trying to stick strictly to RAW... :smirk
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PhaedrusXY

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2011, 03:17:38 PM »
Your DM might want to be careful about trying to stick strictly to RAW... :smirk
Yeah... after all, nothing in the rules says you have to stop moving when your hit point are below zero, either.
[spoiler]
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Nachofan99

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2011, 03:18:06 PM »
RAW.

Premise 1:  Actions provoke Attacks of Opportunity.
Premise 2: Helpless creatures can take no Actions.
Conclusion: Helpless creatures cannot provoke Attacks of Opportunity.

rot42

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2011, 03:53:45 PM »
Unless an ability states otherwise, you cannot make more than one attack for a given opportunity (see Rules Compendium 19). Same as when moving through multiple threatened squares they only get to stab at you once. Falling prone (which per everyone else happens immediately without waiting for their turn) provokes [edit]no attacks of opportunity (corrected my brain fart per below). An action that provokes gives[/edit] exactly one AoO from everyone who is able to take one right then.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2011, 06:48:53 PM by rot42 »

PhaedrusXY

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2011, 04:12:03 PM »
Unless an ability states otherwise, you cannot make more than one attack for a given opportunity (see Rules Compendium 19). Same as when moving through multiple threatened squares they only get to stab at you once. Falling prone (which per everyone else happens immediately without waiting for their turn) provokes exactly one AoO from everyone who is able to take one right then.
Falling Prone explicitly does NOT draw an AoO. See the table to the right.

And the real clincher as far as your DM being wrong is what has been already pointed out: actions provoke attacks of opportunity (See below for relevant rules quote), and a helpless character can take no actions. Now... if someone picked them up, and ran around carrying them through a bunch of enemies threatened areas, then the enemies could take AoOs on them for movement, because it doesn't have to be movement of your own volition to draw an AoO, but falling prone explicitly does not draw an AoO, and they aren't taking any actions after that. So they don't provoke any AoOs for being knocked unconscious.

Quote
Provoking an Attack of Opportunity

Two kinds of actions can provoke attacks of opportunity: moving out of a threatened square and performing an action within a threatened square.

Moving

Moving out of a threatened square usually provokes an attack of opportunity from the threatening opponent. There are two common methods of avoiding such an attack—the 5-foot step and the withdraw action.
Performing a Distracting Act

Some actions, when performed in a threatened square, provoke attacks of opportunity as you divert your attention from the battle. Actions in Combat notes many of the actions that provoke attacks of opportunity.

Remember that even actions that normally provoke attacks of opportunity may have exceptions to this rule.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 04:16:54 PM by PhaedrusXY »
[spoiler]
A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
...thanks
[/spoiler]

Halinn

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2011, 04:16:44 PM »
Your DM might want to be careful about trying to stick strictly to RAW... :smirk
Yeah... after all, nothing in the rules says you have to stop moving when your hit point are below zero, either.

Could someone find me a rules quote describing what happens when your character is dead?

PhaedrusXY

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2011, 04:17:23 PM »
Your DM might want to be careful about trying to stick strictly to RAW... :smirk
Yeah... after all, nothing in the rules says you have to stop moving when your hit point are below zero, either.

Could someone find me a rules quote describing what happens when your character is dead?
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#dead
[spoiler]
A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
...thanks
[/spoiler]

RobbyPants

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2011, 05:52:49 PM »
Your DM might want to be careful about trying to stick strictly to RAW... :smirk
Yeah... after all, nothing in the rules says you have to stop moving when your hit point are below zero, either.

Could someone find me a rules quote describing what happens when your character is dead?
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#dead
Yeah. Basically, they lose their soul and begin decaying, but otherwise suffer no ill effects. They can totally take actions (because it doesn't say they can't!), and also change from being creatures to objects, which has a lot of weird consequences. Now, being unconscious totally blows because it says you're helpless, which means you can't take actions. So, if you're going to get hit, hope that it drops you to -10 or more, and not into that annoying -1 to -9 range which actually stops you from doing stuff in combat.


My advice: explain that to your DM and see if that will get him to stop his senseless RAW fappery.
My balancing 3.5 compendium
Elemental mage test game

Quotes
[spoiler]
Quote from: Cafiend
It is a shame stupidity isn't painful.
Quote from: StormKnight
Totally true.  Historians believe that most past civilizations would have endured for centuries longer if they had successfully determined Batman's alignment.
Quote from: Grand Theft Otto
Why are so many posts on the board the equivalent of " Dear Dr. Crotch, I keep punching myself in the crotch, and my groin hurts... what should I do? How can I make my groin stop hurting?"
Quote from: CryoSilver
I suggest carving "Don't be a dick" into him with a knife.  A dull, rusty knife.  A dull, rusty, bent, flaming knife.
Quote from: Seerow
Fluffy: It's over Steve! I've got the high ground!
Steve: You underestimate my power!
Fluffy: Don't try it, Steve!
Steve: *charges*
Fluffy: *three critical strikes*
Steve: ****
Quote from: claypigeons
I don't even stat out commoners. Commoner = corpse that just isn't a zombie. Yet.
Quote from: CryoSilver
When I think "Old Testament Boots of Peace" I think of a paladin curb-stomping an orc and screaming "Your death brings peace to this land!"
Quote from: Orville_Oaksong
Buy a small country. Or Pelor. Both are good investments.
[/spoiler]

PhaedrusXY

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2011, 06:32:49 PM »
My advice: explain that to your DM and see if that will get him to stop his senseless RAW fappery.
What the DM is doing isn't even "RAW fappery". It's not even RAW. It's just nonsense dickish behavior.
[spoiler]
A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
...thanks
[/spoiler]

altpersona

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2011, 06:47:55 PM »
someone should sticky a thread titled 'your DM is an idiot/jackass, does that answer your question?"
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RobbyPants

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2011, 06:52:25 PM »
My advice: explain that to your DM and see if that will get him to stop his senseless RAW fappery.
What the DM is doing isn't even "RAW fappery". It's not even RAW. It's just nonsense dickish behavior.
Good point. It's idiocy under the guise of RAW fappery. I played with a guy like that once who fancied himself a power gamer, but didn't understand the rules. It was really the worst of both worlds.
My balancing 3.5 compendium
Elemental mage test game

Quotes
[spoiler]
Quote from: Cafiend
It is a shame stupidity isn't painful.
Quote from: StormKnight
Totally true.  Historians believe that most past civilizations would have endured for centuries longer if they had successfully determined Batman's alignment.
Quote from: Grand Theft Otto
Why are so many posts on the board the equivalent of " Dear Dr. Crotch, I keep punching myself in the crotch, and my groin hurts... what should I do? How can I make my groin stop hurting?"
Quote from: CryoSilver
I suggest carving "Don't be a dick" into him with a knife.  A dull, rusty knife.  A dull, rusty, bent, flaming knife.
Quote from: Seerow
Fluffy: It's over Steve! I've got the high ground!
Steve: You underestimate my power!
Fluffy: Don't try it, Steve!
Steve: *charges*
Fluffy: *three critical strikes*
Steve: ****
Quote from: claypigeons
I don't even stat out commoners. Commoner = corpse that just isn't a zombie. Yet.
Quote from: CryoSilver
When I think "Old Testament Boots of Peace" I think of a paladin curb-stomping an orc and screaming "Your death brings peace to this land!"
Quote from: Orville_Oaksong
Buy a small country. Or Pelor. Both are good investments.
[/spoiler]

Jopustopin

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #18 on: August 10, 2011, 07:44:12 PM »
Well you can't take infinite attacks of opportunity and no one has combat reflexes so it hasn't come up as much as some of you are suggesting.  He actually suggested I post this here to see what people had to say.  So he responds as follows:


@Weenog - An infinite amount?  Is your dex infinite AND Do you have combat reflexes?  Otherwise it's 1 (a very finite number).  As far as making shit up the rules are both specific and vague about what does and does not provoke an attack of opporunity.  The players do not get to make shit up (but the DM gets to as long as he's consistent and enforces it lawful neutrally and the players are having fun). 

@X-Codes - Getting tripped is someone else using their action to force you prone.  Thus you fall prone by someone elses action (immediately).  Grease states you fall prone: Someone elses action causes you to fall prone immediatly. I agree that anybody that causes you to be prone makes you fall prone immediately. Consider (at least for a moment) the following: You get run through with a spear and you will not fall prone immediately. You will still be "on your feet" and then maybe slump to your knees before finally hitting the ground.  This will probably take less than six seconds.  To be honest this is usually a good thing.  If you're wearing full plate mail and you get hit with a hold person spell, you are already helpless.  The +4 AC from not being prone will help out if creatures keep attackin you. This falling prone thing has not caused any complaints as it's very specific.  But I just wanted to make sure that you don't think I apply it to everything. 

@bkdubs123 - The SRD is notably lacking in fluff.  I take that statement to explain why certian actions provoke attacks of opportunity.  You drink a potion and you are letting your guard down.  You take x action and you are letting your guard down.  But another way of looking at it is this: If for any reason you let your guard down then you provoke an attack of opportunity. Is this such a stretch?  I suppose I'm in the minority.  Although when I imagine a battle I can see how casting a spell provokes an attack of opportunity or firing a long bow.  Standing from prone provokes an attack of opportunity.  But you guys seriously suggest that being helpless does not?  When are you more likely to be hit: When you are firing a bow or when you're helpless?  Furthermore your ridiculous conclusion about negative hit points is not supported by common sense whatsoever. 

@nachofan99- Your argument is not valid unless Premise 1 stated: Only when a creature takes an action can he provoke an attack of opportunity.  I find no rules supporting that modified premise. 

@Rot42- Falling prone is a free action.  Free actions (except talking) can only be performed on your turn.  Falling prone does not provoke attacks of opportunity (if I recall correctly).

@RobbeyPants - What the hell are you talking about?

Conclusion: Your three main arguments are as follows:

1- I have some sort of mental deficiency.
2- I am drawing some sort of bizzare RAW conclusion that taken to its logical extremes could mean that I can take actions when dead
3- You provoke an attack of opportunity ONLY when performing an action that does so.  Being helpless prevents you from taking actions.  Thus you do not provoke attacks of opportunities.

1- I concede.
2- I disagree.
3- This is the strongest argument and I am partial towards it.  But only from a RAW standpoint.  I think that "Sometimes a combatant in a melee lets her guard down. In this case, combatants near her can take advantage of her lapse in defense to attack her for free. These free attacks are called attacks of opportunity. " is more than just fluff and that's really all I can say to this.  Maybe I'm an idiot under the guise of RAW fappery indeed, but, in my mind I'd rather be conscious and trying to drink a potion then recently hit with a hold person spell when I'm trying to defend myself in combat.  I just think that this is obvious. 

I'm open to being wrong, I just don't think anyone here has made their case.

PhaedrusXY

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Re: Help win this RAW debate with DM
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2011, 08:00:01 PM »
3- This is the strongest argument and I am partial towards it.  But only from a RAW standpoint.  I think that "Sometimes a combatant in a melee lets her guard down. In this case, combatants near her can take advantage of her lapse in defense to attack her for free. These free attacks are called attacks of opportunity. " is more than just fluff and that's really all I can say to this.  Maybe I'm an idiot under the guise of RAW fappery indeed, but, in my mind I'd rather be conscious and trying to drink a potion then recently hit with a hold person spell when I'm trying to defend myself in combat.  I just think that this is obvious.  

I'm open to being wrong, I just don't think anyone here has made their case.
I quoted the specific rules that state the exact actions that provoke attacks of opportunity above. It is an inclusive list (see the tables in the link I provided). Nothing outside of that list provokes attacks of opportunity. Most importantly, it is also very explicit that only actions or movement provoke attacks of opportunity. A helpless person can't take actions, and can't move of their own volition. So they can't provoke attacks of opportunity (unless someone else moves them).
« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 08:02:15 PM by PhaedrusXY »
[spoiler]
A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
...thanks
[/spoiler]