Using a Heal check on a dying character

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Let's assume that my ally is at 0 (or fewer) hit points, and is therefore dying.  Let's also assume that I (and the rest of my party) lack any way to heal that ally, except for using the Heal skill.

In the description of the Heal skill, there are two relevant uses listed:

Use Second Wind: Make a DC 10 Heal check to allow an adjacent character to use his or her second wind without the character having to take an action to do so. The character doesn’t gain the defense bonuses normally granted by second wind.

Stabilize the Dying: Make a DC 15 Heal check to stabilize an adjacent dying character. If you succeed, the character can stop making death saving throws until he or she takes damage. The character’s current hit point total doesn’t change as a result of being stabilized.

"Stabilize the Dying" would absolutely work here.  But, why wouldn't I want to do the "Use Second Wind" instead?  It's a lower DC on my Heal check, and it puts my ally at positive hit points (rather than just stabiliizing him at 0 or below).  I'm guessing that "Use Second Wind" can't be used on a dying character, but I may be mistaken.  Any thoughts?
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Your Guess is right, i don't know where is the RAW to it, but RAI indicates that you can only Stabilize a Dying Char. maybe if he has no surges left you HAVE to do it. But my take is no, you cant use Second Wind on a Dying Char.
71176698 wrote:
57040398 wrote:
Well, sure. But you could easily decide to travel more or less than 8 hours a day. If you did a 10 hour a day forced march, an elf could do the distance in 20 days. If you wanted to be leisurely, a dwarf would do it in 56 five hour days.
Hey, let's be realistic here. We're talking about elves and dwarves. The elves would sit around staring at flowers for six hours a day, march for at most four, and take about 50 days. The dwarves would march for 16 hours a day, with no breaks, and take about 17.5 days. ;)
Hey, let's be realistic here. We're talking about elves and dwarves. The elves would sit around staring at flowers for six hours a day, march for at most four, and take about 50 days. The dwarves would march for 16 hours a day, with no breaks, and take about 17.5 days.
You would typically always want to trigger his second wind...  But if the ally has already spent his second wind this encounter, you still have a way, albeit a harder one, to keep him around.

Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.

If he's used his second wind the first use can't work, you can only stabilize him and that's why it is like that.
Your Guess is right, i don't know where is the RAW to it, but RAI indicates that you can only Stabilize a Dying Char. maybe if he has no surges left you HAVE to do it. But my take is no, you cant use Second Wind on a Dying Char.

I don't recall anything that prevents you from allowing a dying character to use his/her second wind because the heal check allows them to use it for no action. The limitation to using the heal skill to allow a character to use his/her second wind is that if they've already used their second wind you can't do it.
Your Guess is right, i don't know where is the RAW to it, but RAI indicates that you can only Stabilize a Dying Char. maybe if he has no surges left you HAVE to do it. But my take is no, you cant use Second Wind on a Dying Char.

I don't recall anything that prevents you from allowing a dying character to use his/her second wind because the heal check allows them to use it for no action. The limitation to using the heal skill to allow a character to use his/her second wind is that if they've already used their second wind you can't do it.


Or, as someone else mentioned, if the unconscious guy has no surges left.

Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.

Or, as someone else mentioned, if the unconscious guy has no surges left.

That too, I was just posting to point out you can use the heal skill to allow a PC to use their Second Wind even if they are dying.

I'd need to double-check this specific case, but in general you can trigger 'use a healing surge' powers on a character with no surges left.  In this case, they are raised to 1 hp.  So a dying character with second wind available but no surges could be healed to 1 hp with a standard action and DC 10 Heal check.
Another reason to try for the more difficult "stabilise" DC is if the encounter is over by the time you reach the dying character. In that case, it may be better to just stabilise the character for now, then take a rest to replenish the leader's healing powers, rather than using Second Wind and expending a surge for a lower amount of healing.
I'd need to double-check this specific case, but in general you can trigger 'use a healing surge' powers on a character with no surges left.  In this case, they are raised to 1 hp.  So a dying character with second wind available but no surges could be healed to 1 hp with a standard action and DC 10 Heal check.


I have heard it argued that second wind does not qualify as a "healing effect", so the following clause (PH pg. 295) does not trigger:

"If the healing effect requires you to spend a healing surge but you have none left, you are restored to 1 hit point."

Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.

I'd need to double-check this specific case, but in general you can trigger 'use a healing surge' powers on a character with no surges left.  In this case, they are raised to 1 hp.  So a dying character with second wind available but no surges could be healed to 1 hp with a standard action and DC 10 Heal check.


I have heard it argued that second wind does not qualify as a "healing effect", so the following clause (PH pg. 295) does not trigger:

"If the healing effect requires you to spend a healing surge but you have none left, you are restored to 1 hit point."



Second Wind has the Healing keyword... so that argument is umm... unfactual.
Snip...

Stabilize the Dying: Make a DC 15 Heal check to stabilize an adjacent dying character. If you succeed, the character can stop making death saving throws until he or she takes damage. The character’s current hit point total doesn’t change as a result of being stabilized.

Snip.



Don't forget that the CAN stop making death saving throws... meaning that the character doesn't have to stop if s/he doesn't want to.  There's one argument for not wanting to stop: the ability to spend a healing surge on a natural 20.  In my games, I have a house rule in that the character is no longer dying, but they are still allowed death saving throws only to see if they get the natural 20.

You have the free will to agree or disagree.
You have the ability to act freely on the above choice regardless of the consequences.


Don't forget that the CAN stop making death saving throws... meaning that the character doesn't have to stop if s/he doesn't want to.  There's one argument for not wanting to stop: the ability to spend a healing surge on a natural 20.  In my games, I have a house rule in that the character is no longer dying, but they are still allowed death saving throws only to see if they get the natural 20.



It is just on a 20, not necessarily on a natural 20. Bonuses help you trigger that.
I'd need to double-check this specific case, but in general you can trigger 'use a healing surge' powers on a character with no surges left.  In this case, they are raised to 1 hp.  So a dying character with second wind available but no surges could be healed to 1 hp with a standard action and DC 10 Heal check.


I have heard it argued that second wind does not qualify as a "healing effect", so the following clause (PH pg. 295) does not trigger:

"If the healing effect requires you to spend a healing surge but you have none left, you are restored to 1 hit point."



Second Wind has the Healing keyword... so that argument is umm... unfactual.


How can it have the Healing keyword?  Second wind isn't a power, it's an "action in combat", like running or drinking a potion.

Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.

Just looked up Second Wind in the Compendium.  It DOES NOT have the Healing keyword.  Here's what it says:

"You can dig into your resolve and endurance to find an extra burst of vitality. In game terms, you spend a healing surge to regain some of your lost hit points, and you focus on defending yourself. Unless otherwise noted in the statistics block of a monster or a nonplayer character, this action is available only to player characters.

SECOND WIND: STANDARD ACTION

Spend a Healing Surge: Spend a healing surge to regain hit points.

+2 Bonus to All Defenses: You gain a +2 bonus to all defenses until the start of your next turn.

Once per Encounter: You can use your second wind once per encounter and can use it again after you take a short rest or an extended rest. Some powers (either yours or another character’s) allow you to spend healing surges without using your second wind."

Since a character is unconscious when at 0 or below hp, the PC is not allowed any actions.

You have the free will to agree or disagree.
You have the ability to act freely on the above choice regardless of the consequences.

Since a character is unconscious when at 0 or below hp, the PC is not allowed any actions.

I'm not sure if you were saying this to imply the heal check can not be used to allow a character to use their Second Wind while unconscious, however, the heal skill specifically says the character may use their Second Wind without taking any action not just that they can use second wind as a free action.

If that's not the point you were trying to make then ignore my comment.

Let me see if i have this logic right then...

If i wanted to use first aid on a dying person...

Use Second Wind has a DC10 and Stabilize the Dying has a DC15.

So why would I want to make a DC15 check that adds no HPs to the person when I can make a DC10 check and at worst can bring someone to 1 hp (by someones earlier thoughts). hmmmm....

And if they happened to use their Second Wind before they fell then it makes it harder for me to save them now because they dont have the ability to use Second Wind? Having to make a DC15 instead of DC10.

Lets see then I can loose a standard action and burn my second wind which gives me the +2 bonuses and hit points...or I can go unconscious and lose my actions for a round and make someone lose their standard action for a round to use first aid on me.  That is a no brainer to me, burn your second wind when you are up and able. 

If you read the definition of Second Wind it states: " You dig into your resolve and endurance to find an extra burst of vitality. In game terms, you spend a healing surge to regain some of your lost hit points, and you focus on defending yourself." Pg 291.

But like all the rules you can find a counter agrument for this as well..."Powers, abilities, and actions that restore hit points are known as healing." pg.293 under healing.

"Hit points measure your ability to stand up to punishment, tuen deadly stirkes into glancing blows, and stay on your feet throughout a battle." Pg.293 also.

So with all these definitions, our group decided that second wind is not repairing your wounds, but adding to your combat effectiveness.  So for us, first aid is not a "heal", it will not restore you to zero hit points like a heal will.  First aid stops the bleeding so to speak, but doesn't actually restore you.  We decided to allow second wind to be used on an unconscious person only if they have a healing surge to spend and they are not raised to zero before it is applied (if i was -18 and i get 25 hp from a Healing surge I would have 7 hit points).  This is intended as a skill not a free heal to be performed by anyone that can perform the healing skill - no healing surges, no hit points.

This game is a social event to have fun with and is supposed to be enjoyable for everyone to play. If you are arguing about minor things then you detract from the enjoyment of the game. Its not a win/lose game....if people are having fun, then everyone WINS.
So with all these definitions, our group decided that second wind is not repairing your wounds, but adding to your combat effectiveness.  So for us, first aid is not a "heal", it will not restore you to zero hit points like a heal will.  First aid stops the bleeding so to speak, but doesn't actually restore you.  We decided to allow second wind to be used on an unconscious person only if they have a healing surge to spend and they are not raised to zero before it is applied (if i was -18 and i get 25 hp from a Healing surge I would have 7 hit points).  This is intended as a skill not a free heal to be performed by anyone that can perform the healing skill - no healing surges, no hit points.

You are aware that HP are supposed to be an abstract concept, right? They represent your capability to continue fighting. A Wizard's HP may represent their arcane defenses against assault and the attack that reduces them to 0hp is simply the blow that is finally able to pierce their barrier and knock them unconscious while other classes may be represented differently as desired. You seem to be nerfing the use of the heal skill to trigger second wind out of some desire to construe realism into a game where people fly, regenerate, and fling fireballs. I also don't see how the heal skill is a 'free heal'. It costs you a healing surge, a standard action, you are prone after it's used and the healing doesn't typically trigger any bonus healing like most leader powers. Hardly sounds free to me.

"You seem to be nerfing the use of the heal skill to trigger second wind out of some desire to construe realism into a game where people fly, regenerate, and fling fireballs."

Hence the reason for the definitions of the terms were included...
"Hit points measure your ability to stand up to punishment, turn deadly strikes into glancing blows, and stay on your feet throughout a battle." Pg.293 - so i dont see how adding these terms would nerf anything.  And yes you need to look at it in concepts people can understand and relate too.

The "Free Heal" was in response to the Nom's comment that the person would be raised to one hit point if they were out of healing surges.  which would be incorrect, he was using the definition of someone using a healing power on them which would bring them to zero before letting them use a healing surge and if they didnt have a healing surge it would give them 1 hp.

What i was trying to state is that Healing Skill: Use Second Wind is not a "healing" power.  If they had a healing surge they should be able to use it, but they would not be brought back up to Zero hit points prior to using the healing surge like a healing power would do like Nom was suggesting.

If using the Healing Skill: Use Second Wind on a person that is below zero hit points should only give them their surge value minus current hit points (surge value 25, current hit point -10 then they should only have 15 hit points and not 25 - otherwise it is acting just like a healing power which it is not).

What you are trying to do is undervalue the use of the other First Aid skills "Stabilize the Dying" (which is specifically designed for people under zero hit points) and "Grant a Saving Throw" which are harder to accomplish being a DC15 over the "Use Second Wind" at a DC10. 

To me the harder it is to accomplish the bigger the rewards should be.  The only way someone would use "Stabilize the Dying" is if they were completely out of surges and the person used Second Wind and then you go from a DC10 to a DC15 and all you do is stop them from making a death saving throws? isnt that a little bass ackwards?

This game is a social event to have fun with and is supposed to be enjoyable for everyone to play. If you are arguing about minor things then you detract from the enjoyment of the game. Its not a win/lose game....if people are having fun, then everyone WINS.
Second Wind isn't even a power, is it? It's simply an action you can take. Just like Total Defense. Logically it doesn't even fall under a clause for powers. It's a great and easier option if the fallen ally has their second wind left still. If not, time to stabilize.
HEALING A DYING CHARACTER
✦ Regain Hit Points: When you are dying and receive healing, you go to 0 hit points and then regain hit points from the healing effect. If the healing effect requires you to spend a healing surge but you have none left, you are restored to 1 hit point.

✦ Become Conscious: As soon as you have a current hit point total that’s higher than 0, you become conscious and are no longer dying. (You are still prone until you take an action to stand up.)



Let's mix it up with the Second Wind action (p.291) and Healing Surges (p.293) [which I won't quote due to the length of the Healing Surges entry].  Note also that in p.293, in the Healing section...


Powers, abilities, and actions that restore hit points are known as healing. You might regain hit points through rest, heroic resolve, or magic. When you heal, add the number to your current hit points. You can heal up to your maximum hit point total, but you can’t exceed it.


Here's how I interpret it, when triggering an ally's second wind (when he's dying):


1. You trigger his second wind
2. His second wind lets him spend a healing surge
3. Since he is at negative hit points, and his second wind is a healing action -- it might not have the Healing keyword, but it does restore hit points through the spending of a healing surge (and seriously, since it's an action and not a power, does it REALLY have to have keywords attached to it?  How many non-power actions actually *have* keywords attached to them?) -- it qualifies for the "regain hit points" section of "healing the dying".  So his HP becomes 0, then he benefits from the healing surge.
* and if he had no healing surges when his second wind was triggered, he goes from 0 to 1 hit points, as per healing the dying entry.


Part of the problem with the rules interpretation is that there is no definition of "effects" in any 4e book, so you have to rely on the more general definition of the term "effects".


- - - - -


The first thing a party would logically do when trying to First Aid an ally is try to trigger his Second Wind, since it instantly brings him back to the fight, without having to make death saving throws (not to mention it's a far lower DC than the alternatives).  When his Second Wind isn't available, and he's (still) dying, you try to stabilize him, so that at the very least, he won't die from the failed saving throws.  Finally, to help him back up -- or when dealing with ongoing damage that would still be draining his hit points -- granting either a bonus to saving throws (particularly for death saving throws, or when dealing with persistently low saves) or an immediate saving throw (for ongoing damage or particularly nasty save ends effects).


As for the "the harder it is to accomplish the bigger the rewards should be":


* The easier DC on triggering Second Wind still doesn't get him out of trouble; if the said person had his Second Wind triggered by someone else, he doesn't get the +2 to defenses from Second Wind, only the spending of a healing surge... and going around the battlefield with 1/4 HP (unless he was healed in other ways) or worse with just 1 HP -- assuming he had no healing surges to spend when his Second Wind was triggered -- makes it ALL the easier for nonminion enemies (especially brutes, elites, and solos) to kill him by dealing his bloodied value or more damage in one hit**.


* The harder DC on Stabilize the Dying gets the dying person a virtually assured survival of the encounter, should the rest of the party emerge victorious (or if he could be pulled away if the party is on the verge of defeat).  Then once the coast is clear, he could then spend healing surges as needed.


* The harder DC on Granting a Saving Throw is essentially because this is a very powerful, easily available method of getting a +2 to saving throws (and since most save ends effects don't penalize saving throws, it makes players MUCH more likely to shrug off deadlier conditions), plus most save ends effects don't worsen when the saving throws the poor guy fails at would be outside his turn (notable exception being death saving throws). Combine Stabilize the Dying with Granting a Saving Throw, and you make it significantly easier for the dying ally to keep himself from dying, as he could refrain from making death saving throws until you grant the bonus to saving throws then he could attempt to beat the odds at the end of his next turn.***


** Defenders generally don't have to worry about this, but strikers and controllers in particular are very vulnerable to this.


*** Note that with a Dwarf ally who has Shield the Fallen, or as a human with feats that improve saving throws, you could end up spending a healing surge on a natural 11 on the dice, or maybe even lower.

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The other thing they were also discussing was whether or not you should be able to have someone use first aid's Use Second Wind when the person is unconcious in the first place.

And we will have to agree to disagree on the "Healing" ability of second wind...its all fine and dandy until the person goes below zero hit points. To me it makes it a very potent skill for a non-healing character (barbarian for example) who happens to have the heal skill be able to revive someone litterly on the brink of death (someone from just short of negative bloodied value) to 1/4 hps by using a heal skill (extreme case).

Again...The only time the other first aid skills would be used then is if and only if the person didn't have their second wind.  Why would i want to stop someone from making saving throws and not heal them at a harder DC or grant them an immediate saving throw and not heal them at a harder DC, when all I have to do is make a DC at 2/3 the difficulty and have the person free to run around (or away if needed) with 1/4 hps (No more Saving throws and has 1/4 hps - why waste time on the others abilities)?

Second Wind should be used before the person gets knocked out...but if what you are saying is true then it would be better to not use it and keep it for revival emergencies (since any player can make a heal skill check at DC10 and it would supply me not only with 1/4 hps it would also cancel any negative hit points I had accumulated at that point).

lol...and your comment about and going around the battlefield with 1/4 HP (unless he was healed in other ways) or worse with just 1 HP -- assuming he had no healing surges to spend when his Second Wind was triggered -- makes it ALL the easier for nonminion enemies (especially brutes, elites, and solos) to kill him by dealing his bloodied value or more damage in one hit**.

That was probably what got them there in the first place...and using first aid probably wont help or hurt the situation anymore than it already is.

To me applying first aid is an emergency measure...the party should have healers to deal with anyone that got knocked out (unless that was the healer - in which case that would be an emergency).
This game is a social event to have fun with and is supposed to be enjoyable for everyone to play. If you are arguing about minor things then you detract from the enjoyment of the game. Its not a win/lose game....if people are having fun, then everyone WINS.
I just noted that "use second wind" and "stabilize the dying" target "an adjacent character", while "grant a saving throw" target "an adjacent ally".

Now, can a dying Revenant use "stabilize" on itself? He should count as an "Adjacent Character".

The Revenant and other characters whit the appropriated feat/powers/items (barbarians come to mind) can make a great use of this (just to say, whit combat medic you stabilize people as minor action, and can use another minor to put on yourself a Shroud of Revival, gaining resist all/20 O_o).

Many of those "Fight while dying" powers in fact work whit a limitation as "until you roll you first death sv.". But if you are stable you have not to make such check... XD
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In general, it's better to use your second wind yourself than to have one of your allies use
Heal check to activate it when you're down for few simple reasons:
1) That ally has to be adjacent to you meaning he might have to move do it
2) It uses Standard action for that ally and is not auto-success @ heroic tier
3) You get no bonuses to defence.
4) You are knocked pron when you go unconscious, meaning you'll have to use your move action to stand up.

I'd say using Heal to Second wind is very much balanced. The check probably should scale with level, as by Paragon it's trivial to do even if you have no skill training in Heal.

Exception to this rule is of course leader: He should save his second wind so that someone else in the group can revive him.
Let's assume that my ally is at 0 (or fewer) hit points, and is therefore dying.  Let's also assume that I (and the rest of my party) lack any way to heal that ally, except for using the Heal skill.

In the description of the Heal skill, there are two relevant uses listed:

Use Second Wind: Make a DC 10 Heal check to allow an adjacent character to use his or her second wind without the character having to take an action to do so. The character doesn’t gain the defense bonuses normally granted by second wind.

Stabilize the Dying: Make a DC 15 Heal check to stabilize an adjacent dying character. If you succeed, the character can stop making death saving throws until he or she takes damage. The character’s current hit point total doesn’t change as a result of being stabilized.

"Stabilize the Dying" would absolutely work here.  But, why wouldn't I want to do the "Use Second Wind" instead?  It's a lower DC on my Heal check, and it puts my ally at positive hit points (rather than just stabiliizing him at 0 or below).  I'm guessing that "Use Second Wind" can't be used on a dying character, but I may be mistaken.  Any thoughts?

Using Heal to "Use Second Wind" doesn't use Second Wind, it allows the target to Second Wind "without having to take an action to do so".  So the questions are "What are Dying characters allowed to do?" and "Does Heal's Use Second Wind make the target's second wind a Free Action or No Action (aka, Not An Action)?".  The wording doesn't say "it's not an action" it merely says "it doesn't require you to spend an action".  Those are not the same thing, so the wording of the skill is ambiguous.

Dying characters, being Unconscious, are clearly not allowed to take free actions.  What about No Actions, like Action Point or Delay (which are more of special metagame actions more than in-game actions)?  It would be stupid to do so -- you're not allowed to benefit from Delay like that, and an Action Point would give you an extra Standard Action which you couldn't do anything with (being unable to take any actions) -- but are you allowed to?

Personally I'd rule that Use Second Wind lets the target use Second Wind immediately as a Free Action, but I'm sure people here will complain about how I'm making Stun or Daze obscenely overpowered by doing that or something.
 
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I just noted that "use second wind" and "stabilize the dying" target "an adjacent character", while "grant a saving throw" target "an adjacent ally".

Now, can a dying Revenant use "stabilize" on itself? He should count as an "Adjacent Character".

No, you are never considered adjacent to yourself.  The plain English meaning of "adjacent" implies "not you".  If they had wanted it to be usable on you, it would say "you or an adjacent [...]".

You can't treat your own disease, either, because you must do it during your own extended rest, and you can generally only rest during an extended rest (if you can't be on watch while resting, you certainly can't be treating your own disease).
 
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Let's assume that my ally is at 0 (or fewer) hit points, and is therefore dying.  Let's also assume that I (and the rest of my party) lack any way to heal that ally, except for using the Heal skill.

In the description of the Heal skill, there are two relevant uses listed:

Use Second Wind: Make a DC 10 Heal check to allow an adjacent character to use his or her second wind without the character having to take an action to do so. The character doesn’t gain the defense bonuses normally granted by second wind.

Stabilize the Dying: Make a DC 15 Heal check to stabilize an adjacent dying character. If you succeed, the character can stop making death saving throws until he or she takes damage. The character’s current hit point total doesn’t change as a result of being stabilized.

"Stabilize the Dying" would absolutely work here.  But, why wouldn't I want to do the "Use Second Wind" instead?  It's a lower DC on my Heal check, and it puts my ally at positive hit points (rather than just stabiliizing him at 0 or below).  I'm guessing that "Use Second Wind" can't be used on a dying character, but I may be mistaken.  Any thoughts?



You can make your ally use a second wind whyle dying because with the heal check it takes no actin to use it.  You can do no actions whyle dying. 

Yes why wuold you stabilize if you could just make them second.  Answer is pretty easy if they already used there second wind then they can't use it again

The other thing they were also discussing was whether or not you should be able to have someone use first aid's Use Second Wind when the person is unconcious in the first place.


I see no reason not to, as the "Use Second Wind" action allows the target to use Second Wind without having to spend an action doing so (No Action).


It's not like they get to get the whole benefit of Second Wind when someone else triggers it for them; they just get to spend a healing surge, no bonuses to defenses.


And we will have to agree to disagree on the "Healing" ability of second wind...its all fine and dandy until the person goes below zero hit points. To me it makes it a very potent skill for a non-healing character (barbarian for example) who happens to have the heal skill be able to revive someone litterly on the brink of death (someone from just short of negative bloodied value) to 1/4 hps by using a heal skill (extreme case).


And that takes both the Barbarian's standard action, and the target's Second Wind, which means the only other option -- if available -- for him to "heal" the target would be through the giving of healing potions (which could easily be a Standard Action, 0 DC, target spends a healing surge but gains a predetermined number of hit points instead of his healing surge value).


Again...The only time the other first aid skills would be used then is if and only if the person didn't have their second wind.  Why would i want to stop someone from making saving throws and not heal them at a harder DC or grant them an immediate saving throw and not heal them at a harder DC, when all I have to do is make a DC at 2/3 the difficulty and have the person free to run around (or away if needed) with 1/4 hps (No more Saving throws and has 1/4 hps - why waste time on the others abilities)?


Um, because of the likelihood that before he dropped unconscious he already spent his second wind?  Because not everyone would rather have someone *try* to trigger his Second Wind outside of his turn, and instead have himself spend a standard action for Second Wind (and get defenses on top of the healing)? Because there are situations where the ally fell unconscious because of ongoing damage, which he would have to save against *first* before he can be safely stabilized?


Second Wind should be used before the person gets knocked out...but if what you are saying is true then it would be better to not use it and keep it for revival emergencies (since any player can make a heal skill check at DC10 and it would supply me not only with 1/4 hps it would also cancel any negative hit points I had accumulated at that point).


Some groups would, and do, keep it for revival emergencies, but they'd probably also have healing potions at their disposal, which would do exactly the same thing as triggering Second Wind but would cost them a little gold instead of a standard action for a skill that, at low heroic tier for those unskilled in Healing and low WIS, is probably a bit difficult to use.


To me applying first aid is an emergency measure...the party should have healers to deal with anyone that got knocked out (unless that was the healer - in which case that would be an emergency).


And it DOES work as an emergency measure, same with Second Wind. If the leader is out of healing powers and allies are bloodied, he could skirt around the battlefield triggering their Second Wind (unless he's the type that intentionally waits for allies to drop *before* triggering their Second Wind... but that means they'd likely lose at least one round doing nothing but death saving throws, leaving him more exposed to enemy fire -- less targets to choose from basically -- and making it harder for him to actually trigger their Second Wind).  And if there's no way to get them back into the fight, the leader could instead stabilize them and order a retreat or request covering fire in order for the party to recuperate.

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Let's assume that my ally is at 0 (or fewer) hit points, and is therefore dying.  Let's also assume that I (and the rest of my party) lack any way to heal that ally, except for using the Heal skill.

In the description of the Heal skill, there are two relevant uses listed:

Use Second Wind: Make a DC 10 Heal check to allow an adjacent character to use his or her second wind without the character having to take an action to do so. The character doesn’t gain the defense bonuses normally granted by second wind.

Stabilize the Dying: Make a DC 15 Heal check to stabilize an adjacent dying character. If you succeed, the character can stop making death saving throws until he or she takes damage. The character’s current hit point total doesn’t change as a result of being stabilized.

"Stabilize the Dying" would absolutely work here.  But, why wouldn't I want to do the "Use Second Wind" instead?  It's a lower DC on my Heal check, and it puts my ally at positive hit points (rather than just stabiliizing him at 0 or below).  I'm guessing that "Use Second Wind" can't be used on a dying character, but I may be mistaken.  Any thoughts?



You can make your ally use a second wind whyle dying because with the heal check it takes no actin to use it.  You can do no actions whyle dying. 

Yes why wuold you stabilize if you could just make them second.  Answer is pretty easy if they already used there second wind then they can't use it again



This makes the most sense, really.
The other thing they were also discussing was whether or not you should be able to have someone use first aid's Use Second Wind when the person is unconcious in the first place.

And we will have to agree to disagree on the "Healing" ability of second wind...its all fine and dandy until the person goes below zero hit points. To me it makes it a very potent skill for a non-healing character (barbarian for example) who happens to have the heal skill be able to revive someone litterly on the brink of death (someone from just short of negative bloodied value) to 1/4 hps by using a heal skill (extreme case).

Again...The only time the other first aid skills would be used then is if and only if the person didn't have their second wind.  Why would i want to stop someone from making saving throws and not heal them at a harder DC or grant them an immediate saving throw and not heal them at a harder DC, when all I have to do is make a DC at 2/3 the difficulty and have the person free to run around (or away if needed) with 1/4 hps (No more Saving throws and has 1/4 hps - why waste time on the others abilities)?

Second Wind should be used before the person gets knocked out...but if what you are saying is true then it would be better to not use it and keep it for revival emergencies (since any player can make a heal skill check at DC10 and it would supply me not only with 1/4 hps it would also cancel any negative hit points I had accumulated at that point).

lol...and your comment about and going around the battlefield with 1/4 HP (unless he was healed in other ways) or worse with just 1 HP -- assuming he had no healing surges to spend when his Second Wind was triggered -- makes it ALL the easier for nonminion enemies (especially brutes, elites, and solos) to kill him by dealing his bloodied value or more damage in one hit**.

That was probably what got them there in the first place...and using first aid probably wont help or hurt the situation anymore than it already is.

To me applying first aid is an emergency measure...the party should have healers to deal with anyone that got knocked out (unless that was the healer - in which case that would be an emergency).

I merely wanted to point out that the 'healing the dying' rules do not require any sort of healing keyword to start the healing from 0. The rules states that 'any healing restores you to at least 1'. The rules then go on to point out that you go to 0 first then add the healing from the healing effect. Second wind gives you healing, therefore it's a healing effect. Healing effect is not the same thing as the healing keyword, it's simply an effect that restores hit points.

So, we can agree to disagree about whether your house rule is a good one, personally, I don't really care either way since it's your game, however, the rules are pretty clear that you are using a house rule.

Let's assume that my ally is at 0 (or fewer) hit points, and is therefore dying.  Let's also assume that I (and the rest of my party) lack any way to heal that ally, except for using the Heal skill.

In the description of the Heal skill, there are two relevant uses listed:

Use Second Wind: Make a DC 10 Heal check to allow an adjacent character to use his or her second wind without the character having to take an action to do so. The character doesn’t gain the defense bonuses normally granted by second wind.

Stabilize the Dying: Make a DC 15 Heal check to stabilize an adjacent dying character. If you succeed, the character can stop making death saving throws until he or she takes damage. The character’s current hit point total doesn’t change as a result of being stabilized.

"Stabilize the Dying" would absolutely work here.  But, why wouldn't I want to do the "Use Second Wind" instead?  It's a lower DC on my Heal check, and it puts my ally at positive hit points (rather than just stabiliizing him at 0 or below).  I'm guessing that "Use Second Wind" can't be used on a dying character, but I may be mistaken.  Any thoughts?



You can make your ally use a second wind whyle dying because with the heal check it takes no actin to use it.  You can do no actions whyle dying. 

Yes why wuold you stabilize if you could just make them second.  Answer is pretty easy if they already used there second wind then they can't use it again



This makes the most sense, really.

It's not exactly supported by the rules, though.  "Use his or her second wind without the character having to take an action to do so" is not necessarily the same as "use his or her second wind as no action".  The PHB's wording could mean "no action," or "free action," or it could mean it remains a standard (or minor) action but -- like it says -- you just don't have to spend an action like you normally would.  If it's either of the latter two, then being Unconscious (which Dying makes you) means you can't take advantage of Use Second Wind any more than a Warlord could use Direct the Strike on an unconscous ally and expect an attack to come of it.

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It's not exactly supported by the rules, though.  "Use his or her second wind without the character having to take an action to do so" is not necessarily the same as "use his or her second wind as no action".  The PHB's wording could mean "no action," or "free action," or it could mean it remains a standard (or minor) action but -- like it says -- you just don't have to spend an action like you normally would.  If it's either of the latter two, then being Unconscious (which Dying makes you) means you can't take advantage of Use Second Wind any more than a Warlord could use Direct the Strike on an unconscous ally and expect an attack to come of it.




A Free Action is still an action, which is also why Direct the Strike still won't work on an unconscious ally. (I don't doubt, however, that there is some power somewhere that allows an attack without expenditure of an action) [EDIT]: It occurs to me that this was your point.  Apologies for misreading.

When is "without . . . having to take an action to [use his or her second wind]" not equal to "use his or her second wind as no action"? A Free Action still requires to you to "take an action," and even if it "remains a standard action," you still don't have to spend an action to use it.
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Let's assume that my ally is at 0 (or fewer) hit points, and is therefore dying.  Let's also assume that I (and the rest of my party) lack any way to heal that ally, except for using the Heal skill.

In the description of the Heal skill, there are two relevant uses listed:

Use Second Wind: Make a DC 10 Heal check to allow an adjacent character to use his or her second wind without the character having to take an action to do so. The character doesn’t gain the defense bonuses normally granted by second wind.

Stabilize the Dying: Make a DC 15 Heal check to stabilize an adjacent dying character. If you succeed, the character can stop making death saving throws until he or she takes damage. The character’s current hit point total doesn’t change as a result of being stabilized.

"Stabilize the Dying" would absolutely work here.  But, why wouldn't I want to do the "Use Second Wind" instead?  It's a lower DC on my Heal check, and it puts my ally at positive hit points (rather than just stabiliizing him at 0 or below).  I'm guessing that "Use Second Wind" can't be used on a dying character, but I may be mistaken.  Any thoughts?



You can make your ally use a second wind whyle dying because with the heal check it takes no actin to use it.  You can do no actions whyle dying. 

Yes why wuold you stabilize if you could just make them second.  Answer is pretty easy if they already used there second wind then they can't use it again



This makes the most sense, really.

It's not exactly supported by the rules, though.  "Use his or her second wind without the character having to take an action to do so" is not necessarily the same as "use his or her second wind as no action".  The PHB's wording could mean "no action," or "free action," or it could mean it remains a standard (or minor) action but -- like it says -- you just don't have to spend an action like you normally would.  If it's either of the latter two, then being Unconscious (which Dying makes you) means you can't take advantage of Use Second Wind any more than a Warlord could use Direct the Strike on an unconscous ally and expect an attack to come of it.




Actually, it is supported by the rules if you look at it logically.

When you are unconcsious, you can't take a standard, move, minor or free action. If they handn't intended the Use Second Wind as a way to save a dying character, they would have simply said that the target could take a second wind as a free action, since that would have the same effect for anyone that wasn't dying.

But they specifically said that it allows the target to use their second wind without having to take an action to do so. Meaning, in this specific case, the use of Second wind doesn't count as an action.

The rule for unconcsious, it says you can't take any action.

If you are unconcsious and can't take any action, but someone does a Heal check makes using Second Wind not an action to do so, the rules have been meet. You did not take a standard, move, minor or free action while unconcsious to activate your second wind, because in this case, doing so isn't considered any of those kinds of actions.

Specific beats general.

When is "without . . . having to take an action to [use his or her second wind]" not equal to "use his or her second wind as no action"?

I don't know.  That's my point.  It could be the same thing all the time, but I don't have any reason to think that it is or isn't.  Perhaps they meant it to be useable on characters who are Dazed?  Or maybe Stuned, and they didn't think about Dying or Unconscious.  My point is that the wording is ambiguous, so all we can truly say is that we don't know at all what's supposed to happen.

A Free Action still requires to you to "take an action," and even if it "remains a standard action," you still don't have to spend an action to use it.

But Unconscious says "you can't take actions".  Whether or not I can spend them is irrelevant for Unconscious (and therefore Dying) unless "taking actions" and "spending actions" are also one and the same.  Again, I don't know, and the rules don't say either way.  They could be one and the same, but I have no evidence either way beyond plain English meaning, and that seems to fail here.

Let's look at it another way.  We've covered that Direct the Strike doesn't work on Unconscious allies.  What about Commander's Strike?  That simply states "an ally of your choice makes a melee basic attack against the target."  It also doesn't talk about actions.  Can I use that on a Dying ally?  How about a Stunned one?  Petrified?  How about a Dead one?  Merely Dazed?

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A Free Action still requires to you to "take an action," and even if it "remains a standard action," you still don't have to spend an action to use it.

But Unconscious says "you can't take actions".  Whether or not I can spend them is irrelevant for Unconscious (and therefore Dying) unless "taking actions" and "spending actions" are also one and the same.  Again, I don't know, and the rules don't say either way.  They could be one and the same, but I have no evidence either way beyond plain English meaning, and that seems to fail here.

Let's look at it another way.  We've covered that Direct the Strike doesn't work on Unconscious allies.  What about Commander's Strike?  That simply states "an ally of your choice makes a melee basic attack against the target."  It also doesn't talk about actions.  Can I use that on a Dying ally?  How about a Stunned one?  Petrified?  How about a Dead one?  Merely Dazed?


That's a problem with how Commander's Strike is written, not a problem with using a Heal check to allow a character to use their Second Wind. The Heal skill specifies your ally gets to use Second Wind without taking any action whereas Commander's Strike fails to specify they can take the attack as a free action, which is the most likely RAI.

When is "without . . . having to take an action to [use his or her second wind]" not equal to "use his or her second wind as no action"?

I don't know.  That's my point.  It could be the same thing all the time, but I don't have any reason to think that it is or isn't.  Perhaps they meant it to be useable on characters who are Dazed?  Or maybe Stuned, and they didn't think about Dying or Unconscious.  My point is that the wording is ambiguous, so all we can truly say is that we don't know at all what's supposed to happen.



I'm not seeing the ambiguity. Unconscious says you can't take actions, First Aid says the target can Second Wind without spending an action. If the decision on whether a character can have their Second Wind triggered while unconscious hinges on whether "Take" and "Spend" have different meanings in the game (as the second part of your post suggests), then we need to find some place in the ruleset where that difference can be observed, else the simplest reading (that they are effectively the same) must take precedence. Perhaps we should submit this extremely pedantic phrasing error to the errata boards?

As Galkasaur points out, Commander's Strike definitely needs a proviso that the ally spends a free action to make the attack. (At the same time, I figure it should also be redone to say the ally gains a +Int bonus to damage rather than its current unorthodox construction).

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(For reference, I think using a heal check to allow someone to second wind while unconscious is intended and allowed - the downside is usually they've already used their second wind if it's gotten dire enough to be dying, and it only works the once.)


I would argue that 'spending' things while unconscious is still totally allowed.  Included in the rules for dying, are the target 'spending' a surge to receive healing.  Someone else uses the action to grant the dying person the power to spend a surge, and I view second wind as the same type of action.  Unconscious person can't 'take' an action, but they can still spend the surge if conditions are met.

Second wind, no action - check.
Second wind, spend surge - check.

Dying person is good to go.

I would like to point out that "you can't take actions" is the same condition for someone who is stunned.  I think most would agree that this is a great use of a heal check for someone who is stunned, granting them the chance to use their second wind.  If this would help out a stunned person, who normally can't take actions (exact same wording as unconscious), then unconscious is ok too.
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I am going to start keeping track of how many arguments about the English language comes into play when it comes to ruling.

I just can't see how there can be any other interruption of this other then you can let the dying ally use a second win.

If WotC didn't want a dying PC to use a second wind from a Ally's heal check they would have said use it as a free action
Let's assume that my ally is at 0 (or fewer) hit points, and is therefore dying.  Let's also assume that I (and the rest of my party) lack any way to heal that ally, except for using the Heal skill.

In the description of the Heal skill, there are two relevant uses listed:

Use Second Wind: Make a DC 10 Heal check to allow an adjacent character to use his or her second wind without the character having to take an action to do so. The character doesn’t gain the defense bonuses normally granted by second wind.

Stabilize the Dying: Make a DC 15 Heal check to stabilize an adjacent dying character. If you succeed, the character can stop making death saving throws until he or she takes damage. The character’s current hit point total doesn’t change as a result of being stabilized.

"Stabilize the Dying" would absolutely work here.  But, why wouldn't I want to do the "Use Second Wind" instead?  It's a lower DC on my Heal check, and it puts my ally at positive hit points (rather than just stabiliizing him at 0 or below).  I'm guessing that "Use Second Wind" can't be used on a dying character, but I may be mistaken.  Any thoughts?



I believe the key here is in the wording.  Use second wind uses the words "an adjacent character" while Stabalize says "an adjasent dying character".  In the first, they are not dying but in the second they are. 

Another similar quandry is powers such as "inspiring word" which allows the target to spend a healing surge.  The power does not state any prohibition from using it on a dying character, however the idea that giving an inspiring speech will revive an unconcious person does not seem to make much sence.
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Don't forget that the CAN stop making death saving throws... meaning that the character doesn't have to stop if s/he doesn't want to.  There's one argument for not wanting to stop: the ability to spend a healing surge on a natural 20.  In my games, I have a house rule in that the character is no longer dying, but they are still allowed death saving throws only to see if they get the natural 20.



It is just on a 20, not necessarily on a natural 20. Bonuses help you trigger that.



Interesting...You seem to be correct.  So could another character (upto 4) use a standard action to "aid another", roll a 10 or better and add upto +8 to the death saving throw? 
Frozen Destinies

Interesting...You seem to be correct.  So could another character (upto 4) use a standard action to "aid another", roll a 10 or better and add upto +8 to the death saving throw? 



No, I believe that would fall under "multiple untyped bonuses from the same named game element" which not stack per the March rules update.
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