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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Pathfinder RPG: Standing Up in Combat Without Dying

I don't know about you folks, but in my Pathfinder games there are certain PCs who are regularly reduced to zero hit points or less, then receive healing (usually some channeled positive energy from the cleric) and then want to stand up.

Unfortunately, standing up in combat provokes an Attack of Opportunity from everything that threatens your location, and since you're prone, you get a -4 to your AC to be hit by said threatening things (a generous GM might reduce that to a -2 because the act of standing means you aren't fully prone, but neither are you completely vertical). Heck, you can't even crawl away, because crawling also provokes AoOs.

So the question is, "What can a player have his character do so they aren't just sitting ducks when they're prone-but-conscious in a fight?"

I thought about it for a bit and came up with three tactics. The first technique is 100% within both the letter and spirit of the rules, so it can used in any sanctioned gameplay; the second is legal to the letter of the rules, but some people might argue that it's against the spirit of the rules to Withdraw at a crawl; and the third is legal within the spirit of the rules, but isn't technically Rules As Written.


Total Defense Technique
  1. Become conscious, either through healing or stabilization roll. 
  2. While still prone (-4 AC), use your standard action to adopt Total Defense (+4 AC). 
  3. Use your move action to stand up. 
Benefit: Attacks of Opportunity still happen, but your AC isn't penalized. 100% legal within both letter and spirit of rules.


The Combat Crawl
  1. Become conscious, either through healing or stabilization roll. 
  2. While still prone, use the full-round Withdraw action. You no longer suffer Attacks of Opportunity from opponents who threaten your starting square. 
  3. Crawling while prone is 5' as a move action. Withdrawing is a full-turn action that doubles your speed, meaning you can crawl at 10' as a withdrawal. 
Benefit: Gets squishy PCs out of the fight in a hurry. Just be careful of your path, because you can still get AoD'd along your path!


Acro Like a Mofo
  1. Become conscious, either through healing or stabilization roll. 
  2. Roll Acrobatics to tumble out of the square without provoking an Attack of Opportunity, with the DC determined by the "Move Through Threatened Squares" table. 
  3. Stand up in a non-threatened square OR add +5 to DC to stand up at then end of you tumble. 
Benefit: A great way for high-Dex PCs to get back into the fight without having to burn their Standard Action. Tumble and attack!


If you'd like to print out a copy of these rules, there's a handy button right below these words that will enable you to print it out or turn it into a PDF.

Have fun, and don't die!

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