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The Bard level 10 utility power Word of Lifeddi states:

Immediate Reaction Close burst 20

Trigger: An enemy attack reduces an ally within 20 squares of you to 0 hit points or fewer

Target: The triggering ally in the burst

Effect: The target can spend a healing surge. In addition, the attacking enemy takes a -5 penalty to all defenses until the end of your next turn.

The glossary entry for Dying and Deathddi states:

Dying: When an adventurer’s hit points drop to 0 or fewer, he or she falls unconscious and is dying.

Does Word of Life, which is an immediate reaction (and takes place after the ally reaches 0 hit points) interrupt the act of dying and prevent the character from falling unconscious and falling prone?

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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Because Word of Life is an immediate reaction rather than an immediate interrupt, your ally is already at 0 or fewer hit points (and dying, unconscious, prone, etc.) if you choose to use it. After you use it (assuming they spend the healing surge), they're no longer dying. It doesn't interrupt dying, it just ends the dying condition by removing the state that caused it.

Rules Compendium, pages 195-196

An immediate interrupt jumps in when its trigger occurs, taking place before the trigger finishes.

An immediate reaction lets a creature act in response to a trigger. The triggering action or event occurs and is completely resolved before the action takes place. An immediate reaction waits for its trigger to finish, not necessarily for the action that contains the trigger to finish.

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So if a hit would kill an ally outright, Word of Life won't help them? –  C. Ross Feb 9 '13 at 20:54
    
@C.Ross Since they're dead at that point and would be unable to use any healing surges, yes. The attacker would still take a -5 to all defences, allowing some retribution, though. –  Jonathan Hobbs Feb 9 '13 at 22:08
    
The problem is then that no power can possibly be worded to save an ally at full health that takes 150% their total HP in damage. An immediate interrupt would happen before they take damage, therefore can't heal; an immediate reaction would happen after they die, therefore can't heal. This makes me think that an immediate reaction takes place between the damage and the dying. –  Soulrift Feb 10 '13 at 0:00
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@Soulrift There are a couple of ways - to provide ablative hit points or to temporarily remove the -bloodied condition for outright death as interrupts. –  Simon Gill Feb 10 '13 at 1:20
    
@Soulrift From rules compendium p. 195 Reactions: An immediate reaction lets a creature act in response to a trigger. The triggering action or event occurs and is completely resolved before the reaction takes place. An immediate reaction waits for its trigger to finish, not necessarily for the action that contains the trigger to finish. –  Joshua Aslan Smith Feb 13 '13 at 19:46
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Any event triggered with when a trigger occurs happens, happens during the same time frame as the triggering event. This helps distinguish When from After. It also makes sure that there are less problems with weird edge cases from ordering reactions and rulebook effects.

On the ground, it means that both the triggering and triggered event have to start after all Interrupts happen and before all Reactions start.

So no, Word of Life leaves you prone on the floor with hit points. Probably with a headache and some confusion from the brief moment of unconsciousness, but there's no rules for that.

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Why the downvote? –  Simon Gill Feb 10 '13 at 1:17
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