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The Survivor feat reads as follows:

Prerequisite: Con 13, Diehard, Endurance.

Benefit: You gain a +5 bonus on all Constitution checks made to stabilize while dying. Once per day, if you are struck by a critical hit or sneak attack, you can spend an immediate action to negate the critical or the sneak attack damage, making the attack a normal hit.

Survivor has Diehard as a prerequisite, which says:

Prerequisite: Endurance.

Benefit: When your hit point total is below 0, but you are not dead, you automatically stabilize. You do not need to make a Constitution check each round to avoid losing additional hit points. You may choose to act as if you were disabled, rather than dying. You must make this decision as soon as you are reduced to negative hit points (even if it isn’t your turn). If you do not choose to act as if you were disabled, you immediately fall unconscious.

When using this feat, you are staggered. You can take a move action without further injuring yourself, but if you perform any standard action (or any other action deemed as strenuous, including some swift actions, such as casting a quickened spell) you take 1 point of damage after completing the act. If your negative hit points are equal to or greater than your Constitution score, you immediately die.

Normal: A character without this feat who is reduced to negative hit points is unconscious and dying.

Emphasis mine. Does the fact that Diehard causes you to automatically stabilize render the first part of Survivor completely useless? Are there any circumstances where you would make a Constitution check to stabilize while dying where Diehard would not apply?

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That part of the feat in general does not do anything

You are correct in your assessment that if a dying character automatically stabilizes, the +5 bonus to Constitution checks to become stable when dying is not doing anything for you so if you have the Diehard feat, that part of the Survivor feat is redundant.

However, note that there may be some way to obtain the Survivor feat without having the Diehard feat (such as through some class that grants Survivor as a bonus feat without needing to meet prerequisites) although I know of no such case.

It may have just been an oversight

James Jacobs, creative director for pathfinder, has claimed in two forum threads that this may have just been a conversion mistake from 3.5e.

Fat Jozka:

The Survivor Feat states: "You gain a +5 bonus on all Constitution checks made to stabilize while dying."

Diehard is a prerequisite feat.

Diehard states: "When your hit point total is below 0, but you are not dead, you automatically stabilize."

Am I missing something or does this trump the Survivor feat stabilization bonus? If so, is the only benefit of Survivor the cool ability to ignore one critical hit/sneak attack a day?

James Jacobs

That looks like a 3.5 to PFRPG conversion problem. The Survivior [sic] feat probably shouldn't require Diehard as a prereq, I suspect. In any event, the ability to ignore one crit/sneak a day is pretty handy. I can see this ability saving a character's life quite a lot.

This is a bit odd because, as pointed out by Kryan, the Survivor feat as it works in Pathfinder seems to have no equivalent in D&D 3.5e and Diehard does not appear to have been changed from 3.5e (other than adjusting for Pathfinder's threshold for death).

Still, the fact that it was likely a mistake (even if it is not a conversion mistake as claimed by James Jacobs) or oversight in designing the feat still stands.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What is James Jacobs talking about? Diehard didn’t change functionally between 3.5 and Pathfinder (aside from recognizing Pathfinder’s new threshold for death), and while 3.5 had two different feats named Survivor, neither was open-game content, nor anything like the Pathfinder feat. Survivor was a new feat created specifically for Pathfinder, requiring a feat that was not changed from 3.5 to Pathfinder. Your point about getting Survivor while skipping Diehard somehow is valid, but Jacobs is just confusing here. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Aug 1 at 13:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I just thought I couldn't find the proper Survivor feat in 3.5e but that also makes sense. I have added a note to that fact. I still that James' comment on there being a mistake (even if it's not actually a conversion mistake as he claimed) is useful to have. \$\endgroup\$ – Sdjz Aug 1 at 15:52

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