Being a DM here. Trying to set up a plot that involves a high-rank NPC being unconscious after a big fight so that he missed some important event (and only just awoke before PC arrives).

However, it is Pathfinder where magic healing is available. Unconsciousness due to loss of HP can easily be fixed by CLW from a level 1 cleric (as long as he is not killed immediately). Even the unconsciousness caused by loss of CON can be fixed by Restoration (which does not need a very high-level cleric either), not to mention that CON damage only commonly exists when dealing with undead/poison (which is not the case for the fight I planned).

What other effects can cause unconsciousness that cannot be easily fixed by magical healing?


2 Answers 2


It's always hard to prove a negative, but I think there's low-level spells fixing all possible conditions that produce unconsciousness, unless it's caused by some weird effect by a high level monster.

Anyway, I can think of several reasons why this guy might still be unconscious when the PCs find them.

  1. Nobody noticed the unconscious body yet. Maybe some other NPC who had been stabbed to death fell over him and they got mistaken for yet another corpse.
  2. Someone went calling for a healer but they are not back yet (only useful for a couple of hours maybe?)
  3. There's been ability damage, poisoning or drugs involved and the healer who got called can cast the right spell to solve the situation, but they don't have it ready today. This might get hard if your NPCs are used to carry scrolls for such events.
  4. The people who first found the NPC hate them and they don't hurry saving them.
  • \$\begingroup\$ I like your list, but you missed 3 (to me) obvious answers; the person in question might be 1) drunk/ high on drugs, 2) be poisoned, 3) is diseased - and the side effect of either one of the latter 2 is unconsciousness \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 22:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ The question has been updated to make it work better with the site; you may want to expand, frame, or freshen up this to match. \$\endgroup\$
    – Someone_Evil
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 at 22:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JesseCohoon Given that spells that remove drugs, curses, poison and disease also exist, my answer would stand. Unfortunately, the question was changed to better comply with guidelines and I think there's no answer to that question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 19:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this answer is still valid as a frame challenge (albeit by answering the first underlying question) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 21:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd add another possibility that since this posited scenario is the aftermath of a big fight, everyone who would heal is already on hand, and they either used up all their healing spells in the fight already before the NPC got knocked out, or they're saving what little healing spells they do have left in case there's some more violence left in the day and need to be able to stabilise someone who's actually dying. (Assumption being that the unconscious NPC has stabilised safely and is not at risk of long-term harm.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 22:44

Some effects (e.g. a rogue's knock-out blow or a brawler's knockout), some spells (e.g. Color Spray), and some supernatural abilities (e.g. Ice Tomb) should do the trick.

As long as the unconsciousness isn't due to having the dying condition, magical healing won't remove it (although you can use smelling salts to get another save). Poisons can all be neutralized through various magical means and some spells can be neutralized through Dispel Magic*, but I don't know of any way to remove other non-dying sources of unconsciousness.

*: You can't dispel Color Spray because the duration is instantaneous and you can't dispel Ice Tomb because it's supernatural.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think OP needs more than 1-8 rounds, but still a great list to have attached to this question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 21:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point; added Ice Tomb which should last several minutes minimum (unless someone melts them out which could be done magically but isn't healing magic). \$\endgroup\$
    – Shivers
    Commented Jun 2, 2020 at 21:34

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