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One of the general options for using Hero Points is

Spend all your Hero Points (minimum 1) to avoid death. You can do this when your dying condition would increase. You lose the dying condition entirely and stabilize with 0 Hit Points. You don't gain the wounded condition or increase its value from losing the dying condition in this way, but if you already had that condition, you don't lose it or decrease its value.

My first reading of this was that you can only do it when your Dying condition would increase to stop Dying. Recent events (decapitation effects) have caused me to reread it and realize that it might be more generalized than I previously thought.

Is there any guidance to support if it's supposed to prevent any effect that would kill you with the "when your dying condition would increase" being an exception/allowance vs. "when your dying condition would increase" being it's only trigger?

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Avoiding Death is Flavour, not Mechanics

The wording of "...to avoid death." is too general to be a mechanical description of the effect. Avoiding death could mean anything from wearing armor to staying home and not adventuring, not just the instant negation of death.

Beyond that, the effect of a Heroic Recovery is that you lose the dying condition and stabilize with 0 HP. Death effects bypass the dying mechanics by setting a character to dead, without needing to gain the dying condition or bleeding out.

Some spells and abilities can kill you immediately or bring you closer to death without needing to reduce you to 0 Hit Points first. These abilities have the death trait and usually involve negative energy, the antithesis of life. If you are reduced to 0 Hit Points by a death effect, you are slain instantly without needing to reach dying 4. If an effect states it kills you outright, you die without having to reach dying 4 and without being reduced to 0 Hit Points.

Also note the Heroic Recovery rules mentioned in the Hit Points, Healing, and Dying section of the CRB. At the very least, "when your dying condition would increase" wouldn't be the only trigger.

If you have at least 1 Hero Point (page 467), you can spend all of your remaining Hero Points at the start of your turn or when your dying value would increase. You lose the dying condition entirely and stabilize with 0 Hit Points. You don’t gain the wounded condition or increase its value from losing the dying condition in this way, but if you already had that condition, you don’t lose it or decrease its value.

Both of these support the idea that you could only use Heroic Recovery if your character has the dying condition to lose, and not whenever something would kill you regardless of that fact.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I disagree that "to avoid death" is that vague in context. But the other reference to Heroic Recovery seems much more conclusive. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Feb 10 at 17:47

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