Quite a few undead are immune to the unconscious condition:

(Plague Zombie)
Immunities death effects, disease, mental, paralyzed, poison, unconscious;

The only thing I found linking nonlethal and unconscious is Knocked Out and Dying:

You gain the dying 1 condition. [...] If the damage was dealt by a nonlethal attack or nonlethal effect, you don’t gain the dying condition; you are instead unconscious with 0 Hit Points.

It only talks about the last damage instance. So it seems that you can fight a Plague Zombie1 with your fists with full efficiency, dealing 49 nonlethal damage, and then change to lethal damage, taking -2 on the attack.
Is this correct?

  1. Plague Zombies have 50 HP
  • \$\begingroup\$ I realize that the title is a bit misleading, but a descriptive one would have been 3 sentences long. You are welcome to modify it \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Aug 14, 2022 at 11:40

1 Answer 1


No (and not quite)

Most undead are not immune to non-lethal damage, so you are correct that you can punch them effectively. They lack "non-lethal damage" in their Immunities section, and there is nothing about it in the overarching Undead Trait. Undead are immune to being Unconscious because there are effects that can cause the Unconscious condition outside of damage (such as Lethargy and False Death poisons) and there's nothing to say there won't ever be an effect that they're not otherwise immune to.

However, you do not need to switch to dealing lethal damage for the last hit. When an Undead is brought to 0 HP by any means, including non-lethal damage, they are destroyed. They never interact with the Dying Condition or rules, but instead simply stop functioning, possibly going limp, disintegrating, or dissipating (depending on undead type and GM narration).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Not sure if it's worth noting in the answer, but there are creatures immune to non-lethal damage. So the absence in Undead statblocks (including incorporeal ones) is intentional. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Aug 16, 2022 at 21:34

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .