A cleric casts Consecrated ground (sustain minor). Enemy drops him to 0 HP. Cleric falls unconscious.

What happens next?

Consecrated ground disappears.


Consecrated ground stays put. On cleric's next turn the ground heals cleric, cleric regains consciousness, spends minor action to sustain.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The answers given below explain in further detail, but I think it should be clarified that the Cleric is at no time "sustaining... while unconscious". Sustaining of a power is an event that happens on a character's turn. If the character is unconscious at the time the effect is to be sustained, the effect will die. However, if - as you've described - the character regains consciousness when the time comes to sustain the effect, then it can be sustained. \$\endgroup\$
    – Iszi
    Oct 11, 2010 at 19:13

4 Answers 4


Peter Nix has already quoted the rules on this. Perhaps it's easier to explain with an example combat.

Situation #1
Initiative sequence:

  1. Monster
  2. Cleric (already sustaining consecrated ground) - outside the zone
  3. other party members

If the monster drops the cleric to negative hitpoints on its turn, the sustained power will end when the cleric makes his death save (which is the only thing he can do on his round afaik) because the condition demanded by the rules (the action spent to sustain the power) hasn't happened. No matter what the other party members do will allow the power to be sustained.

Situation #2
Initiative sequence:

  1. Monster
  2. other party members
  3. Cleric (already sustaining consecrated ground) - outside the zone

If the monster drops the cleric to negative hitpoints in this situation it depends on the actions of the other party members whether the sustained power will end or not. If e.g. the wizard successfully administers a healing potion to the cleric or the figher/mc warlord uses Inspiring word or something like that, the cleric is conscious when his turn comes up and able to meet the sustain condition by expending the required action.

Situation #3
Initiative sequence: either from #1 or #2, but this time the cleric is inside the zone

In this situation the healing from the zone kicks in when the unconscious cleric starts his/her turn. Therefore the cleric is conscious by the end of his turn and was likely able to spend the required action to keep the sustained power running.

The only thing I can think of right now that would allow the Cleric to keep his power running was a Sustaining Cloak (DDI-Link) which could work because using its encounter power is a "no action" action. At least that's the way I read it. Item's source: Published in PH Races: Tiefling, page(s) 29.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What your missing is that the power in question, Consecrated Ground grants surgeless healing to the Cleric and their allies at the beginning of the Cleric's turn, meaning that the Cleric will heal to 1+Cha mod HP, and then be able to take actions. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 10, 2010 at 20:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Simon Withers: but only if the cleric is actually inside the created zone. I'll edit my answer accordingly. \$\endgroup\$
    – user660
    Oct 10, 2010 at 20:24

From Players Handbook 1 (page 278):

A power's description indicates what happens when you sustain it or let it lapse. At then end of your turn, if you haven't spent the required action to sustain the effect, the effect ends.

The way I've always viewed this as a the player is pumping the spell with power, though not continuously but in spurts. Using the action you're able to put enough power into the spell to sustain it until it starts to run dry (your next turn) and then you pump more energy into the spell in order to keep it from emptying and fading.

This also helps increase tension for those that fall unconscious in my opinion, as not only do the other characters need to heal their fallen comrade in order to prevent him or her from dying, but also if they can revive the character before the characters next turn, the spell won't fade. By playing it this way, the group needs to make a hard decision about whether or not its better to save the character and the beneficial spell or take a different action, and hard decisions allow the player to explore what they're character would or would not in response to the situation (the character may not opt to save the ally as a result of who the character is, even if the player wants to, which is the heart of roleplaying).

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the asker is asking for the hard rules answer rather than a "how could I handle this?" answer. If you added something like "[this] is how the rules say it, but this is how I like to play it…" bit, this would be a good answer to the question. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 10, 2010 at 19:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie The problem with ambiguous rule questions (as this one is) is that roleplaying is completely subjective. Technically both answers are right, and its up to the GM to decide. Every group is going to do this differently based on how they perceive magic to work in the world. Therefore, the best I can offer in order to help resolve the ambiguity is to explain how I play it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Peter
    Oct 10, 2010 at 22:17
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Except this is 4e we're talking about, which is an exception-based design. There is inherently a correct answer. Not that I like that 4e is that way, but it is as-written. I much prefer to play as you describe, but that's immaterial to how the rules define this particular interaction. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 10, 2010 at 23:13

The cleric heals at the start of his turn, gets his full suite of actions and may elect to sustain the effect.

Consecrated GroundDDI states that you or any ally heals if you start the turn within the zone and are bloodied.

The Rules Compendium p197 states that a creature's start of turn always takes place even if the creature cannot take actions.

So as long as the cleric is within the zone, he will heal. SustainableDDI powers, as Simon and Peter have noted last until the end of your turn.


From the player's handbook, describing sustainable powers:

Some effects do something, such as attack, when you sustain them. A power’s description indicates what happens when you sustain it or let it lapse. At the end of your turn, if you haven’t spent the required action to sustain the effect, the effect ends.

Only at the end of the Cleric's next turn does the zone check if it subsides.

Furthermore, for unconsciousness (and dying as the cleric in the question is), while sometimes I have seen it played that "owned" effects such as this end immediately, there is no rule that I can see that ends the sustain effect other than the presumed impending failure to sustain.

So unless the monster outright kills the Cleric (by reducing the Cleric to their negative bloodied value) the Cleric will heal at the start of the Cleric's turn, and be able to sustain.


You must log in to answer this question.

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