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I'm planning a scenario where an assassin has managed to both injure and poison two victims, let's hope our heroes get there in time!

I just wanted to check my understanding of the relevant interactions, we have:

  • Target 1: Level 3 aristocrat, con 10, 14hp max.
  • Target 2: Level 2 aristocrat, con 12, 11hp max.

T1 has been reduced to -1hp and hit with a poison that deals 1 point of con damage per round. The poison has had 1 round to work so con is reduced to 9.

T2 has been reducde to -3hp and hit with the same poison.

Now this gets complicated because they are both bleeding out so hp dropping and poisoned so con reducing. Does the con loss have a doubled effect since it will both reduce the point at which you die and reduce your hp?

So the question is, how long do they live for assuming they fail their saves and will die without intervention?

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Does the con loss have a doubled effect since it will both reduce the point at which you die and reduce your hp?

For each 2 points in CON lost, the max HP will reduce by (CON penalty * hit dice). For example, if CON is reduced from 10 to 9, resulting in a -1 penalty, and the creature has 3 hit dice, the creature loses 3 hit points from both the max HP and current HP.

The situation also changes depending on the poison: is it doing CON drain or CON damage?

CON drain will result in NPC 1 dying one round earlier than CON damage and NPC 2 dying two rounds earlier, due to his higher CON score. This, of course, will change greatly depending on the number of hit dice and hit points, CON score, and CON damage/bleed damage.

All examples are based on the NPC having already been afflicted with the poison and bleed and having already suffered 1 CON damage.

CON drain:

Example 1:

3 hit dice, CON 10, MAX HP 14: Dies at round 3

Round 1: CON 9 (-1), HP: -4/11
Round 2: CON 8 (-1), HP: -5/11
Round 3: CON 7 (-2), HP: -9/08 **Dead**

Example 2:

2 hit dice, CON 12, MAX HP 11: Dies at round 3 

Round 1: CON 11 (00), HP: -5/08
Round 2: CON 10 (00), HP: -6/08
Round 3: CON 09 (-1), HP: -9/06 **Dead**

For CON damage, the total CON doesn't actually change but the total HP are reduced so it's a bit more forgiving. The CON column in this case is the amount remaining after damage but you would still compare the negative HP to the max CON value, not the result after damage (ability damage isn't permanent). Still, this is pretty brutal because of the rules on CON damage:

Constitution: Damage to your Constitution score causes you to take penalties on your Fortitude saving throws. In addition, multiply your total Hit Dice by this penalty and subtract that amount from your current and total hit points.

CON Damage:

Example 1:

3 hit dice, CON 10, MAX HP 14: Dies at round 3

Round 1: CON 9 (-1), HP: -04/11
Round 2: CON 8 (-1), HP: -05/11
Round 3: CON 7 (-2), HP: -09/08 
Round 4: CON 6 (-2), HP: -10/08 **Dead**

Example 2:

2 hit dice, CON 12, MAX HP 11: Dies at round 5 

Round 1: CON 11 (00), HP: -05/08
Round 2: CON 10 (00), HP: -06/08
Round 3: CON 09 (-1), HP: -09/06 
Round 4: CON 08 (-1), HP: -10/06 
Round 5: CON 07 (-2), HP: -13/04 **Dead**

I believe I've got the numbers right but I've gone over them a few times and found some errors -- someone please correct me in a comment if I've missed something.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ But his con has been reduced to 1 by that point by the ability damage? Or does it go off the non-damaged con? At round 5 he's -5hp with con score of 5... so doesn't he die then? \$\endgroup\$ – Tim B Mar 14 '16 at 15:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's doing Con Damage. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim B Mar 14 '16 at 15:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TimB I have updated my answer to use the correct rules for CON damage in Pathfinder, which I incorrectly stated previously as affecting only the max HP. When a creature takes CON damage or CON drain, it affects both their total and current HPs. This makes your combo of CON damage + bleed damage even more deadly. \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Mar 14 '16 at 15:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TimB I realized I was also getting the death condition wrong for Pathfinder... I forgot that in PF you only need negative HP = total CON for dying. This significantly changes the round in which you die. \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Mar 14 '16 at 16:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for working all that out. It's interesting that having more hit dice is actually a bad thing in this situation, I have a feeling T1 would live longer with only 2 hit dice. So basically they would have 3 & 4 rounds respectively to stabilize the hp damage, and then a further 9 & 6 rounds to treat the poison. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim B Mar 14 '16 at 16:26

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