Barbarian's Guarded life rage power states:
While raging, if the barbarian is reduced below 0 hit points, 1 hit point of lethal damage per barbarian level is converted to nonlethal damage. If the barbarian is at negative hit points due to lethal damage, she immediately stabilizes.
How exactly does this work?
Is the damage converted prior to the barbarian losing the HP that would set him to 0? Does this happen on a per rage or per attack basis?
To clarify, an example: A level 10 Barbarian is at 1 health. She's hit by an attack and takes 9 damage. This would reduce her to negative 8 health, so Guarded Life kicks in.
So first there seems to be two options:
1st scenario: Barbarian loses 1 health, goes to 0, guarded life kicks in, the 8 damage that would reduce him to -8 are converted to nonleathal and the second half of the Guarded Life ability stabilizes her at 0 hp.
2nd scenario: Barbarian takes a blow that would reduce her to negative hit points, thus before this happens, Guarded Life kicks in, all 9 of the damage taken are converted to nonleathal and the barbarian is left on 1 hp.
Now extend this scenario thus: In the first case, the barbarian is then healed for 1 so she gets back up again and has the required abilities to rage a second time and does so. In the second case the barbarian is still up at 1 hp.
Now she takes another hit for 9. Depending on the scenarios:
First: Barbarian is again reduced to 0 hp, Guarded life kicks in. As it already converted 8 damage, does it now: a) only convert 2 (up to a combined value of 10), or b) it converts the full 8 because either: 1) This is a new rage, so the pool was refreshed or 2) The conversion in each individual instance has a pool of 10.
Second: Barbarian would again be reduced to negative hp, so before that can happen Guarded Life kicks in, this time again there are two options: a) As it converted 9 damage the last time, it now converts only 1 (up to a combined value of 10), the barbarian takes the remaining 8 and is set to -7, then stabilizes, or b) The pool of 10 is hit independent so once again 9 damage are converted and the barbarian is still at 1, with 18 nonleathal damage.
The answer that makes the most sense to me would be First b), 1), but the wording seems somewhat ambiguous.