Swift/Feral Regeneration

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John Flipp
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Swift/Feral Regeneration

I have another question here about a situation we had in a game.
The Feral Troll have the Feral Regeneration power, which read like this:
Immediate, when this creature takes damage, heal 20hp.

The Mountain Troll have the Swift Regeneration power with the same description except heals 50hp.

So to be tactical, I wanted to wait until the very last moment to use this power.
In a situation where I have 5 hp left, and someone hit with 25 damage, can I use Feral regeneration before being destroy, then surviving the blow?
Because the power says ''Immediate when Damaged'', but it caused confusion, so do my tactic would be legal?

In the arguing my friend came with this crazy idea that I would fall to -20 hp and healing 20 would still bring me to 0 hp, but I dont think it works like that...

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skyscraper
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I think that a ruling to settle your question would be inspired by the upcoming v3 Alpha battle rules where this is clarified by a note on page 31:

V3 Alpha wrote:
Destroyed, Bloodied, Damaged Triggers.

(...)

Notes: A creature that is destroyed is removed from the battlemap Immediately. This can only be interrupted by a power that is triggered by an immediate action.

My understanding from this upcoming rule, presumably inspired by past situations where this arose and was ruled on by judges under v2 rules, is that you could indeed interrupt with the immediate action the sequence of taking damage after damage is dealt but before the creature is destroyed to heal it.

*************

Digression warning. Read on at your own risk, as this thread derails from here on Smile

The above said, I do not think that your friend's interpretation of counting into negative HPs was crazy, even if it does not appear to correspond to the actual ruling. For instance, the Skull Lord has a mechanic with its CP1 that requires to count into negative hit points before healing an ally, which is unique to the game to my knowledge and that could have advantageously been worded differently IMO - hindsight is of course a privilege. For example, I would propose the power could be reworded as follows:

Skull Lord alternate CP1: Use when a first Undead ally takes damage that would reduce its HP to 0: instead, reduce a second Undead ally's HP by 20 HP or its current HP, whichever is lower, then reduce the damage dealt to the first ally by that amount.

The above might not be perfect, but it addresses the weird "negative HP" situation that, as far as I know, has no basis in the v2 rules (either you fall to 0 HP and you're dead, or you remain above 0 and you live, but nowhere does it say you cound into the negatives); also it addresses the situation where a creature would be destroyed by a power that does not reduce HPs (e.g. a "destroy target creature" power, with no damage dealt) by limiting usage to situations where damage is dealt; and finally it allows the last sentence to be omitted as it is not required anymore: "[t]hen, if the target's HP is 5 or higher, it is not destroyed."

Another point that your friend could have reasonably argued IMO is that the creature is destroyed immiedately upon taking damage and therefore it simply cannot use its power. Unless I am mistaken, the sequence of taking damage/destroying a creature is not defined in the v2 rules, and consequently it is unclear per the rules themselves whether the creature can use its immediate action to heal before it is destroyed, after damage is dealt; or whether actions are allowed before the creature is destroyed.

So I think that reasonable arguments could have been made to support his viewpoint, although in the end I'm glad to see that the upcoming rules in v3 (and, presumably, rulings under v2) support the use of an immediate action to heal the creature before it is destroyed, it's much more fun that way Smile

tried
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'When this creature takes damage"

The trigger is the creature taking the damage.
Destruction is immediate when HP reach 0, and occurs and is declared before the end of the damage-taking process. When you take damage, you check for triggers on
[1] destroyed, then
[2] bloodied, then
[3] damaged, in that order.

It is possible that the destruction of the creature halts this process, and one never reaches the third trigger call that would allow immediate regeneration. So, the troll must indeed declare before it would be destroyed, because a destroyed creature cannot use powers.

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skyscraper
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So I was wrong, and further misunderstood the v3 rules.

Note that the v3 rules, unless I am mistaken, do not mention when the destruction occurs. The v3 rules presently state that you "[c]heck and resolve powers using the following triggering order:
1. Would be destroyed: 2. Is Destroyed: 3. Becomes bloodied: 4. Is Damaged." However, checking for triggers for the order of power resolution is distinct from the actual damage sequence, that would define when the destruction actually occurs. I.e. it is not because you check for powers that trigger off "would be destroyed" before powers that trigger off "is damaged", that a creature is destroyed before the player can use immediate powers that trigger off "is damaged".

John Flipp
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Thanks a lot for the clarification Tried.
I knew well the Skull Lord before the new ddm card. Now that I read CP 1, I find it very confusing.
It was a lot more simple the older way. Maybe too strong... but was there any other simpler way to adjust Skull Lord?

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tried
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Yes, Louis, the would be destroyed trigger is artificial and not well considered.
/d

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Ira
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Also, on top of all this, powers that use the word "when" or "whenever" resolve BEFORE the triggering event resolves.

So if a creature is about to take damage, and has a power that triggers "when this creature takes damage," you can trigger the power which will resolve before the damage is actually inflicted.

Consider the power:
Deathstrike: Use when this creature is destroyed: Make a Basic Melee Attack attack.

The way that works is:
1) The creature is about to be destroyed
2) The Deathstrike power triggers, and is resolved before the triggering event (i.e. the destruction).

Another example:
Dwarf Axefighter:
Dwarven Resilience: Use when this creature takes poison damage: -5 poison damage.

1) Poison damage is about to be taken
2) The power triggers, and resolves.
3) The damage is actually inflicted.

Also, just for reference, there's nothing in the rules that restricts HP to positive values. HP can go negative, but it doesn't usually matter.

skyscraper
skyscraper's picture

Ira wrote:
Also, just for reference, there's nothing in the rules that restricts HP to positive values. HP can go negative, but it doesn't usually matter.

You're right! I imported D&D 4E rules here. The rules say a creature is destroyed if it reaches 0 or lower.

Thanks for correcting me!

skyscraper
skyscraper's picture

Ira wrote:
Also, on top of all this, powers that use the word "when" or "whenever" resolve BEFORE the triggering event resolves.

So in the case of use of the following power:

Feral Regeneration 20: Immediate, when this creature takes damage; heal 20 HP.

the sequence would be:
1) the creature is about to take damage (but has not taken any yet)
2) the creature heals 20 HPs

which means that the power cannot be used unless the creature is already damaged BEFORE the attack, right? In other words, it could not heal the damage dealt by the attack, because damage from that attack is not applied at point (1)?

Although your explanation seems to clearly point to this conclusion, it seems weird flavor-wise that the attack dealing damage cannot be healed. Why then would the damage from a previous attack only be healed when new damage is about to be dealt?

Ira
Ira's picture

skyscraper wrote:
which means that the power cannot be used unless the creature is already damaged BEFORE the attack, right?
Well, the trigger is met so the power could technically be used, but you're right that it wouldn't actually result in healing, since the Troll would already be at full HP when the power resolved, prior to taking the damage.

skyscraper wrote:
In other words, it could not heal the damage dealt by the attack, because damage from that attack is not applied at point (1)?
You're right that it couldn't heal the damage immediately, but the next time it takes damage, it could heal the previous damage.

Mechanically, this is the proper implementation of the game rules.

Thematically, it's not hard for me to imagine that regeneration takes a little time, and it only kicks in after the Troll has been damaged. Maybe the Troll's biological system only activates its regenerative efforts when it really needs it, not from an initial scratch.

If we wanted to think more about the theme of the regeneration power, why doesn't the troll heal 5 HP at the start of each of its turns? To me, it seems fine thematically to imagine a troll that gets a burst of healing in response to seeing an incoming attack.

tried
tried's picture

it also depends on the version of the troll imagined, because in some editions trolls cannot regenerate when dead.

In first edition, they could regenerate no matter how many HP below 0 they were at.
(except from fire damage).

In any event, the idea is that there is a reverse order of causality for triggers, such that a creature that is destroyed does not trigger damaged, bloodied and destroyed triggers. The first trigger takes precedent if it applies.

I will make this very clear in the new applying damage section.

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Ira
Ira's picture

If we're talking about v3, then I agree we can make it clear.

Though it's not spelled out in v2, I've been working with the premise that destroyed/bloodied can only be triggered once the damage is actually applied.

So the sequence goes:
1) Hit by attack, about to take damage that will take creature to 0 HP.
2) Triggers are satisfied for things like "when this creature takes damage" and "when this creature would be destroyed" (which requires looking ahead to calculate how much damage it's about to take).
3) After those powers are resolved and the damage is applied, once the creature's HP is actually at 0, now the triggers for "when this creature is destroyed" are satisfied.

But #2 and #3 aren't all at the same time, because some powers trigger before the creature is destroyed, and some powers trigger when the creature is actually destroyed, and we want to keep that distinction.

I vaguely recall an old thread discussing these issues related to timing of triggers, bloodied, and destroyed. If anyone can find it, please let me know... Thanks!

skyscraper
skyscraper's picture

Ira wrote:
Though it's not spelled out in v2, I've been working with the premise that destroyed/bloodied can only be triggered once the damage is actually applied.

So the sequence goes:
1) Hit by attack, about to take damage that will take creature to 0 HP.
2) Triggers are satisfied for things like "when this creature takes damage" and "when this creature would be destroyed" (which requires looking ahead to calculate how much damage it's about to take).
3) After those powers are resolved and the damage is applied, once the creature's HP is actually at 0, now the triggers for "when this creature is destroyed" are satisfied.

To me, this latter ruling makes a lot of sense, if I understand that correctly. I note that you specifically mention the trigger "wehen this creature takes damage" in this example, whereas the conclusion was not the same for the same wording in the case of the Feral Troll above and albeit it was not necessarily linked to the destruction of the Feral Troll in that example.

How about nevertheless applying that to the example of the Feral Troll also, which will not necessarily destroy the creature. I.e. why not make this rule uniform?

"Feral Regeneration 20: Immediate, when this creature takes damage; heal 20 HP."

It seems to me that the logic of your last explanation would lead us to conclude that the healing could be applied to the upcoming damage, "looking ahead to the damage that will be applied" as you say? No?

Further, it seems highly probable that design intent in the case of the Feral Troll's Feral regeneration was to allow damage to be healed as soon as it is dealt to the Feral Troll. I hear your thematic proposition that the regeneration might be triggered by the imminent new damage that the Troll senses he is about to receive, but really, that seems... Far fetched.

My understanding is that an immediate action is to be handled as an interrupt. How about a ruling (for now) and a rule (for V3) allowing the effect of the power of any free action (immeidate or not) to apply to the upcoming triggering event even though the power is applied before the event occurs? Would that not satisfy all the above situations?

For instance:

1) Use when this creature is destroyed: this creature makes a Basic Melee Attack.

Check

2) Use when this creature would be destroyed: this creature makes a Basic Melee Attack

Check.

3) Immediate, when this creature takes damage; heal 20 HP.

Check.

4) Use when this creature takes poison damage: -5 poison damage.

Check.

What do you both think? Are there situations where this proposed rule would not work?

John Flipp
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So I'm trying to makes sense of all this. English is not my first language so maybe there is a point above I missed...
But Ira just said this :
--------------
THE WAY THAT WORKS IS:
1) THE CREATURE IS ABOUT TO BE DESTROYED
2) THE DEATHSTRIKE POWER TRIGGERS, AND IS RESOLVED BEFORE THE TRIGGERING EVENT (I.E. THE DESTRUCTION).
--------------
So, in the case of Feral Regeneration, Tried told me I would get destroyed before having the chance of using it if I was at 5 hp. But this explanation contradicts the previous one. Now I would heal 20hp before taking any damage, therefor not getting destroyed right away...
I am right? I lost you guys in all the different versions.

So if I have a hard time following all this, I'm guessing I am not the only one. It's a VERY good thing to clarify all those rules in version 3, because there is no way I can remember all that have been explained in all the topics, that is not well detailed in version 2.

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Ira
Ira's picture

@Skyscraper: The reason I'd be against your proposal is that it's unnecessarily complex. The timing rules are already complicated enough, so it's better to have a rule that consistently applies logic to the resolution of powers. The game works well (in my opinion) if you always say that "use when...." effects resolve before the triggering event. That's how they are intended to be used, as far as I know, and I don't see any problem with it in this case. The first time the troll takes damage, you choose not to use the power. The second time the troll takes damage, you can heal the damage previously given. That's totally fine as-is, and certainly not worth muddying the timing rules to change it.

@John Flipp, I think you might have misunderstood Tried. He wrote "So, the troll must indeed declare before it would be destroyed, because a destroyed creature cannot use powers." And that is certainly true. But, you have a window to declare and resolve the power before the troll is destroyed.

Specifically, the Troll is at 5 HP and is about to take 5 damage. This satisfies the trigger for Feral Regeneration. Since it uses the language "when," the effect resolves before the triggering event, and the creature would heal 20 first, and would not be destroyed.

I don't think it's relevant in this case, but if you waited until that damage was actually inflicted, then the destroyed trigger would happen, and the troll would be destroyed even if it managed to heal HP at that point. I think that was perhaps what Tried was pointing out...

John Flipp
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Ok I understand. Thank you Ira for making it clear. So keeping in mind that the ''use when'' happens before the triggering effect is quite simple to remember.

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skyscraper
skyscraper's picture

Okay sounds good to me.

Thanks for the details.

tried
tried's picture

Except that the destroyed trigger also uses 'when' (when reduced to 0 hp) and occurs before the damage trigger, Ira is correct.

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Ira
Ira's picture

I found the old thread from 3 years ago! Smile

http://ddmguild.org/?q=forum/general/rules-confirmation-how-does-being-destroyed-really-work#comment-7180

Specifically, Tried notes that destruction is a "discrete step after taking damage." I've been applying that understanding since he wrote that. I believe it's coherent and works well in combination with immediate actions, death strike powers, etc.

It's possible in v3 that destruction shouldn't be a trigger, and/or it should work differently. At the very least, it should be spelled out more clearly. I also think that "use when first bloodied" and "use when destroyed" triggers should be analogous, which can also be explained more clearly in v3.

tried
tried's picture

Hello from europe.

My last visit here until manchester. (wait, brexit is just from the eu, not from europe, right?)

I agree with Ira, and this is the main reason i've been initially resistant to the alternating power declarations rules.

I also understand that some of these things are old rulings that are no longer spelled out, and that many new rulings may complicate (ie., conflict in some way).

Still, I think the direction is good, and absolutely I think that the alternating declaration rules are less 'gotcha' than the old system, and finallu I believe that we can simply spell this out in the new rules.

Thank you all for your notes on the alpha, and I look forward to releasing V3 in December. (after a lot of work, and likely post-noel).

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