View Full Version : Spells and unconscious characters

05-15-2009, 07:31 AM
During our Wednesday night game, one of the characters, a druid was knocked unconscious while under the effect of a few of his spells, Barkskin and Call Lightning. There was a little bit of confusion as to what happens when a character falls unconscious and during the short period of time we spent trying to find something on the matter, we couldn't find the rules for it.

So the GM made a ruling that the druid would loose both spells. On the forum that I run, he recently stated that he changed his mind about the Barkskin so it would have continued, but the Call Lightning would have stopped. But he also wanted us to think about it and research to see if we could find anything concerning whether the spells would stop or not.

So I thought, why not ask the people here.

Personally, I would have ruled that the Barkskin would have continued due to the nature of the spell, and would have also allowed the Call Lightning spell to continue due to the fact that it does not have the dispel component and has a defined duration. The only portion of the spell that requires concentration is to actually call down a lightning bolt. The druid just would not have been able to call down any bolts because he was unconscious.

Furthermore, once he had regained consciousness, if he had wanted to call down another bolt, provided the spell duration was still in effect, I would have made him roll a check to regain concentration on that portion of the spell. So tell me what you think.

05-15-2009, 08:58 AM
If the spells have duration, then they should continue.
It's out of the caster's hands once the spell becomes initialized.

Therefore, there'd be a tree looking guy on the ground and clouds in the sky.

Though I'm with you, if the Druid doesn't actively call and target the lightning, then just mean looking clouds.

05-15-2009, 10:36 AM
Yep, agreed. I don't think there is any rule that says either would end simply because the caster lost conciousness. As long as they don't require concentration, they should keep going.

05-15-2009, 01:17 PM
Let me be the third to agree with this. Since those spells didn't require the caster to be actively concentrating for it to last, then both spells should continue for thier duration. I also like the idea of a concentration check to be able to call down lightning after regaining consciousness.

05-16-2009, 12:37 AM
any spell that does not require concentration to persist will sit there until the duration expires. in the case of defensive, they will still be defended. in the case of attack, spells that require concentration to direct, but not persist, will continue until the duration expires, doing nothing.

some house rule such that all magic effects lapse and/or revert if the mage in question is taken out. some go so far as to stipulate that non-permanent effects lapse with unconsciousness, but permanent effects remain until the mage is slain. common enough in stories. ^^

05-16-2009, 08:24 AM
Spells requiring continued concentration are noted, therefore even dead, spells not requiring concentration have effects continue until the spell ends. I would also say look at the source of the spell to determine specifics.... druid/priest/faith based magic has divine intent behind it - it would always be trying to protect the follower to the best extent in both spirit and letter. Mages and anything else may be more random or focused on the last target consciously directed towards.

Baldwin Stonewood
05-18-2009, 12:59 PM
As the DM in the game Skunk mentioned, I do appreciate the collective wisdom of this board. Seems like there should be a clear rule written for this situation.


06-01-2009, 09:37 AM
I think you assessed the situation correctly (spells continue, no bolts coming down unless the character wakes before the duration is over). Kind of a cool image: the druid unconscious on the ground, lightning coursing through the sky, one of his companions struggling to wake him as foes approach, the groggy druid shaking his head clear and cutting loose with lightning bolts at the last moment...

06-01-2009, 02:28 PM
the group i dm for and also play with also concluded that if concentration required then spell is gone but if not its effects last the duration. ex we were fighting a yugoloth and it cast a spell we killed it but the spell persisted and it casued us to completely backtrack to avoid the spell effec ted area which did a lot of dam while we were battling that monster, and would have taken too long to get through effected areas due to the traps there

Baldwin Stonewood
06-05-2009, 02:35 PM
It never fails, there is always something unexpected in the game, and we always learn something each time we play.

William Murderface
06-06-2009, 10:00 AM
i think the barkskin should continue as usual but the call lightning would be null until the caster regained consciousness then they should make the appropriate concentration check to see if the spell is still active because casting something like call lightning is like activating a wind up clock, once it's on it's on till it runs dead so to speak so the call lightning spell would still be in affect just not specifically controlled until the concentration check is made to regain control of the spell or lose control and lose that spell