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Toxxus

Stun Lock

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I hadn't realized until recently that - technically - if you take any stun damage on a phase where you would try to recover from being stunned - that you can't.

 

This seems like it would be easily abused and result in a permanent stun lock on an enemy after 1 good hit.

 

I haven't been using that limitation on recovering from being stunned as it is already a near death sentence.

 

Am I reading this wrong?

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Yeah you're reading it wrong.  If you take damage, you don't get any Stun back from taking a Recovery, which is different from "recovering from being Stunned".

 

On phase 3, Bob gets hit with a 12D6 attack.  The bad guy rolls really well, doing 57 Stun.  Bob has 25 Def and a 25 Con.  He takes 32 past defenses and is Stunned.  He's also down to 13 Stun.

Bob's next action is on segment 5.  On 5 he will recover from being Stunned.  This means he just doesn't get an action that segment.

On 5 he gets blasted again, but this time the villain rolls like crap.  He does 30 Stun, so only 5 gets past Bob's defense.  Bob is now at 8 Stun, but he is no longer Stunned.

Bob next goes on segment 8.  He decides to take a Recovery action, since he's almost unconscious.  That's his action for 8.

At the very end of the phase, an agent shoots Bob with an 8D6 blaster, rolling 26 Stun.  One gets past defense, so Bob drops to 7 Stun, and does not get anything back from his Recovery action.

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1 hour ago, massey said:

On 5 he gets blasted again, but this time the villain rolls like crap.  He does 30 Stun, so only 5 gets past Bob's defense.  Bob is now at 8 Stun, but he is no longer Stunned.

 

WHEW!  That's how I've been running it, but I read it early this morning between meetings and without coffee.

 

It did seem rather extreme.

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1 hour ago, massey said:

Yeah you're reading it wrong.  If you take damage, you don't get any Stun back from taking a Recovery, which is different from "recovering from being Stunned".

 

On phase 3, Bob gets hit with a 12D6 attack.  The bad guy rolls really well, doing 57 Stun.  Bob has 25 Def and a 25 Con.  He takes 32 past defenses and is Stunned.  He's also down to 13 Stun.

Bob's next action is on segment 5.  On 5 he will recover from being Stunned.  This means he just doesn't get an action that segment.

On 5 he gets blasted again, but this time the villain rolls like crap.  He does 30 Stun, so only 5 gets past Bob's defense.  Bob is now at 8 Stun, but he is no longer Stunned.

Bob next goes on segment 8.  He decides to take a Recovery action, since he's almost unconscious.  That's his action for 8.

At the very end of the phase, an agent shoots Bob with an 8D6 blaster, rolling 26 Stun.  One gets past defense, so Bob drops to 7 Stun, and does not get anything back from his Recovery action.

 

Hmm, actually, that is incorrect Mr. Massey.

 

Here is the text I read from

"A character may be hit by an attack in the
Phase in which he’ll recover from being Stunned
before getting to do so (i.e., by another character
whose DEX is higher than his). If the character
takes no damage from the attack after applying
his defenses, he may still recover from being
Stunned as normal. However, if the character takes
any STUN or BODY damage from the attack, he
cannot recover from being Stunned that Phase
"

 

This seems to make getting stunned an absolute death trap.  If you take any damage on a phase in which you WOULD get to recover from being stunned - then you have to wait another phase.

 

Especially in a multi-attacker situation this makes very deadly and further ups the value of a high DEX.

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17 minutes ago, Toxxus said:

 

Hmm, actually, that is incorrect Mr. Massey.

 

Here is the text I read from

"A character may be hit by an attack in the
Phase in which he’ll recover from being Stunned
before getting to do so (i.e., by another character
whose DEX is higher than his). If the character
takes no damage from the attack after applying
his defenses, he may still recover from being
Stunned as normal. However, if the character takes
any STUN or BODY damage from the attack, he
cannot recover from being Stunned that Phase
"

 

This seems to make getting stunned an absolute death trap.  If you take any damage on a phase in which you WOULD get to recover from being stunned - then you have to wait another phase.

 

Especially in a multi-attacker situation this makes very deadly and further ups the value of a high DEX.

 

Wow you're right.  Crap.  We've been playing it wrong for more than 20 years.

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17 minutes ago, massey said:

Wow you're right.  Crap.  We've been playing it wrong for more than 20 years.

 

I wonder if that rule was in place in 4e.  I don't recall it being that way in ancient times.

 

Regardless, there is exactly zero chance I will run it that way.  It's bad enough losing your turn, but to lose several in a row by taking 1pt of STUN damage per phase?  Nope.

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It doesn't come up yet but yeah, you cannot make any manner of recovery on a phase you take action or are damaged.  However, as you say, being dazed is one of the worst things that can happen in a game with as slow combat and limited phases of action as Hero.  I have players that it simply infuriates and who buy huge CON just to avoid it, without any concern for other benefits.  Its why I'm hesitant to use the "stunned" power from Change Environment very often against them.  

 

Making matters worse, well that's going to make some players just quit.  That's why I have characters left alone when dazed usually.

 

Another nasty bit is that I think the old rules said that if you suffered enough stun damage past defenses to exceed your CON even when it knocks you out cold, you are also stunned.  In other words: you have to recover from being stunned before you can recover any stun to wake up.  6th edition specifically says you cannot be both unconscious and stunned at the same time.


Now I get the logic of it: that blow was so awful you're out for an extra phase, but since you're already going to be in the "recover per minute" range with a hit that bad, its just excessive.

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Yeah, the rule work well for heroic games where someone get pounded into unconsciousness but less so for superheroic games or heroic games bordering on the superheroic.  In those games, I usually just house rule that getting unstunned is an attack action without the extended time.

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3 hours ago, Toxxus said:

 

I wonder if that rule was in place in 4e.  I don't recall it being that way in ancient times.

 

Regardless, there is exactly zero chance I will run it that way.  It's bad enough losing your turn, but to lose several in a row by taking 1pt of STUN damage per phase?  Nope.

 

 

 

I expect it was.

 

Here it is from 2e:

 

Being Knocked Out does not affect a character's END Battery, only his personal END.  If a character is both Stunned and Knocked Out by the same attack, he spends his next phase recovering from being Stunned and does not get a Recovery that phase.

 

Now everyone's mileage will vary, but I always focused on this part:

 

by the same attack

 

If I recall correctly, that's essentially how it reads in 4e; I know it does in 3e.  However, the reason I focus on the "by the same attack" part of this is precisely what's being discussed: locking someone into Infinite Combo Stunning.    To be clear, I _do_ allow a character to be re-Stunned--  i suppose "kept Stunned" is more accurate  if he is attacked _for sufficient STUN damage to exceed his CON_, as per normal  getting Stunned in the first place.   Yeah, it kind of sucks when it's your turn to be the Chumbawumba, but it's harder to do than you might expect, so when it does happen, it's _almost_ funny.  Almost.  (and of course, the whole table will break into the chorus, so you end up laughing in spite of yourself :lol: )

 

At any rate, I've played it that way since '81, and there's no new rule, new chapter of rules, new book of rules, new library of rules that's going make me change it.  It works too well.

 

 

Duke

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Just pulled out BBB to check the 4e rules.

 

Right away there's a big change:

 

In prior editions, a Stunned Character was at CV0.  In 4e, he was at 1/2 CV.   That's huge, and I don't know how I'd forgotten that.  Moving right along....

 

4e mentions that non-persistent Powers turn off.  Earlier editions expected you to realize that are unable to opt spend END to keep them on.  I think most of us did okay with that, but still, it cleared up any possible confusion.  But we're talking about recovery, so here it is:

 

 

Quote

Recovering from being Stunned requires 1 full Phase. The character must lose one full Phase to recover. If Andarra, a SPD 3 character, was Stunned by an attack on Segment 6, she would use her Phase on Segment 8 to recover. Andarra wouldn't be able to take any action until her next Phase on Segment 12. Immediately after the character's DEX rank, the character recovers from being Stunned, regaining his full DCV, even though the character can't act until his next action Phase. The character can act normally the Phase after recovering from being Stunned. There is no limit to the number of times that a character can be Stunned and recover.

 

So here we full-on spell out that Chumbawumba-style attacks are possible.  There's some more stuff about being unconscious, then on to Recovering from Stunning and being Knocked Out:

 

 

Quote

 


 

A character who is both Stunned and Knocked Out by the same attack spends the next Phase recovering from being Stunned and does not get a Recovery that Phase, even if he would have normally.  A character who is Knocked Out by a lot won't get to Recover every Phase. Compare the Knocked Out character's STUN total to the Recovery Time Chart below to find out how often the character Recovers.

 

 

This opens with, as I suspected, the same idea in 2e and 3e: if the _one_ attack was enough to do both, etc.  Then there's a reference to the new (for 4e) idea of "degrees of unconsciousness," and it's effect on how often you can recover.  There's a chart, but it's not relevant to the point of the discussion, at least not as I understand it.  Some talk about moving Recoveries up and down the Time Chart.  There is absolutely no mention of taking damage while already Stunned, and certainly nothing on how it affects a Stunned (or unconscious) character (beyond what we would assume with regards to adding the damage itself).

 

 

Interestingly, it seems in 4e Champions (not Deluxe.  Years later, upon learning that it included the errata worked into the text, I regretted not buying it, but at the time I thought the extra expense was for software I didn't want anyway.  Anyone with Deluxe, speak up if the Stunned rules are different or if your Deluxe is for sale  (  ) .)

 

 

Now let's look at the 4e HERO System Rulesbook to see if that's different  (sorry-- I looked also in my softcover 4e Champions, and it's no different there).

 

Nope.  As expected (but always delightful to have verified!   ), the 4e Champs book is exactly what it claimed to be: the HSR _plus_ Champions-themed campaign stuff, and not an actual different rules set.

 

 

So we can say that, sticking _exactly_ to the rules, that getting Stunned in 4e was safer than in any other edition, period.   

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7 hours ago, Toxxus said:

 

I wonder if that rule was in place in 4e.  I don't recall it being that way in ancient times.

 

Regardless, there is exactly zero chance I will run it that way.  It's bad enough losing your turn, but to lose several in a row by taking 1pt of STUN damage per phase?  Nope.

 

Just checked.  It was NOT in place in 4th edition.  Which is, of course, why we never noticed it in 5th and later.

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4 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

4e mentions that non-persistent Powers turn off.  Earlier editions expected you to realize that are unable to opt spend END to keep them on.

 

It is possible for a power to be non-persistent and not cost END.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

And a persistent palindromedary

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Related, I use a house rule where knockout levels are dependent on your CON.  Its a subtle change, but it helps make CON matter more and fits in my mind

 

So instead of 

 

0 to -10 stun = recover per phase

-11 to -20 stun = recover every post 12 phase

-21 to -30 stun = Recover per minute

etc

 

Its now

 

0 to -CON in stun = recover per phase

-CON+1 to -CONx2 = recover every post 12 phase

etc

 

Basically the hardier you are, the more abuse you can sustain before it puts you down long term.  This applies only for PCs, of course.

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9 hours ago, Toxxus said:

Here is the text I read from

"A character may be hit by an attack in the
Phase in which he’ll recover from being Stunned
before getting to do so (i.e., by another character
whose DEX is higher than his). If the character
takes no damage from the attack after applying
his defenses, he may still recover from being
Stunned as normal. However, if the character takes
any STUN or BODY damage from the attack, he
cannot recover from being Stunned that Phase
"

 

I've highlighted some of the text here.

 

It's possible to recover from being Stunned before being hit again.

 

More generally, this kind of situation is obviously tactically important. If the character is by it/her/himself, they probably are going to lose.

If they have teammates they may not.

 

At that point the issue is tactical skill, not character engineering.

 

I wonder how skillfully most Hero groups actually play the game. We don't talk about it much here. It tends to be about the character modelling and abstract scenario design, not actual play.

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19 minutes ago, assault said:

I wonder how skillfully most Hero groups actually play the game. We don't talk about it much here. It tends to be about the character modelling and abstract scenario design, not actual play.

I found it absolutely hilarious that the tactics thread that went up recently was almost exclusively build advice. 

I mean, I see a bunch of people talking about teamwork making a difference and the fine art of when to haymaker.  Surely that's a thing? 

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13 minutes ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

I found it absolutely hilarious that the tactics thread that went up recently was almost exclusively build advice.

 

At some point, people are still looking for the magic bullet - the exploit that says "I win!".

Of course, no such thing exists, assuming basic GM competence.

 

Thinking about that, though, there is an interesting aspect to the game. Because the GM has all the points, the PCs can only win when the GM lets them. That's a bit nasty.

 

The alternative is that the GM restricts themselves to similar point totals to the PCs, which makes minmaxing more important. Unfortunately, the latter tends to drown out the impact of skill, and generally turns the game into the horrible number-crunching exercise it is falsely believed to be.

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I personally detest that sort of thing. In my games, the quickest way for it to be your turn in the barrel is to declare winners and losers. If you desire competition, learn to play chess. At my table, we cooperate to build a story. That means the hero gets his clock cleaned on occasion.

Maybe he's kidnapped by pirates, maybe he has a hand lopped off, maybe he has to decide whether or not to kill his lover and use the body as food for his starving to death mutant dog. But without a few bruises, there's nothing heroic about beating the big bad.

But I digress, this isn't about that. I feel I've a fairly good grasp of the rules, and there are many I deliberately ignore. Each GM has to choose the level of mechanical precision that works for him. Although I have played with some that were rigid about this, I can't say that effort improved the game.

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9 hours ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

Related, I use a house rule where knockout levels are dependent on your CON.  Its a subtle change, but it helps make CON matter more and fits in my mind

 

So instead of 

 

0 to -10 stun = recover per phase

-11 to -20 stun = recover every post 12 phase

-21 to -30 stun = Recover per minute

etc

 

Its now

 

0 to -CON in stun = recover per phase

-CON+1 to -CONx2 = recover every post 12 phase

etc

 

Basically the hardier you are, the more abuse you can sustain before it puts you down long term.  This applies only for PCs, of course.

 

I generally dislike special "PC Only" rules, and this one is substantial.  The villain at -21 is down and out, but the hero will get back up after a couple of phases.  That's a pretty significant difference, especially in a Supers game where CON basically starts at 23 and goes up from there.

 

Applied across the board, this change would only make combats longer, as a character would rarely be down for the count.  Of course, even if you are at -1 STUN ("heavily stunned", so not actually unconscious, if one reads the rules), all attacks that hit do double STUN, so the next hit should mean it's all over.

 

Tactically, a Stunned enemy is a pretty obvious target - take one opponent out of the combat entirely, while he is an easy target.  As a result, Stunned often equates to "KOd in the next few seconds" anyway.

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T

Quote

 

he villain at -21 is down and out, but the hero will get back up after a couple of phases.  That's a pretty significant difference, especially in a Supers game where CON basically starts at 23 and goes up from there.

 

Applied across the board, this change would only make combats longer, as a character would rarely be down for the count.

 

 

Yes.  That's the intent.  The game is about the PCs, not the bad guys.  Almost nothing annoys players and encourages very unheroic, nasty behavior like having villains pop back up after being put down.

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13 hours ago, massey said:

 

Just checked.  It was NOT in place in 4th edition.  Which is, of course, why we never noticed it in 5th and later.

I don't agree.

Per 4e p160 (bold emphasis added by me):

"If the STUN done (after subtracting defenses) is less than or equal to the character's CON, there's no effect (other than the loss of the STUN, of course). If the STUN done by a single attack (after subtracting defenses) exceeds the defender's
CON (Constitution), the defender is Stunned. A Stunned character's DCV instantly drops to 1/2 . At the end of the Segment, any Powers that are not Persistent turn off. The character remains Stunned and can take no action until the next Phase. A character who is Stunned or recovering from being Stunned can take no action, take no Recoveries (except a free post-Segment 12 Recovery), and is unable to move.
"


We then go look at the Recovery section on page 167 (where the term 'Recovery' is defined), and we see in 4e p167 (bold emphasis added by me):

"A character may also Recover during any of his or her action Phases. A character who takes a Recovery during an action Phases may do nothing else. The character may do nothing that costs END while Recovering, and has 1/2 DCV."

Note the consistencies:

  • May do nothing else (i.e. 1 full phase)
  • 1/2 DCV

Also on 4e p167:

"The character may be hit while taking a Recovery. If any STUN or BODY gets past the character's defenses, the character does not get to Recover (he does not get back END or STUN)."

GM's with which I have played using 4e rules have always run recovery from being stunned the same as a Recovery ... specifically because of the noted consistencies.  Thus, no Recovery was granted if hit.  The logic was that if you are hit and can't regain as little as 1 pt of STUN from a Recovery, how can you possibly shake off the effects of being stunned? Thus, I believe 5e and beyond simply clarified the intent that was already present (albeit, implied) amidst noted consistencies (above) and the logic (again, implied by) the cited rules (above) -- specifically for people who couldn't, wouldn't, or didn't know to put 2+2 together, themselves, within 4e.

 

18 hours ago, dsatow said:

Yeah, the rule work well for heroic games where someone get pounded into unconsciousness but less so for superheroic games or heroic games bordering on the superheroic.  In those games, I usually just house rule that getting unstunned is an attack action without the extended time.

I feel that house rule has the effect of catering to people not bothering to buying adequate defenses  to avoid stunning in the first place … and also dis-incents blasters and other damage-dealing archetypes from bothering with Teamwork and coordinated attacks (specifically to stun opponents) -- something often necessary when a super team is going against master/boss-level villains.  I mean, why bother with coordinated attacks if the stunned target will get an action when it shouldn't (i.e. despite being stunned) and can simply burn it to recover from being stunned -- when the whole point of stunning is that the ONLY action one can take is to recover from being stunned (with one being unable to do so if one takes ANY damage while stunned)?

If you want to take tactics off the table and dis-incent people buying adequate defenses, that's certainly your call … but I'd personally question the wisdom of it if I encountered a GM who dumbed down some of the fight mechanics in this way -- specifically because master/boss-level villains can now too-easily overcome stunning effects in that GM's game.


 

11 hours ago, Gnome BODY (important!) said:

I found it absolutely hilarious that the tactics thread that went up recently was almost exclusively build advice. 

I mean, I see a bunch of people talking about teamwork making a difference and the fine art of when to haymaker.  Surely that's a thing? 

A character build is often quite important when it comes to the tactics that character can effectively employ. Thus, builds are, indeed, tactical in nature … making build advice warranted in a tactical discussion. Even 'teamwork making a difference' implies a build … because a character needs to actually have the Teamwork skill in the build in order to employ it effectively. Thus, I don't know what you're poo-poo'ing, here … and said poo-poo'ing seems unwarranted.

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2 minutes ago, Surrealone said:

I don't agree.

Per 4e p160 (bold emphasis added by me):

"If the STUN done (after subtracting defenses) is less than or equal to the character's CON, there's no effect (other than the loss of the STUN, of course). If the STUN done by a single attack (after subtracting defenses) exceeds the defender's
CON (Constitution), the defender is Stunned. A Stunned character's DCV instantly drops to 1/2 . At the end of the Segment, any Powers that are not Persistent turn off. The character remains Stunned and can take no action until the next Phase. A character who is Stunned or recovering from being Stunned can take no action, take no Recoveries (except a free post-Segment 12 Recovery), and is unable to move.
"


We then go look at the Recovery section on page 167 (where the term 'Recovery' is defined), and we see in 4e p167 (bold emphasis added by me):

"A character may also Recover during any of his or her action Phases. A character who takes a Recovery during an action Phases may do nothing else. The character may do nothing that costs END while Recovering, and has 1/2 DCV."

Note the consistencies:

  • May do nothing else (i.e. 1 full phase)
  • 1/2 DCV

Also on 4e p167:

"The character may be hit while taking a Recovery. If any STUN or BODY gets past the character's defenses, the character does not get to Recover (he does not get back END or STUN)."

GM's with which I have played using 4e rules have always run recovery from being stunned the same as a Recovery ... specifically because of the noted consistencies.  Thus, no Recovery was granted if hit.  The logic was that if you are hit and can't regain as little as 1 pt of STUN from a Recovery, how can you possibly shake off the effects of being stunned? Thus, I believe 5e and beyond simply clarified the intent that was already present (albeit, implied) amidst noted consistencies (above) and the logic (again, implied by) the cited rules (above) -- specifically for people who couldn't, wouldn't, or didn't know to put 2+2 together, themselves, within 4e.

 

 

Taking a Recovery and recovering from being Stunned are two different things.  For one, recovering from being Stunned isn't capitalized.  It's not the same game term. 

 

For two, the timing is different.  Suppose I act on Speed 5, Dex 20.  On Segment 2, I get hit for more Stun than my Con score.  I am Stunned.  When Segment 3, Dex 20 comes around, I am no longer Stunned.  If I get shot again on Dex 15 of that same Segment, I am not Stunned any more.  Once my Dex has passed, I'm good.  But let's say I'm taking a Recovery.  If I take Stun damage at any point during the phase (including after my Dex), then I don't get any Stun or End back.

 

They are two different things.

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2 minutes ago, massey said:

A character who is Stunned or recovering from being Stunned can take no action, take no Recoveries (except a free post-Segment 12 Recovery), and is unable to move."

 

It's right there in the wording.  They are obviously different things.

 

Consider this:  If being stunned means you can take no Recoveries - then how do you recover from being stunned?  The only solution to this is that they are, in fact, separate game terms.

Unless someone wants to argue that being stunned is a permanent condition.

 

Syllogistically speaking you are choosing between two choices given the wording:

 

A character who is Stunned can take no Recoveries.

Recovering from being Stunned is a Recovery.

Conclusion:  A Stunned character cannot Recover from being Stunned.

 

OR - And I would argue more sensibly

 

A character who is Stunned can take no Recoveries.

Recovering from being Stunned is NOT a Recovery.

Conclusion:  A Stunned character can recover from being stunned.

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1 hour ago, massey said:

 

Taking a Recovery and recovering from being Stunned are two different things.  For one, recovering from being Stunned isn't capitalized.  It's not the same game term. 

 

For two, the timing is different.  Suppose I act on Speed 5, Dex 20.  On Segment 2, I get hit for more Stun than my Con score.  I am Stunned.  When Segment 3, Dex 20 comes around, I am no longer Stunned.  If I get shot again on Dex 15 of that same Segment, I am not Stunned any more.  Once my Dex has passed, I'm good.  But let's say I'm taking a Recovery.  If I take Stun damage at any point during the phase (including after my Dex), then I don't get any Stun or End back.

 

They are two different things.


Yes they are two different things (I never said otherwise)  … that are similar enough to warrant the same treatment if one takes damage while doing either of them (which was entirely my point).  EVERY game master I've played under since 4e and beyond has done so on this basis (without me pointing it out) … and I've played under a lot of them through the years.

I believe 5e and beyond basically codified what was already implied by considering the cited rules together. You can certainly disagree, if you like, but  stating that they are separate … while ignoring the similarities that warrant similar treatment … won't get you very far … especially since in 5e and beyond they ARE treated the same.

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