I'm hoping you guys can give me some advice. In my online game tonight, two of our characters died. This is the first time we've faced PC death, so it's the first time the issue has come up and there was a dispute that has me extremely frustrated. In all the groups, under all the GMs that I've played with, it was said that since all the actions in a round were happening in the same 6 seconds, a person could be healed after hitting the threshold of death so long as it was immediately afterwards. In one group it was before the end of that round, in another it was before a full round passed.
The GM in this game ruled that actions do not happen all at once and once you are dead, you are dead.
To be honest, I'm not sure why this frustrated me so much. I think it was because we never had a chance. The enemies we were fighting were knocking us down from full HP to -20 and the GM ruled that our cleric could not turn and heal the party member who died while he was standing right next to her. Needless to say, the cleric and I are extremely frustrated.
Anyway, my question is: I realize now that the PhB says when you hit -11 hitpoints, you are dead, but I have seriously never played that way. Can someone please clear it up for me? If the rule isn't in the DMG or PHB, where is it found? I assume it has to be somewhere since so many of the GMs that I've played under have used it. Help?!
Edit: Thank you all for your advice. I took some time to talk with another of the players and we've realized that the deaths were really just a matter of adding insult to injury, because the issue is one that's been building up over a quite some time. During last night's combat, my character could not REACH an enemy before the golaith had slaughtered it or the insanely powerful NPC had desintegrated it. I know the other player who survived felt the same way. And this has been happening for the past 6 months real life time. It wasn't just that characters died, but that they died before they could do anything and they seriously could have just stayed home and let the barbarian enter the underdark alone and the adventure would have gone the exact same way.
So, again, thank you and yes, I know Jen and I will need to sit down and talk with the GM about what it is that is going on.