Rules Clarification: Seeing through Earth when earth gliding


Rules Questions


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While under the effect of a elemental body spell to change into an earth elemental, you gain the ability to earth glide. Now, I've always had an issue with how far you see while earth gliding, and the only thing I cound find is house rules and the general consenes that is a blatant oversight on wizards behalf.

So how anyone else had this problem and is there a possibly you fantastic paizo guys could give me a ruling on this as you are doing up the bestiality :)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber
Lael Treventhius wrote:

While under the effect of a elemental body spell to change into an earth elemental, you gain the ability to earth glide. Now, I've always had an issue with how far you see while earth gliding, and the only thing I cound find is house rules and the general consenes that is a blatant oversight on wizards behalf.

So how anyone else had this problem and is there a possibly you fantastic paizo guys could give me a ruling on this as you are doing up the bestiality :)

Obviously, you can't see at all while earth gliding. That's what tremorsense is for.


Eric Tillemans wrote:


Obviously, you can't see at all while earth gliding. That's what tremorsense is for.

Then why don't they have tremorsense?


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Lael Treventhius wrote:
Eric Tillemans wrote:


Obviously, you can't see at all while earth gliding. That's what tremorsense is for.
Then why don't they have tremorsense?

Because traditionally, only very powerful creatures have it.

I've always just gone by the 'darksight' ranges and said tiny/small elementals can 'see' 30 feet, medium and large can see 60, and huge or better can see 120 feet. Has always seemed to work out well for me.


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Earth Elementals (as creatures having the Earth subtype) all have tremorsense. See decr. of subtypes.

Using earth glide is very similar to an incorporal creature moving within an object. And this has clear rules in the core rulebook I would use that as a reference.

"An incorporeal creature can enter or pass through solid objects, but must remain adjacent to the object's exterior, and so cannot pass entirely through an object whose space is larger than its own. It can sense the presence of creatures or objects within a square adjacent to its current location, but enemies have total concealment (50% miss chance) from an incorporeal creature that is inside an object. In order to see beyond the object it is in and attack normally, the incorporeal creature must emerge. An incorporeal creature inside an object has total cover, but when it attacks a creature outside the object it only has cover, so a creature outside with a readied action could strike at it as it attacks."

According to this, a creature with earth glide and tremorsense hiding in the ground below his enemy, has total cover, and can emerge for a moment when attacking, having only cover at that moment. Thus can be attacked only with a readied action, and at AC+4 (because of the cover). Broken, but true.

Of course if under the ground in total cover, the creature does not see who is standing above it (if someone newly moved into the range of the tremorsense). So it must emerge to identify if it is ally or enemy. But I do not see this as a hindrance.


FGee wrote:

Earth Elementals (as creatures having the Earth subtype) all have tremorsense. See decr. of subtypes.

Using earth glide is very similar to an incorporal creature moving within an object. And this has clear rules in the core rulebook I would use that as a reference.

You are completely right on this; basically a real Earth Elemental can 'see' while earth gliding.

The problem rises when a creature uses an Elemental Body spell (or Wild Shape) to assume those forms, since the Elemental Body spell speaks of gaining only the Earth Glide ability, not Tremorsense - and since the creature doesn't change type or subtype while under such effect, it would basically be blinded...

This should need some errata, somehow - maybe not with the Elemental Body I spell/ Wild Shape at 6th level, but at least with Elemental Body III/ Wild Shape at 10th...

EDIT: all right, I made a notice regarding this on the Errata thread here. We will see in the future. For the time being, I would personally allow a caster to have Tremorsense while Earth-gliding, but not when out of the ground.


can somebody please state what was posted in the above link? that link above does not work for me. i downloaded all the the errata and nothing was mentioned anywhere. i am also having an issue with elemental body like effect as i have a new class that can shapechange into a quasi elemental form. right now i have implemented this rule "while earth gliding and as part of a move you gain tremorsense". but i would like to see the errata, i can't seem to find any errata anywhere on paizo site besides the downloads.

on another note how does tremorsense really work? it says that creatures with tremorsense can detect locations of other creatures but it doesn't say it actually has "sight" per say. so are creatures such as say plants actually blind? do they have a penalty to attack? knowing were somebody is and seeing them is 2 different things. It seems to me that creatures with tremorsense would have the same penalties as "attacking an invisable creature" since they know something is there but cannot see it. but i also see some plants have low-light vision and dark-vision. ummmm so how does say a giant flytrap see? it has no eyes..

Grand Lodge

RunebladeX wrote:

can somebody please state what was posted in the above link? that link above does not work for me. i downloaded all the the errata and nothing was mentioned anywhere. i am also having an issue with elemental body like effect as i have a new class that can shapechange into a quasi elemental form. right now i have implemented this rule "while earth gliding and as part of a move you gain tremorsense". but i would like to see the errata, i can't seem to find any errata anywhere on paizo site besides the downloads.

on another note how does tremorsense really work? it says that creatures with tremorsense can detect locations of other creatures but it doesn't say it actually has "sight" per say. so are creatures such as say plants actually blind? do they have a penalty to attack? knowing were somebody is and seeing them is 2 different things. It seems to me that creatures with tremorsense would have the same penalties as "attacking an invisable creature" since they know something is there but cannot see it. but i also see some plants have low-light vision and dark-vision. ummmm so how does say a giant flytrap see? it has no eyes..

NEW LINK


RunebladeX wrote:
on another note how does tremorsense really work? it says that creatures with tremorsense can detect locations of other creatures but it doesn't say it actually has "sight" per say. so are creatures such as say plants actually blind? do they have a penalty to attack? knowing were somebody is and seeing them is 2 different things. It seems to me that creatures with tremorsense would have the same penalties as "attacking an invisable creature" since they know something is there but cannot see it. but i also see some plants have low-light vision and dark-vision. ummmm so how does say a giant flytrap see? it has no eyes..

It works like blindsense or scent, you can tell which squares a target occupies. If the creature has concealment or cover against you those things still apply the benefit/penalty. Creatures are typically only blind if they are stated to be, otherwise the normal rules apply, IE they have sight of some sort (except the ooze type critters which are blind). Plants have low light vision from their type, so no they aren't blind and take no extra penalty. Blindsense, scent and tremorsense allow you to pick a square to attack, they still suffer from concealment and cover when making attacks against that square. A plant with tremorsense attacking an invisible target will know which square the target is in, but will still suffer the penalties for making an attack on something they cannot target (total concealment).

As for the tremor sense, at the level it would be available it would be verging on overpowered, even with the "only while earthgliding" clause. I'll keep my feet in the ground to be able to tell where invisible creatures are, I'm still earthgliding in my square... An earthgliding character would be able to glide around underneath creatures and attack from below with little worry as they are getting a great deal of cover from not fully emerging from the ground. It isn't like this is the first time the issue has come up either, it existed in 3.5 and with the numerous changes to poly/wildshape Paizo could have done something about it (like added it into the new spells if they wanted it there)

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