Feather Falling and You.


Rules Questions

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Vrischika111 wrote:

theJeff> well if you quoted the RAW as well, then we're fine :)

**you cannot cast while falling UNLESS the spell is an immediate action like feather fall **

so we all agree (despite the fact that I missed some important parts, hey Matthew ;p ) that FF fully works

Except that it then continues to say:
Quote:
Casting a spell while falling requires a concentration check with a DC equal to 20 + the spell's level.

So, you can't cast at all during a fall of less then 500', except for immediate spells. Immediate spells or spells cast during a longer fall require concentration checks.


Vrischika111 wrote:

theJeff> well if you quoted the RAW as well, then we're fine :)

**you cannot cast while falling UNLESS the spell is an immediate action like feather fall **

so we all agree (despite the fact that I missed some important parts, hey Matthew ;p ) that FF fully works

Wait what?

All that lets you do is cast the spell, you still need the check.

The full quote, But I'm sure you knew you cliped it.

Quote:
A character cannot cast a spell while falling, unless the fall is greater than 500 feet or the spell is an immediate action, such as feather fall. Casting a spell while falling requires a concentration check with a DC equal to 20 + the spell's level.

Dark Archive

Quote:
A character cannot cast a spell while falling, unless the fall is greater than 500 feet or the spell is an immediate action, such as feather fall. Casting a spell while falling requires a concentration check with a DC equal to 20 + the spell's level.

I've been thinking... some more. What I'm thinking is this rule is just poorly worded.

I'm willing to say that, RAW, what this rule states is that you cannot cast a spell while falling, unless the fall is greater than 500 feet, and casting a spell while falling requires a concentration check, and casting a spell which can be cast as an immediate action is an exception to all of this.


Dust Raven wrote:
Quote:
A character cannot cast a spell while falling, unless the fall is greater than 500 feet or the spell is an immediate action, such as feather fall. Casting a spell while falling requires a concentration check with a DC equal to 20 + the spell's level.

I've been thinking... some more. What I'm thinking is this rule is just poorly worded.

I'm willing to say that, RAW, what this rule states is that you cannot cast a spell while falling, unless the fall is greater than 500 feet, and casting a spell while falling requires a concentration check, and casting a spell which can be cast as an immediate action is an exception to all of this.

I think that's RAI, but it's not RAW.

The phrasing of the first sentence makes no distinction between "the fall is greater than 500 feet" and "the spell is an immediate action". The second sentence makes no exceptions at all. There's no reason in the text to handle them differently.

Silver Crusade

I must admit that I suspect the writer was trying to say that:-

• you can't cast a spell when falling, unless you fall over 500 feet

• if you fall over 500 feet, then you can cast a spell, but have to make a DC20+spell level concentration check

• however, you can cast a spell with a casting time of one immediate action at any time during the fall. There is no concentration check needed in this case

Looking at the language that was used, this seems reasonable to me. It would also match up with two other things in the game system:-

• Feather Fall is intended to work! Even for a first level caster!

• spells with swift and immediate casting times do not provoke attacks of opportunity

Even a spell that would normally provoke, like Fireball, would not provoke if it were quickened. It's not a great leap (no pun intended) for me to believe that casting a spell so quickly that opponents can't react to it would also be so quick as the air rushing past would not affect your ability to cast it.


I would rule it that way. The only problem is ... overly-literal interpretation of the rules as written over rules as intended. I'm biting my tongue on the phrase "rules robots" here, honestly - I get that it's important to understand the literal meaning of the rules, but a lot of the rules are actually written very sloppily.

So have fun in PFS now you can never cast a feather fall reliably again, guys! /sarcasm


Sir Ophiuchus wrote:

I would rule it that way. The only problem is ... overly-literal interpretation of the rules as written over rules as intended. I'm biting my tongue on the phrase "rules robots" here, honestly - I get that it's important to understand the literal meaning of the rules, but a lot of the rules are actually written very sloppily.

So have fun in PFS now you can never cast a feather fall reliably again, guys! /sarcasm

I did post earlier that we should all shut up so no one notices this thread and PFS can go on playing the sane way.

Or we and PFS judges and players should be obnoxious about it so that complaints get made and the rule is FAQ'd or errata'd.

And I think nearly everyone who's commented has said something like "The RAI is obvious and I'd rule it that way, but RAW is ..."


Sir Ophiuchus wrote:
I would rule it that way. The only problem is ... overly-literal interpretation of the rules as written over rules as intended. I'm biting my tongue on the phrase "rules robots" here, honestly - I get that it's important to understand the literal meaning of the rules, but a lot of the rules are actually written very sloppily.

The RAI are that the GM's word should be respected... I wonder how a new GM might best learn the game's systems if not the RAW? Because, really now, if I wanted to GM, I'm free to create my own group aren't I?

Grand Lodge

The best way a GM can learn is to go play under a lot of different and experienced other GMs. Pathfinder Society is a great place to do this.

I've been a GM for 30 years but it certainly helped me to become a lot better once I saw many different GM styles and also to GM for many different players with different play styles.


Thod wrote:

The best way a GM can learn is to go play under a lot of different and experienced other GMs. Pathfinder Society is a great place to do this.

I've been a GM for 30 years but it certainly helped me to become a lot better once I saw many different GM styles and also to GM for many different players with different play styles.

That's a very good point.

Unfortunately, it's not always possible. Where you live is, alas, one of the main problems with PnP table-top gaming: it is almost always a crippling restriction. VTTs may allow a great deal of connectivity, but if the main reason that the player is involved in the game in the first place is the face-to-face social environment, I can't see the guy realistically seeking out other groups just to get a bit of experience.

"Too much work", leaving the comfort zone, etc. etc.

Like it or not, we usually don't have perfect freedom (or, in this case, motivation) to choose our gaming groups. As far as motivation goes, if the GM isn't aware that his performance has problems, or is actually confident in his ability, it's that much more difficult to suggest, as it were, a "seminar" in Game Mastering...


Regardless, I think we all agree this rule needs to be revised in future editions.


Darth Grall wrote:
Regardless, I think we all agree this rule needs to be revised in future editions.

Absolutely.

That, or Paizo could always start requiring Monks to hit a touch AC of, what, 29? in order to slow their falls...


i'm guessing that it was intended that immediate actions not require concentration checks, and that the casting while falling was for long falls and non immediate action spells.

What is silly is that bull rushing a flat footed person into a pit denies them the ability to cast feather fall, unless it's on the ring. was THAT intended?


Depends. Delayed reactions in a moment of shock (like someone coming out of nowhere and pushing you off a ledge while you didn't expect it to happen) are… well, just true.

The odd thing here is when and how far the caster falls. On one hand, they should fall right when pushed - they don't just hover just off the cliff until their turn arrives, do they? On the other hand, they can't exactly fall six seconds and then take their own six seconds turn… (Or if that's how it's handled, do they get to hover during their turn?)

So, basically, how far do they fall until it's their turn and they stop being flat-footed? What if they were bull-rushed during a surprise round they didn't get to act in, and have to wait for the surprise round and the first round of combat?

It's really more of a problem with turn-based time, and half a dozen people each taking 6 second turns after one another while it all still takes only 6 seconds in total.


I believe somewhere there's an FAQ where they said Feather Fall didn't require a concentration check to cast from falling, though other things could cause it to require a concentration check, like ongoing damage.


Claxon wrote:
I believe somewhere there's an FAQ where they said Feather Fall didn't require a concentration check to cast from falling

I believe that there is no such FAQ, but I don't know how to prove it.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Claxon wrote:
I believe somewhere there's an FAQ where they said Feather Fall didn't require a concentration check to cast from falling
I believe that there is no such FAQ, but I don't know how to prove it.

It's possible. My memory is far from perfect. But the spell doesn't work if there is a concentration check to cast it due to falling, in which case the spell would have little purpose. Or rather it would have nonsensical results.

Like you can only cast feather fall if you're falling 500 or more feet and you have to make a concentration check to do so. A concentration check with a high enough DC that low level characters, who will be the ones most likely to rely on feather fall, will be unable to do so.

Or we accept, even with or without FAQ, that some degree of common sense is necessary and that the spell should work since this is its exact purpose.


Claxon wrote:
the spell doesn't work if there is a concentration check to cast it due to falling, in which case the spell would have little purpose.

Why are you trying to cast Feather Fall on yourself? That's like saying Remove Paralysis is useless if you can't cast it while paralysed.

You're the wizard, not the guy whose job it is to lead the way and trigger the concealed pit traps. The whole purpose of them specifying that it require a concentration check is that it's a spell with the intended use of protecting your allies when you see them fall. It's called teamwork!

(Honestly, I'd allow someone to cast it on themselves 'before they start falling', I just don't think it's as obvious as most people say...)


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Matthew Downie wrote:
Claxon wrote:
I believe somewhere there's an FAQ where they said Feather Fall didn't require a concentration check to cast from falling
I believe that there is no such FAQ, but I don't know how to prove it.

I can confirm that there is no such FAQ for the Core Rulebook. It would be weird if it is in the FAQ section for another book.


It says that immediate actions (not even swift ones) can be cast during falling. And it seems silly that immediate actions can require a concentration check. especially when there are no somatic or material components.

" If something interrupts your concentration while you’re casting, you must make a concentration check or lose the spell."

For an immediate action, there's nothing to interrupt. therefore, no concentration check. They are interrupts themselves.

This lets feather fall work as intended. Don't tell me you've never had a pit trap with an area much wider than it's trigger.

Just be glad Catfall was fixed in pathfinder to be immediate instead of swift. it was completely unusable in combat at ALL as originally written, because it was a swift action.

Is "Bull rush the flat footed wizard into the pit to his death because he has low hp and can't cast feather fall while flat footed" intended to work?!?!


zaphod77 wrote:
It says that immediate actions (not even swift ones) can be cast during falling.

...and that then it immediately says that they need a concentration check.

zaphod77 wrote:
And it seems silly that immediate actions can require a concentration check. especially when there are no somatic or material components...

When there are no components, the only thing a spell requires is mental concentration. It seems silly to me that immediate actions wouldn't require concentration checks when that's nowhere in the rules. It's established that interrupts can be interrupted, as when you use a Readied Action to fire an arrow to force a concentration check on a spell that might itself have been a readied or immediate action...

zaphod77 wrote:
Is "Bull rush the flat footed wizard into the pit to his death because he has low hp and can't cast feather fall while flat footed" intended to work?!?!

We don't know what's intended. We're not psychic, and Paizo aren't answering a lot of FAQs.

It seems a reasonable thing to allow a martial to do. Getting a wizard low on HP, making him flat footed and shoving him into a pit is a pretty difficult. Killing him with a sword while he's flat footed and low on HP is a lot easier.


Unfortunately, as it's written, casting feather fall while falling requires a concentration check unless they give it a specific exception somewhere. This doesn't make it useless, but it does make it very very difficult until the caster has gained several levels to make it even function with a slight chance of success.

Also, by the rules, you can cast it (as its an immediate effect) if you fall or a pit opens under you as a trap or part of movement normally, but if you're flat-footed, such as an enemy opens up combat with a create pit or bull rush to push you off a ledge, you cannot, since you cannot use swift or immediate actions while flat-footed.

Personally, I think feather fall should be exempt from the falling concentration check just for balance and mechanics reasons, but rules-wise (the forum this is in), following the proper mechanics, a low-level caster would be extremely hard-pressed to use it as it was originally made to work (on themselves while falling, at least.)


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Immediate action spellcasting is still spellcasting and thus still requires concentration. Literally nothing suggests that feather fall is an exception. I'm at a loss as to the purpose of this thread or its revival.


I think it's because it doesn't meet expectations of function for people.

A low level wizard can't save himself from falling.


Claxon wrote:

I think it's because it doesn't meet expectations of function for people.

A low level wizard can't save himself from falling.

Sure they can--just not reliably. : D

That does seem like a very high DC (is falling "extremely violent motion"?) but them's the breaks. They can still save their friend from falling without issue.


Pizza Lord wrote:


Also, by the rules, you can cast it (as its an immediate effect) if you fall or a pit opens under you as a trap or part of movement normally, but if you're flat-footed, such as an enemy opens up combat with a create pit or bull rush to push you off a ledge, you cannot, since you cannot use swift or immediate actions while flat-footed.

Not saying I disagree that it should be exempt from a concentration check... but I would like to bring up the fact that when a trap is triggered... initiative gets rolled.

Traps:Duration wrote:
Unless otherwise stated, most traps have a duration of instantaneous; once triggered, they have their effect and then stop functioning. Some traps have a duration measured in rounds. Such traps continue to have their listed effect each round at the top of the initiative order (or whenever they were activated, if they were triggered during combat).

The pit trap would be at the top of the initiative order, thus, everyone would be flat-footed until their turn.

Just saying.

Again, I'm on the side of it working like it did in 3.5, just one example of how pathfinder just... didn't quite fix everything and broke others.

At least you still get a Reflex save to avoid falling!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Xelaaredn wrote:
Pizza Lord wrote:


Also, by the rules, you can cast it (as its an immediate effect) if you fall or a pit opens under you as a trap or part of movement normally, but if you're flat-footed, such as an enemy opens up combat with a create pit or bull rush to push you off a ledge, you cannot, since you cannot use swift or immediate actions while flat-footed.

Not saying I disagree that it should be exempt from a concentration check... but I would like to bring up the fact that when a trap is triggered... initiative gets rolled.

Traps:Duration wrote:
Unless otherwise stated, most traps have a duration of instantaneous; once triggered, they have their effect and then stop functioning. Some traps have a duration measured in rounds. Such traps continue to have their listed effect each round at the top of the initiative order (or whenever they were activated, if they were triggered during combat).

The pit trap would be at the top of the initiative order, thus, everyone would be flat-footed until their turn.

Just saying.

You are applying a specific rule for traps with an effect that lasts more than 1 round as a generic rule. It isn't.

It is a specific rule for traps that have an effect measured in rounds. And immediately contradicted by "or whenever they were activated", so the effect is applied at the initiative when the trap was triggered if you are already taking actions that are counted in rounds. Only if the trap started a multi-round event it automatically gets the highest initiative.

And you aren't flat-footed by a new event if counting initiative has started. Your dexterity bonus to AC can be negated, but that isn't the same thing.

And again, you are flat-footed only if you are surprised. If the trap was detected but no one was able to disarm it there is no surprise round.


When a trap is sprung, initiative is rolled. That's not applying something that is a niche case to all traps.

And a pit obviously continues to last for more than one round if that is your problem. Therefore, it would, as a trap that continues to have an effect after it is triggered, automatically gets the highest initiative count, and even if it didn't, it would still "act first" as that is when it was triggered.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Xelaaredn wrote:

When a trap is sprung, initiative is rolled. That's not applying something that is a niche case to all traps.

And a pit obviously continues to last for more than one round if that is your problem. Therefore, it would, as a trap that continues to have an effect after it is triggered, automatically gets the highest initiative count, and even if it didn't, it would still "act first" as that is when it was triggered.

The exact test you cited contradict your statement:

CRB wrote:
Unless otherwise stated, most traps have a duration of instantaneous; once triggered, they have their effect and then stop functioning.

A pit trap stops functioning as a trap as soon as it is sprung. After that, it is a simple hole.

CRB wrote:
Some traps have a duration measured in rounds. Such traps ...

What follows this text applies only to traps that have a duration listed in rounds. A pit trap has no listed duration.

CRB wrote:
Such traps continue to have their listed effect each round at the top of the initiative order (or whenever they were activated, if they were triggered during combat).

Only traps with a duration listed in rounds have a position in the initiative order. Otherwise initiative doesn't even start unless you are in combat.

"Acting First" and making the characters flat-footed are two different things.

CRB wrote:
Flat-Footed: At the start of a battle, before you have had a chance to act (specifically, before your first regular turn in the initiative order), you are f lat-footed. You can’t use your Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) while f lat-footed. Barbarians and rogues of high enough level have the uncanny dodge extraordinary ability, which means that they cannot be caught flat-footed. Characters with uncanny dodge retain their Dexterity bonus to their AC and can make attacks of opportunity before they have acted in the first round of combat. A flat-footed character can’t make attacks of opportunity, unless he has the Combat Reflexes feat.

Being caught in a trap (barring specific kinds of traps, like a trap that cast Black tentacles) don't start a battle.

No battle, no flat-footed (again barring specific, explicit rules for specific situations).

If you can find a citation that supports your opinion, show it, but the one you cited doesn't do that.


Diego Rossi wrote:


"Acting First" and making the characters flat-footed are two different things.

CRB wrote:
Flat-Footed: At the start of a battle, before you have had a chance to act (specifically, before your first regular turn in the initiative order), you are f lat-footed. You can’t use your Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) while f lat-footed. Barbarians and rogues of high enough level have the uncanny dodge extraordinary ability, which means that they cannot be caught flat-footed. Characters with uncanny dodge retain their Dexterity bonus to their AC and can make attacks of opportunity before they have acted in the first round of combat. A flat-footed character can’t make attacks of opportunity, unless
...

A hole is still a hole, you can still fall down it if you aren't paying attention even after your friend plummets. That aside, you would still be flat-footed against the pit if you didn't spot it. You would have been caught unaware, which is no different from a bunch of enemies hiding behind crates that no one noticed taking pot shots. On top of that, initiative very much so can be used outside of combat, the DM can call for initiative at any point in time. Usually it is only in combat but I've seen happen outside of regular combat on more than one occasion. Usually as a method of keeping track of time when it is important.

All that said.
Currently I am not in a position to search for a specific citation as I just happened to get on while getting ready for work.


"I attack the pit."

/"You got any Mountain Dew!?"


blahpers wrote:
Immediate action spellcasting is still spellcasting and thus still requires concentration. Literally nothing suggests that feather fall is an exception. I'm at a loss as to the purpose of this thread or its revival.

While it is still spellcasting, I have always seen it played as the immediate action happens before the thing you activate it for. Therefore, when you realize that you are about to fall, you are not yet falling and thus don't need the concentration check to cast Feather Fall.

Attacks of Opportunities also are wonky that way. They resolve before the action that triggered it.

/cevah


Cevah wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Immediate action spellcasting is still spellcasting and thus still requires concentration. Literally nothing suggests that feather fall is an exception. I'm at a loss as to the purpose of this thread or its revival.

While it is still spellcasting, I have always seen it played as the immediate action happens before the thing you activate it for. Therefore, when you realize that you are about to fall, you are not yet falling and thus don't need the concentration check to cast Feather Fall.

Attacks of Opportunities also are wonky that way. They resolve before the action that triggered it.

/cevah

Even if that worked on feather fall (which I don’t think it does because feather fall wears off when u touch the ground so casting it just before the pit opens means it immediately stops), there are situations where you have to cast feather falling as you fall and you have no time to do it before your airborne which would then require a cc.


Cevah wrote:
blahpers wrote:
Immediate action spellcasting is still spellcasting and thus still requires concentration. Literally nothing suggests that feather fall is an exception. I'm at a loss as to the purpose of this thread or its revival.

While it is still spellcasting, I have always seen it played as the immediate action happens before the thing you activate it for. Therefore, when you realize that you are about to fall, you are not yet falling and thus don't need the concentration check to cast Feather Fall.

Attacks of Opportunities also are wonky that way. They resolve before the action that triggered it.

/cevah

It's tempting, but there are a couple of issues with that:

1. While there are many immediate actions that become available in response to specific triggers and may or may not resolve before such triggers, immediate actions as a class don't work that way. They're simply actions. The creature decides to take the action and it happens. This would indicate that you could cast feather fall either just before falling or while already falling, except that . . .

2. . . . feather fall targets one or more free-falling objects or creatures. If you are not yet falling, you are not a valid target.


I've been skimming this thread off and on since it got reincarnated. The only thing I'd add is that a DC is wonky if it is 20+spell lvl. Free Falling is hardly extremely violent motion (the impact perhaps but not the fall :P). At worst I'd probably say it's Vigorous motion. Now bouncing down the side of a steep rocky cliff/slope perhaps, free fall not a chance, particularly when compared to things like Wind with Hail and debris (10+lvl) or Wind with rain and sleet (5+lvl). Ever been smacked by a decent sized hailstone? I don't think it is unreasonable for a low level caster to have a chance of not making the concentration check when suddenly dropped into a pit. At low levels (particularly 1st and 2nd lvls) they are not seasoned and hardened adventurers. On the other hand I've never actually required a concentration check for it while GMing but if I did the DC would definitely be less than 20+ outside of some rare yet unthought of corner case

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