"Soften Earth and Stone" and "Cave-ins", trying to understand.


Rules Questions


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Question: What the heck does Soften Earth and Stone do in regard to creating collapse/landslides? Everything seems centralized on the Bury-Zone, but the spell says to not use the "bury zone". If there's no bury zone, where is the slide zone? This seems very vague, so any help is appreciated.

Relevent texts and links:

Soften Earth and Stone

"...While this spell does not affect dressed or worked stone, cavern ceilings or vertical surfaces such as cliff faces can be affected. Usually, this causes a moderate collapse or landslide as the loosened material peels away from the face of the wall or roof and falls (treat as a cave-in with no bury zone, see Environment)."

Cave-Ins and Collapses (CR 8)
(I don't know how to link-hop you directly to the text, but it's not too far down)

"Cave-ins and collapsing tunnels are extremely dangerous. Not only do dungeon explorers face the danger of being crushed by tons of falling rock, but even if they survive they might be buried beneath a pile of rubble or cut off from the only known exit. A cave-in buries anyone in the middle of the collapsing area, and then sliding debris damages anyone in the periphery of the collapse. A typical corridor subject to a cave-in might have a bury zone with a 15-foot radius and a 10-foot-wide slide zone extending beyond the bury zone. A weakened ceiling can be spotted with a DC 20 Knowledge (engineering) or DC 20 Craft (stonemasonry) check. Remember that Craft checks can be made untrained as Intelligence checks. A dwarf can make such a check if he simply passes within 10 feet of a weakened ceiling.

A weakened ceiling might collapse when subjected to a major impact or concussion. A character can cause a cave-in by destroying half the pillars holding up the ceiling.

Characters in the bury zone of a cave-in take 8d6 points of damage, or half that amount if they make a DC 15 Reflex save. They are subsequently buried. Characters in the slide zone take 3d6 points of damage, or no damage at all if they make a DC 15 Reflex save. Characters in the slide zone who fail their saves are buried.

Characters take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage per minute while buried. If such a character falls unconscious, he must make a DC 15 Constitution check each minute. If it fails, he takes 1d6 points of lethal damage each minute until freed or dead.

Characters who aren't buried can dig out their friends. In 1 minute, using only her hands, a character can clear rocks and debris equal to five times her heavy load limit. The amount of loose stone that fills a 5-foot-by-5-foot area weighs 1 ton (2,000 pounds). Armed with an appropriate tool, such as a pick, crowbar, or shovel, a digger can clear loose stone twice as quickly as by hand. A buried character can attempt to free himself with a DC 25 Strength check."


the spell gives an area that it affects. for that area, you apply the 'effects' of the slide-zone of a cave-in:

Quote:

Characters in the slide zone take 3d6 points of damage, or no damage at all if they make a DC 15 Reflex save. Characters in the slide zone who fail their saves are buried.

Characters take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage per minute while buried. If such a character falls unconscious, he must make a DC 15 Constitution check each minute. If it fails, he takes 1d6 points of lethal damage each minute until freed or dead.

an area of affected ceiling will fall vertically and affect an equal area below.

an area of vertical cliff will also fall vertically, it's not quite as clear, but i would say the mass of rock spreads out during it's fall or during impact (e.g. spreading laterally from the line/area directly under the dislodged rock, so that the ground area equals the spells' listed area), to equal the same area of flat ground affected by the cave-in slide zone damage/repercussions, since it's the same area of rock/etc originally effected, and the same RESULT (slide-zone effects, not bury-zone effects).

the effects of the slide zone are NOT dependent on the bury zone, the only link is that cave-in rules say: " A typical corridor subject to a cave-in might have a bury zone with a 15-foot radius and a 10-foot-wide slide zone extending beyond the bury zone. " which is giving the area of effect for each zone, but we don't care about that because the SPELL is giving us the area of effect in this case. aside from this spell, specific situations are free to use any other Area of Effect for either bury or slide-zone, an entire football-field sized cavern could collapse using the bury zone rules only.


did somebody really mark the first post as 'favorite'?
i mean, i'm glad that the OP asked this question so it could be clarified, but FAVORITE?
perhaps it was the OP themself, trying to hit FAQ for 'official feedback', but mistakenly hitting favorite instead?
(they're not the same thing, favorite just adds the post to the list of favorite posts under your profile, nothing else)


@ Quandary: I hit favorite because I don't know how to "subscribe to posts" in this forum where they e-mail me. I figured maybe this would do it.

Your reply has made this much clearer, and I thank you for that. It's most appreciated.

I'll mark it for FAQ as well. It's not high priority, but they could have written this much better.


yeah, hope i was able to help, this can be a fun, multi-use spell for druids.

it does require some interpretation to get from the area of effect of the spell (the softened earth/stone) to the area that suffers the cave-in effects, and that could be spelled out better, particularly for cases like a vertical cliff face where the 'area' of the original spell is a vertical area... 'translating' that to the (horizontal) ground area affected requires some interpretation...
('realistically', a large area of a vertical cliff falling downward could/should plausibly create a deeper bury effect near the base of the cliff, possibly using the bury zone, with farther out areas using slide zone, but that is diverging too much from the spell, so i think just 'translating' the same area of effect to the horizontal plane, with a uniform 'slide zone' effect, is the most prudent interpretation)

EDIT: it also seems obvious that the entire area effected by the 'cave-in' (regardless of bury zone or slide zone) should count as difficult terrain, although that isn't stated directly. that's how i play it, at least.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / "Soften Earth and Stone" and "Cave-ins", trying to understand. All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.