Boots of the Earth (Inner Sea Gods pg261) where do they work


Rules Questions


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there is some question due to the description as to where these boots work.

Item: Boots of the Earth
Source: Inner Sea Gods pg. 261
Aura: faint conjuration and transmutation; CL 3rd
Slot: feet
Price: 5,000 gp
Weight: 5 lbs.
Description
These sturdy leather dwarven boots have soles made of thick gray marble. As a move action, the wearer can plant her feet and draw strength from the earth, gaining fast healing 1 and a +4 bonus to CMD to resist bull rush, reposition(APG), and trip combat maneuver attempts. These effects end if the wearer moves or is moved, knocked prone, or rendered unconscious.
Construction Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, bull's strength, cure light wounds; Cost 2,500 gp

For Pathfinder Society organized play you need the Inner Sea Gods book on hand or a page showing your download of the PDF from your downloads page.

according to the Requirements and a very generous reading of the description, the boots should work whenever & wherever you stop. The only requirement is that you have to "plant" your feet on a surface (presumably on a planet somewhere). You cannot be tripped while flying.

In a conservative reading, and referencing the Soften Earth spell, you must be standing on dirt or unworked stone permanently attached to the planet. In a D&D context "earth" often means dirt or unworked stone in/on the ground.

so there's a lot of ground as it were between the two meanings (lol).

so what do you think is reasonable as a GM and can you back that up with some quotes from various source materials?


The Oradin in our group uses these boots. Our DM has been fairly generous in his interpretation of "earth". He has allowed them to work in most places, including inside buildings and such except for when we travelled to a city created out of ice located on a glacier. He reasoned that there was no actual earth touching the ice floating in the ocean. As long as earth touches where the character has planted his feet, even if the boots don't touch the earth themselves directly, they work.

No rules to cite for you, just a description of another DM's ruling. Hope that is at least a little helpful.


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I can't back it up with source quotes, but I can back it up through logic.

If you make a +1 shocking sword, you need to use either the spell Call Lightning or Lightning Bolt. Both of those spells grant a ranged attack that requires no attack roll; it just automatically hits a target who then takes damage (save for half).

But the sword doesn't work that way. Countless other magic items are like this, created with a base spell that is quite different than what the item actually does.

So clearly there is precedent, lots of it, that you cannot apply all the feature, effects, benefits, or limitations of the base spell to the item created via that spell. Therefore assuming that the limitations of the spell used to create an item apply to the magic item is a flawed assumption. Worse, your assumption about Soften Earth is based on a spell that is not even related to the boots in question.

In short, Soften Earth has nothing to do with these boots.

As for the item itself, "draw strength from the earth" is descriptive, but it's not the rule. The rule is that you plant your feet as a move action to gain fast healing 1 and +4 to CMD until you move or get moved. Nothing in that rule says you must actually plant your feet on earthy ground.

If the authors had wanted a restriction telling you where you can or cannot plant your feet, then they would have included it.

Ergo, no restriction. It does NOT say "plant your feet on the earth", so you can plant your feet anywhere, indoors, outdoors, on a boat, on a moving wagon, on a tree limb, on the ceiling (Spider Climb could help with this), or any other solid surface. Heck, you could probably get away with planting your feet on water if you had Water Walking active.

Once your feet are planted, you draw strength from the earth, but nothing says that this strength doesn't flow up through the floor, or up the tree trunk, or up the wagon wheels, or up from the ocean floor to the surface, or wherever. Nothing says you must be in direct contact with the earth to draw the strength from it.

Shadow Lodge

I would personally go with anything that is not flying/levitating, is touching the ground, and when the character is not moving or Prone, and not utilizing something like Water Walk to stand on non-solid ground. A path or bridge made of Force, also would not work.

My understanding is that with fast healing, it kicks in at the beginning of your turn, so on your action the round after you initiate them, is when the fast healing begins, which makes them a pretty poor choice for in combat healing, unless you are in a circumstance where you are not moving, but a fantastic method of out of combat healing, which is itself pretty common.

Spider Climbing up a cave wall, (as long as you still spend the Move Action) should work.


comparators are (ignoring consumables, spells, artifacts);

Infernal Cord (Inner Sea Combat pg 60) $5000, $31000. Only lasts 10 rounds per activation(lose a few hit points, lol).

Gallows Rope (Mythic Adventures pg 151) $18000. Too complicated.

Talisman of Soul-Eating (Source Book of the Damned - Volume 3: Horsemen of the Apocalypse pg. 41) $5400. Lots of prep and 2 Evil acts to get Fast Healing 2 for HD r. So ditching the Evil (handwaving) would halve it to regular Fast Healing 1 for HD r.

Bastard's Sting (Ult Equip pg 150) $123035. Poor wording does not define the duration (other than round by round) of the Fast Healing 5 ability. Also too complicated with circumstantial activation.

conclusion:
the comparables imply that having the Boots work on any surface all the time is overpowered.
They should work for 10 r and then require reactivation.
They should have restrictive circumstances to use (lose hit points, prone & unconscious, evil acts...).


Oh, I agree, these boots are ridiculously good for the price. As a martial, I would rather have these boots than almost any other magic item for that price. As a cleric, I would buy these boots and give them as gifts free of charge to every martial in my adventuring party, just so I can use my spells for fun stuff instead of being a heal-bot (if I'm a poor cleric I just buy one pair and everybody shares between combats).

These boots aren't a "nice to have" or a "gosh, that's neat" item - they're a mandatory, must have, game-changing item.

Which of course means they're badly priced (according to Paizo's own suggested guidelines for pricing magic items), but that's a different issue.

Shadow Lodge

DM_Blake wrote:
As a cleric, I would buy these boots and give them as gifts free of charge to every martial in my adventuring party, just so I can use my spells for fun stuff instead of being a heal-bot (if I'm a poor cleric I just buy one pair and everybody shares between combats).

DUDE(TTE), that makes you a FANTF'ASTIC heal-bot. Not only have you converted your entire party, or well, the ones that matter, to the true faith, you have provided for them without sacrificing your precious spells for their stupidity.

Please explain the downside here?

:P


What downside? There is no downside to explain. At least, no downside from the characters' perspective.

However, there might be a downside from the developers' perspective. Game balance. Every magic item in all the books is intended to be somewhat balanced. Everything should be at least passably optional. Should I get this, or that, or something else?

It's an absurd example, but consider this: Next month Paizo puts out a supplement with Gloves of True Strike. They cost 2,000gp and give a +20 to hit bonus to any weapon wielded by the wearer. Now your typical 3rd level martial gets that much cash and runs off to the store. Will he buy a +1 weapon or will he buy these gloves? Find a hundred martial players with a hundred characters at that level with that cash and ask the same question, and all hundred of them will buy the gloves.

Wouldn't you say those gloves were too good for the price? That they break game balance? That they replace all other options such that there is only ONE option (e.g. no option at all) for that money?

I have great confidence that Paizo won't release anything with those gloves in it.

These boots are not THAT obviously imbalanced, but they are clearly more awesome than their meager low price would suggest.


These boots make sure that the party is at full hp before each encounter. Wands of CLW do the same. Are there any encounters where the CR is calculated assuming the PCs are not at full hps?


_Ozy_ wrote:
These boots make sure that the party is at full hp before each encounter. Wands of CLW do the same. Are there any encounters where the CR is calculated assuming the PCs are not at full hps?

I'd argue that CLW wands are situationally better since the boots only heal 10 HP/minute and only when the wearer is literally rooted - they're completely incompatible with a party that wants to utilize short duration buffs such as Shield or Divine Power while doing a dungeon, especially if the party is sharing the boots between them.

As far as the actual text goes, I'd rule that it works on any kind of solid physical surface. You wouldn't be able to use them while swimming or flying, but you could use them while standing on the seabed or a table.

Shadow Lodge

DM_Blake wrote:

What downside? There is no downside to explain. At least, no downside from the characters' perspective.

These boots are not THAT obviously imbalanced, but they are clearly more awesome than their meager low price would suggest.

I was joking. Ha ha.

I don't think they are overpowered, per se, and I do the same thing as a "heal-bot". I'd say the one unbalanced aspect I just notices is they don't actually contain the line "If Torag is the wearer's Patron", but like I said, they are pretty poor for in combat usage most of the time.

Out of combat healing, cool, but hardly an uncommon or must have thing with how many ways there are to do it.


_Ozy_ wrote:
Are there any encounters where the CR is calculated assuming the PCs are not at full hps?

Pathfinder is a little fuzzy here, but the original OGL source material Pathfinder was copied from was not fuzzy at all.

The 3.5 rules explained that the CR system assumed an adventuring party would have 4 fairly balanced encounters in any given day, and at the end of that day the party would be out of resources, or at least so low that having a 5th encounter would be a bad idea. It went on to list these resources as spells and HP and daily use abilities like Channeling or LOH. It was more complex than this, but this was the foundation for the whole CR system.

So the simple answer is Yes. Some encounters ARE written for PCs to be a less than full HP.

Or more specifically, most professionally created adventures followed that foundation fairly closely, 4 encounters per day with dwindling resources (with some allowed variance, of course), so there would be some expectation that the PCs would be running a bit low on these resources by the 3rd or 4th encounter. Could be out of healing spells, or nearly out. Maybe the fighter is at 75% of his HP because the healer is saving his last major heal for the final encounter. Whatever.

These boots break that foundation by allowing the party to replenish one of those resources infinitely.

Paizo itself explained the problem with infinite (slow) healing when they removed the Cure Minor Wounds orison from the cleric list. In 3.5, orisons could only be used a few times a day so curing 1 HP with an orison was mostly used to stabilize a dying teammate, but in Pathfinder, orisons can be used all day long, up to 1,440 times per day if you want. Suddenly clerics could replenish everyone's HP to full after every fight. Slowly, at one HP per round, just like these boots.

Paizo removed that orison with an explanation about how it breaks game balance. There was a lot of discussion at the time.

Now, the orison is back in a new form. But at least the boots require some expenditure of resources to acquire them (pay gold, or maybe get lucky and find them in a treasure hoard somewhere - but even then, getting these boots means you didn't get something else instead). And the boots slow you down a little bit, compared to spellcasting, so the party must move slower. Then again, the boots work for everyone, even adventurers who are nowhere near any healers.

Grand Lodge

DM_Blake wrote:

Pathfinder is a little fuzzy here, but the original OGL source material Pathfinder was copied from was not fuzzy at all.

The 3.5 rules explained that the CR system assumed an adventuring party would have 4 fairly balanced encounters in any given day, and at the end of that day the party would be out of resources, or at least so low that having a 5th encounter would be a bad idea. It went on to list these resources as spells and HP and daily use abilities like Channeling or LOH. It was more complex than this, but this was the foundation for the whole CR system.

So the simple answer is Yes. Some encounters ARE written for PCs to be a less than full HP.

Or more specifically, most professionally created adventures followed that foundation fairly closely, 4 encounters per day with dwindling resources (with some allowed variance, of course), so there would be some expectation that the PCs would be running a bit low on these resources by the 3rd or 4th encounter. Could be out of healing spells, or nearly out. Maybe the fighter is at 75% of his HP because the healer is saving his last major heal for the final encounter. Whatever.

These boots break that foundation by allowing the party to replenish one of those resources infinitely.

Paizo itself explained the problem with infinite (slow) healing when they removed the Cure Minor Wounds orison from the cleric list. In 3.5, orisons could only be used a few times a day so curing 1 HP with an orison was mostly used to stabilize a dying teammate, but in Pathfinder, orisons can be used all day long, up to 1,440 times per day if you want. Suddenly clerics could replenish everyone's HP to full after every fight. Slowly, at one HP per round, just like these boots.

Paizo removed that orison with an explanation about how it breaks game balance. There was a lot of discussion at the time.

Now, the orison is back in a new form. But at least the...

The thing is that wands of CLW and Infernal Healing allow healing that's already so cheap, truly infinite out of combat really only changes things in extreme situations.

Scarab Sages

Frankly, If they added Cure Minor Wounds back in the game, but required a 1GP per cast component that could not be reduced in any way, it would be balanced in the current state of the game.


as this is a general Rules thread, it gives GMs a heads up on what to examine more closely.

I certainly think these boots are more powerful than comparable items with Fast Healing. Odd that Infernal Healing wasn't cited but I'm assuming the author wanted to skirt the evil aspect of that spell. *dang* time to just publish Life (non-Infernal) Healing 1st and let you glow with a golden-white glow (10 ft illumination) for 10r...

In a home game I would apply the reading where you had to actually plant your feet on the earth for these to work. That certainly seemed the intention (but intent is such a slippery thing).

I wouldn't be surprised if this item joined the illegal list for organized play. My crystal ball cracked decades ago... ahh well...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think the big downside to them is that you have to take time standing completely still in order for them to work. They've worked out fantastically for the group I'm playing in right now, but that's because the campaign we're running does not do a lot in the way of encounters quickly succeeding each other - if it did, they'd lose usefulness pretty rapidly.

For our game, I did re-skin them - mostly for flavor, but I also made them a couple thousand gold more expensive and put more requirements on them (I believe I required the Channel Energy class feature, a rank or two in Perform (dance), and a week's attunement in order to work) to add balancing factors. I am a life oracle with Life Link, so we have a way to share the healing around without having to just pass them off person to person, but at least I don't get to put them on after combat, heal everyone to full, and then switch back to something more powerful, and I had to blow a skill point that does absolutely nothing for me in order to use them.

Imbicatus wrote:
Frankly, If they added Cure Minor Wounds back in the game, but required a 1GP per cast component that could not be reduced in any way, it would be balanced in the current state of the game.

You know...if I'm ever running a game, I may just do that...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
DM_Blake wrote:

I can't back it up with source quotes, but I can back it up through logic.

If you make a +1 shocking sword, you need to use either the spell Call Lightning or Lightning Bolt. Both of those spells grant a ranged attack that requires no attack roll; it just automatically hits a target who then takes damage (save for half).

But the sword doesn't work that way. Countless other magic items are like this, created with a base spell that is quite different than what the item actually does.

So clearly there is precedent, lots of it, that you cannot apply all the feature, effects, benefits, or limitations of the base spell to the item created via that spell. Therefore assuming that the limitations of the spell used to create an item apply to the magic item is a flawed assumption. Worse, your assumption about Soften Earth is based on a spell that is not even related to the boots in question.

In short, Soften Earth has nothing to do with these boots.

As for the item itself, "draw strength from the earth" is descriptive, but it's not the rule. The rule is that you plant your feet as a move action to gain fast healing 1 and +4 to CMD until you move or get moved. Nothing in that rule says you must actually plant your feet on earthy ground.

If the authors had wanted a restriction telling you where you can or cannot plant your feet, then they would have included it.

Ergo, no restriction. It does NOT say "plant your feet on the earth", so you can plant your feet anywhere, indoors, outdoors, on a boat, on a moving wagon, on a tree limb, on the ceiling (Spider Climb could help with this), or any other solid surface. Heck, you could probably get away with planting your feet on water if you had Water Walking active.

Once your feet are planted, you draw strength from the earth, but nothing says that this strength doesn't flow up through the floor, or up the tree trunk, or up the wagon wheels, or up from the ocean floor to the surface, or wherever. Nothing says you must be in direct contact with the earth...

Blake, it say:

Quote:
As a move action, the wearer can plant her feet and draw strength from the earth, gaining fast healing 1 and a +4 bonus to CMD to resist bull rush, reposition(APG), and trip combat maneuver attempts. These effects end if the wearer moves or is moved, knocked prone, or rendered unconscious.

I don't get how you can say that half of that phrase mean something and the other half don't.

I can do the same, cutting away what I don't want. I can say that the part about planting your feet is fluff, and the actual way in which the item work is that the wearer use a move action to draw strength from the earth.
To me it seem very clear that you need to plant your feet on earth, not on wood, water, upper floors of a building or other things unrelated to "earth" as the term is generally used in game (i.e. dirt, unworked stone and similar things).

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
_Ozy_ wrote:
These boots make sure that the party is at full hp before each encounter. Wands of CLW do the same. Are there any encounters where the CR is calculated assuming the PCs are not at full hps?

The adventures balance assume you are expending resources to overcome obstacles, including healing, and that you will not be always at full resources.

That is why items that allow you to recover resources at little or no cost are generally bad.

Wand of CLW: it cost a little, it get depleted at inconvenient moments, it require time.

These boots: they require time. The cost is negligible as it is a one time only expenditure. Actually you aren't even rooted in place when using them out of combat. Use move action to move, convert standard to move and root in place, benefit from fast healing 1 at the start of the next round. Repeat.
You get fast healing 1 and move at normal speed.


I would say you must plant(verb) your feet in the place where you can plant(verb) a plant(noun). Unlike dwarves' Stability that says "on the ground" this one says "earth"
The thing is "plant" can mean "put on the ground" but i believe the boots should be shoved into the ground as if root of the plant.


The boots cost more than 6 wands of CLW and take much longer to restore hp. That makes those wands situationally better than the boots in many situations. Furthermore, after you've restored effectively 1650 hps worth of damage from the 6 wands, you should be high enough level that the consumable cost of another wand is negligible.

People just have an unreasonable distaste towards non-depletable magic resources, no matter what their real impact is.


_Ozy_ wrote:
The boots cost more than 6 wands of CLW and take much longer to restore hp. That makes those wands situationally better than the boots in many situations. Furthermore, after you've restored effectively 1650 hps worth of damage from the 6 wands, you should be high enough level that the consumable cost of another wand is negligible.

People make this argument, but it doesn't fly when one is playing a campaign where characters are high level and/or are playing for very long periods of time (long campaigns).

In a single day a high level group of adventurers could easily encounter hundreds of points of damage; easily enough to burn out multiple wands of CLW in a day. One single pair of these boots shared across the whole party could save them thousands of gold per day.
A single fireball cast on a party of 5 would cost the party 480 gold (assuming the damage was average and they all got no reductions which I know is probably unlikely)
It'd be over triple that cost if only potions were used (not to say that it's a common scenario; another balance problem). With an item like Boots of the Earth that has no limitation on it's use, all that lost gold is completely negated. Sure it might be somewhat minor for them, but it adds up over the days, and the gain in time isn't major

I really suspect that the designer of this item —along with various other things in ISG like Potion Glutton— was not looking at all possibilities with regards to balance. Namely, if one looks at items that grant continual healing such as the Ring of Regeneration or Pearly white spindle ioun stone they specify that they only heal damage that was inflicted whilst wearing the item.

I would say that the item would be useful and balanced (albeit inefficient for short campaigns) if used with the limitation that it only heals damage that was inflicted whilst wearing it, but far too imbalanced otherwise. For long campaigns a character would still come out ahead money-wise over constantly buying potions or wands.


DarkPhoenixx wrote:

I would say you must plant(verb) your feet in the place where you can plant(verb) a plant(noun). Unlike dwarves' Stability that says "on the ground" this one says "earth"

The thing is "plant" can mean "put on the ground" but i believe the boots should be shoved into the ground as if root of the plant.

I hope you're not serious. "plant your feet" is an extremely common turn of phrase that NEVER means inserting your feet INTO the ground. It simply means standing still, usually with a sturdy stance.


Diego Rossi wrote:

Blake, it say:

Quote:
As a move action, the wearer can plant her feet and draw strength from the earth, gaining fast healing 1 and a +4 bonus to CMD to resist bull rush, reposition(APG), and trip combat maneuver attempts. These effects end if the wearer moves or is moved, knocked prone, or rendered unconscious.
I don't get how you can say that half of that phrase mean something and the other half don't.

I can do the same, cutting away what I don't want. I can say that the part about planting your feet is fluff, and the actual way in which the item work is that the wearer use a move action to draw strength from the earth.
To me it seem very clear that you need to plant your feet on earth, not on wood, water, upper floors of a building or other things unrelated to "earth" as the term is generally used in game (i.e. dirt, unworked stone and similar things).

I get what it says, but it's not specific.

Again, it never says "you must plant your feet on earth". It simply says "you must plant your feet" (well, it actually says "can" but clearly you must do so to get the benefit).

"draw strength from the earth" is extremely generic. For example, the grass on my lawn outside draws strength from the sun, but it is not actually ON the sun. I am on the earth, but no part of my body is touching any soil - still, I'm on the earth. I eat food grown from soil, so I draw strength from the soil, but I can do that without ever touching the soil - Heck, some weeks go by without me ever touching soil, I'd starve to death if touching soil were required for me to draw my strength from the earth.

So, I read these boots to say "the wearer can plant his feet wherever he is standing and he generically draws his strength from the planet, strength that passes up from the earth through whatever he is actually standing directly on..."

The authors said the same thing, just with fewer words. That may not be what they meant, but it is what they said. Had they actually wanted the boots to only function when touching soil/stone, they could have easily swapped a couple words to get that exact meaning without even changing the wordcount:

"the wearer can plant her feet and draw strength from the earth" (official)

Becomes:

"the wearer must plant her feet on the earth to draw strength"

Yep, official version 12 words, reworded version 12 words, two very different meanings.


Does this item need a move action per round of use or only a move action to start the ability until the player moves again?


Just make them take a week to attune to the wearer like a ring of sustenance. That eliminates the abuse of passing them around the party and forces the wearer to make the choice of only wearing the boots of the earth and no others to gain the effect


Unklbuck wrote:
Just make them take a week to attune to the wearer like a ring of sustenance. That eliminates the abuse of passing them around the party and forces the wearer to make the choice of only wearing the boots of the earth and no others to gain the effect

I like my solution better. The same as pearly white spindle or ring of regeneration where it will only heal the damage that was taken whilst it was worn.

Katydid wrote:
Does this item need a move action per round of use or only a move action to start the ability until the player moves again?

If It required multiple move actions the description would have likely said something like "wearer gains +1 hp whenever they spend a move action to activate the boots and remains standing still", or something else implying multiple move actions or non fast healing mechanic. It requires only a single move action to activate indefinitely.

My view is that it should activate the same turn it was activated on as well, but I've seen disagreement about that.


The boots are nice, but they are not a get every time item, but they are close to it. I have a very mobile play style and I prefer foot ware that will increase my mobility, not decrease it.

For a character that has no spellcasting ability they are very good, characters who have taken even one level of a spellcasting class are much less likely to get them instead of another pair of boots, the reason for this is wands of Cure light or infernal healing.

The boots do change the game balance, more so for martial characters than caster types. At higher levels you do go through wands faster, but the other boots that you have access to are also way better.

The boots also open up new kinds of parties, since you do not need a heal bot to keep the party going. Martial class also look a lot better when you can get a item to handle healing before the late levels.

As to game balance problems the boots could cause, I do not think that is going to be much of a problem. Past low levels the boots are not going to change much in combat, and the main thing they do outside of combat is give the owner a longer work day. So instead of only being able to take on 4 encounters a day they can handle a few dozen a day. Which is not going to change a lot since we already have a problem with the 5 min. work day caused by casters. Martial characters could have a chance to shine since the group would be more likely to keep going when the casters run out of spells


I heard these boots have been errataed? One of my players said he thought so but was not sure.


They're not errata'd. But for PFS (and only PFS), they can only be used for 1/day.

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