Creative Ideas for Falling from Great Heights without Dying


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My level 1 party is about to be maliciously dropped about 14,000ft (should take about 68 seconds or 11 rounds) into a cavern that they will have to hike through to escape. Any ideas for plausibly surviving the fall that are more fun than just somehow getting Feather Fall on everyone?


But...but...but..

You could use a scroll of feather fall. How cool is that.


Falling into an swarm of mating gelatinous cubes?

Lots of cobwebs strung across the cavern?

Mass Rubberskin?


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Turn the cleric ethereal, and have him meet the party at the bottom. You get a resurrection, and you get a resurrection, and you... you... yeah your physical abilities were crap, and nobody likes having a dhampir around. You get a reincarnation.

Seriously though, featherfall is a stretch here.

You fall 60ft. a round with feather fall, and the spell only lasts 1 round/level. That means you would need to be a 234th level caster to prevent all fall damage in a single casting.

Unless you cast at the last second, several rounds into your fall...


At higher levels and with preparation - Boots of the Cat, Potions of Feather Fall/Fly, a Snapleaf or more.

At level 1 the options are sharply limited. You either have Feather Fall prepared, or the Flight hex, or a racial or consumable way to fly/slowfall or you're dead.

Unless you're given an obvious "GM wants you to use this item" path of course. Do you have a ship's sail that could be used for an improvised parachute? Could you try and land in a pool of water instead if hitting the ground?


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Anonymous Warrior wrote:
Unless you cast at the last second, several rounds into your fall...

Requiring a lovely concentration check for casting while free-falling.


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Hungry roc (or other huge to colossal aerial creature). Okay, you're no longer falling, now you have to survive digestion to cut your way free. Its gotta land sometime.

...or grabbed by aerial predators and carried back to the nest/lair to feed their young. Well, at least you're no longer falling...

The Exchange

You could say they land in a cavern full of lush, squishy mushrooms that break their fall reducing the damage taken in the fall to 2d6 or whatever you think would knock a few out without killing them and leave a few to help wake/heal the rest. The mushrooms are of a foul type that causes nausea for 10 minutes unless they make a Con save. The mushrooms are roughly 30-60 feet tall and the the ones they landed on/in were the puffy ones that were prepared to release their spores.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

If this is a plot device, how about a "Reverse Gravity" just above the bottom of the cavern ? If you come in at terminal velocity, the volume of the spell is sufficient to slow you such that when you reach the bottom of the volume of the spell, you fall out that bottom with only the velocity of whatever height the bottom of the spell's volume is above the floor of the cavern.

EDIT: if Wikipedia is to be believed, you need about 450 meters to reach terminal velocity. Thus you'd need about the same length of reversed gravity to come to a hover. Meters to feet gives us 1476, divide by 10 to get cubes gives 148 so you'd have to have several castings piled on top of each other.


I don't know if diminutional door works like this. but you could use it like a portal gun. have a dimension door on the ground fall through it and fly upwards out of a second one on the floor. and as your traveling up and start to slow down, just land on a cliff facing or grab onto the wall or something. essentially build yourself a dimension door trampoline.


Gusts of wind blowing straight up from the bottom of the cave, at terminal velocity. The people will continue to "fall" relative to the air but will be stationary height wise


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Randarak wrote:
Hungry roc (or other huge-colossal aerial creature). Okay, you're no longer falling. Now you have to survive digestion to cut your way free. Its gotta land sometime...

Hungry Roc? Huh. Guess the question is: do the eagles really solve all of our problems?

But yeah, do not discount the power of the plot device. If nothing else, a divine being/powerful outsider can always intervene for the sake of the player's 'destiny'. Or what about a haunt? The ghosts of a thousands of previous victims, all tossed to their deaths off the by the evil Cyclops Mor'dur'arth (or whatever) work together to save the players, hoping these heroes will rise and bring about justice for them.

... Also, how are you dropping them 2.7 miles into the ground? They are now somewhere in Orv (beneath Nar-voth and Sekamina). If they are unfortunate enough to survive the fall, death is not even close to the worst fate that awaits them down there.


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Ok, so you don't like the roc idea. How about land on the hull of a passing Dominion of the Black spacecraft.

They'd be better off falling...


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6000 years ago ancient and wise dwarves built a powerful graviton engine trying to create a machine to make the toughest of all metals. That Artefact mimic the certain planar proprieties to create powerful wave of gravity to forge some of the most wondrous weapons ever made. Their whole civilization go destroyed before they got a chance to turn it off.

The laws of physics are a bit wonky at the bottom of the pit the last 750 feet of the shaft, it effectively mimic certain planar propriety locally. Namely No gravity or maybe subjective directional gravity.

Have them hit pockets of floating water caused by the graviton engine, breaking their momentum but hurting like hell (2d6 non lethal damage per bubbles).

You now can work around that lore for a dungeon at the bottom of the pit they will have to go through before going up to the caverns that lead to the surface. Give them a few goodies made of experimental metal made by that engine for their trouble (masterwork metallic items). You can also make a few gravity based puzzles to solve before they can leave. I made a whole dungeon like that once and it worked kind of well!


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Ready an action to dump a bucket of water below you. If your timing is good enough, it will prevent all fall damage. Oh wait, I've been playing too much Minecraft.

A level 1 party falling that far is pretty screwed unless they have a high level (say 12th?) caster who can cast feather fall on them the round before they would go splat.

I suppose a Small wizard might be able to use reduce person followed with summon monster i to conjure up an eagle and Gandalf his way to the ground, but that would also be tricky due to the summon only lasting 1-2 rounds.

A Small druid with an eagle animal companion and a scroll of reduce person would stand the best chance, though she would still need to make a DC 21 Use Magic Device check to activate the scroll. Of course, that assumes the eagle is next to the druid and can slow her descent in any meaningful way.


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Laiho Vanallo wrote:
Have them hit pockets of floating water caused by the graviton engine, breaking their momentum but hurting like hell (2d6 non lethal damage per bubbles).

Interesting - so they fall and hit the bubbles, likely go unconscious from the nonlethal damage, only to wake up later floating above a strange machine? That would grab my attention at the table.


How about....Unspecified Magic!

Seriously though, the whole thing is plot. You don't need mechanics for this. Just think of something that sounds thematically cool and just say it happens.


Give them Bouncy Body before the fall. And bounce. And fall again. And bounce again....

Give them Ablative Barrier, and Boots of the Cat. The boots let them minimize damage from the fall to 20, and the spell can be ruled to work on falling damage, dropping it to 15. Add False Life for 1d10+1/L(max 10) temp hp, and they might not even take any damage from the fall. The Boots at 1000 gp each they have to give back, or otherwise pay for from WBL, as 1st level can't afford them.

The spell Glide might last long enough by itself to do the job. GM rule malicious party has communal version cast on party.

/cevah


Swing by Sharn first and buy some feather fall talismans.


As their fall begins one hits a sharp piece of metal sticking out of whatever they were standing on. It nabs his intestines, which proceed to unravel out above him and are just long enough for him to be pulled gently to a stop at the bottom, along with the others who of course have grabbed him on the way.

P.S. To preserve verisimilitude I am not going to look up how long the human intestine actually is.


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SlimGauge wrote:

If this is a plot device, how about a "Reverse Gravity" just above the bottom of the cavern ? If you come in at terminal velocity, the volume of the spell is sufficient to slow you such that when you reach the bottom of the volume of the spell, you fall out that bottom with only the velocity of whatever height the bottom of the spell's volume is above the floor of the cavern.

EDIT: if Wikipedia is to be believed, you need about 450 meters to reach terminal velocity. Thus you'd need about the same length of reversed gravity to come to a hover. Meters to feet gives us 1476, divide by 10 to get cubes gives 148 so you'd have to have several castings piled on top of each other.

"Terminal Velocity" is not the speed you need to be falling to result in death. It is the point where air resistance cancels out the acceleration due to gravity. In the real world, a falling object accelerates towards the ground; speed increases steadily. In a vacuum, there is no terminal velocity; you'd keep accelerating until you hit a sufficiently solid surface. But in air, friction eventually halts your acceleration and you'll fall at a constant velocity. And air friction is determined by relative shape. If a person splayed themselves out horizontally, they'd fall slower than a person in "diving" pose.

Assuming you started from rest, you'd fall about 675 feet in the first 6 second round, ignoring air resistance. In round 2, you'd fall 1834 feet further (2509 total). Round 3, 2992 feet further (5501 total). But, in Pathfinder, you fall at a flat 500 feet/round. So Terminal Velocity, the proper meaning of the term, doesn't really apply. In an Reverse Gravity effect, when "falling up", if you reach the top of the effect, you simply oscillate slightly. You don't "shoot past" nor calculate how long it takes for your position to stabilize; you simply reach the top and stop "falling" and bob there until the effect ends. The same would be true of coming from the other direction; a person falling into a Reverse Gravity effect, regardless of how far they fell, will simply come to near rest. Normally, it's the sudden deceleration of striking a surface that causes the damage in a fall. "Falling up" in a Reverse Gravity field and coming to a near stop at the top should, realistically, result in fall damage; but it doesn't. So falling into the effect, likewise, wouldn't result in fall damage until the effect ends and plops you onto your behind, in which case you only calculate the fall damage based on where you were at the top of the effect. If you fall through 20 feet, then that's how much damage you take regardless of the fact that you fell 13,980 feet before hitting the gravity cushion.


Fuzzy-Wuzzy wrote:

As their fall begins one hits a sharp piece of metal sticking out of whatever they were standing on. It nabs his intestines, which proceed to unravel out above him and are just long enough for him to be pulled gently to a stop at the bottom, along with the others who of course have grabbed him on the way.

P.S. To preserve verisimilitude I am not going to look up how long the human intestine actually is.

You mean like this? [From Machete]

Full Scene:
Warning, violent imagery

/cevah


Just get a giant bedsheet for each party member. Have them hold it spread out as to reduce terminal velocity. Once they reach the last bit, then should start trying to spin and land feet-first. If possible, aim for water.

Or you could find one of these hateful, bloodthirsty, and poorly-conceived lot of vile fiends.


Anonymous Warrior wrote:
Randarak wrote:
Hungry roc (or other huge-colossal aerial creature). Okay, you're no longer falling. Now you have to survive digestion to cut your way free. Its gotta land sometime...
Hungry Roc? Huh. Guess the question is: do the eagles really solve all of our problems?

Yes. Eagles solve all your problems, and should have been used to solve all your problems from the beginning.

What? Woudld the eagles covet the one ring? You couldn't trust the eagles, but you trust the young members of royal bloodlines who might have all sorts of ambitious for WAY WAY LONGER periods of time? Well guess what- Boromir would not be dead if you got those feathery butts into gear, GANDOLF.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Kazaan wrote:
Assuming you started from rest, you'd fall about 675 feet in the first 6 second round, ignoring air resistance. In round 2, you'd fall 1834 feet further (2509 total). Round 3, 2992 feet further (5501 total). But, in Pathfinder, you fall at a flat 500 feet/round. So Terminal Velocity, the proper meaning of the term, doesn't really apply. In an Reverse Gravity effect, when "falling up", if you reach the top of the effect, you simply oscillate slightly. You don't "shoot past" nor calculate how long it takes for your position to stabilize; you simply reach the top and stop "falling" and bob there until the effect...

But if enter the reverse gravity volume at a sufficient rate, you'll fall right through it. It would slow you as you pass through, but if it wasn't "thick" enough, you'd exit the other side and continue falling, albeit at a reduced rate.


SlimGauge wrote:
Kazaan wrote:
Assuming you started from rest, you'd fall about 675 feet in the first 6 second round, ignoring air resistance. In round 2, you'd fall 1834 feet further (2509 total). Round 3, 2992 feet further (5501 total). But, in Pathfinder, you fall at a flat 500 feet/round. So Terminal Velocity, the proper meaning of the term, doesn't really apply. In an Reverse Gravity effect, when "falling up", if you reach the top of the effect, you simply oscillate slightly. You don't "shoot past" nor calculate how long it takes for your position to stabilize; you simply reach the top and stop "falling" and bob there until the effect...
But if enter the reverse gravity volume at a sufficient rate, you'll fall right through it. It would slow you as you pass through, but if it wasn't "thick" enough, you'd exit the other side and continue falling, albeit at a reduced rate.

No, Reverse Gravity specifies what happens when you reach the boundary between the reversed gravity effect and the normal gravity outside that effect.

PRD wrote:

Reverse Gravity

This spell reverses gravity in an area, causing unattached objects and creatures in the area to fall upward and reach the top of the area in 1 round. If a solid object (such as a ceiling) is encountered in this fall, falling objects and creatures strike it in the same manner as they would during a normal downward fall. If an object or creature reaches the top of the area without striking anything, it remains there, oscillating slightly, until the spell ends. At the end of the spell duration, affected objects and creatures fall downward.

Provided it has something to hold onto, a creature caught in the area can attempt a Reflex save to secure itself when the spell strikes. Creatures who can fly or levitate can keep themselves from falling.

If an object or creature reaches the top of the area without striking anything, it remains there, oscillating slightly, until the spell ends. You don't shoot "up" out of the RG any more than you shoot "down" into it. Once you reach the boundary, your velocity is brought down to almost nothing right away and you just bob up and down at the boundary. It doesn't matter from which direction you approach that boundary; up or down, the result is the same... you cease falling immediately.


We're talking to the GM here.

Put a permanent Solid Fog effect in the airspace above the cave, deep enough so as to drag their fall speed low enough that their fall distance basically restarts at the very top of the cave.


Kazaan wrote:
gravity stoof

But if you stop suddenly enough, don't you still pretty much take all the falling damage? There's a lot of trauma involved in a sudden stop, rock floor or no rock floor.


My Self wrote:
Kazaan wrote:
gravity stoof
But if you stop suddenly enough, don't you still pretty much take all the falling damage? There's a lot of trauma involved in a sudden stop, rock floor or no rock floor.

agreed


They tear through a giant spider colony's huge framework of webs. This foreshadows a later encounter they will have with a couple wandering giant spiders looking for a new home.

If any of your players point out how strong webs are, start docking them HP until they shut up.


The floor is a portal. Anybody who strikes it goes through and is instantly teleported back out.

They repeat like this until they run out of momentum or manage to get off the floor.

Also, you should totally take this opportunity to do a midfall battle. You won't get many opportunities for such an encounter.


Randarak wrote:

Hungry roc (or other huge to colossal aerial creature). Okay, you're no longer falling, now you have to survive digestion to cut your way free. Its gotta land sometime.

...or grabbed by aerial predators and carried back to the nest/lair to feed their young. Well, at least you're no longer falling...

That would be a pretty sweet random encounter!


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Kazaan wrote:
No, Reverse Gravity specifies what happens when you reach the boundary between the reversed gravity effect and the normal gravity outside that effect.

So you're saying that since you're falling in from the top, and Reverse Gravity doesn't have a clause indicating that it's talking about the case of rising through through the affected volume via the effect of the spell, your entry velocity is irrelevant. Gotcha. I disagree, but won't argue further.


My Self wrote:
Kazaan wrote:
gravity stoof
But if you stop suddenly enough, don't you still pretty much take all the falling damage? There's a lot of trauma involved in a sudden stop, rock floor or no rock floor.

Normally, you would. Just as falling from a great height into water can still be potentially lethal, even if you suddenly stop on an "area" of reversed gravity, you "should" take damage; as the adage goes, it isn't the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the end. But Pathfinder requires you to actually strike a surface in order to take fall damage; alternatively, in some cases (like Soviet Russia), the surface strikes you. Since there is no actual striking of a solid or fluid surface here, you do not suffer fall damage any more than you would if you suddenly cast Feather Fall and instantly reduced your falling speed from 83.3 feet/sec to 10 feet/sec (suddenly going from 57 mph to 7 mph).

The Exchange

The webs of giant spiders - and plenty of 'em! (The webs, that is, not the spiders.)


Lincoln Hills wrote:
The webs of giant spiders - and plenty of 'em! (The webs, that is, not the spiders.)

Where there's smoke, there's fire...

Spoiler:
...from all the giant spiders because KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!


Water


Been watching this thread. Didn't have any good ideas, myself, though. But I will comment on a couple things.

Out of all the ideas, I probably like the web idea the best.

I second the mid-fall encounter idea. Something to the effect of a traveling companion who was bad? Someone who pretended to be a scout, but actually was leading you somewhere to kill you for personal revenge? They start falling with you, realize that everyone's going to die anyway, but then decides they still want the pleasure of killing you.

About the rules-lawyering: I think the OP was looking for cool factor; thus the "...surviving the fall that are more fun than just somehow getting Feather Fall on everyone?"

While there could be many ways for the rules to support a cool idea for a landing, I think cool-factor transcends any mechanics in this instance. If you have a Reverse Gravity spell going, for whatever reason, I believe that a RAW ruling on how it actually works should be thoroughly ignored, if it takes away any realism or enjoyment from the dramatic event in question.


Thanks for the input everyone! I decided to mess with gravity, and add a white hole (opposite of black hole) type object into the story. SlimGauge should get some credit for saying it first, but
Laiho Vanallo really captured my imagination.


Wait, but a white hole isn't just a negative gravity black hole... Black holes are black because they suck in energy such as light.

A theoretical white hole would spew out energy and/or matter. Lots of it.

Your players are going to get flash-fried.


I once stopped a fall by getting myself shot so much that it countered by downward momentum. DR FTW


At higher levels you just tank the 20d6

the fact that there is a cap to the damage is even appropriate because of terminal velocity


- Be dead before falling. Then you won't die.

- Cheat.

- Don't stop falling.


Chuck Roast wrote:
My level 1 party is about to be maliciously dropped about 14,000ft (should take about 68 seconds or 11 rounds) into a cavern that they will have to hike through to escape. Any ideas for plausibly surviving the fall that are more fun than just somehow getting Feather Fall on everyone?

Either the GM will have something in mind, or he wants to make you all roll up new characters, so I wouldn't worry about it.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Are you committed to the PCs actually falling?

One idea would be for the fall to be imaginary, with the illusion of them falling created by the villain who is abducting them to distract them from trying to escape.


I'm sort of disappointed nobody suggested "unfold the portable hole, everybody climb in the portable hole, wait for the portable hole to float gently to the ground, climb out of the portable hole."

If it's an especially long fall, a bottle of air could be handy.


If they're being placed miraculously above the hole, there's no reason whatever entity put them there didn't provide a multi-directional gravity rollercoaster to amuse them while they fall..


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Is no one else at all curious whether the party includes a paladin or not?

Cause if it does, I imagine the paladin would know how best to fall...


Ryzoken wrote:

Is no one else at all curious whether the party includes a paladin or not?

Cause if it does, I imagine the paladin would know how best to fall...

What we really need to know is how much damage would you take while grappling a succubus. I imagine no one around here would find interest in that kind of a thread though.....


Giant Spider web? One big spider, and a bunch of swarming young?

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