Expert Climber Aiding Trained Climbers


Skills, Feats, Equipment & Spells


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Due to real-life delays, my group is starting In Pale Mountain's Shadow today 6pm EDT (two and a half hours from now). While waiting with my wife at her doctor appointment, we talked about her character, a Mountain Nomad barbarian with expert Athletics and Raging Athlete and an Expert-quality Climbing Kit. She can walk up cliffs using just two legs and a hand, i.e., an actual climb speed and One-handed Climber feat. And she wants to aid the other party members in their climbs. What options does her character have?

She could use the Aid reaction on page 307 to give them a +2 circumstancce bonus that would stack with the +1 item bonus from lending the person her expert climbing kit. That is bland. She wants more roleplaying.

The other characters will be trained in Athletics, too, so they will be able to manage the DC 19 climb checks. The only problem is the occasional Critical Failure that will result in a fall. The climbing kit allows a DC 5 flat check to prevent the fall. The Critical Failure allows a Grab Edge reaction to prevent falling further than the next handhold--I guess 5 feet down. The barbarian wants to use her own reaction to try to stop their fail. This will prevent her from using Aid, but it makes more sense for the character. She is a barbarian and believes in the hard path so long as your teammates have your back.

Should this be possible? Would using the Grab Edge reaction as a Grab Person reaction be feasible? Should expert proficiency open up obvious new uses of old skill actions?

The goal between my wife and I is to stress test Pathfinder 2nd Edition. This is one of the tests. If Aid is the only aid an expert mountaineer with an expert climbing kit can give to a fellow climber, then the Pathfinder skill systems fails. Back in AD&D our characters used to send the best climber up the cliff to lower down a knotted rope, and the system gave the climb DC for a knotted rope, too. I have not found the DC for climbing a rope. I fear I must use the nightmare Table 10-2, because <sarcasm>higher-level ropes are harder to climb</sarcasm>. Nor have I found the DC or Strength requirement for simply hauling a non-athletic character up the cliff by the combined strength of the other three party members.

My wife compares her barbarian to Bear Grylls on Man vs. Wild where he helps a celebrity guest climb cliffs.


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Hm, this fits in with my previous sentiment to generalize Grab Edge to simply "Grab" Reaction. (->environment, object, people)
(the "pass the magic dagger" made me think Grab Reaction could be balanced way to handle that sort of thing)

Other than that, you could also just use standard mountain climbing procedure of people being tied together with ropes, so if they do fall, they don't drop off the cliff. Also, the Barbarian should be able to carry other characters, on their back or slung on a rope. All these do tend to imply some inflexibility in-case you go to combat encounter mid-cliff, but not necessarily worse than a character with decent chance to just flub the Climb check, before or during combat.


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Okay, the Pathfinder Playtest climb rules failed the stress test. When given a vote, the players chose houserules, because the playtest rules were too annoying.

Also, one of the players had done rock climbing. He said that the no-one on a team would do free solo climbing without protective ropes and harnesses. The climbing kit changes that to what is called "free climbing", where the rope protects from falling but does not aid in climbing. Only the expert-quality climbing kit helps in the climbing. Real climbers use belaying to protect the other climbers from falling.

I let the players chose their route to their goal. The barbarian Haku Na Matata and the wizard Aust decided to leave the road on more treacherous ground, because only mountain goats and flying creatures could reach them among the cliffs. I started them with 15-foot cliffs with climb DC 15. Haku used her climb speed to race to the top and the others followed one at a time. If they critically failed the Athletics check, Haku took a Grab reaction to prevent their fall. Then they had to wait until after Haku's turn again, so that Haku's reaction reset. If the climber regular failed his or her Athletics check within the last 5 feet, impatient Haku raged, reached down, and pulled the slow climber up.

Three or more climb checks for a relatively short cliff seemed excessive. Therefore, when after a few encounters and searching for a safe campsite for the night, Haku pointed to a spot atop a 40-foot cliff, DC 19, the players rebelled. "Eight climb checks! This will take forever."

Therefore, Haku climbed to the top, set down her excess carried items, used the pulleys (with a successful Craft check) from her expert climbing kit (it said pulleys in the rulebook) to set up a hoist and hauled everyone to the top. I made everyone roll a single Athletics check or Acrobatics check to avoid mishaps. The ranger had great Acrobatics. The wizard was lucky on his Athletics check. The gnome alchemist failed, her eye caught by a pretty rock that she grabbed, so Haku had to control the swing and the alchemist tried again.

The players greatly preferred my improvised rules. In discussion afterwards, my wife, who played Haku, wondered why she didn't have a skill check of her own for the haul upward. I had wanted to avoid double jeopardy with two rolls, so only the character at risk had a roll. Of course, the written rules had eight-fold jeopardy with its eight rolls for 40 feet. In retrospect, I should have let Haku use her Mountain Lore to set up the climbing hoist.

By the way, what is the bulk of a human? Could Haku have pulled them up without raging?


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Mathmuse wrote:
By the way, what is the bulk of a human? Could Haku have pulled them up without raging?

This came up a few weeks ago in another thread.

Best anyone can figure out: 15+ bulk (1 bulk per 10 pounds)

So no. But it also means that no one can carry anyone else ever. HAHAHA Fireman's Carry. HAHAHA.

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