Is it intentional that the Bottomless Pit hazard (level 9) suggests a method of escape that actually kills the player? (paizo input appreciated)


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I'm writing this based on a reddit thread I saw where this issue is discussed and I'm hoping that perhaps we can get a paizo response on this matter.

The issue regards the Bottomless Pit hazard, which is a level 9 hazard. The effect of this hazard is described as follows (emphasis mine):

Quote:

The triggering creature falls in and continues to fall, potentially forever. That creature can try to Grab an Edge to avoid falling (page 472). The DC to Climb the walls or Grab an Edge is 26.

The pit contains many handholds, so the falling creature can try to Grab an Edge again every 6 seconds. If the creature succeeds, it can start to Climb out from that point (though it might be a very long climb, depending on how far the creature fell). Since the creature falls endlessly, it can rest and even prepare spells while falling, though items dropped while falling are usually lost forever.

Reading this hazard seems pretty straightforward. If you fall into the bottomless pit, you have a chance every 6 seconds to grab one of its many handholds to stop your fall and start your long climb back to the top.

However, the falling rules say

Quote:
When you fall more than 5 feet, you take bludgeoning damage equal to half the distance you fell when you land. Treat falls longer than 1,500 feet as though they were 1,500 feet (750 damage). If you take any damage from a fall, you land prone. You fall about 500 feet in the first round of falling and about 1,500 feet each round thereafter.

and the Grab An Edge rules say

Quote:

Critical Success [...] You still take damage from the distance fallen so far, but you treat the fall as though it were 30 feet shorter.

Success [...] You still take damage from the distance fallen so far, but you treat the fall as though it were 20 feet shorter. [...]
Critical Failure [...] you take 10 bludgeoning damage from the impact for every 20 feet fallen.

So in reality, how this Bottomless Pit hazard resolves is as follows:

A player fails the saving throw to avoid falling into the Bottomless Pit and starts falling into the infinite pit. 6 seconds (1 round) later, they can attempt to Grab An Edge. In that time they will have fallen 500 feet. Depending on the outcome of their roll, they will take at most 250 and at least 235 points of damage. This is sufficient to kill most characters outright. Additionally, if they fail or neglect to Grab An Edge the first time, they get another attempt 6 seconds (another round) later. At this point they'll have fallen 2000 feet. Grabbing an Edge will now deal between 750 and 735 points of damage. This will almost certainly kill every character.

Is this the intention of the design of this hazard?

bottomless pit: https://2e.aonprd.com/Hazards.aspx?ID=11
grab an edge: https://2e.aonprd.com/Actions.aspx?ID=95
falling rules: https://2e.aonprd.com/Rules.aspx?ID=402
Reddit thread in question


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The design of the trap is clear: if you fail to notice it, and as a result of that trigger it, you get your one chance to grab the edge as you fall in (taking no damage) and get the chance to then climb out.

And if you fail to grab an edge upon triggering the pit and fall in, the way to get out alive is not likely to be grabbing an edge and climbing out (though it is a potential option for some characters... and is relatively likely to work out for those that have Cat Fall and sufficiently high acrobatics proficiency), but by utilizing the fact that you can rest and prepare spells while falling to arrest your fall less dangerously.

And if you can't survive grabbing an edge and don't have the kind of magic necessary to get yourself out, yes, you really are meant to be killed by falling into a bottomless pit.


thenobledrake wrote:

The design of the trap is clear: if you fail to notice it, and as a result of that trigger it, you get your one chance to grab the edge as you fall in (taking no damage) and get the chance to then climb out.

And if you fail to grab an edge upon triggering the pit and fall in, the way to get out alive is not likely to be grabbing an edge and climbing out (though it is a potential option for some characters... and is relatively likely to work out for those that have Cat Fall and sufficiently high acrobatics proficiency), but by utilizing the fact that you can rest and prepare spells while falling to arrest your fall less dangerously.

And if you can't survive grabbing an edge and don't have the kind of magic necessary to get yourself out, yes, you really are meant to be killed by falling into a bottomless pit.

You fall 500ft in a span of 6 seconds, when you could try to grab an edge again. That's a lot of damage!

I don't think there are some characters that could survive it. Even with Catfall, at least I don't think so, since you're not exactly making your superhero landing like normally using the skill feat. But I would definitely rule it in favor of the player.


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Yes, it's a lot of damage... but that damage only happens in the event that 1) no one in the party is detecting magic, 2) no one notices the trap (which hopefully at least one person was looking out for), and 3) you fail the initial grab an edge attempt.

All 3 of those things happening is, in my experience at least, very slim odds.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Its 100% obvious that this was an overlooked rules interaction. No designer is going to put in a way to survive their trap, but then make the survival method completely fatal.

Just either don't use the hazard or omit the damage from the grab an edge reaction - the trap is punishing enough by requiring you to climb hundreds of feet to get out.


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Cellion wrote:

Its 100% obvious that this was an overlooked rules interaction. No designer is going to put in a way to survive their trap, but then make the survival method completely fatal.

Just either don't use the hazard or omit the damage from the grab an edge reaction - the trap is punishing enough by requiring you to climb hundreds of feet to get out.

It isn't obvious, probably isn't an overlooked rules reaction, and even when not using it as a hazard in dungeons menat for higher-level characters isn't "completely fatal."

There are numerous things available within the game that interact with falling damage which mitigate the lethal-on-first-look damage this hazard can inflict - one of them actually makes a character functionally immune to damage from bottomless pits: take a look at the Monk level 2 feat Dancing Leaf.

There's also feather fall, unbreakable goblins, the cat fall skill feat, and likely magic items that could interact with falling - which can combine in various ways to make what appears un-survivable at first a much more manageable thing.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Seems pretty deadly for 9th level. DC 30 perception is very very doable at that level though if people are on the lookout, and if someone's detecting magic while you won't find it instantly you'll at least have everyone keeping an eye out.

You then have a climb check which is going to be fair for anyone trained but unachievable for anyone untrained. After that... the majority of characters are essentially dead.

Even if you grab the edge without taking damage after 1 round of falling, climbing out is gonna be a nightmare. If we assume 1 is a crit-fail and 2-19 is a crit success (Likely to be worse for you at DC 26, but let's be generous), you'll on average from 20 rolls climb 190 ft and fall 500 ft. And given if you grab it after a 500 ft fall you've got about 50 crit successes to get before you're out there's going to be enough rolls that the averages are going to win out and you're going to start descending deeper into the pit.

Even the overnight sleep is kinda unachievable as you fall more than 1000 miles down during 8 hours of sleep so the level-appropriate (Actually 2 levels higher) teleport spell without heightening only gets you like 1 mile. The best caster solution I can see is feather fall, fly and wall of stone, inching back up over a couple of months of putting new floors in the pit to sleep the night and start over. So a caster can really only get out if they have the right spell prepared or take a few months to do it (And in most cmapaigns if you take multiple months to rejoin the party... while you're not dead you are retired as a character). Of course if you assume this is how people approach these pits, you might not fall far before you hit the first wall of stone...


Two things I just learned by reading page 520:

1) if a hazard doesn't heave a proficiency rank listed next to it's Stealth, every character gets to make a check to notice it - it's only the ones that have a proficiency rank listed that only someone using the Search exploration activity gets to roll for.

So it's extremely unlikely that a party doesn't notice a bottomless pit (4 chances with roughly a +17 modifier against a DC 30 means 87.04% chance the party notices the hazard).

2) Magical hazards that don't have a proficiency rank listed, such as the bottomless pit, can actually bring Identify Magic into the mix so even if the party failed the above silly-good chance of finding it, you've got an easy back-up "wait, something's magic, lemme figure it out" back-up check that easily has the same odds as the earlier 4 (and if it does, now the chance of noticing the hazard is up to 92.22% overall)

And then you just jump over it and move on (probably mark it for later reference just for safety).

It is deadly, for sure, but it seems to me like all hazards have had their threat level bumped up significantly (like level 1 hazards doing 3d8 damage which could invoke the massive damage rules for some 1st level characters and render most dying) so it doesn't really feel out of place given the system.

Edit to add a thought: Did any of y'all realize that the Climb action has the sentence "Unless it's particularly easy, you must attempt an Athletics check." in it?


So this made me wonder if you teleport out of a bottomless pot do you still maintain your momentum.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Nope.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wait, Paizo printed a trap that comes with real-life dangers to the players? ;-)


Thanks for your responses so far. I'd normally agree with thenobledrake that perhaps this trap is simply designed to be so deadly, however I agree Cellion that if the trap was designed to be deadly, the author would not specifically have mentioned Grab An Edge as if it would help you get out. The fact that they did leads me to believe the author did not understand how their trap would interact with Grab An Edge and falling damage. And because of that it would be great to get a response from Paizo regarding whether or not this trap is supposed to be as deadly as it is.

Personally, I'm inclined to houserule that the interior space of the trap is covered by a permanent Featherfall effect. This both prevents the massive damage from Grab An Edge and prevents players falling impractical/unreasonable distances very quickly. It does make the trap significantly less deadly, of course.


What's the alternative though?

If Paizo hadn't specifically mentioned Grab an Edge (which I've already demonstrated various ways in which does work to help a character get out of the pit), wouldn't that just mean that once you fell into the bottomless pit that's it, character's gone?

How is this hazard being lethal (except if you've got the right character options to counteract it) different from a Slamming Door being able to deal enough damage to outright kill a same-level character or the Vorpal Executioner hazard that can decapitate a character, or the like?


thenobledrake wrote:

What's the alternative though?

If Paizo hadn't specifically mentioned Grab an Edge (which I've already demonstrated various ways in which does work to help a character get out of the pit), wouldn't that just mean that once you fell into the bottomless pit that's it, character's gone?

How is this hazard being lethal (except if you've got the right character options to counteract it) different from a Slamming Door being able to deal enough damage to outright kill a same-level character or the Vorpal Executioner hazard that can decapitate a character, or the like?

It's not that it's lethal, it's that the suggested means of keeping it from being lethal are also lethal and that isn't mentioned, which suggests the person writing up the trap didn't consider it. I mean they put in the obvious note that it might be a long climb back up, which also seems unnecessary. Would have been easy to use that space to point out that Grabbing an Edge would also likely kill you.

It's also worth noting that unless you can't critically fail your Athletics check to climb, you essentially can't climb out. You'll need to roll hundreds of times and you will roll a one. (Special abilities that let you climb faster or without checks obviously work.)


thejeff wrote:
It's not that it's lethal, it's that the suggested means of keeping it from being lethal are also lethal and that isn't mentioned, which suggests the person writing up the trap didn't consider it.

So... how many of the various currently existing methods of making Grab an Edge while falling in a bottomless pit should they have taken time to specifically call out? One sentence to add some flavor about a long climb is a lot less of a waste of space than effectively saying "and remember; damage can kill a character."

thejeff wrote:
It's also worth noting that unless you can't critically fail your Athletics check to climb, you essentially can't climb out.

Reading the Climb action I see the text "Unless it's particularly easy, you must attempt an Athletics check."

Reading the description of the bottomless pit hazard I see the text "The pit contains many handholds..."

I as a GM of a player who has somehow managed to fail all of the checks before the one that resulted in them grabbing an edge inside a bottomless pit, utilize that text to declare the climb out particularly easy and don't require a check for it as a result.

Edit to add: I acknowledge I am ignoring the explict mention that Climb is DC 26 - I do that because that is where the writing of the hazard breaks down because that doesn't mesh with the example climb DCs present in the skill, nor result in fun and engaging game-play because "roll 50 checks and if any of them are nat 1s you lose" is never a good thing, and seems entirely like the writer failed to consider that not ever action needs to be rolled against a level-based DC.


thenobledrake wrote:
thejeff wrote:
It's not that it's lethal, it's that the suggested means of keeping it from being lethal are also lethal and that isn't mentioned, which suggests the person writing up the trap didn't consider it.

So... how many of the various currently existing methods of making Grab an Edge while falling in a bottomless pit should they have taken time to specifically call out? One sentence to add some flavor about a long climb is a lot less of a waste of space than effectively saying "and remember; damage can kill a character."

thejeff wrote:
It's also worth noting that unless you can't critically fail your Athletics check to climb, you essentially can't climb out.

Reading the Climb action I see the text "Unless it's particularly easy, you must attempt an Athletics check."

Reading the description of the bottomless pit hazard I see the text "The pit contains many handholds..."

I as a GM of a player who has somehow managed to fail all of the checks before the one that resulted in them grabbing an edge inside a bottomless pit, utilize that text to declare the climb out particularly easy and don't require a check for it as a result.

Edit to add: I acknowledge I am ignoring the explict mention that Climb is DC 26 - I do that because that is where the writing of the hazard breaks down because that doesn't mesh with the example climb DCs present in the skill, nor result in fun and engaging game-play because "roll 50 checks and if any of them are nat 1s you lose" is never a good thing, and seems entirely like the writer failed to consider that not ever action needs to be rolled against a level-based DC.

I like where you decide that the writer just didn't consider one thing that makes the trap more lethal it is on the surface, despite mentioning the DC specifically, but reject the possibility that they ignored the other unmentioned possibility.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I think the real issue is that this is a level 9 trap that could auto-kill a level 20 character. No other low- to mid-level trap operates that way, nor should they.

That's clearly not the intent.

Even if a level 20 character would auto-spot the trap and take steps to easily avoid it, a level appropriate enemy could still push them in, essentially making the encounter far more dangerous than the combined challenge budget numbers might otherwise indicate.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:

I think the real issue is that this is a level 9 trap that could auto-kill a level 20 character. No other low- to mid-level trap operates that way, nor should they.

That's clearly not the intent.

Even if a level 20 character would auto-spot the trap and take steps to easily avoid it, a level appropriate enemy could still push them in, essentially making the encounter far more dangerous than the combined challenge budget numbers might otherwise indicate.

What a great idea.

Also, the idea of obscuring the trap. Illusion magic, or maybe just a nice tarp should do it.


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Well, the level 20 character would also likely automake the initial grab the edge check and thus not start falling.


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Yeah you get the reaction when you start falling too, so you'd need a Nat 1 to mess it up. Even if someone shoved you in it you can use the reaction. (Also, a level 10 athletics master with Assurance could get out of the pit eventually, since they don't have to roll for it. But the fall damage would kill them if they don't have feather fall or something too.)

I also don't think the fact that it is deadly as written means it isn't intended to be that deadly. Encounter building rules can't account for a bottomless pit being unusually deadly if foes are around to shove you in it anymore than if they were there to shove you off a thousand foot cliff or into a volcano. Sometimes two things together are more dangerous than the sum of their parts.


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If you get a normal failure on the first check, then a critical success on the second, you take 235 falling damage. On a level 9 hazard.

Compare to Bloodthirsty Urge. Failure on first check only does your strike crit damage. Either it needs to whittle away all your HP or you need a critical failure+a normal failure to die. On a hazard that is supposedly stronger than the bottomless pit.

Or compare to Vorpal Executioner: You take a lot of damage (but survivable) unless it critically hits and you normally fail a save. On a hazard much stronger than the pit. If it normally hit, the worst you are looking at is 109, far from the 235 on a comparable result from the pit.

Either bloodthirsty urge and vorpal executioner are too weak or bottomless pit is too strong, or the advice in bottomless pit to grab after falling shouldn't exist.


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thejeff wrote:
I like where you decide that the writer just didn't consider one thing that makes the trap more lethal it is on the surface, despite mentioning the DC specifically, but reject the possibility that they ignored the other unmentioned possibility.

I fixed the one thing that stops the hazard from functioning.

Seriously, think about this: The character with the best chances of surviving (the outlandishly unlikely to happen event of) falling in is a monk with the dancing leaf feat.

If that monk is a master of athletics and has the highest strength score they can by the level this hazard is listed at, they'd be rolling at +19. That's a 5% chance of critical failure (falling at least 500 feat), 20% chance of critical success, and 50% chance of success. Because of their incredible movement they have a speed of around 40. Let's even assume that they took the Quick Climb feat because they really like climbing (so they climb 15 feet on a success, and 25 feet on a critical success).

So it would take at least 10 checks to get out of the pit... but there's a 40.13% chance that within those 10 checks a natural 1 is rolled and another 500 feet is added to the distance needed to be climbed.

If we treat this kind of like an average damage calculation and multiple the odds of each change of distance to top happening by the amount of change in distance to top, then sum those products, we would have the average change in distance to top and be able to calculate how many checks on average it will take this monk to get out of the whole:

(.5 * 15) + (.2 * 25) - (.05 * 500) = -12.5. On average, even a master of climbing never gets out of the whole if you ask for DC 26 Climb checks.

...but what happens if you drop the DC to the DC in the "Sample Climb Tasks" sidebar for "wall with small handholds and footholds" since that matches the description of the bottomless pit? That's listed as an Expert task, so the DC would be 20. That's still going to result in the "this is not fun or engaging game-play" issue because it requires multiple repeated checks just to achieve one simple goal - but at least at that DC our above climbing master hypothetical character would escape the pit (though I doubt any GM would actually have them roll out all the checks needed since a +19 vs. DC 20 means no chance of critical failure so it'd literally just be figuring out how many Climb Actions were needed from 10-34 or whatever)


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Paradozen wrote:

If you get a normal failure on the first check, then a critical success on the second, you take 235 falling damage. On a level 9 hazard.

Compare to Bloodthirsty Urge. Failure on first check only does your strike crit damage. Either it needs to whittle away all your HP or you need a critical failure+a normal failure to die. On a hazard that is supposedly stronger than the bottomless pit.

Or compare to Vorpal Executioner: You take a lot of damage (but survivable) unless it critically hits and you normally fail a save. On a hazard much stronger than the pit. If it normally hit, the worst you are looking at is 109, far from the 235 on a comparable result from the pit.

Either bloodthirsty urge and vorpal executioner are too weak or bottomless pit is too strong, or the advice in bottomless pit to grab after falling shouldn't exist.

Yes, but the bottomless pit much much much easier to spot. The hazard guidelines suggest how deadly a hazard is is inversely proportional to how easy it is to spot, disable, or bypass. This is a pretty extreme example of that, but it is sooooo easy to avoid with even basic precautions.


Paradozen wrote:

If you get a normal failure on the first check, then a critical success on the second, you take 235 falling damage. On a level 9 hazard.

Compare to Bloodthirsty Urge. Failure on first check only does your strike crit damage. Either it needs to whittle away all your HP or you need a critical failure+a normal failure to die. On a hazard that is supposedly stronger than the bottomless pit.

Or compare to Vorpal Executioner: You take a lot of damage (but survivable) unless it critically hits and you normally fail a save. On a hazard much stronger than the pit. If it normally hit, the worst you are looking at is 109, far from the 235 on a comparable result from the pit.

Either bloodthirsty urge and vorpal executioner are too weak or bottomless pit is too strong, or the advice in bottomless pit to grab after falling shouldn't exist.

When comparing hazard, you need to compare all the parts in order to get an accurate comparison. Your comparisons have left out detection chances.

The bottomless pit doesn't have a proficiency level in parenthesis next to it's stealth DC, and that means that everyone in the party automatically gets a perception check when they get near it even if they weren't taking the Search exploration activity - so if we assume all other factors are the same (which they do appear to be since the DC of the 1 level higher hazard is 1 higher as would be the 1 level higher perception modifiers of characters). Let's assume that means 1 roll at 40% chance to detect the Bloodthirsty Urge hazard.

Also, the Bottomless Pit can be noticed via detect magic, which there's a lot of benefits to a character in the party constantly doing as an exploration activity. That guarantees that the party will have a stop-and-check moment even if none of them pass the perception check to notice the hazard. For simplicity of demonstrative examples, let's assume every party member has the same odds as the above for each of the checks involved, and that we're dealing with the 4-person party the rules default to: that means 5 checks made for detection (4 perception just for coming near, +1 magic-related skill to figure out what pinged the detect magic) and a total chance of 92.22% to detect the Bottomless Pit hazard.

And yes, Vorpal Executioner falls into the same style as Bloodthirsty Urge does.

So when you tally up how many rolls have to go a particular way for each of these hazards to kill a character, the total is Bottomless Pit 6 (the five for detection, and the initial Grab an Edge) if we assume the character isn't built to recover from that failure - Bloodthirsty Urge can kill you in 3, and Vorpal Execution can do it in 3 too.

Plus both examples other than the bottomless pit actually require someone dedicating their exploration activity to Searching (not an unlikely thing by any means, but an opportunity cost thing)

Someone else can mock up appropriate level modifiers and check the actual odds of those other traps killing some character - I'm gonna go play some Pokemon like I've been meaning to do all day.


Honestly, I think after falling 1000 feet or more into the pit, you probably don't want to stop falling via grab the edge as it means you have to climb 1000 feet to escape, which is likely to be an almost impossible task to complete and will just generally eat up a lot of time. Your only real way out is to cast fly or levitate, or to grab the edge in the first or second try. So if you can't cast a spell that can get you out (in which case you won't be grabbing an edge) and don't succeed to grab the edge in the first couple of attempts, your character may as well be dead anyway.


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So the suggestion is that the trap will do nothing 99. 9% of the time and kill someone the other 0.1%? Doesnt seem like a good trap design to me.


BellyBeard wrote:
So the suggestion is that the trap will do nothing 99. 9% of the time and kill someone the other 0.1%? Doesnt seem like a good trap design to me.

That's a perfectly fine trap design.

But this one isn't honest about it.

A magical 1000' trap would be just as deadly and would be perfectly fine. Might even be marginally more deadly since you'd have less time to ready spells that might get you out or for your friends to come up with a way to extract you.

But this one is presented as if there are reasonable ways to survive it, but most of them just fail. Grab an Edge isn't an option for any but a handful of special builds. It lets you prepare spells, but after the hours that takes you've fallen so far most of the obvious suggestions won't work. But the write-up, at first glance, leaves you thinking it wouldn't be that hard to get out of. Then you reread Grab the Edge and do the math on the falling distance and check on some spells and realize you're just screwed.


BellyBeard wrote:
So the suggestion is that the trap will do nothing 99. 9% of the time and kill someone the other 0.1%? Doesnt seem like a good trap design to me.

While the numbers aren't quite what you've stated them as, yes - this hazard in particular is very much unlikely to actually result in the death of a character.

But the reason why this feels like it's not good trap design is because the basic desired outcome of encountering a hazard is to discover and bypass the hazard - not to actually fall prey to the hazard. It's a case where the intuitive conclusion (that trap designers in-setting are trying to kill people so detection so be as hard as possible, mitigation or avoidance require special knowledge, and the trap be as lethal as possible) results in the least fun game experience so game designers have made progressive steps over the years toward satisfying game experiences via approaching the situation game-feel-first.

Thus resulting in a bottomless pit that, despite whoever it was in-setting that put it there would like, is very easy to notice, and if someone doesn't notice it will probably still not actually kill them because they're more likely to Grab an Edge at first than to fall in.


thejeff wrote:
But this one is presented as if there are reasonable ways to survive it, but most of them just fail. Grab an Edge isn't an option for any but a handful of special builds. It lets you prepare spells, but after the hours that takes you've fallen so far most of the obvious suggestions won't work. But the write-up, at first glance, leaves you thinking it wouldn't be that hard to get out of. Then you reread Grab the Edge and do the math on the falling distance and check on some spells and realize you're just screwed.

The alternative isn't really special rules that make the hazard inherently more survivable though - it's there not being any ledges to grab so that less potential for survival exists.

There being edges to grab is providing a (likely not to apply often) way out - not killing characters that would otherwise survive the situation they are in.

Shadow Lodge

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The way I imagine a bottomless pit, it's more of an extradimensional pit that keeps teleporting people in it partway back up, so that it feels like you're falling forever. At least that way, climbing back up if you manage to Feather Fall to one side or something won't be boring or roll-a-1-and-it's-this-again.


The Shifty Mongoose wrote:
The way I imagine a bottomless pit, it's more of an extradimensional pit that keeps teleporting people in it partway back up, so that it feels like you're falling forever. At least that way, climbing back up if you manage to Feather Fall to one side or something won't be boring or roll-a-1-and-it's-this-again.

Not when it says that "dropped items are lost forever."


There is also the fact that if you do die to trap, your body is probably gonna be unrecoverable.

Seems like a very extreme trap all around, with the trap either doing almost nothing to you, or it being worst than quite a few of other traps that have a chance to one shot you.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

No body. No easy resurrection. No gear. Nothing. Big loss for the party all around.


It sounds like it should had been a higher level trap, because the only reasonable escape method at lv 9 I can come up with is casting Fly, Teleport, multiple polymorphs or Shadow Walk all within 2-3 rds of falling.

If you need to prepare spells ~9 hours, you would need either: 2 7th lv Fly spells, 1 7th lv Teleport, or a higher level a teleport such as Plane Shift.


PF2 made it fairly clear that they don't want people to die on a single roll except on critical fails.

Here the trap is very very punitive and doesn't seem to fit that philosophy.
First the stealth DC is non trivial like all traps. DC 30 at lvl 9 is hard. Yup detect magic works but not all party have wizards and even less have wizard that loop cast detect magic.

Yes the grab an edge is "standard DC" but it's indeed as many people showed a save or die most of the time.

My current character is a champion. He is not the best at reflex saves.
If he falls into the trap he will :

1. Lose either his sword or shield forever (by dropping them as free actions) because trying to grab an edge without a free hand is a bad idea.

2.Have a roughtly 50% chances to be lost forever in the void. If he doesn't grab an edge on the first try he will die because the second try will kill him.
If he does nothing there is 0 way for him to climb back and his allies can't outpace the trap. Falling is fast.
That's my problem. If at least there was a rule on the trap that said that disabling it causes to spit everything that is lost in the dimensional space the trap would feel fairer.
Or it could teleport people up repetedly so while the fall is infinite and fall damages accumulate, the distance to the top can't be more than a given limit, allowing other people to reach you.


Temperans wrote:

It sounds like it should had been a higher level trap, because the only reasonable escape method at lv 9 I can come up with is casting Fly, Teleport, multiple polymorphs or Shadow Walk all within 2-3 rds of falling.

If you need to prepare spells ~9 hours, you would need either: 2 7th lv Fly spells, 1 7th lv Teleport, or a higher level a teleport such as Plane Shift.

I don't think either of the 7th level spells work. In 8 hours you'd fall some 1300 miles!

An hour of Flight depends on your base speed, but it'll be well under 10 miles. You'd need a way to stop and sleep without falling again and it would take a long time.

You're outside the range of a 7th level Teleport, but an 8th might do it. Or 2 7th.

Sovereign Court

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I think this is a typical case of "writer overlooked an indirect but important mathematical detail". It happens. Don't attribute to ingenious malice what can be attributed to making an error in math.

Clearly, the writer wanted a story about someone falling for a long time and eventually crawling back up. So Grab a Ledge should be a solution for someone who can't fly or teleport. It shouldn't kill you.

What I would do: remove the acceleration. This thing is falling into an infinitely deep space, it's not a stretch of the imagination to say that other aspects of physics (gravity, acceleration) are also a bit out of the ordinary.

So I'd put the falling damage incurred by Grab a Ledge at a fixed, CR 9 appropriate number.


Well I calculated that you would fall 500 ft/rd so its 5,000 ft/minute, convert to hours becomes 300,000 ft/hour or 2,700,00 ft in 9 hours. Google says that's the same as 511.3636364 miles, which is within 7th lv teleport.

But yes I was wrong about Fly. You would need 60 castings of 7th level fly to escape.

Just for reference. An Overland Flight spell cast by a level 9 caster gives you ~72 miles, so they would need ~7 castings of that spell. A level 13 caster (access to 7th level spells) would need ~5 castings, just barely possible for the wizard.


Temperans wrote:

Well I calculated that you would fall 500 ft/rd so its 5,000 ft/minute, convert to hours becomes 300,000 ft/hour or 2,700,00 ft in 9 hours. Google says that's the same as 511.3636364 miles, which is within 7th lv teleport.

But yes I was wrong about Fly. You would need 60 castings of 7th level fly to escape.

Just for reference. An Overland Flight spell cast by a level 9 caster gives you ~72 miles, so they would need ~7 castings of that spell. A level 13 caster (access to 7th level spells) would need ~5 castings, just barely possible for the wizard.

Falling wrote:
You fall about 500 feet in the first round of falling and about 1,500 feet each round thereafter.


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Ascalaphus wrote:

I think this is a typical case of "writer overlooked an indirect but important mathematical detail". It happens. Don't attribute to ingenious malice what can be attributed to making an error in math.

Clearly, the writer wanted a story about someone falling for a long time and eventually crawling back up. So Grab a Ledge should be a solution for someone who can't fly or teleport. It shouldn't kill you.

What I would do: remove the acceleration. This thing is falling into an infinitely deep space, it's not a stretch of the imagination to say that other aspects of physics (gravity, acceleration) are also a bit out of the ordinary.

So I'd put the falling damage incurred by Grab a Ledge at a fixed, CR 9 appropriate number.

This is how I will do it if I use the trap. I will also have nooks on the walls with just enough room for a character to rest comfortably (probably spaced out quite a bit), so that if they do have that perfect spell but don't have it prepared they have the opportunity to use it (or if their ally above needs to prepare the spell they have somewhere to wait for that, since clinging by your fingertips for 9 hours without rest doesn't seem likely). Even with these concessions it becomes a huge hassle, as now the party has to figure out how to get them out safely, but at least falling in is not a guaranteed kill unless you have one of these three ways of dealing with it ready to go.


Temperans wrote:
It sounds like it should had been a higher level trap, because the only reasonable escape method...

That brings into question whether the intended path through a hazard, from the design point of view, is escape - meaning you're assumed to suffer the bad effects no matter how likely you are to avoid them, and then still be 'fine' afterwards - or avoidance - meaning your assumed to only suffer the bad effects as a "you failed this encounter" result.

That numerous hazards, not just this one, can result in character death if the bad effects are suffered heavily suggests avoidance is the intent.

Zergor wrote:

PF2 made it fairly clear that they don't want people to die on a single roll except on critical fails.

Here the trap is very very punitive and doesn't seem to fit that philosophy.

It fits that philosophy perfectly, actually. Other hazards require a character to be actively searching and have a minimum profiency rating in order to get to roll to notice the hazard - this one every character that comes near it is guaranteed a roll to notice it. So the absolute worst case scenario is that a character wandering around entirely alone and not detecting for magic or even focused on looking out for hazards gets 2 rolls between them and being probably dead.

But hazards aren't designed assuming a single character, because everything in the game is designed assuming a 4 member party, so it's actually designed assuming 5+ rolls are between a character and being probably dead.

And all of those 5 rolls are at odds that you are guaranteed a fair shake of because both Perception and Reflex saves are automatically given proficiency ranks in this game so you can't end up facing these checks untrained.

Zergor wrote:
First the stealth DC is non trivial like all traps. DC 30 at lvl 9 is hard.

Most characters can very easily only need to roll a 13+ to get it (example: a level 9 fighter with +2 Wisdom modifier), and when encountered by a 4 person party as assumed by the design of the game, the chance that 1 of them gets that 13+ and detects the hazard is roughly the same odds as if a single roll were made and only failed on a 1-3.

So while other hazards are non-trivial (unless the entire party is dedicated to searching for them), this one actually is pretty trivial to detect.

Zergor wrote:
Yup detect magic works but not all party have wizards and even less have wizard that loop cast detect magic.

It doesn't have to be a wizard. It doesn't even have to be a spell-casting class since PF2 enables any one that wants it to pick up detect magic via a skill feat. And when it comes to "loop cast detect magic" I'll just point out that doing so is not just highly beneficial to a party to have someone doing it, but is one of the actions explicitly suggested by the exploration mode rules.

Ascalaphus wrote:
Clearly, the writer wanted a story about someone falling for a long time and eventually crawling back up.

That isn't clear. Some people think mentioning Grab an Edge necessitates the author thinking "that's how everyone will eventually get out of the pit" but the truth is that the author could have decided to mention Grab an Edge specifically for the rare(ish) cases of feather fall, the Dancing Leaf feat, unbreakable goblin acrobatic masters with the Cat Fall feat, or whatever else might manage to survive because they thought the infinite fall without any chance to stop it even if you had character options that'd make it more likely or more survivable than normal wasn't as interesting.

Just like we shouldn't attribute ingenious malice to math errors, we shouldn't attribute kind-hearted assistance to a design decision.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I suppose creative players might use spells like web to arrest their fall.

Zergor wrote:

My current character is a champion. He is not the best at reflex saves.

If he falls into the trap he will :

1. Lose either his sword or shield forever (by dropping them as free actions) because trying to grab an edge without a free hand is a bad idea.

Or, like some players, will opt not to lose his gear and just soak up a little falling damage. Characters don't necessarily understand the nature of the pit until it's too late.


Ravingdork wrote:

I suppose creative players might use spells like web to arrest their fall.

Zergor wrote:

My current character is a champion. He is not the best at reflex saves.

If he falls into the trap he will :

1. Lose either his sword or shield forever (by dropping them as free actions) because trying to grab an edge without a free hand is a bad idea.

Or, like some players, will opt not to lose his gear and just soak up a little falling damage. Characters don't necessarily understand the nature of the pit until it's too late.

Of course, you also wouldn't know that dropping the sword isn't losing it forever, until you realized it's a bottomless pit. Just have the rogue climb down or lower someone with a rope to get it - whoops.

I'd also guess that most GMs wouldn't understand the mechanics of the pit until too late and wouldn't realize the consequences of actually falling in. At my table, I'd expect if someone fell, the GM would mention the handholds, they'd try to grab one and then we'd look up the Grab the Edge rules and figure out after the fact they'd just committed suicide.


Quote:
Since the creature falls endlessly, it can rest and even prepare spells while falling,

Best trap ever.


Assuming the GM doesn't understand the mechanics, which I agree is a potentially common scenario despite that it is entirely up to the GM to know the rules of what they are using (not on the developers to make sure that no GM choosing to go in blind doesn't have any rough moments as a result), the most likely outcome is still that no one falls into the trap - unless we assume that the GM not only doesn't know the specifics of this particular hazard, but also doesn't know the general rule of how a hazard is detected, because that GM might not have the whole party make their Perception checks like they are supposed to.

And if we get to the scenario of a character having fallen in and the GM mentions the hand-holds, they grab one and end up dead, I'd hope (though with the number of people expressing the event with phrases like "just committed suicide" that hope is fading a bit) that the player would realize that their choices in that moment were A) don't try to grab the edge and be dead as a result, and B) try to grab the edge and be dead as a result unless you aren't because of how your character interacts with falling damage.

The real not at all cool for a designer to have done "GM trap" part of the design of the bottomless pit is saying climbing out is DC 26 instead of automatic because the critical fail condition of the climb rules makes it so that the more climb checks you need to get to your destination the more likely it is that you fall - though I have just had the thought, and I'm going to go look it up for my own knowledge, that maybe falling as a result of a climb check is supposed to allow for another Grab an Edge.


Hmm, thinking about it, wouldn't such a pit in theory make for 1) the best garbage disposal and 2) a great entrance to a demiplane?

Think about you set it up so that when you fall in a very specific way and bumb (not grab) into one "wall" you are taken instead to a water slide to slow down your speed. Afterward you can exit by jumping in another hole which shift back to near the top of the pit, where you can climb out.


Temperans wrote:
...the best garbage disposal...

Definitely one of them, yes. I'd favor a bag of devouring though, just for style.

Temperans wrote:

...a great entrance to a demiplane?

Think about you set it up so that when you fall in a very specific way and bumb (not grab) into one "wall" you are taken instead to a water slide to slow down your speed. Afterward you can exit by jumping in another hole which shift back to near the top of the pit, where you can climb out.

Assuming that you could set up a sensor within the bottomless pit you could make it command-word activated - just say the right word after the right amount of time falling, and suddenly the bottomless pit ends (with a nice air-cushion so you don't have to worry about falling damage).

And in other news: I have confirmed my suspicions that Grab an Edge can be used to react to critical failing a Climb check. Since I didn't include that in my earlier calculations and comments about being forced to roll to climb out, I shall amend those statements to this:

It's terrible game feel to have to roll out the 500 foot climb, but it is actually doable if your character is very good at climbing since you get a Reflex save to prevent the crit fail that is likely to come up before you reach the top from undoing your progress (and finishing you off if the way you survived to this point is by taking but surviving the falling damage).


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Create one at the bottom of an ocean and you could drain it.


Being serious, i really don't understand the doubts towards the trap.

The developers described how the falling damage works.

They also gave us some hazards, like normaltraps, magical traps and envitonmental hazard.

The fact that a trap says that you can grab an Edge while falling, obviously means that the damage doesn't apply ( imagine that you slow your descending speed in x seconds and then grab an Edge ).

It is something meant to hold the party
.
Imagine a character takes enough damage to get downed and Dying 1. The party will need to rest for 10 minutes or simply have to heal the guys with any combination of potiin/spells/skills.

Imagine now that a target falls down the Pit. The party will be stopped for the time needed to let the player out of the Pit.

Which could be minutes, hours or even days.

The difference between a dmging trap and this trap are clear. And also that you won't take any dmg from grabbing an Edge.


HumbleGamer wrote:
Quote:
Since the creature falls endlessly, it can rest and even prepare spells while falling,
Best trap ever.

Until you realize that none of your spells can save you and you might as well just bash yourself into the wall and die.

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