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View Full Version : How to reach the bottom of a Hole



The Dread Dormammu
02-24-2009, 05:11 AM
Here is a puzzle for you.

Recently when exploring an old Dwarven tomb the party stumbled across a deep pit with a column in the center. My character wanted to spider climb down to see what was at the bottom of the pit.

Imagine my surprise when 15 minutes later my spell was halfway up and I still hadn't reached the bottom! I just barely made it out of the pit before the spell ran out.

My Wizard is now convinced the hole is magical or a portal to another plane. How would you get to the bottom?

For reference My character is a 3rd level Halfling Wizard who just leveled up so I get my 2 free new spells. We're using mostly 3.0 rules here so Spiderclimb is 1st level.

Skunkape
02-24-2009, 07:31 AM
You could cast light on a coin and drop it down the hole to see how far down it goes before it gets beyond your field of view, which would give you a general idea of how deep it is.

cplmac
02-24-2009, 10:51 AM
You could cast light on a coin and drop it down the hole to see how far down it goes before it gets beyond your field of view, which would give you a general idea of how deep it is.


That and see if you can hear it hit the bottom. Although using a rock to cast the light spell on may be more receptive to the party thief, who may not be that wild about wasting a coin.

The Dread Dormammu
02-24-2009, 02:19 PM
That was the very second thing we tried. (the first was to make sure the pillar wasn't an illusion). It is deep enough that we lost sight of the lit object.

Here are the ideas I have had so far:

Idea 1, Only prepare Spiderclimbs and Feather falls:

Spiderclimb down until that runs out, then Feather fall (gives me 4 rounds to recast Spiderclimb and stick back on the wall) redo until out of Spells. If I'm on my last Spiderclimb and still haven't reached the bottom cast light on stones and hurl them down the shaft so that when I finally fall off the wall I'll at least be able to see the ground and use my pearl of power to Featherfall before I hit. Disorientation will be handled by hanging a light source at the end of a rope to provide a "plumb line."
Extra care must be taken to secure our packs.

Issues:
"Great I reached the bottom! Umm, what about the rest of the party?" I could instead ride the hefty Dwarf's back and be casting Spiderclimb on him...
If the hole is very deep (It's clearly at least hundreds of feet deep) and I've used my last Spider climb. I have to wait to cast feather fall until I see the ground. Unless I'm able to fall perfectly straight (unlikely) there is going to be the issue of me impacting the walls at terminal velocity as I fall, ouch.

Idea 2, Mundane climb:

Buy climbing equipment for the party and head down the hole.

Issues:
This could take forever! Aside from the dangers of simultaneous critical fails (missing the DC by 5 or more) there is also the very real possibility of us becoming fatigued and exhausted, and that requires a whole second problem "Sleeping in the hole." It's not impossible (rope trick etc.) but it's going to be a nightmare.

Idea 3, Skydiving!

Similar to the end of the Spider Climb plan this would be some form of controlled dive. Since feather fall can affect multiple targets as long as the party is relatively close to each other we can all benefit from a controlled landing. There needs to be some way to keep from impacting on the sides of the wall as we reach max speed. My Raven might be able to keep me stable, but with her crappy strength a bad roll or a gust of wind means we're both gonna be long red smears. I've had weird ideas like using 2 brooms 1 poking the center column and 1 poking the wall to keep myself centered as I plummet or having the party hold hands in a ring around the center column to keep us centered. An alternative would be to hire a basket weaver to make a HUGE basket that we attach saplings to like a giant Hamster-Ball with quills to slide down the inside.

Idea 4, I'll catch you!

This is more of a fall-back than a plan in and of itself. Web might be able to catch, or at least slow, a falling character (though this is subject to DM discretion). Just as a point of reference, charging through a web from one end to the other takes requires the character to make a Strength check of 60! (DC 20 +(5 per 5 feet x 40 feet diameter)!

Baldwin Stonewood
02-24-2009, 02:21 PM
You could cast light on a coin and drop it down the hole to see how far down it goes before it gets beyond your field of view, which would give you a general idea of how deep it is.

I'm surprised Skunk did not say "nudge the wizard" when you hear a thud he reached a the bottom of the hole.

The Dread Dormammu
02-24-2009, 02:27 PM
Guys, the issue here isn't "how deep is the hole?" we already know it's hundreds of feet deep (or some kind of illusion).

When spiderclimbing I was probably able to get somewhere near 1,500 feet down before I had to turn back. (10 feet per round x 10 rounds a minute x 15 minutes).

Lucian-Sunaka
02-24-2009, 03:20 PM
Here's a thought nobody's mentioned so far, and it only requires one first level spell.

Tenser’s Floating Disk(PH p294)
<Evoc[force], VSM(drop of mercury), 1StdAct, Closerange,1hr/lvl>

– 3’ diameter horizontal disk that holds 100 pounds per level. Hovers 3’ above the
ground. The disk typically stays about 5’ from the caster, though it can be directed to
move anywhere within Close-range.
The disk can fly at the caster’s normal movement rate. If the caster moves faster
than that, the disk will be left behind and wink out when it gets beyond Close-range.

By my reading of that, if the disk were to go over a hole, it would remain level (so long as there was ground beneath it) and start falling at normal fall speed and continue to do so until it reaches the bottom. When it reaches the bottom, my theory is the magical force that causes it to be held up 3 feet above the ground is going to provide a cushion, giving until it softly touches the ground before levitating back up. You may take some damage, get knocked off it on impact, etc, but it shouldn't be anything more than maybe 1 or 2 d6 of damage. Discuss the tactic with your DM first though, because he might interpret it differently than I.

Alternatively, at the cost of two spells (both first level) You could use the unseen servant trick. Reduce person, to shrink you down light enough that an unseen servant spell can lift you, then command it to lift you and carry you down to the bottom of the hole. It moves 15 feet per round, and lasts 1 hour per caster level. The most weight it can carry is 20, but reduce person should handle that for a halfling, most are under 40 pounds.

(Unseen servant won't work for your whole party, but the tensar's disk would, since it holds 300 pounds per caster level even the fat half-orc barbarian probably fits, and if not you can reduce him, just make sure you all go off at once, because the disks can't get more than 30 feet from you or they dissappear.)

The Dread Dormammu
02-24-2009, 04:55 PM
Ahhh, very good. Now we're getting somewhere. I think the problem with Tenser's is this:

"The disk also winks out if you move beyond range or try to take the disk more than 3 feet away from the surface beneath it. When the disk winks out, whatever it was supporting falls to the surface beneath it" (SRD, Emphasis mine)

However I love the Unseen servant Idea. let's see here...at level 4 with Int 19 I've got 4 level 1 spells (5 from pearl of Power) and 3 level 2 spells.

That's 7 unseen servants if I spend every spell but 1 on them (need featherfall for the last leg) I've got 140 lbs of force to keep me from scraping against the walls.
--- Merged from Double Post ---
Also, is it clear that unseen servants can fly?

Lucian-Sunaka
02-24-2009, 06:34 PM
Wups, my bad on the Tensar lol, but it was worth a shot. Still talk to the DM about it, he might let it work lol. (Also, if your willing to look at it from a very rule's-lawyerish perspective, you are not trying to take it more than 3 feet from the surface beneath it. By the time there is no surface within 3 feet from it there is a new surface beneath it, just a LONG ways down. So, in theory, it should't wink out. Your not TRYING to take it more than 3 feet from the surface it was over. Not trying to make it go higher than it was. You take it out across the surface (keep it low, maybe 1 foot above the surface to cover for the extra space you'll cross) and poof, suddenly there is no surface 3 feet below it. It's the same as casting dissintegrate on the ground beneath it. Your not taking it 3 feet from the surface below it, it just suddenly is given a surface more than 3 feet below.



Anyways, now that I got my rules-lawyer bit out of me, lol, for the unseen servant bit.

This is copy/pasted straight from the SRD

An unseen servant is an invisible (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/conditionSummary.htm#invisible), mindless, shapeless force that performs simple tasks at your command. It can run and fetch things, open unstuck doors, and hold chairs, as well as clean and mend. The servant can perform only one activity at a time, but it repeats the same activity over and over again if told to do so as long as you remain within range. It can open only normal doors, drawers, lids, and the like. It has an effective Strength score of 2 (so it can lift 20 pounds or drag 100 pounds). It can trigger traps and such, but it can exert only 20 pounds of force, which is not enough to activate certain pressure plates and other devices. It can’t perform any task that requires a skill check (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/usingSkills.htm#skillChecks) with a DC higher than 10 or that requires a check using a skill that can’t be used untrained. Its speed is 15 feet.
The servant cannot attack in any way; it is never allowed an attack roll (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/combatStatistics.htm#attackRoll). It cannot be killed, but it dissipates if it takes 6 points of damage from area attacks. (It gets no saves against attacks.) If you attempt to send it beyond the spell’s range (measured from your current position), the servant ceases to exist.


At absolutely no point does it say that you cannot cause it to do things for you that are higher than the ground, it's not conjuring an invisible being that walks around doing things, you could have it light the candles in a chandelier 18 feet off the ground (15 feet from you) So if your light enough (remember you'll need to cast reduce person on yourself first to qualify, it can only lift 20 pounds) But reduce person only lasts 1 minute per caster level...

Wait, I may have it. The description of unseen servant says it can drag up to 100 pounds, and says nothing of what surfaces it can drag along. If you were to have it apply a 'drag' force along the wall above you, you could have it lower you down at a safe speed. And the spell lasts 1 hour per caster level, so if the DM lets that fly, your good.

One last alternative, would be to use the Web spell to freefall. Guage a distance, cast web as your falling, enjoy your soft landing in a thick mass of gooeyness, slowly force your way to the bottom of the web, see how much farther down it is, and repeat the process. Web has a range of 100 feet + 10 per level, so I think you can see how that would work. And the other benefit of this method, is that it will take your whole party down at once.

The Dread Dormammu
02-24-2009, 08:33 PM
Yes, apparently unseen servants can "fly" in the same way Mage Hand can "fly"

See! (http://www.enworld.org/forum/d-d-3rd-edition-rules/27957-sage-says-unseen-servants-fly.html)

I don't want this thread to turn into the old saw about unseen servants so lets just assume that your mileage may vary on the servant deal.

So assuming we can use them for crappy telekinesis.

1. Stick the party in a pair of barrels that we've lashed together.

2. Summon a whole bunch of unseen servants.

3. Instruct the servants to keep the barrels away from the sides of the wall.

4. Fall

Lucian-Sunaka
02-24-2009, 09:55 PM
Awww, but I thought the web idea was more fun. Oh well lol, whatever gets the job done bud.

The Dread Dormammu
02-25-2009, 12:09 AM
Web in case things go to hell.

nijineko
02-25-2009, 12:22 AM
i haven't found any more spells that would be useful for the long haul, other than what has already been suggested. there were a few shorter duration spells that might be handy in the spell compendium. but by and large, i think that lightening the load and using the unseen servants might be your best bet. i'd have a light source lower down from the rest of you so that you know when to stop...

Skunkape
02-25-2009, 08:23 AM
I'm surprised Skunk did not say "nudge the wizard" when you hear a thud he reached a the bottom of the hole.

That's because I think the party is mostly good.:D

nijineko
02-25-2009, 10:46 AM
"summon rollercoster?" (watch that first drop, it's a doozy!) though if they did that, they might wind up on earth.... ;D

Sneaksta
02-25-2009, 11:55 AM
Got a portable hole? throw everyone in, instruct your unseen servant to carry it to the bottom, and open it upon the floor.... LOL

Soft Serve
02-25-2009, 12:25 PM
Maybe, (the DM in me speaking here btw) The DM doesn't want you to go in the hole. Maybe he's waiting on you to find something else in the building/dungeon/cave place your in that will actually make sense when applied to the hole?

Maybe there's a very good reason that the hole is way too deep for any logical purpose. On top of that why does the hole exist? What if it's just a giant pit to death? I'll crack up laughing if the next post in here from the OP goes something like...

"...and then we fell for a good solid 20 minutes in our barrels. The unseen servants keeping us away form the walls doing their job just fine, only to land right ontop of a gelatinous cube with no way out...Yeah apparently it was just a trash chute."

:D


If you can excuse the OOC thinking I'd have to say if the DM really wanted you to be down there he would have taken into effect your abilities and made it a lot easier for you to get that done. Ontop of that if there's no elevator/pulley system your chances of finding anything alive or even remotely useful when you get to the bottom have got to be slim.

This is also form someone who has no idea what kind of situation your in. Maybe you have specific instructions to "dive down the hole" I don't know about, all I'm saying is if you don't then maybe some detail is being overlooked.

nijineko
02-25-2009, 12:30 PM
it seems the eternal conundrum that when the dm puts a "not-this-way" sign somewhere in the dungeon, that the players will mistake it for a "challenge-that-if-you-can-just-figure-out-the-secret-you'll-find-a-really-cool-something". ^^

DragonPrince
02-25-2009, 12:30 PM
Throw a personal belonging down hole of wizard. Cast locate object.....

nijineko
02-25-2009, 12:34 PM
i think that the return on that spell would be, "to find object, jump." ^^

ohoh! but you've given me another idea! cast light on a personal well known object, toss it over, and then scry on it.

Sneaksta
02-25-2009, 12:36 PM
that would just tell you it is in the wizard's hole.... :lol:

Soft Serve
02-25-2009, 12:38 PM
Toss a gnome in...


.....



....it won't fix your problem, just do it.

:biggrin:

The Dread Dormammu
02-25-2009, 02:20 PM
@ soft serve: I get the feeling the DM didn't have anything planned for the hole when I told him of my elaborate plan for getting to the bottom his response was, "Wow, I guess I'll have to come up with something for the next session." Truth be told our characters did head back into town but you know how wizards are (and how people who play wizards are) once we get an idea in our heads we can't let it go I've managed to convince the rest of the party to return for the ultimate cavedive. The metagamer in me does agree with you "the DM doesn't want you to go down there just leave it." But I can't I'm just too curious!

@nijineko/Sneaksta: I like how you're thinking, but portable holes and scry are just a little out of my price/spellcasting range at level 4. Besides if I can cast scry why not just cast, fly? Wasn't there some item where you could crush a Gem and summon someone to you? I was thinking of using that and sending my raven down the hole to summon us to the bottom.

Sneaksta
02-25-2009, 02:34 PM
Hmm.. The contingency teleport is out of yer pricerange too. How about you use the summon monster2 spell, and have that fiendish large centipede carry ya down... lol

InvestFDC
02-25-2009, 02:45 PM
Back to the unseen servant. Isn't the 15 move the base move? Meaning it could do a double move of 30 and a run af 60. Right?

The Dread Dormammu
02-25-2009, 03:07 PM
@InvestFDC: No, if we start treating the Unseen servant as some sort of creature it has no listed fly speed and we are in trouble. We must think of the unseen servant as a spell effect akin to mage hand and as such it has no ability to run.

Granted, some people do think of the unseen servant as a type of creature but those people probably won't let me use to to do a cheaper, less good kind of levitate. As such I would be adamantly against such a reading of the rule...

Soft Serve
02-25-2009, 10:40 PM
...I didn't hear a "no" on throwing that gnome in.

uhm planewalk? Or is it planeshift?

I can't remember but I know that one of those spells has soemthing to do with something else....


Here's a plan. Use your parties Bard/Skillmonkey class to Gather Information around town about where a magic item is, or why the hole was created in the first place. Once you have more information you can attack the problem easier.

The Dread Dormammu
02-26-2009, 01:44 AM
@ soft serve: good idea, we could always ask the town's local Sage...

Etarnon
02-26-2009, 02:13 AM
Seems to me it's a case of the DM saying, This big, deep pit, no way they'll be able to get down there...just flavor.

Now that you all want to go down there, he's stuck.

So in the end, wait till next session, then figure it out, because until then it's only virtual, and unformed in the DM's imagination.

Good luck.

Seems like lengths of ropes and pitons, and such will be the way to go.

Definitely requires something cool for those who brave the depths.

cplmac
02-26-2009, 11:35 AM
Too bad that nobody in the party would by chance happen to have an enchanted sword or some other weapon that has the ability to fly. At least then, the character holding it could use that to get down there and back out.

Now the problem would be in what might be found by that character once they get down there. There was a gelatinous cube mentioned earlier. Could be something real nasty that is really hard to hit and has the ability to easily hit most anything that it swings at. Most likely, someone would end up rolling up a new character.

Moritz
02-26-2009, 11:42 AM
What happened to the good ole days when everyone carried at least one 10' pole into the dungeon?

cplmac
02-26-2009, 11:57 AM
What happened to the good ole days when everyone carried at least one 10' pole into the dungeon?


And to think that when the players in my group saw the equipment that each had to start with, some of them had 10 foot poles and one has a 6 foot pole (which has been shortened by an inch with an encounter with some green slime). One of the characters left their 10 foot pole back with the wagon at the entrance of the caverns saying that there is really no use for it.

However, in this particular situation, it seems to be obvious that there is no way that a 10 foot pole came anywhere close to reaching the bottom.

The Dread Dormammu
02-27-2009, 02:09 AM
What happened to the good ole days when everyone carried at least one 10' pole into the dungeon?

Man, we've got 10ft poles! We've got sewing needles, bulls-eye lanterns flint and steel, we've got silk rope torches, riding dogs, Mules, even a wagon!

I'd like to do an extended quote from Darths and Droids here,

"When equipping your characters before setting out on an adventure, make sure you buy:

The best weapons you can afford and that the GM will let you get away with using.*
The best armour you can afford and that the GM will let you get away with using.**
As many marginally useful odds and end as you can get with the few coins you have left over.

* Where "best" is defined as being the ones that do the most damage.
** Where "best" is defined as being the ones that prevent the most damage."

Soft Serve
02-27-2009, 02:52 PM
Darths and Driods is absolutely hilarious. I hope that the writers of that don't get bored and actually finish it to the end of episode 6.

Something tells me the Death Star is the Gungan Orb of Whatever....


Anyway upon further pondering over the hole issue, is there anyway you can cross it? Maybe the grand prize in your box of cereal here isn't in the hole itself but on the other side.

Think about it, what sense would it make to put something down there where it would be damn near impossible to get out once your in? Maybe the reward is a cheap home-made bridge away.

The Dread Dormammu
02-27-2009, 03:59 PM
Maybe the reward is a cheap home-made bridge away.

If I recall correctly the pit was in the center of a room and we searched the walls all around it. It seemed like a dead end and that's why I was so keen on searching the hole because it seemed like the next direction we were supposed to go.

Soft Serve
02-27-2009, 05:23 PM
Ok so that's probably a "no". :lol:

Did the sage say anything if you've gone to visit him yet?

The Dread Dormammu
02-27-2009, 06:04 PM
Well I think we might game this weekend. Normally we game on Thursday. Either way I'll let everyone know what happens.

nijineko
03-01-2009, 03:10 AM
@nijineko/Sneaksta: ...Besides if I can cast scry why not just cast, fly?...

because a fly might run out on you, whereas assuming the item is not utterly destroyed, you can see it as it is falling, and what happens to it when it hits the bottom, if there is one. cue rube goldberg machine.



... only, if i were the dm, you'd just as likely wake something up that you would come to regret later!

Soft Serve
03-02-2009, 01:13 AM
Cthulhu-hole!

:drum:

tesral
03-03-2009, 07:18 PM
I always detail the bottom of the hole. Someone is bound to try it. "Descends to the first layer of Hell. Sucks to be you."

I recently had a dragon lair several thousand feet down a volcanic vent. Malgeld was a nasty nasty boy.

Soft Serve
03-04-2009, 08:09 AM
I once read on a Jones Soda poster "Never interfere with Dragons for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup"


I told myself I would remember it for the rest of my life and sure enough 6 years later I still remember it. Don't remember the building I was in, the person who owned it, I sometimes forget if my birthday is 04/05 or 05/04, I lose track of girlfriends after my last three and I can't spell my middle name. But I remember that poster.

tesral
03-04-2009, 12:32 PM
I once read on a Jones Soda poster "Never interfere with Dragons for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup"


I told myself I would remember it for the rest of my life and sure enough 6 years later I still remember it. Don't remember the building I was in, the person who owned it, I sometimes forget if my birthday is 04/05 or 05/04, I lose track of girlfriends after my last three and I can't spell my middle name. But I remember that poster.

Good advice, they knew the dragon was dead. They had two dragon lairs to find. Malgeld and Glittergrim had driven an extended family of giants out to use there nice little valley as a breeding lair. The intricacies of Dragon mating politics being what it was they didn't trust each other with the locations of their lairs. The party, the giants, and a Red Dragon they convinced to help them took on the two Red Wyrms and the White Wyrm they had bambozeld into helping them. (The reds had talked cirlces around the poor guy and once there, bit his wings off.)

So a fight between a Red dragon and a equal sized red dragon that was incidentally a 20th level cleric. A clan of Frost Giants and a Red dragon (Frost giants with protection for fire all over them, the party saw to that, and the party took on the white. Glitergrim herself had been softened up with a poison they got into the cattle she was eating. She was heavy with eggs, they wanted to at least abort that if nothing else.

Yes, the scenario could have been handed off to someone else. They were sent to clear out the giants that were blocking a pass and rescue (if possible) the crew of the flying ship the giants had downed. The arrived to find an armed stand off. The sailors manning the ship could keep the giants at bay with the cannon. (They had killed one.) However if they abandoned the ship, the giants would be all over them.

The party used enlarge self to slightly over match the giant's size and talked it out. The giants told them of being driven out of their home by the dragons. They could have passed it up the line and been done with it.

Soft Serve
03-11-2009, 11:44 PM
Apparently the hole was a soul stealing device that ate the Original Poster and his character....


WHO KNEW!?!?

nijineko
03-17-2009, 01:34 AM
i think that one of our suggestions was tried, and they are still falling....

Soft Serve
03-17-2009, 02:59 AM
I say as a group we all decide to blame Tesral for no apparent reason other then to celebrate the American tradition of scapegoating.

I'll get the pitchforks, and start the torches.

tesral
03-17-2009, 07:36 AM
The Scapegoat is an epic level monster that immolates for 30d6 ego damage and breathes fire. And is at the bottom of the hole.

cplmac
03-17-2009, 11:33 AM
The Scapegoat is an epic level monster that immolates for 30d6 ego damage and breathes fire. And is at the bottom of the hole.


I am almost positive that if we look into it, that the scapegoat is either a minion or a familiar of tesral's.

Soft Serve
03-17-2009, 01:25 PM
ROFL

IS the Scapegoat good or evil aligned because I haven't figured out who's side I want to be on yet.

Wait the answer is probably obvious since it's at the bottom of this hole and the explorers of said hole haven't come back yet....

tesral
03-17-2009, 07:25 PM
ROFL

IS the Scapegoat good or evil aligned because I haven't figured out who's side I want to be on yet.

Wait the answer is probably obvious since it's at the bottom of this hole and the explorers of said hole haven't come back yet....

They haven't hit bottom yet.

cplmac
03-17-2009, 07:55 PM
I would recomend being on tesral's side. I will always go with the one that even liches are afraid of.

Soft Serve
03-17-2009, 11:11 PM
Well fine. Who we gonna scapegoat then?

OH I KNOW!

CANADA!


This guy is dead.
:laser: :canada:

cplmac
03-18-2009, 09:43 AM
Naw, my vote for who to scapegoat would go to all these countries that promote killing all Americans, until it hits the fan where they are and then they are crying that us Americans need to come save their butts.

Soft Serve
03-18-2009, 01:27 PM
So we blame the terrorists for sucking a D&D adventure group down a hole?

THOSE BASTARDS