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How to reach the bottom of a Hole
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Thread: How to reach the bottom of a Hole

  1. #1
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    How to reach the bottom of a Hole

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    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.

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    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.
    Skunk
    a.k.a. Johnprime



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    Quote Originally Posted by Skunkape View Post
    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.

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    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)!
    Last edited by The Dread Dormammu; 02-24-2009 at 01:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skunkape View Post
    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.

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    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).

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    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.)
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    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?
    Last edited by The Dread Dormammu; 02-24-2009 at 04:10 PM. Reason: Automerged Double Post

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    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, 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 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. 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.
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    Yes, apparently unseen servants can "fly" in the same way Mage Hand can "fly"

    See!


    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

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    Awww, but I thought the web idea was more fun. Oh well lol, whatever gets the job done bud.
    Masaru Academy, a roleplaying experience you'll never forget.

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    Web in case things go to hell.

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    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...
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baldwin Stonewood View Post
    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.
    Skunk
    a.k.a. Johnprime



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    "summon rollercoster?" (watch that first drop, it's a doozy!) though if they did that, they might wind up on earth.... ;D
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
    CrystalBallLite: the best dice roller on the planet! . nijineko the archivist: the 3.x archive

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