Session Fifty-One: GM Commentary

A fairly straightforward pair of fights this time around. I could probably have run the fight with the water monster better, but it was ok as it was. We did have a bit of a rules controversy at the end when Zelcor cast that Feather Fall. The argument was that even though everyone was surprised by Helanda falling, Zelcor should be able to cast the spell because its casting time is an immediate action, and¬†immediate actions can be cast at any time, even when it’s not your turn. Its a sound argument until you remember that being surprised means you’re flat-footed, and here’s what the rules have to say about that (bold added):

Using an immediate action on your turn is the same as using a swift action and counts as your swift action for that turn. You cannot use another immediate action or a swift action until after your next turn if you have used an immediate action when it is not currently your turn (effectively, using an immediate action before your turn is equivalent to using your swift action for the coming turn). You also cannot use an immediate action if you are flat-footed.

The takeaway? Don’t run games when you’re tired and distracted. And yes, much easier said than done.

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Posted in GM Commentary
One comment on “Session Fifty-One: GM Commentary
  1. Morningstar says:

    I still disagree. The entire point of the spell is to allow you to save yourself when you are surprised by a pit, or other unexpected fall. This spell seems to be the focus of some discontent with how PRD describes it: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2p1or?Feather-Falling-and-You (Most of the argument here centers around whether you need a concentation check — defining falling as a violent motion — not whether it can be cast in response to falling).

    The spell descriptions are limited by game terms, but Feather Fall is obviously intended to be used when surprised. It is the only example given in their Actions in Combat chart, and the first short description lends itself to the popular argument. It’s the later, longer description of Immediate actions that gives you the troubling quote. But I think you need to really do is examine “Flat-Footed”. It is a term meant to describe a person who hasn’t taken an action yet in combat. Can you be Flat-footed if you are not in a combat? Kind of rhetorical but, technically, by this definition, you can’t cast spells unless you are in combat! This is clearly not the intent.

    Since in our particular case it wasn’t the spell caster that was falling, I could see a call for a Perception check (if you don’t notice the pit open, or someone starting to fall through an illusion, you shouldn’t be able to react to it).

    I think the surprise round (and before you’ve taken an action in combat) is a special case. Shit is hitting the fan, and if you aren’t one of those Rogue or Barbarian types, it is really disorienting.

    I had a similar argument with another GM about whether you could cast Water Breathing while in the water. These spells can be cast when you are expecting something, but are really the most useful for when you are not expecting something. Who’s to say that the verbal and somatic components aren’t really well suited to being in water? He enforced his no-spell-casting-while-swimming interpretation. Kind of sucks the fun out of the situation when you’re on a boat and you’ve prepared Water Breathing in case of emergency, and you find out in situ that it wouldn’t be allowed.

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