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A ring of feather falling:

This ring is crafted with a feather pattern all around its edge. It acts exactly like a feather fall spell, activated immediately if the wearer falls more than 5 feet.

This does not mention maximum number of uses/day of feather fall.

So if a character falls down a 200 ft pit wearing this ring (Made as a CL1 item, so it works for 1 round) do they:

a) Fall 5' (ring triggered) then Float 60' for one round and then fall the rest of the 135' the next round.
b) Fall 5' (ring triggers) Float 60' for one round and then fall 5' float 60' etc, until they hit the bottom of the pit having Fallen 20' total and floated the rest (as the ring activates on the last 5' fall just as they hit the floor) and therefore take 2d6 damage.
c) Fall 5' (ring triggers) and just float the rest of the way down and to hell with the complications!
d) As b) But since the falls are all 5' drops and followed by nice floating sensations - no damage (so effectively c)

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For b) I doubt they'd take damage - each time the ring activates, their distance fallen for the purposes of damage is set to 0 as they decelerate due to the spell. –  Dakeyras May 24 '13 at 10:14
    
Maybe I should add d) e) f)... but better someone answers rather than me give a massive list :) –  Rob May 24 '13 at 10:43
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@Dakeyras RAW they'd take the full falling damage if Feather Fall expires, but I think that's pretty clearly just an oversight in the wording of the spell. –  starwed May 24 '13 at 13:20

4 Answers 4

up vote 19 down vote accepted

It's option D. The ring actually triggers (200 / 5) = 40 times on the way down.

The Ring is activated "..immediately if the wearer falls more than 5 feet." Feather Fall does not change whether a character is falling, but rather the "rate at which the targets fall." So, after the first 5', it triggers. After the second 5', it triggers. And so on, until the character touches down.

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Nice catch! If the ring can repeatedly trigger then this looks like the answer to me! –  Rob May 24 '13 at 15:19
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Well... technically it would trigger an infinite number of times, since there are an infinite number of distinct 5' intervals in any distance greater than 5'. That aside, this is basically the interpretation I'd go with. :P –  starwed May 24 '13 at 16:23
    
Note this post isn't describing option d. (float for a while, fall for 5 ft, float for a while - take damage as appropriate for one 5 ft fall-> none) but really a variation on c. - it triggers so often that you never get an interruption in the feather fall sensation. –  Julix Jun 2 '13 at 10:19

I think that the answer to this depends very much on your interpretation of:

activated immediately if the wearer falls more than 5 feet.

and whether you would consider the downwards floating effect of the featherfall spell to be falling.

So - let's look at the options:

  1. A continuous fall, no matter how far, only triggers the ring once: The ring just removes 65' from the fall regardless of how far you fall (as per possibility a in the question).
  2. A continuous fall can trigger the ring multiple times but floating downwards is not a "fall" and thus doesn't trigger the ring: The ring triggers, shuts off, triggers etc as per possibility b in the question. This results in 2d6 damage.
  3. A continuous fall can trigger the ring multiple times and floating downwards is considered a fall for the purposes of triggering the ring: The ring triggers continually on the fall downwards (after the first 5') and thus the wearer floats all bar the first 5' downwards and doesn't take any damage.

Looking at the description of featherfall:

The affected creatures or objects fall slowly

This rather suggests to me that on the question of what constitutes a fall, the slow fall of the spell would be enough.

I can't find any definitive guidance on the question of triggering conditions so I don't think there's a definitive RAW answer we can point to. However you could certainly look at the implications of your choice as a GM:

For #3 there's very little difference as to what the CL is for the item (other than dispels etc) - it results in an item that allows unlimited falling no matter the power of the creator.

For #1 and #2 you can be entirely safe from falls up to a certain height based on the power of the creator and how much effort they put into creating the device. Although #2 has a sort of semi-random effect beyond that height depending on quite how far you fall and how that relates to the power of the item.

There are a number of other items that also change the way falling damage is calculated and some of them are quite clear in the fact that they remove x' from the fall (see this question for an example or two). They're generally cheaper than a ring of featherfall and so it seems reasonable that the ring might be considered more powerful.

So - where would I go? Depends a bit on the game I was running but I'd rule #2 out straight from the off. Why? Firstly it's just a bit too random for falling beyond the first increment (of 65' feet for CL1) as to how much damage the wearer would actually take. It's also a pain to work out.

Between #1 and #3? I would tend towards #1 on the whole. 65' is a pretty good distance to fall and so the item is powerful enough for most purposes most of the time. It's also enough to justify the price, IMHO. It also allows a PC artificer to craft their own at a later time to improve on the original (by having it invested with a higher CL) if they so choose. Finally - it allows me, as a GM, to put into the game situations where the ring is not sufficient (and without resorting to anti-magic zones etc).

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It all stands and falls with the definition of falling. At 60 ft / 6 seconds ~ 10 m / s, are you still considered falling?

If you don't seize being considered falling while gliding down, the ring will continue to trigger a new spell an infinite number of times, since "there are an infinite number of distinct 5' intervals in any distance greater than 5'" (Steward)

If you are not falling (which normally assumes some acceleration, right?), but gliding instead, then it would trigger once, after 5 ft of falling, and have a duration depending on CL of the maker (for store bought ones that's 1), then when it wears off you accelerate to falling speed again, and after another exact 5 ft the ring triggers again.

For 200 ft it would then look like this: 5-fall, 60 glide, 5 fall, 60 glide, 5 fall, 60 glide, 5 fall. Since feather fall slows your fall down - unless it deliberately accelerates you after it stops, this should be treated as a 5 ft fall. It says

normal rate of falling resumes

Which I take to mean you restart accelerating normally.

Note that the ring isn't doing any work while you're feather falling, since the spell has a distinct duration (i.e. not "concentration").

The result is the same (no damage upon landing) but the mechanism is different (a certain number of triggering on the way down - which might be important if the GM wants to limit the use/ time interval).

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Givens:

  • a ring of Feather falling requires both a forge ring feat and the feather fall spell.
  • You need to be level 7 caster to take the Forge Ring Feat.
  • So your caster level will be level 7th at the lowest for this item.
  • According to the description for the Feather Fall Spell: you fall for 1 round per level.

So, to answer your question

You float the 200 feet and then do whatever you want with zero damage.

However, if you jumped off a larger cliff, your ring would work for at least 420 feet + 5 feet fallen to trigger the ring.

A quick google for any errata on Paizo's part turned up nothing. I would assume that based on Table rules, you either fall 5 feet, then float for 420 feet and repeat that pattern all the way down the cliff, or fall just the first 5 feet and then float down the rest of the way.

Personally, I would rule it kicks on and lets you float down until your foot touches solid earth again and would take a similar number of rounds to recharge. However, I can also see an argument that you could jump off of cliffs one after the other until you reach the center of the earth and are unharmed... aside from the molten lava in the core of the planet melting you, but life's not all bad, you take no falling damage.

The forge ring feat also says you can fix a broken ring. I would rule that a player who makes their own ring would also have the ability to spend a day upping the power-level whenever they level up... but they could also easily make a new ring every level and sell the old one.

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Could you not have made the ring using a level 1 scroll of feather fall (admittedly this is a pretty silly situation, but it could also be an ally casting the spell) would that affect the rings effect? –  Rob May 24 '13 at 13:42
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-1 You can make magic items at lower CL, and the ring specifies CL 1. A ring with CL 7 would cost 7 times as much. Also, I think the OP is interested in the RAW, and this answer mostly ignores that issue. –  starwed May 24 '13 at 13:43
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I assume the down vote on above comment was for "ignores" RAW? Because he is right that the description of the ring specifies a CL1! –  Julix Jun 2 '13 at 9:39
    
Actually in reference to the content - yes, you're partially right Pulsehead: For a self made ring the CL would normally be 7 - but if the ring re-triggers frequently the CL wouldn't matter (thus saving you the feats, and lvl requirements for the price of 2200 gp at any magic shop). If it does that is basically the big question here... –  Julix Jun 7 '13 at 6:59

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