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My rogue recently "acquired" a ring of Telekinesis. Can the Telekinesis spell be used on yourself for the following?

  1. saving yourself from a fall as long the fall distance allows you a standard action before you go SPLAT! (a modified feather fall spell)

  2. levitate yourself to reach a vertical destination (substitute vault or climb)

  3. slow version and short duration flight (a la "My Secret Identity" [Major point if any body remembers the TV show]) to cross chasms or levitate over traps like pressure plates and the like

Of course, this is assuming that the user is within the weight limit of the Telekinesis spell.

Is this allowed within the rules?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, I was wrong, answer is common for all points. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot May 7 at 9:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanS my CV is already retracted. I did it before I answered. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot May 7 at 11:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot Fair enough, it's just that there was one vote and your comment, so I assumed it was yours. I guess that vote must belong to someone else who didn't read/agree with your comment... \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS May 7 at 12:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ From a Gm perspective: teleportation doesn't save you from fall damage. So for Telekinesis he will need to have the time to cast and one turn to decelerate. If player want to lengthly describe how he proceeds. Make it clean that he has no time too. "Show me on this falling D20."or "Great talk but Physic and momentum are not impressed by your word." \$\endgroup\$ – xdtTransform May 7 at 13:49
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You can levitate yourself indirectly with telekinesis

The 'sustained force' effect of Telekinesis, which you would be using in order to safely move things around or hold them up in the air, unfortunately does not target creatures, only objects:

A sustained force moves an object weighing no more than 25 pounds per caster level (maximum 375 pounds at 15th level) up to 20 feet per round. A creature can negate the effect on an object it possesses with a successful Will save or with spell resistance.

However, you can work around that quite easily by simply levitating an object you are holding on to or wearing, as the spell does not require an unattended target object, and indeed it can explicitly be an object possessed by a creature. Someone planning to take advantage of this trick might well take to wearing a proper harness for this purpose. Keep in mind, though, that a Ring of Telekinesis is caster level 9th, so it can only levitate a total of 225lb. An adult human with a lot of equipment could conceivably be too much for the spell to handle.

It's also clear that sustained force allows you to move objects through the air and suspend them in the air for the duration of the spell:

This version of the spell can last 1 round per caster level, but it ends if you cease concentration. The weight can be moved vertically, horizontally, or in both directions. An object cannot be moved beyond your range. The spell ends if the object is forced beyond the range. If you cease concentration for any reason, the object falls or stops.

So you can move an object (with yourself attached) through the air at up to 20 feet per round and only fall if you lose or stop concentrating on the effect. An object currently subject to the sustained force effect doesn't fall unless you want it to. As cast by the ring of telekinesis the effect can last for at most 9 rounds, so you could cover distances of up to 180 feet before you must touch ground again or start falling.

This means that your hypotheticals 2. and 3. are possible, since you can levitate an object off the ground in any direction you please and you can be holding on to/wearing that object when you do so.

Falling is complicated though

Whether or not you can safely arrest a fall is a trickier subject, since this is kind of an edge-case rules-wise. Telekinesis, as written, doesn't say anything about how to use it safely stop a fall, but neither do the rules include simulation of momentum. An interpretation might be that you could stop an object from falling (such as your harness) but the consequence being that you have effectively fallen the distance onto that object and take damage appropriately.

Personally, I would probably rule that you can use sustained force to gently decelerate an object such that a person holding or wearing it was safely brought to a halt in the air; it's a creative use of the spell, it seems thematically sensible, and there are much lesser spells which allow you to safely negate falls anyway. The problem arises if you still have so far to fall that you can't safely make it all the way to the ground with a single casting of telekinesis, so some strategic readied actions might be advised in order to use the effect once you're within relatively close distance of the ground.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Its also worth noting that a round being 6 seconds works out to around 575 feet. Good luck casting the spell in time. \$\endgroup\$ – Draco18s May 7 at 15:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ 576 feet, as described in my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras May 7 at 15:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras I rounded to the nearest 5 ;) But yes. \$\endgroup\$ – Draco18s May 7 at 15:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Draco18s The question already stipulates that the fall must be long enough to allow the time to invoke telekinesis, so I figured it wasn't necessary to digress on that subject. \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer May 7 at 15:09
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Yes, to all of those effects

The first one, preventing a deadly fall, is usually done by targeting an object on your character and using the Sustained Force effect of Telekinesis:

Sustained Force: A sustained force moves an object weighing no more than 25 pounds per caster level (maximum 375 pounds at 15th level) up to 20 feet per round. A creature can negate the effect on an object it possesses with a successful Will save or with spell resistance. This version of the spell can last 1 round per caster level, but it ends if you cease concentration. The weight can be moved vertically, horizontally, or in both directions. An object cannot be moved beyond your range. The spell ends if the object is forced beyond the range. If you cease concentration for any reason, the object falls or stops.

Any worn or carried object is usually a valid target for spells, with saves when the wearer doesn't like whatever is about to happen with their gear. But this is commonly used by targeting your armor, or your backpack, or similar, and sustaining it through the air. You are still targeting an object, but since that object is firmly bound to your character, you also save yourself and is usually accepted by most GMs as a valid use of the spell.

(object)

The spell can be cast on objects, which receive saving throws only if they are magical or if they are attended (held, worn, grasped, or the like) by a creature resisting the spell, in which case the object uses the creature’s saving throw bonus unless its own bonus is greater. This notation does not mean that a spell can be cast only on objects. Some spells of this sort can be cast on creatures or objects. A magic item’s saving throw bonuses are each equal to 2 + 1/2 the item’s caster level.

While there are no rules as written stating what distance you fall per round, it is commonly accepted, even by one of the game designers, James Jacobs, that the 3.5's FAQ about falling distances is a valid source to calculate that. Namely, a creature (or object) falls 576 feet (or 500 feet to keep it simple) in the first round of a fall, and 1000 feet every round after that. As such, any fall greater than 500 feet should allow the character one turn to react with at least a Standard Action such as casting the spell.

There is only a brief mention of this in the rules, under Enviromental Rules: Falling:

A character cannot cast a spell while falling, unless the fall is greater than 500 feet or the spell is an immediate action, such as feather fall.

On the second, levitating yourself, again, applying that same logic, you could levitate either a piece of equipment, a rope that you are holding on, a tree branch, or even a log that you sat on. As long as the force of the spell is enough to lift both the object and the character along with all his gear, it is normally accepted. If you are lifting yourself, I'd say a Strength check is required, but otherwise, the vertical movement and gravity should be enough to keep your character balanced during the movement.

For the third, I'd say you need some kind of surface that allows you to easily balance your character (or make Acrobatic checks once per round), or either crouch or sit on the object. Because the spell doesn't describe how precise the movement is, leaving that entirely up to the GM. Otherwise, the movement is not steady enough to horizontally move the object while still maintaining balance. But following the same logic used for the other movements, it is still valid.

Finally, levitation using Telekinesis is also supported by James Jacobs:

Regardless of how they work mechanically, do you approve of using something like this power to: a) fling a Dwarf holy warrior at the enemy and b) bludgeon a hobgoblin officer to death with a stuffed owlbear?

I would approve of it using the spell telekinesis so I suppose I approve of it via the use of similar effects!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ jinx! (15 characters) \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer May 7 at 12:43
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What you describe seems to be use of sustained force aspect of the spell:

Sustained Force: A sustained force moves an object weighing no more than 25 pounds per caster level (maximum 375 pounds at 15th level) up to 20 feet per round. A creature can negate the effect on an object it possesses with a successful Will save or with spell resistance. This version of the spell can last 1 round per caster level, but it ends if you cease concentration. The weight can be moved vertically, horizontally, or in both directions. An object cannot be moved beyond your range. The spell ends if the object is forced beyond the range. If you cease concentration for any reason, the object falls or stops.

As you can see, it applies only to objects. Violent Thrust aspect of telekinesis says "You can hurl one object or creature" so the distinction is significant. You cannot use the Ring non-violently on creatures, sorry.

Nothing in the rules forbid using Violent Thrust on yourself. Certainly you are a creature within range. You need to fail Will save to be affected but apparently you can willingly do so. So that's a travel

toward any target within 10 feet per level

90 ft as the Ring is Cl 9. But you need a valid target on the other side of the chasm, or on the ceiling for vertical movement, for it to work. Also, you should roleplay it happening violently and it would be within DM fiat to deny it, as the intent is to use it for an attack, not transportation. Also note the 1d6 damage of violent thrust.

What would I rule at my table: Given that nothing in the rules prevents you from Violently Thrusting yourself, I'd allow for horizontal motion, with 1d6 damage or max distance if there is nothing to hit. For vertical motion, I probably wouldn't allow it. It is a violent action so does not make much sense to allow PC to grab things or land softly.

Side note on falling: Rules for falling says:

A character cannot cast a spell while falling, unless the fall is greater than 500 feet or the spell is an immediate action, such as feather fall. Casting a spell while falling requires a concentration check with a DC equal to 20 + the spell’s level. Casting teleport or a similar spell while falling does not end your momentum, it just changes your location, meaning that you still take falling damage, even if you arrive atop a solid surface.

(thanks Ifusaso)

If you take falling damage when using Ring is open to DM interpretation. I wouldn't let violent aspect of the spell prevent falling damage.

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