The grease spell is well known for being an excellent spell for many reasons; my Wizard found amusing use for it that caused some head scratching in a game.

An enemy was climbing down a wall, so my Wizard cast grease on the wall.

Normally the reflex save is for falling over, not falling down - what sort of check should be made? (Our GM gave the monster a climb check, it failed and plummeted into a pit - who put that there?)

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a perfect use for Grease, I have to keep this in my back pocket :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Gates VP
    Aug 21, 2014 at 17:57

3 Answers 3


As the spell description states, GMs can be a bit more liberal with how they interpret the results of Grease. A save would be keeping more in line with the spell, but a climb check wouldn't be out of the question.

The reflex save can be thought of as reacting to the hand/footholds suddenly becoming slippery. They fail, and they lose their grip and plummet as they slide off the wall. Success means they hold on (immobile).

The climb check as a direct result of the spell could be if the target already has a solid grip, which is unaffected by the magic. Movement (which maybe the target was in the middle of) would require the check to see if they can stay on the wall, with at least the -5 penalty for a slippery surface (maybe even -10, considering the wall as a creature who suddenly got the +10 to their Escape Artist).

Either way, further movement would require a climb check at penalty. As per the spell description, going with the reflex save is the more canonical answer.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Makes sense to me! \$\endgroup\$
    – Rob
    Aug 21, 2014 at 16:24
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ And if they fail? Fall damage! \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandwich
    Aug 26, 2014 at 4:57

The Reflex save is because the conditions very suddenly change where you're already standing/holding onto, so I'd still go with the Reflex save. If the monster can't take 10 on Climb checks under the new conditions and pass, I'd probably ALSO have them make a new Climb check after they pass their Reflex save.


I would house rule the following: The description of the grease in srd gives us, that if the reflex save fails and you are on a vertical surface, you fall. I believe the same happens while climbing. The interesting thing would be what happens if you pass the save. You still have to pass balance DC 10 from grease to move at half normal speed. Looking at climb, you will see that miscellaneous modifiers in DC for slippery surface (as we suppose the wall would be after casting grease on it) is previous climb DC + 5 climb DCs. So finally I would rule out: if you miss the reflex save you fall, if you pass, you must instead of a balance check, reroll your climb check with +5 DC to move at half your climb speed.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't really call that a "house rule" so much as an adjudication. \$\endgroup\$
    – Travis
    Aug 21, 2014 at 21:04

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