Wind Catcher is a Standard Action?

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ChrisDDickey
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Wind Catcher is a Standard Action?

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sun Oct 29, 2017 11:42 pm

I just noticed that Wind Catcher is a standard action.
As I understand it that means it can only be used when you were planning on using it, and / or happen to have your standard action available to you when you need to use it.
So for example:
  • If you fall after having used your standard action to fail a climbing test to climb further up something, you can't make a wind catcher test?
  • If you are Knocked Down by an opponent while climbing, you immediately fall and take damage with no chance to make a Wind Catcher test?
  • And quite frankly any situation except "I plan on using Wind Catcher to move from here to there", it probably can't be used?
It seems to me it would be about 4 times more useful if it was a free action that you could use any time you happened to find yourself falling from great heights.

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The Undying
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Re: Wind Catcher is a Standard Action?

Post by The Undying » Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:55 am

Standard Action doesn't necessarily preclude some of the situations you describe - it just means you need to have the time and the wherewithal to make a Standard Action. Time shouldn't be a problem, this is made for long falls. Wherewithal could be a problem, like if you're knocked unconscious, but that would preclude ANY type of Action, even Simple/Free.

Given some of the vagueness of the Talent text, I'd said there are two ways this could be read. The first one, which I think is the intent, is that the Adept is making a jump, so it's a proactive thing versus a reactive thing. E.g., the Sky Raider is about the leap from his/her airship down onto their target, so they make a Wind Catcher test when they make the leap. The second one, which I think is your focus, is reactive - something unfortunate has happened and the Adept finds themselves plummeting. I'd say the text kind of leans away from this, but I don't see anything that outright prohibits it.

The biggest conflict is with Gliding Stride. Gliding Stride is *definitely* reactive in nature, both in the fact that the text explicitly makes mention of reactive/reflexive use and the fact that it is a Simple Action. Now, it doesn't *replace* Wind Catcher, given the huge disparity in distance between the two Talents. However, if an Adept had both of these, I would 100% allow them to use Wind Catcher as a reactive measure. The logic behind this being that Gliding Stride kicks in first, handling the failed thing that leaves them plummeting, and allow the Adept to turn the plummet into a conscious "I'm making a Wind Catcher jump" given the huge amount of control that Gliding Stride provides. Allowing Wind Catcher to be used reflexively really weakens Gliding Stride - not to the point of uselessness by any means, but it isn't a warranted intrusion IMHO.

An important related, but not specifically asked, topic is "what happens if I fail Wind Catcher or the distance is more than my Wind Catcher rank?" The former is pretty specifically covered in the text: if you fail, you plummet, no do-over. The latter isn't specifically covered, but I'd say that you only get one Wind Catcher test per fall - if the distance turns out to be longer, too bad, the Adept will get to consider their lapse in judgement of not investing more in the Talent during their death plummet the last few 100 yards. :D

Telarus
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Re: Wind Catcher is a Standard Action?

Post by Telarus » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:48 am

The first round (5.7) seconds of falling is when you hit terminal velocity. You fall ~576 ft (192 yards) over that time. At that point you are at terminal velocity and fall almost twice that every 6 seconds.

https://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions ... -one-round

Wind Catcher can be used during long falls (195+ yards) even if you have already used your action and get knocked overboard, or whatever. Still better to have Gliding Stride or a spell up.

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Wind Catcher is a Standard Action?

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:07 am

Yes, I am talking about using Wind Catcher in a reactive manner, which I would have thought was where it would have been most useful.

Once again, I would expect that characters would be in situations where you would want to use it to avoid a fall much, much more often than being in a situation where they would want to jump several hundred yards down. I mean sure once or twice in an adventurers career they might be in a situation where they want to risk sudden death to jump several hundred feet down, but being in danger of falling is a much, much more common situation, and I thought that was the talent that protected against that, and it turns out it does not.

I am not certain I understand what the "undying" means by a "conflict" with Gliding Stride. Gliding Stride and Wind Catcher seem totally and completely different in form, function, and flavor. Gliding Stride is mostly about horizontal movement, with a minor Vertical component, and as you note an additional reactive component as well where it can be used against unexpected short falls. But I don't see how Wind Catcher also being useful in unexpected falls is somehow a conflict. Especially since Gliding Stride is a Journeyman TO for Elementalists and Swordmasters only, while Wind Catcher is a Novice TO for Air Sailors and Sky Raiders only. Talking about talent overlap here seems to be an extraordinarily edge case, and reasoning about what a multi-discipline Swordmaster / Air Sailor can combine Gliding Stride and Wind Catcher to do or not do is... Not really a common enough occurrence to merit much discussion in a thread about Wind Catcher.

Great Leap and Gliding Stride can both be used to get across a gap, and I don't consider that that somehow puts them in "conflict". So like I said, I don't see why Wind Catcher also being useful in falls would put them in conflict.

And if Wind Catcher takes a standard action, then not having a standard action available (IE: it is not your turn, and/or you don't have a held action when you fall), pretty much precludes Wind Catcher being used. I guess you only fall about 200 yards in 6 seconds, so if your fall is more than 200 yards, but less than 100 x rank yards, you can wait and take your standard action 200 yards down from where you fell. But once again, that is not going to be useful in all cases. In general it sounds like not having a standard action available when you fall makes the talent useless in falling situations. Which, once again, if that was the intent, seems strange to me.

I was excited for my Sky Raider to get this as a Talent Option, but now that I look at it more closely, it seems not nearly as valuable as I had hoped.

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The Undying
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Re: Wind Catcher is a Standard Action?

Post by The Undying » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:55 am

ChrisDDickey wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:07 am
Especially since Gliding Stride is a Journeyman TO for Elementalists and Swordmasters only, while Wind Catcher is a Novice TO for Air Sailors and Sky Raiders only. Talking about talent overlap here seems to be an extraordinarily edge case, and reasoning about what a multi-discipline Swordmaster / Air Sailor can combine Gliding Stride and Wind Catcher to do or not do is... Not really a common enough occurrence to merit much discussion in a thread about Wind Catcher.
I encourage you to review the Player's Guide. I can't speak for all the Disciplines, and I'm not going to go looking, but I assure you that Elementalist gets access to both Wind Catcher and Gliding Stride, meaning that there is far more chance occurrence of overlap here than you credit.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:07 am
Once again, I would expect that characters would be in situations where you would want to use it to avoid a fall much, much more often than being in a situation where they would want to jump several hundred yards down.
Just because a situation is more common doesn't mean that a Talent has to address it. You are far more likely to trip while walking and fall on your face, that doesn't mean that Wind Catch, Gliding Stride, et al, should prevent you from doing that, even though there's overlap in the sense of free fall. This likely seems like it over-trivializes the matter, but it's kind of meant to (just not in a dismissive way): a Talent serves a purpose, that doesn't mean that it applies to everything that could potentially overlap it. Wind Catcher is *definitely* positioned as a "I'm making a jump and want to control my fall" given the example provided in the text. It's potential for use in "I happen to be falling" is just up for debate but seems more questionable to me, given both the example and the fact that other Talents fill that niche. For me, it seems like the book REALLY would have included text about reactive use if that were the intent - but that's me.

A lot of the rest of your post is more mincing words and mechanics dance, so I'm going to avoid weighing in on it aside from when "falling" starts. I'd say it's really up to a GM where time divides outside of combat. Yes, a GM could say that a failed climb roll means that a full round (6 seconds) of fall occurs before a character gets a Standard Action. Separately, a GM could say the fall begins on the next round. This is kind of the difference between life and death. Personally, I'd give the player every reasonable opportunity (like allowing a companion to try to make a difficult test to grab the faller while themselves maintaining their grip) rather than forcing hundreds of yards of falling to occur before anyone can react. I'd also include novel use of Talents (got a long weapon? sure, you can make a REALLY HARD Melee Weapon Attack to see if you can hook it on to something or embed it in that crevice you're about to pass), but not necessarily warping Talents to fit the crisis. Frankly, if they're hundreds of yards up, I probably would've given them ample warning that this is pretty risk (meaning they'd dug their grave) but I'd also give them a difficult Climb test to see if they can recover (regain their footing and grip if this were a failed climb test, or otherwise catch a ledge if they happen to be high up) - but that's just me, I'd want a character death to have Meaning, and a single test failure doesn't feel Meaningful to me.
ChrisDDickey wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:07 am
I was excited for my Sky Raider to get this as a Talent Option, but now that I look at it more closely, it seems not nearly as valuable as I had hoped.
You're playing a Sky Raider, whose Discipline role in life is really about being up in the air, likely doing aerial assaults. Wind Catcher is PHENOMENAL for this. I think what you're running into is that a Sky Raider not being in his/her element isn't going to have much use for this tool. And that should be okay. A Warrior's role in life is being in combat, Melee Weapon is PHENOMENAL for this, but it's completely useless when s/he isn't in combat. No one should be great at everything, and it should be okay that tools serve their purpose, not every purpose imaginable.

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The Undying
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Re: Wind Catcher is a Standard Action?

Post by The Undying » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:14 am

Telarus wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:48 am
Wind Catcher can be used during long falls (195+ yards) even if you have already used your action and get knocked overboard, or whatever.
I think that's the crux of this question - can Wind Catcher be used reactively rather the proactively. There's nothing in the Player's Guide, that I'm aware of, saying it could be used reactively, and the example focuses on proactive use. Allowing it to be used mid-fall implies that someone could use it over-and-over again, regardless of their actual rank limit. For example, Rank 1 means 100 yard, the text only says that failure means plummet, so there's nothing EXPLICITLY PROHIBITING use of the talent ten times in a row to fall 1,000 yards, as long as you never fail ... but that just feels silly to me.

Given that, and the fact that Gliding Stride explicitly talks about reactive use, I'm inclined to say Wind Catcher is exclusively for proactive use, except in novel and interest combinations (like allowing Gliding Stride to handle the reactive portion, turning use of Wind Catcher into a proactive choice as a result).

But, this is all totally just my opinion, FWIW. :) The Talent text opens with "When falling from a height" - falling is definitely something that can be construed as "whoops, I'm falling" just as well as "I'm falling because I jumped."

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Re: Wind Catcher is a Standard Action?

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:27 am

The Undying wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:55 am
I assure you that Elementalist gets access to both Wind Catcher and Gliding Stride, meaning that there is far more chance occurrence of overlap here than you credit.
You are of course correct. In the book there happens to be a line break between "Wind" and "Catcher" in the Elementalist novice talent description, so when I searched for "Wind Catcher" it did not come up. So it is not unlikely that some Elementalists will pick both, and thus not nearly the unlikely edge case I was imagioning.

But the twin facts remain that the Gliding Stride can only reduce the amount of the fall by Rank x 2. And the disciplines that are most likely to fall from very great heights, Air Sailors and Sky Raiders, do have access to Wind Catcher and don't have Discipline access to Gliding Stride. It thus seems strange to me that the talent that Air Sailors and Sky Raiders have that allows jumping from great heights in retaliative safety does not also protect somewhat for falling from heights. (Griffin Riding Beastmasters and Cavalrymen don't have discipline access to ether (in the first 8 circles at least), but they are widely regarded as ether very heroic, or very crazy).

I would not say that a Wind Catcher test made 6 seconds after falling was reactive rather than proactive. After no more than 6 seconds of falling the Adept gains a standard action, I see no reason why they could not spend it upon a Wind Catcher test in a proactive manor (as opposed to being able to use it when he starts to fall as a free reaction).

Personally, I would not allow multiple sequential usages of Wind Catcher. The talent talks about being used while falling to control the fall. Nowhere does it say anything to suggest that the Adept is considered to be anything other than falling the entire time (assuming that both "decent" and "plummeting" are merely descriptive modifications of "falling"), and the talent can be used to safely fall from a maximum height of Rank x 100 yards. What I was suggesting is that it takes time to fall, and an Adept is going to gain access to a standard action after the first 200 yards of freefall. This means several things. (1) An Adept who does not Wind Catcher 200 yards or more, does not have a standard action available when/as they land. (2) An Adept who does Wind Catcher 200 yards or more does have a standard action available When/as they land (Down Strike with a vengeance). (3) An Adept who did not have a Standard Action when they fell, could gain a Standard Action sometime within their first 200 yards, and could potentially use that Standard Action on a Wind Catcher test, possibly gaining control of their fall at that point. However the total length of the fall for purposes of seeing if the Talent can protect the Adept from falling damages is from where he started to fall and to where he lands. He only needs to take a Standard Action to make the test sometime between those two points but whether he makes the test at the top of the fall or the middle does not affect how far he can safely fall. And having made the test does not mean he is not still in a (controlled) fall.

I am not a big fan of the "we must forbid this, otherwise people will argue that" school of thought. For reasons I explained above, I don't think that allowing Wind Catcher use mid fall in any way implies that multiple sequential usages will work to extend it's range.

One question that is kind of open in my mind is whether an Adept who fails a test at the top of a jump that is more than 200 yards can make a 2nd test at 200 yards. The argument on the "No" side is that it says "plummets to the ground", implying that there is not another chance before impacting the ground. The argument on the "Yes" side is that it says "Possibly taking damage". Since even a 2 yard fall results in step 5 damage that armor does not mitigate, the word "possibly" indicates that an adept falling for a sufficiently long time and with sufficiently high ranks in Wind Catcher might be able to attempt multiple tests to save himself.

Your point about making each fall a "cinematic fall", wherein the characters always "mostly falls" but manages to catch himself by his fingertips for a short time, giving others one action to save him, and he only looses his grip and really falls if he has not been saved by his next action, could be expanded to allow a person with Wind Catcher to always use his NEXT standard action to wind fall. I like that, but it seems like it ought to be a table rule that that is what will almost always happen.

The only problem (if it is considered a problem) with the "cinematic fall" rules is that it makes it actually impossible for a conscious windling or other flying creature to suffer falling damage. You shoot it with an arrow, it fails it's knockdown test, it starts to "fall". The creature gets it's action and ether jumps up or "stands up", no test required. I am sure that PC windlings would count that as a plus. Archers would count it as a bug.

Like I said, I thought Wind Catcher prevented falling damage and would prove generally useful in certain situations I was envisioning. However most of them involved taking a standard action, and still being able to wind catcher.
It seems like, as written, Wind Catcher has only 3 usage cases.
(1) Someone on a plummeting airship that is about to crash and is not knocked down and has an action can throw themselves off of the airship when it gets low enough to the ground that they can (hopefully) Wind Catcher to the ground in safety. You could probably add falling bridges, Avalanches upon snowy mountain ledges and burning towers to this category. In all cases the Adept would be separating themself from the rest of his party and leaving them to their own fate.
(2) Sky Raiders (and Air Sailors and Elementalists) can attempt precise aerial assaults. Note that this case assumes that there are enough people with this talent to form an effective Raiding Party. If only one or two people have it, then use of this talent simply separates them from their backup. In most cases it would be better to simply wait an go in with everybody else rather than arriving alone so much earlier.
(3) You want to climb down from somewhere, and you don't have rope, climbing skill, or Great Leap. You are also not worried about having to climb back up. Wind Catcher could be very useful in circumstances such as these, but I can't think of very many times where these circumstances have held.

So yes, you are right. I am disappointed that this is not a tool I actually have a use for. I thought it was going to be a very cool tool, and now I am disappointed to realize it is not.

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The Undying
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Re: Wind Catcher is a Standard Action?

Post by The Undying » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:58 am

Not really much I can say productively in response to your post. The one thing I would encourage you to do is talk to your GM, ask about swapping out the Talent Option with a different option. GMs tend to be fairly reasonable, especially if the sense of disappointment is just something that's going to linger and bring down overall enjoyment of the game for the table or the player. There's often a limit to that good will, though - if you've used this for a significant or meaningful event (especially if it saved your life once or was pivotal in how you approached a situation), I doubt most GMs would let you switch it out at that point. However, as they say, there's [usually] no harm in asking.

Hope it works out for you. If you *are* "stuck" with it, I'd recommend finding ways to bring it to bear. You'd be surprised how many things you can use a screwdriver for once you have one in your hand. :) And personally, while I guess we have different play styles, I love Wind Catcher - there's *so many* great things you can do with it!

ChrisDDickey
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Re: Wind Catcher is a Standard Action?

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:19 am

The Undying wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:58 am
And personally, while I guess we have different play styles, I love Wind Catcher - there's *so many* great things you can do with it!
Like what?
Like I said, I thought there would be lots of cool things to do with it. But once I realized it used up the standard action for the round you use it, most of those went away. For example I thought that you could use it to attack flying creatures since it does not count as movement. A Troll Sky raider can use split movement and Great Leap to jump 7 yards high, attack, and land (assuming he rolled a 14 on his Great Leap test). I thought that a Troll Sky raider that rolled a 14 on his Great Leap test could jump 14 yards high, attack, and then use wind catcher to return to the ground, doubling the height he could safely leap, and eliminating the split movement penalty. That trick all by itself would probably be worth taking the talent But with wind catcher taking a standard action, one can ether attack or float to the ground, not both. Nor can one use it to prevent accidental falling damage.

So other than the cases I posted above, I can't really think of any uses for Wind Catcher and I would be interested in hearing situations when it actually would be useful, because I can think of almost none. (assuming you are not part of a sky raiding team composed solely of people with the talent)

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Re: Wind Catcher is a Standard Action?

Post by The Undying » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:16 am

Basically as the example implies - jumping from high. Dramatic entry, sneak attacks, boarding parties, expedited escape, avoid risky situations (and climbs down), impossible leaps (yes, at downward angles, but still), entering otherwise inaccessible areas - these are things that come to mind after only two minutes thought. How often these things come up are between you and the GM. Unless you're running only premade scenarios, part of a GM's role is tailoring the game experience to the what the players find interesting, and if you *want* to use it, trust me, there are plenty of ways it can be used.

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