I'm doing some freelance writing for an upcoming Pathfinder Second Edition book that is going to have lots and lots of spells in it. My assignment is to write lots and lots of spells.

Although I have plenty of neat and thematic new spell ideas, I like to look over existing spells not only to make sure I'm not reinventing the wheel, but to see whether any of them spark any further ideas. I thought I had found a particularly good design space in creating an aggressive opposite of the longstanding feather fall spell. Instead of a spell that made people fall slower, this one made people fall a lot harder. I was pretty proud of this. I included my new plunging fall in my milestone (the halfway point where you turn in about half your word count for feedback), and it looked like this:

Plunging Fall                                  Spell 1


Traditions arcane

Cast [reaction] verbal; Trigger A creature within range is falling

Range 60 feet; Targets 1 falling creature

Saving Throw Fortitude; Duration 1 minute

You accelerate the gravitational force on a falling creature. If the target reaches the ground while the spell is in effect, it takes double damage from the fall. The spell ends as soon as the target lands. Plunging fall can counteract and be counteracted by feather fall.

The designer gave me some great milestone feedback on this that taught me a lot. In short, the advice was, "cut this." But the reasons why were pretty insightful. He said:

"While this won't come up often without engineering it, it it does come up (or is engineered), this is quite capable of causing hundreds of damage on a 1st-level slot as a reaction. I'd prefer you cut this effect; just as making a creature suffocate underwater is not necessarily a mirror in level and effect to water breathing, making a creature take more falling damage is not necessarily a mirror in level and effect to feather fall."

This is the lesson I learned from this: The equal and opposite of "mitigate a bunch of damage or prevent a condition" isn't "deal a bunch of damage or impose a condition." The comment about water breathing is particularly good, because spells that allow people to adventure in hostile areas shouldn't have an equal-leveled counterpart that makes a formerly safe area entirely deadly. (There's already a way to do this: dispel magic.)

I might have chosen to save plunging fall by putting a limit on how much damage it can deal; maybe it only applies to falls of less than 30 feet. Perhaps I'd making it higher level, or something else. In the end, though, I've got lots of other neat ideas to fill my word count.

Plus, the fact that the feedback I got was specifically "I'd prefer you cut this effect" told me that cutting it was the right thing to do; another good truth that I've already internalized is "read and comply with milestone feedback."