Thread: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

1. What does # cu. ft. even mean?

There is a huge debate going on, on other forums, in which people are trying to figure out what cubic feet even means.

For example, a 10th-level caster can cast shrink item on one touched object of up to 20 cu. ft.

One group is arguing that, that is twenty 1-ft. cubes in any configuration (so if you lined them up side by side, you would end up with a 20x1x1 shape).

The other group is arguing that it means 20x20x20.

Which is right?

It looks as though proper math supports the former, but game sense supports the latter. After all, what is the point of shrinking an object that is already REALLY small? (A 20th-level caster gets 40 cubic feet with shrink item, which according to the first group would mean he could only shrink an item that is 3.42 x 3.42 x 3.42 feet)

This effects other spells as well, such as the Stone Shape spell. A 10th-level caster with the former interpretation can barely make a passage through a wall. A wizard operating under the latter interpretation could probably shape himself a small house.

A math major friend of a friend (not joking) tells me that the former interpretation is for #^3, or feet cubed, and that the latter interpretation describes cubic feet (which is what the rules refer to). However, I have found web sites that say cubic feet is as per the former interpretation.

Hope I haven't confused you all.

2. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

The first one is right mathematically.
Our group has always followed that as its ruling.

3. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by WeeFreeMen
The first one is right mathematically.
Our group has always followed that as its ruling.
You mean the 20x1x1 group?

Okay, but do you believe that to be the INTENT of the rules?

4. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Are you sure you're not just getting 20 cubic feet mixed with 20-foot-cube in your head?

The right answer is the first one, of course. It's an area equivalent to 20 1-ft cubes.

5. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

For Reference: Shrink Item

Note:
Target: One touched object of up to 2 cu. ft./level
So in the debate a tenth level wizard is casting this spell to get the required 20 cu. ft. Correct?

The measurement of Cubic feet is one of volume in can be annotated as ft3 or as cu. ft. both refer to the space inside a 3 dimensional figure. Since the distance is not measured in feet, for example Fireball, it already is a measurement of volume.

In short: The first interpretation (i.e. 20 1-ft cubes in any configuration) is the correct one.

6. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by UglyPanda
Are you sure you're not just getting 20 cubic feet mixed with 20-foot-cube in your head?

The right answer is the first one, of course. It's an area equivalent to 20 1-ft cubes.

This is hardly a simple question.

Originally Posted by Zeful
For Reference: Shrink Item

Note:
So in the debate a tenth level wizard is casting this spell to get the required 20 cu. ft. Correct?

The measurement of Cubic feet is one of volume in can be annotated as ft3 or as cu. ft. both refer to the space inside a 3 dimensional figure. Since the distance is not measured in feet, for example Fireball, it already is a measurement of volume.

In short: The first interpretation (i.e. 20 1-ft cubes in any configuration) is the correct one.
But wouldn't that mean that a 20th-level caster could only shrink a cubed object with a little less than 3.5 feet on a side? That's ridiculous!

A 20th-level wizard should be shrinking large boats, not small chairs.

7. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by PHB p. 176
(S) Shapeable:
If an Area or Effect entry ends with (S), you can shape the spell. A shaped effect or area can have no dimension smaller than 10 feet. Many effects or areas are given as cubes to make it easy to model irregular shapes.
Not exactly a definitive RAW answer, but the intent of stone shape seems similar. Besides, each caster level gives +1 Cubic foot area, so it's rather easy to get irregular numbers.

8. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

As everybody else has said.

The other one would be "twenty feet, cubed" which sounds similar but is very totally different.

9. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by Occasional Sage
As everybody else has said.

The other one would be "twenty feet, cubed" which sounds similar but is very totally different.
So my friend's math major friend has the two terms reversed then?

10. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by Ravingdork
So my friend's math major friend has the two terms reversed then?
Yes he or she does. Either that or they're failing a math course.

11. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

There really is only one answer. A 20' by 20' by 20' cube is 8000 cubic feet. The spells pretty clearly mark in said situation to be 20 cubic feet, which could be a 20'-1'-1', a 5'-2'-2', a 4'-5'-1', or whatever other dimensions you desire. cubic feet is a measure of volume, and is fairly consistent.

12. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

On the other hand, if you look at say, fire storm, its area is listed as "two 10 ft. cubes per level (S)," so instead of a 13th level caster getting 260 1 ft. cubes to shape as he or she wills, she instead gets 26 cubes that are 10 feet on each side to shape. There's a clear difference in wording.

13. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by Ravingdork
But wouldn't that mean that a 20th-level caster could only shrink a cubed object with a little less than 3.5 feet on a side? That's ridiculous!

A 20th-level wizard should be shrinking large boats, not small chairs.
I don't know where your math is coming from as I just got 13-1/3 feet to a side for the final figure (2*20/3 PEDMAS rules state that 2*20 (40), then 40/3 (13.3 repeating or 13-1/3).

Also as wizards, by 5th level, completely dominate every other class in the game, I fail to see the lack of boat shrinkage to be a problem.

14. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

It seems your friend [can't/couldn't] tell the difference between (20 ft) ^ 3 and 20 ft ^ 3.

It really is a simple question, your friends are probably only really arguing because of momentum. Once one person sets an argument in motion, it stays in motion; mostly because nobody wants to look stupid.

And here's the thing: Shrink Item is only a third level spell! Do you really expect the third level spells to still be impressive at level 20?

Originally Posted by Kylarra
Yes he or she does. Either that or they're failing a math course.
More likely to be a physics course. You stop doing actual math when you're a math major and start screwing up your head with absurdly specific calculus.

15. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by Zeful
I don't know where your math is coming from as I just got 13-1/3 feet to a side for the final figure (2*20/3 PEDMAS rules state that 2*20 (40), then 40/3 (13.3 repeating or 13-1/3).

Also as wizards, by 5th level, completely dominate every other class in the game, I fail to see the lack of boat shrinkage to be a problem.
His math is correct. You take the cube root, not divide by 3. I always saw the use of Shrink Item as keeping all those pesky items stored. It's much easier to carry loot when you can take 4,000 times more.

16. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by Zeful
I don't know where your math is coming from as I just got 13-1/3 feet to a side for the final figure (2*20/3 PEDMAS rules state that 2*20 (40), then 40/3 (13.3 repeating or 13-1/3).

Also as wizards, by 5th level, completely dominate every other class in the game, I fail to see the lack of boat shrinkage to be a problem.
A 20th-level wizard casting shrink item can shrink a touched object of up to 40 cubic feet, yes?

So by everyone's definition here, that means...

Oh.

I see what you mean.

The math I WAS using was:

40 ^ (1/3)

Or the cubed root of 40.

17. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by Private-Prinny
His math is correct. You take the cube root, not divide by 3. I always saw the use of Shrink Item as keeping all those pesky items stored. It's much easier to carry loot when you can take 4,000 times more.
Argh! I've been tricked!

Further evidence that it is NOT SIMPLE AT ALL!

A wizard likely doesn't have 4,000 castings of the spell prepared, however.

18. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

My fridge is 20 cubic feet.

19. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by UglyPanda
More likely to be a physics course. You stop doing actual math when you're a math major and start screwing up your head with absurdly specific calculus.
...

fair enough.

20. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by Gaurd Juris
My fridge is 20 cubic feet.
So how many fridges are in 40 cubic feet?

21. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by Ravingdork
Argh! I've been tricked!

Further evidence that it is NOT SIMPLE AT ALL!

A wizard likely doesn't have 4,000 castings of the spell prepared, however.
I think you misunderstood. Your math, saying that about 3.5 ft/side was 40 ft^3, was correct.

22. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by Ravingdork
So how many fridges are in 40 cubic feet?
Generally refrigerators are measured by internal space, so...less than 2, but more than 1.

23. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by Private-Prinny
I think you misunderstood. Your math, saying that about 3.5 ft/side was 20 ft^3, was correct.
a cube 3.5 ft to a side = 42.875 cubic feet. A 20th-level wizard can only shrink an object that is 40 cubic feet.

That doesn't strike anyone else as seriously FUBAR?

Such an object is Small-sized. If that was the maximum volume of the spell pre-epic, why would it even bother saying the object is four sizes smaller? You can't even go four sizes smaller than small!

24. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

This would be a good question to ask on the offical forums.

Also, cubic foot =/= foot cubed.

25. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

And this is one reason 4e is better -_-;;;

To much time spent on something like this

26. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by Ravingdork
a cube 3.5 ft to a side = 42.875 cubic feet. A 20th-level wizard can only shrink an object that is 40 cubic feet.

That doesn't strike anyone else as seriously FUBAR?

Such an object is Small-sized. If that was the maximum volume of the spell pre-epic, why would it even bother saying the object is four sizes smaller? You can't even go four sizes smaller than small!
You have the power to shoot lightning from your fingertips and rewrite reality, and you're complaining about not being able to fit a house in your Bag of Holding? Because that strikes me as FUBAR.

27. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

By one reading, the sane way, yes, it's a bit underpowered at 20. However, the other way is to shape it so that you are only shrinking the mass that you want shrunk, and not the air inside of it. Admittedly, you won't be shrinking large sailboats, but you just might be able to shrink a barge.

Other possible methods would be multiple castings on 40 cubic feet of wood each, followed by permanency and several months of craft checks. Set all the castings to one key word, and you can craft a fairly large boat for yourself that's the size of the parties fighter and much more useful.

28. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by Private-Prinny
Because that strikes me as FUBAR.
You mean that I can't keep shrunken mountains in my pocket? This game sucks! Spells are underpowered!

29. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by Ravingdork
A 20th-level wizard should be shrinking large boats, not small chairs.
I think that just means there should be a higher level spell for it.

30. Re: What does # cu. ft. even mean?

Originally Posted by Shalist
On another side note, using shrink item you can fit 4000 pints, or 500 gallons of acid (or holy water) into a single flask, which will expand to its full volume on impact.
At what caster level is that though? If it's 20th, then it does little good when you first pick up the spell.

I read all the time about people shrinking and dropping boulders. I'm beginning to realize that these boulders must have been really, REALLY small even before being shrunk.

Other spells that use the cu. ft. terminology:
- fabricate (@ CL 20th can build a 5.85 x 5.85 x 5.85 foot object)
- major creation (@ CL 20th can create a 2.7 x 2.7 x 2.7 foot object)
- make whole (@ CL 20th can repair a 5.85 x 5.85 x 5.85 foot object)
- minor creation (@ CL 20th can create a 2.7 x 2.7 x 2.7 foot object)
- shrink item (@ CL 20th can shrink a 3.42 x 3.42 x 3.42 foot object)
- stone shape (@ CL 20th can shape a 3.10 x 3.10 x 3.10 foot object)

Some of these spells are next to useless as written. Surely the game designers meant feet cubed, rather than cubic feet (in fact one told me so a long time ago, sadly I can no longer find the reference as the v3.5 boards are no more).

Items use the same terminology in places as well:
- bags of holding (the biggest can only hold a 6 x 6 x 6 foot item)
- hand haversack (largest pocket can only hold a 2 x 2 x 2 foot item)

Most of the above parenthetical sizes are rounded up. Also, I am well aware that you can make irregular shapes, I just that cubes make for easy representations.

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