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Old 10-26-2021, 08:26 AM   #11
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Staff Countermeasures

One spider, perhaps.
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Old 10-26-2021, 10:28 AM   #12
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Default Re: Staff Countermeasures

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Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
Very few wizards cast Staff on a torch that will catch fire with a spark.
What if someone casts Brand on it for them. ;-)
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Old 10-26-2021, 10:56 AM   #13
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Default Re: Staff Countermeasures

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What if someone casts Brand on it for them. ;-)
Then they get a staff with a flaming tip.
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Old 10-26-2021, 11:10 AM   #14
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Staff Countermeasures

Henry has a point that Fire is being used in a way that's not obviously kosher with RAW. Things like lighting a torch are surely easier than lighting a held staff in battle. So, there are a few issues to settle.

(1) A torch is made to stay lit and a staff isn't. It doesn't naturally burn as easily as an enemy's beard either. I don't see that as relevant. Fire lasts for twelve turns and can be cast on anything, flammable or not (how many labyrinth floors are flammable). In that time, the staff would surely catch fire.

(2) A staff in the middle of battle is an unusual target. So is an enemy's beard. You could, if you wished, attach an additional difficulty to casting the spell in this way, but I wouldn't. I'd allow it.

I don't see any other issues. Besides, it's good to encourage cleverness. It's also nice to find a way to defang powerful wizards, so long as you can sidle up next to them (the specialized uses of fire have a one-hex range).
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Old 10-26-2021, 12:33 PM   #15
Peter von Kleinsmid
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Default Re: Staff Countermeasures

It is a clever use.

But if you allow Fire to set a 12-turn fire on anything within Creation-spell range that is not naturally flammable, then Fire goes from being a very effective general-purpose spell, to a spell that at best requires the GM to figure out how to handle situations like foes' weapons or clothes being on fire, to at worst, a spell that can more or less kill anyone for 1 ST at no DX penalty, unless they find some way to put out fire that supposedly sticks to anything, such as their head.

If the spell were designed to be able to keep dangerous fire on people or their weapons, it would say so, as that would be super-effective (46 damage over 12 turns, for 1 ST, no range penalty).

Seems to me it only allows 12-turn fuel-less fires to be started on the ground, or to try to start fires (but not maintain them) elsewhere. One still needs to figure out what the distinction is, exactly. Perhaps it needs to be on an object or the ground, and if the object moves, the fire stops, so it can't be so easily a much-better-than-Drop-Weapon spell, nor a super-deadly "you are on fire" spell.
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Old 10-26-2021, 12:53 PM   #16
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Default Re: Staff Countermeasures

I see three listed uses of the Fire spell.
A: A full minute of fire in one or more full hexes within creation spell range.
or
B: An instant spark within one hex that does no damage but can set one very flammable item on fire. This would almost always have to be prepared, for example opening a book or unrolling a scroll.
or
C: The dreaded Brand enchantment (which doesn't start on fire)
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Old 10-26-2021, 02:44 PM   #17
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Default Re: Staff Countermeasures

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Originally Posted by Peter von Kleinsmid View Post
But if you allow Fire to set a 12-turn fire on anything within Creation-spell range that is not naturally flammable
Two points that are worth pointing out: the staff in the example was wood and thus flammable, and this use of the spell requires one be adjacent to the target, not just within normal Creation range.

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Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
B: An instant spark within one hex that does no damage but can set one very flammable item on fire. This would almost always have to be prepared, for example opening a book or unrolling a scroll.
With all respect, "controlled fire" suggests more than a mere "instant spark".

If the Powers That Be think using the spell offensively like this is out of keeping with the designer's intentions, I humbly suggest that the beard-lighting part of the spell description be listed under errata.
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Old 10-26-2021, 02:48 PM   #18
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Staff Countermeasures

Quote:
A wizard may also use this spell to produce controlled
fire in his own or an adjacent hex. He could light his own
cigar, a friendís torch, or an enemyís beard. ST cost to use
Note, Peter, that this use doesn't apply to the full Creation-spell range, but only one hex away. And I wasn't suggesting that a sword could be the object of a controlled fire either, though I did mention that the usual casting does burn on a target providing no fuel.

But I'd rule that a (wooden) staff is flammable enough that a controlled fire could be started.

All of the controlled versions of fire are smaller than the generic output and I sure wouldn't think they would cause the same amount of damage. They'd also be easier to extinguish than the garden variety.

Your restriction that if the object moves, the fire is extinguished, makes the spell less useful (and less charming) as a cigar or torch lighter.
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Old 10-26-2021, 03:24 PM   #19
Peter von Kleinsmid
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Default Re: Staff Countermeasures

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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Note, Peter, that this use doesn't apply to the full Creation-spell range, but only one hex away.
Ah right, that's a good point.


Quote:
Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
And I wasn't suggesting that a sword could be the object of a controlled fire either, though I did mention that the usual casting does burn on a target providing no fuel.

But I'd rule that a (wooden) staff is flammable enough that a controlled fire could be started.

All of the controlled versions of fire are smaller than the generic output and I sure wouldn't think they would cause the same amount of damage. They'd also be easier to extinguish than the garden variety.
Yes, exactly. The controlled use of fire to light a cigar, torch or beard is about lighting something... lightable. As opposed to setting a whole hex (even a stone floor) on fire for a minute. It seems to me this looks like a one-time effect that starts a fire, and the object then burns as it naturally would if touched with fire for a few seconds, so the cigar and torch keep burning... the beard and the staff are perhaps up to the GM to figure out exactly what happens, based on the target's reaction and what exactly the object is like.


Quote:
Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Your restriction that if the object moves, the fire is extinguished, makes the spell less useful (and less charming) as a cigar or torch lighter.
No, I just meant something like what you wrote above: that a "controlled use" would start the fire, but wouldn't artificially keep the fire going for 12 turns despite a lack of fuel.
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Old 10-26-2021, 03:59 PM   #20
phiwum
 
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Default Re: Staff Countermeasures

Yeah, I think we're in agreement.

I think our apparent disagreement was because I mentioned the 12 turn duration of garden-variety Fire in order to suggest that it could be used to start a fire on items slower to light than a torch, cigar or beard, but that mention suggested we could cast fire on a sword and it would burn for 12 turns. That would be a very good spell in that case.

So, there's some wiggle room about just how flammable an item should be to use the controlled version of Fire. I'd allow a wooden staff. I might allow a door, but the garden-variety Fire would probably be more useful there. I wouldn't allow one to start a cat on fire -- unless it was one of those too-precious longhairs, but that's more about just desert than principled rule interpretation.
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