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Is the spell "grease" flammable?


Rules Questions

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Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:
Is the nonflammable grease waterproof?

Oil vs water. Hummm....


Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

say a party needs to chop firewood for some important reason like not freezing to death. They do not have an axe. The fighter has a sword. It can work but this would likely damage the blade. But the party has two clerics, both of whom can cast Spiritual Weapon. The holy weapon of one of the clerics is a whip, but the other cleric's god uses an axe.

Now the question: Can the spiritual weapon be used to chop wood, and is it reasonable to say that the spiritual whip...

If I were a god, and some numbskull cleric of mine used the manifestation of my preferred weapon to chop wood... somebody would be in serious need of an atonement. Just sayin'.


Now we are back to "can we use it extinguish fires?"


Funny enough, I used grease in conjuction with burning hands, my Dm master and I wondered the same thing, I as a player, actually told him not to do it, come on guys, let's face it, grease is a very versatile spell as it is ;p, I wouln't mind it to be burnable, just, not one of my priorities when I play.

Coincidentally in Dragon Age origins, this combo is totally possible.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Alitan wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

say a party needs to chop firewood for some important reason like not freezing to death. They do not have an axe. The fighter has a sword. It can work but this would likely damage the blade. But the party has two clerics, both of whom can cast Spiritual Weapon. The holy weapon of one of the clerics is a whip, but the other cleric's god uses an axe.

Now the question: Can the spiritual weapon be used to chop wood, and is it reasonable to say that the spiritual whip...

If I were a god, and some numbskull cleric of mine used the manifestation of my preferred weapon to chop wood... somebody would be in serious need of an atonement. Just sayin'.

If a god's favored weapon is an axe, he's probably the god of the lumberjacks.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Understanding that this is a fantasy game, and attempts to rigidly apply real-world physics is going to tend to break down, I ask:

Is butter (or vegetable oil or even partially hydrogenated vegetable oil) as flammable and easily ignited as lamp oil?


Brian, even things we know are used as fuels have very different ignition points. Kerosene and gasoline ignite under very different conditions. Some "fuels" will put out a match if you drop it in them. Others will explode violently.

Greases are the same way. Some are highly flammable, some you have to work pretty hard to burn.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I get that.

I'm responding more along the concept of "sympathetic magic". The spell component is butter, and it's argued that since butter lamps exist, and lamp oil is flammable enough to be used as a Molotov Cocktail, the magical grease generated by the spell can be lit on fire.

I'm curious if butter and lamp oil have the same ignition qualities. If they don't, and butter is "harder" to light on fire, I personally can see, quite easily, via the concept of sympathetic magic, why the magical grease could NOT be lit on fire.

And just to head it off at the pass, I'm not arguing either viewpoint, I'm trying to come to a rational/plausible explanation in my head, for my game, for whatever ruling I would use. I haven't made up my mind yet, as this particular question hasn't come up.

Consider this me furthering my education.


So, I took a stick of butter and tried to light it with an open flame. No go.

Then I slathered a banana peel with butter (now that's slippery!) and tried to light that. Nope.

Then I took a can of butter flavored cooking spray and coated another banana peel. Negative.

Then, since I had to make something burn, I just turned the can of cooking spray onto the open flame. Now that's flammable!

Cheliax

Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

The reason why people think Grease is flammable is the simple logic of sympathetic magic. In 1st ed, when it showed up as a 1st level spell in the Unearthed Arcana, the material component was a pork rind, butter, or similar greasy material. It logically follows that what you're conjuring is more of what you use as a material component. A pork rind conjures lard. Butter conjures butter. Goose grease conjures more goose grease.

Whacking things with the nerf bat because it's "only a 1st level spell" and making butter via sympathetic magic somehow conjure some sort of magically nonflammable KY Jelly makes no sense from a magical standpoint. If the resulting substance is slippery jelly, then the material component should likewise be jelly, seaweed, banana peels, or just a pinch of soap flakes.

If you must beat Grease with a nerf bat because you're tired of 1st level wizards flambeing goblins with burning butter, just sub in a 1st level Sorcerer/Wizard spell called "Soap" that acts in all ways as Grease except it requires a hotel-size soap bar as material component and has a logical reason for why it doesn't burn.

Lamp Oil does not burn easily

To get most lamp oils to flash point (and ignite) you need to get them to 200–300°F. Butter has a smoke point of 250–300°F, it's flash point is much higher.

kerosene, the flash point is about 95 °F

Generally, "lamp oil" and butter do not burn easily.


Happler wrote:
Lamp Oil does not burn easily

Perhaps in real life, but in PF life, it does burn just fine...

PRD - Core - Equipment wrote:

Oil: A pint of oil burns for 6 hours in a lantern or lamp. You can also use a flask of oil as a splash weapon. Use the rules for alchemist's fire (see Special Substances and Items on Table: Goods and Services), except that it takes a full-round action to prepare a flask with a fuse. Once it is thrown, there is a 50% chance of the flask igniting successfully.

You can pour a pint of oil on the ground to cover an area 5 feet square, provided that the surface is smooth. If lit, the oil burns for 2 rounds and deals 1d3 points of fire damage to each creature in the area.

Contributor

Happler wrote:
Kevin Andrew Murphy wrote:

The reason why people think Grease is flammable is the simple logic of sympathetic magic. In 1st ed, when it showed up as a 1st level spell in the Unearthed Arcana, the material component was a pork rind, butter, or similar greasy material. It logically follows that what you're conjuring is more of what you use as a material component. A pork rind conjures lard. Butter conjures butter. Goose grease conjures more goose grease.

Whacking things with the nerf bat because it's "only a 1st level spell" and making butter via sympathetic magic somehow conjure some sort of magically nonflammable KY Jelly makes no sense from a magical standpoint. If the resulting substance is slippery jelly, then the material component should likewise be jelly, seaweed, banana peels, or just a pinch of soap flakes.

If you must beat Grease with a nerf bat because you're tired of 1st level wizards flambeing goblins with burning butter, just sub in a 1st level Sorcerer/Wizard spell called "Soap" that acts in all ways as Grease except it requires a hotel-size soap bar as material component and has a logical reason for why it doesn't burn.

Lamp Oil does not burn easily

To get most lamp oils to flash point (and ignite) you need to get them to 200–300°F. Butter has a smoke point of 250–300°F, it's flash point is much higher.

kerosene, the flash point is about 95 °F

Generally, "lamp oil" and butter do not burn easily.

Well with kerosene, according to wikipedia, that goes back to 9th century Persia where it was distilled by real world alchemists, but didn't really get into the west until the 19th century. That means that for Golarion, unless we're talking Alkenstar, Numeria, or Qadira, you're not going to be getting it, and Numeria is probably using something futuristic an alien rather than something as mundane as kerosene. The rest of Golarion? Look at the fuel listing from wikipedia's history of oil lamps:

Quote:

Fuel

Fuels used for oil lamps depend on such variables as the location, time period and perhaps the reason for the lamp's use; ceremonial use of lamps for instance may require a particular oil or fragrance to be used. The main fuel in Western nations was olive oil in ancient Mediterranean cultures, though extracts from fish, crude fish oil, nuts, and cheese were also used. In much later times whale oil was favoured for its cleaner burning flame. Oozing crude petroleum was also used.[1] The fuel was poured into the fuel reservoir via the pouring hole in the discus.

Castor oil was used by the ancient Egyptians. In Africa, carrot oil, peanut oil, mustard oil and nettle oil are used. Indian lamps, especially for use in puja, almost exclusively use ghee as fuel.

Among other fuels used have been coal oil and paraffin/kerosene in paraffin lamps (also called kerosene lamps and coal oil lamps). Oil lamps can use many other fuels including jathropa seed oil and biodiesel along with waste vegetable oil, soybean oil, canola oil, hemp seed oil, sunflower seed oil, and olive oil.

It should be pointed out that ghee is butter, so Jalmeray, being the analogue for India, or at least Sri Lanka/Ceylon/Serendib, should be using butter as lamp oil.

There's a lot of handwavium going on because some lamp oils burn better than others, but it's easier for game play to pretend they all burn the same and just say for color that you're getting mammoth fat lamp oil in the Realm of the Mammoth Lords but kerosene in Alkenstar.

Then again, I prefer from a flavor and logic reason to use the expanded spell component list from 1st ed where any sort of greasy substance works rather than, for example, have to worry about where exactly a wizard is supposed to find butter in the Worldwound.


Oil lamps work the same way that candles do. You don't burn the oil directly, the oil is drawn into the wick where it encounters the heat of the flame and starts to evaporate. This mixes the oil with oxygen in the air and causes it to catch on fire. That's why the wick doesn't act like a fuse, it doesn't burn below the flash point of the oil. Candle wax is the same principle, the flame melts the wax, which then is drawn into the wick to burn. That's why you can't set a candle on fire like a log, but it will burn steadily for hours with a wick.

The trick to burning most flammable liquids is to find some way to aerosol the liquid so it mixes with air. That's why the cooking spray burns like a flame thrower when you spray it, but it is dang hard to burn on a banana peel.

Liquids which burn easily are those that either naturally evaporate rapidly and so have a good fuel-air mix at their surface, or those that have a very low flash point and evaporate quickly providing a good fuel-air mix as they burn. There are many, many factors that go into how well things burn. Most oils and greases are complex hydrocarbons. In general the larger, longer and more complex the molecule is, the more work you have to do to burn it.

Whether the grease spell creates a flammable grease is totally at the GM's discretion. Hell, I'd probably allow a sufficiently clever player to research a flammable version of grease if they wanted to.

Shadow Lodge

erian_7 wrote:

So, I took a stick of butter and tried to light it with an open flame. No go.

Then I slathered a banana peel with butter (now that's slippery!) and tried to light that. Nope.

Then I took a can of butter flavored cooking spray and coated another banana peel. Negative.

Then, since I had to make something burn, I just turned the can of cooking spray onto the open flame. Now that's flammable!

you can actually burn those substances if you can get the flame hot enough to convert the water in them, being that they are organic materials and full of water, to a gas leaving behind the oils. grease would catch fire in my games only if lit by magical means i.e. ignite, fire ball, burning hands, but not a tinder twig. I'm assuming the BTU;s in a fire ball are very high, while a flint and steel or tinder twig would be much much lower.


Here's a tidbit of knowledge I found from another forum online:

some dood wrote:

In the complete mage I found a 2nd level spell that is a flammable version of grease

This spell functions like grease (PH 237), but the liquid is also highly flammable. If any fire damage is dealt within the area of the spell (or to the subject of the spell), the spell's area (or subject) bursts into flame. This effect deals 4d6 points of damage to anyone in the area (or holding the subject), but also ends the spell's duration. A successful Reflex save halves this damage.

Not sure what complete mage is... but teamwork is better than no work. This appears to be a non PF legacy book.


This is the best conversation about butter ever. I'll alert Paula Dean.

Contributor

Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
This is the best conversation about butter ever. I'll alert Paula Dean.

Heck, there's even a campaign to "Go Bold With Butter" (seriously) but no notes for its use as lamp oil or a spell component.

How else are we supposed to make Goblins Foster? (I imagine this much like Bananas Foster, but with goblins in place of the bananas.)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Poldaran wrote:
The free Beginner Box player pack lists it as "non-flammable". Tiebreaker?

Technically that makes it inflammable. Right?

Oh English, you nut you.

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