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Burning hands = auto burning?


Rules Questions


2 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

a level 5 sorcerer does burning hands on some offending street thug.

the target is wearing leathers and cloth.

due to the wording of the spell it seems as if the target would automatically catch fire.

burning hands wrote:

Any creature in the area of the flames takes 1d4 points of fire damage per caster level (maximum 5d4).

Flammable materials burn if the flames touch them. A character can extinguish burning items as a full-round action.

does the catch fire component of the spell mean only non-attended items or does the spell basically cause fire to any target that can burn?

I personally give the target 2 saves, 1 for half damage and 1 to avoid catching on fire. is that reasonable or am i doing it wrong.


blue_the_wolf wrote:
does the catch fire component of the spell mean only non-attended items or does the spell basically cause fire to any target that can burn?

Saving Throws: "Nonmagical, unattended items never make saving throws. They are considered to have failed their saving throws, so they are always fully affected by spells and other attacks that allow saving throws to resist or negate. An item attended by a character (being grasped, touched, or worn) makes saving throws as the character (that is, using the character's saving throw bonus). Magic items always get saving throws. A magic item's Fortitude, Reflex, and Will save bonuses are equal to 2 + half its caster level. An attended magic item either makes saving throws as its owner or uses its own saving throw bonus, whichever is better."

Items Surviving after a Saving Throw: "Unless the descriptive text for the spell specifies otherwise, all items carried or worn by a creature are assumed to survive a magical attack. If a creature rolls a natural 1 on its saving throw against the effect, however, an exposed item is harmed (if the attack can harm objects). Refer to Table: Items Affected by Magical Attacks: Items Affected by Magical Attacks. Determine which four objects carried or worn by the creature are most likely to be affected and roll randomly among them. The randomly determined item must make a saving throw against the attack form and take whatever damage the attack dealt.

If the selected item is not carried or worn and is not magical, it does not get a saving throw. It simply is dealt the appropriate damage."


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The only time attended objects take damage from an area of effect spell is if their wearer rolls a 1 one their saving through. (Which I find to be the often ignored rule in the game) In which case there is a chart to determine what objects takes damage in the core rules.

I personally define flammable objects as object meant to fuel fire. A puddle of lamp oil sure. A strategically placed hay or kindling okay. But I am simple not going to try to keep up with the environmental damage of object in a fireballs radius.


right, and more specifically i would say that the 'all items carried or worn by a creature are assumed to survive a magical attack' line means that they suffer no damage/effect what-so-ever (unless you roll a Natural 1).
if the target creature rolls a Nat 1, I believe that it doesn't matter whether their items are magical or non-magical, since there is no saving throw for the 'catch on fire' effect (i don't see how the 'save for half' can possibly apply - catching on fire rules normally allows reflex saves, those rules are written for characters AFAIK). so said items would take 1d6 fire damage per round until extinguished.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Lamp oil isn't like petroleum. It's actually a vegetable or fish oil, and doesn't burn easily. It burns only in the right conditions. An oil lamp has a wick that is drenched in oil so that would be one way, pouring it over someone's clothing would be another way.

Or so I've been told.


Maezer wrote:
But I am simple not going to try to keep up with the environmental damage of object in a fireballs radius.

Fireballs don't cause objects to catch on fire per RAW: EDIT: SEE BELOW POST :-)

I would say that larger objects with larger DR wouldn't be in as much danger of being destroyed given the DR/object damage rules:

PRD wrote:
Energy Attacks: Energy attacks deal half damage to most objects. Divide the damage by 2 before applying the object's hardness. Some energy types might be particularly effective against certain objects, subject to GM discretion. For example, fire might do full damage against parchment, cloth, and other objects that burn easily. Sonic might do full damage against glass and crystal objects.

I believe that 'catching on fire' is supposed to do 1d6 ongoing, so that could easily be absorbed by the Hardness of many objects, even if you don't halve the damage (since we are discussing flammable objects). The rules don't cover it, but it seems like if the fire damage is entirely absorbed by Hardness, the fire should self-extinguish. Perhaps it would be reasonable to apply double damage for 'Vulnerable' AND not halving vs. Hardness, which makes it get thru Hardness 5 about 2/3 of the time... even though the RAW doesn't make that connection for objects that should plausibly be subject to it, e.g. parchment...?

Liberty's Edge Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

Quandary wrote:
Maezer wrote:
But I am simple not going to try to keep up with the environmental damage of object in a fireballs radius.
Fireballs don't cause objects to catch on fire per RAW:
PRD wrote:
Spells with an instantaneous duration don't normally set a character on fire, since the heat and flame from these come and go in a flash.
Burning Hands is an exception to the rule, since it specifically says that items catch on fire. Burning Hands certainly can affect many UN attended objects very easily, albeit I would say that larger objects with larger DR wouldn't be in as much danger of being destroyed given the DR/object damage rules:
PRD wrote:
Energy Attacks: Energy attacks deal half damage to most objects. Divide the damage by 2 before applying the object's hardness. Some energy types might be particularly effective against certain objects, subject to GM discretion. For example, fire might do full damage against parchment, cloth, and other objects that burn easily. Sonic might do full damage against glass and crystal objects.
I believe that 'catching on fire' is supposed to do 1d8 ongoing, so that could easily be absorbed by the DR of many objects, even if you don't halve the damage (since we are discussing flammable objects). The rules don't cover it, but it seems like if the fire damage is entirely absorbed by DR, the fire should self-extinguish.

Um, Quadry:

'The fireball sets fire to combustibles and damages objects in the area. It can melt metals with low melting points, such as lead, gold, copper, silver, and bronze. If the damage caused to an interposing barrier shatters or breaks through it, the fireball may continue beyond the barrier if the area permits; otherwise it stops at the barrier just as any other spell effect does.'


So what instantaneous fire spell DOESN'T have said wording? :-) (scorching ray, flame strike are some)


then look at something like Blistering Invective which specifically calls out the 'catch on fire' condition...implies that the additional wording is needed for this condition to apply?

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/b/blistering

Catching on Fire wrote:

Characters exposed to burning oil, bonfires, and non-instantaneous magic fires might find their clothes, hair, or equipment on fire. Spells with an instantaneous duration don't normally set a character on fire, since the heat and flame from these come and go in a flash.

Characters at risk of catching fire are allowed a DC 15 Reflex save to avoid this fate. If a character's clothes or hair catch fire, he takes 1d6 points of damage immediately. In each subsequent round, the burning character must make another Reflex saving throw. Failure means he takes another 1d6 points of damage that round. Success means that the fire has gone out—that is, once he succeeds on his saving throw, he's no longer on fire.

A character on fire may automatically extinguish the flames by jumping into enough water to douse himself. If no body of water is at hand, rolling on the ground or smothering the fire with cloaks or the like permits the character another save with a +4 bonus.

Those whose clothes or equipment catch fire must make DC 15 Reflex saves for each item. Flammable items that fail take the same amount of damage as the character.

Liberty's Edge Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

Quandary wrote:
So what instantaneous fire spell DOESN'T have said wording? :-) (scorching ray, flame strike are some)

Just pointing out RAW does in fact say fireball sets things on fire, you mentioned it does not.


of course, that's why I put 'edit: see below post' next to my original post which i preserved to show my error for all time :-)
(i removed some follow up stuff just because i prefer to keep posts as short as possible, and they were un-important compared to my basic mistake there)
it did seem ironic that some of the most iconic fire spells (burning hands, fireball) are themselves exceptions to the 'general rule', but there certainly are cases where the general rule applies.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Blistering invective require a ST against the spell, the rules you cite require an ST against an unmodified DC of 15.

As Burning hands say "Flammable materials burn if the flames touch them." I would say that:
- if you make a reflex ST against the spell there is no risk of your gear catching fire;
- if you fail your ST you get a second reflex ST at a DC of 15 to avoid catching fire.

Shadow Lodge

Diego Rossi wrote:

Blistering invective require a ST against the spell, the rules you cite require an ST against an unmodified DC of 15.

As Burning hands say "Flammable materials burn if the flames touch them." I would say that:
- if you make a reflex ST against the spell there is no risk of your gear catching fire;
- if you fail your ST you get a second reflex ST at a DC of 15 to avoid catching fire.

/shrug. Even if you pass your saving through, you still take fire damage (unless you have evasion). Is this fire damage just from heat, then?


i don't think there's an allowed save for burning hands/fireball, the spell says they just 'burn', no save involved. obviously, normal fires allow saves, but these aren't normal fires. i hit faq though.


Serum wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

Blistering invective require a ST against the spell, the rules you cite require an ST against an unmodified DC of 15.

As Burning hands say "Flammable materials burn if the flames touch them." I would say that:
/shrug. Even if you pass your saving through, you still take fire damage (unless you have evasion). Is this fire damage just from heat, then?

Worn or carried items are immune unless you Roll a Natural 1. But unattended objects can certainly be within the AoE.

These will take normal damage from Fireballs. Burning Hands specifically says it's damage apples vs. CHARACTERS
(albeit, given the entire Catching On Fire rules is written to apply to characters, I don't know if one should get that specific there)
but it also has the line saying objects 'touched' by the flame (within AoE for sure) catch on fire,
which is independent of them being damaged by the direct damage effect of the spell.
Same for Fireball, if the Fireball damage didn't get past unattended objects' Hardness, they still 'catch on fire' if combustible.

Liberty's Edge Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014, Marathon Voter 2015

Quandary wrote:
Serum wrote:
Diego Rossi wrote:

Blistering invective require a ST against the spell, the rules you cite require an ST against an unmodified DC of 15.

As Burning hands say "Flammable materials burn if the flames touch them." I would say that:
/shrug. Even if you pass your saving through, you still take fire damage (unless you have evasion). Is this fire damage just from heat, then?

Worn or carried items are immune unless you Roll a Natural 1. But unattended objects can certainly be within the AoE.

These will take normal damage from Fireballs. Burning Hands specifically says it's damage apples vs. CHARACTERS
(albeit, given the entire Catching On Fire rules is written to apply to characters, I don't know if one should get that specific there)
but it also has the line saying objects 'touched' by the flame (within AoE for sure) catch on fire,
which is independent of them being damaged by the direct damage effect of the spell.
Same for Fireball, if the Fireball damage didn't get past unattended objects' Hardness, they still 'catch on fire' if combustible.

I hate when damage 'apples' my characters.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You prefer when it "Microsoft" them?


Quandary wrote:
i don't think there's an allowed save for burning hands/fireball, the spell says they just 'burn', no save involved. obviously, normal fires allow saves, but these aren't normal fires. i hit faq though.

Actually, Burning Hands says "Saving Throw Reflex half."


Here's my take on things:

Some fire spells do catch a player on fire - they have fairly specific wording for it, however. See Burning Gaze, for an example: "Creatures damaged by the spell must make a Reflex save or catch fire." They pretty much all specifically ask for reflex save to avoid catching fire.

Burning Hands gives the character a reflex save for half damage from the spell. It does not say anything about a character catching fire. It does say, unrelated to the character taking damage, that "Flammable materials burn if the flames touch them." While virtually anything will burn, given a sufficiently hot fire, the Energy Attacks subsection under Damaging Objects says "...fire might do full damage against parchment, cloth, and other objects that burn easily" - I take this to be the intended definition of "flammable materials." Which means that, unless you roll a natural 1 on your save for half damage, such things as leather or metal armor, leather backpacks, and other gear other than things like paper and flasks of oil, would not have to worry about catching fire.


Astellus the Traveler wrote:

Here's my take on things:

Some fire spells do catch a player on fire - they have fairly specific wording for it, however. See Burning Gaze, for an example: "Creatures damaged by the spell must make a Reflex save or catch fire." They pretty much all specifically ask for reflex save to avoid catching fire.

Burning Hands gives the character a reflex save for half damage from the spell. It does not say anything about a character catching fire. It does say, unrelated to the character taking damage, that "Flammable materials burn if the flames touch them." While virtually anything will burn, given a sufficiently hot fire, the Energy Attacks subsection under Damaging Objects says "...fire might do full damage against parchment, cloth, and other objects that burn easily" - I take this to be the intended definition of "flammable materials." Which means that, unless you roll a natural 1 on your save for half damage, such things as leather or metal armor, leather backpacks, and other gear other than things like paper and flasks of oil, would not have to worry about catching fire.

I agree with Astellus on this one. Although I believe they put in the flavor of burning combustibles for more cinematic situations. A sorcerer wanting to start a campfire without flint and tinder or a wizard having to debate whether or not he wants to blast off a fireball in a room filled with barrels of black powder.

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