Critical with fireball spell?


4th Edition

Liberty's Edge

I'm not sure how I feel one way or the other about this one, so I'm casting it out there. I gleaned it off the enWorld site--something about wizards can now roll a critical with a fireball spell.
Ouch(?) or Owesome(?)

Dark Archive

Heathansson wrote:

I'm not sure how I feel one way or the other about this one, so I'm casting it out there. I gleaned it off the enWorld site--something about wizards can now roll a critical with a fireball spell.

Ouch(?) or Owesome(?)

I'm cool with it. I spent years and years playing MERPS/Rolemaster. Critical spells are cool. I like me some burning goodness.

The Exchange

I think it's stupid. It isn't an attack roll so it shouldn't be subject to crits. How do you position a fireball to hit everyone in it's area in a particularly vital area? Stupid.

Dark Archive

Fake Healer wrote:

I think it's stupid. It isn't an attack roll so it shouldn't be subject to crits. How do you position a fireball to hit everyone in it's area in a particularly vital area? Stupid.

You don't. You reach down deep and get a surge of mystical badassedness to give that fire some extra burn.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Have I taken crazy pills, or wasn't there all of this hullabaloo in the very first wave of disinformation about 4E that one reason it was so great was it cut down a lot of unnecessary dice rolling to speed up combat?


Unless they are making a touch attack of some kind to hit with the fireball (or any spell, really), I would never allow that.

The Exchange

DangerDwarf wrote:
Fake Healer wrote:

I think it's stupid. It isn't an attack roll so it shouldn't be subject to crits. How do you position a fireball to hit everyone in it's area in a particularly vital area? Stupid.

You don't. You reach down deep and get a surge of mystical badassedness to give that fire some extra burn.

Sounds like empowered or maximized to me then. Critical hit is a hit to a vital area.

Liberty's Edge

Fake Healer wrote:

I think it's stupid. It isn't an attack roll so it shouldn't be subject to crits. How do you position a fireball to hit everyone in it's area in a particularly vital area? Stupid.

On that note, I'm wondering if "everybody gets critted in the blast radius, or you have to roll each one..." Also, I could see it being a bear if you have to confirm each crit on different a.c.'s of all targets subject, even if you have to confirm one crit, you still have to compare it to several possibly different armor classes.

Finally, an n.p.c. with a fireball is either reeeally lucky (tpk set up from a single roll of a d20) or just kinda dangerous. I can see the possible variance in combat outcomes getting really skewed if it's not adapted cunningly. It seems like a critical hit deck-level addition to the game that both the p.c.'s AND n.p.c.'s are using.
I wonder how it will be introduced without becoming too deadly?

Dark Archive

Heathansson wrote:
Fake Healer wrote:

I think it's stupid. It isn't an attack roll so it shouldn't be subject to crits. How do you position a fireball to hit everyone in it's area in a particularly vital area? Stupid.

On that note, I'm wondering if "everybody gets critted in the blast radius, or you have to roll each one..." Also, I could see it being a bear if you have to confirm each crit on different a.c.'s of all targets subject, even if you have to confirm one crit, you still have to compare it to several possibly different armor classes.

Finally, an n.p.c. with a fireball is either reeeally lucky (tpk set up from a single roll of a d20) or just kinda dangerous. I can see the possible variance in combat outcomes getting really skewed if it's not adapted cunningly. It seems like a critical hit deck-level addition to the game that both the p.c.'s AND n.p.c.'s are using.
I wonder how it will be introduced without becoming too deadly?

Off hand, and just pure conjecture here. It could easily be done by the saving throw. Abysmal save = wizard crit.

Liberty's Edge

I just wonder how they're going to do that without turning the bell curve into a line, or a pimple. I mean, that's utter chaos if it's done wrong.

Dark Archive

Heathansson wrote:
I just wonder how they're going to do that without turning the bell curve into a line, or a pimple. I mean, that's utter chaos if it's done wrong.

I don't think it will be any more game altering than some of the stuff introduced in 3e.

Liberty's Edge

I don't know...all things equal, this means that every time a wizard casts a fireball, there's a 5% chance of a tpk setup, if the rule is designed uncunningly. I'm just curious how they plan to balance that out.


If they "flipped" saves the way they did in Star Wars Saga edition, instead of having a "+ number" for a save, you have what is essentially taking 10 on the save as your defense rating, i.e. you have a reflex defense of 13 instead of a +3 reflex bonus.

If this is the case, if you roll a 20 to cast your fireball, you would crit everyone that you didn't need to roll a 20 or higher in order to overcome their reflex defense.

And there was another thread or blog or something where they said they are moving away from rolling d6s for spell damage, i.e. they may have a flat 4 pts per CL or something like that.

Liberty's Edge

Well, hell. For a clue to how fireball works in 4e., how's a thermal detonator work in Star Wars Saga edition?

Liberty's Edge

I wonder what happens when you fumble your shamen frohe.
(edit) I mean fireball.

Dark Archive

Fake Healer wrote:
Sounds like empowered or maximized to me then. Critical hit is a hit to a vital area.

Sure, in 3e terms. But this is a new and improved edition. Wording and rules can and will change.

Contributor

Well, now that fighters get spells - I mean "maneuvers" - it's only fair that wizards get power attacks and critical hits.


I'm thinking that it isn't what it sounds like. Rumor is that saves are becoming static, which means that casters will be rolling "magic attack rolls". In the relevent blog entry, only one enemy is noted as being critted which I take to mean that fireball mechanics have become akin to meteor swarm mechanics. So I'm guessing that a 4e mage can crit with a fireball but only on the target in the spread's center.


Fake Healer wrote:
Critical hit is a hit to a vital area.

To be perfectly honest, thats something I hope that 4e borrows from Star Wars Saga: Critical Hits are not strikes to a vital organ, but rather a spectacular hit against any creature, object, or item. Using this system in Star Wars allows one to critically hit a droid, a speeder, etc.

Where D&D is concerned, this allows for "spectacular" strikes against constructs, oozes and undead.

As tha addage goes: There's more than one way to skin the <insert creature type here>.

Sovereign Court

Heathansson wrote:
Well, hell. For a clue to how fireball works in 4e., how's a thermal detonator work in Star Wars Saga edition?

We've been using this in our SW Saga game for a bit now, and it seems to work well. Since my Zabrak soldier especially loves thermal detonator's it's become like second nature.

First of all, get used to the idea of a "Reflex Defense". Basically combine your reflex bonus to base 10 (plus some class bonuses) to generate a Reflex Defense. You use this against both for general attacks as well as area effect attacks.

When you make an area attack, you make a single roll and compare the result to th Reflex Defense of every target in the area. Creatures you hit take full damage, and creatures you miss take half damage.

Now, it took us a couple sessions to get used to this, but it actually does speed things up. Instead of the each target having to make a saving roll and do some math, there is only one roll, the attack roll. The DM just compares your roll against his 12 stormtroopers (or orcs) RefDef instead of having to roll a saving throw for each one.

Let me tell you, a critical hit with a thermal detonator does all kinds of fun unhappiness.

A critical hit with a fireball would be interesting, for certain.

Imagine a group of monster's you were targeting in a 20x20 area. Say, 4 Orcs (RefDef:12) and a Gnoll Sargent (RefDef:16). Your wizard has a spell attack bonus of, say, +5. So your wizard makes an attack roll of 10, he gets a 15. The Orcs take full damage, the Gnoll takes 1/2 damage.

If your wizard rolls a natural 20, he gets a critical with his spell. Dumb luck, wild magic spot, whatever you want to call it. The Orc's as well as the Gnoll would take double damage.

You can probably figure out the other permutations when you add in Evasion, etc.

Pete


Heathansson wrote:
I'm not sure how I feel one way or the other about this one, so I'm casting it out there.

I don't know. I'm having a hard time imagining how an area effect spell like Fireball or Cloudkill could critical anything, unless it critically hit everything in their areas of effect. These aren't, and never have been, selective damaging spells. Now, I could see targeting spells like Magic Missile or Flame Arrow critically striking someone. To me, a "magic critical" is when the target fails its save.


Varl wrote:
Heathansson wrote:
I'm not sure how I feel one way or the other about this one, so I'm casting it out there.
I don't know. I'm having a hard time imagining how an area effect spell like Fireball or Cloudkill could critical anything, unless it critically hit everything in their areas of effect. These aren't, and never have been, selective damaging spells. Now, I could see targeting spells like Magic Missile or Flame Arrow critically striking someone. To me, a "magic critical" is when the target fails its save.

Thanks for the example. Sounds like it will work.


Pete Apple wrote:
Heathansson wrote:
Well, hell. For a clue to how fireball works in 4e., how's a thermal detonator work in Star Wars Saga edition?

We've been using this in our SW Saga game for a bit now, and it seems to work well. Since my Zabrak soldier especially loves thermal detonator's it's become like second nature.

First of all, get used to the idea of a "Reflex Defense". Basically combine your reflex bonus to base 10 (plus some class bonuses) to generate a Reflex Defense. You use this against both for general attacks as well as area effect attacks.

When you make an area attack, you make a single roll and compare the result to th Reflex Defense of every target in the area. Creatures you hit take full damage, and creatures you miss take half damage.

Now, it took us a couple sessions to get used to this, but it actually does speed things up. Instead of the each target having to make a saving roll and do some math, there is only one roll, the attack roll. The DM just compares your roll against his 12 stormtroopers (or orcs) RefDef instead of having to roll a saving throw for each one.

Let me tell you, a critical hit with a thermal detonator does all kinds of fun unhappiness.

A critical hit with a fireball would be interesting, for certain.

Imagine a group of monster's you were targeting in a 20x20 area. Say, 4 Orcs (RefDef:12) and a Gnoll Sargent (RefDef:16). Your wizard has a spell attack bonus of, say, +5. So your wizard makes an attack roll of 10, he gets a 15. The Orcs take full damage, the Gnoll takes 1/2 damage.

If your wizard rolls a natural 20, he gets a critical with his spell. Dumb luck, wild magic spot, whatever you want to call it. The Orc's as well as the Gnoll would take double damage.

You can probably figure out the other permutations when you add in Evasion, etc.

Pete

I like the way this sounds. Thanks for the insight.


Sir Kaikillah wrote:


Thanks for the example. Sounds like it will work.

Here's something to ponder: if 4e goes with a targeting system for magic, which to date would be unprecedented in D&D as far as I know, it already would have an exception: Magic Missile. It hits unerringly, so do you still need to roll to hit? If so, that kinda kills the whole unerringly part of MM. If not, does unerringly mean it hits with a 20, meaning a critical? Heh. Talk about (potentially) making Magic Missile nastier!

Sovereign Court

Varl wrote:
Sir Kaikillah wrote:


Thanks for the example. Sounds like it will work.
Here's something to ponder: if 4e goes with a targeting system for magic, which to date would be unprecedented in D&D as far as I know, it already would have an exception: Magic Missile. It hits unerringly, so do you still need to roll to hit? If so, that kinda kills the whole unerringly part of MM. If not, does unerringly mean it hits with a 20, meaning a critical? Heh. Talk about (potentially) making Magic Missile nastier!

This is already in 3e. It's balanced by more damage with targeting. The orb spells can potentially do more damage then MM, but you have to target them. So MM will likely stay as "always hits" but will also likely stay at "less damage then a targeted spell".

Realize that the fireball example is probably not a Dex based roll. In fact I'm assuming that it's not, otherwise every mage is going to focus on dex, and that breaks the game. You target a 20x20 area and you hit that area. The roll is to see how effective your magic is in this particular instance, so you're bumping that result using something else, probably Spellcraft.

In StarWarsSaga, for example, the Jedi have a "Use the Force" check. They roll a d20, then add their "Use the Force" skill level to the result. This determines how well the Force responds to their request and the effectiveness of the result.

The closest thing to Fireball is probably Force Lightning which says(with a few bits about condition track removed)

"Make a Use the Force check. Make one roll and compare the result to the target's Reflex Defense. If the attack hits, the target takes 8d6 points of Force damage. If the attack misses, the target takes half damaage."

So, "SpellCraft" could be much more interesting to spend a Skill Focus feat on. And your wizard can do better because he's smarter, not necessarily because he can aim well. Although I'm sure there are spells that will still have that Dex component of ranged touch attack et al.


Varl wrote:
Here's something to ponder: if 4e goes with a targeting system for magic, which to date would be unprecedented in D&D as far as I know, it already would have an exception: Magic Missile. It hits unerringly, so do you still need to roll to hit? If so, that kinda kills the whole unerringly part of MM. If not, does unerringly mean it hits with a 20, meaning a critical? Heh. Talk about (potentially) making Magic Missile nastier!

In 4e, Magic Missile is a 2nd-level divine spell that creates temporary ammunition with an enhancement bonus.


Karelzarath wrote:
Varl wrote:
Here's something to ponder: if 4e goes with a targeting system for magic, which to date would be unprecedented in D&D as far as I know, it already would have an exception: Magic Missile. It hits unerringly, so do you still need to roll to hit? If so, that kinda kills the whole unerringly part of MM. If not, does unerringly mean it hits with a 20, meaning a critical? Heh. Talk about (potentially) making Magic Missile nastier!
In 4e, Magic Missile is a 2nd-level divine spell that creates temporary ammunition with an enhancement bonus.

I quit. What is a mage without magic missle?

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6

TheDrone wrote:


I quit. What is a mage without magic missle?

Ignore the troll. Checking enworld, there's been nothing about magic missile going away or becoming a cleric spell.


Russ Taylor wrote:
TheDrone wrote:


I quit. What is a mage without magic missle?
Ignore the troll. Checking enworld, there's been nothing about magic missile going away or becoming a cleric spell.

I can't quit, mama didn't raise no quitter.


Bah... talk about making magic even more powerful in order to satisfy the kidz. Well, if this is the case, I really hope they make a rule that says that the wizard has to make some sort of roll in order to safely position an area spell. It always bugged me that the wizard always, unerringly in six seconds could measure who would be hit by the fireball. He must have one hell of an eye!

I think that with every tidbit of 4E information I get, my desire for 4E shrinks by the minute. Now, it's slim to none.

And I really hope I'm not labeled a troll for saying so.


Russ Taylor wrote:
TheDrone wrote:


I quit. What is a mage without magic missle?
Ignore the troll. Checking enworld, there's been nothing about magic missile going away or becoming a cleric spell.

It was a joke building off the succubus change. Sheesh.


trellian wrote:

Bah... talk about making magic even more powerful in order to satisfy the kidz. Well, if this is the case, I really hope they make a rule that says that the wizard has to make some sort of roll in order to safely position an area spell. It always bugged me that the wizard always, unerringly in six seconds could measure who would be hit by the fireball. He must have one hell of an eye!

I think that with every tidbit of 4E information I get, my desire for 4E shrinks by the minute. Now, it's slim to none.

And I really hope I'm not labeled a troll for saying so.

I'll read the 4E rules and give it the benefit of the doubt, but I'm with you on the "less and less by the minute" thing.

Dark Archive

Also, it's not like this is a new concept. Spell criticals were introduced maybe 11 years ago in 2nd Edition as an optional rule.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Agreed

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