Lightning Bolt lines


Rules Questions

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Stubs McKenzie wrote:
but i think everyone can figure that one out just fine.

You would think so, but apparently, such is not the case the way people keep arguing about it in this thread.


Stubs McKenzie wrote:
SKR was trying to say that a lightning bolt is a 5 ft wide spell

But it's not, is it? If it were then you certainly could effect both the squares 1 and 2 with it by having it travel straight down the middle line there.

The rules here seem to be a mix of very specific with some hand-waving 'you know what we mean' and that's bound to please no one... Pat Morita's "Karate' so-so.. middle of road".

The spell has a point of origin. It's is one of the corners of the caster's square.

The spell does not have a point of termination, rather it simply has a direction which is not limited.

Both of these should be clear.

Now the squares it effects are based upon whether the line drawn 'passes through' the square or not.

Either passing through requires the interior of the line entering the interior of the square, traveling along the boundary of the square, or merely intersecting the boundary of the square (say at a corner).

Now the question is which of the three is the rule and which should be the rule.

SKR tells us that the first was meant by the rule, which allows one to safely fire a lightning bolt 120ft knowing that it cannot hit anyone but a wall barrier.

This doesn't feel right to me. Perhaps, as you say, its something that we have to accept from a grid-based system. But it seems as if the rules should be able to do better for us.

-James

Contributor

My suggestion:

Take a deep breath, calm down, and use the diagrams, they're clearer than the text, and better show the intent of how they're supposed to work.


Back to the 15' cone.

The diagram has

0xxx0
0xxx0
00x00
00C00

as a 15' cone (with C the caster, x squares hit by the cone and 0 squares missed by the cone).

Could someone go through the rules of area effects for me and show how each of these x's are determined?

The point of origin is either the upper left or upper right corner of C's square and distances are measured from corner to corner.

I know I'm missing something here, but I'm not seeing how it is not (say with the point of origin being the upper left):

00000
0xx00
xxxx0
0xx00
00C00

I can understand the idea of truncating this, if we wished to define quarter of a circle to be less than say a quarter of the field, but however you slice it one of the upper three x's in the published diagram is 20ft from the point of origin.

-James


james maissen wrote:

Back to the 15' cone.

Could someone go through the rules of area effects for me and show how each of these x's are determined?

Pretty much covered that in a previous post. Its a hold over from 3.0 and 3.5

See previous post, several back. End of Story.

Unless you are wanting to bog down your own personal game to a 30 min debate everytime an area of effect spell is cast, use the templates. They are there for a reason, are a very reasonable approximation of areas on a square grid, work well enough (they have been around for three editions now, so i would think so), and make sense in a common sense and rules intent kind of way.

I just don't get why the huge debate on your cone. If you want a cone to look all weird, not be symmetrical (which to me is not at all a cone then), go for it. But it will cause problems with spell effects if you try redesigning them on a square grid.

It's the old proverb of trying to put a square peg in a round hole.


Elder Eye wrote:
james maissen wrote:

Back to the 15' cone.

Could someone go through the rules of area effects for me and show how each of these x's are determined?

Pretty much covered that in a previous post. Its a hold over from 3.0 and 3.5

See previous post, several back. End of Story.

Umm.. look at the diagrams. Not just for the 15' cones which have the error, but for the 30' cones.

Notice how is doesn't look 'nice' and likely to you is not a cone? Notice how it tapers at the back? The same way that the 15' cone that I've drawn here does?

Those are the rules and the diagram is incorrect, evidently using as you quoted the old 3.0 rules that were changed when 3.5 came out.

We're playing PF now.. so shouldn't the diagram that WotC messed up get fixed by Paizo? (like they've done with so many of WotC's screw ups)

-James


1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:

My suggestion:

Take a deep breath, calm down, and use the diagrams, they're clearer than the text, and better show the intent of how they're supposed to work.

Sean- we are, or at least I am, quite calm. This isn't a matter of histrionics, simply a matter of wanting to know

1) What is RAI?

2) Do you agree that the wording is either incorrect or at least misleading?

Because as I see it, the existing definition of line suggests that the line MUST enter a square (break the border) for it to affect something WITHIN that square, and firing a line effect along the intersections of squares does not break any squares, therefore never affects anything. Yes, of course we can overlook this because "that's silly" but that's not the point. All I'm trying to get at is "yeah its worded poorly and that is not the intent - we'll try to clean that up at some point" or something along those lines.

Shadow Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I think people just get irritated that people make big long pedantic threads trying to clear up something that rarely (never?) causes a problem in the game.

Regardless of how you use it, wording, graphics, a string over the battle-mat, wire templates, duct tape and baling wire... as long as you apply it consistently it just doesn't matter.

The only time it's a 'problem' is on forum threads where people want to be pedantic or when you have a player who is trying to metagame the system to get things "just right". Neither situation generally makes people happy. Sean's suggestion of using the illustrations on the page makes it simple. Wire templates make it even simpler. If you have a player who argues with that then my suggestion is tell them to piss off because they aren't going to be much fun at the table regardless.


Is there really an issue with understanding that lines only affect one square, or are people trying to get perfect wording even though they know how it works?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
concerro wrote:
Is there really an issue with understanding that lines only affect one square, or are people trying to get perfect wording even though they know how it works?

SOME people are merely pointing out poor wording with the hopes that it improves in later printings or versions of the game. I've already tried to make painfully clear that yes, of course some things are "obvious" but why in the name of all that is holy is it a crime to point out poor wording and ask that it be fixed at some point in the future?

If you don't care how something is worded in the book why buy a book full of rules? You can play cops and robbers without a book of rules, you can pretend to be an elf without a book of rules, you can do lots of things without books full of rules. However, there IS a big (BIG) book full of rules for Pathfinder. It'd be nice if the rules didn't contradict the intention. Calling out contradictions shouldn't be a crime, it should be appreciated by the designers so they can continue to perfect the system.

Otherwise just throw the book out the window and say "I don't need stupid rules to understand how sneaking works." etc.


0gre wrote:
The only time it's a 'problem' is on forum threads where people want to be pedantic or when you have a player who is trying to metagame the system to get things "just right".

I'll disagree here. Wanting a well-defined basis of the rules is not at all unreasonable. Unclear rules increase the amount of rules that a GM must adjudicate, which rarely leave all players happy. And despite the overbearing assumption to the opposite, game rules should meet a level of consensus between the players and the GM. Ultimately the GM has the final say so, but without consensus, fun for all is not guaranteed.

Truth be told, many players WANT clearly defined expectations. Attempting to exclude those players outright is kinda presumptuous.

And in my opinion, the rule could simply add "If the line of effect touches multiple squares without passing through any of them, the caster decides which side of the line the spell effect continues on. This decision applies to all squares of a similar configuration for that spellcast."

Shadow Lodge

jreyst wrote:
Because as I see it, the existing definition of line suggests that the line MUST enter a square (break the border) for it to affect something WITHIN that square, and firing a line effect along the intersections of squares does not break any squares, therefore never affects anything.

Then don't do that. Make sure your lines actually pass through the spaces. I posted an illustration early in the thread showing how you can make any line effect you want legally with the RAW.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
0gre wrote:
Then don't do that. Make sure your lines actually pass through the spaces. I posted an illustration early in the thread showing how you can make any line effect you want legally with the RAW.

So instead of fixing the wording in a future revision so that no one has this question ever again you suggest everyone always angle their line effects by 1 degree?

Shadow Lodge

jreyst wrote:
0gre wrote:
Then don't do that. Make sure your lines actually pass through the spaces. I posted an illustration early in the thread showing how you can make any line effect you want legally with the RAW.
So instead of fixing the wording in a future revision so that no one has this question ever again you suggest everyone always angle their line effects by 1 degree?

The current wording works. The previous version didn't.

When the developers have the time to work on issues in in-print products I would prefer they spend their time working on issues that actually affect the game, there are plenty of those. Arguing over some phraseology that might be made slightly better but is rarely if ever subject to debate at the gaming table is a waste.

Maybe a few years down the road Paizo will release PF core book 2.0. If/ when that happens this would be an excellent topic to bring up.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I had a long response composed by I'll just say in this case the RAI contradicts the RAW. This causes confusion to those who read the rules. It is my opinion that these sorts of things should be fixed at some point. Some of you disagree with fixing mistakes- that's fine. I'm just trying to add this to the pile of things I'd like to see eventually fixed.


0gre wrote:
jreyst wrote:
0gre wrote:
Then don't do that. Make sure your lines actually pass through the spaces. I posted an illustration early in the thread showing how you can make any line effect you want legally with the RAW.
So instead of fixing the wording in a future revision so that no one has this question ever again you suggest everyone always angle their line effects by 1 degree?

The current wording works. The previous version didn't.

When the developers have the time to work on issues in in-print products I would prefer they spend their time working on issues that actually effect the game, there are plenty of those. Arguing over some phraseology that might be made slightly better but is rarely if ever subject to debate at the gaming table is a waste.

Maybe a few years down the road Paizo will release PF core book 2.0. If/ when that happens this would be an excellent topic to bring up.

Or maybe a designer can stick a flag on the post, look at all the great ideas that were offered back then, and make a decision when the time comes.


0gre wrote:


Then don't do that. Make sure your lines actually pass through the spaces. I posted an illustration early in the thread showing how you can make any line effect you want legally with the RAW.

Except the illustrations you linked were incorrect.

You drew lines that weren't exactly straight (or had a thickness) and included a few squares that shouldn't have been included.

Which does tend to support the 'it's not as clear as you'd think it would be'.

Also.. it's not a question of whether you 'do or don't do' something, but rather understanding that with the system of lines it's possible to fire a lightning bolt at a wall (to damage it) traveling through crowds of people without worrying about hitting them. It strains the belief a bit more than seems necessary even for a turn based grid combat system.

-James

Paizo Employee Senior Software Developer

Removed some sniping and what-not. Seriously, accusing posters of having recently received lobotomies is not cool.

Shadow Lodge

james maissen wrote:

Except the illustrations you linked were incorrect.

You drew lines that weren't exactly straight (or had a thickness) and included a few squares that shouldn't have been included.

#1 It is impossible to draw a line with no thickness.

#2 It doesn't matter.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
0gre wrote:


#1 It is impossible to draw a line with no thickness.

Euclid would disagree.

Definition 2 link


OK, OK, OK!

I was playing the rule incorrectly, stop.

Others were also playing rule incorrectly, stop.

The text is, as always, a little poor, and open to some alternative interpretation.

We all now know what the rules actually are, stop.

Let's move on, and thanks for the clarification!

Shadow Lodge

chopswil wrote:
0gre wrote:


#1 It is impossible to draw a line with no thickness.

Euclid would disagree.

Definition 2 link

I didn't say it was impossible for a line to have no thickness, I said it was impossible to draw one with no thickness.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Wake me up when my gaming group begins to argue the basics of geometry during my games. Maybe then I'll reconsider.


0gre wrote:
james maissen wrote:

Except the illustrations you linked were incorrect.

You drew lines that weren't exactly straight (or had a thickness) and included a few squares that shouldn't have been included.

#1 It is impossible to draw a line with no thickness.

#2 It doesn't matter.

#1 that's true, but you shouldn't be including squares based on the thickness of the line that you drew... rather it should be where the line should be going through.

#2 if you're using those templates to see which squares you hit.. well then you're getting it wrong as you're hitting more squares than you should with those lines.

-James


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
Wake me up when my gaming group begins to argue the basics of geometry during my games. Maybe then I'll reconsider.

Does that mean you'll refrain from continuing to say how fine everything is in this thread?

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
jreyst wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
Wake me up when my gaming group begins to argue the basics of geometry during my games. Maybe then I'll reconsider.
Does that mean you'll refrain from continuing to say how fine everything is in this thread?

Not until you tell me what it means "to roll a die".

There's no clear definition of that in the Core Rulebook. Seriously, how come people are even playing this game? The rules are so vauge, almost as if the designers want to intentionally confuse the players and cause disruption. Does "rolling" means that it has to, actually, roll? For how long? From what height is the die to be dropped? Does a die that falls down from the table count? One that rolls under my sofa?

Shadow Lodge

james maissen wrote:
0gre wrote:
james maissen wrote:

Except the illustrations you linked were incorrect.

You drew lines that weren't exactly straight (or had a thickness) and included a few squares that shouldn't have been included.

#1 It is impossible to draw a line with no thickness.

#2 It doesn't matter.

#1 that's true, but you shouldn't be including squares based on the thickness of the line that you drew... rather it should be where the line should be going through.

#2 if you're using those templates to see which squares you hit.. well then you're getting it wrong as you're hitting more squares than you should with those lines.

-James

I did it in about 2 minutes. Since it's important to you perhaps you can spend the time redrawing it with micro-thin lines and figuring out which are which.


If you say the sofa roll counts i am taking my books and going home! There is NO WAY i am crouching down under your sofa to try and see what i rolled, you have cats... CATS!!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Stubs McKenzie wrote:
If you say the sofa roll counts i am taking my books and going home! There is NO WAY i am crouching down under your sofa to try and see what i rolled, you have cats... CATS!!

This brings us to yet another crucially important point.

Imagine a cat snatches a die from the table. The assembled players give a gallant chase against the dastardly feline, and after suffering several points of probably nonlethal damage they liberate the shining polyhedron (unless the players are Commoners or Wizards, in which case they are screwed).

Now, if said dice was retrieved so that one could notice what number was facing up at the moment that it was freed from the cat's clutches, does that roll count? We must take into account the possibility of the cat being trained by one of the players (or DM) in order to intercept the dice which are about to land with an unfavourable result.

James Jacobs, please weigh in.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I may be going out on a limb but I say that rules text that directly contradicting the provided graphic examples is somewhat more deserving of clarification vs. a definition of rolling dice lol


Where's the Weed? wrote:

So I've been playing a rule, that I can't confirm in the Player's Rulebook, for like, forever. I picked up this rule from other players many many moons ago and haven't ever questioned it until a player asked me where in the rulebook it says this is possible....

I cast Lightning Bolt down a 10ft. wide corridor. I choose the corner of my square that runs down between the two rows of squares thus Bolting every square.
In effect, I'm hitting everything in a 120ft line down 2 rows.

In the rulebook it does give examples of "line" attacks and none of them actually use this "getting two rows in one" tactic.

Is that because I've had it wrong all this time, or can it be done?

I would say no. Simply because, the two 5-foot squares would make 10 feet, correct? One person is in Line A the other in line B. They take up a 5 foot square, but in reality they are only 2-3 ft wide. So you have a lightning bolt that hits everything in a 5 foot line. You choose to shoot it between the 2 square, saying that it makes sense, you can do it.

Well I as DM would say, that both people, step slightly to the side, staying in their 5 foot square, but all together dodging the lightning bolt. See what I did there? Trying to make a 5 ft aoe hit 10 ft in a grid system adds way more complication then I feel you're willing to deal with.

If you wanted it to be mechanics, if you fired it like that, in my game. I would treat all players as if they had evasion. Meaning, instead of reflex saving for half damage, they would reflex save for no damage. Since, firing the lightning down a line of 5 ft squares, implies that the target is standing directly in it's path. Where-as firing it down an intersection, would show that the targets are standing just only slightly off the the side of it's path, and thus should be treated differently.


Where's the Weed? wrote:
In effect, I'm hitting everything in a 120ft line down 2 rows.

The rules text and the example text in the 3.5 D&D PHB differed slightly.

"A line-shaped spell affects all creatures in squares that the line passes through."

"All squares through which the line passes or touches are affected by the attack."

http://img503.imageshack.us/img503/4143/confusedrt9.gif

WotC went went with the more generous interpretation when skip Williams addressed the issue in a RotGA. Also the more generous interpretation was used by the D&D Minis skirmish game.

HOWEVER this was never addressed by errata, so the SRD was always the less generous "A line-shaped spell affects all creatures in squares that the line passes through." Since Pathfinder was based off the SRD, that lack of errata means lines are only 1 square wide.


0gre wrote:


I did it in about 2 minutes. Since it's important to you perhaps you can spend the time redrawing it with micro-thin lines and figuring out which are which.

Hey I just figured that before you refer people to something that you know is wrong that you could at least tell them. But whatever,

James


Re: 15-foot cones

"A cone-shaped spell shoots away from you in a quarter-circle in the direction you designate."

Therefore, a 15 foot cone should look like these:

(X is cone area, 0 is rest of implied circle, c is caster)
__XX______0X__
_XXXX____00XX_
00XX00__000XXX
00c.c00__00c000
_0000____0000_
__00______00__

Not this:
_XXX_
_XXX_
__X__
__c__

Shadow Lodge

james maissen wrote:
0gre wrote:


I did it in about 2 minutes. Since it's important to you perhaps you can spend the time redrawing it with micro-thin lines and figuring out which are which.

Hey I just figured that before you refer people to something that you know is wrong that you could at least tell them. But whatever,

James

I'm waiting for your reproduction to show exactly how wrong I was... was there one extra square? Two? Three?

C'mon, this is obviously important to you. Where is your sense of precision? Do you use a compass and a high precision ruler in your games?

Shadow Lodge

This is fascinating. I love these little rule glitches.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Varthanna wrote:
This is fascinating. I love these little rule glitches.

As do I. ;D


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The way I handle area of effect spells...

Cones : 45 Degree angle. N feet long. Pick your direction. Don't care about squares on the grid. The spell goes off in a cone. If it hits a wall, it damages the wall, and either blows through or stops (if it can't destroy the wall). I use wire guides or else put down N foot long strips of thread to indicate the cone. If a square is only partially in the area of effect, and there's someone there, they get a bonus to saving throw between +1 and +5 (depending on how much of the square is effected).

Lines : Same as cones, but 5 foot wide line. Pick the line. Anyone partially effected get's bonus to save.

Burst : Same as cones/line. Pick the center point and drop the hoop on the board, done.

I find that premade wire forms work well, as do bits of string or piano wire bent in circles. I've also used bent wire coathangers with pits of tape to represent the 5 foot measurements (this is really good for cones and lines). Cuts down on arguments.


jreyst wrote:
concerro wrote:
Is there really an issue with understanding that lines only affect one square, or are people trying to get perfect wording even though they know how it works?

SOME people are merely pointing out poor wording with the hopes that it improves in later printings or versions of the game. I've already tried to make painfully clear that yes, of course some things are "obvious" but why in the name of all that is holy is it a crime to point out poor wording and ask that it be fixed at some point in the future?

If you don't care how something is worded in the book why buy a book full of rules? You can play cops and robbers without a book of rules, you can pretend to be an elf without a book of rules, you can do lots of things without books full of rules. However, there IS a big (BIG) book full of rules for Pathfinder. It'd be nice if the rules didn't contradict the intention. Calling out contradictions shouldn't be a crime, it should be appreciated by the designers so they can continue to perfect the system.

Otherwise just throw the book out the window and say "I don't need stupid rules to understand how sneaking works." etc.

I did not notice the 3.5 wording, but I do think it is better to have a diagram going in a straight line, and one with a line at an angle with an explanation. The could be done in an FAQ. He has been on the ball with the FAQ's lately so I guess that seems like a valid option.


I was under the impression that if the "insert whatever here" occupied more than 1/2 the square that it occupies then it has an effect otherwise it doesn't

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The line spells, in my thoughts, should just say you have a source square and a target square. draw a line between them and it effects the squares that best represent that line (squares do not make good lines other than on N-E-S-W). That pick any corner nonsense messes everything up.

No spells should be effecting half a square, so that half one/half other to hit two at once will never happen.


0gre wrote:


I'm waiting for your reproduction to show exactly how wrong I was... was there one extra square? Two? Three?

My apologies I had assumed that you knew.

Your lines that should have crossed squares diagonally in corners did not, and you counted extra squares that way.

I had thought that you were just being snarky. Again please except my apologies.

For example your downward diagonal line (example 3 row 1) should be 2 then 2 then 2 then 2 as it is over 2 and down 1, but you have it as 2 then 3 then 3 then 2.

-James

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