# Lightning Bolt lines

### Rules Questions

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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?

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 believe that would be incorrect. Direct line should be down one line of squares and not two.

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?

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/magic

heres the rule for lines under aiming

A line-shaped spell shoots away from you in a line in the direction you designate. It starts from any corner of your square and extends to the limit of its range or until it strikes a barrier that blocks line of effect. A line-shaped spell affects all creatures in squares through which the line passes.

It seems that technically you're correct. The line going down the middle of the cooridoor does indeed touch both squares and would fry them both.

In a prior edition the caster of a Lightning Bolt could choose to make it half as long but 10 feet wide instead of 5 feet. I imagine somebody never realized that this is no longer the case.

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

In v3.5, lines used to effect every square they touched. Therefore you could actually effect two rows of squares like you describe.

However, it has been changed in Pathfinder. Now lines only effect squares they pass through, not merely touch. Thus, you can only effect a single row of squares now.

Ravingdork wrote:

In v3.5, lines used to effect every square they touched. Therefore you could actually effect two rows of squares like you describe.

However, it has been changed in Pathfinder. Now lines only effect squares they pass through, not merely touch. Thus, you can only effect a single row of squares now.

Do they have a definition for passing through? The only one I found was for flanking and it included corners.

Where's the Weed? wrote:

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

Of course it can be done, that's how lines work.

Lines aren't grid squares and there's no reason to be making the leap that a line has to be within a single grid square along a path.

They could have designed lines as marching in squares directly towards a target square... but they didn't... and in fact its simpler this way.

-James

Nope,
I am prety sure you've been doing it wrong, since all the spell effects are dictated in the Core Rulebook, and lightning bolt being a line follows the diagrams on page 215 of the Core rulebook.

Seems to me that a combination of factors is where the mixup has come from (especially as you put it, you picked up this rule from other players).

Seems like the first issue is an old hold-over from 2nd edition where you could make a lightning bolt either do a long five-foot wide bolt or a shorter 10-foot wide bolt.

Also, I think the mixup might also come from the difference in spell effects for a radius spread and a line. With a radius spread effect, you pick a crosshair of hexes to be the center of the effect (i.e. a fireball). With a line effect spell, you do pick a corner of your square and you pick a corner of the farthest square it will effect, but you would use a drawn line, ruler, straightedge, etc) to check this new line between the chosen corners, and per the Core Rules,

"a line-shaped spell affects all creatures in squares through which the line passes".

Thus, it effects only squares along this new line(see the diagrams on page 215). If you do this correctly, you can mimic all the diagrams in the book - they are all only 1 square wide. With your idea of the line down the middle of two rows, you are not affecting any squares as it does not pass through any.

The spell diagrams pretty much sum this up as does the area of effect descriptions on the same page.

 Contributor

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See the line diagram in the Core Rulebook. Note that it's only one square wide.

As the Thrall of Orcus mentioned, there used to be versions of the spell in previous rules which allowed you to double the width by halving the length. Bringing that option back could be a fun house rule for DMs who want to see more balance between the utility of Fireball and Lightning Bolt.

Since Lightning Bolt often shows up on spell lists which lack Fireball this would give a little power boost to classes like Adept and Witch. I don't think it would be enough to upset game balance significantly though.

Devilkiller wrote:

As the Thrall of Orcus mentioned, there used to be versions of the spell in previous rules which allowed you to double the width by halving the length. Bringing that option back could be a fun house rule for DMs who want to see more balance between the utility of Fireball and Lightning Bolt.

Since Lightning Bolt often shows up on spell lists which lack Fireball this would give a little power boost to classes like Adept and Witch. I don't think it would be enough to upset game balance significantly though.

True enough, though I figure that is what the Widen Spell Metamagic feat would be for! ;)

Widen Spell (Metamagic)
You can cast your spells so that they occupy a larger space.

Benefit: You can alter a burst, emanation, line, or spread-shaped spell to increase its area. Any numeric measurements of the spell's area increase by 100%. A widened spell uses up a spell slot three levels higher than the spell's actual level.
Spells that do not have an area of one of these four sorts are not affected by this feat.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
See the line diagram in the Core Rulebook. Note that it's only one square wide.

Yeah, speaking of those.. when are they going to be errata'd/fixed?

The 15' cone (version B) doesn't seem to start at the corner of a square for example.

Likewise your 3rd version of a line is two squares wide for half its length.

But ignoring the diagrams for a second... let's go by the wording describing it.

If I pick a corner of my square for the point of origin that's perfectly legal, right? So if we consider say version 2 or 3 of the line it could be made to look like versions 1 & 2 respectively but with the caster one square to the left. Or am I wrong here?

Are you saying that I have to aim for the center of a target square rather than a grid intersection? This greatly limits the number of directions that you can choose, but this number increases with the length of the line.. something that doesn't make much sense to me.

Also, if the line passes through the corner or edge of any square does it not hit that square? I'm guessing not from your diagrams, but it would be nice to know.

I guess I'm wondering why this was made as a change, but the wording was not changed? It seems bound to confuse the majority of your players that are coming from the prior system.

-James

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

In v3.5, lines used to effect every square they touched. Therefore you could actually effect two rows of squares like you describe.

However, it has been changed in Pathfinder. Now lines only effect squares they pass through, not merely touch. Thus, you can only effect a single row of squares now.

Do they have a definition for passing through? The only one I found was for flanking and it included corners.

It means that at some point in time the line has to enter the space.

You draw a line on a map and every square the line goes through gets hit.

Like so

0gre wrote:

It means that at some point in time the line has to enter the space.

You draw a line on a map and every square the line goes through gets hit.

So you could cast a lightning bolt and hit nothing by traveling along the edge of squares?

It seems consistent, but it is a change from having edges of squares count that I would think should be stressed.

Note for example the line that goes through the corner of 4 squares but doesn't hit two of them because it doesn't travel in the interior of either square.

Mind you some of your examples contradict this.. so you might want to be more careful. For example the top right one that goes down 1 and over 2 includes 2 squares then 3 then 3 then 2 when it should include just pairs. Likewise for the 2nd row of examples.

Or are you thinking that these squares are supposed to be included? If so why them and not others?

-James

james maissen wrote:

Mind you some of your examples contradict this.. so you might want to be more careful. For example the top right one that goes down 1 and over 2 includes 2 squares then 3 then 3 then 2 when it should include just pairs. Likewise for the 2nd row of examples.

Or are you thinking that these squares are supposed to be included? If so why them and not others?

-James

You're right, that diagram should be amended to include only 2 squares per row.

Thrall of Orcus wrote:
Devilkiller wrote:

As the Thrall of Orcus mentioned, there used to be versions of the spell in previous rules which allowed you to double the width by halving the length. Bringing that option back could be a fun house rule for DMs who want to see more balance between the utility of Fireball and Lightning Bolt.

Since Lightning Bolt often shows up on spell lists which lack Fireball this would give a little power boost to classes like Adept and Witch. I don't think it would be enough to upset game balance significantly though.

True enough, though I figure that is what the Widen Spell Metamagic feat would be for! ;)

Widen Spell (Metamagic)
You can cast your spells so that they occupy a larger space.

Benefit: You can alter a burst, emanation, line, or spread-shaped spell to increase its area. Any numeric measurements of the spell's area increase by 100%. A widened spell uses up a spell slot three levels higher than the spell's actual level.
Spells that do not have an area of one of these four sorts are not affected by this feat.

Recent FAQ says no, though I think they should revisit the ruling.

 Contributor

james maissen wrote:

Yeah, speaking of those.. when are they going to be errata'd/fixed?

The 15' cone (version B) doesn't seem to start at the corner of a square for example.

It starts at the top left or top right corner of the caster's square. You can't create a grid-based cone that starts at the caster without (1) appearing as shown in the diagram, or (2) starting 5 feet away from the caster.

james maissen wrote:
Likewise your 3rd version of a line is two squares wide for half its length.

That's what happens when dealing with a grid of 5-foot squares. In a grid of 1-foot squares, you'd represent a much "cleaner" line and it would only be 5 or 6 feet wide the entire length.

james maissen wrote:
If I pick a corner of my square for the point of origin that's perfectly legal, right?

Correct and required by the description of the Line area type.

james maissen wrote:
So if we consider say version 2 or 3 of the line it could be made to look like versions 1 & 2 respectively but with the caster one square to the left. Or am I wrong here?

You're correct, if I understand what you're saying. You pick a corner, and draw a line to a corner at the end, and the line affects squares it crosses.

james maissen wrote:
Are you saying that I have to aim for the center of a target square rather than a grid intersection?

No, nobody's saying that. I am, however, pointing out that you can't draw a line from corner X to (in a straight line) corner Y that gives you two squares affected for its entire length.

james maissen wrote:
Also, if the line passes through the corner or edge of any square does it not hit that square? I'm guessing not from your diagrams, but it would be nice to know.

"A line-shaped spell affects all creatures in squares THROUGH which the line passes." Running a line along the edge of a square isn't passing through that square, else the north-south diagram would be two squares wide and the southwest-northeast diagram would have extra squares (every square that's connected to the four-square intersections along the diagonal path of the line).

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

"A line-shaped spell affects all creatures in squares THROUGH which the line passes." Running a line along the edge of a square isn't passing through that square, else the north-south diagram would be two squares wide and the southwest-northeast diagram would have extra squares (every square that's connected to the four-square intersections along the diagonal path of the line).

So, if I understand what you're saying here along with being able to aim from one corner of the origin square to one corner of a target square..

You could have a lightning bolt that goes down a 10' wide corridor and not hit anyone (by traveling along the edges of the squares straight down the middle), right?

Not saying it's a great use.. but trying to understand things here. I always had thought that passing long the edge sufficed (at least that's what I thought the rule in 3e was) so I admit this is new to me.

If this is correct, then if my wizard PC were behind 4 PCs standing 2x2 fighting an Ogre he could lightning bolt the ogre without hitting any of the PCs standing between him and the ogre... Or would it also miss the ogre even though it travels straight through him?

Sean K Reynolds wrote:

It starts at the top left or top right corner of the caster's square. You can't create a grid-based cone that starts at the caster without (1) appearing as shown in the diagram, or (2) starting 5 feet away from the caster.

This I'm not following.

Let's say I pick the top left corner then wouldn't it look like:

0XX00
XXXX0
0XX00
00C00

Because I count from corner to corner. The corner on the upper left of C is the point of Origin. The next pair of Xs includes going left & right diagonally as well as straight ahead to those 3 corners. The row above has 4 Xs that includes corners that were reached by 2 diagonal lefts, a diagonal left then straight forward, 2 straight forwards, a straight forward and a diagonal right, and 2 diagonal rights. That was in order from left to right. The top row is reached by 2 forwards and either a diagonal left, a 3rd straight or a diagonal right.

How is this not one of the possibilities for the 15' cone?

-James

james maissen wrote:

If this is correct, then if my wizard PC were behind 4 PCs standing 2x2 fighting an Ogre he could lightning bolt the ogre without hitting any of the PCs standing between him and the ogre... Or would it also miss the ogre even though it travels straight through him?

Not true. The PCs would get zapped to get the ogre (spellcaster oops), or you'd be wiser not to use that spell. A spell area affects SQUARES. Even though you can use the edge of squares for line of sight, LINE OF EFFECT is entirely different.

james maissen wrote:

How is this not one of the possibilities for the 15' cone?

It's not. Per the cone description,

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

Also it is quite plain in the description of a spell's area:
"When determining whether a given creature is within the area of a spell, count out the distance from the point of origin in squares just as you do when moving a character or when determining the range for a ranged attack. The only difference is that instead of counting from the center of one square to the center of the next, you count from intersection to intersection."

And,
"If the far edge of a square is within the spell's area, anything within that square is within the spell's area. If the spell's area only touches the near edge of a square, however, anything within that square is unaffected by the spell."

The first row out is only one square. Think of it as a limitation of trying to draw a true cone on a square grid.
I don't see why this is so hard to understand. The diagrams show two posibilities for the 15-foot cone. With those two templates, ANY
15-foot cone can be figured out by rotating them, shifting them, and/or mirror-flipping them.
Just use the templates and problem solved. :)

 2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah I guess what I'm not getting is, if you say that a line affects only things in squares it passes THROUGH, and not merely along the edge of, then what happens when you don't fire it at an angle?

What happens to the bystanders?

jreyst wrote:

Yeah I guess what I'm not getting is, if you say that a line affects only things in squares it passes THROUGH, and not merely along the edge of, then what happens when you don't fire it at an angle?

What happens to the bystanders?

Well, by a pedantically literal meaning, if it has to pass THROUGH a square, and not along one, then NONE of them get hit. For the real oddity, if T was a large creature instead of a medium at T and the lightning bolt passed through the middle of the area he occupied he still wouldn't get hit.

More practically you'd have to pick which group of 3 X's you'd want to fry along with the target.

Thrall of Orcus wrote:
james maissen wrote:

If this is correct, then if my wizard PC were behind 4 PCs standing 2x2 fighting an Ogre he could lightning bolt the ogre without hitting any of the PCs standing between him and the ogre... Or would it also miss the ogre even though it travels straight through him?

Not true. The PCs would get zapped to get the ogre (spellcaster oops), or you'd be wiser not to use that spell. A spell area affects SQUARES. Even though you can use the edge of squares for line of sight, LINE OF EFFECT is entirely different.

I'm not sure you're getting what james is saying here. He's saying that if he shoots a line that does not stray from the edge bordering his allies' adjacent squares, then that line should not affect said allies. Yet a large (or larger) creature or object could straddle that same line extended along that border, and should therefore be affected by the line spell. Personally, I like that interpretation, as it provides a tactical use for an otherwise sub-optimal spell shape/area.

The caster has both line of sight and line of effect in either case, so I'm not sure what your point was there.

jreyst wrote:
What happens to the bystanders?

In your example, assuming we are still talking about a lightning bolt spell, the bolt passes along row 3 and three poor bystanders get fried (unless they pass their saves and only get partially fried).

But under such a scenario, the caster might be able to move to square B5 or C4 (assuming SE start point), and then cast the lightning bolt assuming terrain/walls/obstacles don't prevent this - thus, no bystanders harmed, target fried.

A creature or object that is large or larger doesn't occupy its 4 square (or larger) area independently of each other, but rather occupies a larger square composed of smaller squares. Should the line cross the large or larger target's composite square (consisting of all of its squares) then it should be affected by the line. Anything else is nonsensical.

jreyst wrote:

Yeah I guess what I'm not getting is, if you say that a line affects only things in squares it passes THROUGH, and not merely along the edge of, then what happens when you don't fire it at an angle?

What happens to the bystanders?

By that route, nobody is in the area of the line. To hit the target, you also have to hit the southside bystanders.

Robert Young wrote:
I'm not sure you're getting what james is saying here.

Oh, I'm getting exactly what is being said. You can't affect the ogre since the edge lines of the squares it occupies isn't a legal area of the spell effect....no squares are being affected by the spell along the edges. To affect the ogre, you have to target a row of squares that it occupies - that is LINE of EFFECT. And to do so, you would hit your allies. You cannot choose to ignore them simply because the ogre stradles the line.

Common sense goes a LONG way. Not to mention, there is no need to try and manipulate the rules in this fashion. Feats are written for a reason to do this (break the rules so to speak, compared to what you can normally do).
That's why there is a feat called:

Selective Spell (Metamagic)
Your allies need not fear friendly fire.

Prerequisite: Spellcraft 10 ranks.

Benefit: When casting a selective spell with an area effect, you can choose a number of targets in the area equal to the ability score modifier used to determine bonus spells of the same type (Charisma for bards, oracles, paladins, sorcerers, and summoners; Intelligence for witches and wizards; Wisdom for clerics, druids, inquisitors, and rangers). These targets are excluded from the effects of your spell. A selective spell uses up a spell slot one level higher than the spell's actual level.
Spells that do not have an area of effect do not benefit from this feat.

 Contributor

Obviously, the diagram shows you that the line affects all the squares along the way. You can't "cheese out" a huge length of safe squares by drawing along the edge of the squares, any more than you have to move at 90-degree angles when you charge because the charge rule says you have to move in a "straight line."

I'm not sure you shouldn't be able to put a line spell up the line between two squares. You're basically leaning over and putting a lighting bolt through the gap in a shield wall. I suppose using a hex grid could avoid this problem.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
any more than you have to move at 90-degree angles when you charge because the charge rule says you have to move in a "straight line."

LOL. Why do I get the feeling this is going to open up an all new debate on charging. :)

Common sense isn't always that common sometimes.

Thrall of Orcus wrote:
Robert Young wrote:
I'm not sure you're getting what james is saying here.

Oh, I'm getting exactly what is being said. You can't affect the ogre since the edge lines of the squares it occupies isn't a legal area of the spell effect....no squares are being affected by the spell along the edges. To affect the ogre, you have to target a row of squares that it occupies - that is LINE of EFFECT. And to do so, you would hit your allies. You cannot choose to ignore them simply because the ogre stradles the line.

That's not LINE OF EFFECT, that's AREA OF EFFECT. Line of effect is unhindered (there's no solid barrier here).

From d20pfsrd.com - Spell Area of Effect - Line:
A line-shaped spell shoots away from you in a line in the direction you designate. It starts from any corner of your square and extends to the limit of its range or until it strikes a barrier that blocks line of effect. A line-shaped spell affects all creatures in squares through which the line passes.

By earlier provided definitions, a line only affects squares it passes through, not squares it simply borders. The allies would then be unaffected (it borders, rather than passes through, their squares). This is not a game-breaking phenomenon, as line spells are typically the worst area of effect spells in the game.

This seems to be coming down to using the gridline system to increase the area by moving alone lines. Inevitably, to make the system work, the effect needs to be a series of squares that are pass through when you draw a line between caster and target. It cannot run along a grid line and not actually pass in a square. Combat is ultimately a tactical situation and must use tactical rules, similar to how it works in games like Warhammer. This will make it odd to make cones and such that go in directions other than 90's and 45's, but that's how it ends up with a grid.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Obviously, the diagram shows you that the line affects all the squares along the way. You can't "cheese out" a huge length of safe squares by drawing along the edge of the squares, any more than you have to move at 90-degree angles when you charge because the charge rule says you have to move in a "straight line."

Therefore, all lines affect contiguous squares from launch point to termination. Alas, no targeting love for the lonely line.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Obviously, the diagram shows you that the line affects all the squares along the way. You can't "cheese out" a huge length of safe squares by drawing along the edge of the squares, any more than you have to move at 90-degree angles when you charge because the charge rule says you have to move in a "straight line."

Umm.. you're saying the exact opposite of what you said before.

If the line doesn't pass through any squares then the line hits nothing.. so you could fire a lightning bolt down the center of a 10' wide hallway filled with large creatures and hit nothing?

Likewise you could have two medium creatures blocking a doorway and have the line pass between them harming neither of them while hitting others behind them.

But I'm more interested in the 15' cone Sean, as you seem to think that the

xxx
xxx
0x0
0C0

Is a valid 15' cone. But I'm not seeing how that is the case. If you take the upper left corner of the caster's square C to be the point of origin then the far upper right hand corner square is 20' away from it!

-James

Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Obviously, the diagram shows you that the line affects all the squares along the way. You can't "cheese out" a huge length of safe squares by drawing along the edge of the squares, any more than you have to move at 90-degree angles when you charge because the charge rule says you have to move in a "straight line."

Just wanted to point out that, that isn't cheese. That's the rules you guys wrote. :P

Heck, half of your own line diagrams in the PRD appear to "skip" squares.

EDIT: Are cone directions limited to the 8 directions shown? Or can I aim 60 degrees rather than 45 or 90? If they are limited, why aren't lines?

Well i would say the best way to look at it is the line is 5ft wide so if it doesn't fill a square more that half way there is too much open room to be affected once again though i am applying the far unheard of common sense to the rules.

james maissen wrote:

But I'm more interested in the 15' cone Sean, as you seem to think that the

xxx
xxx
0x0
0C0

Is a valid 15' cone. But I'm not seeing how that is the case. If you take the upper left corner of the caster's square C to be the point of origin then the far upper right hand corner square is 20' away from it!

-James

Nope, it is a valid 15-foot cone.

On line: 0x0
assuming the x, upper left corner = 5 ft.

On next line: xxx
assuming either center x or rightmost x, again using the upper left corner, now = 10 ft.

On last line: xxx
rightmost x, upper left hand corner = 15 feet.

Since you (the caster) are in the square diagonally down and to the right of the starting origin corner, the uppermost right square is in the area of effect since it is also down and to the right of your end point.
It's exactly the same if you use the upper right hand corners too.
You have to think squares for area of effect.
In this case, think of it as if it was movement.

Thrall of Orcus wrote:
james maissen wrote:

But I'm more interested in the 15' cone Sean, as you seem to think that the

xxx
xxx
0x0
0C0

Is a valid 15' cone. But I'm not seeing how that is the case. If you take the upper left corner of the caster's square C to be the point of origin then the far upper right hand corner square is 20' away from it!

-James

Nope, it is a valid 15-foot cone.

On last line: xxx
rightmost x, upper left hand corner = 15 feet.

Since you (the caster) are in the square diagonally down and to the right of the starting origin corner, the uppermost right square is in the area of effect since it is also down and to the right of your end point.
It's exactly the same if you use the upper right hand corners too.
You have to think squares for area of effect.
In this case, think of it as if it was movement.

Actually you pick a corner and count distances between corners. But you are right otherwise that you think of it as movement.

pfsrd.com wrote:
The point of origin of a spell is always a grid intersection. When determining whether a given creature is within the area of a spell, count out the distance from the point of origin in squares just as you do when moving a character or when determining the range for a ranged attack. The only difference is that instead of counting from the center of one square to the center of the next, you count from intersection to intersection.

And if you count the right most x on the top row it's 20 ft from the point of origin (being the upper left corner of the C).

-James

 1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
james maissen wrote:

if my wizard PC were behind 4 PCs standing 2x2 fighting an Ogre he could lightning bolt the ogre without hitting any of the PCs standing between him and the ogre... Or would it also miss the ogre even though it travels straight through him?

Hopefully this puts a better visualization of this question about using a lightning bolt along the edges of a square in the above scenario. For those that argue that the line is going through the ogre and should thus affect him, all I can say is it is the LINE OF EFFECT which is different than the AREA OF EFFECT. Area of effect cannot be zero (after all, what is the point of casting a spell then?)

Visual

My last post on the subject...happy debating all! ;)

Thrall of Orcus wrote:
james maissen wrote:

if my wizard PC were behind 4 PCs standing 2x2 fighting an Ogre he could lightning bolt the ogre without hitting any of the PCs standing between him and the ogre... Or would it also miss the ogre even though it travels straight through him?

Hopefully this puts a better visualization of this question about using a lightning bolt along the edges of a square in the above scenario.

Visual

My last post on the subject...happy debating all! ;)

Um guys, maybe we should get rid of the entire grid square system and just go to the measuring tape most wargammers use? Just a thought.

or just pick a square and make a line 120 feet instead of the corner crap.

Easy remedy?

Don't target an intersection (like the burst, cone, emanation, etc) types do, target the center of a square inside range.

Now, draw a line from the center of your square (or any of your squares) to the center of the targeted square, extending it to the desired length.

All squares that have at least one of their boundary lines crossed are affected, those that are just brushed at their corner aren't.

Thrall of Orcus wrote:

Hopefully this puts a better visualization of this question about using a lightning bolt along the edges of a square in the above scenario. For those that argue that the line is going through the ogre and should thus affect him, all I can say is it is the LINE OF EFFECT which is different than the AREA OF EFFECT. Area of effect cannot be zero (after all, what is the point of casting a spell then?)

Visual

My last post on the subject...happy debating all! ;)

So, you've given up on the 15' cone?

And as to your 'not valid' it's a line that has a point of origin that's the corner of a square and it fires off in a direction.. those are the criteria for a line.

You are saying that the 'directions' are more limited, as if it has to pick an ending center of square (or some subset of grid intersections as your diagram and commentary indicate) and yet it has no such restriction.

So I'm thinking that you are wrong on this just as you were wrong on the cone.

You're adding rules that aren't in existence. Meanwhile I'm thinking that the rules that are there aren't clear if SKR's explanation is what they are meant to convey. Moreover they allow what we can both agree is a nonsensical option to cast a lightning bolt harmlessly (it would be interesting to argue that such a bolt would miss something like a gelatinous cube mind you).

-James

My opinion?

If someone throws RAW at me for getting a nonsensical effect (as in, using a corner to start, then going straight along the square boundaries), I reply in kind.

So, yes, the so-called invalid lines ToO used might be valid choices after all. In which case I take the liberty to declare that 'no square is crossed', so the Lightning Bolt affects zero squares. The fact that it passes right through the ogre is irrelevant, it will affect all creatures occupying at least one affected square.

Which is, of course: none.

So, congrats; you just got yourself a use of a spell doing exactly nothing. Have a cookie.

Midnight_Angel wrote:

So, congrats; you just got yourself a use of a spell doing exactly nothing. Have a cookie.

It's just a new reading of the rules for me as I would have sworn it worked differently in 3e by effecting edges. That it does allow such weirdness is part of the testing it out phase for me. And like most new things it can seem wrong and be rejected for them.

And it's not bending RAW or anything.. merely pointing and firing from their instructions. Heck the give diagrams play with valid directions it seems only natural to do so. Then it's taking SKR's rule that it has to pass through squares rather than travel along edges.

So does it make sense for one to be able to safely fire 120' lightning bolts that can't hit anyone? Even creatures that fill multiple squares? Is such intended?? Again it's the new that doesn't feel right... maybe it'll sink in.

But I'm more interested in the 15' cone diagram that SKR says is correct, when (again) I had thought that it was accepted to be incorrect. I'd like to see how each square in that diagram is determined to be within the area and others without as it doesn't seem to follow the proper counting methods.

-James

ravingdork wrote:

In v3.5, lines used to effect every square they touched. Therefore you could actually effect two rows of squares like you describe.
james maissen wrote:

I guess I'm wondering why this was made as a change, but the wording was not changed? It seems bound to confuse the majority of your players that are coming from the prior system.
james maissen wrote:

Again it's the new that doesn't feel right... maybe it'll sink in.

Plain and simple, this is WRONG.

I'm not sure where this idea that edges of squares were included in spell effects comes from.

Checked my 3.5 PHB and the rules for how spells works are EXACTLY the same - word for word, including cone, line, etc.

Checked my 3.0 PHB. Oddly enough, it is somewhat clearer.
Cone: A cone starts as a point directly away from you, and it widens out as it goes. A cone's width at a given distance from you equals that distance. Its far end is as wide as it is long.

This is clearly where your diagram also comes from. 15 ft. wide at 15 feet. Technically it would only be 10 ft. wide at 10 ft. but that would be dumb looking if you only included 2 squares then 3 at 15 ft. since one square would be offset. They probably balanced it out to be symetrical (since a cone is) and that would mean half a square on each side off the center square. Since you can't have half a square, give the caster the benefit and make it 3 wide at 10 feet. Caster wins.

There is no line type of area with 3.0
The Lightning Bolt spell itself defines its area as:
5 ft. wide to medium range (100 ft. + 10 ft./level); or 10 ft. wide to 50 ft. + 5 ft./level.

Oviously, in 3.5 and Pathfinder, the wider bolt option was taken away from the spell itself - most likely because you can emulate it with a feat (which personally, I believe should be the case).
In each of 3.0, 3.5, and Pathfinder, the Lightning Bolt starts at your fingertips, meaning even in the prior editions, you would have hit your allies in the scenario you quoted.

Clearly the current Pathfinder rules are based on these, and most likely a direct hold over from 3.5 since they are word for word - and 3.5 was designed to eliminate the B.S. loopholes that existed in 3.0
After all, that was the first incarnation and the rules needed updated to get certain "fixes". Unfortunately, sometimes in an effort to improve, other problems creep in - including some rules becoming less precise.

Edges of squares have NEVER been included in spell effects. The Pathfinder rules appear to be carryovers from those editions, and while I agree, they are poorly worded and could be clarified, they are pretty obvious when your read them and read the INTENT and SPIRIT of the rules, especially when there are diagrams to support them.

As a previous poster said, there are feats that allow you to break said rules in your favor. Otherwise, why would said feats exist if you could just "cheese" you way into doing whatever you wanted by reading between the lines so to speak (pun intended) with the rules and playing loose with their interpretation.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Line Definition wrote:

...It starts from any corner of your square and extends to the limit of its range or until it strikes a barrier that blocks line of effect. A line-shaped spell affects all creatures in squares through which the line passes.

Ok so what does this tell us?

1) a spell effect can start from any grid intersection of a square the caster occupies
2) it extends to the limit of its range or until it strikes something that blocks line of effect

So lines do not worry about "targets" they just follow a line and hit everything in the line.

Lightning bolt affects a line.

So, as shown in the Google Spreadsheet I linked to above, by a literal reading of the rules, if that is the scenario, that the caster chooses the NE grid intersection, and then fires it straight down that line, the line between rows 2 and 3, what happens to the bystanders (x) and for that matter, the creature that was the desired target (t)?

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Well, by a pedantically literal meaning, if it has to pass THROUGH a square, and not along one, then NONE of them get hit.

Well I'm not trying to be pedantic, I'm just trying to determine what, by the RAW is supposed to happen to the bystanders. The wording suggests that unless a line crosses INTO a square, it has no effect on that square. Therefore, it seems that by the RAW that the bystanders would not be affected. For that matter, even the target at the end of the hall would not be affected since the bolt did not cross a line it inhabits. Now the graphic showing the lines affected area clearly shows a 5' wide path, which would affect stuff, but the wording of "if it does not cross a line..." and the notion that a line actually has no width (its 2-dimensional) then how could you ever affect anything if you do not fire it at an angle? Again, not trying to be a weasel, merely suggesting that the existing wording seems misleading and might warrant some clarification.

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
You can't "cheese out" a huge length of safe squares by drawing along the edge of the squares,

Not going for "cheese" just trying to understand the proper reading of the written rules. I have no horse in this race, I'm not even in an active campaign atm. I just want LB (and other line effects) to work correctly, and should, ideally, affect a 5' path. I believe that is the RAI but the RAW seems to be in contradiction to that.

Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
jreyst wrote:
Not going for "cheese" just trying to understand the proper reading of the written rules. I have no horse in this race, I'm not even in an active campaign atm. I just want LB (and other line effects) to work correctly, and should, ideally, affect a 5' path. I believe that is the RAI but the RAW seems to be in contradiction to that.

One could angle his lightning bolt a fraction of a degree so that it hits one target adjacent to the caster, another target 120 feet away, and no one in between (as it's still straddling the grid line).

jreyst wrote:
Line Definition wrote:

...It starts from any corner of your square and extends to the limit of its range or until it strikes a barrier that blocks line of effect. A line-shaped spell affects all creatures in squares through which the line passes.

So, common sense would say that IF you want your spell to do anything useful, you would fire it off at a different intersection or corner of a square along the path you want it to take - thus giving it a 5-foot line of effect.

In that scenario, to affect the bad guy (which why else cast the spell), you'd have to hit the bystanders unless you could move to a place to avoid them before you cast the spell.

Otherwise, what is the point?

Ravingdork wrote:
jreyst wrote:
Not going for "cheese" just trying to understand the proper reading of the written rules. I have no horse in this race, I'm not even in an active campaign atm. I just want LB (and other line effects) to work correctly, and should, ideally, affect a 5' path. I believe that is the RAI but the RAW seems to be in contradiction to that.
One could angle his lightning bolt a fraction of a degree so that it hits one target adjacent to the caster, another target 120 feet away, and no one in between (as it's still straddling the grid line).

Nope, as soon as its on any kind of angle it will be in multiple squares It may straddle the line when you draw it with a thick marker, but a line (one dimensional) will indeed be in squares in between

SKR was trying to say that a lightning bolt is a 5 ft wide spell, casting directly down a line (lets say directly north on a grid) ALLOWS the caster to choose which of the 2 sets of squares he is casting along to effect, either line 1, or line 2, not both, not none. It must be 5 ft wide. the reason it doesn't effect some squares when it passes right by them (through a corner) is just a fact of how the grid system works.

1|T
1|2
1|2
1|2
1|2
1|2
1|2
1|2
C

In this example, obviously, the caster (C) would want to attack through line 2. If you were to choose the left corner of line 1 next to the caster, and the right back corner of the targets square, you would get some of line 1 hit, and some of line 2 hit, but i think everyone can figure that one out just fine.

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