Fireball and underwater target


Rules Questions


OK a situation came up. The PC's were on the shore of a lake full of abyssal giant dire frogs. A couple frogs were surfacing to make tongue attacks but most of them were just silhouettes seen moving under the water.

PC Wizard wanted to fireball them. He cited the spell description is silent on water blocking the spell.

I guess he was right now that I have time to think about it.

being under water should give them some advantage though, no? Maybe auto success on save for half?


From the Environments section: (p.432 PFCRB)
Attacks from Land: Characters swimming, floating, or treading water on the surface, or wading in water at least chest deep, have improved cover (+8 bonus to AC, +4 bonus on Reflex saves) from opponents on land. Land-bound opponents who have freedom of movement effects ignore this cover when making melee attacks against targets in the water. A completely submerged creature has total cover against opponents on land unless those opponents have freedom of movement effects. Magical effects are unaffected except for those that require attack rolls (which are treated like any other effects) and fire effects.

Fire: Nonmagical fire (including alchemist's fire) does not burn underwater. Spells or spell-like effects with the fire descriptor are ineffective underwater unless the caster makes a caster level check (DC 20 + spell level). If the check succeeds, the spell creates a bubble of steam instead of its usual fiery effect, but otherwise the spell works as described. A supernatural fire effect is ineffective underwater unless its description states otherwise. The surface of a body of water blocks line of effect for any fire spell. If the caster has made the caster level check to make the fire spell usable underwater, the surface still blocks the spell's line of effect.

so yes being underwater does provide some defense against fireball


Ok , Thanks.

So I guess if the PC launched the fireball from the shore, it would have to detonate when it hit the surface of the lake, but with a successful caster level check it could still effect the underwater monsters within its AoE as a steam bubble?

Scarab Sages

You are looking at a Caster Level check of 23 to toss a firebal into the water, though.


Grimmy wrote:

Ok , Thanks.

So I guess if the PC launched the fireball from the shore, it would have to detonate when it hit the surface of the lake, but with a successful caster level check it could still effect the underwater monsters within its AoE as a steam bubble.

Correct and they would take damage if they were shallow enough to be in the AoE.


So caster level 23 you can fireball under water, but that's if you are underwater and the whole spell is happening down there, right? Converted to steam bubble, but it says even if you make the caster level check, the surface blocks the line of effect.

So with my wizard shooting from the shore, does that mean the detonation has to occur at the surface?

Will the blast still extend down 20 ' into the water as a steam bubble?

Edit: Ninja'd. Thanks warren burgess.


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