# Area damage vs size

### Rules Questions

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How do you calculate the damage to something/someone that is in more than one square of an area effect? Would a large thing (10'area) be hit 4 times with a splash weapon?

OXXO
OXXO
OOOO
Hit 1,2 or times with a spread effect (breath weapon, blunderbuss)?

OXNO
OXXO
COOO

X = hit
O= not hit
N= not hit because of in back

It would take the damage once and only once.

Could you please tell me where it says that. Thanks

Read the spell. For example, fireball says:

"A fireball spell generates a searing explosion of flame that detonates with a low roar and deals 1d6 points of fire damage per caster level (maximum 10d6) to every creature within the area."

There is no consideration given to the size of the creature.

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Because are effects deal damage to a creature in the area, not to a square. So they deal damage once to the creature, not separatly to each square of the creature.

Effects deal damage per creature, not per square. So a larger creature never takes extra damage compared to a smaller creature.

What about splash weapons? They do damage per square.

Nope. Alchemist's Fire says "Every creature within 5 feet of the point where the flask hits takes 1 point of fire damage from the splash." Nothing about per square.

Dr Styx wrote:
What about splash weapons? They do damage per square.

Nothing in this game is to my knowledge based on damage per square, it is always per creature. Purposefully.

Otherwise large creatures would be at a distinct disadvantage to AoE damage, since they don't get more hit points per square they occupy.

Now, if you wanted to rule that a creature's HP was multiplied by the number of squares they occupied and took damage from AoE effects multiplied by the number of squares hit I guess that could be a thing you house rule in.

Of course it really leaves single target attacks in the dust and would unfairly penalize martial characters against large or larger opponents.

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Sorcerer: I cast an empowered fireball at the enormous white dragon. With my bloodline bonus, that's 15d6+15.
GM: OK, but under my house rules you have to multiply that by the number of square you hit. So multiply those numbers by 16.
Sorcerer: 240d6 + 240?
GM: Yes. And then increase it by 50% since it's vulnerable to fire.
(Fifteen minutes later.)
Sorcerer: ...so with the +50% bonus, that's 1623 damage.
GM: OK, that hurt it quite a lot. Fighter, what do you want to do?
Fighter: I charge. Natural 20! I crit it for 70 damage.
GM: It barely notices.

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Maybe I should have made my statement more clear, it's a terrible f+~~ing idea.

Claxon wrote:
Maybe I should have made my statement more clear, it's a terrible f!#\$ing idea.

No, it's not a terrible idea, it's actually a very good one. If I have 10 people outside in a hail storm, they all take damage. Why would should a creature that occupies the same space take 1/10 the damage?

The problem is the game isn't set up to use this type of model. It's a lot simpler to say "per creature" than "per square." What the game should provide is a damage multiplier based on size. So yes, being large is a huge disadvantage if the attack is an AoE.

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It's a crazy terrible idea. It is very much a rabbit hole of crazy if you follow it even a little way. Are you going to account for the fact that your fireball only affects a significantly smaller percentage of the mass compared to available surface area of a larger creature? square/cube strikes again! What about lightning bolt, does that do less damage against a tall creature as it only hits the legs? what about...

Nah! not even going there, 1 creature, 1 lot of damage. simples!

Yeah, once per creature.

I mean, if we went by squares it would would make just as much sense to say that since your AOE attack only hit 2 squares of a large creature you only deal half damage. Relative size and all that.

N N 959 wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Maybe I should have made my statement more clear, it's a terrible f!#\$ing idea.

No, it's not a terrible idea, it's actually a very good one. If I have 10 people outside in a hail storm, they all take damage. Why would should a creature that occupies the same space take 1/10 the damage?

The problem is the game isn't set up to use this type of model. It's a lot simpler to say "per creature" than "per square." What the game should provide is a damage multiplier based on size. So yes, being large is a huge disadvantage if the attack is an AoE.

This would only serve to trivialize martial characters further and further imbalance the game.

It is a horrible idea.

Claxon wrote:

This would only serve to trivialize martial characters further and further imbalance the game.

It is a horrible idea.

Oh posh!

Martial characters can get acid flasks, alchemist's fire, or even flaming oil if they want an AE to take advantage of this rule.

Even better, we extend the rule. When a fighter uses Intimidate against a larger creature, he can make a separate intimidate check for each square the creature occupies.

Of course, it would only be fair for casters to have Fear effects apply to once to each square of a large creature - what fun to cause the back legs to run away while the front legs are unaffected...

Does this apply to AE healing? Can a channeling cleric heal extra HP on larger creatures?

Does all this make Enlarge Person more interesting? Never use it when the enemy has AoE effects but always use it to be invincible when the enemy has only weapons and you have a channeling cleric to keep you alive...

Oh, oh, and what about smaller creatures? A cat only occupies 1/4 of a square, so does it only take 1/4 effect from fireballs, alchemist's fire, and Intimidate checks? I'm totally going to use this house rule and constantly keep myself reduced to tiny size just so I can practically ignore all AE attacks!

Now, where's that Songbird of Doom thread?

dragonhunterq wrote:

It's a crazy terrible idea. It is very much a rabbit hole of crazy if you follow it even a little way. Are you going to account for the fact that your fireball only affects a significantly smaller percentage of the mass compared to available surface area of a larger creature? square/cube strikes again! What about lightning bolt, does that do less damage against a tall creature as it only hits the legs? what about...

Nah! not even going there, 1 creature, 1 lot of damage. simples!

Lol. I realize that this is the Internet and people have to post like they've had their head cutoff, so I suppose it's my own fault to expect a modicum of rational thought.

Guess what? In order to take full damage from a fireball you'd have to occupy every square of the blast radius. So a single creature would not take the full damage from an AoE. Get it? Just like in real life. A person only takes a fraction of the damage from an explosion (but usually that's enough to kill them in RL).

A larger creature should always have more hit dice than their identical version that is smaller. Since I believe this isn't always the case, that is why I said the game is not really set up for this. And as I said, it's simpler just to do one damage per creature, regardless of how silly that is in RL. But then we all know that 3.5/Pathfinder has all kinds of completely ridiculous departures from reality to facilitate the game.

But by all means, continue to ignore the actual parameters of what I'm talking about and post with outrage.

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Nobody is posting with outrage. Most people are just stating that it would cause all sorts of issues with balance.

I personally feel like going for the explanation that since Large creatures are bigger they have a smaller area of exposure relative to their total mass. Besides this, they are more hardy

Now you could argue that each Square would get covered, but a real explosion would only target part of the animal and the fire would have to move through the creature, but is stopped by it's body, essentially providing cover for itself. Whereas a human would be consumed and the blast would travel around/through a human, large/huge creatures would just absorb the blast and every part behind (or underneath if you blast from a flying vantage) would not be hit because it's body absorbs/stops part of the force and the fire.

Take as an example the fire blast against the awesome Indominusaurus in Jurassic World. Humans got consumed in flame, Dino only had half his body on fire. Should he then take double damage, or half damage?

That is besides the fact that larger creatures have thicker skin and should be able to shrug fire/acid/cold (and even force due to their higher mass) off much more easily.

Now in game this is ofcourse partly represented by SR, a high CON modifier on size increases etc. But by recalculating per square damage compared to relative part of creature affected you will needlessly complicate the game, while screwing with balance between AoE and single target effects.

AoE damage covers the surface of people. People are known to survive being caught in fire. A sword wound has a much higher chance to target vital organs, although that could also be survived.

A Game needs to be balanced. It could be said that AoE damage balances with weapons based on the fact that they do different types of damage. However, without critical strike tables (such as Rolemaster had) and simply working with HP totals you need to assume some commonality between damage types, despite the fact that they would work very differently when used in a Mythbuster scientific experiment.

So no, I don't think AoE should do more damage based on the amount of squares. If you want to rationalise this as bigger beasties being tougher and only having a smaller area exposed, or that AoE only does superficial damage, or whether you want to put it on the willing suspension of disbelief is completely up to any individual person. However, within the Pathfinder rules it is the only way to really deal with AoE damage. Feel free to make a suggestion in Homebrew about how you would balance it, and work it into your game in whatever way you want. The rules question though has been answered by referencing the appropriate rules.

With the talk of extra damage from AoE attacks for larger creatures, you could give them an addition HP buffer for size, based on Con vs size.
x2 = Lg
x4 = Huge
x8 = Colossal
x16 = Gargantuan

Similarly... Give larger creatures a save bonus on AoEs that do not fully engulf them.
+0 vs effects that affect more than 75% of their space
+4 vs effects that affect 50-75% of their space
+8 vs effects that affect up to 25% of their space (unaffected if successful)

Just a couple random thoughts...

Rambear wrote:

I personally feel like going for the explanation that since Large creatures are bigger they have a smaller area of exposure relative to their total mass. Besides this, they are more hardy

Uh....no. Exposure relative to total mass is irrelevant. If we are talking about purely fire damage or acid damage or damage from a hail storm, then you take damage based purely on surface area. A larger creature has more skin on which the acid or hail or fire can react to.

Plus, you can't universally claim a larger creature has a different surface to mass ratio without actually showing some specific facts. Mass is a function of density per volume and given that there's absolutely no universal rule about creature density, you can't make definitive statements about them.

Quote:
Now you could argue that each Square would get covered, but a real explosion would only target part of the animal and the fire would have to move through the creature, but is stopped by it's body, essentially providing cover for itself.

Uh...no. In Pathfinder creatures don't provide any hard cover for each other so they don't provide it for themselves. If I'm standing right behind a T-rex, he doesn't shield me from a fireball. The rule is that everything in the blast radius takes damage.

Quote:
Whereas a human would be consumed and the blast would travel around/through a human, large/huge creatures would just absorb the blast and every part behind (or underneath if you blast from a flying vantage) would not be hit because it's body absorbs/stops part of the force and the fire.

A human is only experiencing damage from the fire that enters her square. The fire 2 squares away contributes nothing to the damage unless she also occupied those squares.

What you're inaccurately trying to argue is that the human would be exposed to damage from all sides and, let's say, a dinosaur would not. But the flaw in that rationale is that a human doesn't actually fill a 5x5 square. A dinosaur would. According to an online body surface area calculate, or 190lb 5'9" male has a total surface area of about 21 ft^2. That's less than a creature that fills a 5x5 square.

Quote:
Take as an example the fire blast against the awesome Indominusaurus in Jurassic World. Humans got consumed in flame, Dino only had half his body on fire. Should he then take double damage, or half damage?

Uh what? The silliness of this example aside, how do you know the dinosaur didn't take double damage?

Quote:
That is besides the fact that larger creatures have thicker skin and should be able to shrug fire/acid/cold (and even force due to their higher mass) off much more easily.

So you're saying that larger creatures should have more hit dice and in some cases DR compared to smaller creatures? Yeah, I covered that.

Quote:
But by recalculating per square damage compared to relative part of creature affected you will needlessly complicate the game, while screwing with balance between AoE and single target effects.

Yeah, already said that. There's no reason to be more realistic in this aspect of the game when there are so many things that laugh in the face of realism.

Quote:
A Game needs to be balanced.

The game can't be balanced, it's an illusion. But what the authors do is decide what type of experience people are going to have. I have no problem with how the game is played, but Claxon's idea of damage based on area isn't a "horrible f***ing idea" any more than having armor provide DR instead of making one harder to hit. But as I said, the game isn't set up for that.

N N 959 wrote:
Rambear wrote:

I personally feel like going for the explanation that since Large creatures are bigger they have a smaller area of exposure relative to their total mass. Besides this, they are more hardy

Uh....no. Exposure relative to total mass is irrelevant. If we are talking about purely fire damage or acid damage or damage from a hail storm, then you take damage based purely on surface area. A larger creature has more skin on which the acid or hail or fire can react to.

Plus, you can't universally claim a larger creature has a different surface to mass ratio without actually showing some specific facts. Mass is a function of density per volume and given that there's absolutely no universal rule about creature density, you can't make definitive statements about them.

Quote:
Now you could argue that each Square would get covered, but a real explosion would only target part of the animal and the fire would have to move through the creature, but is stopped by it's body, essentially providing cover for itself.

Uh...no. In Pathfinder creatures don't provide any hard cover for each other so they don't provide it for themselves. If I'm standing right behind a T-rex, he doesn't shield me from a fireball. The rule is that everything in the blast radius takes damage.

Quote:
Whereas a human would be consumed and the blast would travel around/through a human, large/huge creatures would just absorb the blast and every part behind (or underneath if you blast from a flying vantage) would not be hit because it's body absorbs/stops part of the force and the fire.

A human is only experiencing damage from the fire that enters her square. The fire 2 squares away contributes nothing to the damage unless she also occupied those squares.

What you're inaccurately trying to argue is that the human would be exposed to damage from all sides and, let's say, a dinosaur would not. But the flaw in that rationale is that a human doesn't actually fill a 5x5 square. A dinosaur would....

Wait. So you can argue that in pathfinder creatures cannot provide cover for themselves because that is in the rules, but you should defo do damage per square on an explosion because it is more realistic?

Also, what I, and most everybody in this thread has been trying to do is point out the problems inherent in wanting to apply the principle of damage per square.

Now I haven't done any math, and that was never the point of my reply. But I think my point was quite clear, and you seemed to conveniently ignore that in your line-by-line analysis, which I don't think my reply even warranted. Especially my Dino-line, which I intended for a light and indeed silly tone to my reply :)

This is the rules forum. The rule has been clarified. Besides that, for purposes of balancing a game (however imperfect) this is a decent way to handle AoE damage. Either try to rationalise it away, accept the way the rules work or make a suggestion on how to implement this idea.

I personally think it is a "horrible f***ing idea." And while Pathos makes some decent suggestions about how to implement it, it would be a damn sight easier to keep the rules the way they are, because the game is indeed not setup for it.

The rules are very clear, a creature is only damaged once regardless of size. Let's not let this thread spin out of control. If you want to bring in houserules or argue for the reality of certain rules, there are other threads for that.

Rambear wrote:
Wait. So you can argue that in pathfinder creatures cannot provide cover for themselves because that is in the rules, but you should defo do damage per square on an explosion because it is more realistic?

No, I'm actually advising the opposite. But then like so many posters on these forums, you can't be bothered to actually read and parse what is being said, you're just focused on trying to "win" an argument.

N N 959 wrote:

No, it's not a terrible idea, it's actually a very good one. If I have 10 people outside in a hail storm, they all take damage. Why would should a creature that occupies the same space take 1/10 the damage?

The problem is the game isn't set up to use this type of model. It's a lot simpler to say "per creature" than "per square." What the game should provide is a damage multiplier based on size. So yes, being large is a huge disadvantage if the attack is an AoE.

Let's parse your words for a moment. The game isn't set up to use the model of per-square damage. Your words. Thus, using that model is a terrible idea.

But seriously, the issue is in how the durability (hit points) of a creature are represented. The representation/abstraction is already a complicated one, and works reasonably well. The idea that a massive creature takes more absolute damage in your hail storm is reasonable, but when represented as a proportion of that creature's ability to accept damage, the math regarding hit points would need revision. That - as has been mentioned - has a cascading effect on other numbers in the game.

Yes, a creature in multiple squares of a fireball should logically take more absolute damage than a creature in one square. But the damage taken by the smaller creature has a much higher chance of being fatal. That asymmetry is elegantly - if misleadingly - modeled by not multiplying the damage.

So, you're not wrong... you're just missing the point.

N N 959 wrote:
Rambear wrote:
Wait. So you can argue that in pathfinder creatures cannot provide cover for themselves because that is in the rules, but you should defo do damage per square on an explosion because it is more realistic?
No, I'm actually arguing the opposite. But then like so many posters on these forums, you can't be bothered to actually read and parse what is being said, you're just focused on trying to "win" an argument.

I am not trying to win anything. Stop trying to guess about my motivations and do not attack me based on these presumptions. That is a rubbish argument (Ad Hominem and Poisoning the Well, look it up).

All I have been trying to do is:

A) Show that in the context with this game it is not feasible to apply damage per square. Which you have more or less agreed to.

B) Try to argue that there are a a variety of factors to take into account if we would look at damage/square. Several have been named:

1) How tough is a bigger creature?
2) What percentage of a being is being affected?
3) Does the fact that a creature is very big and "provides cover" for itself have any effect. Say my monster is 15x15x15 feet. Even if every square is in the blast radius, the one in the middle would be inside the creature. What about the ones at the back of the creature?
4) AoE effects have a point of origin. For explosions, does closer or farther away affect the damage you take?
5) Should the damage be lessened for smaller beings? Or should the damage for an explosion be a set amount of damage for the blast area, divided by the amount of squares?. Make fireball 2d6/level, but divide that damage per square?

I do not claim to be an expert on matters of physics, nor on balancing RPGS. Hell, I am hardly an expert on anything really. I just wonder how you would envision this and how

P.S. Stay away from feigning outrage because people react in a certain way. You have acted outraged yourself, in my opinion for no reason. We are all adults here, and I try to take what everybody says with a grain of salt. Moral high horses are scary, mostly on account of my vertigo :)

A web spell set on fire deals damage per square I believe.

Anguish wrote:
N N 959 wrote:

No, it's not a terrible idea, it's actually a very good one. If I have 10 people outside in a hail storm, they all take damage. Why would should a creature that occupies the same space take 1/10 the damage?

The problem is the game isn't set up to use this type of model. It's a lot simpler to say "per creature" than "per square." What the game should provide is a damage multiplier based on size. So yes, being large is a huge disadvantage if the attack is an AoE.

Let's parse your words for a moment. The game isn't set up to use the model of per-square damage. Your words. Thus, using that model is a terrible idea.

But seriously, the issue is in how the durability (hit points) of a creature are represented. The representation/abstraction is already a complicated one, and works reasonably well. The idea that a massive creature takes more absolute damage in your hail storm is reasonable, but when represented as a proportion of that creature's ability to accept damage, the math regarding hit points would need revision. That - as has been mentioned - has a cascading effect on other numbers in the game.

Yes, a creature in multiple squares of a fireball should logically take more absolute damage than a creature in one square. But the damage taken by the smaller creature has a much higher chance of being fatal. That asymmetry is elegantly - if misleadingly - modeled by not multiplying the damage.

So, you're not wrong... you're just missing the point.

I'm not missing the point. I've addressed the point and discussing something outside the point. Its not a terrible idea. It's just one that would require a re-write of a lot of rules. Not worth it, imo, given how many other things completely ignore reality.

What you and others are trying to do is insist is that I'm advocating Claxon simply implement the AoE per square system with the current rules unmodified. I've repeatedly advocated against it. But I guess when people simply want to argue, they ignore anything that threatens to enter their reality cocoon.

Quote:
But the damage taken by the smaller creature has a much higher chance of being fatal. That asymmetry is elegantly - if misleadingly - modeled by not multiplying the damage.

It's statements like these that get people into trouble. Size has no correlation to vitality in this game. A 20th level fighter is the same size as a 1st level Commoner. One can survive multiple fireballs completely naked while the other can't survive one with a protection from energy spell. So the game isn't preserving anything, let alone doing it "elegantly." The original authors just didn't think of using such a mechanic and no subsequent version has addressed it. Most likely for what I said: simplicity over realism.

The game isn't about realism, it's about an experience. It would be cool, imo, if bigger creatures were more at risk to AoE's, just like it would be cool if armor actually provide DR instead of increasing AC. But that's not the game we have.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Companion, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
N N 959 wrote:
It's statements like these that get people into trouble. Size has no correlation to vitality in this game.

Size is highly correlated with Constitution in the Bestiary.

KingOfAnything wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
It's statements like these that get people into trouble. Size has no correlation to vitality in this game.
Size is highly correlated with Constitution in the Bestiary.

We're not talking about Constitution, we're talking about hit points = vitality.

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N N 959 wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
It's statements like these that get people into trouble. Size has no correlation to vitality in this game.
Size is highly correlated with Constitution in the Bestiary.
We're not talking about Constitution, we're talking about hit points = vitality.
Core Rulebook wrote:
Constitution represents your character's health and stamina.

health = hitpoints = vitality?

 RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Too obvious a connection there, Limbo.

==Aelryinth

Rambear wrote:
I just wonder how you would envision this and how

Ignoring that this isn't the forum for discussing house rules, I wouldn't go about trying to implement this. It's just not worth the headache, imo.

It reminds me of a 3.5 homebrew game I played in. After several months of playing, the GM suddenly decided he wanted to combine skills, similar to what Paizo has done in Pathfinder. I had to explain to the GM that you can't just simply combine skills. You have to address skill point allocation and all other kinds of stuff. You can't just mid-game combine Listen and Spot and think it's going to be a smooth transition. The GM didn't want to hear that, but fortunately he dropped the idea.

An AoE damage per square system, imo, would require reevaluating a lot of things. You say you're not an expert of physics? Well, I'm not an expert on game design and as such, I think this task is beyond me. I am more convinced that if switched to a system like this, it would cause more problems than it would provide improvement.

But I still think it's a great idea. :)

 RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

If you go back to 3.5, there IS a spell that did more damage based on the size of the enemy...the 'dragon killer' Druidic spell called Squamos Pulse, which basically summoned up a huge mass of Green slime.

The bigger you were, the more slime you got hit with, and the more damage you took.

Broken as all heck, too.

==Aelryinth

Rambear wrote:
N N 959 wrote:
Rambear wrote:
Wait. So you can argue that in pathfinder creatures cannot provide cover for themselves because that is in the rules, but you should defo do damage per square on an explosion because it is more realistic?
No, I'm actually arguing the opposite. But then like so many posters on these forums, you can't be bothered to actually read and parse what is being said, you're just focused on trying to "win" an argument.

I am not trying to win anything. Stop trying to guess about my motivations and do not attack me based on these presumptions. That is a rubbish argument (Ad Hominem and Poisoning the Well, look it up).

All I have been trying to do is:

A) Show that in the context with this game it is not feasible to apply damage per square. Which you have more or less agreed to.

B) Try to argue that there are a a variety of factors to take into account if we would look at damage/square. Several have been named:

1) How tough is a bigger creature?
2) What percentage of a being is being affected?
3) Does the fact that a creature is very big and "provides cover" for itself have any effect. Say my monster is 15x15x15 feet. Even if every square is in the blast radius, the one in the middle would be inside the creature. What about the ones at the back of the creature?
4) AoE effects have a point of origin. For explosions, does closer or farther away affect the damage you take?
5) Should the damage be lessened for smaller beings? Or should the damage for an explosion be a set amount of damage for the blast area, divided by the amount of squares?. Make fireball 2d6/level, but divide that damage per square?

I do not claim to be an expert on matters of physics, nor on balancing RPGS. Hell, I am hardly an expert on anything really. I just wonder how you would envision this and how

P.S. Stay away from feigning outrage because people react in a certain way. You have acted outraged yourself, in my opinion for no reason. We are all adults here, and I try to...

Are you asking about the "actual rules" or are you wanting to discuss "why it would be a good or bad idea" to allow it?

Aelryinth wrote:

If you go back to 3.5, there IS a spell that did more damage based on the size of the enemy...the 'dragon killer' Druidic spell called Squamos Pulse, which basically summoned up a huge mass of Green slime.

The bigger you were, the more slime you got hit with, and the more damage you took.

Broken as all heck, too.

==Aelryinth

I thought Squamous Pulse did damage based on your Natural Armour? or is it a different spell than the one in book of eldritch might 2?

 RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

I might be misremembering it, then. All I know was the bigger and badder the enemy, the more (Constitution?) damage it did to them.

It got banned from the tables I was at before the book it came from was cold.

==Aelryinth

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Azten wrote:
A web spell set on fire deals damage per square I believe.

The web text: :

PRD wrote:
Any fire can set the webs alight and burn away one 5-foot square in 1 round. All creatures within flaming webs take 2d4 points of fire damage from the flames.

1) it burn 1 square at a time unless you have a way to set several square ablaze in 1 round.

2) "All creatures within flaming webs take 2d4 points of fire damage from the flames." So, regardless of the number of flaming webs squares in which you are, you get only 2d4 of damage. It is for creature, not for square.

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N N 959 wrote:

Plus, you can't universally claim a larger creature has a different surface to mass ratio without actually showing some specific facts. Mass is a function of density per volume and given that there's absolutely no universal rule about creature density, you can't make definitive statements about them.

I'm just going to comment on this because the scientist in me was bothered, and I can't resist.

The surface area/volume ratio of a creature (or any objects with similar densities) does actually decrease at a relatively consistent rate. In the real world, most living creatures have very similar densities, very close to that of water due to their bodies largely being made of it. It somewhat depends on shape, but it we use a sphere as an example the volume increases by the cube of the radius (r^3) while the surface area increases by the square (r^2). It should be obvious that volume increases much more quickly. This is actually one reason why organisms are limited in their size the way they are. A single-celled amoeba can't grow to the size of a person because they don't have enough surface area to absorb oxygen/nutrients/etc fast enough to sustain their relatively-larger volume.
(Humans body size is similarly limited, though in practice it has more to do with our bones not growing strong enough as their size increases to support the increased weight of the body. The tallest recorded human in history had to wear leg braces so his bones didn't break under the weight of his flesh.)

Enough nerding out, though.

To be on topic, making AoE effects do damage by squares would require a lot of tinkering, and would make an already-complicated game even more so, with little to no payoff -- hence, a bad idea.

Edit: No one's even touched on the idea that Hit Points are more abstract measure of combat ability than actual injuries. For the example of the 20th-vs-1st level fighter in a fireball, the 20th level guy is just luckier/quicker/more experienced/etc.

If one wanted to penalize large and larger creatures, it could be reasonable to increase the reflex save by 1 for each additional square the creature filled of the aoe of the spell.

Paulicus wrote:

(Humans body size is similarly limited, though in practice it has more to do with our bones not growing strong enough as their size increases to support the increased weight of the body. The tallest recorded human in history had to wear leg braces so his bones didn't break under the weight of his flesh.)

But we're specifically not talking about humans because no humans are large or huge or colossal. So we don't know what the densities are and we can draw zero conclusions from RL for densities of creatures that have supernatural abilities. Humans can't be 8 feet because our bone evolution doesn't support it. Pternadons could stand that tall and have 40' wing spans and still fly. Their surface to body mass ratio is completely different than that of humans.

Dragon's Dogma (Video game) had a hit points per square-esqe system.
Griffons died to firewalls instantly, despite being a very tanky creature.
Casters were OP.

Now, the rules say "One damage per creature"
If you want to house rule it otherwise, that's your prerogative.
Just expect every large BBEB to die before they can put up a fight.

Consider.

Colossal creatures are 30ft square. 6x6. 36 squares.
We can cover EVERY square of a COLOSSAL creature with a fireball. Even accounting for diagonals.
Fireball is a 3rd level Sorc/Wizard spell. Lowest caster level will be Wiz5.
5d6. max 30, min 5, avg 17.
36 squares getting hit. max 1080, min 180, avg 612.
Cthulu, sitting at a whopping CR30, has 774HP. The Tarrasque(CR25) 525HP. Titans(ElsianCR21/ThanatoticCR22) have 409/471HP
Yes, those monsters all have SR that the lvl5 Wizard can't overcome, but the raw damage is still the issue.
You will have casters able to orbital strike bigger creatures with their lower level spells, unmodified, for more than the creatures' HP.

*Edit*Oh, and this is all accounting for ONLY the base squares touching the ground. Consider the effects of occupying three dimensions.
So 6x6x6=216squares

Lord Twitchiopolis wrote:

Dragon's Dogma (Video game) had a hit points per square-esqe system.

***
Casters were OP.

Interesting. Pathfinder doesn't have the damage per square system and yet people say the same thing about casters.

RDM42 wrote:
armor impacts the ability to make a solid enough hit to do damage ... That's the difference between touch ac and normal ac. Touch ac would be the ability to 'hit' as in make contact. Regular armored ac is the ability to make contact in a way causing physical damage through the force of the hit ... So something that would hit your touch ac but misses your armored ac managed to make contact i.e. 'Hit' but didn't manage to 'hit' as in impact solidly enough to do damage. The metal plate absorbed it it glanced off the armor, etcetera.

Yes, I understand what you're trying to say, but you're over looking the obvious. Platemail, chainmail, leather armor, etc, would all reduce the damage you take, but make you easier to hit (because they drastically reduce mobility) even if you didn't have a positive DEX modifier. That means you'd get a hit a lot more often, but take a reduced damage. They key point is that you are taking damage more often, just a lessor amount. Getting cut with leather armor on is going to be far less lethal than that same blow without the leather armor. The armor doesn't stop you from getting cut, it just stops the cut from perforating your kidney or chopping off your arm. Considering that many attacks in Pathfinder have secondary conditions, these secondary conditions e.g. poison or elemental damage, etc. would come into play far more frequently.

Armor reduces damage. It doesn't eliminate contact and things that would take effect upon damaging contact. That isn't AC, it's DR. In Pathfinder, if you miss someone such that you would have otherwise hit but for their armor, you're considered to have missed them entirely. If you hit someone with platemail or leather armor, the creature takes full damage. There is no reduction in the damage and that is what is "nutty." D&D and maybe even Pathfinder actually published alternate rules to switch AC to DR, but I don't know anyone who plays with them.

N N 959 wrote:
Lord Twitchiopolis wrote:

Dragon's Dogma (Video game) had a hit points per square-esqe system.

***
Casters were OP.
Interesting. Pathfinder doesn't have the damage per square system and yet people say the same thing about casters.

Exactly my point.

If casters are top of the food chain as is, damage by square makes the gap even larger.

 RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

N N 959 wrote:
RDM42 wrote:
armor impacts the ability to make a solid enough hit to do damage ... That's the difference between touch ac and normal ac. Touch ac would be the ability to 'hit' as in make contact. Regular armored ac is the ability to make contact in a way causing physical damage through the force of the hit ... So something that would hit your touch ac but misses your armored ac managed to make contact i.e. 'Hit' but didn't manage to 'hit' as in impact solidly enough to do damage. The metal plate absorbed it it glanced off the armor, etcetera.

Yes, I understand what you're trying to say, but you're over looking the obvious. Platemail, chainmail, leather armor, etc, would all reduce the damage you take, but make you easier to hit (because they drastically reduce mobility) even if you didn't have a positive DEX modifier. That means you'd get a hit a lot more often, but take a reduced damage. They key point is that you are taking damage more often, just a lessor amount. Getting cut with leather armor on is going to be far less lethal than that same blow without the leather armor. The armor doesn't stop you from getting cut, it just stops the cut from perforating your kidney or chopping off your arm. Considering that many attacks in Pathfinder have secondary conditions, these secondary conditions e.g. poison or elemental damage, etc. would come into play far more frequently.

Armor reduces damage. It doesn't eliminate contact and things that would take effect upon damaging contact. That isn't AC, it's DR. In Pathfinder, if you miss someone such that you would have otherwise hit but for their armor, you're considered to have missed them entirely. If you hit someone with platemail or leather armor, the creature takes full damage. There is no reduction in the damage and that is what is "nutty." D&D and maybe even Pathfinder actually published alternate rules to switch AC to DR, but I don't know anyone who plays with them.

Armor taking the damage so you don't have to is not at all different mathematically then armor taking all or none of it.

It's just math. And as math, it's easier to figure fast AC hit/no-hit then Hit/no-hit, reduce x dmg/don't reduce damage.

Note that Warhammer rules DO use Armor as DR, directly offset by Str as DR punching. Mathematically, it all ends up working out the same way, so why go to the more complex system?

==Aelryinth

 Community Manager

Removed some posts and their replies—calling an idea "stupid" does not make for good discourse. Please be civil to each other, thank you! Further discourse on how this idea might be implemented should go to the Homebrew forum.

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