Eversmoking bottle, how does it actually work?


Rules Questions


2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

I'm confused about the text of this item:

Quote:
This metal urn is identical in appearance to an efreeti bottle, except that it does nothing but smoke. The amount of smoke is great if the stopper is pulled out, pouring from the bottle and totally obscuring vision across a 50-foot spread in 1 round. If the bottle is left unstoppered, the smoke billows out another 10 feet per round until it has covered a 100-foot radius. This area remains smoke-filled until the eversmoking bottle is stoppered.

i suppose to apply the rules for the normal smoke?

Quote:

Smoke

A character who breathes heavy smoke must make a Fortitude save each round (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or spend that round choking and coughing. A character who chokes for 2 consecutive rounds takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. Smoke obscures vision, giving concealment (20% miss chance) to characters within it.

is that right?


The spell this item uses is Pyrotechnics, in the spell it says;

Smoke Cloud: A stream of smoke billows out from the fire, forming a choking cloud that spreads 20 feet in all directions and lasts for 1 round per caster level. All sight, even darkvision, is ineffective in or through the cloud. All within the cloud take –4 penalties to Strength and Dexterity (Fortitude negates). These effects last for 1d4+1 rounds after the cloud dissipates or after the creature leaves the area of the cloud. Spell resistance does not apply.


Dr Styx wrote:

The spell this item uses is Pyrotechnics, in the spell it says;

Smoke Cloud: A stream of smoke billows out from the fire, forming a choking cloud that spreads 20 feet in all directions and lasts for 1 round per caster level. All sight, even darkvision, is ineffective in or through the cloud. All within the cloud take –4 penalties to Strength and Dexterity (Fortitude negates). These effects last for 1d4+1 rounds after the cloud dissipates or after the creature leaves the area of the cloud. Spell resistance does not apply.

The spell prerequisites of wondrous items have no effect on what the item does, unless the item says it is duplicating a spell. Only items that actually duplicate spells (potions, wands, scrolls, staves, and anything else that specifically says so) use the spells effects.


I would say that the smoke definitely does not impart any penalties as the urn doesn't say as much, but it also does specify that it "totally obscur[es] vision" similar to Pyrotechnics, which is different than the environment smoke which only grants concealment.

So, the smoke expands from 50 to 100' over five rounds and gives total concealment to anyone in the cloud.

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dado1090 wrote:

apply the rules for the normal smoke?

Fortitude save each round ... concealment (20% miss chance)
is that right?

Yes is right.

It's why you almost always see people with a Goz Mask or Necklace of Adaption also.


so...we have 3 different interpretations. Which one it's right? :-)


It's smoke, so it works like smoke unless otherwise specified. The rules for pyrotechnics have no effect.

The Fortitude save would only apply if it is "heavy" smoke, which would be up to the GM. It also only applies to those who actually breathe the smoke, and holding your breath for short periods of time is quite easy.

The eversmoking bottle has special text saying that instead of merely providing concealment like normal smoke, this smoke "totally obscures vision." So unless you can see through smoke (goz masks are excellent) you can't see at all.

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dado1090 wrote:

so...we have 3 different interpretations. Which one it's right? :-)

Your GM


ok...seems to understand that there isn't definite rules about this item. :-)

Thanks anyway. :-)

Liberty's Edge

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The description of this item's effects hasn't changed much from the AD&D version. At that point there were no 'smoke rules' or connection to the pyrotechnics spell. Ergo, I'd say that RAI is still just that the smoke obscures vision. That'd be total concealment in Pathfinder terms. The fact that the item doesn't refer to any other effects would also seem to support this interpretation.

That said, applying the Pathfinder smoke rules would be a reasonable assumption. Just probably not what the writers were thinking when they copied the item over from earlier versions.

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CBDunkerson wrote:
probably not what the writers were thinking when they copied the item over from earlier versions.

Or they could have been thinking "yea when I played 9 years of 1e we always have the players cough and choke on the smoke from this" and they decided to write up some official smoke rules.


They probably would've referenced the smoke rules in the item entry.

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Paulicus wrote:
They probably would've referenced the smoke rules in the item entry.

That is faulty logic because they don't always state the obvious and they did. It is called an eversmoking bottle, because it makes smoke and smoke has consequences.

Plus in 2014 GenCon had a whole table of 6 run a bottle, goz mask, and a necklace of adaption. It caused issues, but no one at the time could think of a reason it didn't make all monsters choke out on Fortitude saves. The exact same thing happened in the PVP competition when I run the three items in a 12 person free for all. Well 11 vs 1 shortly after the smoke started making them choke. Someone else came that year without the necklace and choked himself.

To summarize, all the times when I've actually seen this active at a table. The GM concluded you needed to make fort saves. I never considered an interpretation that didn't involve choking, until this thread.


The eversmoking bottle doesn't reference the Environment rules in the core rulebook, nor does it mention the 'heavy smoke' that those rules simulate. It also gives a very specific definition of what the item does do, so there's no really compelling reason to go searching for other rules. Magic items generally define their own effects, and this one does. Smoke A is not necessarily Smoke B, and it's totally within the realm of reason for a magic item to create an opaque, breathable smoke.

So, the smoke from the item expands from a 50' spread to 100' radius and gives total concealment (against sighted enemies) to anyone in the cloud.

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Handaxe Beak wrote:
So, the smoke from the item expands from a 50' spread to 100' radius and gives total concealment (against sighted enemies) to anyone in the cloud.

I 100% agree with your RAW interpretation.

I just don't share it. I agree with my RAW interpretation that you choke.

Without something saying one way or another, both are 100% RAW and correct.

Ask you GM which he uses.


Pyrotechnics is irrelevant, because component spells don't by rule have anything to do with their items they are used in making.

Which leaves us with the fact that it simply says smoke. There are rules for what smoke does. Smoke from ANY source would then unambiguously do those things, including choking.

HOWEVER, the environmental rules do specify "heavy smoke" and the item only says "smoke" so for that reason alone, it is not 100% clear that you choke. If they hadn't written "heavy" in there, then it would have been completely unambiguous that you do, but as is, I think it is left unclear and up to GM fiat what is "heavy" or not, since this is never defined.

I would strongly recommend, however, personally, that you allow it to choke, because notice that the item's smoke COMPLETELY obscures vision, whereas the environmental rules smoke only does 20% concealment. So from any remotely realistic standpoint, this stuff is heavier than heavy smoke if anything, and thus at a minimum should do the same amount of choking. But that is an inference from outside physics, not explicitly logically required in game terms.


"This area remains smoke-filled until the eversmoking bottle is stoppered."
If we're talking literal RAW, does that mean that the area remains smoke-filled indefinitely, even if you leave the area, taking the bottle with you?

Liberty's Edge

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Crimeo wrote:
So from any remotely realistic standpoint, this stuff is heavier than heavy smoke if anything, and thus at a minimum should do the same amount of choking.

If we're talking about 'realism' then it depends on what you are burning. The 'heavy smoke' environmental rules in the CRB are the same as the forest fire smoke rules in the same book. Burning wood releases a lot of gases and particulates which are harmful to humans. It is entirely possible to burn things which are far less harmful or even medicinal (e.g. incense).

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Matthew Downie wrote:

"This area remains smoke-filled until the eversmoking bottle is stoppered."

If we're talking literal RAW, does that mean that the area remains smoke-filled indefinitely, even if you leave the area, taking the bottle with you?

Ask your GM.

This area = all the area in the surrounding of the bottle.
This area = The current area surrounding the bottle.


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The rule quoted for smoke is not the rule for 'normal smoke' its the rule for 'heavy smoke'.

There's a difference.

It is the same as the smoke from a smokestick.

ie: it does nothing but obscure vision, just in a bigger area.

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EvilMinion wrote:
The rule quoted for smoke is not the rule for 'normal smoke' its the rule for 'heavy smoke'.

You have an opinion? Or a developer quote? Because without a developer quote, you will find nearly every GM differs with you. I've actively used that item in player vs player tournaments as a method to choke out people not prepared for it. I prepare for it in other PVP events I play. I've seen it used in a lot of PFS game tables (mostly as a GM of a player or a player at the table with another player using it.)


It is not a matter of opinion that "heavy smoke" is not the same phrase/conceptual concept as "smoke." Whether you deem any one particular instance of smoke to be sufficiently heavy or not, sure, but not the mere fact that they do indeed have different levels of rules.

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Crimeo wrote:
Whether you deem any one particular instance of smoke to be sufficiently heavy or not, sure

So we come to agreement?

The RAW interpretation the GM employs determines whether or not one chokes in the smoke in that GM's RAW game.

If so, woot.


Except that "I think that this smoke should arbitrarily be 'heavy'" although not really contradicting anything, most definitely isn't "RAW"... It's just an off the cuff flavor decision of the GM. Unless it's written somewhere that some specific smoke source creates "heavy" smoke, then it isn't ever "Rules as written" that it's heavy smoke.

It's not even either of RAW's occasional little siblings: rules as logically required nor rules as implied (both of which I occasionally refer to as RAW, admittedly), because it's not logically required nor implied anywhere either.

This is straight up optionally added non-written fluff. Which is great and you should do it all the time, and it's immersive and fun sounding. *thumbs up*! But... I'm just not sure why you're insistent on wanting to put that label on it. What you're describing seems clearly to be "RIP" Rules In Play, a commonly used term for "the end result of whatever your GM wants and uses" that you are mostly referring to here.

The Exchange

Total concealment in its area. That is all.

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Ragoz wrote:
Total concealment in its area. That is all.

That is your interpretation of the Rules as Written.

Crimeo wrote:
most definitely isn't "RAW"

Then you have no idea what Rules as Written means, as it is as interpreted by the GM.


They seems all quite fair interpretations for the rule; but what in PFS, when people can use this item in different party and different DMs?
Maybe, a FAQ can be in order...


The item descxrition tells you what the bottles does. It does that, not more, not less.

There is no reference to the Enviromental Hazards, nor to the Spell Pyrotechniks (Creation prereqs have no impact on the item's function, unless specifically called out to being similar as spell X). Thus you do not use these other rules regarding somked up areas. They are all their own thing.

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Guru-Meditation wrote:
The item descxrition tells you what the bottles does. It does that, not more, not less.

Essentially the same argument was used to assert that Ring of Invisibility just worked forever. A FAQ clarified that it only lasted 3 minutes due to CL 3. Nothing in the item said anything about being limited in duration.

They don't always write obvious things in descriptions and the times they do are often taken as a precedence as a requirement.

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dado1090 wrote:

PFS, when people can use this item in different party and different DMs?

Maybe, a FAQ can be in order...

Maybe, but there wasn't much debate on how it worked when it got 6 player party (every player had a bottle, goz mask, and necklace of adaption). I don't recall any of the GM's involved thinking they didn't need to make all enemies in all encounters make Fortitude saves.


James Risner wrote:
Guru-Meditation wrote:
The item descxrition tells you what the bottles does. It does that, not more, not less.

Essentially the same argument was used to assert that Ring of Invisibility just worked forever. A FAQ clarified that it only lasted 3 minutes due to CL 3. Nothing in the item said anything about being limited in duration.

They don't always write obvious things in descriptions and the times they do are often taken as a precedence as a requirement.

Well, the ring of invisibility does say "as the spell". So there is something in the description that tells you to look at the spell which does have a duration.


Quote:
Then you have no idea what Rules as Written means, as it is as interpreted by the GM.

There are many cases where grammar can plausibly be read two ways. This isn't one of them. "Smoke" and "Heavy smoke" are two clearly different clauses, one being an unambiguous logical subset of the other. Any other "interpretation" of what the book has written in it is, frankly, wrong. As much so as "interpreting" 'weather' and 'rain' to mean the exact same thing would be, etc.

Note that I'm NOT saying it isn't RAW to rule that the smoking bottle makes you choke. No, that's fine, and within RAW, because all it says is "smoke" which grammatically and logically, includes "heavy smoke" within it, so it's your call to rule how heavy the smoke is.

But at no point does that change the fact that the two terms mean different things. Whether that ever matters for your campaign? Hard to say, but it's still a fact.

As a concrete example, if you told you players by accident "You are in a field of light smoke. Roll for choking" They can now, by RAW, object to you and say "erm, actually that's only for heavy smoke" and you would be stuck. You'd either have to agree that they don't choke, go retcon your own statement and say it's heavy, or (whether implicitly or explicitly) house rule.

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Crimeo wrote:
Note that I'm NOT saying it isn't RAW to rule that the smoking bottle makes you choke. No, that's fine, and within RAW

Then you and I agree. Why does it seem like you are trying to object to my assertion that there is room for both interpretations to be RAW.

In post 8, I said the only one that knows how it works is your GM.


The original comment was:

Quote:

EvilMinion: "The rule quoted for smoke is not the rule for "normal smoke" it's the rule for "heavy smoke"

James Risner: [That's up to the GM without a developer quote]

You were suggesting that it is somehow up to the GM or that the GM's opinion matters as to whether the quoted rule is "about heavy smoke" or not. It isn't up to the GM, because the rule IS unambiguously about heavy smoke by RAW. How do we know this? We know, because the text clearly writes out "heavy smoke."

That's it. That is all I am taking issue with.


James Risner wrote:
Crimeo wrote:
Note that I'm NOT saying it isn't RAW to rule that the smoking bottle makes you choke. No, that's fine, and within RAW
Then you and I agree. Why does it seem like you are trying to object to my assertion that there is room for both interpretations to be RAW.

Indeed.

Similarly, on the next page of the Core rulebook, there is an Anchor Feather Token.
"A token that creates an anchor that moors a craft in water so as to render it immobile for up to 1 day."
It doesn't specify whether or not this anchor is made of solid gold; it certainly doesn't explicitly rule it out. Therefore, the interpretation that the anchor is made of gold, and the interpretation that it's just an ordinary anchor, are both RAW.


Handaxe Beak wrote:

The eversmoking bottle doesn't reference the Environment rules in the core rulebook, nor does it mention the 'heavy smoke' that those rules simulate. It also gives a very specific definition of what the item does do, so there's no really compelling reason to go searching for other rules. Magic items generally define their own effects, and this one does. Smoke A is not necessarily Smoke B, and it's totally within the realm of reason for a magic item to create an opaque, breathable smoke.

So, the smoke from the item expands from a 50' spread to 100' radius and gives total concealment (against sighted enemies) to anyone in the cloud.

I totally agree with this.

That said, as people pointed out, it could have some other intended effects that weren't explained, in which case it should be clarified in an errata; Until then it should be assumed that the only thing it does is obscure vision.

Many people — especially common folk in the distant past— would equate smoke with other vapors anyway. Even if they knew of the difference, one word would be used just to convey the general concept of it. I would say that while rules descriptions obviously are and should be more accurate than that sort of standard, I think it's reasonable to state that it's usage of the term "smoke" in this scenario could possibly mean "obscuring gas" rather than anything that is necessarily harmful.

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Joesi wrote:
That said, as people pointed out, it could have some other intended effects that weren't explained, in which case it should be clarified in an errata; Until then it should be assumed that the only thing it does is obscure vision.

That is no rule or developer guidance that advises us whether or not to consider outside things. There are plenty of examples where outside things are assumed to be considered part of the effect, but are not stated.

So the lack of a sentence pointing out what to do with the smoke, you can't assume the intended action or expected interpretation is to ignore it.


James Risner wrote:
Joesi wrote:
That said, as people pointed out, it could have some other intended effects that weren't explained, in which case it should be clarified in an errata; Until then it should be assumed that the only thing it does is obscure vision.

That is no rule or developer guidance that advises us whether or not to consider outside things. There are plenty of examples where outside things are assumed to be considered part of the effect, but are not stated.

So the lack of a sentence pointing out what to do with the smoke, you can't assume the intended action or expected interpretation is to ignore it.

I'd say that while that's true, the only time that would apply is for balance reasons (granted, individual opinion may vary, but that's the only time I see it justified). And in this case I think it would clearly be a balance issue if it did anything other than obscure vision considering it's cost and AoE.

The Exchange

casting Animate Thread - creating an undead version of the Eversmoking Bottle Thread
Encountered another interpretation of this recently.

(interpretation in question) The 'Bottle creates a smoke cloud "...pouring from the bottle and totally obscuring vision across a 50-foot spread in 1 round. "... "Smoke - A character who breathes heavy smoke must make a Fortitude save each round (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or spend that round choking and coughing. A character who chokes for 2 consecutive rounds takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. Smoke obscures vision, giving concealment (20% miss chance) to characters within it."

So anyone in the area needs to roll a Fort save and has concealment (20% miss chance). The entire area ONLY has a 20% miss chance and it only has concealment, not TOTAL concealment. Basically: "totally obscuring vision" = "concealment" = 20% miss chance.

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