Wall of fire and being forcibly moved through it


Rules Questions

Shadow Lodge

had a situation in a game last night

now while not particularly dangerous due to the spells that were up at the time it brought up a very interesting rules discussion for future situations

this was in a Way of the Wicked Campaign

the Encounter was with a Peri the creature used its whirlwind dance and was able to successfully suck one PC up into the Firey Twister

it then started using its Wall of Fire SLA's and put 2 of them down and started dragging the unfortunate soul back and forth through the walls of fire ... this was not a planned tactic ... but one that evolved on the fly

my question in the end is ... if you are forcibly moved through a wall of fire (in this case 2) with the possibility of dragging him through each wall 2x in 1 round ... does the wall do damage each time ... my logic says yes .. but my OMFG this is super OP says no


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So it's important to note, that whirlwind (the Supernatural ability from the Universal Monster Rules and not the spell versions) requires that a creature be a least 1 size category smaller than the user. So a Peri could only suck up a small creature (or smaller), so it's highly likely that the whole thing simply couldn't be done.

In the event that the PC character was small and sucked up, what was the rest of the party doing? You can still hit the Peri while it's a whirlwind and cause it damage and it's movement still provokes AoO. Also, it can't make attacks while a worldwind and would have required two rounds to set up two walls of fire, either before or after having sucked up the part member (and remember turning into a whirlwind is a full round action).

So at best it could have been something like:
Round 1 -Turn into whirlwind - full round action
Round 2 -Move to small character and suck them up. Use standard action to cast Wall of Fire SLA.
Round 3 -Use standard action to cast SLA Wall of Fire a second time, and move action to move through both walls.
Round 4 -Use standard action to move and move action to move through both walls.

Passing through a wall deals 2d6+15 points of fire damage. So passing through each wall twice would deal 8d6+60 damage. Compare this to a normal full round attack which has 4 attacks with it's sword and two wing attacks. If all attacks hit (unlikely) it's 4d6+32 from the sword and 2d6+6+burn from the wings. Total being 6d6+38 and didn't take 3 rounds to set up, where it was dealing no damage.

I guess ultimately the point here would be don't ignore an enemy and allow them to set up such a scenario in the first place, and that you should have focused on killing the Peri once it became such an obvious threat.


Also resist energy communal, which is on a lot of spell lists, could have protected the entire party in one casting. Even if you were only 10th level against the Peri it would have protected from the majority of damage of each wall. 2d6+15-20 means at most taking 7 damage per time dragged through the wall.

Shadow Lodge

Claxon wrote:

So it's important to note, that whirlwind (the Supernatural ability from the Universal Monster Rules and not the spell versions) requires that a creature be a least 1 size category smaller than the user. So a Peri could only suck up a small creature (or smaller), so it's highly likely that the whole thing simply couldn't be done.

not entirely true .... the wording is "Creatures one or more size categories smaller than the whirlwind" not the creature

so 5 ft base and up to 20 ft Wide at the top

as for the rest yes ... protection and resist were both in play so this wasnt a particularly deadly encounter ... just a resource spender ... tho now that I see I forgot it does double damage to undead ... the Vampire caught in the Whirlwind should have been in a LOT Worse trouble


I think there is a rule somewhere that says that a spell can do it's damage only once per round to a given character.
(But that may have been part of a rule discussion for an earlier edition of D&D, where they theorized about shieldbasing someone through a wall several times in a round.)


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Since I don't see any rules for determining the size category of the Whirlwind I'm guessing that it has the same size category as the creature which created it. If that's not correct I'd be interested in a link to whatever chart is used to calculate this so I can use it in the future.

If you get pushed or pulled through two different Walls of Fire I'd think that you'd take damage twice. Since standing in a Wall of Fire all round would only do 2d6+15 damage I wouldn't be inclined to award extra damage for moving somebody in and out of the same WoF repeatedly though.


Just pointing out that in whirlwind form creatures do NOT provoke attacks of opportunity for moving (even entering other creature's sqaures) just for any other reader's benefit who might get confused.

Wraith235 wrote:
my question in the end is ... if you are forcibly moved through a wall of fire (in this case 2) with the possibility of dragging him through each wall 2x in 1 round ... does the wall do damage each time ... my logic says yes .. but my OMFG this is super OP says no

I tend to agree with Devilkiller's line of reasoning; that a creature standing in a wall of fire for its whole round only takes x damage so that should be taken into account. Unfortunately, I also realize that letting a PC choose to run back and forth through a wall of fire is clearly not something that should be allowed.

I would restrict the damage to at least once per 'forced' movement, meaning the Peri could damage the target twice per round with forcible movement, but couldn't just keep moving back and forth with it's 90 feet of Fly speed. It could do it once as a move action and again as a standard action. 90 feet of movement could be a lot of crossing back and forth after all. It could go back and forth all it wants, but I wouldn't damage the target for this anymore than I would do extra damage if the Peri dragged it along the length of the wall of fire instead of across it.

So 2x in a round is probably fair, but note that rulewise, some people could rule that every single time you run/pass through the wall you should take damage. Like if you have 6 attacks and punch a burning a creature, you don't only take the damage for the first time you touch the stove. I think in most cases putting a restriction for forcible movement is a fair ruling, since such things typically do allow special defenses in many cases (ie. moving a target into danger doesn't work, or doesn't provoke AoOs, or allows a free save/escape, sometimes with a bonus.) Specific rules-wise however... it could be really bad for some targets.


It's a good point that standing in a wall of fire all round only damages you once, so each wall of fire should probably only deal damage once per round.

Dark Archive

Claxon wrote:

So it's important to note, that whirlwind (the Supernatural ability from the Universal Monster Rules and not the spell versions) requires that a creature be a least 1 size category smaller than the user. So a Peri could only suck up a small creature (or smaller), so it's highly likely that the whole thing simply couldn't be done.

In the event that the PC character was small and sucked up, what was the rest of the party doing? You can still hit the Peri while it's a whirlwind and cause it damage and it's movement still provokes AoO. Also, it can't make attacks while a worldwind and would have required two rounds to set up two walls of fire, either before or after having sucked up the part member (and remember turning into a whirlwind is a full round action).

So at best it could have been something like:
Round 1 -Turn into whirlwind - full round action
Round 2 -Move to small character and suck them up. Use standard action to cast Wall of Fire SLA.
Round 3 -Use standard action to cast SLA Wall of Fire a second time, and move action to move through both walls.
Round 4 -Use standard action to move and move action to move through both walls.

Passing through a wall deals 2d6+15 points of fire damage. So passing through each wall twice would deal 8d6+60 damage. Compare this to a normal full round attack which has 4 attacks with it's sword and two wing attacks. If all attacks hit (unlikely) it's 4d6+32 from the sword and 2d6+6+burn from the wings. Total being 6d6+38 and didn't take 3 rounds to set up, where it was dealing no damage.

I guess ultimately the point here would be don't ignore an enemy and allow them to set up such a scenario in the first place, and that you should have focused on killing the Peri once it became such an obvious threat.

that's not bad, the fire walls do some significant damage, because even if all it's attacks hit it's still outdamaged by a couple iteratives. realistically the full attack would hit maybe half the time.It's also potentially doing damage with the walls normally as well as sectioning off the rest of the party.

but the main question is how many times per round can a fire wall hit a person, with a 90 ft fly speed the victim could potentially go through the same wall multiple times per move action.


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Devilkiller wrote:

Since I don't see any rules for determining the size category of the Whirlwind I'm guessing that it has the same size category as the creature which created it...

I agree, and wouldn't try to determine the size category of the whirlwind by looking at its measurements and such. It's just the size of the creature that became the whirlwind. So, a Medium creature's whirlwind can't pick up or damage anything larger than Small.

There are several other threads that have discussed this issue, with posters questioning the same thing. I happen to think it's just an artifact of a small tweak made to the ability's text after it was picked up from the older language, from elementals (SRD).

Compare these two passages:
From the PRD's UMR whirlwind entry: "Creatures one or more size categories smaller than the whirlwind"

From dandwiki: "Creatures one or more size categories smaller than the elemental"

I think something just got lost in the transition, and that the size of the creature that forms the whirlwind is what's meant.

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