Do enemies on fire take extra damage from Sorcerer bloodlines?


Rules Questions

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Say I'm a sorcerer with the Solar bloodline whose arcana adds +1 to each die of damage spells for fire spells I cast.

Solar Bloodline Arcana wrote:
Bloodline Arcana: Whenever you cast a spell with the fire descriptor, if it deals damage, it deals +1 point of damage per die rolled.

I cast a spell whose description specifically states that it can catch targets on fire, say Greater Flaming Sphere.

Flaming Sphere Excerpt wrote:
...Any creature that fails its save against the sphere catches on fire. If a creature catches on fire, the DC to extinguish the flames is equal to the DC of this spell....

Does the 1d6 damage per turn become 1d6+1 because being caught on fire was part of the spells effect. Or not, because being caught on fire is considered an environmental effect that the spell simply triggered.

In the case of Greater Flaming Sphere, and many (but not all) such spells, the DC to extinguish the fire becomes equal to the spells DC which would imply that the target is "magically" caught on fire and is still a property of the spell. If so, what about the ones that don't do that?

I'm torn. Any RAW, official, unofficial, or simply opinion responses are welcome.


I think it's a DM call, however, there are some things to consider.

1. Unless specified otherwise catching on Fire does 1d6 damage and gives a free reflex save, DC 15 in order to put out.

Catching Fire wrote:

If a character’s clothes or hair catch fire, he takes 1d6 points of damage immediately. In each subsequent round, the burning character must make another Reflex saving throw. Failure means he takes another 1d6 points of damage that round. Success means that the fire has gone out—that is, once he succeeds on his saving throw, he’s no longer on fire.

A character on fire may automatically extinguish the flames by jumping into enough water to douse himself. If no body of water is at hand, rolling on the ground or smothering the fire with cloaks or the like permits the character another save with a +4 bonus.

2. There are fire spells that do in fact specify differently.

Fire Storm wrote:
creature within the area takes 1d6 points of fire damage per caster level (maximum 20d6). Creatures that fail their Reflex save catch on fire, taking 4d6 points of fire damage each round until the flames are extinguished. Extinguishing the flames is a full-round action that requires a DC 20 Reflex save.

also,

Curse of Burning Sleep wrote:
When the curse is triggered, the creature bursts into flame, taking 1d6 points of fire damage per 2 caster levels (maximum 8d6). Furthermore, it catches on fire, taking 2d6 points of fire damage per round at the end of its turn each round until the creature dies or is quenched as normal. If the target is still asleep, the fire damage from this spell wakes it.

for most spells that set creatures on fire, the "on fire" effect is independent of the spell, IOW you can't just cast dispel magic on someone to put them out. So, in that vein the spell isn't what's causing the damage. However, because some spells completely re-write how being "on fire" is handled its reasonable to conclude that the "on fire" effect is in fact a part of the spell and would therefore be eligible for the extra damage.


No. It just increases the spell damage.

If you have the orc bloodline and cast force punch, you get +1 damage per dice on the damage roll. If your attack happens to push the enemy off a cliff, you don't add the same bonus to fall damage.

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Artofregicide wrote:

No. It just increases the spell damage.

If you have the orc bloodline and cast force punch, you get +1 damage per dice on the damage roll. If your attack happens to push the enemy off a cliff, you don't add the same bonus to fall damage.

I agree with your argument, but that's a false equivalency. Force punch doesn't specifically state in it's description that it causes environmental damage, nor does it include an overriding DC equal to the spells DC to try and avoid the fall damage. Which are the factors that I'm bringing up to suggest that the ongoing fire damage is a property of the spell itself.

But you make a good point with fall damage. A better spell for that argument would have been Create Pit. It causes environmental damage, and has a DC to avoid falling in that overrides the usual environmental damage DC. And in that regard I think I'd agree with you since that would be silly to think the bloodline would increase the damage from that spell.


That Crazy Alchemist wrote:
Artofregicide wrote:

No. It just increases the spell damage.

If you have the orc bloodline and cast force punch, you get +1 damage per dice on the damage roll. If your attack happens to push the enemy off a cliff, you don't add the same bonus to fall damage.

I agree with your argument, but that's a false equivalency. Force punch doesn't specifically state in it's description that it causes environmental damage, nor does it include an overriding DC equal to the spells DC to try and avoid the fall damage. Which are the factors that I'm bringing up to suggest that the ongoing fire damage is a property of the spell itself.

But you make a good point with fall damage. A better spell for that argument would have been Create Pit. It causes environmental damage, and has a DC to avoid falling in that overrides the usual environmental damage DC. And in that regard I think I'd agree with you since that would be silly to think the bloodline would increase the damage from that spell.

but would you still agree with it, if create pit stated that creatures falling into the pit took 2d6 damage for every 10 feet they fell?

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LordKailas wrote:


but would you still agree with it, if create pit stated that creatures falling into the pit took 2d6 damage for every 10 feet they fell?

An equally good point. In that case the actual amount of damage the environmental effect (falling) causes was overridden by the spell's description. A very strong argument could be made that in that case the bonus bloodline damage would be added to it because it's a "magical" fall. Which of course swings right back to what I mentioned before about the Greater Flaming Sphere causing a"magical" on-fire condition because it is harder than normal to extinguish, and therefore maybe should get the bonus damage.

But of course another valid argument could be that in your hypothetical, where Create Pit specified the fall damage, the only reason bonus spell damage would get added to it is because that damage was specified in the spell's description, not just an environmental effect, but the actual damage.

It's a toughy. But I agree, definitely a table variation issue.


If a spells description states you catch on fire that damage is part of the spell and would get the extra damage. Catching on fire is a secondary effect of the spell, but is still an effect of the spell. Not all fire spells cause a person to catch on fire. In some cases a GM may have a fire spell cause a fire because it makes sense. In those cases the damage would not get the extra damage. So if you cast greater flaming sphere you get the damage. If your cast fire ball in a dry forest and start a forest fire you don’t.

The force punch does not cause the extra damage from falling because it not an effect of the spell. It is an effect of falling. Just because the spell causes the person to fall does not mean it is an effect of the spell. When the person falls, what happens is based on the falling rules. When the person catches fire from the greater flaming sphere the DC to extinguish it is based on the level of the spell, not the normal catching fire rules. This indicates that the damage from catching fire is part of the spell.


Create pit indeed would have been a better example. I've found that this is very much a niche case.

Catching fire *specifically* isn't spell damage, nor is falling into a pit, or any other indirect or secondary effect of a spell. As mentioned above, if the spell said "you take 1d6 fire round until you extinguish yourself" it would totally count.

Is it reasonable to rule that you get a paltry amount of bonus damage on catch fire? I guess. I just yet to see a sound argument for adding it to environmental effects created by a spell.

That said it's really not a big deal unless you're applying it to pit spells (or some other high dice environmental effects I'm unaware of) so just make a ruling and don't lose sleep over it.


Here's how I determine if an effect receives the bonus damage.

If the effect from a spell would still deal damage in an Antimagic field, it is obviously mundane, and therefore not a result of the spell.

Case 1) On fire from flaming Sphere: the damage still occurs in an AMF, therefore it doesn't get the bonus damage.

Case 2) Create pit: You would not fall and take damage from a create pit spell while in an AMF, therefore it receives the bonus damage.

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willuwontu wrote:

Here's how I determine if an effect receives the bonus damage.

If the effect from a spell would still deal damage in an Antimagic field, it is obviously mundane, and therefore not a result of the spell.

Case 1) On fire from flaming Sphere: the damage still occurs in an AMF, therefore it doesn't get the bonus damage.

Case 2) Create pit: You would not fall and take damage from a create pit spell while in an AMF, therefore it receives the bonus damage.

While that's a perfectly valid guideline to go off of, you handwaved the important part. You made the assumption that the fire would continue to exist in an AMF. The argument against that is that Greater Flaming Sphere has a special DC for extinguishing this fire that overrides the usual DC for extinguishing fire that is equal to the save DC of the spell, which implies that it is magical fire and is a part of the spell itself.


Or it implies that the severity/hotness of the fire is different when caused by the spell than general, environmental fire.


Personally yes, I do rule that if the DC for extinguishing flames is set by the spell to something other than the normal then the catch on fire damage is damage caused by the spell. The only time I've seen this look unreasonable is where dazing spell is involved, and I blame dazing spell for that.

1d6+1 instead of 1d6 damage per round for being on fire really doesn't break anything.

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avr wrote:

Personally yes, I do rule that if the DC for extinguishing flames is set by the spell to something other than the normal then the catch on fire damage is damage caused by the spell. The only time I've seen this look unreasonable is where dazing spell is involved, and I blame dazing spell for that.

1d6+1 instead of 1d6 damage per round for being on fire really doesn't break anything.

Yeah, dazing spell is definitely its own kind of broken. I typically rule that the daze effect only applies once per creature per spell. But yeah, a table that doesn't make such rulings would definitely be able to abuse the feat EVEN MORE with the "magically on fire" ruling.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Fire elementals burn is magic? No, Burn is an Ex ability, it works in an AmF.
The DC is set by the size of the elemental? Yes.

So we have a clear example where the size of the original fire changes the DC of saving against catching fire. Even the damage changes based on the size of the original fire.

Quote:

Flaming Sphere, Greater

....

DESCRIPTION

This spell functions as flaming sphere, except that it deals 6d6 points of fire damage to any creature it strikes. Any creature that fails its save against the sphere catches on fire. If a creature catches on fire, the DC to extinguish the flames is equal to the DC of this spell.

Quote:

Flaming Sphere

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...
DESCRIPTION

A burning globe of fire rolls in whichever direction you point and burns those it strikes. It moves 30 feet per round. As part of this movement, it can ascend or jump up to 30 feet to strike a target. If it enters a space with a creature, it stops moving for the round and deals 3d6 points of fire damage to that creature, though a successful Reflex save negates that damage. A flaming sphere rolls over barriers less than 4 feet tall. It ignites flammable substances it touches and illuminates the same area as a torch would.

The sphere moves as long as you actively direct it (a move action for you); otherwise, it merely stays at rest and burns. It can be extinguished by any means that would put out a normal fire of its size. The surface of the sphere has a spongy, yielding consistency and so does not cause damage except by its flame. It cannot push aside unwilling creatures or batter down large obstacles. A flaming sphere winks out if it exceeds the spell’s range.

As I see it, Flaming Sphere, Greater is hotter, cause more serious burns and start a powerful fire if the target catches on fire, but the fire it starts is a normal fire.

Note that the rules about Catching on Fire say "Characters exposed to burning oil, bonfires, and non-instantaneous magic fires might find their clothes, hair, or equipment on fire. .... If a character’s clothes or hair catch fire, he takes 1d6 points of damage immediately." That implies that a relatively small portion of the character gear or body has started burning. The higher DC of putting off the fire seems to depend on how widespread it is, not on it is magical.

YMMV

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
avr wrote:

Personally yes, I do rule that if the DC for extinguishing flames is set by the spell to something other than the normal then the catch on fire damage is damage caused by the spell. The only time I've seen this look unreasonable is where dazing spell is involved, and I blame dazing spell for that.

1d6+1 instead of 1d6 damage per round for being on fire really doesn't break anything.

Don't break anything until people start piling up other effects that add damage if the fire is magical.

I am not keen on opening doors to that kind of stuff because using it with moderation "doesn't break anything."
Too many people in this forum are prone to forget moderation for convenience.


If you got the burning damage up to 1d6+4 - possible but it takes serious investment, as well as the assumption I'd make that spell damage adds to some burning spells - it still wouldn't break anything IMO. The target still has to fail the initial save, and it'll still likely take a few rounds to take out an enemy.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
avr wrote:
If you got the burning damage up to 1d6+4 - possible but it takes serious investment, as well as the assumption I'd make that spell damage adds to some burning spells - it still wouldn't break anything IMO. The target still has to fail the initial save, and it'll still likely take a few rounds to take out an enemy.

"Damage" isn't only the fire damage. As said above by That Crazy Alchemist if the fire damage is an effect of the spell, the dazing metamagic will affect people that have catch fire.

Probably there are plenty of other metamagics or class abilities that can benefit from that ruling.
As "it is a magical fire" is a questionable ruling, instead of having to evaluate every one of them to see if they are applicable or not, it is better to rule that it is not a magical fire.

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Diego Rossi wrote:


"Damage" isn't only the fire damage. As said above by That Crazy Alchemist if the fire damage is an effect of the spell, the dazing metamagic will affect people that have catch fire.
Probably there are plenty of other metamagics or class abilities that can benefit from that ruling.
As "it is a magical fire" is a questionable ruling, instead of having to evaluate every one of them to see if they are applicable or not, it is better to rule that it is not a magical fire.

I think I'm in agreement with you Diego. It's definitely a GM call, but the safer and easier call would be to just say no.

I'm not the GM for this game, it's a character I'm making for a campaign run by someone who is kinda new and has previously only been a player at my tables. So I can't simply "rule it and move on" as I would as a GM, nor can I simply "ask my GM" because he tends to look to me for the rules interpretations. So asking him might make him feel like he's being tested lol.
So for simplicity I'll just play it as the damage does not get added to avoid any confusion. If the GM himself brings it up, and wants to change it, that's his call.

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