On fireballing chairs


Rules Discussion

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I meant target in the conventional sense, not in a rules sense. I realize that might have been a little confusing, I should have been more clear.

If a player says: "In this empty room where no combat is currently happening, I cast a fireball aimed at that chair with the intent of destroying it."

and the DM says: "Area spells have no effect on their environment unless specifically stated. After the burst of heat, the room remains almost completely untouched. The spiderwebs on the chair remain, though it appears you have killed a small spider."

I would consider that a bad DM. Or at the very least, a bad DM of Pathfinder 2E. Compared to the 3.5 tradition, the rules are no longer an attempt to simulate the in-world physics.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Yes, I attempted to differentiate between Target and target earlier too, and some people didn't seem to quite get it.


Ravingdork wrote:
Yes, I attempted to differentiate between Target and target earlier too, and some people didn't seem to quite get it.

I get it but using a Keyword in a way other than it's defined in the rules is asking for confusion from anyone looking at the thread. We don't want someone glancing over this thread and then going off thinking fireball can Target things. Even is you switch to 'aiming', it's not even really that as it's the equivalent of tossing a grenade in a room and saying 'lets see... out of all the items in there, I'm going to blow up that ONE item in the room.' indiscriminate explosions are the opposite of both Target and target IMO.

Henro wrote:
I would consider that a bad DM. Or at the very least, a bad DM of Pathfinder 2E. Compared to the 3.5 tradition, the rules are no longer an attempt to simulate the in-world physics.

I'd think he's a bad DM if intent altered the way a spell works: if the wand on the desk is unscathed by the blast as well as the curtains, walls, ect, then so too should the chair... The spell should be consistent. Not wanting forests, buildings, ect going up in smoke isn't a bad thing nor is not wanting to go though everything and trying to figure out if it should or should burn up. If you go with 'damaging the chair is fine', so is ending up in a burning building and losing all the loot to the fire. It's VERY rarely an issue of JUST a chair... Do you want to lose your staff because a fireball got 'aimed' at it by a foe right after another one disarmed you? IMO, it's not a bad ruling to ignore objects but a valid choice.

Henro wrote:
The spiderwebs on the chair remain, though it appears you have killed a small spider."

We're talking MAGIC. You yourself say "the rules are no longer an attempt to simulate the in-world physics" so why would magic be constrained to what a normal ball of fire can do? Even if you go down the path of items in the area take damage, you have no way to adjudicate that in the rules. Normal items do not have AC's or Saves so intentional damage with a weapon or a spell are up in the air anyway.

Shadow Lodge

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This reminds me of the disappointment over the gravitational powers of Starfinder's solarions. When you use it to pull people toward you, it doesn't cause random unattended junk to slide toward you and stick to you.

As for collateral damage, I just figure it's reasonable for players & GMs to be careful around fragile/flammable objects. Lightning Bolt through some debris, so you can step aside from the now-open charge lane? Sure, sounds strategic. Throwing a Fireball in the library? Bad idea. I guess the GM would just have to eyeball Table 11-4 and take it from there. (It's the Material Hardness/HP/Broken Threshold table, by the way)


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If it's a plot chair you can't destroy it. Otherwise, yeah you can destroy it by attacking it on purpose. It's a fantasy roleplaying game. Some things don't need rules.


Aratorin wrote:
If it's a plot chair you can't destroy it.

Wizard: I cast fireball.

GM: The goblins all die. The room is engulfed in flame. When the smoke clears, you can see that everything has been destroyed. Everything but a single wooden chair.
Wizard: No... Could it be...?
GM: THE CHAIR THAT KILLED YOUR FATHER!


Some people's games are going to benefit from detailed rules in certain areas and some aren't.

To me, saying you can't blow up a chair because we don't have detailed rules for collateral damage is like saying PCs can't ever affect the political landscape of the world because we don't have detailed rules for politics.


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In my opinion the greater significance of having object damage rules is not if my fireball will burn up all relevant plot clues but cases where it is of concern if the (tactical) environment is damaged in addition to any other effects that your fireballs area of effect would deal.

For example a bunch of bandits could have overturned a table for cover and while they probably will receive cover as per the current cover rules for standard cover the question is, what happens to their cover after the 1st, 10th or 100th fireball. Will it provide +AC, +Ref and +Stealth and the possibility to hide behind for all eternity or will it only provide this until a suitably powerful AoE has landed.


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Ubertron_X wrote:

In my opinion the greater significance of having object damage rules is not if my fireball will burn up all relevant plot clues but cases where it is of concern if the (tactical) environment is damaged in addition to any other effects that your fireballs area of effect would deal.

For example a bunch of bandits could have overturned a table for cover and while they probably will receive cover as per the current cover rules for standard cover the question is, what happens to their cover after the 1st, 10th or 100th fireball. Will it provide +AC, +Ref and +Stealth and the possibility to hide behind for all eternity or will it only provide this until a suitably powerful AoE has landed.

I think the PF2 answer to this last question is that the table will stay there providing cover until the party actively does something to remove it. Area of Effect spells are still good against enemies in cover, because they do damage even on a save and because the enemy might bunch up in that cover, letting you target more of them. Letting the party assume that hiding and throwing acid splashed at the enemy will eventually take care of the cover feels like a less interesting battle than letting the players know that the table will only be destroyed if they directly attack it, encouraging them to do something other than stand still and attack the enemy.


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Aratorin wrote:
Otherwise, yeah you can destroy it by attacking it on purpose.

That's the cruz of the argument: the game seems to say intentionally attacking something "on purpose" means Targeting them, something an area attack doesn't do. The fireball doesn't know if you intended to destroy the chair or not, so why would "on purpose" or 'accidental' factor in? it either should or shouldn't damage items, no matter why you threw it.


graystone wrote:
Aratorin wrote:
Otherwise, yeah you can destroy it by attacking it on purpose.
That's the cruz of the argument: the game seems to say intentionally attacking something "on purpose" means Targeting them, something an area attack doesn't do. The fireball doesn't know if you intended to destroy the chair or not, so why would "on purpose" or 'accidental' factor in? it either should or shouldn't damage items, no matter why you threw it.

Doesn't fireball have explicit language that it doesn't "start fires"? Or did that go away with the new edition?


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Draco18s wrote:
graystone wrote:
Aratorin wrote:
Otherwise, yeah you can destroy it by attacking it on purpose.
That's the cruz of the argument: the game seems to say intentionally attacking something "on purpose" means Targeting them, something an area attack doesn't do. The fireball doesn't know if you intended to destroy the chair or not, so why would "on purpose" or 'accidental' factor in? it either should or shouldn't damage items, no matter why you threw it.
Doesn't fireball have explicit language that it doesn't "start fires"? Or did that go away with the new edition?

It doesn't have that language explicitly, but no where in the game does it say that doing fire damage causes persisting fires, so it doesn't really need it. There is no indication within the spell itself that it could be used for any kind of direct targeting. Using it for anything other than doing damage to a group of creatures in an area is 100% an appeal to GM fiat in a specific situation.


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Draco18s wrote:
graystone wrote:
Aratorin wrote:
Otherwise, yeah you can destroy it by attacking it on purpose.
That's the cruz of the argument: the game seems to say intentionally attacking something "on purpose" means Targeting them, something an area attack doesn't do. The fireball doesn't know if you intended to destroy the chair or not, so why would "on purpose" or 'accidental' factor in? it either should or shouldn't damage items, no matter why you threw it.
Doesn't fireball have explicit language that it doesn't "start fires"? Or did that go away with the new edition?

PF1 had explicit language that fireball and lightning bolts DID start fires: PF2, no nothing to indicate it affects non-creatures. As far as I can tell, fireballing open barrels of lamp oil does nothing by the rules.


Unicore wrote:
Using it for anything other than doing damage to a group of creatures in an area is 100% an appeal to GM fiat in a specific situation.

Should be called neutronball then...?


Ubertron_X wrote:
Unicore wrote:
Using it for anything other than doing damage to a group of creatures in an area is 100% an appeal to GM fiat in a specific situation.
Should be called neutronball then...?

Only if we're doing the Neutron Dance!


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The developers come out and say they didn't list all effects an area of effect spell might have.

To add to the rules quotes from page 456.

CRB, 456 wrote:
Many area effects describe only the effects on creatures in the area.

Just because they didn't list an effect of an area of effect spell, doesn't mean there shouldn't be one. Or how else does one parse the above text?

That is then followed up by the already mentioned quote:

CRB, 456 wrote:
The GM determines any effects to the environment and unatteneded objects.

The rules do not say nothing happens to environment and objects. The rules also do not say something happens. They are explicitly making the GM answer that question. There's no default for the GM to fall back on.

An unattended table not taking damage is as much as a decision as for it to take damage and break. Certainly the former choice is more immersion breaking than the later. However, both choices are equally valid for the GM to make, with neither being more right than the other.

If I'm in a society game, and someone casts fireball that includes open barrels of lamp oil and an overturned table, I'm going to have the barrels light on fire and I'm going to compare the damage to the table's estimated hardness and hit points. Why else would they put those things in the scenario? I'm curious if people in this thread would object if I did that?

Perhaps a better question is, how many in this thread would choose not to do so? Are we talking about some hypothetical GM who would prevent a chair from taking damage if that was the entire reason the spell was cast?


I feel like as the GM, you should either tell people or let them roll (as a free action) to realize the likely effects of throwing fire around.

Something like "you're pretty sure that if you throw a fireball in this tent, all the maps on the table will go up flames" and give the player the option to choose something else, if they want.

If the player suggests "throwing a fireball in the laboratory is probably a good way to destroy the evil alchemist's research notes, right?" you generally just say "yes" or "yes, and some of the reagents lying around might react explosively to excess heat."


Yeah, being transparent about the obvious effects of an action is important as a GM. Unlike the players, the PCs live inside the game world. They would know the effect one of their own spells has on a chair.


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Ubertron_X wrote:
Sauce987654321 wrote:
It's not with only objects, but also how players and monsters are described and what they are doing. Like sliding down a stair case with a fallen enemy's shield, a hill giant tearing down a column in a room and tossing it at your players, a red dragon causing a forest fire with a single breath weapon, or even a giant monster knocking down buildings by walking through them. It's refreshing to have a GM that's comfortable with these levels of description by not limiting themselves by getting too neck deep into the rules and determining if it's mechanically sound or not. It tends to make the game not only more fun for yourself, but it makes it more fun for your players.
This is not about what the GM can do or not do, because he can usually do anything, but what players can do while staying within the given framework of rules. Which does not mean that you need to shut down your imagination and only play by the book, but GM decisions should only be required when you try something out of the ordinary like sliding down a stair case with a fallen enemy's shield, not when you aim a fireball against a wooden door.

Good points. These scenarios benefit from clear rules guidelines to help GMs adjudicate and be fair, and for players to play fair and within the framework as well, and to prevent abuse of rules.

For example, many times I've had some players insist that if they fireball a room with furniture and carpets, tapestries, etc. that everything should either be instantly destroyed or caught on fire. Then they insist that in addition to the fireball damage, anything living in the room should now also suffer additional fire damage from the flaming furniture plus breathing and vision problems from smoke, etc.

Now these are perfectly valid, common sense things to assume would happen in the real world, but when brought into the game they suddenly make certain spells (and even alchemist fire) suddenly far more damaging and debilitating than the RAW intended. So we often simply ruled that the fireball did not ignite things, for game balance. But if your group wanted to rule otherwise and play that fireball did ignite things which causes more damage plus smoke, then that's fine BUT now you have to evaluate whether or not the spells are overpowered compared to others. Should fireball then be bumped up to a higher level spell? What about burning hands, should it be bumped up a level, too?


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Does collateral damage really affect the power level of a spell? If you can cause buildings to come down and blow through stone doors, sure - but I really don't see how furniture destruction plays a major role in the power level of fireball.


Henro wrote:
Does collateral damage really affect the power level of a spell? If you can cause buildings to come down and blow through stone doors, sure - but I really don't see how furniture destruction plays a major role in the power level of fireball.

Furniture destruction itself is certainly not a big deal on its own, no, but burning furniture now causing additional fire damage plus smoke inhalation effects plus obscuring vision suddenly makes fireball and other fire spells a lot more potent.

The point of the post was that these things can have a big effect if allowed, and will then become a major part of the game that gets used over and over. There is definitely an impact there. Just imagine city adventures and the difference between encounters in games where fireball is ruled to ignite things with major side effects as a result vs. where it's ruled not to so easily ignite things.


Except, now you’re adding a ton of mechanical benefits to fireball that weren’t there in the first place. I’m explicitly arguing for collateral damage with no immediate tactical benefits.


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Henro wrote:
Does collateral damage really affect the power level of a spell? If you can cause buildings to come down and blow through stone doors, sure - but I really don't see how furniture destruction plays a major role in the power level of fireball.

If you can blow through a chair, desk or table, what about other wooden items support beams and columns? Collateral damage is everything from floors, ceilings, wills, rugs, curtains, ect. Plenty of dungeons aren't in good repair before you start setting off explosions.

Hiruma Kai wrote:
The developers come out and say they didn't list all effects an area of effect spell might have.

Sure, but as unlisted, they are unlisted... As such, we could only guess at what those might be. Might be smoke. Might be a bright flash. Might be cosmic rays... we have NO way of knowing what they DIDN'T tell us.

Hiruma Kai wrote:
Just because they didn't list an effect of an area of effect spell, doesn't mean there shouldn't be one. Or how else does one parse the above text?

The flip side comes out the same: lack of any extra effects means just that. It doesn't mean there SHOULD be extra effects. As to how to parse it, I'd say it's saying the DM can add effects if they wish.

Hiruma Kai wrote:

That is then followed up by the already mentioned quote:

CRB, 456 wrote:
The GM determines any effects to the environment and unatteneded objects.

Yep, that'd be be those unlisted effects IMO.

Hiruma Kai wrote:
The rules do not say nothing happens to environment and objects.

It tells you how to damage items and it doesn't include this.

Hiruma Kai wrote:
They are explicitly making the GM answer that question. There's no default for the GM to fall back on.

Sure there is: it "usually requires attacking it directly". The Dm is free to make area attacks an unusual way to damage items, but IMO that doesn't see too unusual in a game with lots of area attacks.

Hiruma Kai wrote:
Perhaps a better question is, how many in this thread would choose not to do so? Are we talking about some hypothetical GM who would prevent a chair from taking damage if that was the entire reason the spell was cast?

*raises hand* Me. First I wouldn't set up a situation with the oil if it wasn't a trap situation the party knew about. It'd be a plot point instead of just being there to be randomly damaged.

Secondly, if I'm not counting background items into damage, I don't CARE what the item is as going down the rabbithole of what is or isn't flammable enough catch on fire means I'd be figuring out damage for everything and that goes against the point of not damaging things with collateral damage.


Henro wrote:
Except, now you’re adding a ton of mechanical benefits to fireball that weren’t there in the first place. I’m explicitly arguing for collateral damage with no immediate tactical benefits.

But neither collateral damage or tactical benefits are included in the spell, so it seems both of you are adding things.


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I also would be cautious about allowing PCs to generally use AoE spells to damage the environment or unattended items. At most I’d probably allow them to attempt a low percentage flat check to see if it caused the object to gain the broken condition. But the rabbit hole of “should things get smashed where combat takes place” is steep and bottomless. You might as well say every object in the room is lightly damaged every time a combat takes place.

I am fine with generally describing chaos and disorder due to combat, but setting players up to conveniently advocate for being able to do damage to the setting when it is in their interest but never have to worry about it otherwise feels more immersion breaking than just not typically allowing it unless the effort to cause damage is focused and deliberate.


graystone wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
The developers come out and say they didn't list all effects an area of effect spell might have.
Sure, but as unlisted, they are unlisted... As such, we could only guess at what those might be. Might be smoke. Might be a bright flash. Might be cosmic rays... we have NO way of knowing what they DIDN'T tell us.

Which means anything the GM thinks is appropriate is fair game.

Perhaps there happens to be a sensitive device at the center of a downed starship in the middle of Numeria that produces cosmic rays when destroyed.

Its hard to describe a general rule of what happens when an object is destroyed by fire since objects can be anything. Destroying wooden dam supports has distinctly different tactical effects from destroying some leaves in a drought condition forest via sufficiently strong fireball.

It'd be impossible to describe all possible effects of damaging/destroying objects in general because objects can be anything. So I don't blame them for not trying and simply leaving it up to the GM.

graystone wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
Just because they didn't list an effect of an area of effect spell, doesn't mean there shouldn't be one. Or how else does one parse the above text?
The flip side comes out the same: lack of any extra effects means just that. It doesn't mean there SHOULD be extra effects. As to how to parse it, I'd say it's saying the DM can add effects if they wish.

Quite true. I said as much in my original post. My point is the GM has to choose, one way or another. Either way is an active choice by the GM, choosing whatever the story and game needs at that time.

Either choice can be used to a player's advantage. Objects being undamagable by AoE makes things like a Wall of Ice or Wall of Stone stronger, as it reduces options to deal with them. The hemisphere option of Wall of Ice becomes 100% proof against a red dragon's breath weapon, forcing it to come down and engage in melee or wait it out while the party buffs inside.

graystone wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
The rules do not say nothing happens to environment and objects.
It tells you how to damage items and it doesn't include this.

That actually is an interesting statement, because currently some interpretation of the rules is required to determine how one does damage items at all.

Which actions let a creature damage objects directly? If you wanted to destroy a chair, a Wall of Ice section, or a Hazard, which action would you have your character take? It leads to a question of intent of the developers, given Strikes don't call out objects anywhere. Do we interprete Strike as being usable but not area of effects?

graystone wrote:
Hiruma Kai wrote:
Perhaps a better question is, how many in this thread would choose not to do so? Are we talking about some hypothetical GM who would prevent a chair from taking damage if that was the entire reason the spell was cast?

*raises hand* Me. First I wouldn't set up a situation with the oil if it wasn't a trap situation the party knew about. It'd be a plot point instead of just being there to be randomly damaged.

Secondly, if I'm not counting background items into damage, I don't CARE what the item is as going down the rabbithole of what is or isn't flammable enough catch on fire means I'd be figuring out damage for everything and that goes against the point of not damaging things with collateral damage.

Just want to make sure I parse your statement correctly. You would set up a situation with the oil if it was a trap situation the party knew about, making it a plot point. In that case it wouldn't be a background object, but something important and thus in the foreground the party is very aware of. Similar to setting a fight in a volcano or underwater.

That makes perfect sense to me. I'm not advocating fireballs set everything on fire generally. But in the same way, a door is something central to a session at some point. It is a foreground object when you're trying to get through it. So maybe its not destroyed when you're fighting in the room and an AoE happens to engulf it (its background after all at that time), but when the fight is done and the party is considering how to proceed through the door, a valid option in my mind would be to toss a fireball "directly" at the door.

And the rules give the GM that freedom to allow that. If there were codified rules that you must deal with collateral damage, it'd slow the game down as you suggest. On the other hand, the GM also has the freedom to say yes, it does do something when it makes the story more interesting.

So I propose the answer to Ravendork's question is things are damaged by a Fireball when it matters to the greater story. If a player is trying to simply destroy a chair, then that is the focus of the story at the moment and its perfectly reasonable to me as a GM that the fireball destroys the chair. More generally it doesn't matter if the chairs in an AoE is destroyed or not, so we let them survive and not worry about the details of why and avoid turning every fireball into a smoke and difficult terrain creator.

The key is to be clear to the players how things will play out before they take a given action. As well as describe the scene in such a way to highlight things the players might want to interact with and that you'd allow to be interacted with in such a manner.


Why they omitted the lights up unattended objects clause in Fireball and Lightning Bolt is a tragic mystery to me... :(


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Lucas Yew wrote:
Why they omitted the lights up unattended objects clause in Fireball and Lightning Bolt is a tragic mystery to me... :(

It was a perfect opportunity to add in more 'ask your DM' into the game so they couldn't resist. :(


Eh, I chalk this entire thought exercise up to what feels right for the situation. I once allowed a player to use produce flame to start a small fire at the edge of a settlement as a distraction. Produce Flame doesn't specify that it can light fires in the same way that Fireball doesn't, but it felt thematic. I didn't bother looking up the stats on the materials involved, it didn't feel necessary. The fire essentially all happened in the background and served its purpose as a distraction.

In my opinion, unless your party is dealing with a dire gazebo, things like this should be handled off the cuff. Describe the damage the fireball does without getting too bogged down with how much damage the fireball really did. If it becomes important, either fudge it, or try to figure out how much damage was done later.


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Fire is fire, so explicitly saying: "It can burn things" is pointless.
The amount of things that will actually be burnt or damaged depends on the amount of detail that each table wants to play with. So there's no need to calculate the air humidity and temperature, the age and quality of wood the furnitures are made with, and the quantity of oxygen in the room each time a fireball is cast, unless you want to.


Megistone wrote:
Fire is fire, so explicitly saying: "It can burn things" is pointless.

In pathfinder does magic fire burn things other than creatures? 'real' fire and 'magic' fire do not have to be the same. Take Produce Flame: it specifically only targets creatures. Try as you might, you can't hit an object with it. Does this make any logical sense? no, but it's 'magic' much like similar flames not hurting objects in an area fire.

PS: on flames/fire, some materials have such a low burn point, like PSF3 (thiophosphoryl fluoride), they burn low enough it you can cover you hand with it, light it and feel no discomfort. Flame doesn't equal damage or burning objects touched.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

In times like these I just invoke Rule Number 1 and move on.

THE FIRST RULE
The first rule of Pathfinder is that this game is yours. Use it to tell the stories you want to tell, be the character you want to be, and share exciting adventures with friends. If any other rule gets in the way of your fun, as long as your group agrees, you can alter or ignore it to fit your story. The true goal of Pathfinder is for everyone to enjoy themselves


graystone wrote:
Megistone wrote:
Fire is fire, so explicitly saying: "It can burn things" is pointless.
In pathfinder does magic fire burn things other than creatures? 'real' fire and 'magic' fire do not have to be the same. Take Produce Flame: it specifically only targets creatures. Try as you might, you can't hit an object with it. Does this make any logical sense? no, but it's 'magic' much like similar flames not hurting objects in an area fire.

It depends on the table.

PF2 rules only cover the basic thing: you are fighting monsters, so you conjure magic flames to burn them.
Some players like it that way, and don't want to track the effects of their flames upon the environment; other tables will generally do the same, unless the environment is expecially flammable (my games usually fall in this category: as a player, I won't cast a Fireball when I'm fighting inside a a lumber mill - and if I'm the GM and one of my players tries to do it, I'll tell him: "Are you sure? There a lot of wood and sawdust everywhere..."); other people will want to track the effects of what they do with more detail.

It's a deliberate design choice to support tables that want to play easy without imposing rules that they would rarely need.
If a player wants to use Produce Flame to ignite the group's fireplace, of course I will allow it; but I also don't need rules or dice rolls for that.
I wouldn't oppose optional rules about environment damage in a future book, of course.


Megistone wrote:
It depends on the table.

The RAW doesn't change by table though and as we're in the rules section of the forum that's what matters. A DM is free to allow things outside that but it's kind of beside the point in a 'what is the rules' argument. Houserules [or ask your dm elements] inherently produce table variance by their very nature of being outside a set rules framework. What the rules currently say [do area attack affect scenery] and what the Dm can change them to [making damage affect scenery] are two different thing and in a rule thread the main focus is on the former while the later is more aligned with advice.

Megistone wrote:
It's a deliberate design choice to support tables that want to play easy without imposing rules that they would rarely need.

This could have been easily covers by a statement like 'area attacks usually do not damage objects unless they are particularly vulnerable to the damage type as determined by the DM.' That at least gives some guidance to the DM in these situation.

Megistone wrote:
If a player wants to use Produce Flame to ignite the group's fireplace, of course I will allow it

I myself wouldn't as they where VERY careful with what targets objects: there are very few spells that target them and it devalues them quite a bit if any spell is allowed to do so 'because it makes sense'. For instance Shatter, Acid Arrow, Acid Splash, Fire Ray, Force Bolt and Polar Ray loose importance if any old cantrip can deal damage to an object. If I let a log get burned the players are going to expect other wood to burn, like a door.


Lighting a fireplace and destroying a door are not remotely comparable activities. The wood in a fireplace is dried out and chosen specifically to be combustible, and it still takes hours before it burns completely.

A door on the other hand, is worked and processed into a durable and compact form, likely treated with varnish or stains, and purposely made out of a less flammable form of wood. If you want to try to destroy it with Produce Flame, go ahead, but it's likely going to take over a day, if it works at all.

Cantrips are essentially meant to be the basic Strike replacement for spell casting classes. If you can hit a door with a dagger, I see no reason that you can't hit it with Produce Flame.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
graystone wrote:
Megistone wrote:
It depends on the table.
The RAW doesn't change by table though...

Except for when it does. RAW, like anything else, is interpreted.


The game is always going to vary based on what the GM's specific interests and areas of knowledge are, and there's no changing this.

For one GM, who just sees the door as a minor inconvenience that's supposed to be a question of "how do you get through this" but shouldn't actually stop or meaningfully delay the door, using cantrips to destroy the door is fine.

For another GM, who knows a lot about historical woodworking, the door might be a lot trickier to destroy for a variety of specific reasons they can cite.

This is working as intended.


Aratorin wrote:
Lighting a fireplace and destroying a door are not remotely comparable activities. The wood in a fireplace is dried out and chosen specifically to be combustible, and it still takes hours before it burns completely.

They are 100% the same as you have to damage the log with fire to ignite it: how much you need requires hardness, vulnerabilities, ect... Is that chair, wall, beam, ect not dried too? If a fire hot enough to kill a person how is it enough to start a fire but not to destroy a door? that seems a fine line to walk.

Aratorin wrote:
A door on the other hand, is worked and processed into a durable and compact form, likely treated with varnish or stains, and purposely made out of a less flammable form of wood. If you want to try to destroy it with Produce Flame, go ahead, but it's likely going to take over a day, if it works at all.

I disagree 10000%. Where is this description of door processing? I've seen doors without varnish, stain and made out of quite flammable wood. You are taking modern construction into fantasy game mechanics.

The game lists "Chest, simple door, table, tree trunk" as examples of "Wood" items for hp/hardness. I can't see why 'log' isn't part of that list too.

Aratorin wrote:
Cantrips are essentially meant to be the basic Strike replacement for spell casting classes. If you can hit a door with a dagger, I see no reason that you can't hit it with Produce Flame.

You can't strike a door though: "Strike Single Action

Attack
Source Core Rulebook pg. 471
You attack with a weapon you’re wielding or with an unarmed attack, targeting one creature within your reach (for a melee attack) or within range (for a ranged attack)."

Ravingdork wrote:
Except for when it does. RAW, like anything else, is interpreted.

The words written down do not change. We can debate on how they are interpreted, but the words don't change. I'm talking about wandering from that into what's NOT written.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
The game is always going to vary based on what the GM's specific interests and areas of knowledge are, and there's no changing this.

I have no problem with this but I'd like there to be one correct answer in the default rules: if that changes, that's cool as long as everyone knows. If it's up in the air, it's hard to prepare for.


Yep its a pain when the inexperienced GM has to decide how tough a door should be, or if it's flammable, or really anything that was decided was "GM Adjudication" Sure if you've been DMing for a bit you can likely wing it but not so much if you have nothing to base it on and are starting out.


It is silly to think that a creature is unable to strike a non-creature. Perhaps someone should stick to video games where you aren't expected to make logical leaps. If a "creature" was unable to strike an inanimate object, how do soldiers train on Golarion? You can't strike at a Hazard to disable it, even though it has an AC and health?


Ravingdork wrote:
graystone wrote:
Megistone wrote:
It depends on the table.
The RAW doesn't change by table though...
Except for when it does. RAW, like anything else, is interpreted.

I'm glad you agree with graystone.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
The game is always going to vary based on what the GM's specific interests and areas of knowledge are, and there's no changing this.

GMs are often surprised to find out just how malleable they are.


Part of the joy of playing an RPG is not having to stick to consistent and totally predictable rules for every single thing. You have a GM, allow them to work their magic.

What if collateral damage is unpredictable enough to be useless tactically, but still happens? Is it really reasonable to use the same system you use to carry a sword to carry an elephant? To carry a house? To carry a planet?


graystone wrote:

You can't strike a door though: "Strike Single Action

Attack
Source Core Rulebook pg. 471
You attack with a weapon you’re wielding or with an unarmed attack, targeting one creature within your reach (for a melee attack) or within range (for a ranged attack)."

Ok, so your goal is to just defend the most intentionally obtuse point of view possible, rather than have an intelligent discussion that results in people being able to play the game. The rules specifically state that creatures can intentionally target objects.

I see no point in continuing.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I've seen people argue that attacking objects are not Strike actions, but rather Interact actions.

Crazy world.


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Ravingdork wrote:

I've seen people argue that attacking objects are not Strike actions, but rather Interact actions.

Crazy world.

Well, I mean is chopping an onion a strike or an interact action? What about splitting logs for firewood?

If putting a log on a stump and hitting it with an axe is an interact action, why wouldn't "hitting a door that's not going anywhere" with an axe be one?


Why would swinging an axe at a log be an interact action? Why wouldn't it just be a strike? Why would an action that is virtually the same as a strike, suddenly operate so differently?

Under that interpretation, a creature attacking another doesn't provoke reactions. But if they aim just a little to the side to threaten the person instead, suddenly they provoke. It is the same action.

Also, I would argue that interact actions don't cover the use of a weapon to deal damage to an object. Interact actions cover various manipulations of an object, but none of the listed examples are remotely similar to a full strength swing.

Hazards are a great example of why this logic is flawed. You can attack a hazard, the rules exist for triggering them with an attack. However in the same section it states that a Hazard; "Hazards are immune to anything an object is immune to unless specifically noted otherwise, and they can’t be targeted by anything that can’t target objects."

Under that interpretation, a Hazard would not be able to be targeted by a Strike. Sooo what "attack" can trigger a hazard then?


Aratorin wrote:
I see no point in continuing.

I'm sorry if you find the actual rules not worth debating...

Ravingdork wrote:

I've seen people argue that attacking objects are not Strike actions, but rather Interact actions.

Crazy world.

If it makes you feel better it's a houserule [or an overlooked rule] I often see. Most don't think offhand that the basic method of physical attack doesn't work on objects but it's right there in the text.

beowulf99 wrote:
You can't strike at a Hazard to disable it, even though it has an AC and health?

Guess there is a reason for those spells that allow for targeting objects isn't there? "they can’t be targeted by anything that can’t target objects." Might I suggest an Acid Splash or Fire Ray?

beowulf99 wrote:
Under that interpretation, a creature attacking another doesn't provoke reactions. But if they aim just a little to the side to threaten the person instead, suddenly they provoke. It is the same action.

You find it odd that someone chopping wood in combat triggers AoO?

beowulf99 wrote:
Also, I would argue that interact actions don't cover the use of a weapon to deal damage to an object.

The flipside is that every lumberjack doesn't combat trees all day. Instead of dodging blows, you're lining up your axe carefully to angle the tree the right way when it falls. By your interpretation, a sculptor attacks rocks with attacks until a statue appears.

Now I can see how it seems strange but the whole section on how to damage objects is horribly vague and missing vital parts. If you allow a strike, can it crit or fail? It seems odd if a seasoned lumberjack misses or cuts far more than they intended on a regular basis.

beowulf99 wrote:
Under that interpretation, a Hazard would not be able to be targeted by a Strike. Sooo what "attack" can trigger a hazard then?

Remember those spells that can attack objects?


graystone wrote:
Aratorin wrote:
I see no point in continuing.

I'm sorry if you find the actual rules not worth debating...

Ravingdork wrote:

I've seen people argue that attacking objects are not Strike actions, but rather Interact actions.

Crazy world.

If it makes you feel better it's a houserule [or an overlooked rule] I often see. Most don't think offhand that the basic method of physical attack doesn't work on objects but it's right there in the text.

beowulf99 wrote:
You can't strike at a Hazard to disable it, even though it has an AC and health?

Guess there is a reason for those spells that allow for targeting objects isn't there? "they can’t be targeted by anything that can’t target objects." Might I suggest an Acid Splash or Fire Ray?

beowulf99 wrote:
Under that interpretation, a creature attacking another doesn't provoke reactions. But if they aim just a little to the side to threaten the person instead, suddenly they provoke. It is the same action.

You find it odd that someone chopping wood in combat triggers AoO?

beowulf99 wrote:
Also, I would argue that interact actions don't cover the use of a weapon to deal damage to an object.

The flipside is that every lumberjack doesn't combat trees all day. Instead of dodging blows, you're lining up your axe carefully to angle the tree the right way when it falls. By your interpretation, a sculptor attacks rocks with attacks until a statue appears.

Now I can see how it seems strange but the whole section on how to damage objects is horribly vague and missing vital parts. If you allow a strike, can it crit or fail? It seems odd if a seasoned lumberjack misses or cuts far more than they intended on a regular basis.

beowulf99 wrote:
Under that interpretation, a Hazard would not be able to be targeted by a Strike. Sooo what "attack" can trigger a hazard then?
Remember those spells that can attack objects?

Ah. So only casters can kick down a door then. Great logic. So until you gain access to polar ray or disintegrate, you have to rely on an acid splash or hydraulic push to beat down doors then.

That's dumb. Its inane rules lawyery things like that which makes me question how others interpret rules. What reasonable person would restrict the targeting of a door to, what, 6 or 7 spells? Oh, and disintegrate specifies an unattended object, so if someone is holding the door closed on the other side, does that mean that the door becomes immune?

Edit: This is a case of an unreasonably strict reading of the rules. For the most part, you would never need to track a lumberjacks damage against a tree. But if you did need to, say you try to fell a tree to block a road in front of a wagon or something, what is the most reasonable method? Strikes. Interact actions dont give you the ability to use a weapon to deal damage. Strikes do. As a GM you can simply provide an ac and have your character make attacks until they've dealt enough damage to said tree. This is the simplest way imho to adjudicate such a situation.

But feel free to restrict that to an acid splash.

Additionally, I hope you werent planning on allowing produce flame to light a simple fire. Cause it doesnt specify that it can target objects.


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beowulf99 wrote:
Ah. So only casters can kick down a door then.

See Force Open action: Core Rulebook pg. 242

"Using your body, a lever, or some other tool, you attempt to forcefully open a door, window, container or heavy gate." Call me silly if you want, but I think your foot is "Using your body" to "forcefully open a door"...

beowulf99 wrote:
Great logic.

Not my logic by the way: it's how it's presented in the game. It's not how I'd have done it after PF1 allowed sundering and such. My feelings don't alter the rules though.

beowulf99 wrote:
Its inane rules lawyery things like that which makes me question how others interpret rules.

There is literally no other interpretation when an attack ONLY lists creatures as valid targets. The game goes WAY out of it's way to strictly limit what can target items. It's not "rules lawyery" to read "creature" in the strike action and actually believe that it MEANS that: I'd say it's "rules lawyery" to say it means something else.

beowulf99 wrote:
This is a case of an unreasonably strict reading of the rules.

No, it's trying to fill a hole in the rules: it's READING the rule and understanding them: if strike wasn't meant to limit what you can target then it shouldn't limit it. When an ability limits you, it's not "unreasonably strict" to actually do that. Again, why give a select few abilities the ability to attack object if they actually meant for every single attack to be able to so? What is the point of listing object in the targets for those abilities then?

beowulf99 wrote:
Additionally, I hope you werent planning on allowing produce flame to light a simple fire.

I already said it wasn't allowed under the rules: you literally can't hit an object with it.

PS: I'm all for adding "object" to target for strike and other abilities, but that needs a houserule, FAQ or errata to accomplish: that said though, you'd need to flesh out the object rules to explain default saves and AC for objects [or how can you determine damage?]. As it stands, just saying 'of course strike can hit objects' doesn't mean much without the groundwork to figure out the results of doing so.


I'd actually argue that kicking down a door is different than levering one open. Anyone who's been locked out of their house can likely attest.

As to the rest, as in so many other instances, the answer is up to a given gm. What is an AC if not a DC for an attack roll? The GM has to adjudicate the DC of various checks that dont have a standard. So go with the DC that feels correct for the situation. An unmoving wooden door? I'd say that sounds like an untrained simple DC, so 10 ac. An adamantine vault door? That sounds a lot harder. Master level even. So AC 30.

Could strike list objects as possible targets? Sure. Do I think it has to to be the obvious logical choice when attacking a Hazard? (Something you still haven't addressed btw) No. In the same way that Fireball doesnt need to stipulate that it raises the ambient temperature to 150° c in a 20 foot radius and 60° c for an additional 20 feet causing combustible objects with a flash point of... see what I mean?

Sometimes you have to take an ambiguous situation and fit the rules to it. You call this a house rule. I call this gming. A house rule supplants a rule that exists or alters it to function differently. And adjudication, which is what this would be, is using the rules for a situation that is not clearly spelled out. So dont even try that tired,"that doesnt belong in this forum because it is a house rule," malarkey. GM adjudication is a core mechanic of PF2, a fact clearly shown by so many situations requiring it.

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