Black tentacles reach


Rules Discussion

Grand Lodge

Do black tentacles have any reach into the sky? ie, can a player fly over them? the the 20ft burst 'adjacent' is causing confusion.


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I believe the "Burst" would cover the same distance "up" as it would side to side.

CRB PGS. 456-457 "Burst" wrote:

Burst

A burst effect issues forth in all directions from a single
corner of a square within the range of the effect, spreading
in all directions to a specified radius. For instance, when
you cast fireball, it detonates at the corner of a square
within 500 feet of you and creates a 20-foot burst, meaning
it extends out 20 feet in every direction from the corner of
the square you chose, affecting each creature whose space
(or even one square of its space) is within the burst.

I see no reason that "up" or "down" would not be acceptable directions when saying "all directions".

If you were to cast Fireball at a creature in flight, and another creature was on the ground 10 feet below that creature for example, which scenario makes more sense?

The fireball flattens out into a pancake only effecting the target and anyone on the same "plane" as them, leaving the grounded enemy untouched.

The fireball expands out in all directions, and effects both creatures.

Edit: I believe that when it says, "adjacent to a flat surface," the rules mean that you can't spawn these tentacles floating in the air. They have to "start" at the ground, unlike a burst like Fireball which could be shot straight upward.

Grand Lodge

The ‘adjacent’ was causing some to view the spell more like vines growing on the floor. It makes sense to me that it’s a burst spell and requires a target location to burst from. Thanks!


beowulf99 wrote:
I see no reason that "up" or "down" would not be acceptable directions when saying "all directions".

Officially the blast doesn't expand down narrow corridors to fill its full area, so whatever kind of blast it is, it doesn't obey intuitive rules about how explosions work. Under RAW it fills squares along a 2d plane going a set distance in each direction. What is the height of a square? How does fireball, under the rules, go up a level unless it climbs a ramp?

It's not clear how high up or down the blast goes, or even if even does.


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krobrina wrote:
It's not clear how high up or down the blast goes, or even if even does.

I mean, the rules for bursts say right there that they expand in every direction. That doesn't sound unclear to me.

Where are you getting the notion that it only expands along a 2D plane?


krobrina wrote:
beowulf99 wrote:
I see no reason that "up" or "down" would not be acceptable directions when saying "all directions".

Officially the blast doesn't expand down narrow corridors to fill its full area, so whatever kind of blast it is, it doesn't obey intuitive rules about how explosions work. Under RAW it fills squares along a 2d plane going a set distance in each direction. What is the height of a square? How does fireball, under the rules, go up a level unless it climbs a ramp?

It's not clear how high up or down the blast goes, or even if even does.

While you are correct that bursts don't alter their shape with the environment, there is no mention of 2d planes or each direction. Instead bursts travel in all directions.

Unless you find such a rule and can quote it, then we can talk about it.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Reading "Area 20-foot burst adjacent to a flat surface" as being intended to mean "the portion of a 20ft burst that is adjacent to a flat surface" (as opposed to a burst that must be centered ajacent to a surface, or a burst that must have one edge brush up against a surface) so that tentacles would be growing from walls and ceilings, but not hanging in midair seems like a reasonable interpretation. If that is correct, the wording of the spell should have been a little less abbreviated, but I think there's a good chance that this is the RAI.

The idea of bursts being 2 dimensional has no basis in anything, though. Even in this case, if the "tentacles growing from surfaces" reading is correct, the burst would still extend up vertical surfaces, as well as across floors and ceilings.


HammerJack wrote:

Reading "Area 20-foot burst adjacent to a flat surface" as being intended to mean "the portion of a 20ft burst that is adjacent to a flat surface" (as opposed to a burst that must be centered ajacent to a surface, or a burst that must have one edge brush up against a surface) so that tentacles would be growing from walls and ceilings, but not hanging in midair seems like a reasonable interpretation. If that is correct, the wording of the spell should have been a little less abbreviated, but I think there's a good chance that this is the RAI.

The idea of bursts being 2 dimensional has no basis in anything, though. Even in this case, if the "tentacles growing from surfaces" reading is correct, the burst would still extend up vertical surfaces, as well as across floors and ceilings.

If that was the intention, I imagine Paizo would have specified the "upward" distance. They tend to do this with effects that don't follow one of the standard areas.

Take Reverse Gravity for instance. It has an area of "20-foot radius, 40-foot-tall cylinder". Functionally this is similar in practice to a Burst, but because it has a special size and height, it specifies rather than modify burst to accommodate.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Changing to something like a cylinset would create a very different shape, since you would have tentacles reaching a fixed height across the horizontal area, instead of only exsiting along surfaces.

As it is, the burst giving us tentacles that reach 20 ft high in the center, but can only grab at ground level at the edges does not seem more likely to me to be the intent if writing the area in that way.


HammerJack wrote:

Changing to something like a cylinset would create a very different shape, since you would have tentacles reaching a fixed height across the horizontal area, instead of only exsiting along surfaces.

As it is, the burst giving us tentacles that reach 20 ft high in the center, but can only grab at ground level at the edges does not seem more likely to me to be the intent if writing the area in that way.

I'll agree that it is odd that the spell uses a half sphere as a "shape" instead of a cylinder like Reverse Gravity, but mechanically that is how it works. Otherwise it would have to specify the dimensions of the area, which it clearly doesn't.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
beowulf99 wrote:
HammerJack wrote:

Changing to something like a cylinset would create a very different shape, since you would have tentacles reaching a fixed height across the horizontal area, instead of only exsiting along surfaces.

As it is, the burst giving us tentacles that reach 20 ft high in the center, but can only grab at ground level at the edges does not seem more likely to me to be the intent if writing the area in that way.

I'll agree that it is odd that the spell uses a half sphere as a "shape" instead of a cylinder like Reverse Gravity, but mechanically that is how it works. Otherwise it would have to specify the dimensions of the area, which it clearly doesn't.

The use of the word "clearly" is not appropriate there, since having a sphere, and excluding all spaces in the square that aren't adjacent to a flat surface, does fully define the shape.

The question here is whether the spell is supposed be be a lot of smaller tentacles sprouting through an area, or 20ft long tentacles sprouting from a single point.


HammerJack wrote:
beowulf99 wrote:
HammerJack wrote:

Changing to something like a cylinset would create a very different shape, since you would have tentacles reaching a fixed height across the horizontal area, instead of only exsiting along surfaces.

As it is, the burst giving us tentacles that reach 20 ft high in the center, but can only grab at ground level at the edges does not seem more likely to me to be the intent if writing the area in that way.

I'll agree that it is odd that the spell uses a half sphere as a "shape" instead of a cylinder like Reverse Gravity, but mechanically that is how it works. Otherwise it would have to specify the dimensions of the area, which it clearly doesn't.
The use of the word "clearly" is not appropriate there, since having a sphere, and excluding all spaces in the square that aren't adjacent to a flat surface, does fully define the shape.

Where are you seeing an exclusion in the area of Black Tentacles?

"Area 20-foot burst adjacent to a flat surface"

This statement makes no exclusions. It only says that the burst must be adjacent to a flat surface. It doesn't even exclude Vertical surfaces, only that the surface must be "flat", which is sloppy wording anyway, as a strict reading could preclude this from being cast in an area of rough terrain, due to that terrain not being "flat".

To me, it is clear that the area of the spell is only speaking about placing the burst. For all other purposes, it behaves like a burst, expanding out from it's starting point to it's distance in all directions.


HammerJack wrote:

Reading "Area 20-foot burst adjacent to a flat surface" as being intended to mean "the portion of a 20ft burst that is adjacent to a flat surface" (as opposed to a burst that must be centered ajacent to a surface, or a burst that must have one edge brush up against a surface) so that tentacles would be growing from walls and ceilings, but not hanging in midair seems like a reasonable interpretation. If that is correct, the wording of the spell should have been a little less abbreviated, but I think there's a good chance that this is the RAI.

The idea of bursts being 2 dimensional has no basis in anything, though. Even in this case, if the "tentacles growing from surfaces" reading is correct, the burst would still extend up vertical surfaces, as well as across floors and ceilings.

I agree with this. Black Tentacles has always created Tentacles that rise out of a surface. I would allow anyone flying 10 feet or higher to bypass them, unless Black Tentacles was cast on a wall.


Aratorin wrote:
HammerJack wrote:

Reading "Area 20-foot burst adjacent to a flat surface" as being intended to mean "the portion of a 20ft burst that is adjacent to a flat surface" (as opposed to a burst that must be centered ajacent to a surface, or a burst that must have one edge brush up against a surface) so that tentacles would be growing from walls and ceilings, but not hanging in midair seems like a reasonable interpretation. If that is correct, the wording of the spell should have been a little less abbreviated, but I think there's a good chance that this is the RAI.

The idea of bursts being 2 dimensional has no basis in anything, though. Even in this case, if the "tentacles growing from surfaces" reading is correct, the burst would still extend up vertical surfaces, as well as across floors and ceilings.

I agree with this. Black Tentacles has always created Tentacles that rise out of a surface. I would allow anyone flying 10 feet or higher to bypass them, unless Black Tentacles was cast on a wall.

That's fair. Black Tentacles was also a "Spread" area, which just meant that it could extend out of your line of sight from it's point of origin. This mechanic was basically folded into the basic Burst.

Really Black Tentacles never said anything about NOT effecting the area above it though, even in PF1. Any restrictions on height were strictly a house rule, and in PF2 the same is true.

If that's how you see the spell, then more power too you. Personally I would have preferred if the area was a Cylinder with a defined height throughout like Reverse Gravity.

But c'est la vie.


Burst:
"A burst effect issues forth in all directions from a single corner of a square within the range of the effect, spreading in all directions to a specified radius. For instance, when you cast fireball, it detonates at the corner of a square within 500 feet of you and creates a 20-foot burst, meaning it extends out 20 feet in every direction from the corner of the square you chose, affecting each creature whose space (or even one square of its space) is within the burst." (Core p 456)

It's not just an area with a listed radius, it's a Burst, which means it starts at a central point and moves out from it in ALL DIRECTIONS.

So you could cast this on a wall behind a group of targets and the tentacles would erupt from that central point, grabbing at anyone within 20ft, whether they are up, down, or horizontal to the blast point.

If it helps to visualize, imagine the central point being a light source with a 20' burst. Anywhere that light hits would be targeted by the tentacles.


I would suggest that linear barriers such as floors, ceilings and walls stop spells like this unless you want to have to GM some wierd situations. They probably do under RAW; I didn't read that closely because we have no intention of having these spells affect the dungeon level above or below or the next corridor over.


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Basically, it's a 20ft radius hemisphere (half sphere) that must emanate adjacent to a grid section on the wall or floor.

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