New Spell: Lingering Flame

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Fixxxer
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New Spell: Lingering Flame

I had an idea for battlefield control that was like a sort of baby [i]wall of fire[/i].

[b]Lingering Flame
Evocation [Fire]
Level:[/b] Sor/Wiz 2
[b]Components:[/b] V, S, M
[b]Casting Time:[/b] 1 standard action
[b]Range:[/b] Close
[b]Effect:[/b] 20 ft. sheet of flame
[b]Duration:[/b] 1 round/level
[b]Saving Throw:[/b] None
[b]Spell Resistance:[/b] Yes

Upon casting, choose any contiguous area up to 20 feet in length. An immobile sheet of flame five feet high sprouts into being where you indicate. Creatures occupying or passing through this area take 2d4 points of fire damage +1 point of fire damage per caster level (maximum +20) and risk catching on fire.
If you evoke [i]lingering flame[/i] so that it appears where creatures are, each creature takes damage as if passing through the area. If any 5-foot length of area takes 20 points of cold damage or more in 1 round, the effect of [i]lingering flame[/i] ends. (Do not divide cold damage by 4, as normal for objects.)

[i]Lingering flame[/i] can be made permanent with a [i]permanency[/i] spell. A permanent [i]lingering flame[/i] that is extinguished by cold damage becomes inactive for 10 minutes, then reforms at normal strength.

[i]Arcane Material Component[/i]
A pinch of ash mixed with soft wax, quickly shaped as you wish the flame to be shaped.

Edited by: Talanall on 04/28/2021 - 10:40
MinusInnocence
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The spell is sufficiently weakened compared to the 4th level spell it is based on that I don't think it would have been appropriate to put it on the 3rd level list. Not only is its area of effect and damage potential reduced (only creatures passing through or occupying the same space where the [i]lingering flame[/i] persists are at risk), so is its casting range. It's definitely not a 1st level spell, though.

I'm curious why you replaced the language about Undead creatures taking double damage with the blurb about targets risking catching fire. Is that what you meant by "lingering?" Like, even if they get out of there, they may still be in trouble?

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

HVB

Maybe the d4s should increase every few levels and the caster level damage capped lower.
Also seems like there should be a reflex save when you drop this on someone and they generally get to choose which side of the flame they wind up on...and how do you catch fire ? Are there rules for that? I can't remember...just my random thoughts at 12:30 in the morning

Fixxxer
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MinusInnocence wrote:

I'm curious why you replaced the language about Undead creatures taking double damage with the blurb about targets risking catching fire. Is that what you meant by "lingering?" Like, even if they get out of there, they may still be in trouble?

I've never really understood why [i]wall of fire[/i] deals more damage to the undead, frankly. I suspect it's a holdover from some really early 1st Edition use of it. The spell isn't calling onpositive energy for fuel, so I've just never really seen why any random undead that doesn't have some special vulnerability to fire should be taking more damage than anything else. You hit the nail on the head with regards to the risk of catching on fire. Technically, any non-instantaneous source of fire carries that risk, but I mentioned it specifically int he spell description to highlight that the nature of this spell is less about dealing damage directly and more about controlling and shaping the battlefield.

HVB wrote:
Maybe the d4s should increase every few levels and the caster level damage capped lower.

I considered that initially, but ultimately felt that that method would be more representative of a differently-shaped [i]burning hands[/i] than what I envisioned as a "fire-and-forget" spell. For a wizard, it's no big deal to have a buttload of spells, but for a sorcerer, each spell you select has to have a long shelf of usefulness. If the damage caps out at 5d4, for example, its damage potential is a lot less than 2d4+20, so it's a useful enough spell at early levels and then borderline useless compared to what you might have access to later.

Quote:
Also seems like there should be a reflex save when you drop this on someone and they generally get to choose which side of the flame they wind up on...

This was also how I initially wrote it, but I ran into a little bit of trouble representing that a save would be required if the spell was dropped on you, but not if you chose to go walking through a solid wall of flames. Ultimately, I reduced the damage a bit from where I had it at the time and left the save out because [i]wall of flame[/i] also doesn't allow a save.

Quote:
and how do you catch fire ? Are there rules for that? I can't remember...just my random thoughts at 12:30 in the morning

There are rules for catching fire in [i]Dungeon Master's Guide[/i]. Technically, you risk catching fire any time you expose yourself to non-instantaneous flames (so [i]fireball[/i] won't catch you on fire, but [i]wall of fire[/i] might) without specifying it, but I felt like specifying it was an important addition to the description because of how the spell's designed to be used.

HVB

Yeah, fair enough, for some reason I was thinking along the lines of Blade Barrier, not Wall of Fire.
Although I was not under the impression that wall of fire would cause someone to catch fire based on the description of shimmering violet flames that only have an effect on one side of the "wall". I would interpret this as more "magic" and not so much "fire" which is possibly why it is not specified that one would risk catching fire.
But I haven't looked through the DMG lately...

Fixxxer
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Since I'm at my PC, here's the [i]DMG[/i] entry for catching on fire.

Catching On Fire

Characters exposed to burning oil, bonfires, and noninstantaneous magic fires might find their clothes, hair, or equipment on fire. Spells with an instantaneous duration don’t normally set a character on fire, since the heat and flame from these come and go in a flash.

Characters at risk of catching fire are allowed a DC 15 Reflex save to avoid this fate. 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.

Those unlucky enough to have their clothes or equipment catch fire must make DC 15 Reflex saves for each item. Flammable items that fail take the same amount of damage as the character.