5E Is it houseruling to let a torch set fire to things?

Poll: Is it houseruling to allow a burning torch to set fire to another torch?

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  1. #1
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    Is it houseruling to let a torch set fire to things?

    In another thread, the following question has arisen: Is it houseruling to allow a PC to use a burning torch to set fire to a flammable object?

    Especially: Is it houseruling to allow a PC to use a burning torch to set fire to another torch?

    Page 68 of the SRD, in the entry for tinderboxes, describes torches as having "abundant, exposed fuel" (which permits them to be lit with an action rather than taking a minute). Page 68 also tells us that a hit with a burning torch deals 1 hp of fire damage. And p 97 tells us that "Red dragons breathe fire, and many spells conjure flames to deal fire damage."

    So the rules suggest there is a close connection of some sort between being a flame or a fire source and dealing fire damage.

    But they don't actually say that a lit torch can set fire to another torch.

    So, would that be houseruling, or otherwise changing RAW?
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  2. #2
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    Seems reasonable to me. The rules don't cover everything, especially mundane physics. That's what the DM is for You shouldn't have a problem with it. A houserule is something that changes a clear game rule.

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  3. #3
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    How is this a thread? Can one fire cause another? Please tell me no one is actually serious about this question.
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  4. #4
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    It's not a house rule. It's an interpretation.

    An interpretation is when you believe that the rules already support the thing you want to happen. You think a torch should set things on fire, and you think the rules already do allow for that, even if they don't spell it out in so many words. This edition requires a lot of interpretation, since so few things are spelled out explicitly.

    A house rule is when you change the rules. If it actually said somewhere that a torch cannot light something on fire, and you changed that to say that a torch can light something on fire, then that would be a house rule. House rules are also okay in 5E, but you should definitely let your players know about them before they ever come up.
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  5. #5
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    Making a ruling in the absence of an explicit rule is not "house ruling," it's just running 5e.

  6. #6
    Ye gods, is this another "is gravity a houserule" discussion from the old official forums?
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  7. #7
    Yeah... I read the title and recognized exactly what kind of thread this is.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    In another thread, the following question has arisen: Is it houseruling to allow a PC to use a burning torch to set fire to a flammable object?

    Especially: Is it houseruling to allow a PC to use a burning torch to set fire to another torch?

    Page 68 of the SRD, in the entry for tinderboxes, describes torches as having "abundant, exposed fuel" (which permits them to be lit with an action rather than taking a minute). Page 68 also tells us that a hit with a burning torch deals 1 hp of fire damage. And p 97 tells us that "Red dragons breathe fire, and many spells conjure flames to deal fire damage."

    So the rules suggest there is a close connection of some sort between being a flame or a fire source and dealing fire damage.

    But they don't actually say that a lit torch can set fire to another torch.

    So, would that be houseruling, or otherwise changing RAW?
    The poll is missing an option:

    (3) Does it matter?
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  9. #9
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    No. It's not a house rule. It's called being a GM/DM.

    If there's any question about whether this constitutes a house rule, that person should not be refereeing the game.

    I actually find just seeing the question asked makes my insides hurt a little. Please tell me there were mind-altering substances involved and this is like those late-night college conversations where people ask, "What if the color I see as green actually looks to you like red does to me, but we don't know any better because we can't see through each other's eyes. Deep, huh?"
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenstone.Walker View Post
    Ye gods, is this another "is gravity a houserule" discussion from the old official forums?
    Lol. I almost regret ever starting that thread...
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