5E Control Flame in Combat?
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  1. #1
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    Control Flame in Combat?

    Two game questions in one day.

    Scenario: I have a rag soaked in oil. I tie/wrap said rag to the end of my quarterstaff. I light said rag on fire.

    Then I point said quarterstaff at an enemy and use Control Flame to spread the fire into the enemy's 5 ft space, using his clothing as "fuel". Alternatively, he is standing on something that could be considered "fuel" for a fire, I light that on fire and make it fill the 5 ft space.

    What happens?

  2. #2
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    It seems like the create bonfire spell might be a decent basis for ruling what happens here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tglassy View Post
    Scenario: I have a rag soaked in oil. I tie/wrap said rag to the end of my quarterstaff. I light said rag on fire.

    Then I point said quarterstaff at an enemy and use Control Flame to spread the fire into the enemy's 5 ft space, using his clothing as "fuel". Alternatively, he is standing on something that could be considered "fuel" for a fire, I light that on fire and make it fill the 5 ft space.
    Since control flames does not specify damage, and also does not say that the fire fills the target space, I would treat it as simply increasing the fire's "reach." If you use it on a torch, as you propose, and try to set a creature's clothing on fire, it works just as if you were attacking that creature with the torch: Melee attack for 1 fire damage. If there is something highly flammable in the space, like oil or paper, then it works as if you had tossed a torch into that space.
    XP Shiroiken, aco175 gave XP for this post

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    Personally, I wouldn't let you use the clothing as fuel. But if they are standing on something flammable, sure. I agree with @iserith that the create bonfire mechanic seems applicable.

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    So if Create Bonfire were the example, would it then scale in damage the way Create Bonfire does?

    And while it doesn't specify damage, it does say you can spread the fire into a space. How much damage does someone take if they're standing in a fire?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tglassy View Post
    So if Create Bonfire were the example, would it then scale in damage the way Create Bonfire does?
    I don't think so.
    And while it doesn't specify damage, it does say you can spread the fire into a space. How much damage does someone take if they're standing in a fire?
    1d8 seems reasonable But the DMG might have something to say about it too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tglassy View Post
    So if Create Bonfire were the example, would it then scale in damage the way Create Bonfire does?
    Nah.

    Quote Originally Posted by tglassy View Post
    And while it doesn't specify damage, it does say you can spread the fire into a space. How much damage does someone take if they're standing in a fire?
    See also alchemist fire for ideas on how to resolve.
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    It seems that you want the spell to do more than intended. It is a cantrip and should not do more than other cantrips like fire bolt, which is already the offensive fire spell. If the description does not list a attack or save, then I may limit to just affecting flame in the area. I also separate magical flame from normal flame and limit the damage of normal flame from stuff like this. Someone poked with a torch may only take 1 point of damage, but 1d10 from fire bolt.

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    The spells I would look for for "outside references" would be shspexwster, move earth snd the "air" equivalent that came out as the " play with elements" spell suite - multiple flavor effects plus minor at best combat utility.

    As for extending burning torch fire into another hex, agree that it's just magical flavor and reach for the std torch attack. It's not Bonfire from torch.

    Then again, I have seen in play ths big gains from this spell being the shapes snd brighter source effects, much more than its fire drag effects.

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    Control Flame in Combat?

    Its not that I WANT to do more than intended, its why I asked the question here to get a consensus. The description says you can spread the fire to fill a five foot cube adjacent to it. Fire is naturally painful, and it doesnt say, like Shape Water does, that the space cannot have a creature in it.

    So if Im in a burning building made of wood, and Im fighting a goblin for some reason, and were standing next to fire, and I use the Control Fire cantrips to spread that fire into his space, youre saying that would only do 1 point, like hitting him with a torch? Alchemist Fire s not Magical Fire and it does 1d4 of fire damage at the beginning of every turn unless it is put out.

    But then the DMG says burned by coals would be 1d10 and stumbling into a fire pit is 2d10. Having the ground underneath you erupt into flames should be comparable to stumbling in a fire pit, but Id agree that 2d10 seems like a bit much for a cantrips that isnt meant for combat.

    The main thing is that fire is naturally damaging, and the cantrips lets you control it and spread it to different spaces. Having a torch means you can easily spread the fire to any space around you as long as theres something flammable in that space.

    Obviously there are cantrips that can cause fire damage more efficiently, but Ive got a character with no damage cantrips and I took Control Flame because it goes with his background. Hes an Entertainer and his thing is hes a Fire Dancer, so he uses Control Flame as a means to make his performances more dazzling and spectacular. It was as I was thinking of the cool things he could do with that that it occurred to me that if he has what is essentially a staff or club with a flaming torch on the end, he could do some interesting things in combat with Control Flame, since its not Magical Flame. Hes a Sorcerer, so he could grab Firebolt or Create Bonfire later, but hes only lvl 3 right now, and Ive got other means of dealing with combat for the time being. This was just something interesting Id thought of during creation and I wanted to get some thoughts.

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