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1E Fireball throughout the ages

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I'd like to point out (1st and 2ed) that even though the fireball does not create pressure, it will fill its area of effect. Very often, a good way to not get caught in a fireball was to have the mage cast it and have a second character closing the door (when there was one) as the fireball was passing. A lot of DM allowed this as it was a nice way to remove the action of one of the character. (and not all DM liked to have their players toasted by their own fireball, especially if they had been clever.)
There's some serious risk involved there!

Close the door too late and you might as well not bother. Close it too soon and, well...

And as fireball's duration is "instantaneous" that's a pretty narrow time window. :)
 

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Hussar

Legend
Side bar about holy avengers.

I've come to realize that in 5e, holy avengers aren't really that big of a deal. A flaming sword is FAR more effective, more or less doubling your fighter's damage/round and it's only uncommon (rare?) so, easily plausible to have at 5th level or so.

Sure, fire resistance is common, but, it's not quite as common as you might think. Given the choice, I'd take a 5e flaming weapon every time.
 

Greenfield

Adventurer
There's some serious risk involved there!

Close the door too late and you might as well not bother. Close it too soon and, well...

And as fireball's duration is "instantaneous" that's a pretty narrow time window. :)
Regarding "Instantaneous": That word you keep using? I don't think it means what you think it means...

In game terms it means that the result lasts forever and can't be dispelled. It doesn't mean that the spell takes zero time to manifest.

If it too zero time then there wouldn't be any tiny red bead that anyone could see, and nobody could Save, no matter what their Dex was, because nobody can react faster than zero time.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Regarding "Instantaneous": That word you keep using? I don't think it means what you think it means...

In game terms it means that the result lasts forever and can't be dispelled. It doesn't mean that the spell takes zero time to manifest.
Er, no; that would be "Permanent". "Instantaneous" means the spell's effects happen immediately, and then are gone.

If it too zero time then there wouldn't be any tiny red bead that anyone could see, and nobody could Save, no matter what their Dex was, because nobody can react faster than zero time.
Then how can anyone ever save vs. Lightning, which travels at the speed of light - i.e. close enough to zero time as makes no difference?
 

Hussar

Legend
Er, no; that would be "Permanent". "Instantaneous" means the spell's effects happen immediately, and then are gone.

Then how can anyone ever save vs. Lightning, which travels at the speed of light - i.e. close enough to zero time as makes no difference?
No, actually. Permanent effects simply don't have a duration. They can be dispelled. That's why healing spells were Instantaneous, and not Permanent, otherwise you could kill PC's with Dispel Magic.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
No, actually. Permanent effects simply don't have a duration. They can be dispelled. That's why healing spells were Instantaneous, and not Permanent, otherwise you could kill PC's with Dispel Magic.
1e PHB: Cure Light Wounds - Duration Permanent. One of very many examples.

Permanent spells that retain magic and can thus be dispelled e.g. Hallucinatory Forest are specifically noted as such in their write-ups. Otherwise, 'permanent' simply means the effect doesn't end by itself ever, even though the magic that grants it goes away as soon as it does its thing.

Stone affected by Stone Shape doesn't radiate magic after the spell changes its shape (and thus can't be dispaelled), but it retains the new shape forever unless eroded or weathered or otherwise destroyed - or shaped again!
 

Greenfield

Adventurer
I think I see where I/we went astray.

In later editions, third and later, Instantaneous and Permanent changed meanings.

In first and second editions they meant exactly what they said. I've never liked the misleading definition of instantaneous used in the later editions.

Still, in the earlier editions a round was a full minute, and anything that lasted less than a minute might have fallen into that category.

And in 3.* some "Instantaneous" effects, such as Flesh to Stone, are listed as Instantaneous, yet the spell can be dispelled through Freedom and Break Enchantment, so they blurred the lines even there.
 


cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I think I prefer the later edition usage of instantaneous and permanent. I don't know why but it just seems to make more sense to me.
 

Hussar

Legend
I think I prefer the later edition usage of instantaneous and permanent. I don't know why but it just seems to make more sense to me.
Well, like a lot of later additions to the game, it is a lot clearer what is meant. After all, if something in 1e was a permanent effect (there were no instantaneous effects - at least not game defined), did it still radiate magic afterward? If someone has had a Cure Light Wounds placed on them, do they radiate magic? What happens if they go into an anti-magic zone or have a Dispel Magic cast upon them?

In AD&D, there simply wasn't an answer. The DM was expected to make it up. 3e and later decided to clarify effects - even the aforementioned Turn to Stone can't be dispelled. There were specific spells to return the person, but, Dispel Magic or Disjunction for that matter, wasn't one of them. It's no different than Raise Dead can remove the Dead effect (if such actually existed). If someone in AD&D was killed by a permanent effect (say a reversed Cure Light Wounds), can I raise them with Dispel Magic?
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Time for the GLOG version of fireball to come in! What's the GLOG? It's a D&D-ish game with OSR and DIY sensibilities (and also perhaps a conspiracy)

In the GLOG, spells are level-less and casters invest "magic dice" into them (so a higher level caster can shoot a bigger fireball). It's a lower powered game so it caps out at 4d6.

Fireball
Range: 200' Target: 20' diameter Duration: 0
Does [sum] fire damage to all objects.
([sum] being the sum of magic dice (wich are d6) you invest in the spell, normal limit is 4 but it can be circumvented)

... it's a pretty boring spell as far as the GLOG is concerned.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Still, in the earlier editions a round was a full minute, and anything that lasted less than a minute might have fallen into that category.
There weren't many instances of durations being anywhere between instantaneous (as in a few seconds at most) and a full round; but those that were were given duration in segments.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Well, like a lot of later additions to the game, it is a lot clearer what is meant.
That's just it - it isn't clearer at all.

After all, if something in 1e was a permanent effect (there were no instantaneous effects - at least not game defined),
Lightning Bolt is the very definition of an instantaneous effect, and was so listed in 1e.

did it still radiate magic afterward? If someone has had a Cure Light Wounds placed on them, do they radiate magic? What happens if they go into an anti-magic zone or have a Dispel Magic cast upon them?
In general the answer is no magic remains unless the spell write-up specifically indicates otherwise, as is the case with Hallucinatory Forest.

In AD&D, there simply wasn't an answer.
Actually there was, and still is: if the write-up doesn't specifically state that a permanent effect can be dispelled then it can't be. (Gygax might not have caught all of these but in general the pattern holds)

What they really needed - and still do now by the sound of it - is an extra term, so you'd have:

Instantaneous - the effect happens and then it's gone more or less immediately, no magic remains
Duration [x closed-ended amount of time] - the effect lasts that long and can be dispelled, then it's gone
NEW TERM - the effect lasts forever but remains magical and can be dispelled
Permanent - the effect lasts forever but the magic is gone immediately thus cannot be dispelled.
 

Hussar

Legend
Why add in the fourth term? Instantaneous covers what you are calling Permanent. In 3e and later terms, Permanent covers your third term.

And, no, you can't categorically state that "Actually there was, and still is: if the write-up doesn't specifically state that a permanent effect can be dispelled then it can't be. " because there is nothing in the rules that actually state this. Now, granted, I played this way and I imagine most people did, but, that doesn't change the fact that the rules are not clear.

AD&D rules that aren't clear? Shock! Surprise! :D

How fast is a magical lightning bolt? I dunno. I know it covers X distance in about 1 minute, so, it might actually be pretty slow. :D

Can you Dispel Continual Light? It's permanent. A Glyph of Warding is Permanent until Discharged. So, Permanent effects actually are still magical? So, they can be dispelled? So on and so forth.

In any case, I agree with you that the AD&D rules needed work. You want 4 durations, I figure 3 are good enough.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Why add in the fourth term? Instantaneous covers what you are calling Permanent. In 3e and later terms, Permanent covers your third term.
Then what covers the first term, where the duration truly is instantaneous e.g. Lightning Bolt.

And, no, you can't categorically state that "Actually there was, and still is: if the write-up doesn't specifically state that a permanent effect can be dispelled then it can't be. " because there is nothing in the rules that actually state this. Now, granted, I played this way and I imagine most people did, but, that doesn't change the fact that the rules are not clear.
Yeah, as is often the case in 1e the intent is clear but because it's never spelled out you have to connect some dots to realize what it is. :)

How fast is a magical lightning bolt? I dunno. I know it covers X distance in about 1 minute, so, it might actually be pretty slow. :D
Not sure how you're getting that. It does its thing on the same segment that the caster finishes casting and it resolves.

Can you Dispel Continual Light? It's permanent. A Glyph of Warding is Permanent until Discharged. So, Permanent effects actually are still magical? So, they can be dispelled? So on and so forth.
Continual Light is one where the write-up isn't clear.

Glyph of Warding is one where some dots need connecting; there's enough examples elsewhere of how other spells and effects interact with a Glyph to conclude that the magic remains and can thus be dispelled.
 

Hussar

Legend
There doesn't need to be a difference between the first and what you are using as the fourth term.

Flesh to Stone, for example, is Instantaneous. Cure Light Wounds is Instantaneous. Lightning bolt is Instantaneous. All have their effects occur at the end of casting and none of them can be undone by a later casting of Dispel Magic.

Or, are you saying that the effect of Cure Light Wounds in 1e takes longer to occur than Lightning Bolt? That there is significant time after you finish casting Continual Light and the light appearing? None of that is in the text.
 

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
"The fireball fills an area equal to its normal spherical volume (roughly 33,000 cubic feet--thirty-three 10' x 10' x 10' cubes). "

Soo much fun back in the day, in dungeons :)
I ran one dungeon with 5ft wide corridors and small rooms. One fireball affected every single monster in the dungeon and all the party. I loved cubic feet!
 

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
An addition to the 4e fireball, it was later updated to be 4d6+intelligence modifier.
Always felt weird to me in 4e that Stinking Cloud was guaranteed to kill mooks, but fireball wasn’t - every 1hp mook that saved survived. If I’d have been in charge I’d have reversed the intent there :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
There doesn't need to be a difference between the first and what you are using as the fourth term.

Flesh to Stone, for example, is Instantaneous. Cure Light Wounds is Instantaneous.
In that they only take the briefest of instants to happen, yes.

But the resulting effect of both spells is permanent - the flesh remains stone, the cure recipient remains healthier, etc.

Lightning bolt is Instantaneous.
But here the resulting effect of the spell - the lightning - is not permanent at all (one hopes!). And none of these are dispellable.

All have their effects occur at the end of casting and none of them can be undone by a later casting of Dispel Magic.
Agreed.

However there needs to be a differentiation between spells like Flesh to Stone where the spell effect remains and Lightning Bolt where the spell effect does not remain, otherwise one could argue that if they are indeed the same then either Flesh to Stone only turns the target to stone for a brief instant or that Lightning Bolt's lightning never ceases in its target area.

And then there's a third state, where the spell effect occurs immediately yet leaves an ongoing magic effect behind that can later be dispelled e.g. Continual Light or Hallucinatory Forest.

Please tell me you can see the differences between these three states:

Instant resolution, near-zero duration effect, no remaining magic (Lightning Bolt)
Instant resolution, permanent effect, magic remains (Continual Light)
Instant resolution, permanent effect, no magic remains (Cure xxxx Wounds)

Or, are you saying that the effect of Cure Light Wounds in 1e takes longer to occur than Lightning Bolt? That there is significant time after you finish casting Continual Light and the light appearing? None of that is in the text.
Nor am I saying it is, or that any of that is true..
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Always felt weird to me in 4e that Stinking Cloud was guaranteed to kill mooks, but fireball wasn’t - every 1hp mook that saved survived. If I’d have been in charge I’d have reversed the intent there :)
4e didn't go for such things, but were it me I'd have looked at the average non-mook version of the same creature, and if it couldn't take a fireball then the mook version would die even on a made save; but if it could then the mook would survive.

And from this I assume Stinking Cloud did actual damage in 4e, where in 1e it merely incapacitates (and largely blinds) those within so that other things can kill them.
 

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