Simply, does directing a Flaming Sphere into a square occupied by an opponent count as an attack with regard to negating one's own invisibility?
The wording is ambiguous, and people have been arguing over it for years now. Is this indirect harm, or an attack? It seems to me that sending your big fiery ball of death at someone is a hostile act that would cause the Invis to drop. I would go with Rule Zero on this one.I don't see whats so hard here. Part of the reason for invis dropping is game balance. [...] Creating a rock floating above someones head and then letting gravity take over is CLEARLY an intent to attack and cause damage to someone. That would drop your invis just as if you had created a rock and then picked it up and threw it. Same as cutting a rope to drop an anvil. You are targeting someone directly waiting for the correct time to cut the rope. An attack role will be made against your intended target. Sounds like an attack to me.
Interesting reasoning in the quote you used, but I don't quite agree with that person's reasoning, as it would make summoning a creature also cause to drop invisibility, since there is little difference between cutting a rope to drop an anvil and calling a creature to do your dirty work for you. I'd personally be inclined to put flaming sphere on the same side as summoned creatures; you personally aren't directly interacting with the foe, but rather the creature/sphere. The other examples given in the person's example would have to be on a case by case basis.From this thread: paizo.com - Rules Questions: Flaming Sphere and Invisibility
The wording is ambiguous, and people have been arguing over it for years now. Is this indirect harm, or an attack? It seems to me that sending your big fiery ball of death at someone is a hostile act that would cause the Invis to drop. I would go with Rule Zero on this one.
If the comparable act is cutting a rope, then we're missing this part of the spell description:I'm with Systole and SK on this one. Cutting the rope and directing the sphere both require active intervention on the part of the PC. Summoned creatures have a level of self direction that distinguishes them from the other two examples.
To clarify: My "vote" is that Flaming Sphere (and any other spell effect that requires active direction to cause harm) breaks invisibility.
Emphasis mine. The spell explicitly says that cutting a rope to cause something to fall that hurts your enemy, or even triggering a trap you set, are NOT direct attacks, and you get to stay invisible. Didn't want my confusion on the rules to inadvertently make invisibility less useful than normal.Thus, an invisible being can open doors, talk, eat, climb stairs, summon monsters and have them attack, cut the ropes holding a rope bridge while enemies are on the bridge, remotely trigger traps, open a portcullis to release attack dogs, and so forth.
I never said it would be the only defense, but as one of the few that can seriously hinder any direct attack, magic or mundane, it is certainly an important one. Greater Invisibility is great in immediate combat, but not for much else; it's duration and the same casting time means that often regular invisibility is still a better overall choice for those not wanting to directly attack their foes. The fact that there are enough other ways to counter invisibility without having to make a ruling that a spell effect can break invisibility even in rounds after it's been cast, especially when combined with an extremely broad definition of what constitutes an attack, makes the particular logic here just seems a bit too much for me personally. It's no one aspect, but rather, the whole effect, both short term and long term, that is just a little bit too much of a power play on the DM's side; there are better tools to limit invisibility that have much less collateral issues.There is a lot that can be done to lessen the viability of invisibility: See Invisibility, Invisibility Purge (both low level spells that aren't unreasonably expensive as wands), for example. For the non-magical a simple bag of flour will help find the invisible creature. A high Perception skill helps pinpoint the location (made easier if the caster casts spells with verbal components). At higher levels a spellcaster should graduate to Greater Invisibility and not worry about breaking invisibility when casting spells. Invisibility is good but I wouldn't base my entire defense on it.
Neither did I, or I'd probably not have asked over in the original game thread. I just thought it was a slightly odd case.Wow, I had no idea this was such a contentious topic.
I do think it gets really muddy if you say 'cut the rope on your anvil' is an attack, but 'push the button on your spiked wall trap' isn't. Since, really, an anvil hanging by a rope seems like a trap to me. A really simple, obvious trap, but a trap nonetheless. I'm a little hard pressed to see something other than semantics separating the act of cutting a rope to send your enemies into the ground and cutting a rope to send a large piece of ground into your enemies. I think cutting that rope falls under the same logic that the trap does. To my mind, for mundane attacks only, the rule seems to be: is the invisible character providing the direct force behind the attack? Yes = invisibility goes buh-bye. Throwing rocks, knives, arrows, or swinging fists, swords, or really hard peanut brittle are all attacks. Using gravity, springs, cogs, etc which you incite by your action to in turn provide damage through another means don't. i.e., if there's a step between you and the damaging factor, you're still invisible. In the mundane world, that's enough to filter off the 'hostile energy' that makes invisibility cranky.If my character cuts a rope in order to drop an anvil on a foe's head, that's the same thing as swinging a sword to hit that foe, or throwing a rock. He's using a tool to directly harm someone, and he has to make an attack roll using his own abilities/BAB/whatever.
In the case of a trap it's a little more blurry, but to my way of thinking the distinction is still clear. Although my PC triggers the trap, once it's triggered it's no longer under his control, and any attacks made use the traps stats, not my PCs.
That seems to the hangup. Some people see the flaming sphere in that light. Others, like myself, see it fitting much better fitting with fitting in with the summon spells. Once it's there, it's there for the duration as a solid object, unlike your example of Call Lightning, where the lightning bolt only exists from the time you call it to the time it hits the target. Second, I really fail to see how any movement occurs to be a factor; Whether you move it yourself, or the animal moves under his own power after you tell it where to go, the end result and the intent is the exact same. Same difficulties with the other examples they specifically call out. If you want to go by intent, than summon spells or cutting the rope on a bridge shouldn't count any different than a flaming sphere should, or as another example, spiritual weapon. In all cases, the force that is providing the damage is coming from something clear and distinct from the caster; the caster did an action to put bring that force into play, either by cutting the rope, or by casting a spell, or even moving an otherwise inanimate object around, but the caster is not the source of the damage in any of those examples; the object or animal is.Sure, a spongy fire ball that rolls around for several rounds bears a decent resemblance to, say, a summoned fire elemental. Both move against your foes and set them ablaze if you want them to.
However, Flaming Sphere isn't a Conjuration (summoning) spell. That very narrow school / subschool combo appears to have its own special 'pass' when it comes to whatever magical aggression instability is inherent in Invisibility and Vanish. It's probably safest just to say 'Conjuration (summoning) excluded' when you start the discussion, I think, for that reason.
Flaming sphere, on the other hand, is an Evocation [energy type]. We should pick something in its school to compare it to, instead, I think. I realized Call Lightning makes a good example: You cast it once, but then you can use it to move electricity about over several rounds and hurt people / damage objects. It doesn't roll about like a Flaming Sphere, but I think it's a reasonable approximation, and it's Evocation [energy type], as well. I don't think anyone would argue calling a lightning bolt in subsequent rounds is a clear attack. I think the only difference, then, is that the flaming sphere is moving horizontal instead of vertical. And without the special hall pass of a specialized school / subschool, that means it breaks your invisibility if the damage you're doing is to a creature.
Gah. I hope that made a modicum of sense.
A sword is not an opponent, so it does not break invisibility to swing it at an opponent. The user is not acting on the opponent, he's acting on the sword.An inanimate ball of flame is not an opponent, so it does not break invisibility.