The fireball spell through the editions

Imp

First Post
Yup. Fireballs in 3e are wussier. I do like the idea of some area-effect spells having the potential to backfire, and I've always played with ricocheting lightning bolts, but the less-deadly 3e fireball backlash has a way of making the complicated volume calculations a lot less compelling. I always just abstracted it out to horizontal area of effect, anyway.
 

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Glyfair

Explorer
Imp said:
Yup. Fireballs in 3e are wussier.
Yup. Takes away so much power from the arcane classes you almost might consider running a fighter at 5th level or higher ;)

I do like the idea of some area-effect spells having the potential to backfire, and I've always played with ricocheting lightning bolts, but the less-deadly 3e fireball backlash has a way of making the complicated volume calculations a lot less compelling. I always just abstracted it out to horizontal area of effect, anyway.

I personally don't mind possible backlash considerations, as long as they are quick and easy to deal with. The earlier edition fireballs just weren't. Lightning Bolts were much easier, but every case I saw that the repercussions were dealt with, it was to make a 3rd level spell as powerful as a 4th or 5th level spell (if I bounce it here I can hit the BBEG twice, and all of his minions except for this guy, so deal with him).
 

TheNovaLord

First Post
the are very weak now

they do the same damage, but charcaters ahve a lot more hp nowanadays cf to OD&D and AD&D

clerics only had d6 in OD&D and thieves D4, and clerics had way fewer spells to protect themselves, though u did a CON hp bonus for a 13 stat

in AD&D evrybody is upped a hit dice type, but con bonuses are harder to ger

I also 'feel' it is easier to save against it now, than previous, though various feats can make it more

JohnD
 


Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
TheNovaLord said:
t
they do the same damage, but charcaters ahve a lot more hp nowanadays cf to OD&D and AD&D

clerics only had d6 in OD&D and thieves D4, and clerics had way fewer spells to protect themselves, though u did a CON hp bonus for a 13 stat

I agree with your basic point, but ought to note that thieves didn't come into OD&D until Greyhawk (supplement 1) and they arrived with d6 hd, mirroring clerics.

Of course, in those days clerics didn't even get their FIRST spell until they had accumulated 1500xps, and each orc was only worth, what, 25xp?

Kids TODAY think they have it tough ;)
 

Glyfair

Explorer
Plane Sailing said:
Of course, in those days clerics didn't even get their FIRST spell until they had accumulated 1500xps, and each orc was only worth, what, 25xp?

Kids TODAY think they have it tough ;)
Yeah, but you used to get experience for treasure as well. A 1st level character who stumbled on a chest of gold could get it home and gain a level!
 

Henrix

Explorer
johnsemlak said:
One side note--I think the idea of capping hte damage of fire ball and similar spells to a certain number of d6s was first introduced in (IIRC) the Companion Rules set. There the limit was 20d6. 3e tones it down to 10d6.
Don't blame everything on 3e. The quotes above show that the 10d6 damage cap is from 2e.


But in 3e fireball has certainly become less overpowered, obligatory and faster to handle.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
Yes, 3E opted for spells that promoted speedier play, and it's really about where you want your slowness. In 3E, the slowness is more around rules lookups than around specific effects themselves, and tends to decrease with more rules proficiency. In AD&D, the rules were for the most part fewer, but the slowness came around the DM making sure his ruling was fair where the rules weren't covered.

Still doesn't take away the fact that we used to have a lot of fun figuring out whether you were crisped by your own fireball or not. :)

I will say that most magic-users I knew or played took the space into consideration when planning fireball usage. If they were in cramped quarters, they'd throw their fireballs further out beyond the enemy, to accomodate the expanded area. If space didn't permit, they'd either retreat to more open areas, or pick different spells (flame arrow, or web, or stinking cloud, or magic missile, or lightning bolt, cone of cold if higher level, etc.)
 
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Scribble

First Post
Henry said:
I will say that most magic-users I knew or played took the space into consideration when planning fireball usage. If they were in cramped quarters, they'd throw their fireballs further out beyond the enemy, to accomodate the expanded area. If space didn't permit, they'd either retreat to more open areas, or pick different spells (flame arrow, or web, or stinking cloud, or magic missile, or lightning bolt, cone of cold if higher level, etc.)


Yeah... I'll agree with this... Most players I knew would sit and figure out how much room they had and if it would crisp them or not before they shot it off so it didn't really come in to play much unless you screwed up... Or the DM ruled no measuring before casting... Which brought the argument "But as a crazy intelligent Mage I should know what my spells will do... blah blah..."

New spell makes things faster, but I will admit does remove the "haha stupid wizard." aspect. :p

As for the damage cap... I think it's a good thing overall. It is a Game, and I'm guessing the damage caps keep the wizard from turning into the end all be all class after gaining 3rd level spells.

It's still a good way to deal a good hit of damage to lots of people at once. (which not a lot of classes can do...)
 

woodelf

First Post
Glyfair said:
I just loved sitting down for an evening of fun and having then having to perform mathematics to determine how much area was effect by a common spell. Oh, yes, and as a DM having to pull out your map and methodically work out exactly which areas were effected by the fireball spell. I thought people were arguing that earlier editions of D&D were faster in combat ;)

It's a non-issue in a typical all-squares dungeon. The only time we ever had to do any real figuring was outdoors. Quick: what's the radius of a fireball with a target origin 5' above the ground, on an open plane, if its volume is equivalent to a 20'-radius sphere? That one gave us a bit of a headache. Spherical volume? Easy. Hemispherical volume? Easy. Arbitrary portion of a sphere? Pain in the butt.

We almost never used a battle map--just relied on verbal positioning for most wilderness stuff. But this one came up when the PCs wanted to blow up some people who had just ambushed them with a net trap, and were standing quite close. So in order to get the most opponents, the player specified a target point 25' from the closest-to-the-blast-point PC, and 5' off the ground, completely forgetting the truncating effect of the ground itself. (The 5' off the ground part was because they wanted the maximal cross-sectional diameter at around chest level, rather than ground level, to be sure and catch as many opponents as possible. We used math, not grids, so things didn't get rounded to the nearest 5' increment, and thus every foot counted.)
 

painandgreed

First Post
However, I sort of miss designing dungeons to take into account fireballs volume. Walls of force, illusionary walls making the room look smaller, and additional corriders to vent fireballs and lessen their effect in rooms with bad guys. Then building the corridors to encounter the BBEG as narrow and long with proper volume so that a fireball will envelope the entire hallway including back around corners where people might be hiding.
 

Evilhalfling

Adventurer
in earlier addtions the party just stopped preping fireball for dungeons - and occasionally got caught by bouncing L bolts.

My fav use of lightning was the vampire mage and the paladin in a 10x10 room - the mist floated away chuckling evily.

And I still remember the line from Homelands trilogy (where the drow refused to send mages top side after a mishap with a FB exploding to an unpredictible size. Made drow look like novices. )
 

TheNovaLord

First Post
Plane Sailing said:
I agree with your basic point, but ought to note that thieves didn't come into OD&D until Greyhawk (supplement 1) and they arrived with d6 hd, mirroring clerics.

QUOTE]

maybe i meant basic D&D where thieves only had d4 hp! the red book
 

TheNovaLord said:
Plane Sailing said:
I agree with your basic point, but ought to note that thieves didn't come into OD&D until Greyhawk (supplement 1) and they arrived with d6 hd, mirroring clerics.

QUOTE]

maybe i meant basic D&D where thieves only had d4 hp! the red book
Actually, thieves used 1d4 for HD in the Greyhawk Suppment (OD&D), the Basic "blue book" (Holmes) the Moldvay/Cook Basic Red Book (B/X), and the Mentzer Basic Red Book (BECMI). I believe it was only in AD&D that thieves had 1d6 for HD.

The terms I used for the various editions I took from common usage on the Dragonsfoot site. Not trying to impose anything "official," but they are handy:

OD&D = three booklets + supplements

Holmes Basic = "blue book" (still pretty close to OD&D, actually)

B/X (Moldvay/Cook/Marsh) = 1981 basic and expert (Erol Otus cover art)

BECMI/RC (Mentzer) = basic/expert/companion/masters/immortals/rules cyclopedia. (Elmore cover art)
 

Contrarian

First Post
lukelightning said:
My magic-user was a friggin' terror in the dungeon; thankfully my DM was gracious enough to allow us to use the "open the door a crack...fireball in, slam the door and jump back" strategy.:

I used to let PCs do that back when I was 13 and didn't know any better. Which leads to My Best Fireball Story:

PCs are slogging through G-1-2-3 Against the Giants. (It's been so long, I don't remember exactly which giant stronghold they were in.) They come to a closed door, the thief listens at the door, and the party decides the bad guys on the other side are tough enough that they need to soften them up with the "fireball and shut the door trick." Unfortunately for them, the door is locked and the thief fails this lockpicking roll.

The players' brilliant plan? The magic-user will start casting Fireball, then the ranger will force the door open, and then the magic-user will send the fireball through the door, and then the ranger will shut the door.

Yeah, what you're imagining right now is exactly what happened.

The ranger, despite wearing a girdle of giant strength (and thus having something like a 95% of forcing open doors) fails. The magic-user blasts the ranger in the back with a fireball. The party takes massive damage -- one PC dies on the spot. The ranger (still alive, because he was 100-hp tank) is knocked through the flaming remains of the door into the room, and combat begins.

On a more positive note, I did rule that the NPCs inside the room were suprised by the exploding door and flaming ranger, because I know I sure as hell would be.

Nobody ever tried "fireball and shut the door" after that.
 


Remathilis

Legend
One side note--I think the idea of capping hte damage of fire ball and similar spells to a certain number of d6s was first introduced in (IIRC) the Companion Rules set. There the limit was 20d6. 3e tones it down to 10d6.

Actually, 2e toned them down to 10d6. They also limited magic missiles (5 max), and lightning bolt (10d6) the same way.

Beyond that, I recall with horror stories from a former roommate about a DM he knew that counted cubic feet for fireball. After the 2nd TPK (cept for the caster) no one was allowed to memorize or cast that spell in their group. Even having it in your spellbook was grounds for your PC being attacked and killed by the other PCs! :eek:
 


Ahglock

First Post
Yup. Takes away so much power from the arcane classes you almost might consider running a fighter at 5th level or higher ;)

Weirdly enough, despite this in 3e wizards became more powerful than ever before. I thought thieves needed work in the previous editions, but most of the other classes actually in game play worked out well. In 2e as you leveled, you encountered Magic resistance, much nastier than 3es spell resistance, and saves were much harder to overcome. Save or die spells were a waste to cast and fire ball did pidly damage.
 


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