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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Creative Cantrips - Control Flames

    “You may judge any spellcaster by their biggest spell, but you should judge a master by their cantrips.”
    -Olaf Junier, Magic Instructor


    5th edition embraces your group’s interpretation and rulings, allowing players to come up with new ideas for old things all the time. This needs to be balanced against dangerous, game-breaking precedents. This is part of a series ofpostings around Cantrips to help balance the player desire for cool ideas with the DM’s need to know what is possible before they are problems for their game.


    Tips for the everyone at the table:
    • Be clear and consistent in advance – Whenever possible, make rulings based on clear language and interpretations, not on the specific tricks. Also do it early so nobody has to discuss laws of physics in a critical battle.
    • It is a game, but not just a game – The Rule of Cool balances the Rule of Reason. Or yet another way, players need to have fun but might want to ‘forget’ a good idea if it would disrupt an important plot point they know the DM is relying on.
    • The DM can always change a ruling, but be fair about it – If an interpretation turns out to be too abusable, it can be changed. But the players may need to compensate accordingly so don’t do it in combat and/or disallow them to switch out cantrips they will no longer use.

    This posting will go over an analysis of the cantrip, while the second goes into specific tricks/effects you can do and what rulings they may rely upon. I am hoping for even more ideas, and stories are welcome.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Creative Cantrips - Control Flames

    This posting has three main sections: Cantrip Details, Pros and Cons, and Rulings that Apply. The interpretations will be lettered so they can be referenced in the next section.

    Cantrip Details

    60’ Range
    Affect normal flames in a 5’ cube with one of the following effects:
    • Expand it to more fuel within 5’ in any direction
    • Put out all flames in the cube
    • Double or halve the light effect for 1 hour
    • Create simple shapes for 1 hour

    Limitation: only three non-instant effects can be in effect at a time

    Basically, move a fire around and shape it so long as it is always burning something.

    Compared to the other cantrips I have written up, this one was a challenge to make it worthwhile. I’m sure there could be other uses out there, so feel free to reply.

    Pros and Cons
    • Pro – Fire is the best source of low level damage in the game and is readily available in dramatic situations.
    • Pro – You affect all fire in 5’ but they don’t have to be one area. This could affect the entire party’s torches, for instance.
    • Con – The fire needs fuel. You can’t make a fire and keep it going without a lot of wood or other fuel around. This is your biggest limitation.
    • Con - Fire is the most resisted damage type in the game, so using it as a threat isn’t always valuable option.
    • Con – Moving fire around can almost as easily be done non-magically. Putting one out could easily be done with other cantrips too. Arguably, this spell doesn’t make sense as a quick read shows you can do most of the effects with Presdigitation too.
    • Con – Doesn’t scale at all. This could be an opportunity to ask if the DM to allow more flexible rulings as time goes on. For instance, the ability to touch flame objects safely after 6th level or have it survive without fuel for an hour at higher level.



    Rulings that Apply:
    • Need oxygen? – In order to make shapes, the fire has to burn in ways it normally cannot due to the lack of air. For instance a completely ‘coating’ a block of wood in flame is not possible because air can’t feed the flame. I am assuming that you need air (not underwater), but only the tiniest amount to account for this.
    • Touchable flame objects? – Makes thematic sense, but is against physics so your DM may not like the idea. Note that sometimes they wouldn’t be useful – flame clubs are too light to do damage. Also, can you touch them but does it burn others?
    • What is ‘flammable’? – Wood is, water isn’t, but what about Treants after a rain? An alchemy lab? Clothing? Thin alcohol vapors? Peanuts?
    • What is ‘Non-magical’ fire? – A demon’s thematic flames are 100% not natural… unless you believe in D&D science where it is an element. Useful if you are a fire genesi and have flaming hair ready for theme-appropriate abuse.
    • Can control the fuel or heat use? – If you can flare/mute a natural fire it makes sense. A related question is can you use less fuel while making it burn brighter. This is magic, after all.
    • Can I attack creatures within 5’ of a fire? –It would look like a tongue of flame which may or may not start fires. Obviously, the writer didn’t think we could turn this into a combat spell or they would give us an attack roll/save (they _knew_ better). Damage involved is another question. It could be on par with Firebolt or just d4.



    Tricks
    • Always carry something to start fires with you like flint and some torches or oil. You likely can’t carry around enough fuel to have it always ready when you want it.
      Special note – pick up smoking. Thematically appropriate, and keeps some hot coals available at nearly all times.
    • Fire resistance – get it. Fires can spread out of your control too.


    Special note
    This cantrip is a little different from the others in that it can be virtually duplicated by Presdigitation or Druidcraft and it would be a thematic choice at best. I see this as an opportunity for you to talk with your DM to see what his/her rulings might be to see if you can make it feasible.
    • If you are a player, make sure you know what you are getting into before picking this cantrip.
    • If you are a DM, read this posting carefully and seriously consider giving more freedom with this cantrip than others. Specific beats general, so you can claim this cantrip allows things that other spells do not without reworking all the rules of your world.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Creative Cantrips - Control Flames

    Effects
    Light (shapes starting fires, oxygen, use less fuel, what is flammable?)
    Make your torches work anywhere short of underwater, last twice as long, and get a dimmer switch. If you can create shapes that don’t start fires, then strap a chunk of wood to your helmet or coat it with oil and you get a resilient torch but both hands are free.


    Put out fires (‘non-magical’ fire)
    Always useful if you like to play with fire too much (read: Every PC Ever). Stopping a house fire takes a lot of castings, but it is faster than with any other cantrip and most other slotted spells.

    This is guaranteed to put those fires out from a distance, so you can affect things like alchemist fire or the BBEG’s thematic Ring of Fire Ritual™ for dramatic flair.


    Intensify Alchemist Fire Burns
    Alchemist fire is dangerous due to the ongoing damage. Intensify it for automatic damage for every round for an hour . The same thing would apply if their clothing was on fire or the like. Some spells have this effect too.


    The Flaming club/staff (Touching objects, not starting fires, using less fuel)
    Encase a club in natural fire for combat and put it out afterwards so you don’t lose your staff/club too quickly. At low level, this can make you more dangerous in melee and have full visibility in combat at the same time.


    Keyhole Pyro (oxygen use)
    Dribble oil or some other flammable through a small hole. Then run a fire down the line. Normally this isn’t possible since the fire can’t catch that small amount of oil quickly and snuffs out for lack of air. The spell both makes it move faster and (maybe) not need as much air in the first place. Other spells actually can’t do this either because you don’t have line of effect to the other side of the keyhole.

    Alternately, your target can be the keyhole itself. The spell can make a lock burn out when it normally couldn’t because of oxygen issues.


    The Unlikely Firestorm (what is flammable?, fuel use)
    Many flammable things are considered safe because they are hard to get burning. Sugar burns at 1000+ degrees and you can cut through metal with a slice of bacon and pure oxygen, for instance. Many ‘off limit’ things are now quality fuel on demand:
    • Thick planks – Thick wood smolders for a long time before lighting up, so people target thatch roofs instead. You, however, can start with the support beams and burn them away much faster.
    • Fat – notably the Grease spell but could include corpses or surface algae blooms
    • Cork – like all the ones plugging those oil and alchemist fire flasks. Note it might take a minute to burn through, but it is a great distraction.
    • Wax – used in candles, but also as sealants for tents, leather waterskins, and other things
    • Wet wood/thatch/grass – bonus in that it creates a lot of smoke too
    • Food – nearly anything edible burns when dried and exposed to enough heat. Also, nearly everyone carries around snacks.
    • Alcohol – beer or wine vapors can burn with this cantrip – for a round or two anyhow. Also notable because nobody is afraid of spilled ale except the party dwarf. And for that we have:
    • Body hair and clothing – Double effect of damage and disrobing most characters (all metal armor uses cotton padding). Expect a save to avoid, but it explicitly starts fires and not just damage.
    • Mushrooms – I’m thinking large underdark varieties, but I hear the 60’s was an awesome time too.
    • Swamp Gas – would be like alcohol vapors in that they normally wouldn’t be dense enough to burn, but would for you.



    Cheap Firebombs (oxygen use)
    This depends entirely on your DM’s ruling, but it can be a cool trick for a coordinated attack. Get lots of flasks and put a little oil in them. Shape some fire to go into all of them and cork it. Now you have dozens of d4 firebombs usable for the next hour that are easily concealed.


    The Flame Suit (touching objects, shapes not starting fires)
    Coat yourself in oil and light up with a suit. Just remember to keep the oil on and renew every hour. Surprisingly, this has multiple benefits:
    • Fireproofing - If you are on fire already you can’t be put ‘more on fire’. This won’t protect you against the initial damage, but some effects do damage over time (some spells, alch. Fire)
    • Disguise – hard to identify someone’s face when they are on fire and made extra bright. You may even be able to impersonate certain monsters fairly well.
    • Intimidation helper – Well, duh. It’s a trope for a reason.
    • Fake your death – Start on fire, then jump off a cliff and use featherfall or something. People don’t ask as many questions and/or have to wait for the flames to go out before they can investigate.
    • Personal warmth – Nothing keeps you warm like being on fire. Even if you aren’t damaged by the heat, you should still feel it
    • Grappling – Particularly nasty as the oil will rub off on them too. In theory, you could just let go and grapple someone else every round once their clothes/armor lights up. **extra points** use the blackfire trick below and make it a trap



    Blackfire
    There is no such thing as infravision anymore, so if you change the fire’s color to ‘clear’ or 99% transparent you now have a fire that is invisible to everyone – even with truesight. Some uses:
    • Hide your campsite better
    • Impromptu trap – make a fire with unlikely things (beer) and invisible
    • Delay response to firestorm - mix in a sound buffer or other distraction and you could burn down half a building before someone got wise to the threat.
    • Get access to all the fun of fire without fouling everyone’s darkvision. Note you can change this with an action, so also useful to foul darkvision on cue.



    Slow wicks (fuel consumption)
    Take a normally burnable item and make it burn very, very slowly for the duration. Some uses:
    • Hide a campfire, but keep it available on demand.
    • Start multiple fires long after you are gone from the scene. The magic dissipates so there is very little evidence to find.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Creative Cantrips - Control Flames

    Control flames is a tough one. I picked it up for my campaign hoping I would have plenty of opportunities to use it creatively but sadly I've mostly only used it for putting out fires and controlling the light from my party's lanterns/torches.

    I would imagine that a generous DM would allow you to use the cantrip to spread fire from enemies' torches / lanterns / camp fires onto their bodies or clothes effectively setting them on fire. But since there are no definitive rules for the damage that may come from this the damage could range anywhere from 1 damage per turn to 1d10 damage per turn. *I'd personally probably rule 1d6 damage per turn (scalable like regular attack cantrips) until they use an action to put it out considering how incredibly niche this spell is*



    The dual limitations of needing fuel AND not being able to work on magical flame make this cantrip incredibly difficult to use. I may ask my DM if I can remove one of these limitations to bring it up to par.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Creative Cantrips - Control Flames

    Quote Originally Posted by Stealthscout View Post
    Intensify Alchemist Fire Burns
    Alchemist fire is dangerous due to the ongoing damage. Intensify it for automatic damage for every round for an hour . The same thing would apply if their clothing was on fire or the like. Some spells have this effect too.
    This is something that you cannot do; there is no damaging option to Control Flames, nor does one increase the damage or keep a fire from being put out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stealthscout View Post
    The Flaming club/staff (Touching objects, not starting fires, using less fuel)
    Encase a club in natural fire for combat and put it out afterwards so you don’t lose your staff/club too quickly. At low level, this can make you more dangerous in melee and have full visibility in combat at the same time.
    Beware weapon breakage if you go this route; burning logs are not known for their stability.

    Also beware the fire damage you will be taking for this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stealthscout View Post
    The Flame Suit (touching objects, shapes not starting fires)
    Coat yourself in oil and light up with a suit. Just remember to keep the oil on and renew every hour. Surprisingly, this has multiple benefits:
    • Fireproofing - If you are on fire already you can’t be put ‘more on fire’. This won’t protect you against the initial damage, but some effects do damage over time (some spells, alch. Fire)
    • Disguise – hard to identify someone’s face when they are on fire and made extra bright. You may even be able to impersonate certain monsters fairly well.
    • Intimidation helper – Well, duh. It’s a trope for a reason.
    • Fake your death – Start on fire, then jump off a cliff and use featherfall or something. People don’t ask as many questions and/or have to wait for the flames to go out before they can investigate.
    • Personal warmth – Nothing keeps you warm like being on fire. Even if you aren’t damaged by the heat, you should still feel it
    • Grappling – Particularly nasty as the oil will rub off on them too. In theory, you could just let go and grapple someone else every round once their clothes/armor lights up. **extra points** use the blackfire trick below and make it a trap
    So. Um. Why are you not taking damage from being set on fire, again? Nothing in the spell prevents or reduces fire damage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stealthscout View Post
    Slow wicks (fuel consumption)
    Take a normally burnable item and make it burn very, very slowly for the duration. Some uses:
    • Hide a campfire, but keep it available on demand.
    • Start multiple fires long after you are gone from the scene. The magic dissipates so there is very little evidence to find.
    How are you reducing the rate of burning? Not even reduction in light emitted reduces burn rate.
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    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Creative Cantrips - Control Flames

    I can see a bunch of high elf commoners with this cantrip serving as their community's firemen. Remember: elves like wooden houses, someone has to keep those from burning.
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Creative Cantrips - Control Flames

    I can see a bunch of high elf commoners with this cantrip running around cackling and setting bushes and small woodland animals on fire, while their more sombre kinsmen shake their heads and roll their eyes.
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    Default Re: Creative Cantrips - Control Flames

    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee_Dragon View Post
    I can see a bunch of high elf commoners with this cantrip running around cackling and setting bushes and small woodland animals on fire, while their more sombre kinsmen shake their heads and roll their eyes.
    Interestingly enough, the cantrip doesn't seem to let you do that. If you want to actually create flames, you need either Fire Bolt or Prestidigitation.
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Creative Cantrips - Control Flames

    I don't know how legal this is, but here's another fun use for it: you can manipulate non-magical Flames into shapes, right? If I'm not mistaken, improvised weapons deal 1d4 damage? So you play a tinker gnome who builds a rig onto a gauntlet (like Connor's hidden blade) that has a lighter at the end of it. You now have two 1d4 daggers of fire for your rogue.

    Not the best use, since so many things resist fire damage, but just something I can up with upon seeing that the tinker gnome can make a lighter using their racial trait. If not allowable by RAW, as a DM, if rule of cool it to work.

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    Default Re: Creative Cantrips - Control Flames

    I actually had an idea for sorcerer, with the entertainer BG to have this, one of the acts you can choose is Fire breathing and i figure it for being able to create some awesome visuals.

    RP wise much like thaumatology there are some cool ways to use change / enhance flames to give an advantage to persuasion / intimidation checks.

    You could also use it to create an impromptu firewall to slow down attackers, sure there are no rules for doing damage with it but how many people are going to risk jumping through that fire to pursue you, particularly when it just turned green, and now has dragon shapes dancing around in it...

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    Default Re: Creative Cantrips - Control Flames

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilko View Post
    You could also use it to create an impromptu firewall to slow down attackers, sure there are no rules for doing damage with it but how many people are going to risk jumping through that fire to pursue you, particularly when it just turned green, and now has dragon shapes dancing around in it...
    Combine with minor image and other illusion spells for maximum fun.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Creative Cantrips - Control Flames

    Woops! Forgot to subscribe to my thread, so didn't get a chance to read any of this.


    Fable Wright, please read the whole thing. The whole first posting went into the point of the thread - many DMs and players want to be creative instead of RAW for everything. But many DMs are scared of too loose interpretations that come to bite him later on, and the players are afraid to think outside the box. Both sides limit the fun of the game as a result, just like you did.

    I even cross-referenced the postings, for crissakes!

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Creative Cantrips - Control Flames

    Quote Originally Posted by Dire_Stirge View Post
    Interestingly enough, the cantrip doesn't seem to let you do that. If you want to actually create flames, you need either Fire Bolt or Prestidigitation.
    Even then, those would be magical
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Creative Cantrips - Control Flames

    Quote Originally Posted by HoodedHero007 View Post
    Even then, those would be magical
    The spell itself is magical, any fire it starts isn't.
    It's Eberron, not ebberon.
    It's not high magic, it's wide magic.
    And it's definitely not steampunk. The only time steam gets involved is when the fire and water elementals get loose.

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Creative Cantrips - Control Flames

    The only practical use i could think of is snuffing the torches or campfires of enemies out from larger range then presti's 10 ft

    Which isn't a uncommon situation but it's not really that amazing

    Why this spell can't create fires is beyond me. Even a small spark at 60ft would be so usefull for a creative pyromaniac

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    Default Re: Creative Cantrips - Control Flames

    The Mod on the Silver Mountain: Raise Thread is much higher level than a cantrip.
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