Owing to some arguments, some guidelines had to be cooked up on Ignem. Thought I'd run it by here and get opinions.
I'm not entirely sure what it is you're aiming at so to speak - what are the arguments and what is then that you need to solve?
To me the fire of a pilum shooting from you toward the person you're attacking is purely cosmetic (fireworks so to speak). A magical fire would do the same damage whether hitting from up front or up back - the path of the flame to the target is cosmetic only.
Or is it meant to be used like this to bypass MR? As in placing natural fire strategically and then releasing it from magic control? Yes then it would have to be aimed, but as long as it is controlled with magic, whether natural or CrIg'ed it should be countered with MR.
Or are you thinking of ways to describe limits/possibilities of area of effect spells? "Pass over and damage people" - you're thinking of something akin to a flash-over?
Finally I'm not entirely sure what a 'natural jet of flame' should be (and this is coming from a firefighter)...?
No no no.
It revolves around the argument of whether or not you can block a Pilum with an intervening obstacle that doesn't block sight (which, normally, you cannot,) and the existance of a spell such as 'Mighty Torrent of Water' (which clearly isn't just a 'cosmetic' effect because of its propulsive force. It would evidently begin at a 'start' point and end at an 'end' point, through which it may be blocked. Without the aid of Rego requisites, as water naturally flows in geysers.)
Once I proved natural jets of flame existed in Medieval thought (since Islam and, more importantly, the opinions of Muslims, is counted in this calculation,) we put to rest the argument by saying you could either create a 'ball' on the target spot (ignoring all intervening obstacles you can perceive through) or you can create a 'jet' that has a start and an end point and damages all things within that line that dosen't completely block it.
(Oh, and to elaborate, there are places in Iran where fires have started due to gas from below ground. There's a shrine built around one of these that has burned, evidently, for centuries. Therefore, a 'natural' jet of flame.)
This is then somewhat linked to the debate in the other thread about what a target actually is. It is a somewhat tricky question. One one hand I think that the description of something moving between caster and the one hit are cosmetic or they would have to be aimed. If it isn't aimed than it shouldn't be avoided by mundane means either. Spells creating an area of effect are different, but all in all I might just ease it all by saying that spells offering some sort of natural resistance (such as strength rolls to keep standing) could easily be granted bonuses to those rolls according to circumstances, but I wouldn't allow outright blocking the effect (with the exception of succesfully cast fast-cast defenses).
As for the Iran story - makes much more sense now. The thing is that neither jet or ball are 'natural' ways for fire to act. Usually it'll be a cone - a somewhat reversed 'v': ^. Add gas under pressure (as in the Iran case) - or any other highly flamable compound - and things will be different...
Oh, I'm quite aware. That's why I added quotes around 'natural.' I'm talking about from the Medieval Paradigm, where fireballs and species media and other silly things (Tremere who don't scheme!) exist.
And yeah, that irritating 'what is a Target?' question... sometimes, I think the writers leave it ambiguous just to spite us. At our group we've definitely put our foot down in terms of this. If you're making a fire, you're making a fire. If you, say, wanted to heat someone to the point of combustion (the level 10 effect,) that'd be targetting a person.
That is indeed an awkward distinction.
Why "hurl" fire when you can just make it appear where you want it, done deal? (Especially if the spell has no Rego component.)
Yet there is something "traditional" about the former, a classic feel to it. Altho' that does explain why Ignem is more destructive than some other Forms, which rely on magically imparted speed/momentum to achieve damage.*
(* Mighty Torrent of Water or Crystal Dart, for instance.)
Arc of Fiery Ribbons states that "all within the area take damage", but PoF targets only a single location/person/victim. It would all depend on how the spell is defined, and I can think of no reason to define the spell as being more vulnerable to physical defenses than it has to be (except aesthetic ones.)
By the RAW I'd have to agree with you, but as a SG I'd want to rethink/redefine things to keep the mental image of the PoF "shooting" as much as possible. Not sure if the two can be reconciled.
Maybe the target that the spell is "aimed at" is simply the "point of potential", that point in relation to the cast that brings the flames into being. The flames do not realise their potential (exist) until they reach that point. Maybe the species that we see as flames are simply the conjured energies struggling to breach the passive state of the world and become something active...
No, I'm not convinced either...
Just for comparison between editions:
R: Voice, D: Mom, T: Ind
"a 2 foot thick spear shaped jet flies from your palms, doing +15 damage to the individual it hits".
R: Special, D: Mom, T: Ind (remember Range : Special? )
"a 2 foot thick spear shaped jet flies from your palms, doing +25 damage. One point less is done per each pace of distance bbetween you and the target. Beyond 25 paces, the flame disapates"
Now, it seems to me that the ArM4 version described moreso a jet literally spraying forth from your palms. The Special range seemed equivilent to Touch. The flames actually came out of your spell-casting hands and grew weaker the more distant away from you they struck.
The ArM5 version indicates that the flames are created at a distance away from you, the shooting jet seems cosmetic. Their is no Aiming/Targeting roll indicated as nessecary, and the level of the spell says that Range-Voice is where the flames are created. Range Voice is also substantially greater than 25 paces mind you.
Hmmm, jam the range down to Touch, add a Rego Requisite so it doesn't burn you, require a Targeting roll, have the damage reduce with distance but also allow them to burn more than the one thing they strike first. This way you keep the literal jet-of-flame effect, you have a reduced effective range but more effect at that range; and now I have just reinvented the classic PoF! Do these two variations count as "similar spells"?
Range: touch (-1 mag)
R: Rego (+1 mag)
Total effect: Cr(Re)Ig20.
The rego requisite is a problem for specialized Creo Ignem specialists, but otherwise it sounds OK. Make it affect EVERYTHING in the path for +15 damage and there you go with a spell that might be useful in some circumstances.
I like the "geyser" flame idea, though. never thought about it that way, but it sounds like an interesting concept for attack spells. Torrent of water that causes dfamage AND throws the enemy 10 paces up the air for an extra +10 falling damage? "Oh yes" ansswer from any slightly combat nut mage.
Check out Yair's Net Grimoire. I just posted a level 35 version spell using this priciple
CrIg35 Invocation of the Wrath of Prometheus
CrIg 35 (Req: Rego)
R: Touch, D: Momentary, T: Individual, Aimed +1
This spell creates a focused jet of flame that sprays forth from the casters hands. The flames actually emanate from his hands, propelled forth by the Rego Requisite which also protects the caster. The flames shoot forth up to thirty paces from the caster, inflicting +30 damage upon anyone in itâ€™s path (-1 per pace distant from the caster). A Targeting roll is needed to strike something with the flame along a specific line, but the width of the jet makes this easy and gives a +1 bonus to the roll.
(B: 25:, R: Touch +1, D: Momentary, T: Individual, Rego Requisite +1)
And I don't think Rego should be that great a difficulty. When crafting a Flambeau magus of the Ignem school, I often rely upon Rego as my secondary Technique. My secondary form changes from concept to concept, but the three I generally choose are Auram, Corpus, or Terram. So usually I wind up with two very high Ars (a Tech & Form, Creo & Ignem), two pretty high Arts (Rego and another Form), one or two mediocre Arts, and the rest all low scores. I'm focused, but not specialized to the point of handicapping myself.
Well, don't you see the point?
I'll be quite clear: Flavor text that doesn't accurately describe the effect is confusing and misleading and should not be permitted.
It's sloppy and, like everything sloppy, leads to problems that could have been avoided, delays in games that cut into the fun.
Agreed, but the difficulty lies in aggressively editing any echoes of such out from older editions, especially when those older descriptions are unconscious canon in our mental image of the spell. With the vast number of familiar spells, it's too easy to take them for granted. We all know how it works, so this is just the same spell with the new rules... or not, it seems now.
I haven't been on the Berk list, but has anyone, anyone noticed this specific paradox before, between the effects as defined and as described?
(I know that Conjure the Mystic Tower is hard to recreate, and there are some others, but nothing that couldn't be reconciled. Not like this one.)
So basically you're senile? (Joke!)
I think they should have been more careful when they were crafting the new descriptions. It causes problems for groups who aren't experienced (and even those who are!) Ars has enough subtleties without trying to puzzle out which flavors are substance and which are just for show. I think you can get plenty of flavor with accurate descriptions.
(Maybe I am, because I don't get it.)
One thing that is not stated overtly, but that does become clear, is that the rules specifically avoid over-defining many aspects of the game. The Oath, Parma, apprentices - many are open-ended, so that individual Sagas can lean the rules toward their preferred style of play without worrying too much about details.
A glance thru some of the topics and Q&A threads makes this clear - your saga and my saga and her saga can all "follow the rules", and yet look nothing alike - and yet we're all having fun. And that's the goal.
If a StoryGuide is accustomed to being spoonfed every last interpretation (as some systems seem intent upon), it can be a bit of a shock - the transition from DM to GM to SG is like that. Or it can be quite liberating. I think one reason no one had noticed it before is that no one felt the need to follow the words to the letter and so never read them that closely - each SG "knew" what a "pilum of fire" did, and that's how it worked. If it didn't march in lockstep to the rules, well... it was still consistent each time it was cast. And that's all ya need, even if not all ya could want.
But I think that now there will be a number of interesting discussions in Ars games across the lands, either within Troupes or within a SG's mental processes, as this awkward little detail gets sorted out in different ways for each different troupe. 8)
EDIT: Pardon, that was a touch snappy.
The short of it is: Yes, I know how it works, and yes I know I can adjust things on the fly. I just think that a book that prides itself on being precise shouldn't excuse silly mistakes.
Pilum is a mistake. It describes an effect that does not in fact happen. If you put a glass barrier between the two (with the spell standing as it is,) the pilum would appear to shoot harmlessly through the glass, which destroys the essential verisimilitude, that concept which is at the core of Ars Magica (a very squishy core, because it fits in 'fun'.)
(Wasn't intended for the response to be so singularly directed.)
But, you noticed it, you should have the honors, if you feel it approp':
(S'all right. Speaking of silly things, overreacting counts, even when it's me! I removed the text of it, it achieved nothing constructive.)
Works for me! E-mail sent.