Pilum of Fire for Dummies

Alright. Though I've started a few Ars games, none went the distance. This new saga may buck the trend, as I am older and wiser, and the gaming group is more solid.

However, in all those false starts, no one has ever hurled a Pilum of Fire.

And as I scrabbled to deal with this sudden conflagratory new event, I had the nagging feeling I was goofing it up.

Do you aim a pilum?
It seems all direct damage spells just HIT, stopped only by Magic Resistance.

How is damage figured? As noncombat damage: damage plus die vs. soak plus die?




Yup. Only if the spell bypasses MR (e.g. drop a rock over or dig a pit your target) does it need to be aimed. In ArM5, PoF always hits.

Cool. Thanks to both of you for your replies!


And that's why Pillum of Fire is my favorite spell. Spell level to damage ratio plus the auto hit, I've loved it since 2nd edition. Keep your Ball of Abysmal Flame and Lighting to yourself, my magus will be multi-casting Pillum of Fire all day long. :smiling_imp:

In fifth edition PoF has really become the workhorse spell of the order.

Spell mastery, no aiming, level influenceing penetration all big wins for the PoF.

One of the new players in my game didn't have time to finish his character last time we met (hadn't spent his experience points or chosen spells). He's playing a fire flambeau. I finished the character four different ways to give him some direction and or choices. Each of the directions I went with the character had their good points but the one I love head and shoulders above the rest is the one with three levels of spell mastery in PoF. Multicasting, fast casting, and penetration, what other spells does a character need? Silly things like posing the silent question, wall of protecting stone, and gather the essence of the beast are all very nice but what fun are they when compaired to blowing things up with pillum of fire?

Other spells for the character: wizard's boost (ignem) level 25 and a unique muto ignem spell to turn his Pillum of fire into a pillum of freezing fire. It's all about the javlons of firey doom. :smiling_imp:

Of course, for true Flambeau fun, the grooviest thing you can have is Pilum of Fire or Arc of Fiery Ribbons and Flexible Formulaic Magic. It saves a TON on reinventing spells, too!

I don't have my 5th ed. rules in front of me. But according to this thread, Pilum of fire is now an "Auto-hit" spell. What is the reasoning behind altering the Pilum of Fire between 4th and 5th ed.? I can't wrap my brain around this one.

I mean you're throwing a javelin of fire at an opponent. Why isn't there a targetting role in 5th ed.? In 4th ed. (spec. Wizard's Grimoire, pg. 70 "...Pilum of fire must be targetted...") you have to target.



Targeting as a whole was removed for spells that need to penetrate. This was to made PoF spells more useful and simplified the system. PoF did see a good deal of play in previous editions but this is because it was in the books and it looked cool not because it made any sense for the magi to learn it. Why would a magus cast pillum of fire if it needs a targeting roll when they could choose instead cast cloak of flame and not worry about missing?

The spell guidelines don't have enough detail to give us the fine resolution we'd need to make targeted resited spells useful. You could add it if you'd like, the spell guidelines aren't supposed to be comprehensive.

Perhaps an aimed PoF functions as normal PoF but requires a targeting roll and does an extra +5 damage?

Thanks for the reply, Erik.

I can understand it from a mechanics POV, I guess, but I'm still having trouble from a theoretical point of view.

(I know, arguing about magic in the real world is so f-ing moot, but anyway....)

One has a chance of missing when shooting an mundane arrow. Why wouldn't one have a chance of missing when throwing a javelin of fire?

Theoretically then, (without a rego requisite) one is basically creating a spear of fire already pierced inside a person, yes? One isn't creating the fire, and then throwing it. Curious.

Boy, it sure is easy to imagine a bunch of old mages sitting around at tribunal, arguing magic theory.

Have a great weekend,

One could consider the act of grabbing the javelin (as it manifests) and throwing it at the target the symbolic incantations necessary to cast the spell.

In my troupe this is a very common practice. Magi don't simply wave their hands up and down and say Rego Ignem, well some do, but I digress. That technique lacks flare and interest.

I had a Bonsiagus who would lick his thumb and index finger then take the spit on his thumb and finger and tightly rub it down the edge of a dull sword. This is how he cast Edge of the Razor.

Now no matter how strong this Bonisagus was, his thumb and forefinger weren't 'pinching' the blade so tightly he physically made them sharper. But it sort of looked that way as he worked his magic.

When my Tytalus becomes invisible he says in Latin, "Do not see me." Now he isn't casting a Mentem spell, he's still doing the standard Perdo Imagonem, but this is the symbolic incantation that accompanies his version of the spell.

Beyond hopefully explaining a possible solution to your question, it just makes spells cooler! Always look for the wow factor, it makes your game unique. :wink:

I look at it this way...

The Magus casting the spell is reaching out and making a connection to the target. This forms a "power line" of sorts. The magus then sends the "power" down this line, striking the target. When the target resists, the line gets broken and the power either diverts, or stops short (runs out of line).


errr... is this right? I didn't think soak had a die

I'm not entirely perceptive, am I?

Page 181 in the core book:
non-combat damage is Damage Bonus + Stress Die
non-combat soak is Soak Total + Stress Die
And damage by a spell is always non-combat damage.

So is combat damage (ie: sword hit) with or without a stress die?

:question: I'm now confused :question:

For a sword hit, the stress die was already added to the attack and defense roll. You do not roll again for damage and soak.

I think we have to define what is combat damage: as I read the rules combat damage is the damage resulting from a situation in which two or more opponents roll dices für their attack and defense totals.
And because of these rolls another roll for soaking is not necessary, because both SCs/NSCs had a chance to change their fortune with the power of the dice.
All other damage situations also have a dice roll from the source and the poor guy who soaks.
So if you have a normal fight with attack and defens rols there is NO extra roll für damage and soak.
But if you use your sword in a situation in whch your fighting skills are obsolet (like slicing through something or cuting a sleeping person) there is no attack and defense roll, so both roll a dice for damage and soak.

Well, I've always read non-combat damage as being in a landslide or some other such unpleasantness. Having a magical burning spear thrust through your gut (even from far away) seems to me to be combat damage. But this is more a matter of semantics than rules, so I might just as well be wrong. (I'm also on vacation, so I can't check the books here, sorry)

You are wrong :wink:
And I think it is not a matter of interpretation, an page 181 "The rules are also used for calculating damage inflicted by spells" so it is a fact, that you roll a die for damage and for soak.