# Polymathes's Fiery Breath

I was looking at Polymathes's powers (cribbing them for another magic critter), and I noticed something about his Fiery Breath.

It's a torrent 50 paces by 10 paces, so it's effectively Creo-ing a 500 square pace fire. Base Individual for Ignem is a large campfire or fire in a hearth, which I'm willing to stipulate is about one pace square.

But there aren't any added magnitudes for increasing the size, and by my reckoning there should be two.

Am I right in this, or is this a case of "You're really going to argue math with a dragon?" or "Meh, it's RoP: M, it's kinda wonky in a lot of ways" type thing?

CrIg25 Arc of Fiery Ribbons uses T:Group to get something close (60 degrees arc out to R:Voice). So the fire could travel to that range easily.

Now, the hearth of a great hall might be 3 paces wide by 1 pace deep, so covering 10 paces wide is a little too much for a single individual.

Probably should, yeah.

I agree, there should be a couple of extra magnitudes there, but that would bring you into Ritual territory unless you lower the damage. Alternatively, you could modify the spell so that it affects only one target, and call the large torrent of fire a 'cosmetic effect'.

Oh, the range I have no problem with. In fact, the way Arc is designed makes more sense for the way it's described, because I can see ten gouts of flame about the size of a streamer leaping and arcing.

It's the size of the one ginormous fire-plume that give me pause.

True, but I have no problem dropping the damage from +45 to +40. I mean, when you get to that level, unless you have a Parma of 8 (which, in my experience, is rather uncommon), you're still pretty much unrecognizable.

Actually by my calculations Polymathes only has 33 Penetration with fiery breath. An Ignem specialist should easily make it. His Ignem score will add to his Magic Resistance, which helps, and if he should have mastered a Pillum of Fire-like spell for Magic Resistance or he is an idiot an deserves to burn...

For that matter, any serious hoplite should have mastered Pillum of Fire for magic resistance even if he'll never use the spell itself.

That assumes that PoF is a popular attack spell in most sagas. That might be debatable somwewhat. IIRC there are officially around 90 flambeaus out there, and a population of around 1200 magi in ME: Assuming half of the flambeaus are ignem freaks (a high assumption IMO given the 5th edition parameters) there are 45 flambeau ignem freaks. Add to these around 3 magi from each of the other houses, so around 40 more. 85 ignem freaks all in all. A seizable total, but far from an all popular attack spell. I think I am counting double of the total number of flame freaks out there. Hoplites need more generalized protection, so raising Parma and secondary defences (ward vs heat and flames, for example) seem to work better. In general hermetics pursue all kinds of weird approaches to magic, and lately IMS the most feared spells are the ones that cause twilight checks. At least around here. They can kill you in thousands of ways, so fast cast defences (short range teleport is popular) and similar spells might help you more than mastering POF. Unless you are a POF freak yourself, that is.

Yeah, the big flamethrower effect seems a bit much for not having some steps-up for size now that I actually look at the math. I visualize the real effect, the word "torrent" in the description aside, as a leading edge of flame that's actually doing the damage, like a traveling bonfire that will catch anybody in it up to the end of the 50 pace range, at which point it dissipates. That's not quite what the description says, but it covers the actual damaging aspect, I believe. Taking a step down on damage and a step up for size (your estimate of a 1-pace fire sounds good to me) to get the width makes it work better, IMO. Should there be still another step for the traveling effect though? PoF and BoAF are producing mobile fires without increase, so I guess maybe not.

True, but they both only do fire to the target they hit, not to anyone and everyone in their path. Their flight to the target could be described as a "cosmetic effect" that has no real effect.

This is 100% true, and poses another question - can you block the breath with something? A true area effect CrIg effect could just create a field of fire, including behind a shield wall or bit of protective rock. If he is really breathing out a jet, puff, or whatever, shouldn't you be able to, say, put a line of grogs with tower shields to block it from those standing beyond? (Well, if the shields can handle the heat, but that's a separate issue...)

If he is really just creating a 10x50 blaze, as the description rather implies, you'd need to step up the size by +3 total to get enough coverage, although then he'd actually be entitled to 20x50 or 10x100 because there's not any way mechanically to give half a size step at this point. Anyway, in some ways, it'd match the description a little better (more of a "torrent" that way, rather than a fireball), and I guess one could say that the breathed fire is rebounding, swirling around, super-heating the air, etc., so there's no blocking or avoiding it, no matter what the cover art for fantasy novels might imply.

If he's projecting a blast that could be blocked, I think a +1 size works but I think I'd probably require Aiming for that if I were SGing it, picking a specific 10 pace area for it to smack into. It'd still need to Penetrate, as it is magical fire, and I'd say anybody standing behind somebody else is reasonably well protected (until he uncorks a second blast, of course, as the ashes on the floor probably won't offer sufficient shelter), but that'd be the breaks for a lower level effect. I guess that's one way of reading "anybody in its path" - it doesn't say one way or another if that path can be intercepted along the way to its 50 pace extent.

I'm biased in this discussion in that I really don't care for the fact you can't block PoF with a shield despite it being a projectile. I tend to think of such spells as just causing the target to burst into flame, shield or nay, to satisfy the demands of my storytelling eye, or sometimes I picture them snaking around such attempts, guided by the magic. I suppose that's neither here nor there, but I tend to favor the blockable fireball type design because I like the idea of players going up against it being able to do more than resist or burn.

((Sorry about the duplicate posts, I was getting some 504 Gateway Time Out messages late Sunday evening Central US time, and didn't realize any of them had actually gone through.))