Surviving A Flambeau Champion

Solid chance that a senior maga of House Flambeau (fire specialist) is going to catch up with a player involved in a Wizard's War.

In case she should, I want to make sure I understand some finer points that will certainly need to be addressed.

Some relevant stats for our possible victim:

Ignem 10
Parma Magica 5
Pilum of Fire Mastered for Magic Resistance
(Practically) constantly protected by a Ward Against Heat and Flames, which effectively wards against any fire up to +20 damage (level 30 effect).

So, ignoring alternative ways the Flambeau could expire him, I want to assume an (at least an initial) attack in her area of specialty.

Please correct any of these that are wrong:

  1. A standard Pilum of Fire cast by the Flambeau would not harm him, regardless of Penetration, because of his ward.
  2. A CrIg spell cast by the Flambeau which does +25 damage would bypass his ward, but would need to have a Penetration exceeding 70. This assumes the CrIg is similar to Pilum of Fire, allowing his MR to be doubled.
  3. Flash of the Scarlet Flames (CrIg 15) does not have an aiming component in the spell description, but does not seem as though it would be affected by MR. Is this true?
  4. Not that it is likely to happen, but if the Flambeau were to trap him in a combustible container (for example, summon a wooden edifice around him) and then ignite said container, would he take quadruple (complete immersion) the Wood Fire intensity of +5 as detailed on p. 181 of the sourcebook?

I appreciate any feedback on these four points.

Mark ex Mediocritus

Correct – as long as his ward is up.

Yes, though of course the spells must still be similar. Doing damage with Creo Ignem is a closely related effect as per p.101, but then the spell must have the same Range, Duration and Target to qualify as similar. So his mastery would protect him against Ball of Abysmal Flame, but not Coat of Flame or Blade of Virulent Flame. He might still be protected by his ward, however.

Honestly, it’s up to your storyguide. Because you’re not actually directly affecting someone with light, but only it’s aftereffects (you’re not making them glow, you’re creating light somewhere else and they’re just dealing with the consequences), I would agree that MR does not apply.

As I read those rules, yes.

That's a big assumption.

Mastering PoF in this way does not become a "Ward Against Unpleasant Fire Magics". RAW, Similar Spells are either:1) the identical effect with a different R/D/T, or
2) a "closely related effect" with the same R/D/T. By the strictest reading, only a PoF with Sight Range would be similar to a PoF with Voice range, or whatever. If the Flambeau has invented something "closely related" but with Sight range, then they're not "similar", RAW. Whether Arc of Fiery Ribbons and PoF are "closely related" or not is up you your Troupe, but, for my money, I'd say there's a difference between an area spell and a bolt spell. But a generic, flame-based CrIg is not "similar" to any other such spell, not by the rules.

I understood the rules for Similar Spells a bit differently. On page 101, the core rules state, "A spell is similar of it meets one of the following requirements:

Same effects (in this case, direct fire damage), at a different Range, Duration, or Target. All three may differ."

This leads me to believe that when doing damage with Creo Ignem, that the same Range, Duration and Target would not be required. By that definition, I would argue that Coat of Flame would be subject to the Mastery bonus.

Not sure about Blade of the Virulent Flame, though. Seems I argued myself into stating it would be subject to the Mastery, but it sure doesn't feel right.

Mark ex Mediocritus

I'm certainly not arguing for it, but in what way is any CrIg spell that, according to the spell guidelines, "creates a fire doing +(damage)" not similar to Pilum of Fire?

It seems that Arc of Fiery Ribbons and Pilum of Fire only differ in Target. How are they not the same effect?

Edited for less argumentative tone

We are not talking of "effect" as in "cause and effect" - as in "I cast a fire spell on you, and the effect is that you are on fire and burnt".

The "effect" of a spell is quite specific. It is exactly what the spell does. Arc of Fiery Ribbons and PoF have very different "effects" in this sense. If BoaF were still an area spell, that would be a 3rd, different spell effect, a "fire ball" - and Coat of Flame yet another, self-immolation.

"Hurting someone with fire" is not the Spell Effect - it may be the (loosely speaking) general effect, the end result, but that is not the same as what we are reading in the rules again and again.

Look at pages 98-99 - "Instilling Effects" and "Effect Modifications" - those apply to the specific definition of the spell. Exactly how specific is where the "closely related effect" comes in to play.

So, teleporting a person 5' or 50' is both teleporting, and most likely a "Closely Related Effect" (CRE). As currently defined, PoF (+20 bolt at 1 target) and BoAF (+25 ball at 1 target) could easily be seen as a CRE. But an area spell such as Arc of Fiery Ribbons, altho' it still "burns people with fire", is nothing like the same spell effect.

(I can't find if/where the term "effect" is first used or defined, but I'll see if I can't find it. Pages 98-99 seem to be some of the first and sudden uses of the term as such.)


In that context, same means identical. That is, exactly the same in every way in the eyes of the rules (so they might differ by flavor, but only by flavor). For Creo Ignem this means the same damage, because the effect isn't "fire damage," it's "create a fire hot enough to do +15 damage."

If a Creo Ignem spell does +15 damage but with different RDTs, it is similar to PoF by the first criterion. If a Creo Ignem spell does fire damage with R:Voice, D:Mom, T:Ind, it is similar to PoF by the second criterion (depending on your interpretation of "closely related", as CHound noted).

Thank you both for clearing this up for me. I was starting to feel that surviving this Flambeau threat was going to be ridiculously easy, given my skewed interpretation of effect.

Appreciate the feedback! :smiley:

No prob - the book is not always as clear and self-obvious as one might at first expect. :wink:

(And remember - MUCH is open to interpretation and houserule, by Author's design. Go with what works best for you and yours!)

It could even be more strict than that - a single bolt, shot from one's hand, could be seen as a significantly different effect as an explosion of fire that covers a wide area, even if both do +15 damage. But that's up to each SG and Troupe, and is hard to form absolute rules for. Each instance should be judged on its own merits by those involved.

I found what I think is the first mention of "effect", tho' it's hardly definitive or perfectly clarifying. On p 95, 1st par under "Inventing Spells", it reads...First, decide the effects of the spell you wish to invent;...That could be taken several ways, but I submit that "blowin' somethin' up real good" (or, for this discussion, "burnin' somethin' up") is not an effect, not in this sense of the word.

In short, if the "spell description" is the same, then it's the same effect. If not (and the differences are more than just cosmetic), then the "effect" is not identical.

After reviewing the rules more closely, it states on p. 101 that, "Closely related effects include such things as doing damage with Creo Ignem..."

Not sure how I missed that.

It goes on to read, "The similar spell bonus is is not, generally, very large, so there is no problem with erring on the side of generosity."

Hmm...seems that, while adding a similar spell's magnitude to a Lab Total may not be, doubling Magic Resistance is, at least imo, a significantly large bonus :laughing:


Okay, so it is, as defined, a "closely related" effect - which means that R/D/T still have to be identical. And since most(?) CrIg damage are Voice/Momentary/Individual, that's probably covered.

If it targets Group, or has a Range of Sight, he's still SOL.

Don't forget that any Flambeau worth his salt is going to have a secondary means of attack if his primary proves to be ineffective :wink:

Indeed. Any Flambeau worth his salt probably uses a non-standard attack completely different to PoF as his primary anyway. After all, every mage and his dog (and his apprentice too probably) have anti PoF defences.
Got to throw one initially for form's sake, but only the most powerful and/or arrogant (and that isn't the Flambeau picture quite so much any more I believe) really just try to blast straight through. Defensive magics are so much more effective than offensive on a power-to-effort ratio.

Nah, some of us are still old school and refuse to accept the changes. I still have a typical primary attack using PoF or some such, but I still always have a secondary attack. Roberto for example, 1 year out of Gauntlet my PoF can penetrate a Resistance of 20 to 30, maybe more. But my secondary attack is not resistable at all. I like to Fast Cast Wizard's Leap, get right behind my enemy, and poke him in the ribs with my non-magical sword (the flame is extinguished). You know what they say; "A dagger between the ribs puts a serious cramp in the wizard's style". (btw, who am I quoting? What book is that from? I can't remember.)

In other words, yeah, it is good to have a powerful single combo spell, such as CrIg or PeCo. But to do this to the exclusion of all other magics is usually a foolish idea.

Steven Brust, from Jhereg (and others): "No matter how subtle the wizard, a knife between the shoulder blades will seriously cramp his style."

Yes, that the one. Awesome. You rock! I have been misquoting that for years :laughing:

and if your opponent is quite smart, he has a ward against iron ^^

i d prefer to flee or send some churchmen against my enemy :smiley:

If he is very smart, he has a Ward against Everything spell (RegoEverything 50) :laughing:

I prefer to stand my ground and face my enemy. Better to die a man than live as a mouse. Last time I did that, it was the enemy who ran away from me :smiley:

But that brings up a new question, one that should have been brought up already. This PC that's facing the Flambeau champion, what sort of spells does he have? Art scores are not half as important as the actual spells you know. What does he have for Offense, Defense, Strategy & Logistics? A clever magus can make a minor spell go a long way.

Love vlad taltos adventures :smiley:

Well, for starters the ward isn't that big a deal because any senior Flambeau is going to have a stronger version of Pilum of Fire to use. So that leaves us with the Magic Resistance issue.

The Flambeau can easily avoid the problem of similiar spell MR mastery by having non similar spells. What is similar to PoF is any CrIg spell doing +15 fire damage OR any CrIg fire damage spell that has Voice/Momentary/Individual as RDT.

BoAF is similar, but Arc of Fiery Ribbons and and Coat of Flame are not. Standard Arc and Coat don't do enough damage to get through the Ward Against Heat and Flames, but that's easily fixed.

So the Flambeau certainly has one or more attacks that can do damage despite the Ward and doesn't trigger the similar spells problem (though he may have to cast a few spells to figure out the nature of his target's defenses). This is even if he doesn't have PeIg back up spells, spells of a completely different Form, or access to spells specifically intended to counter fire resistance.

The Flambeau also likely has Penetration Mastery effect on his preferred attacks.