Page 219 - Great Balls of Fire

13th Dec 2012, 5:00 AM in Bridle Gossip
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Great Balls of Fire
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Author Notes:

Newbiespud 13th Dec 2012, 5:00 AM edit delete
Wherever there are jokes about D&D, there are jokes about Fireball.

For those of us relatively new to tabletop gaming, perhaps the veterans could explain why that is?

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



Raxon 13th Dec 2012, 5:02 AM edit delete reply
Because basically everything that isn't made of fire is vulnerable to it.

And wizards are known for their cooking prowess. They need to light the stove somehow.
KathiraNarae 13th Dec 2012, 8:09 AM edit delete reply
All wizards are pyromaniacs? Well, I know what I'll be if I ever start tabletop gaming. Sounds a lot like my video gaming, in fact. *lights matches*
Raxon 13th Dec 2012, 10:02 AM edit delete reply
Hey! Bad wizard! what are you doing here? Get back in the kitchen!

Hee hee! An ignorant fighter who thinks that wizards wear robes to keep themselves clean while doing housework!

I'm not sure if this is original and funny, or cliche and done to death. Probably the latter, but my sleep depraved state makes me giggle anyway.
gindranis 13th Dec 2012, 4:04 PM edit delete reply
my fondness of fire has nothing to do with being a wizard, however, i became a wizard because i have a fondness of fire. It gave me the ability to cause things to be on fire, when i thought they should be. Matches just don't have the same appeal.
bobmortar 14th Dec 2012, 2:36 AM edit delete reply
Gindranis, sounds to me you'd make a better sorcerer than a wizard... (I know I became a sorcerer for the same reason!)

By the way, I know a guy who HATES evocation magic, and is a wizard for the knowledge part (I think he has divination as his spec, and evoc as the forbidden school). Never saw him casting a fireball, not even once.
Anvildude 16th Dec 2012, 7:48 PM edit delete reply
Hey, a pure Diviner could be hella powerful. It essentially makes you a Meta-gamer, in game.
Disloyal Subject 24th Nov 2013, 11:22 PM Pyromania and Learned Magic edit delete reply
Er, bob - sure, sorcerers' staying power as blasters makes them great for pyromaniacal players, but fluff-wise, sorcerers in most settings don't choose to learn magic so much as it chooses them and they have to deal or die. A wizard, on the other hand, studies and learns magic, implying some goal... in this instance, burning things. >:3
(At least, as I understand it.)
Vulpixel 15th Dec 2012, 1:00 AM edit delete reply
In my current game, my 4th edition wizard swore to never learn a fire spell (long story, family rivalry...darn eladrins). It did feel a bit sacrilegious, though. And no fireball :(
DukeGod 13th Dec 2012, 7:08 PM edit delete reply
Don't forget the rules that apply to the stuff that is made of fire
Fire Resistance means hit then with EVEN more fire

Fire Immunity can be bypassed with the right feat!
Digo 14th Dec 2012, 5:25 AM edit delete reply
I'm reminded of a character I had played for a modern d20 campaign.
My character was born as a fire sign, both her parents died in a fire when their house burned down, and she discovered she was a spellcaster when she suddenly set a thug on fire with her mind.

She and fire had the weirdest relationship. :D
Kajisora 14th Dec 2012, 8:43 AM edit delete reply
How ter be a cookin' wizard:
Summon creature. Preferably nonsentient. Bigger fish works splendidly.
Put creature to sleep, and prepare cooking knives. enchant if neccesary
Reduce Person. smaller sizes are easier to cook evenly.
Get yer pan and spices. If no pan available, a tiny summon iron wall will do.
fry creature.
Remove Reduce Person.
yum yum.
Crimson Doom 14th Dec 2012, 9:20 AM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom
Summon Bigger Fish, eh? I see what you did there. :D
Lalli-is-best 23rd Apr 2016, 6:34 PM edit delete reply
In the words of Captain America, "I understood that reference."
Altirian 5th Aug 2022, 11:09 AM edit delete reply
There’s always a bigger fish.
Gden 13th Dec 2012, 5:12 AM I dunno edit delete reply
Last time I was a mage type, I was a gnome Warmage, and his most commonly used spell (at least at early levels) was Shocking Grasp. Think about the easiest area for a Gnome to reach
Raxon 13th Dec 2012, 5:17 AM edit delete reply
That doesn't sound like much of an attack to me. That sounds like something I'd have to pay money to have done. Did your gnome have hands like steel clips?
Rokas 13th Dec 2012, 5:18 AM edit delete reply
Help, I think I'm going to die laughing.
Gerkuman 13th Dec 2012, 6:21 AM edit delete reply
You'd pay money to have someone electric shock you in your vulnerable areas? o_o
ThousandYearSunrise 13th Dec 2012, 6:26 AM edit delete reply
What? No, his ankles. Weirdo.
Raxon 13th Dec 2012, 6:50 AM edit delete reply
Gerk, you would be amazed at what some people enjoy.

Google lotus foot.
Digo 13th Dec 2012, 7:58 AM edit delete reply
Anytime someone says I'd be surprised at something humanity would enjoy doing followed by instructions to Google it... I drag all my broswer icons into the trash. :)
Raxon 13th Dec 2012, 9:01 AM edit delete reply
Technically, the two statements are unrelated. I was saying that you'd be surprised. Then I told you to google something. Through this method, I maintain the appearance of a horrifying pervert.

Whether I really am a horrible pervert, or just a looney, that's the question. Good luck on that one.
Alabenson 13th Dec 2012, 9:32 AM edit delete reply
Can't you be both?
Raxon 13th Dec 2012, 10:05 AM edit delete reply
"Hey, you got your crazy in my fetish!"

"You got your fetish in my crazy!"
reynard61 14th Dec 2012, 5:42 PM edit delete reply
"Two great proclivities that go great together!"
Guest 13th Dec 2012, 5:09 PM edit delete reply
Bound or unbound?
IonOtter 16th Dec 2012, 8:10 AM You Would Think... edit delete reply
You would think that a person would know better than to ask such a question from a user who has Deadpool as their user icon...
Bootleg 13th Dec 2012, 5:14 AM edit delete reply
Well, I think it's that usually a fireball spell will have a lot of collateral damage, including your fellow players.
Plus, Fireball is just freakin' awesome.
Rokas 13th Dec 2012, 5:18 AM edit delete reply
Because burninating is fun!
Raxon 13th Dec 2012, 7:02 AM edit delete reply
Required listening.

Personally, I prefer Bigby's Violating Extremity. Because Fistinate sound so much worse.
Sirrus 13th Dec 2012, 10:29 AM edit delete reply
Any relation to Evard's Tentacles of Forced Intrustion?
Raxon 13th Dec 2012, 11:03 AM edit delete reply
I blatantly steal my ideas from many sources, then jumble them up together so they seem unique. In this case, I was stealing from Mr. Welch.

That being said, I don't steal jokes unless they're funny, and I try to add my own spin on them. Some fall flat, and some are perky and firm, and fill out quite nicely, with just the right amount of jiggle.
tuxgeo 13th Dec 2012, 6:37 PM edit delete reply
Re: burninating:
Also good is the longer ("e-mail") version at Strongbad: TROGDOR!!
Innisa 13th Dec 2012, 5:24 AM edit delete reply
Ah, my first wizard. It was like a love story for her and her fireball. But, what else does that much damage and makes for great stories afterwards?
bobmortar 14th Dec 2012, 2:40 AM edit delete reply
A sorcerer with red dragon bloodline (bonus fire damage woo), casting a swift fireball and making a fire breath attack in the same round? Did this once. Killed 14 people, including 2 of my teammates. The DM said the corpses were smoldering for days after that. Totally worth it.
Digo 13th Dec 2012, 5:31 AM edit delete reply
Our party sorcerer tends to have other PCs caught up in the blast radius of his fireballs. His running gag line when it happens is "Eh, he has Evasion."

You can imagine his popularity level. :)

So yeah, fireball is one of those staple spells that is a utility tool for most anything. Clear a room full of berserker kobolds? Rampaging ice elemental? Cold leftover pizza the next morning?
Fireball is the answer.

One of the most hilarious incidents was with a Delayed Blast Fireball.
The party was in a boss fight with an opposing evil wizard and his minions. I was playing an elf cleric and on one particular round I couldn't think of an action when my turn came up. So I held my action, citing "If he throws something at me, I'm countering."

The evil wizard's turn came up and he threw a Delayed Blast Fireball at us. So I invoked my held action and batted the small ready-to-explode red bead of the spell back at the wizard. Rolled a 20 and swung like Babe Ruth in his prime! The BBEG caught the spell in his hands, completely stunned.

And then it exploded.
Guest 13th Dec 2012, 1:21 PM edit delete reply
Adapt to this.
Guest 13th Dec 2012, 5:48 AM edit delete reply
I prefer fireball when you AREN'T restricted to using it once per day.
AnimeDoom 13th Dec 2012, 5:53 AM edit delete reply
This is pretty much the reason my DM forbids me from being a Fire Elementalist or Chaotic Neutral, my philosophy to solving any problem (including an in-character argument with my own party members) was "Throw fire at it" if that didn't work then keep trying until it does.
Ranubis 13th Dec 2012, 7:03 AM edit delete reply
There are only two states for a true wizard: Casting Fireball, or Gathering Mana to fast a bigger Fireball.
Destrustor 13th Dec 2012, 5:54 AM edit delete reply
Because fireballs are the best way to conduct diplomacy.
Just think of them as "convincing arguments".
Should I repeat the anecdotes about that one mage I played who basically had "fireball" as his alignment, life goal and favorite hobby?
Katarani 13th Dec 2012, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
It's for the same reason that Warhammer 40K has jokes about Exterminatus and Shadowrun has jokes about rocket launchers.

If you just want to get the job done, it's the ONLY answer.
Raxon 13th Dec 2012, 6:51 AM edit delete reply
Or THOR shots in Shadowrun!
Digo 13th Dec 2012, 8:02 AM edit delete reply
For my group it was the Adept gunslinger wielding an ARES Thunderstruck gauss cannon. Egads that was our Shadowrun equivilent to fireball. Thankfully he rarely used the thing because its penetration power was so high that if you pull that trigger, SOMEONE in its line of fire is going to have a bad day.

He managed a headshot through a bank vault door once. O_o!
Ted 13th Dec 2012, 1:19 PM Shadowrun edit delete reply
We had a running joke about how our street samurai was a, once we followed her around with a stack of magnets to see if we could make them stick.
Vegetalss4 13th Dec 2012, 6:22 AM edit delete reply
There is something primal and pure about fire which calls to the human soul.
The back off our brain tells us of it's great danger and it's power. Power with which we rose above the beasts of the Savannah, Power which protected us against the cold of an age turned to ice. RAW PURE POWER which nothing our ancient selves could gather where capable of stopping should it grow in the forest.

This ancient awesome call, is to strong for the human mind to ignore, therefore to master this power, to control that which allowed us to become the masters of our world, Is a bargain which is to sweet for many to deny.
Hence the fireball, and the love for it which inspires jokes.
Even if, objectively speaking, it is strictly worse than the other options available to us.
Anvildude 16th Dec 2012, 7:59 PM edit delete reply
Reminds me of the narration of the "Humanity" show's commercials:

"With no fur to keep warm, it stole fire from the sky. With no claws to cut flesh, it forged blades from the earth."

Love that narration.
Giggle Tail 13th Dec 2012, 6:31 AM edit delete reply
Giggle Tail
Remember that sorcerer/elemental savant I mentioned a few pages back who's catchphrase was "fire everywhere!!!"? Yeah, fireball was his go-to spell. He just loved causing massive explosions of fire out of thin air. Hard to believe he managed to stay true neutral....

Also, the traitor of a dwarf NPC stole a maximized, empowered (pretty sure there were more adjectives in there) fireball scroll from him at one point. Made him hate the guy so darn much....especially when he later used it to destroy our airship.

Alright, I'm done with my rambling for the day :P
Kiana 13th Dec 2012, 6:39 AM edit delete reply
I played a Wizard once. Was one of my favorite characters. Cute apprentice girl that just so happened to find a tome of eldrich lore... (The fact her name was Lehre meant she probably should've expected as much.)

Her long term goal was to learn as many spells as possible. (I was considering rituals to be 'spells' in this case.) Girl loved her knowledge skills, scrying rituals and illusions.

Fun fact about illusions: You can reflavor them so very easily. I'm not sure if I've told this story before, buuuut...

Party is on an airship, Lehre hides behind the Paladin. Enemy hobgoblins purposefully run up to her, ignoring the far more obvious dangers and attacks her... She responds to this like anyone with immense arcane powers and more than a few issues would: Casting a spell involved a gaping mouth leading into hell opening beneath the hobgoblins' (the WHOLE crew, area increasing items are great), lined with jagged teeth. Black tentacles rising up to strangle them.

Cue series of AMAZING rolls that, while it doesn't kill them, does leave the hobgoblins so wounded and debilitated that the DM opted to end the fight right there.

Everyone else immediately declared Lehre the party leader and they were terrified of her from that day on. <3

Oh, and she did know Fireball, though she loathed everyone assuming that was her go-to spell. Half the time she didn't even have it prepared. Except for ONE occasion, I had her prep it just for some variety. Then the party went shopping, where an NPC forced Lehre (who is a young girl, but is both far more mature and far less naive than expected) to take an 'enchanted doll'... despite repeated protests. It was a "Welcome to Corneria" moment. Obviously, this annoys her.

Doll turns out to be a new PC in a cursed form. Said PC (in character, mind) is an annoying pain in Lehre's behind. Obviously, this annoys her.

Immediately after the shopping, party gets attacked by a spider swarm which, of course, singles out Lehre. The other PC also has the bright idea to stick around and get stuck in the swarm as well.

Obviously, this is about the last straw for Lehre, whose day has consisted of having to stare down a demon capable of killing her if she misspoke, tolerating idiot locals and now getting attacked out of nowhere, with the attacker once again ignoring all the more obvious threats.

Fireball. Right onto the swarm. Impressive damage roll. The other PC survived. (Darn.)

Digo 13th Dec 2012, 8:05 AM edit delete reply
Most impressive! I particularly like your flavor of illusion spells. Scare the enemy into submission! :D
Kiana 13th Dec 2012, 5:56 PM edit delete reply
Oh yes. And it was in character! After all, do you expect someone with questionable sanity to summon fluffy bunnies?

And it wasn't "do random things for no reason" insanity, either. She was pretty consistent in her actions, just irrational when compared to a normal person. Staring down a demon isn't something a mid-heroic tier character would normally do.

Of course, that worked out well. The party got 'hired' (read: abducted) by a lich. Said lich had demon minions. This means he must be powerful enough to control them. Lehre was trying to get on the lich's good side pretty much immediately. (He also had a very well stocked library, so she was being selfish, yes.)

Well, a demon badmouths the lich to his face, in front of the party, in Abyssal. The lich doesn't speak Abyssal. Lehre does. Lehre points out what the demon said, so long story short: That's one demon with permanent scars and more brownie points for the wizard.

Lehre was -almost- the token evil party member. She pretty much only kept people around because they were useful. And yet she wound up being the party leader and 'face' despite the presence of a paladin.

...Two tips for every PC: Skill training isn't always a wasted feat and you don't have to be powerful as long as you have powerful friends.
Digo 14th Dec 2012, 10:21 AM edit delete reply
Wish I had more players like you in my group. :D
I like your creativity too, that you play the character to be interesting and not to just a set of optimized stats. Half my players complain about not being "Perfect", even though as DM I always tailor the encounters to play on the characters strengths and weaknesses so that the challenges suit them.
Kiana 14th Dec 2012, 12:31 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, I CAN optimize, but I tend to make my characters a little weaker, but a little more well rounded. That and I always aim to make roleplaying count more than statistics, so I'll take weaker powers and feats if they fit the character better than the powerful options. (Well, four times out of five, anyway.)

That actually bit me on the rear once, as my second 4e character ever was a half-elf artificer that was... really, really poorly made. I had to bow out of the session early, so the DM opted to just kill my character once I was gone. Honestly, wasn't too broken up about that. (Though if he had done that with any other character, I'd have kicked him so hard he'd be walking bow-legged for a year.)
Ranubis 13th Dec 2012, 6:57 AM edit delete reply
Fireball? Hold up, I know I have the Darths & Droids quote here somewhere... ah, here we go!

"There are some players who like to treat their favourite spell as the all-purpose answer to everything. It's usually something destructive, like Fireball.

Orcs are attacking? Cast Fireball!

The evil knight is kidnapping the princess? Fireball!

We need a way to cross the river? Fireball!

So when players start coming up with reasons why their favourite spell might not be perfect for some occasion, best not to argue."

On that note, beyond Fireball for Wizards, I challenge the chat to establish what similar abilities are considered archetypical for other classes. Think Barbarian Rage or things like that.
Digo 13th Dec 2012, 8:12 AM edit delete reply
Archtypes that occur Regularly in my party:

Fighter: Dual-wielding bastard swords
Rogue: Multiclasses with sorcerer
Sorcerer: Multiclasses with rogue
Wizard: Forgoes spells to stab with dagger in melee
Monk: Multiclasses with paladin/wizard/prestige class of choice (note this is not an "OR" statement)
Katarani 13th Dec 2012, 11:33 AM edit delete reply
Great Cleave for anything fighter-based in 3E or 3.5E.

Perhaps better known as the "kobold blender"
Ghola 14th Dec 2012, 9:17 PM edit delete reply
My Druid had the habit of sembling into a gorilla for intimidation purposes... or just for giggles. Nothing says "Hello there!" like seeing a 500+ pound gorilla rip out a sapling and turn it into a magical cudgel.
Funny story involved with the first time he did that too.
BadHorse 13th Dec 2012, 7:00 AM edit delete reply
Crap, crap who is shooting us?

Oh well, FIREBALL!

Crap guys, fireballs are coming! FIREBALL!

But I am le tired!

Well, have a nap. Then FIREBALL!
theguyindarkglasses 13th Dec 2012, 7:16 AM edit delete reply
guess i am the only illusionist then?
Digo 13th Dec 2012, 8:14 AM edit delete reply
While I rarely get a chance to be on the Player side of D&D, I've always wanted to play a Transmuter.
"When life gives you lemons, make oranges."
Kiana 13th Dec 2012, 6:02 PM edit delete reply
While illusions are cool, the downside is that in 3/3.5e a lot of creatures resisted them by default, which made it weak...

And in 4e, they're far more awesome spells, but have a pretty limited selection.
Crimson Doom 13th Dec 2012, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom
I cast Fireball centered on myself!

A cookie to whoever gets the reference. :D
SomewhatAnonymousPoster 13th Dec 2012, 12:08 PM edit delete reply
Nuclear Dan from Another Gaming Comic.

Fireball is problem solver though, in all it's forms. this is due to the situations it cannot resolve in some fashion quickly begin approaching 0 as more and more fire beings being applied to the situation.

in other words: When in doubt, fire it out.
Crimson Doom 14th Dec 2012, 9:23 AM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom
Here, have your cookie! (Which is totally not laced with mind-control serum mixed with metahuman genes, nosirree bob.)
Zook 14th Dec 2012, 8:13 AM edit delete reply
Zook used to do that. All the time. Of course Zook had all 5 levels of Elemental Savant (fire) which means Zook's race was now listed as Gnome/Planer being and Zook and Zooks' possessions and familier are immune to all fire damage from any source, including magic. Zook swims in a lava pool behind Zook's house.

Zook has also, earlier, at the request of other party memebers, fireballed the melee group. They were mostly ok.
Moonstone 13th Dec 2012, 8:39 AM edit delete reply
A friend of mine didn't understand what Fireball did once. So he did something...extremely stupid. To attack an enemy mage, he threw a Necklace of Fireballs (enchanted item with *many* charges of Fireball in it) at the boss and used Fireball on it to activate every charge at once. Both he and the boss were at point-blank range for the initial spell and the Necklace's explosion.
The rest of the party was laughing at him while he was rolling up a fresh character, as the blast was enough to kill him...three times over.
terrycloth 13th Dec 2012, 2:40 PM edit delete reply
I had a bunch of kobolds attack the party. Half of them were sneak-attack rogues with invisibility powers, the other half were trip-specialists to annoy the party by repeatedly knocking them down. They all had tanglefoot bags and alchemist's fire to throw, and the rogues all had necklaces of fireballs because they're cheap and you get a budget to spend on NPC equipment in Pathfinder.

They all had necklaces of fireballs.

One of the wizards really liked to cast fireball.

Casting fireball on an unattended necklace of fireballs has a pretty good chance of setting all the charges off. Each charge counts as a fireball for the purposes of setting off unattended necklaces of fireballs.

It was... not the finest hour for either side. Possibly the fieriest hour.
Crimson Doom 14th Dec 2012, 9:24 AM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom
Tell me he at least had some kind of awesome battlecry as his last words. :D
GlitchWarrior 24th Jun 2020, 4:20 PM edit delete reply
Hold on, you had a party member try to do that too? Mine was fighting a beloved NPC-turned-Werewolf. The wizard was Chaotic Evil, but he more wanted the werewolf dead than to cause the others grief.
He was at point blank.
Result: 1 dead wizard, upset party, and a still-not-dead werewolf.
Zuche 13th Dec 2012, 8:52 AM edit delete reply
Oh, sure, collateral damage is a hassle, but it's been less of a hazard with each new edition. It doesn't destroy property in 4E and was unlikely to destroy personal equipment in 3E. Both systems gave you means of acquiring sufficient hit points to survive the spell, while a 2E wizard would need some sort of boost until a few levels after the spell's damage capped. The spell didn't have a damage cap in 1E, but most classes were gaining a lot fewer hit points after 9th to 11th level. By 20th level, few PCs could survive a failed saving throw against the spell.

Still, the real problem back before 3E was with the fact that the explosion was not restricted to the spell's listed area. It affected everything within the volume of a 20 foot radius sphere, working out to roughly 33 ten foot cubes. There were very few times you could safely cast this indoors. At lower levels, there were times it was worth being caught in the resulting explosion, such as when you were swarmed by hundreds of kobolds in cramped tunnels. At higher levels, it was something reserved for when you had to go out like Gorman and Vasquez.

Let's not even get into the terror some people could cause with lightning bolt in a narrow space. Bioware put that to terrible effect in the first Baldur's Gate expansion: Tales of the Sword Coast.
Digo 13th Dec 2012, 9:22 AM edit delete reply
Not to mention older editions allowed Lightning Bolt to bounce off certain surfaces. I remember an old D&D 2e game where the party wizard killed himself after his bolt bounced off the broad side of a stone golem.
The insult to injury was the wizard totally failed his save against that bolt.
Zuche 13th Dec 2012, 1:30 PM edit delete reply
Well, yeah, Digo, that's what made lightning bolt so dangerous in a narrow space. The Baldur's Gate trap had one reflecting back and forth an alcove so that the one triggering it could get hit a dozen times, taking damage every single time. Even if it was a minimum damage lightning bolt and you saved every time ( the engine was ever that kind to you), you still wound up taking an average of 96 hp of damage from a 5th level casting of a 3rd level spell.

That spell needed a nerf, but 3E took it way too far. It would have been enough to limit each casting of the spell to damage a target only once.
deeman45 13th Dec 2012, 9:23 AM edit delete reply
It's funny you mention lightning bolt, because my first ever spellcasting character was a sorceress specializing in lightning and thunder magic.

Ah, lightning bolts. Is there anything you can't do? Besides endear me to the rest of the party, that is.
LegendOfMoriad 13th Dec 2012, 2:07 PM lightning rod edit delete reply
My first sorcerer was lightning focused. We had a warforged in the party. On several occasions, he got used as a lightning rod when my spells went awry. Good times.
CJT 13th Dec 2012, 10:04 AM edit delete reply
Pathfinder has a "Selective Spell" feat in one of the supplement books.

The party was fighting an orge mage and his lieutenant in the most recent session (protip: an ogre with a pile of Barbarian class levels is *incredibly* nasty).

The party wizard, after surviving the start of the ambush, immediately cast "featherfall" (free action) and then teleported about 500 feet straight up (standard action).

Then he sent Selective Fireball straight down.

The party was unaffected. The bad guys got crispy (as the rest of us had also been busy that round).

The horses we were riding on also got crispy (Phantom Steeds don't have many hit points).

And, since he'd been masquerading as our captured party member and thus had all of said party member's gear, the ogre mage's necklace of fireballs got crispy.

We all lived, but there was considerably more fire than planned.
Colin 14th Dec 2012, 3:33 AM edit delete reply
There's also the Roguelike Ancient Domains of Mystery, which took its spells straight from 2E. Rebounding spells were a key cause of YASDs and/or equipment destruction; you quickly learned to zap unidentified wands in the overworld, just in case it was a wand of ball lightning. Nothing pained worse than seeing your character die from a bolt bouncing wall to wall in the space of a square.
CJT 14th Dec 2012, 9:07 AM edit delete reply
It's been there since before ADOM. The one time I killed a shopkeeper in Hack (DOS Hack, not NetHack), it was by bouncing a Wand of Magic Missile (hit him, hit the wall, bounce, hit him again, didn't have quite enough range to hit me).

It wouldn't surprise me at all if it was in the original Rogue. It's also exactly the sort of thing that would be in 1e D&D, too (2e actually _reduced_ the number of strange and/or imbalanced rules).
Zuche 14th Dec 2012, 1:36 PM edit delete reply
Of course, with new content coming out all the time, that didn't last. It eventually became evident that some of the designers should have let someone else handle the game mechanics side of things. They did a great job building settings and stories. Translating that into game experience... not so much.

Then again, it's just a matter making new mistakes. Every edition has that problem. Unfortunately, one of the biggest causes (power creep) is one of the selling points that draws people to new shiny.
RobCos 13th Dec 2012, 9:22 AM edit delete reply
See, my usual answer to things with my rogue is "Stab". Mysterious statue that has glowing eyes? I stab it.

Curtain blocking our path? I stab it.

Rowdy drunks attacking us? I stab them - it was supposed to be a nonlethal fight, btw.

Its gotten to the point where my DM flat out tells us ahead of time - no new information can be gained by STABBING it.
Most of the time I stab it anyways.
FanOfMostEverything 14th Dec 2012, 7:13 AM edit delete reply
"Curtain blocking our path? I stab it."

Well, you killed Polonius. I hope you're proud of yourself.
Stephani-D 14th Dec 2012, 5:18 PM edit delete reply
+1 internets for Shakespeare :)
KSClaw 13th Dec 2012, 9:26 AM edit delete reply
Fireball. Wonderful spell. (also, your hat's on fire)
Dashing Rainbow 13th Dec 2012, 9:52 AM edit delete reply
Fireball beats everything.
Raxon 13th Dec 2012, 10:08 AM edit delete reply
Conjure disco ball. Cast color spray or prismatic spray at it.

Congratulations. You now have an unpredictable AOE spell with a range of "as far as the eye can see."
ADemonicPresence 13th Dec 2012, 6:20 PM edit delete reply
raxon, that is beautiful.
words cannot describe how perfect that is.
Raxon 14th Dec 2012, 9:23 AM edit delete reply
Casting Glitterdust beforehand ensures that EVERYTHING will be hit, and would increase the will save against blinding to unspeakable levels, and it could possibly even have the added bonus of stunning or mesmerizing foes.

Yes, I just created a way for a low level team to utterly dominate high level opponents.
Crimson Doom 14th Dec 2012, 9:26 AM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom
...if only I could find a DM who would allow me to have a disco ball and that spell at the same time... I always liked Prismatic spells.
Raxon 14th Dec 2012, 10:25 AM edit delete reply
The disco ball can sort of be replaced by the Glitterdust spell.

The Glitter is highly refractive, after all.
CJT 13th Dec 2012, 10:08 AM edit delete reply
The real reason?

Fireball is over-powered, even in 3.x/Pathfinder, and even with the damage cap.

It's third level for historical reasons. In practice, it lets you do wreak *far* more mayhem than just about any other option accessible to you at that level. (Yes, I know exceptions exist, but under most conditions, it's the go-to "mayhem" spell.)

Area-effect "make things hurt" spells are always popular, and Fireball just happens to hit one of the sweet spots for that.

In the Pathfinder campaign, the party wizard switched to Black Tentacles for that, once it became available (tentacles that grapple things are the gift that keeps on giving).

In the Kalamar campaign (3.0) from a while back, my low-level wizard used Burning Hands quite a bit, for similar reasons.

That said, fireball was still a mainstay for quite a few levels for us, and still sees quite a lot of use (per the anecdote above).
Destrustor 13th Dec 2012, 10:39 AM edit delete reply
And when you invent a home-made class with a class feature that automatically empowers, widens, extends and maximizes all your spells at no cost, and your DM allows it, you'd be stupid to take anything but AOE spells like fireball.
5d6+60 fire damage in a 40-foot radius, from over 1600 feet away is just too awesome to pass up.
CJT 13th Dec 2012, 10:57 AM edit delete reply
We've considered doing something similar using vanilla Pathfinder rules and money, actually.

It turns out that one-shot magic items (like Arrows of Fireball) are inexpensive enough to be very tempting, even in a "realistic economy" campaign like the one I'm playing in. Mechanically it's similar to the necklace version, but you have much better accuracy and range.

A quiver of 1/day Greater Magic Weapon was even more tempting, but even that got deferred until after we had enough other gear and spells to not need it.
Ravenscroft RAVEN 13th Dec 2012, 11:07 AM edit delete reply
3e Fireball is weak, to be honest. It does more mayhem... to your party members. There are much better spells out there at 3rd level. First, most enemies will make the save. Saving throw spells are bad that way. So you're dealing xd3, really. Of the most commonly resisted element. And limited times per day.

Against single-targets, it just generally sucks, and against multiple targets, Deep Slumber is more effective, as is Stinking Cloud. If you offer a save, ever, make sure its a save-or-die. Fireball isn't about efficacy, it's about visceral boom! To use MTG terms, it's a Timmy spell, not a Johnny or Spike one. It's inefficient, wasteful, limited, but fun to use and yell "FIREBALL!"
terrycloth 13th Dec 2012, 2:50 PM edit delete reply
Fireball does more damage per spell slot than anything else. Sixth level slot? Intensified and empowered fireball beats eighth level horrid wilting.

The partial effect when they make their save makes it not be a save or die spell -- it's a take damage or take half damage, which is usually superior. That said, status effects are better against really hard targets. Just not as reliable. If you cast 'blind' at the mage three times, there's a decent chance he'll still be fireballing you. Three fireballs, and even with good rolls he's down.

And since it's only third level, you can use the really cheap metamagic rods. 'Selective' or 'persistent' are favorites if you're not just going for more damage with 'maximize'. And Persistent kind of takes away the 'they get to save' angle since they have to successfully save *twice*.

This goes well with sorcerors with the arcane bloodline who have to pick one particular spell to specialize in...

Anyway, it's very effective for its low cost, which makes it a Spike spell. Alongside magic missile and, yes, stinking cloud.

I've never seen good results from Deep Slumber though -- the 10 HD limit is pretty crippling. Blind, OTOH...
Malroth 14th Dec 2012, 9:46 PM edit delete reply
Highest damage per slot is either an unmodified Maw of Chaos if no metamagic reducers are in play or a Twinned, Split Ray, Empowered, Maximized,Intensified, Searing, Admixtured Scorching ray which can pull off over 1500 no save damage per casting from the same slot as your intensified empowered fireball
Rahal 13th Dec 2012, 10:37 AM edit delete reply
In the pathfinder campaign that I play, the party managed to group up all of the enemies into a perfect huddled formation for the Wizard to fireball...


He then rolled all 1's for damage resulting in the legendary "Five Damage Fireball"
Kiana 13th Dec 2012, 6:33 PM edit delete reply
Ah, poor spell performance, the bane of all wizards.

Bet he took Maximize Spell next chance he got.
Digo 14th Dec 2012, 5:32 AM edit delete reply
Our running joke for rolling that many 1s is "Room Temperature Fireball".

This eventually evolved to an actual 1st level Illusion spell that did just that, dealing a little stun damage on the side.
Rahal 14th Dec 2012, 5:35 AM edit delete reply
He actually wants to become an Arcane Archer, it is just the DM has a "No Prestige until 10th Level" house rule so everyone gunning for a PrC like myself (Rogue/Wizard gunning for Arcane Trickster) will be just a bit underpowered until 10th Level.

He basically gave up on Fireball instantly and got Rapid shot, then just started spamming Gravity Bow and Heroism on himself and shooting stuff with his crossbow (which directly lead to my first death in one encounter after a botched Crit Fail when trying to shoot through my square. He needed to critfail twice to hit me and roll perfect damage on both shots to outright kill me. Guess what happened? :D )

Said Wizard actually forgot to buy clothes with his starting gear leading to being called the "Naked Action Wizard" IC and OOC. Then we finally got him forced him to buy pants and he became the "Drunken Action Wizard"
Malroth 13th Dec 2012, 7:02 PM edit delete reply
I'm more of a fan of Illusionary Script for my 3rd level Slot. Free suggestion on everything in visual range once a round every round for 20 minutes per failed save and lasts 1 day per caster level.
Nezumi 13th Dec 2012, 10:57 AM edit delete reply
It's a very broadly useful damaging spell... that can also hurt party members.
Ryuutakeshi 13th Dec 2012, 11:20 AM edit delete reply
I prefer lightning >:)
Katarani 13th Dec 2012, 11:37 AM edit delete reply
Also, for anyone who played the ancient Gold Box PC games, the solution to every problem wasn't Fireball, but instead Stinking Cloud.

There's something to be said about a game world that can be brought down by the power of a bean enchilada.
TheStratovarian 13th Dec 2012, 11:38 AM edit delete reply
Fireball, oh how thy magic is loved. The early singing, the nature of being usefull long past the time of so many magics. Sadly, its a quick fix, not always an effective one.

I've had the joy of playing wizard once. And never actually needed fireball, I was a force mage, and oh the fun I had. Force spells are a very fun subset of magic. Nothing but one particular spell can destroy them, they aren't capable of immediate harm, but can stop anything. BBEG about, force magic stops him cold until he dispels it. (As the dm is discouraged from taking disintergrate for his mages by many sources do to pc lethality.) Its not lethal by itself, but when you can stop undead in their tracks, shield yourself from spells that would nuke you, or even encase that glowy artifact of doom from causing trouble. Fireball is when you want brute force, creative thought, wizard is just a nightmare for a dm to really plan for.

Still my favorite magic moment, has been with a simple early spell. And the one wizard from above. We were staring down a group of corrupt knights. About eight of them all on heavy warhorses. And only one maybe good archer, the rest of the party was melee centric. I managed to get the first initiative. And as we were leaving a forested area, I was somewhat low on spells after facing the ecomancer of the undead grove. (Druid/Sorcerer prestige class, rather nasty) And well, tried that spell, and because they hadn't charged or moved yet, dropped it on them, given the strength of the knights, there was no way in any span of time they could have gotten out before the party finished them. So the dm ruled the fight over on the very first action, the knights wrapped up like holiday gifts. And what would have been a very nasty charger fight avoided.
Castille 13th Dec 2012, 12:10 PM edit delete reply
I played a wizard once whose primary attack mode was fire. The campaign was 3.5 Temple of Elemental Evil and the paladin had just found a Ring of Fire Resistance +20 (!!!).
Solution to everything? Paladin runs into melee with Cleave and I fireball her opponents.
Sadly, DM didn't allow that strategy.

Another campaign I ran had a friend get to 20th Level Cleric/Archon of Kossuth. "It all burns" was a way of life, not just a mission statement.
AttentionDeficitGuy 13th Dec 2012, 12:28 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, I was the Sorcerer last campaign, and Fireball was my go-to, often pumped up with more metamagic than you could shake a staff at. I was a good-aligned character, though, so I usually tried my hardest not to get my fellow party members caught in the blast.

Tatsurou 13th Dec 2012, 1:35 PM edit delete reply
I remember the one campaign I played a wizard. The DM allowed me one custom spell in exchange for a reduction in spell preparedness. TO his confusion, I chose "Conjure Gas." THis meant I could conjure a cloud of any gas of my choice in a target area, as long as it was non-harmful in and of itself (mustard gas banned) and my character had knowledge of it. My wizard studied chemistry. I never used the spell...until one day when we were going to be facing an entire amassed army. I prepared my spells: one use of fireball, and all the rest conjure gas. Here's how it went.

DM: The army approaches.
Me: I cast conjure gas repeatedly, blanketing the entire army in the gas of my choice, set one round ahead of their current location.
DM: ...*checks rules* can do that. Course, you can't do anything till next round.

Next round, everyone in the party had taken defensive postiions with fortifications, sure this would be a long seige protecting the town.

Me: The land the army's on now...anything valuable there?
DM: No. Why?
Me: You didn't ask what gas I chose.
DM: Alright, what gas?
Me: Hydrogen. I cast fireball.

And that, friends, is how I one-shotted an entire army with fireball.
The MunchKING 13th Dec 2012, 3:11 PM edit delete reply
The MunchKING
Technically I don't think that would work unless it mixed with Oxygen really well.
Destrustor 14th Dec 2012, 3:33 AM edit delete reply
Also, Hydrogen is very light, and would have dissipated upwards extremely fast.
I think the best case scenario would be the explosion happening just above their heads.
CJT 14th Dec 2012, 9:17 AM edit delete reply
They'd still get a nasty sunburn from the UV flash as it burned, but yes, it'd have risen fast enough to not have the intended effect.

Methane is the usual choice for this sort of thing (though that too is lighter than air). Generic "swamp gas" would avoid the problem (methane/ethane/etc mixture).

Fun fact: all of the above are odourless. Household natural gas and propane have extremely smelly chemicals deliberately added so that we notice leaks. Natural "swamp gas" has rotting plant matter in it, to similar effect.
Tatsurou 14th Dec 2012, 12:15 PM edit delete reply
Part of the special aspect of 'conjure gas' was that the gas I summoned stayed where I summoned it. And it wasn't a cloud of PURE hydrogen, just injecting a huge amount of hydrogen into the area and holding it there.

An alternate use of that spell was on a large group of enemies. I conjured nitrous oxide.

Then, on the final boss, just before he was about to give his rousing speech to his amassed forces and fire them to frenzy, I conjured helium right in front of his face just as he took a deep breath.
DalkonCledwin 13th Dec 2012, 2:43 PM edit delete reply
who needs a Fireball when you can just fill an entire spellbook sized book cover to cover with Explosive Runes and toss it at an enemy?

Guess what spell I prepared today?
Joe 14th Dec 2012, 10:43 PM edit delete reply
Because you can't possibly read all the runes, and there's no reason to imagine they set each other off? I mean, I'm a lenient DM, I'd say the target might be able to read two or three sets if they were actively paying attention (I once allowed my group to set off three because a character ran up to the enemy holding the thing with the runes with the explicit goal of reading as many as possible as quickly as possible), but if the thing you're reading explodes in your face after you read one line, you're probably not going to read the second line, if you even can. And odds are that the book would be shredded by the first explosion, unless you magically harden it and/or roll minimum damage (rules specify that the thing the runes are written on takes full damage), so there's no real chance to try again.
So ultimately you probably get 6d6 force damage in a 10ft. radius instead of 5-10d6 fire damage in a 20ft. radius, but you expend a pile of spells and waste a perfectly good book. Putting just one set of explosive runes on a ball would make more sense, but still wouldn't be quite up to fireball's level.
Urthdigger 13th Dec 2012, 3:12 PM edit delete reply
I once tried to open a locked door with Fireball. My DM politely informed me of the consequences of setting something on fire within an enclosed space.
Crisis 13th Dec 2012, 3:56 PM edit delete reply
Funnily enough, my first wizard had the darndest time finding a Fireball spell. He got a Lightning Bolt spell instead and I noticed that the spell description said it would rebound off of solid surfaces.

I spent the entire campaign maneuvering so that I could hit opponents twice with a single casting of that spell as often as possible.
DrGPS 13th Dec 2012, 4:14 PM Curses and Collateral Damage? HA edit delete reply
I read about curses and collateral damage here, and the discussion of whether the one they are all going to get involved with is evil or not, and I just laugh and laugh. You don't really understand true Evil (or Chaotic-Evil) until you go up in a party with what my friend ran into as a DM. His problem was he let it happen.

Picture this, if you will:
It's the early 1990s and my friend was a DM who had five regular players, of mixed alignment, with the spell-caster being Chaotic-Evil. Apparently, they had been having escalated battles through high school, and the party knew the mage was Evil, but didn't really understand true Chaotic-Evil. So, they had this one final party group before some of the players graduated high school and went off to college.

During the battle for stopping a Demi-god from taking over and destroying a huge section of the planet, the party ended up with an unrealistic reward: 1 major wish and 1 minor wish each. Separate from that, the King of the local area rewarded them handsomely with gold for their efforts. My friend tells me how each of the players talked of their major and minor wishes. The Paladin wanted world-renown and a specialized +5 sword of Holy Might. The Thief wanted the ability to blend into shadows effortlessly as well as have lock picks to open any non-magical door. The Cleric wanted her religion to be the main religion everywhere and she also wanted recognition as being Holy by her order. The Archer wanted to be Lord of the Land with his own castle (a separate kingdom from the King) with thousands of hectares of forest land around it for hunting (as the primary means of income for his people), and wanted to be popular in a good way with his people (since love was impossible for that many people).

Then it came down to the Mage, who gave the DM his request on two pieces of paper. My friend examined them, thought about it for a bit, and said "Are you sure this is specifically what you want?" The Mage said "Absolutely". So, the DM gave him his request: First, a spell that reduced all targets within an area of effect to ZERO spell resistance (no saving throws and no magic items can override it, although natural resistance from god-like beings could) for a period of 3 turns, and he could not target himself. Second, a modification to the existing Polymorph Other spell, so that it could be cast with the following modifications: Mass area of effect; if successful, it could not be removed except with a remove curse spell or 30 days passed (after which the target would revert to their original form, whether dead or alive); that the target(s) would all be identically turned into an animal or reptile (only), non-magical, of the choice made by the caster; that they could no longer speak any language, but communicate as the animal or reptile would, and that they only had the natural abilities of the animal or reptile for skills.

Then the Mage made the verbal decision to hold a party in the group’s honor at the Hunting Lodge within the kingdom of the Archer (who had yet to be seen by his people). He went around town and told everyone to show up and that there would be free drinks and a great amount of food for everyone. He then stopped off and bought 100 smoke pellets from a local vendor (used to smoke out game while hunting). He then went to the Hunting Lodge, and using some of the gold given by the King, paid for all of the drinks for up to 200 people for the night (they estimated the amount). The Hunting Lodge was truly a magnificent place, where animal trophies were on display all over, and weapons of all kinds were mounted on the walls. The party showed up and sat down in the center of the Lodge. The Mage said they would announce the Archer to everyone present, as the town automatically knew his name, but not what he looked like. Since everyone liked him, it would be a great way for public recognition before moving into his castle. The party was pleased with this turn of events from the Mage, assuming he was trying to write off his character in a good way before they all left for college.

The drinks are passed around, and people come in and fill the Hunting Lodge, drinking and talking and making merry. The Archer said it was time for him to announce himself, and the Mage said "Let me do it". The Mage stood up on the table and announced HE was the Lord of the Land (using the Hunter's name), at which everyone cheered him (quite loudly). The Mage came down, and said he was just joking (as the Hunter was irritated), and that they should announce the Hunter as the correct Lord of the Land. As the Hunter started to get out of the chair, the Mage sharply glanced up and said that there were enemies within the bar, all around them. The entire party got up, and went into a standard form they had done in their quests, practically back to back in a circle, weapons drawn, looking around through the throngs of people for the enemies. The Mage stepped back a bit and said, quite loudly, "I will slow them with some smoke" and when they stagger out of it, be ready to attack!". Then the Mage took smoke pellets and threw them all over the Hunting Lodge, temporarily obscuring the vision of the party and the townspeople. The Thief became annoyed, saying "I can't see anyone now. Great job, dummy".

Then the Mage said to the DM: "Ok, I cast the first spell I gave you". The DM said, "Are you sure? (the paper said to cast the zero spell resistance spell on the party)." He said "Absolutely". The DM said "Oookay". The first spell is cast on the party. They all look at the DM with growing irritation "What did he do NOW?" and "Did he do something bad again?", etc, etc. Then the Mage said "I hit them with the second spell and I want them this way..." and he slides a piece of paper over to my friend. The DM looks at it with growing concern (although he knew it would end up in SOME bad way): "Are you serious?!?" The Mage said "Absolutely". The DM sighs, as he knows it is their last adventure anyway, and said it IS a legitimate move and this is going to not end well.

In a flash, the entire party, (except for the Mage), are transformed into Deer with 10-14 point antlers on them (even the female cleric). The Mage picks up the +5 Holy Sword from the Paladin (as he dropped it in the transformation), and slips into the smoke and out of the tavern, amidst the cries of alarm by the players. They all know what happens next, so they try to talk to the DM, to the hunters (who are all practically salivating when they see 4 large deer with huge antlers on their heads in the very center of their Hunting Lodge), and to each other as they are very, very upset. Their armor and magic items had all fallen off, and they could not speak Common anymore. They fought against the townsfolk, but they had limited skills and abilities as deer. They became even more upset, when it was found they remained as deer when they died, and it was decided by the townsfolk to eat the deer as part of the celebration. Stories went on for years after that, talking about how it took nearly 50 men to kill four deer in the center of their lodge, and that their heads were mounted on the wall to denote the difficulties of the kills (and their antlers).

The Mage makes his way to the Castle, announcing himself as the Hunter, and walks in and takes over the residence and the surrounding countryside. He then sets up his laboratory for experiments and time is allowed to pass quickly for the endgame results. The players are ALL ticked, as they are all dead, but it’s STILL not over. The townsfolk come to the Lord of the Land at the end of 30 days, saying someone has done a horrible thing at the Hunting Lodge, and they need his assistance. When the Mage asks them to clarify, they say it is too horrible to describe and he must come in person to see for himself. Smiling broadly to himself, the Mage goes to the Hunting Lodge and sees his 4 dead companions heads (in their normal human/elf/etc form), mounted on the wall. The townsfolk recognize them as the heroes who saved everyone (along with the Mage) and are horrified that someone would play such a dastardly trick as to swap the mounted heads of deer with these heads. The Mage, in feigned shock and disbelief, orders them taken down and sent to his castle, where he says he will handle the situation personally. He then takes their heads and mounts them in his study next to his hidden laboratory, so he could remember his "friends" always.
Needless to say, that was the end of that. The players were angry, although years later they describe it in funny ways. The DM never wanted to DM again after that. And the Mage went off to college and gained his Master's degree in Electrical Engineering.
9 dragons 13th Dec 2012, 4:36 PM 9 Dragons edit delete reply
i dont know what u guys are talking about but try not to over power those characters becoz it only ruins everything
Derpmind 13th Dec 2012, 4:48 PM edit delete reply
Isn't a star just a really big fireball in space?
Akouma 13th Dec 2012, 5:32 PM edit delete reply
Real wizards use acid, just sayin'.

Also, real wizards who are real men play magi instead. At least in Pathfinder. Nothin' like hitting an enemy with your sword, then blasting it with your spell of choice as a freebie.
Kiana 13th Dec 2012, 9:46 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, but then we have to take them to detox centers...
DalkonCledwin 13th Dec 2012, 10:46 PM edit delete reply
especially when the sword is also sentient at the same time :D

Bladebound ah how I love thee.
Akouma 13th Dec 2012, 11:51 PM edit delete reply
I once had a bladebound Magus. First session of that campaign, after the encounter, I explain to my DM that he has a nightly routine with his weapon. He sits down and just asks the sword "What do you WANT?"

I figured it was the most expedient route to finding out my blackblade's goals. It turns out, my blackblade wanted "cheezburger."

Also, the blackblade's name was Pokey. He insisted that his travelling companion refer to it by name and not as "your sword."

It was also a sword-cane because I was classy like that.

It occurs to me, having written this, that this character is one of the dumbest ones I've ever played. I mean seriously we reads like a slightly-quirkier version of a bad OC.

Then again, that's kind of what you get when your character concept is almost always "I have ALL the powers lulz" because heaven-forbid I ever go into an encounter without SOME potential counter. The only real exception is when I play 4e, because while hybrids aren't bad, they're confusing and I'd rather just play a Psion then explain to my DM that yes that's EXACTLY how that works (based on logic and indistinct rulings) when I lift someone up 10 squares then just drop them for 5d10 fall damage at level 1. Living Missile... totally balanced.

Holy crap I'm off topic which is sad since it's a reply to my own comment thread.
Kiranis 13th Dec 2012, 11:39 PM The mighty caster. edit delete reply
My trade mark spells are gnerally as follows explosive runs lightning bolt fire ball delayed blast fireball teleport featherfall and acid arrow.
Akouma 14th Dec 2012, 12:12 AM edit delete reply
Also, just remembered a fun little story about burning things one probably shouldn't be burning. In a game I DM, I also have a PC (not as annoying as it sounds, since initially it was a 2-man party without me that has since expanded to a respectable five) who's a bard named Wub. Wub is a kitsune (fox spirit, this is important). In this setting, bard magic is the magic of the elements, among other things. On a recent mission, the party has to storm a base that's been taken over by orcs to recover the soul of a deceased army captain there. Wub, being the GENIUS that he is, lights the outer wall on fire, which ultimately consumes the entire stockade except for one building. After the battle, he's standing over a burning pile of orcs, and just doubles over laughing. Thinking he's gone insane with bloodlust, the party asks him what's up. He turns to them, points over his shoulder at the burning carnage and goes:

"Hehe. H-hey guys... FOXFIRE!"

The party was not amused, mostly because it wasn't funny. Wub was just combat-high and in a generally good mood because he'd just been promoted earlier that day. Turns out, when you're on parole, getting promoted lets you off the hook on the assumption that it means you've become a functioning member of society.

...And then we sent all the paperwork associated with utterly destroying a military checkpoint to the PC who'd called in sick (both player and character) that day. It was our way of ensuring he made his fair contribution. Plus none of the other party members are much good with paperwork. The party member they sent it to literally has Profession: Bureaucrat. He was not amused, either.
Jorlem 14th Dec 2012, 12:42 AM edit delete reply
My favorite spellcaster was a 3.5 Spirit Shaman. That class has the best spell prep/casting mechanic, in my opinion. You prepare a few spells per level (max 3 different spells) every day, and then can cast them spontaneously, via sorcerer type spell slots. And they draw their spells from the druid spell list, which has flame strike as a fourth level spell.

That was a <i>fun</i> character.
DracoS 14th Dec 2012, 1:01 AM edit delete reply
Reminds me of my last Pathfinder session during a campaign called "Infinicon."

Our group of four was trying to investigate a cult that had left their traditional sewer lair to murder people and we had stumbled upon...let's be frank...a rave. A few dozen cultists were rocking out and being charisma'd (that's a word now) while listening to awful music. (The DM even played awful rave music at this point.) My initial plan was to easily sneak past the entire group and begin investigating the lair, but the rest of the group was all for charging in and beginning culling cultists.

Since there was no winning a three-on-one argument (and let's face in, fighting them is more exciting) and one of our party members was an alchemist with a healthy supply of Alchemist's Fire, I came up with a plan like this.

Two members of our team, disguised as a turtle and a cultist, began handing out Alchemist's Fire in beer bottles to the cultists. Meanwhile, I planted some in the speakers that were bellowing out music. Then the Alchemist threw a grenade that set off all twenty or thirty bottles of Alchemist's Fire at the same time.

As the Autobot mad genius Wheeljack once put it, "Duck, or it's barbecue city!" Any cultist that hadn't left was soon gone after a round of sneak attacks.

Well, there was the cultist DJ who still wanted a fight, but we camped out around a big ol' fire that night.
Scygnus 14th Dec 2012, 1:32 AM edit delete reply
I played a Sorceror once, in Pathfinder. DM pretty much let us go nuts, so he was an Efreeti with the Fire Elemental sorc bloodline. Caspar had fire leaking out his ears.

And my favorite two spells ended up being Communal Phantom Steed (which I flavored as various ponies to annoy the rest of the party) and Mad Monkeys (one villain was dumb enough to cast Unnatural Lust while standing in the middle of the monkey swarm. It took me five minutes to stop laughing and tell the DM why that was so funny). I hardly ever cast Fireball, and once I started getting the opportunity, I had Fire Snake, which did more damage (and less collateral) anyway, so Fireball was demoted to my sniping spell.
Crimson Doom 14th Dec 2012, 9:33 AM edit delete reply
Crimson Doom
Hey guys, does anyone remember where that story from way back was? The one where the bard stuffs a Necklace of Fireballs up a dragon's nostril?
Siccarus 14th Dec 2012, 9:48 AM edit delete reply
Fireball is the duct tape of magic.
Any problem can be solved with the proper application of it.
Gden 14th Dec 2012, 11:25 AM edit delete reply
You need to complete that statement. Any problem can be solved with the proper application of it, and if it doesn't solve the problem, you're not using enough of it.
DalkonCledwin 14th Dec 2012, 9:07 PM edit delete reply
As Varsuvius once said, as the size of the explosion grows bigger, the number of social problems that it is incapable of solving approaches zero.
Xenotype 14th Dec 2012, 1:43 PM edit delete reply
HOW has no-one mentioned Jim Darkmagic yet? I mean come on!
Dusk 14th Dec 2012, 1:51 PM edit delete reply
When you get your first 3rd level spell as a Wizard, the one that lets you hit multiple enemies at once for a good amount of damage is rather attractive.
Suburbanbanshee 14th Dec 2012, 5:59 PM edit delete reply
Back when Russian gamer websites started up, I used to visit them and read them with my rudimentary Russian, wondering how much they had in common with US gamers.

And then I discovered that "fireball" in gamer Russian is just the word "fireball" transliterated into Cyrillic.

Suddenly, the world seemed so small and homey....
Aegis Steadfast 14th Dec 2012, 9:08 PM edit delete reply
Aegis Steadfast
Hmm, wizards and fire... that takes me back to the first time I ever, EVER played a tabletop game, not in person of course, are you nuts?

I'm not too sure on the details but we were low level and the story involved a pit, a kobold, the party rogue, some goblins, the mandatory fire and several jugs of alcohol.
ShadowDragon8685 14th Dec 2012, 9:14 PM edit delete reply
Fireball is so cliche... But it's a cliche for a reason! It's an oldie, but a goodie!

That said, whenever I need my third-level <Caster Level>d6 20-foot-radius smackdown spell, I always pick up Scintilating Sphere or another elemental version first. After all, you can scribe Fireball into your spellbook pretty much the moment you ding to 6th level because you've probably got two or three scrolls of Fireball booting around your backpack, but when was the last time you saw a Scroll of Scintilating Sphere? Let alone one for a 20-ft burst of acid.
Dashing Rainbow 14th Dec 2012, 9:50 PM edit delete reply
Fireballs, fireballs
Steaming up the ocean,
Causing a commotion,
Cuz they are so awesome,
Magic Dragon Wagon 14th Dec 2012, 10:15 PM edit delete reply
Not quite a fireball story, but I did have a wizard in the middle of about 6 zombies and used Burning Hand. He got a crit. He won, very first turn. That day half our party was out, they were not needed.
Guest 14th Dec 2012, 10:55 PM edit delete reply
Hexep 3rd Jan 2013, 12:12 AM H:tV edit delete reply
nWoD, submachine gun, party members who go for melee, party members who don't LISTEN when you tell them you're about to fire.
guest 26th Jan 2013, 6:42 AM Feric edit delete reply
Dm house rule force is a energy type so
arcane amixture force
maximize spell
arcane substitution force
and several others create a force ball that did around 800 damage
Dm determines that force damage in exess of 435 causes combustion of the local air so in ending i set the AIR on fire with force never got flack for be a force spell specilist ever again

Midnight Blaze 8th May 2013, 6:03 AM Wizards edit delete reply
No matter how powerful the wizard, regardless of what complicated spells they know, what everyone really wants to see is a fireball.
kimikorose89 10th Jul 2013, 9:19 PM edit delete reply
To restate- the raw power and delight of a controlled, single burst are irresistible.
But really, I am a little disappointed to see that no one has noted how bat guano (necessary component) usually gives the old-time wizards that classic and unmistakable fragrance. Because seriously, covering body odor with guano is so culturally flavorful!

Also on fire: in my campaign (homebrew system), I find it greatly amusing that the elemental warrior chose brute strength and fire magic for maximum damage, but doesn't have an INT high enough to control it.
I'm the one who gets to shout out, "aaaaaaand, Fireball!"
DPV111 5th Aug 2013, 8:03 PM edit delete reply
How did she cast fireball without her horn?
LazerZ 15th Feb 2018, 12:47 PM edit delete reply
Could just be the longevity. Fireball has been a spell longer than D&D has been D&D, i.e. Chainmail.