House Rule: Verisimilitude of a Fireball

Discussion in 'The Temple of Elemental Evil' started by anatoliy, Jun 10, 2018.

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  1. anatoliy

    anatoliy Member

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    Hi

    AI problem
    A while ago, I was playing with my 5 level party against Salamandra foe and was completely stunned how precise and powerful the Fireball is.

    And the problem is not that Salamandra had a DC spell check bonus, and three Fireball ready spells. But the precision, effectiveness and, what shocked me - throw through a wall ability (magic off-course :D ).

    Thanks to Sitra Achara, who pointed me to a source code and what to look for (and many many other things), I managed to get a glance how it actually works with AI.

    As you may know, AI takes list of "tactics" from a strategy.tab entry and applies this list to a creature. For fireball, there is one particular tactic called "cast fireball".

    The function goes through all foes of a caster and determines the best possible location to affect most of them.

    The only thing I can say - this is insane!

    Player Character
    The same goes with the human player - hit the most in one cast. There are no drawbacks, no difficulty, no probability, nothing.

    Overpower
    Obviously the Fireball spell is insanely overpowered. To the point of boring and frustration.

    During research how other DM handled the problem I've stumbled upon this thread "Dislike how players accurately place fireballs. Is there an alternative?"

    It basically says - make Fireball to be ranged touch attack check spell against AC5.

    AI Line of Sight
    Yes, Fireball is not a LOS spell, because it has no creature target. But when AI tries to calculate best possible location it should skip enemy participant if no LOS to him present.

    AI Spot the Hidden
    Same goes with Spot skill, - if a enemy participant could not be Spotted, then he should be skipped from location calculation.

    Concealment
    1) AI: If target enemy participant is concealed, then there should be possibility to skip him while calculating the location.
    2) Everyone. If target location is concealed, then there should be possibility to fail due to precision.

    Failure
    Failure to deliver precise attack would result into a misfire as stated in the link above.

    Dear ToEE community, What do you think?
    BR,
    A
     
  2. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    NPC's casting a fireball type area of effect spell should have line of sight to the centre of the area effected, just like PC's do. If the target line of sight is interrupted by terrain it should prematurely detonate a fireball spell where it hit a solid object as per the spell.

    Ideally, hidden/invisible targets should be ignored from the target list unless the NPC passes skill checks to notice them.

    Concealed targets are a little different though IMO, Obscuring Mist and Fog Cloud provide concealment sure, targetting anything in a cloud specifically would be impossible, but it would not prevent an AoE from being cast into the concealed area, an NPC would recognise spells they had seen allies cast previously, and since no NPC's cast concealment spells may deduce that PC's had cast the concealment spell instead and that the spell is from a hostile source. AoE spells cast into a magically concealed area should be either centred on the centre of the concealment spell (because the likelihood is that the caster who created it is close to the centre) or randomly placed inside the concealed area if the area of the concealed area is massively larger than the AoE spell. It wouldn't help PC's who had concealment from Blur or Displacment spells.
     
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  3. anatoliy

    anatoliy Member

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    So, let's split those issues:

    A) AI Location Determination = Game AI chooses location center of Fireball throw.
    A.1) AI Location Determination / Point LOS (incl distance constraint)
    A.2) AI Location Determination / Point Concealment
    A.3) AI Location Determination / Participants LOS
    A.4) AI Location Determination / Participants Spot

    B) Player Location Permission = Game permits throwing Fireball into specific location.
    B.1) Player Location Permission / Point LOS

    C) Fireball success rules.
    C.1) Fireball rule / Ranged touch attack mechanics.
    C.2) Fireball rule / Failure leads to misfire.
    C.3) Fireball rule / Failure leads to random location thrown.

    D) Fireball splash effect.
    D.1) Fireball splash / Omits obstacles.
    D.2) Fireball splash / Obstacle gives Cover bonus.
     
  4. anatoliy

    anatoliy Member

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    My personal thoughts on the subject.

    A.1) AI Location Determination / Point LOS (incl distance constraint)
    The Point location should be visible on straight line. No solid obstacles on the line. If partial, I guess it's ok. Obviously a wall would not permit LOS.
    This should be fixed \ rewritten. No question.

    A.2) AI Location Determination / Point Concealment
    There two sub-issues:

    A.2.1) Point is in a fog.
    I guess it's allowed but centered in a fog or randomly chosen inside the fog. Just as @Allyx suggested.

    A.2.2) NPC is in a fog.
    I think it should be impossible to fire a Fireball at all. "The fog obscures all sight, including darkvision, beyond 5 feet." (SRD:Fog Cloud)

    A.3) AI Location Determination / Participants LOS
    Ideally, when you've seen the foe previously (round), then you could deduct where is he now, if not visible. You could take Int or Wis into account and so on.
    Personally I would remove the participant who is not in LOS in simple fix.
    Afterwards, Spot could be taken into account, if NPC knew previous participant location.

    A.4) AI Location Determination / Participants Spot
    The Spot skill should be used for location calculation and considering participant, when a participant is either Hidden or, as I mentioned already, is not seen right know but was seen in previous round.

    B.1) Player Location Permission / Point LOS
    This should be checked. Not sure how it is determined right now. But I believe game should not allow throwing at all.

    B.2.1) Point is in a fog.
    Same logic as for AI.

    B.2.2) NPC is in a fog.
    Same logic as for AI.
     
  5. anatoliy

    anatoliy Member

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    My personal thoughts on the subject. (cont)

    C) Fireball success rules.
    C.1) Fireball rule / Ranged touch attack mechanics.

    This is definitively homebrew rule. Therefore optional. Although, personally I would prefer playing with it turned on.
    Basically caster should be able to overcome defense of imaginary foe of AC 5 during ranged touch attack. All bonuses as with ranged weapon should apply. Same as with Acid Arrow.

    C.2) Fireball rule / Failure leads to misfire.
    I would implement this at first. Cancel Fireball completely. Although it could demote Fireball and create an confusion.

    C.3) Fireball rule / Failure leads to random location thrown.
    More verisimilitude, but much more confusion. Not sure.
     
  6. anatoliy

    anatoliy Member

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    My personal thoughts on the subject. (cont 2)

    D) Fireball splash effect.
    D.1) Fireball splash / Omits obstacles.
    D.2) Fireball splash / Obstacle gives Cover bonus.
    As I see it (homebrew again):
    Fireball first bursts and hits, then spreads and burns. Therefore when subject is in Line of Sight, then full damage. Otherwise, half the damage (burn only).

    Why? To give the game better tactic options, meaning - to take cover.
    Not sure about that...
     
  7. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    I usually rule in my home games that fireballs in enclosed spaces smaller than the area of effect backdraft into the room adjacent (calculate the volume of the fireball blast, area then fill the available spaces with fireball upto that volume) and/or blows the bloody doors off from other adjacent rooms and fill those areas too upto the fireballs volume.

    I personally disagree Fireballs should fizzle or miss fire if cast in an area of fog, and with the ranged touch attack method you discribe as I don't think changing how the spell works away from RAW is in the spirit of what we do at Co8, we aim to fix ToEE and make it more rules compliant.
     
  8. florian1

    florian1 Established Member Supporter

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    I don't think Fireball is such a powerful spell in any case. At fifth level, the average damage dealt is only 17.5 HPs, and that number is halved or reduced to zero depending on saving throws, evasion (most Bugbears seem to have this), rings of fire resistance (probably the most common magic ring in ToEE), natural resistance, spell resistance, racial immunity, protective spells, etc. As your damage dice go up with your levels, your opponents also become more able to absorb or deflect the damage. For an OP third level spell, Stinking Cloud fits the bill. Your opponents get sickened, but they still decide to run right up to you, then stand there while you hack them to bits.
     
  9. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    I don't see any harm in offering it as an option. That said, I'd prefer it be kept as a downloadable file rather than a toggle in the Temple+ menu.
     
  10. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    As an optional addition, I have no objection, but I wouldn't put anything other than a pure fix for the lack of line of sight issue for NPC casters into an official Co8 mod.
     
  11. anatoliy

    anatoliy Member

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    I did split the epic into smaller issues. A.1 etc. Could you comment all of them guys ?

    I completely agree ,that making Fireball success rules is a stretch and definitely an option.

    But what about other points ?
     
  12. Allyx

    Allyx Master Crafter Global Moderator Supporter

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    A1. NPC should have line of sight to detonation point. Certain "wall of" spells would break line of sight (Wall of Stone/Ice/Force) some would not (Wind/Fire).

    A2. NPC can cast into a fog effect randomly as it can see the fog area but not specifically target individuals in the fog.

    A3. NPC's can't see out of a fog to targets unaffected by the fog, targets within 5' are visible with and viable targets only if the NPC caster is immune to the effects (Salamanders, Balor).

    A4. Unseen targets (after a skill check) should be excluded from the "cast fireball" targetting method.

    B1. PC's are currently required to have Line of Sight to cast fireball, as an emanation effect, all targets within the blast area should be affected by the blast.

    B2. PC's should be unable to see NPC's in fog effects beyond 5' from a PC (or PC controlled NPC). This includes both NPC's model and red targetting ring on the ground around them.

    B3. As above.

    C1. No, it's just now how Fireball is meant to work.

    C2. As above.

    C3. Only if it is at targets in a Fog effected area, the NPC would have no reason to throw a fireball if no threat were visible, randomly or otherwise.

    D1. No, emanation effects go around obstacles within their effect area.

    D2. As above.

    D3. As above.
     
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