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Agnazzar's Scorcher, a spell from the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, reads as follows:

A jet of roaring flame bursts from your outstretched hand, scorching any creature in a 5-foot-wide path to the edge of the spell's range. Aganazzar's scorcher deals 1d8 points of damage per two caster levels, to a maximum of 5d8 points of damage.

I'm wondering - what are the rules regarding path spells? Does the path have to be a straight line? Is there any rule text on paths?

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If anyone remembers the ancient CompuServe game Islands of Kesmai, you might recall that wizards had a Firebolt spell that had a path that could go in any direction (even turn back on itself). Overlapping the path three or four times was very effective. This is probably not what you would want out of Agnazzar's Scorcher. –  Ichoran Apr 23 '12 at 17:51

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

It should be.

For the simple reason that, if you remove the straight line requirement, you can then make the path a spiral that originates from the caster and covers all the circle enclosed by the spell range.

This is the intended spell effectYouTube.

The wording of the spell, however is not clear. What is called a path is actually a line (as per Lightning BoltPFD20SRD).

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I think so to, but I asked because I would like rule text regarding this. –  Mala Apr 20 '12 at 14:12
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'Path' is not a keyword in the dnd-3.5 nor in the pathfinder rule set. The presence of that word in the effect line of text is, in my opinion, a design mistake. –  Erik Burigo Apr 20 '12 at 14:23
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"Jets" don't go in spirals. Contrary to popular wisdom, 3e is not what is called complete: it systematises a lot of things but not everything, and it still expects readers to apply common sense to places where the rules are not explicit. So, "jets" go in straight lines, and that's the only place in the text you'll find a canonical answer. –  SevenSidedDie Apr 20 '12 at 16:32
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I thought maybe path was a type such as line in 3.5, with specific rules. Well, I accepted the answer. –  Mala Apr 20 '12 at 19:25
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@Mala That's fair enough! It's a good place to come for clarifications when something doesn't add up. That was just in response for your request for a text reference to back up the answer. –  SevenSidedDie Apr 22 '12 at 18:35

The Spell's Renamed & Rewritten in the Spell Compendium
The 2nd-level Sor/Wiz spell Aganazzar's scorcher [evoc] (FRCS 66), according to page 5 of the Spell Compendium, was "renamed before [its] inclusion" to the spell scorch [evoc] (SpC 181). The Spell Compendium changes the area entry from the FRCS entry from the "5-ft.-wide path to close range (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)" to the more comprehensible if nonscaling "30-ft. line." The spell's Range entry also changed from close to a flat 30 ft. Nope, no idea why.

Besides flavor text (no longer does a "jet of roaring flame bursts from your outstretched hand"; instead the description just provides the method of damage calculation) nothing else about the spell's changed.

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