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I've been reading the Lure of Flames rules in the V20 version of Vampire the Masquerade and they seem unclear to me.

Fire conjured by The Lure of Flames must be released for it to have any effect.

However,

System: The number of successes determines how accurately the vampire places the flame in his desired location (declared before the roll is made). One success is all that is necessary to conjure a flame in one's hand, while five successes place a flame anywhere in the Kindred's line of sight.

As I understand it, the power allows the user to choose where the flames appear. Then they must be "released". What does this mean?

Do they appear in the user hand and he then has to throw them like a fireball? Do they appear at their final destination but the user can choose when to "release" them? Can you make them appear on someone and not do anything, using it as an intimidation mean? Can you quench the flames instead of releasing them?

Can this power be used as a direct attack? Can it be dodged?

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Hi, Kethryweryn. You've added the "rules as written" tag, which means that you're looking for answers exclusively from published material. In that case, you may have to wait until "Rites of Blood," the V20 guide to blood magic, is published; it's on track for March 2014. "Blood Magic" and "Blood Secrets," from Revised, are silent on the subject. –  Jadasc Nov 5 '13 at 17:37
    
Well, if there's no published material pertaining this, knowing how it's currently home-handled would be interesting of course. However, I'll keep in mind to check the Rites of Blood guide, thank you. –  Kethryweryn Nov 5 '13 at 17:45
    
So long as you're good with that, I'll answer the question below. I might recommend removing the rules-as-written tag, then. –  Jadasc Nov 5 '13 at 17:51
    
@Jadasc and done. –  Kethryweryn Nov 5 '13 at 18:04

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

"Released" means it is being conjured anywhere beyond the thaumaturge's own palm.

As per the v20 rules, the number of successes determines the accuracy of the placement of the flame. You need to declare the size of the flame (determines difficulty) and the desired placement before rolling (determines successes required).

If you want it to appear in your hand, it requires only one success. (Using anything above a palm sized flame in this case is not recommended...) Five successes means you can place it anywhere within your line of sight. It is indicated in v20 that, as a rule of thumb, you need one success per 10 yards of distance. Once the roll is successfull, there is no need for throwing or otherwise placing the flame, it immediately appears at the desired location.

When it is in your palm, it will not harm anyone including yourself, nor can it be thrown. It will function as a light and a tool to scare the crap out of other kindred. If placed anywhere else, it immediately becomes an active flame that causes damage and rötschrek. At that point, the thaumaturge no longer controls the fire and cannot quench it.

Dodging is not described in the book, but to me it seems that it can be dodged like a ranged attack if the victim has inits over the caster and knows what lure of flames is. (It's kind of hard to determine that someone is going to set you on fire if he is only looking at you.)

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Hm. That's the most convincing interpretation to me. It would seem the "releasing" part was a left over of previous editions (as mentionned by @user9749). –  Kethryweryn Nov 6 '13 at 14:20

Unfortunately, I cannot help clarify the version 2.0 rules, but if you are looking for some small clarification about how to possibly handle this ability, I quote from "Vampire : the Dark Ages" (WW 2800 - 1997) per its description of Creo Ignem:

The flames cannot burn objects until they have been released by the Cainite. Therefore a "palm of flame" does not burn the vampire's hands and create aggravated wounds -- it only produces light. Once the fire has been released, however, it burns normally and the character has no control over it.


System: The number of successes determines how long the fire may be "held" before being released -- one minute for each success gained. The Storyteller may require a Perception + Altertness roll to place the flame in the desired spot.

So the important bits seem to be:

  • White Wolf replaced

The flames cannot burn objects until they have been released by the Cainite.

with

Fire conjured by The Lure of Flames must be released for it to have any effect.

and then replaced the system for control and placement. The synthesis seems to be that the flame is "placed" (appears in hand or elsewhere in line of sight) then "released" (i.e. allowed to do damage). Arguments against the "fireball" hypothesis (thought I have read online of people playing it this way) would be two-fold in my opinion :

  • Ranged combat for physical objects includes Dexterity (Dexterity + Firearms, Dexterity + Archery for Dark Ages)

  • Thaumaturgy disciplines involving moving physical object, transmutation or animation (Movement of the Mind -> 2nd Ed., Rego Aquam (water manipulation/creation), Rego Elementum ("earth" manipulation/animation) -> Dark Ages) do not rely on Alertness.

That said, the clearest argument for a "reach out and touch someone" strategy is Rego Tempestas (weather manipulation - Dark Ages):

When summoning a lighting strike the player must roll Perception + Archery to attempt to hit a specific target.

But while using Perception, it still involves Archery (the Dark Ages version of Firearms). Also note that "place" is used in both versions, not "launch" or the like.

Granting the above (place and release), the intimidation tactic seems sound if you were to clarify the "holding" (e.g. prior to "release") phase, possibly with a second roll or some other system of your own devising. If your target could move, though, it might not work (e.g. the flames stay in roughly one place -- even if it was your hand, you might still have to catch your target. This is where Dodge comes into play.) Direct "attack" would obviously come from "releasing" the flame near enough a target to set it on fire.

Quenching is obviously not an option once control is given up, but I would think it would dissipate harmlessly if not in contact with anything combustible once "released" (e.g. mid-air, over stone, water, etc.) Quenching while in "held" form seems pretty much out of the question if you take the Dark Ages approach (e.g. you have a time limit on control before it "gets out of hand", so to speak.)

As it stands, the people I've played with have always used the Dark Ages rules with 2nd Edition soak guidelines if we felt we needed them. Note that we also generally allow placement behind objects (e.g. a partially blocked window) if there is line of site to at least part of the destination (higher difficult than unobstructed, though). Other guidelines and assumptions presented are pretty much the conclusions we have come to regarding our interpretation of this Discipline. So I guess you could call it our "house rules".

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Upvote for the "not a fireball / ranged attack" part. –  Kethryweryn Nov 6 '13 at 14:22

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