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I have a forum-based Pathfinder campaign where one of the players would like to light grease created by a Grease spell on fire. Can this type of grease be lit?

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I've seen DM's go both ways with this. If you allow the player to light the grease on fire, couldn't you treat it as a wall of fire and remove the grease effects (no longer a slippery surface)? – DanceSC Sep 4 '14 at 14:37
up vote 20 down vote accepted

The rules as written don’t allow for the possibility, and there’s every reason to think that magically-created grease is not literally the same substance as mundane grease and therefore does not share the properties not listed in the grease spell description.

Moreover, grease is one of the best spells for its level in the game, which makes many DMs leery of opening up yet more features for it. On the other hand, DMs also like to reward creativity, so some do allow grease to be lit on fire. You will have to ask your DM for a more solid answer than “the rules don’t say you can, so you can’t.”

My first character ever, a sorcerer, had grease as something of a signature spell, and this was one of the first “tricks” I tried with it. The DM didn’t allow it, and considering how much use I got out of the spell despite lacking that option, I think he made the right call, and I’ve made the same call in all of my games since. I have never seen anyone complain that grease is unusable without that feature. Again, it’s one of the best spells out there.

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Also note that depending on the type, not all grease is super flammable. I always imagined the spell generating something like industrial grade lubricant grease. That does not burn so much as it creates tons of gross black smoke. Which could still be useful in game, and which I would still rule against for the same reasons as the flaming grease – D.Spetz Aug 27 '14 at 12:46
I am the DM, and I need help deciding if I should allow that. – Randumbness Aug 27 '14 at 20:02
@Randumbness Well, I did try to give my reasoning for why I rule a particular way. Also, it may be worth considering the fact that 3.5 had a 2nd-level spell, incendiary slime, which "functions like grease, but the liquid is also highly flammable." So in 3.5, at least, grease does not produce a flammable liquid, and you need incendiary slime for that. Bumping it up a spell level makes adding that feature a good deal more reasonable, too. – KRyan Aug 27 '14 at 20:10

KRyan makes an excellent point- even without the ability to light the resultant substance on fire, the spell is by no means use impaired. On the other hand, actual grease certainly is flammable, and when a word used in rules text does not have a defined game-specific meaning, most people default to the normal meaning of the word. If the substance created by the spell were ruled not actually grease, but some other substance, I would probably start investigating what it actually was. Otherwise, I think you might have to pick between trying to balance things and enjoying the verisimilitude. If you care more about the latter, I'd allow the substance to be lit on fire like normal grease.

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Yes. As written there is nothing preventing this first level spell from being lit just like grease from other sources.


However it would be logical to assume that lighting it in this manner would be similar to lighting any other flammable fluid, it consumes the flammable substance far quicker than the conjuration spell would provide normally. Give it a round or 2 to dissipate.

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As a DM, I often have to say no to this question. The characters can become a little overpowered when they use this spell in such a way. An easy way to balance this is to throw a fire-resistant creature or two at the PCs. While you should never deny a player from an ability he or she is entitled to, be sure you read the rule books carefully before making any calls. The PHB (Players' Handbook) says nothing about this, which leads me to believe that such a use of the spell was not intended. While some DMs might argue that creativity should be rewarded, consider this: How creative is it really? I've never had a PC with that spell NOT ask me if he or she could do the aforementioned. Although it is awesome that they're thinking! :D

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