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The Phoenix Soul Sorcerer can ignite flammable objects like cloth with a touch. How should I handle this when a player playing such a character in one of my games ignites an enemies clothing? Specifically, what damage should being on fire deal and what should be necessary to end the effect? I'm looking for an answer that works well with existing material; it's not important that the answer be any sort of published rule.

As part of an answer, please indicate what you are balancing this use of the ability around and why in your adjustments to its function, so that I can understand where the suggestion is coming from when using that sort of approach to adjudicate the class ability.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Advice on what makes this a bad question would be appreciated. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Apr 28 '18 at 20:39
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There are no published rules, but...

You could use some of the official rules in the Adventuring Gear section of the Player's Handbook

[Oil]

... You can also pour a flask of oil on the ground to cover a 5-foot-square area, provided that the surface is level. If lit, the oil burns for 2 rounds and deals 5 fire damage to any creature that enters the area or ends its turn in the area.

[Alchemist's Fire]

...A creature can end this damage by using its action to make a DC 10 Dexterity check to extinguish the flames.

I would probably modify this somewhat to scale up to 5 damage with level since it is a class feature without limited uses, so I would have it deal Charisma modifier for 2 rounds unless someone puts it out. (Perhaps more rounds on a Large or larger creature).

This makes it somewhat comparable to a monk's Martial Arts (unarmed strike) damage per attack. Estimates by tier: 5.5, 7.5, 9.5, 10.5 for monks vs 6, 8, 10, 10 for this variant rule.

Disclaimer

Unearthed Arcana is playtest material and not necessarily balanced for the core system. Most effects that ignite objects don't affect those worn or carried by other creatures. See fire bolt (emphasis mine)

A flammable object hit by this spell ignites if it isn't being worn or carried.

It is likely that worn objects would not be eligible if this archetype were officially released.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @thedarkwanderer added \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Apr 28 '18 at 21:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ also note that this subclass was part of the same UA as Favored Soul, which has since been published in Xanathar's Guide to Everything, partly changed and renamed to Divine Soul. I don't know if the fact that Phoenix Sorcery wasn't released together with Divine Soul means that it will never be released, but it could be an indication. \$\endgroup\$ – PixelMaster Apr 28 '18 at 22:11
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I would use Mantle of Flame as the basis

Mantle of Flames Says

• Any creature takes fire damage equal to your Charisma modifier if it hits you with a melee attack from within 5 feet of you or if it touches you.

Which combined with what a Fire Elemental's Fire Form can do

Fire Form. The first time it enters a creature's space on a turn, that creature takes 5 (1d10) fire damage and catches fire; until someone takes an action to douse the fire, the creature takes 5 (1d10) fire damage at the start of each of its turns.

So I would have it do the character's Charisma in fire damage each round until someone used an action to douse the flames. This allows the character to use it in intersting ways and doesn't seem to unbalanced to me as it took the sorceror an action to start it and it will take the bad guys an action to put it out.

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