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So, Burning Disarm says this:

This spell causes a metal object to instantly become red hot. A creature holding the item may attempt a Reflex save to drop it and take no damage

Now, it does specify that the creature needs to be holding the item. It does go on to say that they are forced to take damage if they cannot drop the item:

Circumstances that prevent the creature from dropping the item (such as a locked gauntlet) mean the creature gets no saving throw.

Additionally, it also says that if cast underwater, it boils the surrounding water, insinuating an "AoE" type effect.

So, my question is that for example, if I were to stab an enemy with a dagger, or a sword, could I then cast Burning Disarm on that weapon to cause fire damage? Or can this spell only be cast on a weapon being held?

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It's not only the burning disarm spell description that says, "A creature [must be] holding the item," but also it's the burning disarm spell's Target entry that says so: It says, "Target: Held metal item of one creature or 15 lbs. of unattended metal." Given this collaboration, this GM would rule that the creature must itself be somehow holding the object that's to be the burning disarm spell's target rather than merely having the object somehow—perhaps violently—forced into the creature's possession. (Also see Aiming a Spell on Target or Targets.)

Thus in this GM's campaigns, for example, Abe can't stab a foe, take a free action to drop his weapon in his foe, then, on his next turn, take a standard action to cast on his dropped weapon the spell burning disarm, targeting the weapon he O-so-conveniently "dropped" in his foe's gut.

In the same way that the feat Improved Disarm isn't much use against the typical lion, sometimes the spell burning disarm just isn't the right spell for the situation at hand.


Note: The Pathfinder rules typically aren't granular enough to handle attacking a foe then leaving the weapon used to make that attack embedded in the injured foe. Hit points are largely an abstraction and only in special cases do attacks do more than what they say they do, and leaving a weapon behind in a foe is, in fact, more than what most attacks say they do! Also see this question.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ On the other hand... If you manage to wedge 15 pounds of metal into the flesh of a particularly large foe and then let go of it, can it really be said to be attended? \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Jul 2 at 21:36

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