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A Fireball spell "blossoms with a low roar into an explosion of flame. [...] The fire spreads around corners. It ignites flammable objects in the area that aren't being worn or carried."

If an Order of Scribes wizard uses their Awakened Spellbook feature to replace the Fireball's fire damage type with a non-fire type (e.g. psychic or slashing), would non-worn, non-carried flammable objects in the spell's area still ignite? (If not, would they be harmed at all?)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Not sure why this is being downvoted. It seems to be a legitimate question to me. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 19, 2023 at 5:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NobodytheHobgoblin It’s not unusual to see multiple questions about the same topic from the same user asked in quick succession to have a higher-than-average bias toward downvoting. I think it’s because this sort of question pattern is pretty clearly indicative of just thinking about different interactions a single feature has, rather than actual problems implementing the feature at the table of play. Questions about your experience using a feature make better questions than armchair rules analyzing, and votes typically reflect that. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 19, 2023 at 5:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: How does the Order of Scribes feature Awakened Spellbook work with multiple damage types? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Nov 19, 2023 at 6:26

2 Answers 2

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Awakened Spellbook only changes the damage type.

Awakened Spellbook changes a spell’s damage type, and this is the only effect of the spell that is changed. So a non-fire damage fireball still sets things on fire. At least, from a rules-as-written sort of perspective. It seems reasonable to rule otherwise though.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Upvoted because I agree on RAW (the somewhat ambiguous antecedent of "it" does a lot of work here) but yeesh, what a weird result. \$\endgroup\$
    – Shivers
    Nov 19, 2023 at 11:04
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It's the fire that ignites objects, not the damage type

Maybe by strict rules as written, the feature only changes the damage type, but this outcome makes zero narrative sense. How do you explain in-universe what is happening here?

Fire damage (p. 196, PHB) is described as

Fire. Red dragons breathe fire, and many spells conjure flames to deal fire damage.

If you change the damage type and do not deal Fire damage, you are not conjuring any flames to do so.

Does the bludgeoning damage now dance upon the object and damage it? Does the psychic damage consume it slowly? Even with good will and creativity, it is hard to see how that could make sense.

This is a situation where the DM should exercise their right to overrule a nonsensical result of the rules, as advised by the DMG, p. 4:

As a storyteller, the DM helps the other players visualize what's happening around them, improvising when the adventurers do something or go somewhere unexpected. As an actor, the DM plays the roles of the monsters and supporting characters, breathing life into them. And as a referee, the DM interprets the rules and decides when to abide by them and when to change them.

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