Spell Archive: Pyrotechnics

Happy New Year’s Eve folks! We are very excited for not only a new year, but a new decade and we hope to be spending it with you guys! What better way to celebrate than with some fireworks? With today’s spell, we’ll be sure to light up the sky and the battlefield with a dazzling display of everyone’s favorite explosion!


Pyrotechnics

2nd Level Transmutation

Casting Time: 1 Action

Range: 60 feet

Duration: Instantaneous

Choose an area of nonmagical flame that you can see and that fits within a 5-foot cube within range. You can extinguish the fire in that area, and you create either fireworks or smoke when you do so.

Fireworks: The target explodes with a dazzling display of colors. Each creature within 10 feet of the target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or become blinded until the end of your next turn.

Smoke: Thick black smoke spreads out from the target in a 20-foot radius, moving around corners. The area of the smoke is heavily obscured. The smoke persists for 1 minute or until a strong wind disperses it.

Spell Talk

This spell was introduced in the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion, and you can definitely see that it was meant for campaigns that deal with this type of enemy. The first bit of key wording comes in the first sentence, where the spell specifies that you must choose an area of non-magical flame. This includes things like torches, oil lamps, burning buildings, etc. Rules as written, you actually can’t use this with spells like produce flame, fire bolt, create bonfire or the like. You could set an area on fire with those spells and then use this spell, but that does take two actions. One thing I like to do with this spell is actually change its casting time to a bonus action. It allows you to use your action to cast a cantrip and set something on fire then detonate it with this spell in the same turn!

The Fireworks effect of the spell is probably what you’ll end up using 90% of the time. First off, who doesn’t like fireworks? You can make it as colorful as you want, maybe you want to make them into certain shapes, the choice is yours! The spell targets every creature within a 10 foot radius of where you cast the spell and forces them to make a Con save. Sadly not only is Constitution one of the better saves on most monsters, but this spell will also end up targeting your teammates. Not quite a big deal if you have a fighter/barbarian who has a good chance to succeed on the check, but you won’t want to be catching your monk/rogue in this effect. Blind is a very good status condition in my opinion, giving the target disadvantage on attacks and failing sight checks while giving allies advantage on attacks.

The second effect of the spell Smoke is definitely more situational. This effect is functionally the same as fog cloud, but doesn’t require concentration which is always great. Being able to cut off vision in an entire area of the map can turn a fight. Your rogue can take advantage and dash in and out of the smoke, your casters can sit within the smoke and only step out for their attacks, etc. However, this could turn sour if the enemies are able to reposition and use that smoke to their advantage, similar to how the players would use it. Smart usage of the spell and good positioning though make this a great effect that again, unlike fog cloud, doesn’t require concentration.

One of the many reasons to play a Goblin Artificer

Tips and Tricks

So originally I was not fond of this spell at all. I thought that the parameters to cast the spell were too strict and the pay off wasn’t as good as the cost. Then, I met my one true love… sorcerers.

This spell is fantastic for sorcerers. Various metamagics grant the caster some much needed versatility for the spell at generally cheap costs. Use produce flame or fire bolt to light a table, a bunch of hay, or a pile of clothes on fire then use a bonus action to cast pyrotechnics with Quickened Spell. This allows you to get the spell off all in one turn! If your DM is extra nice, they’ll even let you toss the spell at an enemy, do the damage, then let you detonate the spell. Careful Spell lets you cast this care free in a group of your friends, allowing them to automatically succeed the save and make sure they don’t get blinded. In a way that not even the Evocation Wizard can sculpt spells, the sorcerer is able to get the most and more out of pyrotechnics.

Another important tidbit to note in the spell description is that it extinguishes the flames. If you’re trying to catch a party of hobgoblins by surprise and their way is only lit by a torch, you can extinguish it from as far as 60 feet away and cause them panic with either the sudden bright lights of fireworks or the billowing of smoke around them. Looking at sorcerers earlier, if you really wanna do some shenanigans you can Subtle Spell and cause torches to seemingly explode into fireworks out of nowhere, creating a distraction for your group. You can snuff out campfires before your rogue and ranger go in for the kill. The possibilities aren’t quite endless, but the spell does bring a good degree of utility that can find a strong niche use.

Reflavors

The spell has a few cool ways you could reflavor it. One way I see is an Artificer type character using things like flashbangs or smoke grenades that can only be activated by extreme heat. Like I mentioned before, you can change the way your fireworks look, from their color to their shape, the options are endless. Do you want it to be a huge white nova of light? Or strands of purple erupting from the dying fire? You can even go as far as to reskin the Smoke ability. If you’re a shadow sorcerer, maybe you opt for it to have a much more ghastly look to it, even bits of green mist swirling in the smoke. A storm sorcerer may instead opt for a rumbling cloud, and so on. The reflavors are pretty simple, and there’s great opportunity to make this spell your own.


And that’ll do it for today’s Spell Archive folks! Fireworks aren’t reserved for just New Year’s Eve, every day can be a celebration with your spellcaster! Again, thank you all so very much for joining us today and we hope that you’ll spend the new year with us! Feel free to check out our social media and we’ll see you guys next year! 🙂

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