If I use the spell Catapult to throw 1 Alchemist’s fire and 4 oil flasks at an enemy…

2 thoughts on “If I use the spell Catapult to throw 1 Alchemist’s fire and 4 oil flasks at an enemy…

  1. D. Walker says:

    The problem I have with this is it that it ultimately becomes a question of what counts as an object, and that lacks a clear and definite answer.

    What if you put all five flasks in a bag, and then catapulted the bag? If you argue that wouldn’t work, why not? Because only the bag is targetted by the spell, and not the objects that make up the contents of that bag?

    What about hurling a mug of ale? Does that not work, because the mug is one object and the ale is another? What about hurling a flask of oil or alchemist fire? What about taking three items – a knife, a stick, and a length of twine, and fastening a crude spear out of them? Is that still three items, or have they now become a single new item?

    Clearly in these cases it would be somewhat absird to not count each example as a single object. I would be astounded if a DM didn’t allow you to catapult them.

    But at what point does that change? At what point do the contents or components of an object stop counting as part of the larger object?

    I think catapulting a “satchel bomb” should absolutely work, so long as the total weight is appropriate to the spell limits. For example, no one in their right mind would argue that a Goliath barbarian physically hurling the same bag full of items would have to take a separate action to throw each distinct object individually.

    So long as the items are interconnected or contained with material that is sturdy enough to hold together, I think they should count as a single object.

    So a sturdy leather bag full of flasks should work, but not a wet paper bag full of them. Or tying a single length of sturdy rope around the necks of the flasks should work, but not tying them together with a single thread of flimsy string.

    • A. Lyons says:

      Generally speaking, a container object or rope would be the target “object” when tossing a composite object. The term “object” in its strictest sense refers only to a game object; one of the fundamental building blocks of an adventure. It doesn’t refer to objects in the real world sense most people assume.

      Provided it contains no more than Catapult’s capacity, a “carrier object” (rope, sacks, chests, flasks, etc.) can be the target of the spell (RAW and RAI). However… according to Catapult RAW, the carrier object deals damage to the target and takes damage; none of its contents would be affected (presumably being carried, then falling to the ground when the carrier object breaks as a result of damage). That is the mechanical behaviour that would occur according to the text.

      However, it is within GM interpretation whether Catapult also then damages the carried objects. It is also another, separate interpretation whether to allow broken Alchemist’s Fire and Oil to be triggered. At my tables, my interpretation would be 4 times the oil equaling 4 times the effect duration; I am very stingy about damage dice because players exploit anything you give them that does more damage than their character’s actions.

      Other DMs: I encourage you to consider what priorities you have at your table! At some, strict rule adherence and simulationism is a priority. At others, the roleplaying fantasy matters more and the rules exist just to put the awesome stuff in context, frequently being bent to tell a better story.

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