Originally, the spell could be cast by clerics with access to the Combat sphere, though it was actually granted by the goddess Sune, Lady of Love. Circa 1372 DR, the basic form of the spell could be available to beginning clerics of Selûne, as well as druids, rangers, Harper scouts and hathrans while a variant was available only to clerics, druids, and rangers initiated into the greatest secrets of the Selûnite church.[note 1]
The caster's hand (or end of a selected limb) was surrounded by tiny winking motes of light, in the form of a cluster of sparks that continually renewed. They could be of any color (such as for use as a signal), but this was fixed after casting. They gave off light equivalent to a candle, enough to read by if held close. However, they emitted no heat and could not start a fire or damage inanimate matter. The lights could even take the form of a holy symbol, such as the seven stars around two eyes of Selûne for an initiate.[note 2]
If struck against a foe, handfire caused a little damage to living creatures, and slightly more damage to undead, though it had no effect against constructs and others that were not living but not undead. Originally, it could be used twice, then after the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR, a number of times according to the user's spellcasting skill. Initiates of Selûne could use it half as often as others, but it dealt twice as much damage. Furthermore, this version could be held for some minutes until discharged, like it could originally, whereas the later basic version only lasted several seconds. The hand had to directly touch another creature, and discharged automatically, even if the caster was asleep, so it was potentially hazardous to both allies and attackers. Some priests gripped their valuables with a handfire-ready hand when they slept as a guard against theft.
Handfire did not alter or disrupt the casting of other spells. The charge would not conduct through a weapon or other item in the hand, but no armor in Faerûn was known to block it. Some magical barriers would stop it, however.
If not used, the handfire could be mentally dispelled, and sputtered out and faded in seconds. One use of the original handfire was to first strike another creature, then will the second charge into the caster's own body for some slight healing.
In 1365 DR in Cormyr, at the funeral of the murdered noble Athlan Summerstar, his grandmother Dowager Lady Pheirauze Summerstar ordered his body burned on a pyre with "holy handfire" by a priest of Chauntea, in order to banish any harmful magic.[note 3]
- ↑ Two versions of this spell were printed for 3rd edition: Magic of Faerûn presents one that any of these classes can cast, while Player's Guide to Faerûn presents one only available through the Initiate of Selûne feat, with hathrans removed in errata. The rules for Initiate feats state that these spells replace the existing spells if the feats are allowed in one's game. This wiki considers both to exist in the setting.
- ↑ Based on artwork.
- ↑ It is unclear if this "holy handfire" is the same spell, as it can light a pyre, whereas handfire cannot ignite a fire. This might be artistic license or a description for another spell.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Mark Middleton et al. (1999). Priest's Spell Compendium Volume Two. (TSR, Inc), p. 321. ISBN 9780786914210.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Sean K. Reynolds, Duane Maxwell, Angel McCoy (August 2001). Magic of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 70, 71, 72, 73, 98. ISBN 0-7869-1964-7.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Richard Baker, James Wyatt (March 2004). Player's Guide to Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 81, 103–104. ISBN 0-7869-3134-5.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Player's Guide to Faerûn Errata (Zipped PDF). Wizards of the Coast. p. 4. (2004-07-16). Archived from the original on 2017-10-28. Retrieved on 2018-09-05.
- ↑ Sean K. Reynolds, Duane Maxwell, Angel McCoy (August 2001). Magic of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 166. ISBN 0-7869-1964-7.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (November 1999). The Temptation of Elminster. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 261. ISBN 0-7869-1427-0.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (October 1996). Stormlight. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 9. ISBN 0-7869-0520-4.