D&D 5e: Set The World Ablaze With The Ember Of The Fire Giant Feat
D&D 5e: Set The World Ablaze With The Ember Of The Fire Giant Feat
SOURCE: Glory of the Giants
Rating the Benefits of Ember of the Fire Giant
Benefit #1 –
Increase your Strength, Constitution, or Wisdom score by 1, to a maximum of 20
Half an ASI is a great way to even up odd ability scores and means the rest of the benefits are representative of half a feat. Consider this in mind as we move forwards
Benefit #2 –
Gain resistance to fire damage
Fire is probably the most common damage type in the monster manual. Permanent resistance to any damage is nice, and fire resistance is one of the better selections.
Benefit #3 –
Once per turn, your character can replace an attack roll with a 15ft AOE burst of flame that deals damage, with a chance to blind all affected targets
A huge burst of flame that deals damage and applies an effect as debilitating as blind to multiple targets, multiple times per day, is a very powerful effect. Doubly so as it only requires you to spend an attack, not an action
Mechanics and Requirements
Fire Power: How This Feat Functions
The first thing to consider with Ember of the Fire Giant is that it has a prerequisite: Strike of the Giants, and you must take the Fire Strike option to qualify for this feat:
Fire Strike – Once per turn, after hitting with a melee attack, or a thrown weapon, you can deal 1d10 fire damage to the target. This ability can be used a number of times per day equal to your proficiency bonus.
In terms of power, this is one of the weakest variants granted by Strike of the Giants. Fire damage is commonly resisted, and there are no effects here, only raw damage.
With that in mind, from level 4, when you can gain the Ember of the Fire Giant feat, we’d probably save the handful of Fire Strikes available per day for critical hits, where the damage dice is doubled to a much more meaty 2d10, or as a spike to try and pile damage onto a key enemy in boss encounters.
The Ember of the Fire Giant feat grants half an ASI as part of its benefits, offering a +1 increase in Strength, Constitution, or Wisdom.
Unlike many feats, the choice legitimately matters here, as the save DC of the Searing Ignition ability is directly tied to the bonus of the stat you choose to increase.
Damage resistances are a powerful effect in D&D 5e. Halving damage of a particular type literally doubles the survivability of a character against sources of that damage.
Fire damage is one of the most commonly dealt damage types in 5e, both for the party and their enemies. Gaining resistance to fire as just a part of a feat is a solid boost to toughness.
The main meat of the Ember of the Fire Giant feat is Searing Ignition, which functions as an AOE burst of damage, plus an ancillary blind effect, multiple times per day.
Instead of making an attack, a character with this feat can decide to use the Searing Ignition feature. It affects every target of your choice within 15ft, meaning there’s no concern of friendly fire, and you can freely use this even when surrounded by allies.
All affected targets must take a Dex saving throw, with a save DC of 8 + Prof. bonus + Stat bonus improved by this feat
Targets who fail the save take 1d8 + proficiency fire damage and are blinded until the start of your next turn. Targets who pass the save take half that damage and are not blinded.
This effect is absolutely fantastic. Firstly, yeah, the damage is low, but this replaces a single attack roll. At level 5, if you hit even two enemies, this will deal 2d8+6 damage, which is higher than a single weapon strike.
Secondly, the blind effect is incredibly strong. Blinded is one of the strongest conditions to apply to an enemy. A creature that is blinded:
- Cannot see, for anything that requires sight. For example, seeing a creature in order to target them with a spell
- Has disadvantage on all attack rolls
- All attack rolls targeted at them have advantage
The ability to potentially affect every single hostile creature in an encounter with the Blind status effect is a monstrous amount of power. Every enemy that fails their save is useless for a turn, and your party will be that much more effective against them with their attacks or can choose to safely ignore them and deal with the enemies that can actually, y’know, see you.
This ability is even useful against single, powerful enemies. Dex is generally a strong save to target, and substituting a single attack roll for the chance to blind a boss and shut them down for a turn is more than worth it.
Lastly, the fact this can be used multiple times per day, scaling with your proficiency bonus from an initial two uses, up to six at level seventeen, is the final touch. Between this, Strike of the Giants, and any class features, a character might be throwing special attacks in every single combat turn they take.
As mentioned, the Ember of the Fire Giant feat has half an ASI as part of its benefits list, and the stat chosen, from a list of either Strength, Constitution, or Wisdom, directly affects the save DC of Searing Ignition.
Ideal Characters for Ember of the Fire Giant
Fighter – Throw the stat point into Str, pick up the biggest weapon you can carry, and go to town.
The Rune Knight in particular is in love with this feat. The principal class ability lets the character grow to size Large, which naturally also increases the range of their AOE effects. Slamming another disabling effect onto a blinded target using their innate Runes just rubs salt into the wound.
Monk – Monks make a lot of attacks, so dropping a single one to throw out a massive blast of flame is an incredible value. Every stat on offer here is useful to a monk, as is an elemental damage resistance on a class that tends to use abilities instead of raw HP to maintain survivability.
We’d lean towards the Ascendant Dragon subclass, which turns all melee strikes into elemental damage, then throws out even more AOE blasts several times per day, letting the character substitute both attacks from level 5 with waves of fire, living out that childhood Dragonball Z fantasy.
Ranger – Rangers are another class that wants to hurl themselves into combat, and can use any of the stats granted by the feat. An AOE blind is perfect for a class that can generally get into awkward positions, maximizing damage and disables through an entire encounter.
Combos, Tactics, and Synergies
Strike of the Giants – Less “complementary” and more “essential.” To take the Ember of the Fire Giant feat, you must first have taken Strike of the Giants, and have chosen the Fire Strike option. So, uh, do that.
Remember that your GM may allow you to take the Giant Foundling background, which allows Strike of the Giants as part of its benefits package. That lets you pick this feat up far earlier than otherwise possible.
Race or Subrace Choices
Variant Human – So, we just mentioned that you can pick up Strike of the Giants from your background. Variant Human allows a second feat at character creation, potentially allowing your character to have access to both feats from level 1. That’s … good.
Dragonborn – Doubling down on resistances? Dragonborn have you covered with their innate damage resistance. Combine that with Ember of the Fire Giant’s fire resistance and you’re a draconic force to be reckoned with. Plus, that 15ft flame burst? Just think of it as your dragonborn’s fiery encore. That’s lit!
Spells that Synergize
Mind Sliver/Silvery Barbs – Directly reducing an enemy’s saving throw increases the chance they fail it. Blinded is such a strong ability that a single turn of it going through can shift the balance of entire encounters
Elemental Bane – Strip the fire resistance away from enemies, then add bonus damage to every instance. Works great alongside a whole team of pyromaniacs.
Strategies for Maximizing Ember of the Fire Giant Effectiveness
Searing Ignition is a really well-designed ability, with most of the potential pain points stripped out as standard.
Despite being an AOE, the eruption of flame completely ignores targets of your choice with both damage and blind, so you can freely position yourself amongst your allies without worrying about harming them.
The effect also only requires giving up one attack, so from level 5 any character with the Extra Attack feature can take a swing with a weapon in the same turn as they use this.
(If this is your plan, remember to use this ability first, because you gain advantage on attacks against any enemies successfully blinded, which increases your hit chance by a significant amount.)
In the same way, if your party knows you plan on using this, they should try and save big, heavy hitting abilities until after the blind sticks. A Sneak Attack from the Rogue or Smite from the Paladin has double the chances of critting against a blinded target, and doubling all of the damage dice from these powerful attacks can utterly end encounters in one fell swoop.
Finally, remember the subsidiary benefits. Fire Strike is a separate resource from Searing Ignition, and both together add up to a lot of offensive output over an adventuring day.
Finally, elemental enemies. Despite your damage being neutered against anything resistant to fire damage, many of these creatures will also deal fire damage, so don’t forget the resistance granted by this feat. They may just save you from having to RP a funeral and roll up someone new.
Final Thoughts on Ember of the Fire Giant
Despite the necessary prerequisites, Ember of the Fire Giant is an excellent feat.
It combines a large AOE with a strong negative condition that’s useful in almost all circumstances. The way the feat functions and the flexibility in stat choices mean that most classes can find a way to insert this into their build. And the fact that it only requires sacrificing a single attack to activate lets it slot cleanly into your standard attacking sequence.
Of the six feats that follow on from the Strike of the Giants feat in the Glory of the Giants book, Ember is at least in the top three, if not one of the outright best. There are very few situations where the abilities on offer here aren’t going to find themselves used. It’s fun, it’s powerful, and it impacts the game state in interesting ways.
There might even be an argument that this feat grants just a little too much, especially compared with older, comparable options. But that’s an argument for another time.
Simply put, if you’re a martial character and you’re considering building towards this feat, you should. It, if you’ll excuse the awful pun, is an absolute blast.