Do spells like burning hands specify specific non-material components?

In "Does Burning Hands really require touching thumbs?", it has been established that burning hands does indeed require touching thumbs. A question that is danced around there is, "is the touching thumbs the somatic component?" This question also extends to spells like dissonant whispers (verbal component) and message (verbal/somatic component). In other words, when a spell specifies something in its description, outside the component list, that could be nonetheless be construed as the component, is it in fact a component, or even the component?

I’m inclined to think such descriptions are the component, but am unsure. This does have some weird implications if so, like "how loud does one dissonantly whisper?" and "can someone else hear my whispered message?" (I don’t need these answered here; I just include them because they are related, depending on the answer.)

Is my Burning Ears spell the right level?

I have designed this spell:

Burning Ears

8th level divination

Casting Time: 1 minute

Range: Self

Components: S M (an earwig or a hollowed out animal horn)

Duration: 1 hour, concentration

Classes: Bard, Wizard, Warlock, Sorcerer

For the next hour, you listen very closely for the sound of your name. If any creature on the same plane as you uses your name to refer to you, you are able to eavesdrop on their conversation. For one minute, you can hear what takes place as if your ears are in the room. If another creature on the same plane as you uses your name to refer to you within the hour, you can choose to turn your attention to that one, or continue listening to the current one.

I currently have it listed as 8th level. Is this appropriate? On one hand, there is no save, and no way to detect that it is happening. It has no limit on how far the spell reaches. However on the other hand, it only lets you hear, not see, it can be blocked by Nondetection, and if your enemies find out you use this spell, they can simply stop using your name to refer to you.

Some changes I am considering:

  • Duration: 8 hours concentration instead of 1 hour
  • Duration of eavesdropping 5 minutes instead of 1 minute
  • Text that specifies that you feel momentary sharp pain in your ears when you key in. Maybe it could even deal 1 psychic damage?
  • An invisible ear-shaped sensor that could be detected

Can a Light Domain Cleric cast Burning Hands while carrying a shield?

I have a Light Domain Cleric who gets, as part of the Light Domain, the Burning Hands spell. Can I cast this spell while carrying a shield?

I subscribe to the idea that one physically must touch one’s thumbs together and spread one’s fingers per the spell as the somatic component of the spell. Is it reasonable to think that a Cleric with a shield strapped to their arm is able to make such a gesture and not burn their own shield?

What changed in Burning Wheel between Gold and Revised editions?

What rules changes are there between the Burning Wheel Gold and Revised editions?

The best answer would be an overview that would give a player familiar with Burning Wheel Revised a good sense of where the changes lie and their general nature and intent. I’m not looking for an exhaustive account of the way the rules differ. To put it differently: What are the advantages of playing Gold over Revised?

Running a mystery in Burning Wheel

As part of an ongoing “Uncampaign” (organized group play of many different systems, to get a feel for new and current trends), I’ll be running a Burning Wheel game this weekend.

Having only run Mouseguard in the past, this question is soliciting tips for running Burning Wheel in general and running mysteries in Burning Wheel specifically. The Genre is set in something like the “Powers” universe, where the PCs will be mundane cops investigating crimes by supers.

What should I keep in mind when running Burning Wheel for the first time?

Does catching on fire stack if a character catches on fire again while still burning?

The effect catching on fire is unclear on if it can happen multiple times to a character. For example, the spell Fires of Purity (Complete Divine p.165) states:

Any creature taking fire damage from fires of purity must succeed on a reflex save or catch fire. Creatures on fire burn for 1d4 rounds and take 1d6 points of fire damage each round, unless they succeed on Reflex saves (at the spell’s DC) in subsequent rounds or douse themselves in water (see Catching on Fire, page 303 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide).

So for a hypothetical situation, a dual-wielding fighter makes 5 attacks against a creature and hits all 5. The target must make 5 Reflex saves, and they fail 3 of them. Which scenario happens:

Scenario A: Max Damage

  1. The creature takes 3d6 “catching on fire” damage the first round from the initial ignitions
  2. The creature takes up to 3d6 fire damage for the next 1d4 rounds (1d6 fire damage for 1d4 rounds for each of the 3 attacks)

Scenario B: Medium Damage

  1. The creature takes 3d6 first-round catching on fire for the 3 times it caught on fire
  2. The creature takes 1d6 damage each additional round for the maximum number of rounds equal to the highest of its three 1d4 round duration rolls

Scenario C: Least Damage

  1. The creature takes 1d6 first-round damage, with no additional damage since it’s already on fire
  2. The creature takes 1d6 damage each additional round for the highest number of rounds from its three 1d4 round rolls

Damaging spells stack, per the discussion in this question, but this isn’t a spell. This is effectively a non-magical effect that boils down to “does a character who continues to be exposed to an effect that catches one on fire get more on fire.”

When should I deal fire damage to a creature trapped inside a burning web from the Web spell?

I have looked for this exact situation a lot already and don’t think it has been answered yet. I am a newer DM and think I know the rules fairly well, but if I am wrong and have debated with my group for nothing, please let me know.

We just had a session where our wizard cast web, and then lit portions of the web on fire to damage the creatures inside the web.

The web spell reads as follows:

The webs are flammable. Any 5-foot cube of webs exposed to fire burns away in 1 round, dealing 2d4 fire damage to any creature that starts its turn in the fire.

My group argued that because the creatures trapped in the web would be starting their turn in the flaming web, they should take 2d4 fire damage immediately (at the end of the wizard’s turn). I interpreted the description to mean that the damage would be dealt at the start of the creatures’ turns, as the spell says “2d4 fire damage to any creature that starts its turn in the fire.”

I tried to explain that it really doesn’t make a difference in this case, as no other creatures around them had any actions to save the creatures caught in the web, so whether the creatures took damage at the start of their turn or right at that moment, they would still be taking the damage before using their action. My players argued that it should happen right away since they wanted to know if the fire killed the creatures, or if they should keep attacking them.

Because I am playing with new players and we are only playing for the summer with the interns at our work, I try not to be a stickler for the rules in this mini campaign. I ended up saying we will let it happen right away (since it didn’t matter anyway), and I would look into it before our next session.

Reading the spell description again, I still think the damage should happen at the start of the trapped creatures’ turn. Any advice, insight, or links to helpful discussions would be appreciated!

TL;DR: If a creature is trapped inside a web (from the web spell) that is on fire, should that damage be rolled at the start of its turn, or right away?