Flaming Avatars (Larkins Spell Book)

Flaming Avatars Ob 3^, 2 Actions
Origin: Presence.
Area of Effect: Presence.
Element: Fire.
Impetus: Destroy.
Duration: Sustained.
Resource Points: 12

Spell creates Flaming Avatars of the caster that attack any that opposed him at the time of casting.
(Each opponent has an avatar that burns him for the duration of the spell, with damage being done on each of the casters actions).
Mark damage equals 1/2 current Will +3, VA 2. Weapon Length as Spear, Range as Pistol.

1st. Distillation:
Fire/Presence AoE = Ob 2^, 4 Actions

2nd Distillation:
Destroy/Presence = Ob 2^, 2Actions

3rd Distillation:
Fire/Presence AoE, Destroy/Presence, Sustained (Ob 2^, 2Actions) = Ob 3^, 4 Actions.
Compression: Ob 4^, 2 Actions.
Minoris (1/2 Will): Ob 3^, 2 Actions.
Finalization: Ob 3^, 2 Actions.

I sort of want the weapon length to be shorter, as if the avatar was attacking with its hands. Why is it long as a pistol? Is it sailing through the air?

No, it appears in front of/on the opponent(s) due to the Presence Origin facet. Each attacker gets attacked by a seperate Avatar due to the Presence AoE and spell description.
It’s basically the same facets as Fire Fan except I used Sustained instead of Instantaneous to allow the Avitars to continue fighting as long as needed.

This is scary. Very Scary. And it feels like automatic damage on following (actions/exchanges/volleys) which is a pretty rare thing…

Let it Ride rules do apply here so, yes it is a bit scary. But so is being “dog-piled” on (from the mages point of view).
Really, the damage isn’t all that bad when you consider that it is based on 1/2 of your Will (which you just dedicated one die of when you cast a sustained spell) +3. Your Mark Damage is probably a B5 so your I/M/S would be
B3/B5/B7. The VA 2 will usually get past most armor below light mail, but the biggest boon is that steel test that triggers from being affected by magic. It is as they say, “He who hesitates is lost”.

Outside of the creative language of the avatars, in many respects this similar to a wall of fire, or a fire shield i.e. The magician creates an ongoing fire damage in a large area effect. What I would want to double check is how does this stack up to similar spells? The big difference here is that it creates a conflagration that enemies cannot escape from (unlike a fire wall) and also effects enemies both near and far.

Also, I feel that “any that oppose him” is a bit open ended. What if the mage is approached by a group of men, but only two draw their swords on him.

The positioning test determines who is opposing the wizard. If it is a three on one against him those three are targeted. No matter the size of the opposing group the only ones affected by a Presence AoE in a Fight! are the ones that are positioning against the caster.
The caster can only target one spell recipient, the rest are only included if they are opposing the spell caster (which is determined by the positioning test).
Notice that this is the same way that Fire Fan is used. The only difference is sustained spell.

Area of Effect in Fight is on page 515 in the Sorcery chapter.

I still don’t like sustained damage. I don’t think there’s any such thing in the core spells, and for good reason. LiR generally doesn’t apply in conflict systems, as the situation changes moment by moment. After mulling it over (intermittently) for a month, I think sustained damage simply doesn’t work in BW.

If you absolutely must have it, reroll every time the effect occurs again. Don’t retest tax, but do require another roll as if it were recast, including altered Obs.

Or perhaps keep the original roll and apply it to the changing obstacles (as Luke suggested in regards to spell matrix enchanted items) that way if things change in combat to effect the obstacles it could cause the spell to cease functioning. As it is with this particular spell, all someone has to do is stop opposing the caster (through hesitating, Oh F&#k!, Disengaging, ect), their Avitars would then cease to exist.
Regardless, when it comes to sustained destruction spells the DoF should be checked each time damage is being done to determine the I/M/S for that action (modified by initial spell success dedicated to do so) and there needs to be some way for it to be countered or defended against.

(I would be perfectly happy to have each Avitar be able to make an attack roll against their respective target rather than just latching on by way of the spell. Much cooler that way.)