Hitchhiker's Guide to the Planes
“Beware and discard any student whosoever explicitly wishes to be taught to cast the Firebolt. A fledgling mage, concerned more with their power to destroy than to control and understand that with which they would destroy, is among the most dangerous of creatures; more so than the most vile of necromancers.”
Excerpt from the Art of Magic
Mage of Candlekeep
Firebolt is one of the most commonly learned spells in all of the realms. This little cantrip is more powerful than one might first assume and is quite applicable.
The concept of Firebolt is as elegant as it is simple. The caster does nothing more than summon a small, easily contained portion of liquid fire, often called dragon’s blood or magma. This solid form of elemental fire allows the caster a surprising measure of control over an element often considered quite unstable. Once brought forth into the world by the caster, the sphere, this being the shape most naturally assumed by the material, is hurled forth by the caster under the power of basic magical manipulations learned by most apprentices.
A thin, but remarkable streak of flame is left in the dragon’s blood’s path. Many assume this to mean that fire is being projected, however, as many alchemists know, the iconic bolt of fire is not being projected, as is done with the much more powerful Scorching Ray, but is instead a tail of flame created by the interaction of air and fire elements.
Though the casting of Firebolt gives the appearance of fanciful magics, it is, in fact, quite straightforward. The caster cups one hand, the palm facing up. Doing so, the other hand is held a reasonable distance directly above the first. Reciting the incantation, the caster uses their second hand to mime the act of pulling directly up, in essence pulling the liquid fire from below the earth as the dwarves do with oil.
The result of the impact of liquid fire against a living creature is neither surprising nor complex. The creature at which the Firebolt was aimed suffers severe burns at the point of impact, often resulting in blisters akin to those brought on by handling a much too hot cooking pot.
As the Firebolt does not project true fire, but rather a liquid fire, the effect is spatially focused. Said focus is the primary cause for the cantrip’s intensity, however, the small area of impact makes the extinguishing of the flames very simple for any sentient creature. This, of course, does not prevent the spell from lighting aflame inanimate objects, should they be unattended.