Thursday, June 30, 2011

Burning stuff / Fire as an adversary



Most threats, challenges, obstacles and enemies I see in RPG supplements are individual beasties and beings, with special abilities, per day powers and scripted dialogue.

This applies to games I have played, and games I have run.

Very rarely have I seen a mundane, everyday burning building used as an adversary, yet a house fire can be an unpredictable and terrifying foe.

It may be Hollywood hokum, but any movie featuring fire or firefighters will, at some point, tell you that as soon as you stop respecting a fire, you'll under estimate it and that's when it'll kill you.

I've had burning buildings in my games before, but only as background flavour.

The players have dashed down burning streets, aware that the burning house is just an interesting wall, or they've watched safely from a distance as the joint has lit up.

They've never had to fight their way out of a burning building, or dash into the flames to rescue a child or loved one, or battled to control a raging inferno before it engulfs the library or hospital.

This is a shame, as all of the above seem exceptionally awesome to me.

So, from now on, I vow to have fire break out in Elysium, a blaze in the arcane library, a burning house between the players and freedom.

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