Question for Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Title: Help! My Character Caught On Fire!
Question: Hi, recently when I was in a dungeon my character got caught in a fire trap and was set on fire. Fortunately I was able to make a saving throw to avoid dying due to the flames; however I was curious what a good meta-game solution to this problem would be in the future? Thanks!
Answer: Generally the best way to avoid having your character catch on fire while moving through a dungeon is to avoid anything that is on, generates, or creates fire. Usually this means avoiding any long corridors with oddly shaped holes in the floor, ceiling, or walls and rooms with odd holes in the floor, ceiling, or walls. Usually it is good to ask your resident Game or Dungeon Master (GM/DM) on a regular basis if there are scorch marks on the walls, ceilings, or floors. A good technique is to do so each time your character enters a new area or completes one unit of movement. Eventually you'll wear your GM/DM down to the point that they will actually tell you that they will let you know when you find something interesting. Then if it is any sort of mechanical or chemical trap, you have an argument that is actually valid that your character might have noticed something and would not have then caught on fire.
Avoiding fire that is actively present in a dungeon is also a good way to avoid these problems. You should maintain a space at all times between your character and any objects on fire, including torches or lanterns, to minimize your exposure to flames. This policy should also be applied at all times to any magical characters or items that can generate flames, especially if your system has any sort of spell-failure system built into it. Ideally you should position magic using characters in a location where they cannot actually target you with flames while you are moving through the dungeon or in confined spaces, however sadly practical or tactical limitations restrict your capacity to often utilize this option as the spell-casting power of the fire using character is often a necessary evil of moving through a dungeon.
Our preferred solution therefore is to build a large shield of fire-retardant or deflecting material that you can interpose between yourself and any magical or conventional flame wielding members of your adventuring party. Preferably something that is larger then your character and can be interposed between yourself and the character using flames at the time. If your GM/DM opposes the idea by claiming that such materials do not exist in the game world, take some time away from the dungeon and have the magic using individual test a wide range of materials for flame retardant or deflection capacity. You might be surprised just what your GM/DM eventually rules as flame resistant.
To save you some time we have tested some materials in many game systems and have found them to be consistently non-fire retardant or deflective:
*Poodles *Halflings *Wooden Shields *Lederhosen
Finally in some cases you will come into contact with fire in a dungeon that is generated by magical or other metaphysical means. Unfortunately if your character is not one able to find fire of this nature, or the traps that might create it, you may find exploring certain dungeons a frustrating experience. Our recommendation is to travel to a nearby village or small community and hire a non-player character (NPC) adventurer. Bring them with you and have them proceed ahead of the party, in the event that there is a magical trap ahead of your party in the dungeon, the odds are good that the NPC will trigger the trap first and end up on fire rather then your character. In the event this kills the NPC adventurer, proceed back to the village or small town and hire a suitable replacement. In the event that the village or small town runs out of adventurers, some other local substitutes may be employed instead. Some substitutions we have found successful include:
*Orphans or local whelps *Abandoned Pets *Potted Plants (note requires wheels on the bottom of the pot) *Squid
Updated Every Week Or So With A New Meta-Gaming Solution!