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Fire - how do I determine how far and fast it spreads?

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  • Fire - how do I determine how far and fast it spreads?

    I'm hoping this hasn't been asked elsewhere. I've spent two days trying to find some clarification on this with no luck. In my last Deadlands game, the players while in the process of burning down some Blood Oaks, unintentionally caught the neighboring ranch house on fire. It started at the corner of the house and was spreading. A couple rounds later one player enters the house and decides he wants to search the house for any one trapped inside (and any loot he could also grab in the process). All while in rounds. I have a couple players coming from Pathfinder who are rules lawyers. As a result an argument broke out about how fast and far fire and smoke would spread in this scenario. We dug out the core book but couldn't find anything about fire spread (only intensity). Are there any official rules in regards to this. If this has been discussed previously, just direct me to that post. Thanks!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Skyryder37 View Post
    I'm hoping this hasn't been asked elsewhere. I've spent two days trying to find some clarification on this with no luck. In my last Deadlands game, the players while in the process of burning down some Blood Oaks, unintentionally caught the neighboring ranch house on fire. It started at the corner of the house and was spreading. A couple rounds later one player enters the house and decides he wants to search the house for any one trapped inside (and any loot he could also grab in the process). All while in rounds. I have a couple players coming from Pathfinder who are rules lawyers. As a result an argument broke out about how fast and far fire and smoke would spread in this scenario. We dug out the core book but couldn't find anything about fire spread (only intensity). Are there any official rules in regards to this. If this has been discussed previously, just direct me to that post. Thanks!
    No worries. First off, the spreading of a fire is highly situational based on the flammability of the surroundings, so the GMs call always takes precedence. That's official, and feel free to point any player questioning the ruling to this post.

    [Sidebar: Hey players, most GMs are trying to run a fun, dramatic, and exciting game for everyone, not screw you over. Repeatedly being a "rules lawyer" (which is different from helping with the rules) is tantamount to telling your GM, "I don't trust you to run this game" to their face. If you really feel that way (or the GM really is trying to screw you over), then it's probably best to just not play with them. Because either way, "rules lawyering" doesn't make the game fun for anyone else at the table, and no one is at the table to be the person making the game less fun.]

    Back to your normal post already in progress...

    As a guideline, per Fire (under Hazards) it states, "If a flammable target is hit by fire (GM’s call), roll 1d6. On a 6, the target catches fire and immediately takes the damage listed below. Very flammable targets catch fire on a 4–6. Volatile targets, such as a person soaked in gasoline, catch fire on a 2–6."

    In game terms if a 1" space was on fire, then every space around it could potentially catch fire at the beginning of each turn. Say a location was just "normally" flammable, then it's likely at least one of the 8 spaces around that spot will catch fire next turn. But the turn after that, not only are more spaces adjacent to fire, but 4 of those spaces are adjacent to both locations on fire, and thus would get two rolls to catch on fire themselves. Meaning the more a fire spreads, the faster it spreads.

    Now, I wouldn't suggest using that rule except in smaller cases as it just becomes an exercise in dice rolling, but as the stated guideline, consider that even a normally flammable (1 in 6) location on fire will likely double in size each turn. If the location is very flammable (4 in 6), you know, like an old wooden ranch house, and the situation is much, much worse.

    As a suggestion, when players have a pretty specific goal and a limited time to achieve it, then that's a great time to pull out the Quick Encounter rules. Even if some of the players are currently in a combat using rounds, not everyone needs to be involved in the same type of Encounter. Some players might use combat skills while others use Notice to search the house.

    It's very likely that may not have been possible given the specific situation, but it's something to keep in the toolbox just in case.

    Hope that helps!
    Clint Black
    Forum Admin & Rules Answer Guy
    Savage Worlds Brand Manager

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