DCC Donnerstag: Feel The Burn! Firebombs in DCC Games

Flaming oil, whether it's Greek Fire, military oil or good ol' fashioned lantern oil, will eventually turn up in every old school style game. That's a fact. In the Metal Gods campaign, +Bear Wojtek even calls them Molotovs because, let's face it, that's how they get used. The rules for flaming oil in DCC are suitably old school and feel very much like the way flaming oil rules would work in something like, say, 1e or BX or Holmes. Here's a peak:

Catching fire: A character who catches fire suffers 1d6 damage per round. He can put out the fire by spending an entire round doing “stop, drop, and roll,” which grants him an opportunity to make a DC 10 Reflex  save  to  put  out  the fire. Certain spells and monster attacks may produce hotter or more dangerous flames that cause more damage or are more difficult to put out.

So, that's it. Nothing about grenades, nothing about flaming oil, just about catching in fire. We've had to fill it in with suitably old school rules up until now. Hmm. That needs a-fixing. 

How To Throw A Firebomb

The attack roll made with a firebomb (which is what we'll be calling them for lack of a better term that is all-encompassing) is a standard attack roll using the Action Die of the character making the attack (usually a d20), modified as usual for that character (Deed Die, attack bonuses, etc.) making a missile weapon attack (modified by Agility). To land the attack, the thrower must score a 12 or better on the attack roll, remembering that he is attacking an area, not any creatures in it. If for whatever reason, the thrower cannot see the area being attacked, he takes a -2 penalty to his roll. If the roll is under the AC 12, the firebomb misses by 2-1/2 feet for every point under 12 (thus, missing by 4 means that the throw is 10 feet off) in a random direction determined by a d8 roll (the old scatter die). If the firebomb hits an obstruction such as a wall during its scatter, it has a 50% chance of detonating on the obstruction, otherwise, it scatters off the obstruction until it reaches its full scatter distance. 

Each firebomb weapon has a default splash radius of 5' (if it's bigger, its description should tell you), so every creature within 5' of the final landing point of the must make a Reflex save (DC is equal to the attack roll made for the firebomb) or take damage. The victim of a firebomb attack who fails this save continues to take damage every round until either the oil burns out or he spends a round to make a DC 10 Reflex save to "stop, drop and roll" to put the flames out (after which he is prone). Each type of firebomb has a base die of damage that it does on the first round and subsequent rounds reduce the damage done by one step along the dice chain. For example, normal lantern oil does 1d6 points of damage on the first round but 1d5 points of damage on the second, 1d4 on the third and so on down to 1 point of damage on the fifth, after which it burns out. 

Firebomb Stats

Here are some of the firebomb-type weapons commonly used in Ur-Hadad. 
  • Standard Lantern Oil - 5' Splash, d4 damage
  • Simple Firebomb (light & throw) - 5' Splash, d6 damage
  • Military Oil (impact detonation) - 5 ' Splash, d8 damage
  • Holocaust Bomb (impact detonation) - 10' Splash, d6 damage

Playing With Fire

What's that you say? You rolled a "1" on your attack roll and fumbled yet the fumble table doesn't make much sense for firebomb-type weapons? Well, son, here you go: a fumble table specifically for firebombs. 
  • 0 or Less: The bomb went up in your hand when you tried to throw it, but thankfully you took no damage. All of the hair burned off your knuckles, but other than than, you're unscathed. 
  • 1: Same as "0 or Less," but you also managed to burn off your eyebrows. Man, do you look goofy.
  • 2: As you started your throw, you overextended yourself and tripped. DC 10 Ref save to stay on your feet and not drop the firebomb.
  • 3: Your pitch wind up pulled a muscle in your shoulder. Your next attack roll is made at -2.
  • 4: That bomb just won't ignite. Maybe the wick is damp or maybe it's shell was made too thick, but that particular bomb just is not going to erupt. 
  • 5: You lose your balance just as you're about to release the firebomb. You catch it, preventing it from blowing up in your face, but fall prone in the process. 
  • 6: A small amount of the accelerant leaks out as you throw the bomb. You take 1 point of Personality damage as it singes off most (if not all of) your hair. 
  • 7: A small amount of the accelerant leaks onto your hands as you throw the bomb. You take 2 points of Agility damage (DC 10 Reflex save for 1 point of Agility damage). 
  • 8: Your remarkably bad throw lands just in front of you, but thankfully the firebomb flares up and burns itself out quickly. Take 1d3 points of damage and make a DC 10 Reflex save to avoid catching on fire. 
  • 9: You grabbed the wrong thing, which is why your throw is specularly ineffective. You threw one of your other possessions, determined at random. It might be another weapon, it might be your gold pouch. 
  • 10: You stumble and leave yourself wide open to attack. The next enemy that attacks you receives a +2 bonus on its attack roll. 
  • 11: Really bad muscle cramp coming off of that one. -4 penalty to your next attack roll. 
  • 12: The firebomb erupts in your hand, but does d-2 (lower the die type two steps) damage. If you make a Reflex save DC 12, the bomb burns itself up in this explosion and does no further damage, otherwise it burns as normal. 
  • 13: You accidentally throw the firebomb at a random ally within range. Treat the Reflex DC to avoid as a 13, but otherwise this functions as a standard firebomb attack. 
  • 14: The firebomb erupts in your hand, but does d-1 (lower the die type one step) damage.  If you make a Reflex save DC 14, the bomb burns itself up in this explosion and does no further damage, otherwise it burns as normal. 
  • 15: The firebomb erupts in your hand, dealing normal damage. The bomb will continue to burn as per normal. 
  • 16+: The firebomb erupts in your hand, doing d+1 damage (raise the die type one step). The force of the explosion knocks you down, knocking the wind out of you and preventing you from acting until you can make a DC 16 Fortitude save to recover. This fire burns as normal, doing diminishing damage per round. 

Narrative Combat Option: Splash Dice

So, maybe you don't use a grid for combat. I don't use one all the time, so I can't expect that you do either. Most of the time, my sessions are fairly free-form, mapless doodads where we basically just "Theater of the Mind" our way through every fight. These rules as presented above don't exactly account for that, so here's a way to work it so that they do. Since, without a grid, you might not know how many targets could be affected by the firebomb, roll 1 damage die for every 5' of splash radius for the firebomb; this number is the number of potential targets. Thus, for Military Oil (5' Splash, d8 damage), you'd roll 1d8 to determine the number of targets while, for Holocaust Bombs (10' Splash, d6 damage), you'd roll 2d6. If the attack misses, apply the amount by which the attack missed to the splash die as a penalty to see if any creatures may be targeted (thus if you rolled a 10 on the attack roll, you'd subtract 2 from the splash dice). Creatures in melee with intended targets of the firebomb (such as adventurers friendly to the thrower) are equally valid targets for the splash dice.