Burning Oil

Discuss Swords & Wizardry Complete - Rules questions, commentary, house rules

How do you handle flaming oil?

Deter monster pursuit only
Molotov-cocktail style, throw it and it explodes in a flaming mass
Throw it, then light it as separate steps
Something else
Total votes : 9

Burning Oil

Postby merias » Tue Feb 02, 2016 12:41 pm

Burning oil is a staple of low-level adventures. Looking back, OD&D only mentions it as a way to deter monster pursuit. S&W White Box mentions it as a missile weapon for Clerics, but doesn't detail the effects. Core & Complete have this:

"Oil is also highly flammable; a lit flask of oil can be used as a thrown weapon to cause 1d4 points of damage with a successful hit, and 1 more point of damage per round for the next 2 rounds. Burning oil can also be used to create a hazard for pursuing monsters."

Which seems a bit under-powered, compared to the norm from the various flavors of Basic. Basically anything more than giant rats or Kobolds and it doesn't seem worthwhile. In my games I separate the throwing and lighting as two separate steps, but hits with both and you get one die of damage for two combat rounds. What do others use?
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Re: Burning Oil

Postby Makofan » Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:22 pm

I debate oil all the time, but am currently doing the same as merias
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Re: Burning Oil

Postby greyarea » Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:41 pm

My DM does BTB on flaming oil. He also appears to enjoy TPKs.

That said, I might bump up damage to 1d6 and then continue BTB from there, but BTB works fine too.
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Re: Burning Oil

Postby jcftao » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:15 pm

I would play it as 1d6 for the first round of burning and then additional damage for the next round as it burns off.
Perhaps 1d3 the second round.

I can't imagine any creature or PC standing there in flames and continuing to fight an opponent. It might be reasonable to request a Saving Throw to either put the flames out or ignore the flames and take some other action (attack, etc). Failed save means you're hopping around trying to put out the fire and not really concerned about anything else.
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Re: Burning Oil

Postby Lord Kjeran » Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:28 am

I'm by the book on this one. It's mostly a non-issue; it's rare for my players to even think if using it.
"It was an age of dark beliefs and of practises that were no less dark; and witchcraft and sorcery were rampant throughout the land, among all classes."
--Clark Ashton Smith, "The Necromantic Tale"
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Re: Burning Oil

Postby Pandelume » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:58 pm

I generally go BTB, but I will rule a different damage die depending upon the target or circumstances. I might rule that it does 1d8 vs. certain types of undead, or 1d6 vs. monsters that are immune to lightning but not fire, etc.
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Re: Burning Oil

Postby SirGreatNose » Wed Apr 20, 2016 3:36 am

I know this is an older post, but I still use the 'quick start' rule of 2d6 damage.

That might seem overpowered, but I picture the flaming oil splashing over quite a bit of the room ( depending on it's size ), and the creatures in it. I then allow for a reasonable amount of time for the room to be safely passed through. Or a d6 damage roll for friend or foe trying to pass quickly through a still burning room. Again, depending on the size of the room.

Surely one could safely navigate a largish room with only spotty fires in it. :roll:
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Re: Burning Oil

Postby Dareshiranu » Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:43 pm

I also realize that this is a response to an old post. Back in the day, when I was in high school playing 0e when it first came out I remember flasks of oil. I ran games a lot. Players would carry oil to use as weapons, but would always have to worry about collateral damage, since they were typically fired clay flasks that could break with a fall down a pit say and then you'd be soaked in flammable oil for a good while. But then, I don't think we calculated the area of fireballs quite so enthusiastically as the rules read now (or as I'm reading them now more than 40 years later). So things can change I suppose. As I recall we did 1d6 or some such with splash. Can't remember how long it burned. But it could set things on fire. One thing is certain, you don't want to fall, break a flask and drop your torch!
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Re: Burning Oil

Postby foxroe » Fri Nov 04, 2016 12:43 am

Welcome to the boards Dareshiranu! I wouldn't worry too much about thread necromancy around here. It seems to be how we roll.

I keep it simple and in the tradition of the original game: 1d6.

Oil is difficult to get off and takes a while to burn. And by golly, fire is painful. So, an additional d6 on the next round, then one point thereafter for d6 rounds. Additionally, you can do nothing else but fight the flames for the duration.

As for the downsides... if the player is hit with an ignition source (fireball, fire trap, etc.), there's a chance that any oil carried will ignite, and incur the same d6+d6+1 damage routine on the player. Getting flaming oil ready requires a round with no movement or other action.

And besides, who says kobolds can't use flaming oil as well? :twisted:
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