Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fire solves everything

As the name of the blog implies, I am a fan of fire. I am not a pyromaniac, mind you. I don't want to actually light anything on fire on a regular basis, save for my work from time to time (and pretty much anything I could light on fire provided I had an arson ray). So what is it about fire? As long as you don't worry about finese, fire is awesome in games, video and tabletop alike.

Fire is used as a hazard in games all the time. Most games throw monsters that shoot fire, are made of fire, or use fire as a weapon fairly early in the game's life span. You can almost guarantee that if it's a fantasy game, you will fight a dragon that breathes fire at some point. You can bet that someone is going to shoot a fireball in fighting games. You will fight in a ring of fire or while the stage burns in most platformers. There's lava everywhere. The majority of encounters in MMOs boil down to "DON'T STAND IN FIRE" where fire actually is anything bad that you shouldn't stand in. Gussy it up all you want, it could be an electric unicorn that radiates deadly bees, but players will still call it fire.
It's used in tabletop settings to show things are from some place evil. It's used to show that people must hurry to save someone. It's used to show that some place has been horribly burned to the grounds. It's a display of wizardly might. It's a show of draconic power. It's also the symbol of purity and holiness. Holy fire and flame of purification are both pretty common motifs. No matter where you look, there fire is, ready to burn it's way into your heart and soul with flames of love.

What you don't often see is fire used as part of a party's game plan. Sure, the wizard might fireball something from time to time in a totally cinematic fashion. You might burn the odd giant spider web from time to time. Heck, you might even burn some bodies to stop them from rising as the undead. I'm here to tell you though, fire is always an option for you and your party. There is nary a situation that can't be solved with fire. Much like the above situations though, these solutions all lack finese, but they get the job done.

You are trapped in an inn? Burn the inn down, forcing you and your enemies to flee or fight in a Ridley Scott inspired fight scene with tons of burning shit flying the air. Either way, problem solved. You are searching for the Lost Ruins of Yekalis in the Forest of Urdwin. Solution? Burn that forest down! You will see the stone ruins before too long, plus, things will die in that fire, making your job easier. You are in an enemy town, sent to spy out the plans for the impending war. Light the surrounding buildings on fire and hang out near the entrance, when the people come out, jump them. You are in a swamp. Burn that shit down. Fuck swamps. You want to intimidate someone. Light someone else on fire and be casual about it. Nothing says bad ass like keeping your cool when someone burns while screaming around like a crazy person. You are in a situation where you need a disguise or need to bluff your way through. Considering lighting yourself on fire for scars or to diffuse a tense situation. You need to convince someone you are on their side? Set up a trap that lights them on fire then save their life.

There is nothing that can't be done with a little thought and incendiary devices.

In related news, the pyromancer build for 4e Wizards was released today. The different roleplaying and character options for them are pretty good reading, and the abilities and feats are cool too. If you want to be a controller that does it as a side job, with your primary fire being a total fire-wielding bad ass, it's a great build. If you want to be comic relief, it's also a great build. Wizards are pretty cool already...this makes them...(queue The Who and sunglasses)...hot.

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