Author Topic: Molotov Cocktails and Failed Rolls  (Read 3362 times)

DannyK

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Molotov Cocktails and Failed Rolls
« on: September 17, 2010, 12:39:42 AM »
In my online game, I had my Chopper PC's gang rushed by a guy with an "old-fashioned gasoline bomb" as the result of another player's failed roll.  Rather than duck, the Chopper elected to stand fast and try to shoot the bomber to protect his people. Nice, but he blew the roll.

So I have two questions:
1) What would you say the stats are for an improvised firebomb?  I'm thinking something like: 2-harm area messy ap, maybe with a custom move to represent being set on fire. 

2) Despite being a prick, I find myself reluctant to set fire to the guy and his named gang members based on a single blown roll, given that this is emerging from somebody else's bad roll originally and that we're in the first session.  Am I being a wimp to either weaken the realistic effects of the bomb or to NOT have it go off and load up on other evil MC moves instead?  The Angel PC is nearby, so there's medical care available.

dragonraven

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Re: Molotov Cocktails and Failed Rolls
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2010, 01:03:28 AM »
Make him roll +Cool under fire. ;)

If they fail, then maybe they take 1-harm AP, but then the fire goes out.  If they only get a partial success, then maybe other stuff gets set on fire, or they get surrounded while trying to put out the flames. 

Glendower

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Re: Molotov Cocktails and Failed Rolls
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2010, 04:49:51 AM »
Question 1 is pretty straightforward.  Check out the chapter on Harm (page 162), and it gives some relative stats for what levels of harm various weapons have.

Now, Molotovs are not really designed for hurting people, so much as setting fire to things.  I would also argue that armor would help, at least in the short term.  The big thing with chemical fires (and that includes burning gas) is that so long as it doesn't hit exposed skin, you aren't going to be burned that badly. 

I'd treat it like a half strength grenade (2 harm area messy) and maybe a custom move for it to begin burning whatever's around and flammable. A countdown would be great for keeping track of the fire's spread.

Or just do a follow-up move of taking away his stuff (in this case his armor) as it's now merrily burning and no longer effective, or maybe a move of the fire spreading (announcing future badness). 

2. To address the realism, I should point out that Molotovs are bad news for vehicles and buildings, but in open areas its usually something that maims rather than kills. Scars are part of the apocalypse world, and the Angel's right there to patch up.  They're not exactly accurate weapons, the amount of gas in the average cocktail is going to hurt, but probably not kill, because a lot of that burning fuel is going all over the place.

And if you stay away from AP, your chopper and his gang probably got at least 1 armor to mitigate the effect. 

Daniel Wood

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Re: Molotov Cocktails and Failed Rolls
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2010, 06:28:33 AM »

Don't be afraid to hurt people when they do brash or dangerous things (and screw up) -- first session or not.

That doesn't mean you should go out of your way to do it, either, but if you just need a little backup for making it hurt, consider that backup giving. Make Apocalypse World seem real -- and that means not pulling punches. Who cares who made what roll, if the fiction involves a molotov cocktail to the face, that's what the dude got.

Orion

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Re: Molotov Cocktails and Failed Rolls
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2010, 07:07:57 AM »
Those stats are absurdly too powerful for a molotov in any vaguely realistic setting.  Fire takes a long time to kill people, and even with gasoline there are a lot of options for getting away, like taking your damn clothes off. 

I'd call it messy rather than area, since I don't realistically see it harming *everyone* nearby.  There's no way it's AP, since clothing *does* protect against burns and shrapnel.  Finally, I bet if you compared the fatality rate of stabbings and molotovs, you'd find it's much less deadly.  On the other hand, being on fire IS distracting.  How about:

S+1-harm hand messy

Is that something you're more comfortable hitting your player with?

Christopher Weeks

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Re: Molotov Cocktails and Failed Rolls
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2010, 01:29:14 PM »
As a counter on the sim-of-reality side of the argument, when I was a sixteen, two of my friends were playing with making molotovs and one poured flaming gasoline down his arm and back.  By all accounts, from the paramedic who arrived first to his doctors in the burn ward where he lived for a month, he was quite lucky to survive.  Sure, he wouldn't have died for a couple of days, but death was the most likely outcome in a state of the art (for 1986) hospital.  And his burns must only have been something like three square feet.

skinnyghost

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Re: Molotov Cocktails and Failed Rolls
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2010, 04:22:48 PM »

Don't be afraid to hurt people when they do brash or dangerous things (and screw up) -- first session or not.

That doesn't mean you should go out of your way to do it, either, but if you just need a little backup for making it hurt, consider that backup giving. Make Apocalypse World seem real -- and that means not pulling punches. Who cares who made what roll, if the fiction involves a molotov cocktail to the face, that's what the dude got.


I fully agree with Daniel on this one.  Make life realistic.

Also, timely advice considering our session last night.

DannyK

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Re: Molotov Cocktails and Failed Rolls
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2010, 12:45:37 AM »
Thanks for the feedback, I decided to shower them with 1-Harm burning gasoline and set the house they were hoping to loot on fire with it.  Pissed off motorcycle gang and maybe an Announce Future Badness from the highly visible plume of smoke in the desert sky -- the failed rolls are coming so thick and fast that it's hard to hammer the little bastards sufficiently before it's someone else's turn to get beaten.