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Arson and Firestarting

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Super_Dave View Post
    I do think wyrdhamster is right, though: Expression probably makes more sense than Socialize, because the dispatcher is trying to communicate clearly and give factual instructions to first-responders; it's less about making people like you and more about speaking clearly, without ambiguity or missing information. However, Socialize could be appropriate if the dispatcher were trying to talk someone through the steps for escaping a burning house, because they'd probably be very scared and emotional, so getting them to trust the dispatcher might take some social finesse. (Though maybe that's more in the realm of Empathy?)
    More thinking on whole idea I would make 3 different approaches on the idea, each for different character build:
    • Empathy - You try to calm down your firefighter and keep a tight rein on the team. You look over for every sign of "weakness" in team.
    • Expression - Rally troops speech, heightening the morale like "we can do it, you were preparing for weeks to this, boys!" kind a thing. More of "we are heroes here". That's why it can benefit from Inspiring Merit also.
    • Socialize - Possibly to clear communication. It's still a bit sloppy in my mind when you could use this that without two other ways. Maybe to organize "Now, Carl, you take an ax and go to the end of the hall" kind a thing?
    Originally posted by Super_Dave View Post
    While that would normally be true, mental Skills like Science and Academics don't necessarily represent formal schooling, just how well you understand a subject (for example, a 19th-century blacksmith could have an excellent understanding of metallurgy and thermodynamics, despite being completely illiterate, because he works with metal and fire every day). In the modern era, it would be even easier to gain a basic understanding of arson, thanks to all the free resources which are available online.
    This, very much this - basically, homeschooling or online teaching can give you Skill dots the same way as the formal education. If you can get Firearms Skill dots from firing the gun, why not give 1 dot in Science who is home arsonist?

    I, literally, have nice "home chemistry" pal that is working as IT guy on day to day basis and had some problems with passing Chemistry in high school - even when he makes best fireworks I seen to this day. Sometimes formal education do not teach you practical Skill itself, rather the lore connected to it.
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 03-28-2016, 01:40 PM.


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    • #17
      Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
      Socialize - Possibly to clear communication. It's still a bit sloppy in my mind when you could use this that without two other ways. Maybe to organize "Now, Carl, you take an ax and go to the end of the hall" kind a thing?
      Originally posted by Super_Dave View Post
      I do think wyrdhamster is right, though: Expression probably makes more sense than Socialize, because the dispatcher is trying to communicate clearly and give factual instructions to first-responders; it's less about making people like you and more about speaking clearly, without ambiguity or missing information. However, Socialize could be appropriate if the dispatcher were trying to talk someone through the steps for escaping a burning house, because they'd probably be very scared and emotional, so getting them to trust the dispatcher might take some social finesse. (Though maybe that's more in the realm of Empathy?)


      I love the idea of plumping up Expression and Socialize to include planning/support/communications applications like this; it makes them more useful, highlights more uses for the skill, and gives recourse for bureaucratic-ish work that isn't automatically Politics.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Super_Dave View Post
        Wow, your work is incredible! For brevity's sake, I won't repost it all here, but I like what I see. Is it alright with you if I use what you've written here in my soon-to-be-released Changeling supplement Motor City Breakdown? I would be sure to give you credit, of course.

        At the moment I'm using 1st Edition rules, so I'd need to do some finagling to make your ideas mesh with the rest of the setting; but when I update Motor City Breakdown for 2nd Edition, I'd basically just use your suggestions as-written (again, if that's OK with you).
        Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it. Feel free to use it, absolutely. One thing I forgot to highlight is that once a building collapses, it continues burning (and can still set other buildings on fire) until it's either put out or it runs out of fuel (which can take several hours, so it's best left to ST discretion). This is important because a Size 20 house made of wood (Durability 2) is going to collapse in 22 minutes unless a firefighter gets an exceptional success or the fire is contained.

        It's actually quite easy to convert it to 1e rules, just use 1e's burning and extreme temperature rules instead of the Tilts (pages 180 and 181 of the old core book). The way I'd run it would be to use the parts of a building that are actually on fire as Infernos with Candle or Torch intensity (so 3 or 4 automatic Lethal damage, unless wearing fireproof clothes), and then let the ST choose how to run the details (where the sections on fire are, etc.). For extreme temperatures, I'd go with a cumulative -1 to all Mental and Physical rolls per 10 minutes of exposure, and extend the area of extreme temperature to the building's surroundings, so that even if you aren't actively in the burning building per se, you still suffer the effects of the heat.

        For the smoke hazard, I'd use the Poison rules and treat it as an Inhaled poison of Toxicity 1, that deals damage every minute unless you succeed at a Stamina roll, though succeeding at the roll won't clear the smoke from your lungs (you need an extended Intelligence + Medicine roll, 10 successes, 1 minute per roll, and at least an oxygen mask). Using a proper breathing mask prevents the inhalation completely and grants a +5 to Stamina rolls even if inhalation has already occurred. Using a wet rag or some other improvised breathing mask won't prevent the inhalation, but they provide a +3 to the Stamina roll.

        You can probably maintain similar rules when you do the 2e conversion, though the Tilts will make things easier.

        Originally posted by Super_Dave View Post
        I do think wyrdhamster is right, though: Expression probably makes more sense than Socialize, because the dispatcher is trying to communicate clearly and give factual instructions to first-responders; it's less about making people like you and more about speaking clearly, without ambiguity or missing information. However, Socialize could be appropriate if the dispatcher were trying to talk someone through the steps for escaping a burning house, because they'd probably be very scared and emotional, so getting them to trust the dispatcher might take some social finesse. (Though maybe that's more in the realm of Empathy?)
        I defend my usage of Socialise by quoting from both the 1e and 2e books:

        "Socialize reflects your character's ability to interact with others in a variety of situations, from talking people up at bars to comporting himself with dignity at state dinners. This Skill represents equal parts gregariousness, sensitivity, etiquette and custom."

        "Conversely, characters with high dots could have the social graces of a practiced diplomat or raconteur, knowing just what to say and when to say it in any given situation."

        "It covers dealing with groups of people and behaving with the right balance of sensitivity, friendliness, etiquette, and dignity for the setting."

        I think Socialise is a terribly underused and overly narrow skill, and it could benefit with some reframing and expansion of what it does.


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        • #19
          Equipment bonuses cant go above +5; this means that getting maximum possible eq bonus will barely cover untrained penalty combined with durability penalty of 2, before even looking at misc penalties. I would make it Science or Survival or Streetwise, just to make it more varied and deemphasize the untrained penalty.

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          • #20
            Streetwise is a Social skill, so that's a no (though I'd allow Streetwise as a roll to cover up arson tracks). Survival isn't really appropriate, since it's not a wilderness fire (though I would allow Survival to replace Science for outdoors arson).


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