Turning the Heat Up on the PCs

Awhile ago, I spoke about how important it is to have urgency in our adventures. We want the party to push themselves and test their limits.

To that end, here’s a hot tip from RPT GM Michael Barry in Canberra:


Your recent posts have been on fire! Which reminds me…flame is my favourite spice of urgency to add to a scenario:

  1. Mooks that are easy to kill. Plus fire = mooks that are more likely to kill you!

“Here we are in the Flint Caverns…why are all these kobolds carrying bundles of dry sticks and small pieces of steel?”

  1. A tribe of primitives learns to use fire by observing the PCs camping. Hilarity ensues, as well as a fire worship cult.
  2. The PCs’ campfire (or fireball) catches on dry grass (or underground structural timbers). The resulting wildfire shepherds the PCs where the GM can most conveniently, er, ‘entertain’ them.
  3. Fancy meeting a coal seam fire that has burned through into your dungeon? Such fires can last decades…near Scone in Australia, one coal fire has been burning for 7,000 years. Another in the UK, since the 1600s.
[Johnn: Yes, this kind of thing is wild. Right now, my parents-in-law are worried about fires from last summer. The fires went underground when the snows hit. Now that the snow is melting, the hot spots are beginning to surface again.]
  1. Torch-carrying adventurers: beware clay pot-of-oil throwing goblins. “Whoosh!”
  2. Enemies start a grass fire that stampedes every animal in the forest…through the adventurers’ camp.


Wombat burrows are sometimes used as refuges for reptiles, birds, mammals and insects during bushfires. Give your PCs the need for such a bolt-hole.

(FYI, the wombat is the underground trench combat-specialised cousin of the cuddly koala bear.)

May your delivery driver keep bringing you +3 Pizza of Awesome Ideas!

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Great ideas, Michael, thank you. Another thing I like about fire is it creates increasing pressure. It’s a mobile agent that just doesn’t stay in one place the PCs can ignore.

Also, Michael, who is your pizza driver? I’d like to place an order. With double the ghost peppers, of course!

Have more fun at every game!

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