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Old 09-24-2020, 09:22 AM   #1
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Molotail questions

Seems like molotails are an awfully good choice of weapon in a labyrinth. They do four hits of damage for 11 turns unless the fire is extinguished. Some questions:

(1) Can one stop, drop and roll to put themselves out? I'm not sure that it's that easy to put out flaming oil (especially not in the hex where the molotail exploded!).

(2) If a figure is hit by a molotail and misses his DX roll, he is covered with oil and on fire. The rules are a little ambiguous here. They say armor will protect for the first turn, but not subsequent turns. Seems to me that what the rules intend is this: Any figure (making DX roll or not) gets hit for four points and armor counts for these four points. Failing the DX roll only affects subsequent turns and on those turns, armor doesn't count. A figure failing the DX roll does *not* get hit twice in the first turn (four points for the hit and four for being on fire). Sound right?

(3) A character with a molotail on his belt has to roll 3/DX to see if it breaks if he "falls down" for any reason. I take it that intentionally going prone is not falling down. (Entering HTH *is* falling to the ground, so a test is necessary.) At worst, going prone intentionally would be 2/DX I figger.

There may be more to come.
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Old 09-24-2020, 10:16 AM   #2
Axly Suregrip
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Re: Molotail questions

Hi,
Yes molotails are insanely affective.

1) Stop/drop/roll vs burning oil should work eventually. Not sure how many turns of rolling is necessary. Rolling smothers the flames under your body. So keep rolling to get most of it.

Covering the victim with something to smother the flames should do it. But how often do adventurers have a large blanket handy? Maybe. Also jumping into & submerging in water or the Magic Rainstorm spell will help. Flasks of water will not help.


2) Yes you have this right. The first turn is not a double hit. 4 points only. And if DX is failed then 11 more turns that follows him/her as they are on fire and it ignores armor for these 11 turns. As you already noted.

This makes it a 44 point damage weapon. Also natural animals panic when aflame so it disables them from attacking & sets them fleeing. It is a very useful weapon vs bears, that normally would be a terror for a small party to deal with. Now instead, one easy to make throw and it is running away and soon to die. Although a flaming summoned bear is still under the wizard's control and now extra fun in HTH.

I have ruled that anything carried by such victims is destroyed. So you want that fine sword or magic ring your foe has, maybe you should find another way to defeat him.

BTW, I have also said that Thrown Weapons skill does not light a molotail. Otherwise you will have a molotail machinegun player taking out hoards quickly.


3) Correct, going prone is not falling. Correct again, HTH is falling. I also play that if it does break due to falling and they are carrying a lit torch they have another 3/DX save against self immolation. At least in HTH you get to soak or burn the other guy too. Misery loves company.


Molotails really has two disadvantage: self soaking/emulation and the price. At $20 silver per kill and potentially destroying what you hope to gain, it slows down those using it. But even so, it is very effective.

Last edited by Axly Suregrip; 09-24-2020 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 09-24-2020, 10:44 AM   #3
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Molotail questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axly Suregrip View Post
Hi,
Yes molotails are insanely affective.

1) Stop/drop/roll vs burning oil should work eventually. Not sure how many turns of rolling is necessary. Rolling smothers the flames under your body. So keep rolling to get most of it.

Covering the victim with something to smother the flames should do it. But how often do adventurers have a large blanket handy? Maybe. Also jumping into & submerging in water or the Magic Rainstorm spell will help. Flasks of water will not help.
A flask may not help, but as it happens, the situation I'm looking at has a bucket of water and a barrel of wine available. The bucket should do for the purposes.

Quote:
2) Yes you have this right. The first turn is not a double hit. 4 points only. And if DX is failed then 11 more turns that follows him/her as they are on fire and it ignores armor for these 11 turns. As you already noted.

This makes it a 44 point damage weapon. Also natural animals panic when aflame so it disables them from attacking & sets them fleeing. It is a very useful weapon vs bears, that normally would be a terror for a small party to deal with. Now instead, one easy to make throw and it is running away and soon to die. Although a flaming summoned bear is still under the wizard's control and now extra fun in HTH.

I have ruled that anything carried by such victims is destroyed. So you want that fine sword or magic ring your foe has, maybe you should find another way to defeat him.
Not sure I'd go that far. I know doodlysquat about fires, but I'd think an oil-based fire isn't likely to do much damage to steel or most other metals.

Quote:
BTW, I have also said that Thrown Weapons skill does not light a molotail. Otherwise you will have a molotail machinegun player taking out hoards quickly.
Absolutely agreed. Thrown weapons can't light the molotail for no actions.

Quote:
3) Correct, going prone is not falling. Correct again, HTH is falling. I also play that if it does break due to falling and they are carrying a lit torch they have another 3/DX save against self immolation. At least in HTH you get to soak or burn the other guy too. Misery loves company.


Molotails really has two disadvantage: self soaking/emulation and the price. At $20 silver per kill and potentially destroying what you hope to gain, it slows down those using it. But even so, it is very effective.
Thanks very much. I still have to think about the effects of stop, drop and roll. Perhaps 4/DX on first turn, decreasing a die per turn. A character with DX 12 could douse the flames on the first turn 1/3 of the time or so. Still a dangerous situation.

I happened to have a random encounter in a kitchen (hence the available liquids) and the goblins who appeared had molotails. That also presented a couple of handy sources of fire: torches in sconces and an open fire.

To be honest, I rolled randomly when I was doing a playtest of the adventure and liked the surprise of molotails in that setting well enough to hard code it into the adventure. It's a danger, but it's significantly decreased by the presence of water and wine. Kinda wish I had made the bucket full of whiskey now, but I guess I'm not really a bad guy. The situation is difficult enough for newb players with newb characters.
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Old 09-24-2020, 12:15 PM   #4
Axly Suregrip
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Re: Molotail questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
A flask may not help, but as it happens, the situation I'm looking at has a bucket of water and a barrel of wine available. The bucket should do for the purposes.
No! Not the wine! :-) Alas, if the barrel is large enough he/she could get in it.

Water being put onto an oil fire (instead of submerging to smother) has two bad effects. First it can spread the fire by floating some of the burning oil off. Second the water causes fiery oil splatters. I am not sure if a bucket will be enough to help or just cause the flames to spread.

If you want to be nice to your players have a fountain or pool nearby. Or if you are a little bit cruel put it across the map.


Quote:
Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Not sure I'd go that far. I know doodlysquat about fires, but I'd think an oil-based fire isn't likely to do much damage to steel or most other metals.
Well I had to do something as molotails were becoming the hot item. ;-)
I will admit a sword blade is not going to get damaged but the handle would and certainly weapons with wooden hafts. And I could claim it is enough to remove enchantments.


Quote:
Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Thanks very much. I still have to think about the effects of stop, drop and roll. Perhaps 4/DX on first turn, decreasing a die per turn. A character with DX 12 could douse the flames on the first turn 1/3 of the time or so. Still a dangerous situation.
I like this. I am going to steal it, er, borrow.



Quote:
Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
I happened to have a random encounter in a kitchen (hence the available liquids) and the goblins who appeared had molotails.
Oh please, put marshmallows and unpopped popcorn in your kitchen!
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Old 09-24-2020, 01:06 PM   #5
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Molotail questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axly Suregrip View Post
No! Not the wine! :-) Alas, if the barrel is large enough he/she could get in it.

Water being put onto an oil fire (instead of submerging to smother) has two bad effects. First it can spread the fire by floating some of the burning oil off. Second the water causes fiery oil splatters. I am not sure if a bucket will be enough to help or just cause the flames to spread.

If you want to be nice to your players have a fountain or pool nearby. Or if you are a little bit cruel put it across the map.
Your point about water on an oil fire is apt, but I might just let that go for simplicity's sake. I'd think that a bucket of water might well be sufficient to quench a fire involving oil splashed on a person, spread not withstanding. I have a gallon of diesel in the garage. I'll pour some on the ground and light it and report back on the effects of a bucket of water.

Not sure that diesel is a great stand-in for flammable oil, but sometimes we make do with what's available.


Quote:
Well I had to do something as molotails were becoming the hot item. ;-)
I will admit a sword blade is not going to get damaged but the handle would and certainly weapons with wooden hafts. And I could claim it is enough to remove enchantments.
I suppose so, if the fire burns for a little while.

Quote:
I like this. I am going to steal it, er, borrow.
Glad you approve. Now there arises the question whether a dumb brute like a wolf, say, would react to fire by rolling, just by instinct. I genuinely don't know how they'd react to a pain like that, but after the experiment about splash back, I'll still have plenty of diesel left. And I have a "havahart" trap and a yard full of annoying squirrels. Perhaps time for another experiment.

To do it right, I could douse two squirrels in diesel and set them afire. I'd toss a bucket on one to see how it goes, while the other would serve as a control squirrel. I'd measure the time it takes him to put the fire out by himself and check whether he is clever enough to remember the creek seventy yards away. I'm a little worried about the dried leaves in the woods at the side of the house, but one must be willing to take risks for the sake of science and gaming.

ETA: Just saw a youtube video showing that diesel takes about a minute to light with a match. That would make the squirrel experiments difficult. I must postpone until I have an adequate fuel. I think I got some marine oil somewhere...

Last edited by Andrew Hackard; 09-24-2020 at 05:53 PM. Reason: removed political content
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Old 09-24-2020, 03:22 PM   #6
Axly Suregrip
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Default Re: Molotail questions

Ah, no lighting animals on fire. The owls like their squirrels raw. Animals run from fire, even with other animals they fear. TFT is a fantasy game, so if you want animals that get aggressive and attack when on fire, you can say they do that.

I have had pet that get into stuff and find something clinging to them and then run or back away in the most unproductive ways. Even seen one of my cats run from a dog (it was not chasing the cat but the cat was terrified) straight into a wall at top speed that easily could have run around. BTW, it was not hurt. So, I expect deep terror sets in when aflame and any animal would run in a random direction and fast.
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Old 09-24-2020, 03:42 PM   #7
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Molotail questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Axly Suregrip View Post
Ah, no lighting animals on fire. The owls like their squirrels raw. Animals run from fire, even with other animals they fear. TFT is a fantasy game, so if you want animals that get aggressive and attack when on fire, you can say they do that.

I have had pet that get into stuff and find something clinging to them and then run or back away in the most unproductive ways. Even seen one of my cats run from a dog (it was not chasing the cat but the cat was terrified) straight into a wall at top speed that easily could have run around. BTW, it was not hurt. So, I expect deep terror sets in when aflame and any animal would run in a random direction and fast.
Eh, you're probably right. Besides, some nosy animal control officer came by to warn me off my experiment. Who knew they monitor sjgames.com threads?

Seriously, you make a good point that an animal panicking is unlikely to roll over in reaction to sharp pain on his back or side. And I too have seen a pet (a puppy) run smack dab into a fence when startled.
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Old 09-27-2020, 09:38 PM   #8
JohnPaulB
 
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Default Re: Molotail questions

Just wanted to point out that even though a molotail is a thrown weapon, it acts something like a missile weapon.

ITL P 24.
The range adjustment for DX on throwing molotails and similar items is -1 for every MEGAHEX distance from you to the target. If your target hex is 3 MH away, your DX is -3.

So I am assuming that a baseball like item can be accurately thrown very far indeed.
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Old 09-27-2020, 11:10 PM   #9
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Molotail questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnPaulB View Post
Just wanted to point out that even though a molotail is a thrown weapon, it acts something like a missile weapon.

ITL P 24.
The range adjustment for DX on throwing molotails and similar items is -1 for every MEGAHEX distance from you to the target. If your target hex is 3 MH away, your DX is -3.

So I am assuming that a baseball like item can be accurately thrown very far indeed.
The reason for the -1 per MH range penalty (on ITL p.124, not 24), is not that molotails are more accurate than other thrown weapons. They are not.

It's that the throw is a lob targeted at the floor of a hex. It's not trying to hit a particular person directly.

If you wanted to hit a specific figure rather than the hex they're in, the difficulty of doing that would be like trying to hit them with other thrown weapons.
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Old 09-28-2020, 06:26 AM   #10
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Molotail questions

Note that when it "explodes" in your hex you get a DX saving throw to avoid a direct hit, which is yet another reason to just say no to armor encumbrance.
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