Rules for putting out fires


Running the Game


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Having something catch fire is a common hazard adventurers often encounter. I've seen it in a number of PFS scenarios and each time the way to put the fire out was slightly different, especially when it came to using magic. Most of the time the mundane method was using Survival skill.

It would be nice if we could have a fairly consistent set of rules for putting out fires. It should include what effect cold or water spells have on the fire. The information should be in the same section that talks about fires, choking on smoke, etc.

Grand Lodge

BretI wrote:

Having something catch fire is a common hazard adventurers often encounter. I've seen it in a number of PFS scenarios and each time the way to put the fire out was slightly different, especially when it came to using magic. Most of the time the mundane method was using Survival skill.

It would be nice if we could have a fairly consistent set of rules for putting out fires. It should include what effect cold or water spells have on the fire. The information should be in the same section that talks about fires, choking on smoke, etc.

I just refreshed myself on this. It counts as persistent damage (DC 20 flat check) until you take an action to pat the flames and it makes it DC15. You can also be healed to full to remove it.


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In theory, the OP may also be asking when something catches on fire.

Your post presumes the situation is that an effect just caused some amount of 'Persistent Fire Damage' in which case the rules you mentioned take place.

I think there may be a implied question of what happens if you drop a torch on the road, and there happens to be traces of straw and manure? What chance does it have of catching fire, and what damage would that do?

What happens if it got tossed onto the pile in the corner of the barn where all the excess hay and manure get pushed? How much damage would it do, and what type of roll would be needed to quench it?

The simple state of someone having taking a specific amount of persistent damage is clearly stated. But I think there is room for defining how certain other types of fire damage might be able to use some consistent rules.

A space that is defined as having caught fire, could produce a 'defined' damage per round. A certain DC per clearing action would be rolled to quench the fire. As a general rule, the DC20 if nothing done could work, and DC 15 for each action by anyone capable of helping control the fire could either eliminate the fire from the square, or might reduce the number or size of dice of damage from the fire. Depending on the materials near a fire, adjacent squares might need to roll a flat check or catch fire starting with a minimum damage. Every roll, if they get a 1 (or whatever defined roll) the damage will increase one step higher if an adjacent square is producing more damage.

Most people probably wouldn't want to roll for every square, so you might roll once, and use it somehow to general condition of the fire, and have the fire grow by some percent if the fire rolls well, or lower damage on its edges if it rolls poorly for itself.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yes, I had meant an area on fire not the character.

It could be a tent rigged with oil to catch fire and destroy evidence, a fire trap that causes the whole warehouse to catch fire, a crop of herbs that catches fire, or a temple catching fire.

All of the above are examples from PFS scenarios.

Scenario names:
Sun Orchid Scheme
Gods Market Gamble
Tide of Twilight
Hall of Drunken Heroes

I'm sure there are other examples, these are just some that I remembered off the top of my head.


To be fair and without looking at those specific modules, none of those sound like they would be similar enough circumstances to warrant necessarily using the same mechanics. One imagines there are a lot of factors that affect how one puts out a particular, and how hard one has to work to do it. The size of the fire, the material burning, wind conditions, whether an accelerate was used, etc. That makes creating a single ruleset for something so varied problematic.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Captain Morgan wrote:
To be fair and without looking at those specific modules, none of those sound like they would be similar enough circumstances to warrant necessarily using the same mechanics. One imagines there are a lot of factors that affect how one puts out a particular, and how hard one has to work to do it. The size of the fire, the material burning, wind conditions, whether an accelerate was used, etc. That makes creating a single ruleset for something so varied problematic.

I'm not sure. The system would just need variables. I can see it needing three things.

Flammability: This is the DC for objects to catch fire. Not every object needs labeling just enough to give GMs a good framework.

Intensity: This is the Fire's bonus when it checks if nearby things catch light. So a small fire might have a +5 versus a Straws piles DC of 15. Pretty likely to catch fire. If a fire Crits on this roll it gets an additional spread roll straight away. Intensity +10 is the DC to put out a single space of fire with a 3 Action Survival roll, Critting on this roll puts out an additional space. Intensity could also be used for things like Fort DCs for smoke inhalation etc.

Spread: How often and far the fire checks to see if nearby objects catch light. This number is mostly static but could change based on conditions (+ spread for winds, - for rain for example.)

Tweaking these variables should let us model lots of fires and easily adjudicate on the fly. Exceptions can be made for exceptional circumstances, but that is of course the same for any rule.


That's a pretty good first attempt bud.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

If you look, I was saying rules for putting out the fire.

Rules for running it are also good, but if you’ve got a huge bonfire burning in a 15’ x 15’ area, what are the methods for putting it out? Do Cold or Water spells help, and if so how much?

We have rules for destroying objects, but not for something like putting out a fire.


BretI wrote:

If you look, I was saying rules for putting out the fire.

Rules for running it are also good, but if you’ve got a huge bonfire burning in a 15’ x 15’ area, what are the methods for putting it out? Do Cold or Water spells help, and if so how much?

We have rules for destroying objects, but not for something like putting out a fire.

We BARELY have rules for destroying objects. There's still no general sunder action, and by RAW you can only target a creature with a strike. And while leaving out sundering wielded equipment was an intentional decision, I'm pretty sure you are supposed to be able to attack unattended objects. Even going by RAI, I still don't know what the AC of a door is, or whether one can crit a door. It took a loooong time for the Paizo team to decide/clarify how shield mechanics work.

Not that this really takes away from your point... I just wouldn't hold my breath until like, the Gamemastery Guide or something.


I the real world how does one put out a large bonfire like that?

1. Large volume of streaming water
2. A large pile of sand or dirt to snuff it out

So you would need a spell that can generate a volume of water of earth to snuff out a 15' x 15' Bonfire quickly. 15' X 15' fire is pretty big so I would rule you need a equivalent amount of extinguisher that can cover that area to put it completely out. If you cannot cover the entire are then you need to use multiple methods.

I can put on a standard campfire with 1 or 2 shovelfuls of dirts. Several people with shovels could probably put it out and fire that size but it would take some time, I would guess at least 20 minutes.

A bucket line would also eventually work, but again probably half a hour or so of constant dousing.

Summon a Earth/Water Elemental? That would probably go out rather quickly

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