Fate Core Sneak Peek: Fight Fire

Did you miss the Fate Core Kickstarter and the opportunity to get sneak peeks of the latest Hattish awesomeness? Don’t cry! We’ve selected a handful of projects to share with you here and tide you over until the books are available. Today, we’re giving you a free peek at the Fate Worlds Fight Fire setting! Fire is bad news and if you were sensible you’d be running away from it rather than into it.

Jason Morningstar of Bully Pulpit Games (author of Fiasco, Durance, Grey Ranks, The Shab-al-Hiri Roach and more) brings us a setting about real heroics, about kicking down doors to save peoples lives, and about fire!

Fight Fire

The book says fire is rapid oxidation accompanied by light and heat. Combustion is a rapid chemical reaction that gives off energy or products that cause further reaction. You learned this in fire school because it was on the test, but you didn’t learn it until your first interior attack, humping a blitz line into a hoarder’s Georgian revival mansion.

Then you got to see what “combustion gases” really meant – carbon monoxide and dioxide, hydrogen cyanide and water vapor, any of which could kill you. The ones that didn’t burn you were diligently trying to work their way past the seal of your air pack mask. Near the seat of that first fire visibility dropped to zero as flying ash plastered your face plate in a disorienting whirlwind of impossibly dense black smoke. The heat was extraordinary – both thermal and radiant – and knocking it down with water created clouds of scalding steam. The house, its very bones consumed as fuel, started to collapse on and around you. That was an education.

How We Roll

Welcome to the Fire Department, probie. Let’s get you oriented.

We’re divided into companies here. A fire company is typically four or five firefighters and an officer, usually a Lieutenant, whose work centers around a single fire apparatus. A fire station often houses two or three companies, and is commanded by a Captain. That’s your boss. Her boss is the Battalion Commander, who is not to be trifled with.

An engine company attacks a fire by pumping water or foam at it from a variety of hoses, protecting life and property. A pumper truck will carry 500-1000 gallons of on-board water, many hoselines of various dimensions, and a basic assortment of ladders and tools. They may have a deck gun for high volume coverage.

A truck company (also called a ladder company) is usually about the same size as an engine company, and is tasked with forcible entry, ventilation, search, and rescue. A ladder truck will have a vast assortment of tools and ladders, life-saving equipment, and specialized search and rescue gear. They may have a built-in aerial ladder for rapidly accessing upper floors.

A rescue company consists of specialists focused on emergency medical treatment, extrication and stabilization. Many sub-specialize in swiftwater or high angle rescue. A rescue truck will have equipment and gear for a variety of situations – chocks and shoring tools for stabilizing motor vehicles, airbags and power tools and specialized gear. Sometimes instead of a dedicated company, a smaller battalion will have a dedicated apparatus staffed by truck and engine company personnel as needed.

Playing With Fire

There are three ways to deal with fire in this game: as a scene aspect, as a challenge, and as a full-blown NPC opponent with its own character sheet. Here’s an example of the latter, the Full Steam Coin-Op Laundry on West Holland

Full Steam Coin-Op Laundry, 56 West Holland Drive

Location: Building is a taxpayer–a shoddily constructed retail building with an integrated drop ceiling. Firefighters hate them because they are dangerous and make fire suppression difficult. This one has an open plan full of industrial laundry machines and a back room full of cleaning supplies. So, let’s go with

Aspects: Shoddy Construction, Falling Tiles, Laundry Machines, Flammable Cleaning Supplies, and Not to Fire Code.

People and Circumstances: There’s a panicking crowd of folks in the parking lot, and let’s say one of the laundromat employees was taking a nap in the break room. So, Panicked Crowd and Hapless Laundromat Worker.

Zones: It’s a small place, so the main room and the back room are really the only two zones we need.

The Main Room (Smoldering Fire)
Aspects: Shoddy Construction, Falling Tiles, Not to Fire Code, Panicked Crowd, Laundry Machines
Skills: Good (+3) Smoke, Fair (+2) Burn, Average (+1) Spread; five stress boxes
The main challenge is really to suppress or vent this fire well enough to make navigation to the back clear. Some members of the crowd might still be in here, lost in the smoke. The fire’s trying to choke everyone out and impede movement to the back room–just trying to bulldoze past with Advance should have Legendary (+8) opposition unless something is done about the fire first.
If the PCs are forced to concede to the fire here or are taken out, any of the trapped crowd will begin dying from smoke inhalation, and the fire will transform into an open one.

The Back Room (Ignition Site, Open Fire)
Aspects: Shoddy Construction, Falling Tiles, Not to Fire Code, Flammable Cleaning Supplies, Hapless Laundromat Worker
Skills: Superb (+5) Burn, Great (+4) Spread, Good (+3) Smoke, seven stress boxes
The laundromat worker is unconscious and needs rescue, but the flames are everywhere–many of those cleaning supplies were stacked onto high shelves. Breaching from the roof will probably be the only option to get him out at speed.
The laundromat worker dies if the PCs are forced to concede or are taken out, the fire will spread into the main room, and the building will be unsalvageable.

Change it up: The marquee sign fills with water and collapses over the front entrance. A family is living in the back illegally. The dead walk-in is filled with LP gas cylinders.

Want to know more about how you vent, breech, rescue and cope? You’ll get it all in Evil Hat’s Fate Worlds!