On The Thursday Trick, White Phosphorus

White Phosphorus (Category: Special)

Trigger: Other: Player Greed Effects:Onset Delay
Multiple Targets
Alchemical Device
Save: Rod/Staff/WandDuration: Special
Resets: NoneBypass: None (Avoid)

Description: Do you like your players very much? I hope not, because this one is a killer.

So there is some body of water - either a pool, or a waterfall, cascading down over a beautiful white-yellow statues with exquisite manufacture. Or perhaps a yellow-white necklace rests at the bottom of the pool. Perhaps these items are studded with gems (or what I like to call shrapnel)

What a wonderful use for magic aura!

Detection/Disarming: The thing about phosphorus is that it is extremely reactive upon contact with air. It will very quickly after being removed from the water dry off and begin to smoke. Shortly after that it will produce thick clouds of smoke only seconds before self igniting in the air, flinging large chunks of burning phosphorus everywhere. Conveniently once contacting flesh, it continues to burn!

Something small like a necklace or jewelry will do 3d8, minus 1d8 per round in a 10' radius, save for half, unless you are wearing it, in which case the funeral will be closed casket. Something large like a statue would do 7d8, minus 1d8 per round in a 40' radius, save for half.

Have fun!

(The Phosphorus Necklace is the classic implementation of this idea from  Grimtooth's traps, a trademark of Flying Buffalo Inc. games)


  1. Very nice. Beats my sodium soup ladle!

  2. Whoever says chemistry isn't fun clearly hasn't blown up enough stuff.

    1. I want that on a T-shirt next time I go to the airport.

  3. This is a good one. Any idea how long it should smoke before going off?

    I'd probably give a save for half damage (the idea being that the PC might try to fling the offending item away or jump for cover).

    1. It would depend on what they did with it. I would say "Wisps of smoke or some sort of magical energy rise from the object, like your breath in winter" and then wait for actions.

      Then I would say, "Clouds of smoke begin to pour from the item", and do a slow count to five.

      If they haven't gotten rid of it by then. . .

  4. Metalic potassium will do a similar trick, when it is exposed to water.

  5. You can't store phosphorus in water (it does not handle well) phosphorus is usually stored in oil to prevent harmful reaction. Also it bonds with your fat through your skin. It does not come off. It also does not explode (bursting everywhere like sodium/potassium) as much as immolate (the fire is very hot, but also somewhat contained).

  6. Phosphorus is particularly nasty in that it bonds to your skin on contact, and has be known (in descriptions of the American bombing of Hamburg (Germany)) to reignite when re-exposed to oxygen after leaving water; did i mention it is highly poisonous and your body will absorb it through the phosphorus chemical burns? Further; phosphorus tends to immolate (as a descriptive term) more than explode; phosphor bombs are designed to distribute phosphor powder (further ignition provided by ambient heat, brushing against clothes, or other convenient sourced of friction).


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