Death By Boiling
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Basic Information

Death by boiling is a form of capital punishment that works precisely as it sounds - the subject is killed by immersion in hot liquid: boiling water is cheapest but other cultures might use oil or other substances. Variations exist as to whether the subject is placed in the liquid at ambient and then heated, or the liquid is heated and the subject dropped in - the former takes longer and, presumably, involves more prolonged suffering whilst the latter is likely quicker, more brutal and more dangerous to perform. Pouring hot liquid over the subject might also be a method, although this doesn't seem to have been as popular historically. A key tool in this would seem to be a cauldron or other heat-proof container large enough to hold the subject - although in a pinch simply dunking the subject's head would probably suffice.

For those lacking in cauldrons, it may be possible to fling the condemned person into a geyser or other hot spring … retrieval being optional depending on what else the feature is needed for.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • A cheerful folk tradition guaranteed to add colour to your campaign.
  • Some cultures use different forms of capital punishment for different capital crimes - in medieval Europe boiling was a popular way of dealing with poisoners and would also work in any context where the condemned person's blood may not be shed.
  • For those with a reliable geyser like Old Faithfull the condemned could be bound to a post next to it and left to be steamed at the next eruption.
  • A classic method for a Pulp-era cannibal tribe, for obvious reasons.
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