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Basic Information

A flare is an incendiary device producing light and/or smoke for the purposes of illumination and/or signalling - in military use, these are often called illuminating rounds (especially those that produce only light). Where smoke and light are produced, the flare is generally a day/night signalling device. Flares may appear in a variety of colours - red being an international code for distress, but other colours also appearing.

Flares may be hand-held (sometimes called road flares) or fired from a specialised pistol1 or single-shot launcher.

Burn time ranges from a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on design and application.

Whilst they are rather more hazardous than other forms of illumination, the ability of flares to generate powerful illumination in a short time from a relatively compact package makes them a popular (indeed, in many contexts a compulsary) piece of emergency equipment.

Their utility as an improvised weapon and an emergency fire-lighter should also not be overlooked.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • The improvised weapon use of flares is positively troperiffic.
  • They are also pretty common in a wide range of locations - and, given that many nations make them compulsary safety equipment in some contexts (aircraft, lifeboats, long distance road transport…) PCs can reasonably expect to be able to find some in quite a lot of emergency scenarios - in more remote areas they are likely to be sold at isolated filling stations and rest stops as well. Which are also places that RPG adventures tend to take place.
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