Old School Fireball Backdraft


All the way back in Original Dungeons & Dragons, the fireball (then two words) used to take up the full volume of a space. So, if you cast a fireball in a room to small to contain it, the blast would expand to other rooms.

Fireball OD&D (highlight)

For the curious, those two inches translate to 20 feet. This size persisted through time.

In 5th Edition, the fireball is a sphere of fire with a 20-foot radius:

Fireball 5e

That 20′ radius means fireball takes up 33,510 ft3 of space! However, that’s only in open space. In 5th Edition, a fireball expands around corners, but not beyond its 20′ radius. Sage Advice confirms:

Fireball Sage Advice

But…what happens if we apply the “old school” backdraft rules in a dungeon?

We know that a fireball will fill a standard dungeon room. But how many?

Dungeon Rooms

Let’s assume a standard dungeon has 10-foot ceilings. This is probably high…

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