I’m reconsidering last week’s post about making alchemical items into encounter powers. Maybe part of the charm and flavor of flaming oil, holy water, and the rest are that they are expendable resources, like potions – part of the long-term resource management aspect of the game. In old school D&D, you’re like, “I have some money… I’ll get some chain mail, and some iron rations, and… let’s say 3 flasks of oil.” I dunno. Is the expendability an integral or nonessential property of a flask of oil?
What’s more fun:
a) “Holy crap, this is a dire situation! I’ll use my flask of oil to set these guys on fire.”
b) “It’s round 4 of combat and I’ve used my encounter powers. I’ll use my flask of oil to set these guys on fire.”
Keep in mind that in situation b) you get to set a lot more guys on fire.