Monday, January 17, 2011

The Mire-O-Meter

Last time my players went back to my sinking dungeon I call the Sodden Temple, I realized that I didn't remember how much the temple had sunk sense their last excursion.  It wouldn't be a big deal if the dungeon was simple, but it has a few different depths on a single level.  I think it will help if I keep track on a little meter like this:

I wouldn't mess with numbers, just use body words to describe depth to players, easier for us all to imagine that way.  So, those depths would be:

h - over your head
g - neck-high
f - chest-deep
e - hip-deep
d - thigh-deep
c - knee-deep
b - shin-deep
a - ankle-deep

Again, pretty simple, but if I label the dungeon map at starting depths (this alcove is the lowest at "a", this stair landing is "c", and the hallway here is "e") even if it starts out dry-- just assuming when the fluid or mud starts coming back that will be the first level-- then it will be easier to keep track of the current relative depths (just go up two places on the meter from the current depth of the landing to see where the alcove is at now).


  1. I like that. It could be used for all kinds of mucky situations.

    "Okay, so how deep is the mud hole I just fell in?"

    "Um, hold on - let me get the eight-sider."


    - Ark

  2. @Arkhein

    Oh, I like that one. I gotta use that some time.

  3. Interesting, makes me think of some of the physical challenges in the dungeoneers survival guide. Also a great way to get your PCs to take off their armour. Cf. Ken Rolston's "squeeze", a narrow twisty cleft in the rock you can only getthrough if you're small and/or unarmoured. I always want to put this right at the start of a cave complex.

    Is your muck just muck, or does it have other alarming properties? Even a faint smell of alcohol or naphtha would raise the tension significantly, I think.

  4. Hey, thanks all. Yeah making it a random table is a great idea, hadn't thought of that Arkhein. I think I was focussing on keeping it legible on my map and expecting there to be room numbers, so I stayed away from numbers in my list. Bu now that I think of it most of my recent dungeons used room letters. Anyway, thanks

    @richard: That very thing happen in one of the recent sessions. The water wasn't over the head but there was a long hallway that has traps all along the floor. They could swim over them, but I said no swimming possible in armor.

    They ended up attacked by gecko creatures while swimming armorless, towing their armor in a canoe. They quickly decided to head back.

    In this case the muck is just rising seawater. But I like the idea of ominous smells.

  5. This is a good way to keep track of things. Timely too, as I just did some flooded areas in my megadungeon.