I am working on a print-only zine, as we speak. It is going to have some stuff in it that I will also be using
against with my next group. Not a lot of it will make it onto this website because would there a point in mailing out zines afterwards? Here, however, is something that is going into the zine. It is a small list of terrible situations you may throw at your players who happen to be crawling through a swamp. Included is an unfinished sketch of one of the terrible situations. Also included is a probable amount of grammar and spelling errors, as this came straight from my notes. (That sketch is terrible and I should feel terrible for putting it here. I will be redoing the bug. Its terrible)
TERRIBLE SWAMP SITUATIONS
01. Pithbug Bites – A mosquito like bug that feed on bone marrow. They have a proboscis long and sharp enough to pierce non-metal armors and bone and do 1d2 damage for each bite. They appear in small swarms (1d6 Pithbugs) near stagnate, murky pools of water. For each bite there is a 1 in 20 chance the victim will lose the use of the affected bone, baring they save against paralysis. Paralysis lasts one round. Pithbugs mate for life and are rarely found more than two at a time.
02. Blood Muck – Centuries of death and dismemberment in this locale has lead to the homogenization of blood and mud. Blood muck is a stinking, shallow pool of thick mud and viscera. A player who haphazardly steps in it will become stuck for for 1d4 rounds, and must save versus poison or catch a disease of the referee’s choice. Pools of this putrid gruel emit a smell of nasty organic decay mixed with the musky aroma of earthen minerals. It is a terrible smell.
03. Irrational and Torrential Downpour – There is a 2 in 6 chance that today there will be a burdening rainfall for 1d4 half hours. Any adventurers caught in the deluge will have their visibility reduced to a mere 2 feet in front of them. The rain is so loud that the adventurers will be surprised by any attack, no matter the situation. Likewise any creature approached by the party will also be surprised. PCs will upgrade their whispered conversations to loud clamors of inaudible speech. Rain of this magnitude will soak clothes and supplies, rendering useless any unprotected torches and other equipment. Certainly flash floods will appear and degrade travel to a glacial crawl.
04. Bog Fire – Astute adventurers will notice the smell of natural gasses before their camp fire or torch ignite the area into a beautiful ball of bright white fire. Few know or understand this phenomenon; many equate it to errant magics or supernatural forces at work. It is simply science. Explodes as a basic fireball spell may explode.
05. Torture Willow – Innumerable is the amount travelers through this swamp who have been prey to the stocky, pendulous arms of the torture willow. Those who wish to run their hands through the beautiful vegetation of this tree may wake up tomorrow stretched to their death. Any victim who rolls a successful attack against the torture willow (AC 8) will break free. PCs caught in the death-stretch of the torture willow will survive two rounds per HD until a limb is severed. Large creatures will last 3 rounds per HD and small creatures will last one round for each HD. Appendage severance causes a great amount of damage.
06. Derelict Traps – Once upon a time this swamp played home to a culture of hunter gatherer folk. They may have been forced unwillingly out of their homes for any number of reasons, but their mark has withstood their emigration. Scattered throughout the trees and ponds and mud there is an occasional trap, long abandoned by these people. They include misfiring snares, pits lined with decaying wooden spikes, and swinging log traps that explode into a hail of rotted, moist shards. If a PC triggers a derelict trap it will deal 1d4 points of damage but should never be fatal. These broken snags are more a nuisance than a serious threat.
07. Sudden Change In Standing Water Depth – Swamps are a land besieged by an unending moistness. In an area marred by murky puddles, black lagoons, and cloudy ponds it stands to reason that drowning may be an active concern of any sword peddler. She may find her foot caught in an unseen hole or worse, some vile creature’s hidey-hole. Any sword peddler walking through a seemingly shallow body of water has a 1 in 6 chance of becoming stuck and immobilized for a round or two. All holes have a 1 in 20 chance of being the aquatic coop of a natural creature of the referee’s choosing.
08. Pepper Flowers – In the warmer months a special flower blooms in this swamp; pepper flowers thrive in the humid conditions. Pepper flowers bloom into ovular, white sacks full of seeds. If the humid air remains calm around the blossom, then all is well. Oppositely, if the dense air surrounding the plant is disturbed the flower sack will burst, sending hundreds of stinging, burning seeds into the air. While not deadly, the pain caused by contact with these seeds is excruciating. When in contact with eyes the seeds will cause temporary blindness until the seeds wash out. Any seeds to come in contact with open wounds or sores will cause an extra 1 point of damage per wound.
09. The Humidity, By The Heavens! The Humidity – The sticky, salty air does silly things to otherwise stalwart folk. At the peak of the day PCs must make a save versus poison; failure preambles an odd situation within the adventuring coterie; a missed turn of phrase, clumsy motor skills, or a quick fight over something seemingly mundane. A minor failure may result in a humorous prelection whereas a terrible failure may see a death in the echoes.
10. Getting Lost – Maps are useless when everything looks the same. It is impossible to count footsteps when one is constantly pulling, with two or more hands, their feet from muck. Getting lost causes a myriad of problems and the longer that the party is lost the worse things get. Being lost is a form of paralysis and the effects of uncharted meandering should be challenged as such. The effects are, but not limited to: fighting amongst friends, desperately stress eating, losing tempers over basic occurrences, susceptibility to surprises due to extreme paranoia and rampant fear, brief moments of depression and anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, and heightened physiological and cognitive arousal. This means that thoughts are scattered and focus is thrown to the wayside. Penalties on rolls relevant to being found should be noted for each hour of lost time.
11. Roaches in the Night – Nibble your finger tips at night when you are camping. These tiny cockroaches are a botheration of a very high caliber; no bite or swath of bites will cause a damage, but sleep will be sorely missed. Penalization applies to physical and mental actions until a proper respite is organized.
12. Hot Foot – In moist conditions loom the ever present threat of immersed foot afflictions. The swamp is no different. A constant wetness is at all times weeping into the footwear of our brave sword peddlers. If care is not taken to keep a foot dry then a person is like to lose a toe or two. Occasional drying of socks is as much a necessity as eating or breathing when traversing overland in the swamp. Unchecked hot foot will cause lesions and ulcers on the bottoms and sides of a foot, which will burst into a warm mess of clearish pus and purplish blood. Anysoul who contracts hotfoot will begin to lose toes after two full days without treatment.
At any rate…