Monday, November 21, 2011

Scenario Seeds: On Thin Ice

On Thin Ice

The Current Situation
The way ahead is covered in ice. It looks like the path has been flooded or perhaps it crosses a small frozen canal or drainage ditch. A light covering of snow has drifted across the surface, making it a bit slippery, but otherwise it looks passable.

Initial Impressions (Just in case anyone asks...)
  • The ice is dark, full of murkiness, but it is fresh water and (if melted) drinkable.
  • The ice will creak and groan as it shifts under the weight of anyone attempting to walk across it no matter how much they weigh. This appears normal and is not worrisome to those familiar to such environments.
  • The water below the ice seems to be fairly shallow, not more than ten feet deep at best.
  • All other conditions are TBD; adapt things as you see fit. (Random Weather Tables...)
And Then...
Once half the party crosses a given point, the ice will give-way with a loud snap that echoes like a gun-shot in the cold, still air. The ice within a ten to twenty footradius will split asunder, dropping those unfortunates caught outupon it directly into the frigid waters below.

The water is very cold, a bit muddy,but only really as deep as the shoulders of the tallest member of theparty. There is no current, so struggling to reach the edge of the still unbroken ice is mostly just a matter of swimming/wading/lunging and then either grabbing hold of some rough patch or getting assistance from others such as a handy rope, ten foot pole, etc.

The loud crack of the breaking ice, followed by the noise of people shouting and thrashing about in the water might be enough to attract the attention of some prowling hunter or other wandering monster or random encounter.

But Wait There's More...
Of course exposing the group to hypothermia and possibly some sort of infection isn't enough. Not by half.
  • Below the thin section of ice that collapsed is a jumbled mess twisted, torn and jagged metal that will pierce, slash, and lacerate those who fall upon it, flail up against it or come into contact with it in the course of falling through the ice or struggling to get out of the water.
  • Blood in the water will have a good chance to attract aquatic predators. 
  • Anyone injured by the jagged metalunder the water will be even more susceptible to hypothermia and infection.
Further Complications and Options (D12) 
What is down there? Obviously there issomething down there, but what might it actually be? Could all of this wicked-sharp metal bethe wreckage of something interesting, useful or dangerous?
  1. The metal wreckage is from a Crash-site.
  2. Beneath the fractured ice is an ancient tomb, now mostly flooded – what the group initially took for being some sort of canal or ditch is in fact a collapsed section of this cold, wet crypt.
  3. Strewn all through the mud below the ice are the corroded and broken armor and weapons of an entire army that was wiped-out at this very spot in a long forgotten battle with some now extinct tribe or other.
  4. The spikes and blades were set in this place as a deliberate trap. Those who set this trap are now alerted and on their way...
  5. This is a caltrop-lined ditch, intended to serve as a defensive field fortification for either an army that has long passed or might still be in the area.
  6. It is a moat, but the keep, castle or manor it once surrounded seems to be absent, or perhaps misplaced?
  7. The metal fragments are the remains of a gargantuan golem or colossus that once terrorized these lands long, long ago, before being destroyed by some legendary hero or demi-god.
  8. The metal is just the tip of a massive deposit of some fabulous ore or possibly a meteorite that might attract the notice of smiths or others with the knowledge and skill to make use of this stuff.
  9. The sharp blade-like bits of metal are actually the protruding fronds of metallic plants extending into this area from an entirely other plane/dimension/world due to some lingering magical/technological effect.
  10. This is the subtly hidden and trapped secret entrance to some villain's lair. (High chance it is inactive, abandoned or mostly destroyed). Or it might only lead into a series of only partly flooded caves...
  11. This area contains the shallowly-buried ruins of what was once a great and thriving city.
  12. Mucking about with the metal-bits will have a good chance to dislodge something, either giving the group a chance to haul-up some fragment of weird metal that could potentially be useful in making weapons or armor, if they don't find it easier (and potentially healthier) to trade it away instead.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is amazing. It's simple, evocative, easily inserted into suitable locations and very open-ended. The presentation is clear too, with that initial list to make it easy for the GM to get a grip, and the big fun headings. The table is far more options than anyone might reasonably expect, and in my view they range from very good to excellent, but better yet they're a varied range - the fact the scope goes up to transdimensional growths is breathtaking. Most importantly, they table entries are inspirational - it's easy to imagine rolling on the spot, being inspired and running with the result on the fly, wherever it leads. There's a great sense of place in the short descriptions too, and the mood is very definitely yours.

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