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Rules for getting muddy in the marsh


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My players are about to get lost in Delecti’s marsh (swept into the marsh after a river crossing gone horribly wrong, evil GM cackle).

I wonder about rules people might use travelling in the marsh.  Obviously, encumbered it’s slow.  However, bronze age armour isn’t exactly full plate (also the PC's metal armour is mainly helm, greaves and vambraces, hauberks are mainly light scale level, albeit made of dragon scale). 

What would people do for move rates?  I was thinking of 1/2 at best, perhaps 1/3 with anything but the lightest armour weapons.  Except the duck of course (who’ll be laughing).  Any movement in combat with require Dex rolls or get stuck (and Str rolls to get unstuck)?

Also, they might have horses (those that survive, resume evil cackle).  I’ve no idea what happens to horses in bog.  Hooves aren’t ideal, but they do have 4.  And spooked won’t begin to describe their mental state.

They party are unlikely to get too stuck, there’s a friendly Hadrosaur who’ll almost certainly be helping them. (Drat, GM muttering)

Thanks, if anyone has any opinions.

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The Upland Marsh is not exactly a peat bog (it is one of the youngest of the marsh areas in all of Glorantha), although there will be stretches filling up with moss, while there will be others filling up with reeds. Quite a lot of it is flooded land with varying amounts of morass in varying depths below the water. There will be trees tolerant of standing in water-covered soil - black alder, willow, birches, etc.

There will be passages covered by grass floating on top of the water. There will be vast areas covered by thick layers of duckweed. There will be stretches with astonishingly clear water.

Based on my comparatively recent experiences in such terrain (I went there for the purpose of getting samples for the lab):

Getting to navigable water often requires some wading through morass. At times with quicksand-like qualities.

Where there are trees, the morass may be quite thick. It is possible that there is a hard top layer on the black, slimy mud left from rotting leaves which may carry a person for a short while before some sudden movement makes it break - a lot like thin ice, but underwater while you're already at least ankle-deep in the mud (and deeper in the water), and then two or three feet deeper.

There is a good chance of losing your boots, if you were wearing any.

Navigating a small boat through such terrain can be exasperating at time. Toppled trees may form barriers that may require you to leave your boat, or reef-like obstacles to run on. Low-hanging branches can obstruct your progress and make regular paddling impossible. Poling the boat can be tricky, to, as the bottom may swallow the pole rather than offering good resistance you can push off from, as in less placid river bottoms. Handling a 3 m pole while navigating low-hanging branches and preventing it from catching in something and being pulled over board is a pain in the rear, a rear already stressed from constantly ducking below stuff.

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28 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Navigating a small boat through such terrain can be exasperating at time.

Navigating a small boat thorough the marsh without a duck guide would just be silly.

 

28 minutes ago, Joerg said:

a rear already stressed from constantly ducking below stuff.

There ya go again, blaming the ducks...

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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5 hours ago, Stephen L said:

What would people do for move rates?  I was thinking of 1/2 at best, perhaps 1/3 with anything but the lightest armour weapons. 

RQ Classic (RQ2) had movement modifiers for terrain and I thought it included marshes, but it seems to only have hills, forests and mountains. i would say that a Marsh reduces movement by 2/3.

RQG has Movement rates on p 102, but does not mention marshes. I would use the rates for mountains, so 8km per day mounted, 5km by foot and 0km by wagon. maybe a small boat would be faster at 10km.

 

5 hours ago, Stephen L said:

Any movement in combat with require Dex rolls or get stuck (and Str rolls to get unstuck)?

Maybe, unless you were on dry land. There are a lot of islands in marshes and nobody wants to fight, or travel, while wading through mud.

5 hours ago, Stephen L said:

Also, they might have horses (those that survive, resume evil cackle).  I’ve no idea what happens to horses in bog.  Hooves aren’t ideal, but they do have 4.  And spooked won’t begin to describe their mental state.

They get muddy and wet. After a while, their hooves begin to rot.

Again, you try not to ride through the wet and muddy bits, where possible.

That's why you have guides, to keep you from the soggy areas.

5 hours ago, Stephen L said:

They party are unlikely to get too stuck, there’s a friendly Hadrosaur who’ll almost certainly be helping them. (Drat, GM muttering)

That would be useful. It is also possible to find friendly ducks or newtlings as guides.

For me, the water and mud are just obstacles that slow you down. The real dangers are the denizens of the Upland Marsh:

  • Outlaw ducks
  • Rogue newtlings
  • Water folk
  • Zombies/Skeletons/other minor undead
  • Revenants
  • Vampires (they can move freely across marshes)
  • Daughters of Darkness
  • Gorp
  • Broo
  • Walktapi

In my Glorantha, people who wear duck masks are not assaulted by Delecti's Zombies or Skeletons, as they are commanded to let ducks pass without harm.

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

The Upland Marsh is not exactly a peat bog (it is one of the youngest of the marsh areas in all of Glorantha), although there will be stretches filling up with moss, while there will be others filling up with reeds. Quite a lot of it is flooded land with varying amounts of morass in varying depths below the water. There will be trees tolerant of standing in water-covered soil - black alder, willow, birches, etc.

There will be passages covered by grass floating on top of the water. There will be vast areas covered by thick layers of duckweed. There will be stretches with astonishingly clear water.

Yes, marshes are not homogenous places, they have very different types of terrain.

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

Based on my comparatively recent experiences in such terrain (I went there for the purpose of getting samples for the lab):

You took samples from the Upland Marsh?!

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

Getting to navigable water often requires some wading through morass. At times with quicksand-like qualities.

There are rules for Quicksand in Borderlands, I seem to remember.

The trick is to lie on your back and float. Until the zombies grab you and pull you under, of course.

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

Where there are trees, the morass may be quite thick. It is possible that there is a hard top layer on the black, slimy mud left from rotting leaves which may carry a person for a short while before some sudden movement makes it break - a lot like thin ice, but underwater while you're already at least ankle-deep in the mud (and deeper in the water), and then two or three feet deeper.

Oh, I like that. you make a Morass vs SIZ roll to see if it breaks.

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

Navigating a small boat through such terrain can be exasperating at time. Toppled trees may form barriers that may require you to leave your boat, or reef-like obstacles to run on. Low-hanging branches can obstruct your progress and make regular paddling impossible. Poling the boat can be tricky, to, as the bottom may swallow the pole rather than offering good resistance you can push off from, as in less placid river bottoms. Handling a 3 m pole while navigating low-hanging branches and preventing it from catching in something and being pulled over board is a pain in the rear, a rear already stressed from constantly ducking below stuff.

So, you might have a penalty to Boating for the surrounding terrain. That makes a lot of sense.

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Here's what I wrote for Tales 19, many, many years ago:

Marsh Geography

The Upland Marsh is a mishmash of mucky islands and rocky outcroppings surrounded by a slow moving murky sludge. Technically, the Creek and the River both run through it, but their routes are a deadly series of small lakes connected by rivers of crud. Think of the Cypress swamps and the bayous of Louisiana. Think moss covered trees. You are there. Now leave.

Movement within the Marsh is half speed at best. Normal beasts of burden and all but the best trained mounts refuse to set even a single hoof into it. Riding such a mount would be impossible, regardless. 

Delecti’s corrupted servant Rihalya protects her master with her perpetual cloak of mist. Thus, visibility is limited to roughly 30 meters or so during the day and perhaps as little as 1-5 meters at night. She rises to her thickest as part of the preparations for expanding the Marsh. She precedes the foul dance of the Daughters of Darkness whenever they choose to venture out of the Marsh as well. Troll Darksense is basically useless, as are most forms of extended vision.

The air is filled with all manner of spooky sounds and odd odors. At times, the stench of decay can be choking. Few beings that enter the Marsh ever forget its distinct smell. 

 

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14 hours ago, Joerg said:

 

There is a good chance of losing your boots, if you were wearing any.

 

There are two replicas of 11th century welsh shoes somewhere in a swedish bog. One is about half a meter deep in the ground where my leg got sucked in and the other is somewhere in the nearby woods where I threw it in anger.

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Wyrms Footnotes 15 contains a section about travelling in the Marsh:

Quote

Traveling in the Marsh

Normal beasts of burden and all but the best trained mounts refuse to set even a single hoof into it. Riding such a mount would be impossible, regardless. Only the ducks with their natural affinity to the terrain can move at close to normal speed.

Difficulty        Location                Distance in a day
Very Hard      Upland Marsh     10 miles by boat
                                                   5 miles by foot
                                                   3 miles by horse
                                                   None by wagon

Delecti’s corrupted servant Rihalya protects her master with her perpetual cloak of mist. Thus, visibility is limited to roughly 100 feet or so during the day and perhaps as little as 3 to 20 feet at night. She rises to her thickest as part of the preparations for expanding the Marsh. She precedes the foul dance of the Daughters of Darkness whenever they choose to venture out of the Marsh as well. Troll Darksense is basically useless, as are most forms of extended vision, unless magically enhanced.

The air is filled with all manner of spooky sounds and odd odors. At times, the stench of decay can be choking. Few beings that enter the Marsh ever forget its distinct smell. Most flying creatures also avoid the airspace over the Marsh, but trained flying mounts could be ridden. All but intelligent mounts would never dare to fly down into the mist let alone attempt to land in the Marsh unless forced.

 

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18 hours ago, soltakss said:

You took samples from the Upland Marsh?!

My working hypothesis has been for while, based on @Joerg’s ability to answer *all* my Glorantha questions, that he had achieved a transcendent level of consciousness, where he actually visits Glorantha in person.

I fear that he will one day venture too far, and be lost to us.  Then I might have to read up on all this stuff for myself.  Or, what terrifies me more, is that I might have to think for myself.

8 hours ago, coffeemancer said:

There are two replicas of 11th century welsh shoes somewhere in a Swedish bog.

Indeed, Coffemancer, it is not safe to tread in the footsteps of the Master.  Do not follow Joerg, he will lead you too deep.  Let the loss of a mere shoe be a warning.

Edited by Stephen L
See if I can get the @ thingy to work
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14 hours ago, 10baseT said:

What do you all think a  human's swim MOV is, unarmoured and unencumbered, 3

Not really relevant for my lot, its more sink speed for them.  Or rather how long they can hold their breath until rescued, and the rules have that quite well covered.

I vaguely remember that 5 miles an hour is a very good swim speed, which I guess is move 2-3.

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7 hours ago, Stephen L said:

I vaguely remember that 5 miles an hour is a very good swim speed, which I guess is move 2-3.

In Scuba, they will tell you that a 2 mile per hour current is the best you can possibly swim against. That is with scuba fins. I remember they said the currents around Molokini were about 5-6 mph, and if you get caught in it...they will gather everyone else for a half hour or so, then come sail after you. Probably catch you in an hour or two. So just relax for two hours, don't even try to swim against that current. The currents underwater at Cozumel were 2-6 mph.

If a human without swim fins can get to 5 miles an hour, they are an Olympic level swimmer, doing professional swim strokes for a short time. Michael Phelps topped out at 6 mph. So, yes 5 mph is a very good swim speed. Expect the average adventurer to top out at 2 mph because they wear gear. Now if they have 150% swim, allow them to exceed 2 mph.

YGMV, but only ducks, newtlings, and the like should be able to achieve 5 mph in Glorantha while wearing gear. And they should be easily able to exceed 5 mph. Eat your heart out Phelps.

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