Dungeon Mist

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It might be found in any dungeon. A thick white mist, singed with blue, and so cold it leaves dew on your skin. It rests in every room and corridor like gentle water–rising into little tidal riots anytime a door swings open. The changing level of the floor causes its depth to vary between your knee and your chest.

If you’re short enough to breathe the stuff, it acts as a mild hallucinogen. You’ll see colorful specters of the dead around you, watching with silent, stoic hatred. At least you tell yourself they’re hallucinations. They aren’t, though. Not really.

In some dungeons, things move beneath the mist. Creatures like Goblins, Kobolds, Halflings, Gremlins, and other various diminutive subspecies. The haunting specters are a small price to pay for this perfect advantage against the hated tallfolk. Anything on the short and nasty side gets a 4-in-6 chance to surprise when walking through the dungeon mist. When fighting, short creatures have concealment.

There is a current to the mist. An undertow you may never realize is moving you if you’re not careful. While walking through corridors, you won’t notice it. Nor will you notice it when examining an object within the environment. It’s so subtle that you’ll just naturally shift your feet to compensate, keeping the object of your focus within view. If, however, you find yourself distracted. If you stop to have a conversation, or engage in combat, then the mist will move you slowly. The referee should move the party about 10′ per round / conversational exchange. The current is clever enough to avoid closed doors, and to slip its victims through small or distinct spaces with great subtlety.

Periodically, a massive wave of mist will rise and flow unchecked through the corridors of the dungeon. The best way to represent this is to add this wave to the encounter table.

Characters might be granted a single round of movement to attempt to dive for safety, or possibly just a save versus Breath to grab onto some nearby object. Otherwise, they will be picked up and tumbled along with the wave, until you are cast off from it in some completely different part of the dungeon. The new location should be determined by whatever the referee finds most amusing, and the mist is under no obligation to release each character in the same place.

Being carried off by the mist will also affect a character’s mind for a time, causing them to suffer a brief madness:

  1. When you close your eyes, instead of blackness, you see another world. You’re standing over the rotting corpse of a murdered child. The body is in a little hut on the edge of a forest village, lit only by candlelight. If you keep your eyes closed you can look around this world, and if you move you will see yourself moving through this world (though your body is still bounded by whatever environment you’re actually present in).
  2. You have been clapped in irons. None of your companions can see your restraints, they might insist that you’re imagining it, but your companions are wrong. If your restraints were fake, you would be able to move your hands more then a foot apart from each other. You’d be able to take strides that covered more than a few inches at a time. Your companions must be the ones who are crazy!
  3. You hear the overwhelming sound of dozens of wailing babies. It drowns out any other sounds you might want to hear (or not want to hear, as the case may be).
  4. Suddenly everything becomes clear. Fragments of conversation connected to brief moments of wakefulness half-remembered after you laid down to sleep last night. Your companions stayed up late to meet in secret. Specifically intending to exclude you and only you while they shared a delicious cake. Your favorite kind of cake! They laughed about it too. About what a fool you were, and how happy they were that you would not have any of the cake. Well…you’ll show them! YOU’LL SHOW THEM!
  5. You are a cat. You have cat concerns, and cat thoughts, and will pursue cat pursuits.
  6. Apparently while ya’ll were trapped in that stupid mist, all of your friends decided to put on scary masks. You do not like them. They are scary. You should tell your friends to take them off. If they refuse, well god damn it, you should just pull the damn things off.

    (Your friends are not actually wearing masks)

    (You just don’t like their faces.)

    (I wrote this entire thing while drunk.)

    (I should probably wait to post it so I can edit it while I’m sober, but I’m not gonna do that.)

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4 thoughts on “Dungeon Mist”

  1. According to Herodotus, the Ancient Persians considered every decision twice: once sober, once drunk. Only if there choice was the same would they proceed with the action.

    If you were an Ancient Persian, we’d have missed out. I’m glad you’re not an Ancient Persian.

    1. I’m more from the Galerius school. Get drunk and make a rash decision to let Constantine rejoin his father, thus starting him on the path to overthrowing the Tetrarchy and making Christianity the state religion.

      …maybe I should reevaluate that.

  2. I’m thinking about using this in my next session. Just the fact that the PCs won’t be able to see the floor will present them with an interesting challenge. I think that alone would be fairly terrifying.

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