Posts Tagged ‘mining’

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Fix it with a Submarine

All right, onto the goods. Last week I wrote about creating adventure sites in RPGs. Well take a quick look at this adventure site I’ve included in the Exploration Age Campaign Guide.

The Deepest Light. There is a deep ocean trench just off the coast of ReJong that sparkles with radiant light. Thousands of small, star-shaped crystals line the ocean floor which can only be reached by deep submersible. These star crystals explode when thrown, dealing 4d6 radiant damage to everyone in a 20 foot radius. A successful DC 14 dexterity saving throw means the target only takes half damage. Harvesting the crystals is dangerous work however, since a group of sahaugin call the canyon home and don’t take kindly to the invasion of others.

Not bad, I mean there’s danger, but also a good reason for venturing into the site, so the risk-reward balance is there. There’s just one little problem…

Eventually, I realized (and so have you, probably) that there was no convenient way for a few PCs to get to the bottom of the ocean, let alone a mining operation. My first reaction was to move the adventure site to deep in The Underdark or a volcano, but I already have a few adventure sites in those locations in Exploration Age and I wanted this to be a unique underwater experience.

Then I remember that Exploration Age is a world of mechs, firearms, airships, bombs, and more. Why not throw in a submarine? I know some of you are already rolling your eyes and I’m preparing to hear about it in the comments section from Joe Lastowski for a while (who is a great dude and who’s feedback I appreciate), but I gotta go with what my gut says is going to provide some awesome adventure – and that’s a submafrigginrine.

A submarine also allows for further exploration of the world of Canus, which is unsurprisingly a theme of Exploration Age. An underwater adventure into an uncharted area of the deep is my kind of adventure.

The Dragornborn Built It

I know, you want the submarine to be built by gnomes. Well, a gnomish submarine makes those of you old enough to remember Warcraft II think of this…

Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness Gnomish Submarine

While it wouldn’t be entirely out of the question for Canus’ gnomes to pull off a similar feat, in my mind it makes more sense in Canus for the dragonborn, who live on a collection of islands and love the water, to have created the submarine. Also, since it was invented primarily as a means of exploration and transportation and while it can defend itself, it does not shoot torpedoes (but it does shoot magic). How else is the dragonborn submarine different from it’s Warcraft counterpart? Take a look at the excerpt below from the Exploration Age Campaign Guide.

The Crustaceans

What began as a simple underwater mining and exploration vessel has change naval warfare on Canus. Dragonborn inventors were curious about what might lie in the depths of the ocean, and so they took years to create the world’s fist submersible vessel. Their discoveries were endless once they had their vehicle in the water – never before seen creatures and plant life. The most important of their discoveries were the gems in The Deepest Light.

Once the precious stones were discovered in the dangerous depths, the rush to mine them became tied to the purpose and spurred the invention of more submarines. The dragonborn outfitted the vessel with two arms to aid in the mining – one arm ending in a large drill, the other in a large two-pronged claw, thus giving the submersible its name, the Crab. Both drill and claw still exist on the vessel today and can be used in mining and combat.

As the Crab began to face dangers in the deep, its drill and claw proved to be ineffective against foes who might attack from a distance and so four pressurized spear guns and bulky armor were added to the vessel. These guns are placed on the fore, aft, starboard, and port sides of the submarine which required a larger body to make room for gunners. The submarine’s hull became larger in the models which have these spearguns and as such is known as the Lobster.

During The Fourth Great War, a final feature was added to some of the submersibles so they might be used in battle. An arcane cannon was affixed to the tops of these vessels and could be used only when the submarines surfaced. It wasn’t a perfect plan, but it did allow Marrial to sneak up on their enemies. These War Lobsters were outfitted with even heavier armor and painted black so they were hard to find in the sea at night after they had surfaced. During the war some of Marrial’s inventors sold submarines to other nations, since Marrial’s lax laws did not require them to keep the submarines exclusive to Marrial’s navy.

There are rumors that some dragonborn inventors are currently working on a special arcane cannon that can fire force shot below the surface of the water, but these rumors have not been proven.

Submarine HP AC Speed Size Right Arm Left Arm Price Special Attacks
Crab 120 16 30 ft. Large Drill Claw 30,000 gp None
Lobster 200 18 40 ft. Huge Drill Claw 80,000 gp Spearguns
War Lobster 350 20 40 ft. Huge Claw Claw 150,000 gp Rend, Spearguns, Arcane Cannon

Sinking. Once a vessel is reduced to 0 Hit Points, it ceases to function and sinks at a rate of 30 feet per round until it reaches the sea floor.

Obliteration. If a submarine’s Hit Points are reduced to negative its max HP, the submarine is obliterated and crew and cargo find themselves in the deep.

Repairs. A damaged submarine cannot have its Hit Points restored the way a creature can, since it is an object. In general, ship repairs cost 10 gp per 1 HP restored and take a number of hours to complete equal to the number of Hit Points restored.

Crab. The smallest of the submersibles, the Crab is mainly a mining and research vessel. A creature proficient in vehicles (water) can pilot the submarine using its move to move the vessel. The pilot can also use its action to make one attack with the Crab’s claw or the drill. In addition to the pilot, the submarine can hold three other Medium or Small creatures.

  • Claw. Melee weapon attack. +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d8 + 3) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 13). The Crab can only grapple on creature at a time. While the Crab has a creature grappled, it may only use its claw attack against that creature as it continues to crush it.
  • Drill. Melee weapon attack. +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (3d8 + 3) piercing damage.

Lobster. The Lobster is a larger, better armored submersible. A creature proficient in vehicles (water) can pilot the submarine using its move to move the vessel. The pilot can also use its action to make one attack with the Lobster’s claw or the drill. Four other creatures can work the spearguns located on the fore, aft, starboard, and port sides of vessel. In addition to the pilot and four gunners, the submarine can hold four other Medium or Small creatures.

  • Claw. Melee weapon attack. +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d10 + 4) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 14). The Lobster can only grapple on creature at a time. While the Lobster has a creature grappled, it may only use its claw attack against that creature as it continues to crush it.
  • Drill. Melee weapon attack. +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 20 (3d10 + 4) piercing damage.
  • Spearguns. Spearguns are attached to the vessel and can swivel. To attack, a creature must make a ranged attack roll and can add its proficiency bonus if it has proficiency with heavy crossbows. Spearguns deal 1d12 piercing damage, and have the ammunition (range 100/400), loading, and two-handed properties.

War Lobster. When it comes to dealing damage beneath the waves, nothing comes close to the heavy-armored War Lobster. It is designed strictly for battle and sports two over-sized claws. A creature proficient in vehicles (water) can pilot the submarine using its move to move the vessel. The pilot can also use its action to make one attack with one of the claws. Four other creatures can work the spear guns located on the fore, aft, starboard, and port sides of vessel. In addition to the pilot and four gunners, the submarine can hold four other Medium or Small creatures. While surfaced, a team can also work the arcane cannon atop the vessel.

  • Claw. Melee weapon attack. +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 21 (3d10 + 5) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 15). The War Lobster may only grapple one creature at a time with each claw.
  • Rend. This attack requires the War Lobster to be grappling a creature with one claw and have no creature in the grip of its other. The War Lobster makes two attacks against the grappled creature with both claws.
  • Spearguns. Spearguns are attached to the vessel and can swivel. To attack, a creature must make a ranged attack roll and can add its proficiency bonus if it has proficiency with heavy crossbows. Spearguns deal 1d12 piercing damage, and have the ammunition (range 100/400), loading, and two-handed properties.
  • Arcane Cannon. While surfaced, the arcane cannon can be fired, per its mechanics.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends and share this blog post, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!

You ever look at the North Pole and ask yourself, “Why in the Hell would Santa want to live there?” The answer is simple – his operation is so confidential he went to the one place no one could find him. Even if you know exactly where his operation is, good luck braving the elements to get there. I feel bad for the person who has to deliver all those letters to him. Seriously, a man with the power to see us at all times of the day should have an email address.

Exploration Age has blank spots on the map beyond The Damned Lands and Verda. The harsh environments of Glacius and the North and South Poles of Canus have kept even the toughest explorers at bay.

Glacius

Map of Glacius

Map of Glacius

Just North of Findalay lies a continent about the size of Parian covered in snow and ice. Glacius is one-third frozen ocean, one-third snow-covered plains, and one-third mysterious ice-covered mountain range with the occasional volcano and aberrant ruin thrown-in.

The snow plains of Glacius are a near constant blizzard, but thanks to the Society of Seekers and The Explorers’ Guild most of the area has been mapped. For those with the stomach for it, the snow plains offer some of the most spectacular sights in all of Canus. Rare beasts, a strange aberrant ruin full of mysterious labs, and bizarre weather phenomena make Glacius unlike any other place on the planet. All of these rarities are not as strange as the seemingly abandoned tunnels dug into the frozen snow. Where exactly the tunnels lead and what their purpose was is up for debate, as no expedition deep into the tunnels has ever come back.

Glacius’ frozen ocean is the most dangerous place to get rich quick. Frozen within the ice is gold dust. Ice-breaking ships manned by all-or-nothing crews make their way through the sea, trying to find the best places to saw out blocks of ice flecked with gold. These blocks are melted aboard the ship and the gold is then harvested. Of course, the frozen ocean has many of its own hazards such as weather, thin ice, hidden icebergs, polar bears, krakens, ice pirates, and more. Boats can get stuck inside the frozen ocean if they venture too far into the ice and the sea freezes their path behind them. In this case the crew can starve and freeze or abandon ship and try to survive out on the ice – a miserable existence. Perhaps the most frightening hazard upon the frozen ocean is The Undead Miner Army. Sailors tell tales of a greedy legion of wights who met their fate mining gold on the ice. These undead are always looking to increase their ranks and horde of gold by attacking the crews of the living. There may be truth to these rumors, since destroyed mining ships have been found with all their gold removed and not a single corpse ever in the bloodstained area.

Imagine… a legion of this guy!

The Ice Ranges of Glacius are the unmapped area of the continent. The ice-covered mountains have peaks higher than 20,000 feet. As a result, no one has ever ventured beyond the outer-most mountains so what occurs within the Ice Ranges remains a mystery. Occasionally a white dragon can be seen flying toward the mountains and those with keen ears can hear thunderous booms erupting from the inner peaks through the howling blizzard winds.

Two active volcanoes live in Glacius. Mt. Steam sits on an island in the frozen ocean. Some sailors claim to have seen a massive red dragon coming from or going to Mt. Steam, but those rumors have never been corroborated. The other volcano, Mt. Hyrias sits on Glacius’ coast and seems to constantly spew ash and lava into the sea. Mad soothsayers claim that the aberrants buried a weapon beneath this lava flow long ago and are soon going to return to use it and cover Canus in ash and fire.

The Poles

If Glacius is remote and dangerous than Canus’ poles are the hardest-earned suicide mission Exploration Age has to offer. Barely explored, and less often survived, few know what the poles have to offer. To some that is a reason to stay away, but for others the challenge has become a draw. The Society of Seekers and The Explorers’ Guild have a bit of an unofficial race going between them. The Society has an independent pet project of exploring the South Pole while The Guild is exploring the North. Both are hoping to prove their superiority over the other by filling in the blank spots of their pole’s map first.

While both poles are cold, icy masses of frozen ocean with treacherous terrain and more dangerous weather, each does have its own unique hazards. The North Pole’s winds are stronger than any other on Canus. Whirlwinds of snow and ice can kick up at any moment, or gusts of wind could blow so strong that a traveler without ice cleats may be lifted off of the surface of the frozen ocean and carried into the air. Flying is not an option on the North Pole for any but the most powerful creatures.

Below the surface of the North Pole swim predatory creatures known as ice-breaker sharks. These crafty beings use the bony growths upon their heads to weaken the ice in a given area then surprise their prey by either breaking through the weak spot or allowing their target to fall through it before attacking. Either way ice breaker sharks can sense footsteps through the ice from up to a mile away and will begin preparing a hunting ground with plenty of these weak spots. They often allow their prey to travel far into the hunting grounds before attacking so they can surround the victims with weak spots, giving no option for easy escape.

Who wants to snuggle?

The South Pole is just as deadly as the North Pole. Winds are not as fierce, however the snow falls so heavily here it forms massive dunes that are treacherous to climb. The snow is uneven and could collapse at any moment, burying a traveler. As if the snow and weather weren’t enough, earthquakes constantly shake The South Pole, threatening to level and reform new snow dunes constantly, not to mention bury and knock adventurers off their feet. But the worst of the worst hazards in The South Pole is The Lingering Havoc.

No one is sure of The Havoc’s origin. Some say it is an ancient remnant of aberrant societies, some say it migrated from The Damned Lands or mysterious parts of Verda, and others believe there is a darker force somewhere deep within the South Pole controlling the force. Few have seen The Lingering Havoc and lived to tell of it. Those who have their minds permanently warped. Yet all those who describe The Havoc have a similar story to tell. Either coming out of the snowy depths or rising through the broken ice, a massive creature, more than 500 feet tall by many accounts. The Lingering Havoc is a hulking mass of bones and corpses of various humanoids, animals, and monsters that have somehow formed together into one colossal engine of destruction.

Other than their ongoing competition, why would The Society of Seekers and The Explorers’ Guild continue to risk it all over two seemingly worthless hunks of ice? Because there could be profit, adventure, glory, and discovery to be found over the next snow dune. Aberrant ruins that have yet to be picked over, a new race of intelligent beings, portals to other worlds, and more endless possibilities live in the minds of adventurers and PCs. It’s my promise to deliver on those expectations, provided they survive the harsh cold… and the ice breaker sharks… and The Lingering Havoc… you get the idea.

If you like what you’re reading, please check out my podcast on The Tome Show, follow me on Twitter, tell your friends about the blog, and/or leave me a comment and let me know you think. Thanks!