View Full Version : Need help describing / fleshing out this area and combat encounter, any ideas?

2014-08-29, 03:57 PM
I'm writing a short module that I intend to release for free. There's one really cool combat encounter in my mind. It's inspired from God of War 3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qjtde3kbrCM&feature=relmfu) (skip to 2:46). You travel atop a massive cube platform, fighting off minotaurs and other beasties inclined to cut down the chain and plummet you to your death. I really like how it breaks the mold of a traditional combat encounter, where the enemy's sole focus is attacking you directly, whereas here the enemy can also choose to indirectly harm you by destroying the platform you're on.

Unfortunately, at least to my knowledge, the God of War 3 doesn't exactly explain the context of these giant moving platforms, nor the underlying mechanics behind them. So porting this battle to a D&D setting will require some changes.

The closest way of realistically representing the platform's mechanics is by using the idea behind vertical blinds. These are what I'm talking about: [1] (http://www.americandrapery.com/adb/images/spec-sheet-cord-and-chain_img_0.jpg) [2] (https://www.nextdayblinds.com/install/images/verticalblinds3.jpg) [3] (http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0192/5944/products/G71_superVue_Headrail.jpg?v=1391268579)

This is what I've got so far:

The PCs are deep inside a mine. They approach a vast chasm separating them from the exit on the other side. A wooden cube platform suspended by iron chains (basically the "louver" in pic #1) is the primary means of transportation over the chasm. The chains are connected to steel tracks running along the chamber's ceiling, and can be moved along the track by a crank(?) attached to a traverse cord, which are located on either side of the chasm. These platforms can be raised/lowered as well with a different crank. These cube platforms are used to transport miners and minerals (by filling them up).

The PCs come across one or two chasms with this platform mechanism with nothing sinister behind it, so they can learn how to get across. If the PCs choose to use this method to cross, they will have to leave one PC behind to operate the crank(? no idea the proper name) while everyone else uses the platform to get across, then use the crank on the other side to send the platform back over and retrieve the last PC.

However, during a later instance where they're crossing a chasm (maybe on the way out?), hopefully they will have attracted the attention of hostile kobolds that are currently operating the mine. These kobolds will assault the PCs from either side of the chasm. They will try to intercept the PCs by sending another platform towards them and board them. Archers will fire away, creatures will be summoned on top of the PCs, even the PC operating the crank will come under attack. Scariest of all, the chain holding up the PC's platform will be under attack -- and if that breaks, down goes the platform! Rust monsters?

I think the encounter has a ton of potential to be exciting. But I'm having a *really* hard time describing the whole platform + traverse cord etc. Anyone have ideas how to better describe the situation? Also, how do I make this complex mechanism simpler / make sense? How do I justify not having a bridge instead?

2014-08-29, 04:17 PM
To explain why you don't have a bridge is simply because this method of transport works better for the massive amounts of minerals that the miners need to move, as well as security.

as for description I would have the area begin in the dark, only allowing the players to see a crank and a chasm when they first come across it because that is all that their torches are illuminating. that way you only need to describe the elements that they are seeing, and will slowly reveal what it is.

as they begin to turn the crank they hear mechanical clanging from a great distance

when the box arrives the first time describe it as it is slowly illuminated, then describe the chain and how it is attached

2014-08-30, 10:06 AM
I hadn't thought about the lack of illumination. That description should work wonderfully, thank you!

2014-08-31, 07:50 AM
Remember to include something for those who use either especially strong illumination or have some kind of see-in-the-dark ability.

Kol Korran
2014-08-31, 08:40 AM
I think you can simplify this with some magic. Basically, the platforms are held up by some sort of modified "Tenser's disk" (Or if this isn't D&D, then something creating a levitating force of some sort. If thee is no magic, then some sort of an anti-grav ancient machinery?). In the middle of the platform there is the control device (SO you don't have to split the party. Players' shenanigens will mean that splitting them can cause-vary-hard-to-perdict-and-dea-with results.

So, the party is all using this mechanism to get themselves across. As they are attacked, creatures try to attack the mechanism (The equivalent of your chain), to crash the thing. As they damage it, some of the tenser discs blink out. If enough blink out- down go the platform (The party may have a few rounds to hijack the enemy's platform.

This way you don't need complex mechanisms, and can detail them quite simply. I hope this works?

2014-09-01, 08:06 PM
I believe Eberron has a few of the things Kol is describing (at least in concept). IIRC they are large roofless gondolas that are attached to some sort of energy cable and they move straight across it with the speed dictated by a small lever on the gondola. If your world has slightly higher than average magic, or a mage owns the mine this could work, scaled up of course.