Drowning in armour, a cautionary tale (and feedback request)

Drowning in armour, a cautionary tale (and feedback request)

Drowning in armour, a cautionary tale (and feedback request)

Last night, my players learnt that one of the worse dangers in the city of Apostarius are its canals. Seeing the thief dragged underwater by a monster, the fighter managed to rescue him but got stuck there, trapped by the mud and the weight of his armour. The paladin went in to help, slashing through his armour straps to save time, but only managed to get lost in the murky depths. 

I’m not entirely happy with the way I handled drowning. I asked the player to Defy Danger with CON and gave him a debility but I think I should have just dealt damage (which is what I did afterwards). I won’t write a special move for it, but this is what I’d do from now on:

When you’re drowning, roll+CON. On a 10+, you can take steps to remedy to the situation (take off your armour, look for a way to drag yourself out, just swim up – this may require another roll) ; on a 7-9, take 1d8 damage and take steps as above ; on a 6- take 1d8 damage. 

It’s not very elegant though – any thoughts?

6 thoughts on “Drowning in armour, a cautionary tale (and feedback request)”

  1. The move itself is OK, if a little grim. I suppose, if someone’s already drowning there isn’t much call for a custom move – they’re in trouble and you make a hard move (probably deal damage) as appropriate. How about instead:

    When you’re trapped underwater (by the mud, by your armour, by an enemies’ hands) roll +CON. On a 10+ you can take steps [as written]. On a 7-9 you can either hold your breath or take steps to break free but take D4 damage from exerting yourself; on a 6- you start to drown.

  2. The 10+ shouldn’t require another roll.

    Here’s what I’d do:

    When you are drowning, roll+Con. On a hit, you manage to free yourself and reach the surface. On a 7-9, you also need to drop something to lighten your load.

    That’s a simple DD+Con, with the worse outcome on a 7-9 being predetermined. I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you want to make drowning more punishing you could always change the above to “on a hit, you manage to free yourself and surface long enough to draw breath, but you’ll need someone to pull you out or you’ll just sink again.”

  3. I fully agree on the nned to design a Special move for it. My take:

    When you’re drowning in a canal of Apostarius, roll+CON.

    On 10+, you get out of the canal and you choose 2.

    On 7-9, you manage to take a breath and choose 1.

    + you don’t loose your heaviest equipment,

    + you don’t take 1d8 damage,

    + you don’t wake something that lurks beneath.

    On 6-, time to draw your last breath.

  4. Thanks for your feedback, gents. As I said, I don’t want to write a custom move because 1) drowning might never happen again, as I think the guys will be very wary of water now, and 2) if it happens, circumstances will probably be very different.

    That said, I like all these options for partial successes. I think I’ll to a simple DD with CON, bearing in mind to deal damage every time the player doesn’t roll 10+ on top of another appropriate move. I might just make a list using all the cool stuff suggested here =)

  5. Bastien Wauthoz  

    Two things: 

    The 7-9 just means you need to roll a second time. That is not good in general nor is it interesting. Also i would change the choose 2 and 1 so that you only choose 1 on a 10+. Then word the options positive. So 

    – you loose your heaviest equipment

    – You take 1d8 damage

    – You wake something that lurks beneath.

    This lets people clearly choose what danger they want to be put in. 

  6. Tim Franzke 7-9 means your friends need to get in to save you. But I see why you thought so. Thus it would be better phrased:

    On 7-9, you manage to take enough air for you frieds to try a rescue and you choose 1.

    And I wrote the options in negative style because they thus carry a more poignant impression of doom. But I understand some may not like it.

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