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    Dwarf in the Playground

    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    A better place than you.

    Default Underwater Dungeon

    Greetings Playgrounders! I am about to run an underwater dungeon for my players and I was wondering if you guys had any ideas for how to make it more interesting. Particularly good RP encounters with Merfolk, interesting traps or puzzles or other such things, or interesting under water battles. They're a party of three at level six, so homebrew monsters are welcome if you have any- the Monster Manual is severely lacking in underwater creatures for their level range. They will have waterbreathing and a swim speed via borrowed magic items (a temple is lending it to them in return for beating the monster).
    Greetings, Playgrounders! I'm Celcey, and I'm putting this signature here because that's how I identify people.

    Rule #0 of DMing: The DM can always say no.
    Rule #1 of DMing: No plan ever survives first contact with the PCs.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    30.2672 N, 97.7431 W

    Default Re: Underwater Dungeon

    Hunt down a copy of "Stormwrack". It's 3.5, but there is a lot of good info, and there are a few forums talking about how to modify it for 5e.

    Traditional traps are not really going to work under water, so you will probably have to make good use of currents and tides. They could be swimming along and suddenly get hit by a very strong current flowing down a cross passage, that sweeps them away (doing damage as they bounce off walls) into another part of the dungeon.

    Along that line, whirlpools are fun as well. Especially if they are pulling everything down into a serrated chute....

    AOE electrical traps are fun under water. A good lightning bolt turns into a fireball under water.

    Strangling sea weed, and hallways full of jellyfish...
    "Sleeping late might not be a virtue, but it sure aint no vice. The old saw about the early bird and the worm just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed."

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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Troll in the Playground

    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Default Re: Underwater Dungeon

    Don't forget that Undead, Constructs and various other creatures do not breathe (as opposed to being able to breathe underwater) and as such are viable encounters in an aquatic adventure.
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Default Re: Underwater Dungeon

    Have a crafty merfolk assassin steal one of their water-breathing magical item and try to escape with it.

    Have them wander into a (small) dead magic zone that renders their water-breathing magical items unusable.

    In other words, have them appreciate the luxury of breathing underwater.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
    bc56's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha

    Default Re: Underwater Dungeon

    If you're looking for good ideas for underwater dungeon design, I suggest looking at gameplay footage from the video game Subnautica. It's a sci-fi exploration game, but it's all underwater, and there are some interesting areas which are essentially dungeons. Specifically, look up these:

    Subnautica Aurora
    Subnautica Second Degasi Base
    Subnautica Third Degasi Base
    Subnautica Disease Research Facility

    Having dungeons that are partially flooded is pretty fun, especially with a low-level party that can't use Water Breathing. I ran this one for a second-level party once.

    Another idea would be to have a dungeon that was once above water, but is now beneath. That way, you can come up with interesting ways that normal traps become more effective, thanks to malfunctions due to being submerged.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Orlando FL

    Default Re: Underwater Dungeon

    Also remember sound travels very well underwater and any large boom could be deafening. Any vigorous movement will stir up dirt and debris on the bottom making it hard to see for large periods of time and possibly hard to breath.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
    Ninja_Prawn's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2015

    Default Re: Underwater Dungeon

    Quote Originally Posted by Celcey View Post
    homebrew monsters are welcome if you have any.
    Ooh, I have some of those!

    Unfortunately, most of them are currently available to patrons only (though it's only $1 for access if you were interested).

    However, I can give you a taster! The 'high seas' tag on my Tumblr has a few monsters (the skeleton crewman might be of particular interest) and I have a whole raft of tiny aquatic CR0s (i.e. things that would be good familiars for this game). I'll also give you these merfolk, which haven't been freely published anywhere else:

    Spoiler: Merfolk

    Last edited by Ninja_Prawn; 2018-01-03 at 10:49 AM.
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