Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Terrain Hazards: Mines

This alone looks like a cool place for a
huge fight.
This location is a huge hodgepodge of concepts. Of course, it is mostly man made, but it is so close to nature, it's influence just can't help but to seep in, while also being a cave. Nice little three-in-one
going on. But what can we do to distinguish a Mine from "a cave with nice hallways?" Let's try our best and find out, friends.


Mines support miners and miners need tools to do their jobs. Low-Tech Companion 3 around p.20 has a little bit of information on the type of tools needed for low tech mining so that should help, but it doesn't include many of the trappings a typical Dungeon Fantasy campaign might care for. One improvised weapon we might care about is explosives (historical tidbit: using explosives for mining was apparently not commonplace during the middle ages, the closest suspected analog of Dungeon Fantasy time period. If you look at campaigns on p. 415, you can calculate how much damage a particular amount of explosive can do. For example, ten pounds of "serpentine powder" can do 20d damage, and 1 pound can do 6d. This can be astoundingly devastating in combat in the most straight-forward application, but more creatively, of course, it can be used to set up intricate traps like cave ins or the like.
Likely to be found in staging areas I suppose rather than near a dead end, and probably more likely to be discovered if the mind was suddenly evacuated recently than if it has been left abandoned for years.

Subterranean Gas

This stuff is especially dangerous for adventurers that can't see in the dark if they are flammable. In a fantasy setting, special fauna might be dependent on it the way normal organisms depend on oxygen to breathe. Although it might take a long time to suffocate in areas that have poor oxygen content (see Campaigns, p.436,) poisons can have more immediate effects, an interesting resource just by googling can be found here, giving realistic time frames and symptoms of exposures to certain gasses typically discovered in mines.
Methane, the most common flammable subterranean gas has a REFxPounds of 0.0014 per cubic yard if my numbers are correct, so it can create about .45d of damage per cubic yard of gas in a room. A large cavity that is 10 yards by 10 yards, and 3 yards tall and filled with methane can do almost 8d damage if ignited.


!*&% Minecraft made this search take
almost an hour. Book is found here.
Totally not time period appropriate generally, but who cares? It's Dungeon Fantasy, and a mine without carts is a no-no.
A minecart, according to the table provided can range from 500 pounds empty for a small, to 7,000 pounds for a gigantic full one. Realistic speeds of minecarts approach 6 miles per hour, or 3 yards a second. Really slow, but it's probably one of the better ways to move 7,000 pounds. I mean, go ahead and make it faster if you like, it's your setting, and a lot of people do. For slam damage, if you are interested, a minecart would probably have the equivalent of 63 hp on the low end, and 153 hp on the high end. According to slam damage, even at the moderate speed of 3 yds/second, the very light unladen cart could do almost 2d damage, and the heavily loaded one could do 4d damage. Unrealistic roller coaster speeds would send that even higher.

Other Thoughts and conclusion

Lots of math this time to compensate for the nearly no math of the previous entry. I'd really appreciate someone checking the numbers on the methane gas though.
Obviously, no one wants to sit down in the middle of a game to figure out how many newtons of force a mixture of n grams of methane at a density of x mols/liter and so on and so forth, but I hope the solved numbers can give you a realistic benchmark of what might be appropriate for an explosion or how to use a minecart. If it were me, I'd wing it, but now I know the upper limit of a methane explosion for a gigantic room is about 8d damage, and anything smaller will probably be less, so at least I can gauge that better.
Also, To H*ck with Minecraft, that took too long to find.

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