Saturday, June 8, 2019

Hike Notes: Dungeon-Ness

Today I hiked the Dungeness Spit.  It was about five miles each way, and took two and a bit hours each way over decent terrain (sloped gravel, mostly, but not really any elevation gain except at the very end getting back up the bluffs to the parking lot).

Google Street View - Not Just For Streets Anymore

And as I was out there trudging through gravel, I thought to myself, "Dungeness is a wonderful name, evocative of both dungeons and wilderness.  It would be a splendid name for a wee sandbox region in the style of Wilderness as Dungeon - one with pine forests and beaches and shoals and cliffs and mud flats".

So if I ever actually get around to fleshing out A/X, maybe that will be my testing region.

Other notes, in the style of Notes From A Hiking Seminar:

I am sore and pretty well bushed.  If we had had a random encounter at the end, it would've been rough.

Many subtle variations in types of sand - firm wet sand, firm dry sand (easily churned up by shod and heavy people, becoming soft sand), soft wet sand, soft dry sand, soft sand full of teeny tiny sharp gravel or with a layer of it on the surface, soft sand with fist-sized rocks in it which present tripping/ankle hazards, piles of fist-to-head sized rocks covered in kelp which is slippery when wet and sticky when dry.

Kelp anchors - impressively strong, even when dead.

Crab swarms, tidepool dungeons, sea anemone the size of a coke can on the side of a rock in a tidepool.

Empty crab shells - undead "exoskeleton" giant arthropods?  Probably molts actually but hey.

Poison-skinned newts in the forest.

Lots of bright white rocks that looked almost like eggs.  If they were eggs, what sort of monstrous creature's eggs would they be?  What fate would befall poor fools who took said eggs home and sold them as curios?

Area of choppy water marked by buoys - not sure if kelp or shallows.  Either way, roll Seafaring.

Ferries - could be interesting as an option for access to certain areas of the sandbox without actually having to own and crew a boat.  Make friends with local NPCs (ie humanoids) with boats.  But it'll take a while, there are only certain places they'll go, they'll want to move some cargo too, and they'll want money.  But this shifts the "chartering a boat" game from "in town" to "in the wilderness", which might be interesting.

Marching order - in the absence of an imposed, decided marching order, our party of 13 tended to clump into groups of 3-5 people separated by 20-60 feet (I would guess, at a wag).  The part of the sand that was good for walking on was only 1-3 people wide.  I think if we had tried to maintain tighter cohesion we would've made worse (but perhaps more sustainable) time, and that might be something to consider when figuring out overland travel rates.  Moving in "tight cohesion" where you get to decide your marching order (versus some reasonable random / naturalistic assignment method) slows you down.  Moving in tight cohesion in a formation wider than supported by terrain slows you down even further.  Moving stealthily slows you down.  Etc.  I did not observe any obvious correlations in the sorts of people who ended up in the front versus rear parts of the emergent marching order, but my sample was small.

One driftwood tree trunk stood straight up - how did it get that way?  Landmark.

Vague canine on the other side of the mud flat - fox, coyote, stray dog, spooky dog?

Big tidal variation - the spit gets very narrow at high tide, and the ground above the high water line is full of driftwood and rocks and crap.  Could be an interesting wilderness feature that makes it slower to cross certain hexes (either in certain watches, if using a watch-based timekeeping system, or based on party size, where a large enough party / army will have trouble crossing the spit).

Some really spectacular islands across the Sound that go from sea to mountain to clouds with the tops of the mountains totally obscured.  The Olympic mountains had their peaks similarly obscured despite it being pretty sunny on the spit.  One could hide a lot of interesting things on perpetually-cloud-shrouded mountain peaks.  An interesting variation in the wilderness visibility problem [1][2], much like foggy areas in the original megadungeons.

DO NOT FEED THE BIRDS.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this awesome post! I am going to link folks here this week on my blog/podcast.

    ReplyDelete