Physical Challenge: Jumping Stones

Here’s an old module gimmick with some new twists.

Jumping Stones – there are certain parts of the floor that players can step on, and certain parts that they shouldn’t. Mark off the edge of the “safe” stones using rope or chalk. To create reusable props, you can cut cardboard, doormat, or lenolium tiles into shape and then place them wherever you’d like. Most stones should be about as large as a shield, but make stones of various size. Some might fit two or three characters, others that can only fit one foot as you skip to another stone.

Players often face opponents while navigating the jumping stones. The creatures which prefer this kind of environment are not effected by the floor, such as bats, noncorporeal undead, or creatures who are immune to the damage type. If the monsters can step anywhere on the floor, be careful of giving them ranged attacks or two handed weapons. Players ability to defend themselves from ranged attacks decreases as their mobility decreases.

Treasure can be hidden in an out-of-reach spot which requires you to step off the stones.

The penalty for falling off a stone or missing a stone should be enough to discourage players from taking a step through it. Here are some ideas for jumping stone rooms:

  • Lavastone – The floor is directly above a lava flow and is steaming hot. If you touch it, you take elemental flame damage equal to the party’s average level. The monsters are immune to fire.
  • Iceflow – The floor is covered in water from the plane of ice. If you touch it, you’ll be instantly stuck as if by a paste of stickiness. A release spell or any flame damage will unfreeze the character.
  • Blightmarsh – The floor is a wet marsh, corrupted by necromancy. If you touch the floor, that limb will be withered. If your torso touches the floor, your blood is tainted. In one corner of the room there is some boonblossom growing (use some plants as a prop). If you can make it to the boonblossom and spend 10 seconds smelling its fragrant air, you will be cured of all necromantic effects. On the other side of the room is a chest that can only be opened if you have no necromantic effects on you. Monsters make liberal use of necromancy. If the players don’t want to use up their spells, they will have to move back and forth across the room to cure their effects.
  • Rapids – the floor represents a rushing river. (For something this dramatic, use sound effects!) The players are fighting their way upstream. If a player falls into the river, he takes damage equal to the party’s average level and must go back to the large stone the players started on.
  • Long Distance Stones – the stones are far apart, but can accomodate several players per stone. The group has two planks they can use to create temporary bridges. There might be a rope hanging from the ceiling they can use to swing across a hard spot.
  • Searching Stones – Some stones have treasure hidden under them. When standing atop a stone, you can spend one minute searching the floor. At the end of this time, you’re allowed to step off the stone briefly to grab any treasure under it. During this challenge, monsters are constantly attacking. Players will have to divide up their party between searching and defending in order to find a key item.
  • Spell Stones – in certain rooms, players might be able to create temporary stones by casting a spell of the opposite element into the floor. The spell packet itself becomes a spot you can step on safely, but only once. For example, a spellcaster can create a safe spot in an iceflow room by throwing a flamebolt at the ground. The spell packet will support one person stepping on it before the area is frozen again. Players might need to use this technique to access something on the far side of the room.
  • Turtle Stone – a hula hoop, “pop circle” or other ring can be slowly dragged across the floor using string. It will stop moving once someone stands on it. Players might have to skip across it in order to access certain parts of the room. They may be able to hit it with a spell to stop it from moving.
  • Color Stones – the room has many jumping stones in it, represented by blue, red, or green paper plates. Players have six colored gems to divide between their party. They may only safely step on the plate if they are holding the gem of that color. Certain regions of the room will only be accessable by certain colors. Players can trade gems during the adventure.
  • Toss the Stones – the room has no jumping stones in it. On one side, the players have a quarry of stones which they can toss onto the floor to create a path across the floor. Players must carry the stones with both hands and can’t toss them more than a foot or two past the previous stone. Once a stone is placed, it is stuck to that spot and cannot be removed.
  1. #1 by Ed on July 14, 2009 - 11:34 am

    My favorite incarnation of this was one run by NERO South Carolina as part of the main Saturday night encounter one event.

    First, they used rings of glow necklaces in 6 different colors to mark the stones all over a small field. All in all, it was an area roughly 15×20 yards, I’d estimate. For each of the colors, staff had selected an effect. I don’t remember them all, but I know that two of them were paralysis and death.

    When the encounter began, none of the colors were active; any “stone” was safe to step on. At random intervals (anywhere from 10-30 seconds), a color was called out as active and the effect given as a reminder; anyone touching a stone of that color took the effect.

    With the size of the field and the numerous paths across it, there was quite an element of strategy involved. Color combinations made some paths more difficult than others, and most people quickly fell into a pattern of moving from “safe” stone to “safe” stone as soon as a new color was announced.

  1. Module: Dungeon Crawl « Nerology

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