[Chainmail] What is a Hissing Pool?

“You think your people will be free? You think you have escaped me? You mortals will have nothing but war, not a moment of peace until a new God of War rises to replace me.” Discuss the Sundered Empire featured in the Chainmail campaign setting, as it relates to pen & paper RPGs, here.

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[Chainmail] What is a Hissing Pool?

Post by Big Mac » Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:01 am

The Chainmail Miniatures Game: Comprehensive Rules mention something called a Hissing Pool on pages 6, 7 and 10.
Image

The 44 page PDF is a book of skirmish rules for miniatures and is about 97 percent crunchy, so I'm not entirely sure what a Hissing Pool is.

I do know it is a "terrain type" that is only found underground and that it kills any miniatures that are knocked down. Reading the knocked down rules, it looks like knocked down rule relates to miniatures reduced to zero hit points (the same as zero hit points with normal D&D rules).

From this I gather that a Hissing Pool is an underground pool that kills anyone that becomes unconscious. So perhaps it isn't especially dangerous and anyone that gets knocked out drowns. But does anyone know why hissing pools hiss?

Is there another source (one with more fluff than crunch) that explains why the Sundered Empire has Hissing Pools under the ground?
Last edited by Big Mac on Thu Aug 06, 2015 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Chainmail] What is a Hissing Pool?

Post by BlackBat242 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:28 am

From the US government's Mine Safety and Health Administration http://www.msha.gov/kids/abandon/under.htm
Do-not disturb pools of water. They may contain dissolved poisonous gases that are released by walking in the water.
One example: http://www.usmra.com/download/minegases.htm
HYDROGEN SULFIDE (H2S)
Hydrogen sulfide is an extremely toxic gas. It blocks the use of oxygen by the body’s cells. It is produced when sulfur compounds decompose. It is commonly associated with acid mine water. This gas is released whenever a mine pool is agitated.
Note that exposure can vary from an annoyance to fatal within seconds, depending upon concentration of the gas.

Other gasses can be trapped in water, to be released when the water is disturbed:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/ju ... vu-co2-gas
... on 21 August 1986 at Lake Nyos in Cameroon, in West Africa. Its waters were saturated with carbon dioxide and a major disturbance - most probably a landslide - caused a huge cloud of carbon dioxide to bubble up from its depths and to pour down the valleys that lead from the crater lake.
.

http://www.catholic.org/green/story.php?id=51034
Lovely but deadly - beautiful bubbles in Canadian lake are flammable methane gas
And a book giving technical info: http://books.google.com/books?id=kSithv ... ng&f=false
Hazardous Gases Underground: Applications to Tunnel Engineering
Chapters 6-8, pages 85 and onward.
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Re: [Chainmail] What is a Hissing Pool?

Post by Big Mac » Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:25 pm

That sounds about right.

I guess that the hissing pools in Chainmail would be down to mines being abandoned. Maybe the breakup of the empire caused mines to be abandoned.

I wonder if there is any more about this to explain the in-character background.
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Re: [Chainmail] What is a Hissing Pool?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:24 am

Page 78 of the Chainmail Core Rulebook says what a Hissing Pool is:
Chainmail Core Rulebook wrote:Hissing Pool
These shallow, murky, subterranean pools served some foul god’s worship. Sacrificial victims were thrown in, releasing their souls with a hissing shriek. To this day, living creatures that fall into the pool are killed instantly, and their souls hiss away.
It looks like just getting knocked over and landing in a hissing pool is deadly.

EDIT: I wonder if the Hissing Pools in Chainmail have anything to do with Stratis' blood. :?

I also wonder if the liquid from them could be collected (in the context of tabletop play) and used as a poison...or maybe as something that could be used in a thrown attack. :?
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Re: [Chainmail] What is a Hissing Pool?

Post by Big Mac » Thu Aug 06, 2015 5:33 pm

Big Mac wrote:Page 78 of the Chainmail Core Rulebook says what a Hissing Pool is:
Chainmail Core Rulebook wrote:Hissing Pool
These shallow, murky, subterranean pools served some foul god’s worship. Sacrificial victims were thrown in, releasing their souls with a hissing shriek. To this day, living creatures that fall into the pool are killed instantly, and their souls hiss away.
It looks like just getting knocked over and landing in a hissing pool is deadly.
I just found two other types of pools in Compete Mage both of which work a bit like magic items:
  • Dragonsblood Pool (p149): "A dragonsblood pool is a rougly circular body of dark liquid about 100 feet in diameter. Wavelets ripple the surface even when no wind is present, as if some unseen power were disturbing the fluid. The liquid in the pool is thick, vicious, and dark red-brown in colour.

    The unmistakable odor of blood permeates the area around the pool. Anyone who approaches it becomes aware of a faint rushing sound, like that made by a great dragon's wings. Some small remnant of the dragon's frightful presence remains as well, causing a vague feeling of apprehension in those who come near. Furthermore, the immediate area is suffused with the essence of the dead dragon's breath, as given on the following table.

    The eyes of a spellcaster who has successfully drawn power from a dragonsblood pool turn yellow and take on a draconic appearance."
  • Soulheart Pool (p154-155): "A soulheart pool looks like an unusually calm pool of clear water about 50 feet in diameter. Sometimes the surface of the pool shimmers briefly, like the surface of a stone in the summer heat. Anyone who looks into the pool can see fleeting, delightful images of old friends, old flames, and pleasing memories.

    The area around a soulheart pool feels warm and cozy, and the air smells of whatever scents bring pleasant memoires to the visitor. A pleasant feeling of relaxastion envelopes the place, making visitors wish to stay.

    Whenever a spellcaster has successfully drawn power from a soulheart pool casts an enchantment, her face briefly takes on a feylike presence."
I'm not sure if Complete Mage was written before or after Chainmail Campaign Setting was created, but if a hissing pool is going to be converted from miniatures rules to tabletop D&D, these two "Magical Locations" seem to be a good thing to work from.
Big Mac wrote:EDIT: I wonder if the Hissing Pools in Chainmail have anything to do with Stratis' blood. :?
I don't think this any more. The description says "some foul god's worship" so I think they would work as a sacrificial altar to one of the evil gods of the Sundered Empire (or maybe another deity from Greyhawk Campaign Setting that is no longer worshipped in the area).
Big Mac wrote:I also wonder if the liquid from them could be collected (in the context of tabletop play) and used as a poison...or maybe as something that could be used in a thrown attack. :?
I'm not thinking along those lines any more, although it might be possible to create magical items from liquids.

I think it might be better to create a "Magical Location" write-up and follow that format. That would require the following sections:
  • Introductory text: (basically an expanded history of hissing pools)
  • Lore: Knowledge (arcana) checks to find information at DC 10, 15 and 20.
  • Description: What a hissing pool looks and smells like up close.
  • Prerequisite: Who can gain power from a hissing pool. (I'm thinking maybe a necromancer.)
  • Location Activation: What a character has to do to activate the power of the hissing pool. (I'm thinking throw one or more sacrificial victims into the pool.)
  • Recharge: Both the other pools (and all of the other Magical Locations) take a year to regain the ability to grant power. One can grant three spellcasters the power before it needs to recharge - the other can only grant its power to a single spellcaster.
  • Special Ability (Su): I'm not sure, but both the other pools give the equivalent of a free spell (the dragonsblood pool gives a bonus spell and the soulheart pool allows a caster to recast a used spell), so I'm thinking that something on that line might be appropriate.
  • Duration: All the other "Magic Location" abilities last for one year. I don't see a reason to change that.
  • Aura: I'm not totally decided, but something appropriate to undead is the way to go.
  • Ability Value: A dragonsblood pool is worth 6,000 gp (2,000 gp x 3 people) and a soulheart pool is worth 4,000 gp (4,000 x 1 person), but other Magical Locations have a tresure value that is more or less than this. (I'm less concerned with working out the treasure value, than with working out an appropriate ability to grant to an appropriate individual, but the other gp values might help make sure that I don't add anything overpowered.)
Most of the locations in Complete Mage seem to be fairly helpful for PCs, but I'm wondering if a hissing pool should be helpful to evil cultists, as that would tie in better with the pools snuffing out the lives of victims thrown into them.

Maybe a hissing pool could even give a bonus to undead spellcasters. That might be a way to use this to create something that Ahmut’s Legion could use.

(And if Ahmut’s Legion could use hissing pools, maybe there could be an incentive for other factions to destroy them. :) )
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