Saturday, March 26, 2016

Bottomless Pits

On the 25th day of Mot in the fourth year of Gostul the Just

Through the many dungeons I have scoured looking for Gadeon I discovered some peculiar similarities. I looked through my notes and discovered why. In each structure with a bottomless pit they almost all had the same maker's mark on them.

Initially I took it for a simple piece of decoration, but I have seen it again and again. The pits were all clearly designed to be bottomless, though even with magic that is nigh impossible. They went through several designs as the newer bottomless pits were more evolved. This mage, if they are still alive, will be a valuable resource in tracking down Gadeon. 

These bottomless pits are simple things made to be dropped into your campaign wherever it makes sense. Their actual depth is less important than how they work, but are assumed to be 100 ft. deep. The pits could be covered by camouflage or illusions to trap unsuspecting creatures, or they may be open pits that creatures are forcibly thrown into to. The gates in the real pits are invisible, but are shown here in purple for clarity. All the pits have the same maker's mark.

Pit Design 1

The broken pit design.  This design had a flaw in it. Falling through gate 2, was supposed to drop you out of gate 1 and down again, but gate 1 tended to launch the falling object up, typically into a ceiling. This flaw made it very popular among some circles. You can easily spot a defective one by the dried blood and cracked tiles on the ceiling above it. Dropping a rock into the pit will create a slow steady rhythm as it hits the ceiling and falls into the pit again and again.

Pit Design 2

Fall forever... This is a simple device, where hitting gate 2 sends you to gate 1, and you fall forever. The flaw was worked out in this design and gate 1 actually drops you to gate 2. In addition the first gate was lowered so the opening at the top wouldn't get noticeably bigger and smaller as the creature fell between the two gates. In old installations of this pit the space between the two gates is filled with all sorts of bones and debris.

Pit Design 3

Furthering the illusion that you were truly falling forever this is actually a series of pits. Where the opening is slightly smaller in each pit. The creature falls through gate 1, out of gate 2, into gate 3, out of gate 4, and so on eventually getting trapped in between gates 7 and 8. As in pit design 2 the space between gates 7 and 8 can be filled with large amounts of debris in older installations.

Pit Design 4

While pit design 3 was more convincing to the falling creature it took up lot of space. Design 4 overcame that problem by having an iris in the top of the pit that slowly closed to give the pit opening the appearance of getting farther and farther away.

Pit Design 5

One of the hardest pit designs to escape from, the gate at the bottom of this pits sends you to a pocket dimension in the shape of a torus. Where you will fall forever. Once every d100 days the torus dimension expunges its contents onto a random plane.

Pit Design 6

This simple pit uses a time spell to trap the falling creatures. For them time is traveling normally, but 100 years passes outside of the pit for every second in the pit. Looking into the pit after dropping someone or something into it is a bit surreal. For a 100 foot pit the person will fall for 2.5 seconds or 250 years. If you extend or shorten the depth of the pit the formula to figure out the time to fall is \(t = \sqrt{2d \over 32}\) where d is distance in feet, and t will be given in seconds.

Pit Design 7

This is the ultimate in bottomless pit designs. In the floor is a slight depression that contains a spell, when someone steps into the depression the spell is triggered. The spell levitates the person above the depression and casts the illusion of falling into a pit that goes on forever. To escape it you need a high will AND reflex save. If you miss either one the spell takes hold again, and is more convincing the more you fail, increasing the DC by 1 each time you fail. If multiple people step into the depression they believe they are falling alone. Some adventures like to throw their companions into these circles, and let them suffer a bit before they drag them out again with rope or push them out with a staff. All in good fun.

Source Materials

Creative Commons License
Bottomless Pits by Rogue Prismatic Golem is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at

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