Tuesday, 13 October 2015

CAVERN CRAWL

I've  been looking covetously at Dwarven Forge cavern systems recently, and come to the conclusion there is no way I can afford them, so will probably have to make my own (although I might treat myself to a stalagmite set). Back when I used to play D + D on a regular basis, I always used to enjoy mapping out cavern systems for players to explore, with fiendish monsters lurking in pools or behind rock formations, but it wasn't until I actually started caving for real that I realised just  how unrealistic role-playing caves are.

About 20 years ago I used to go caving once a week in the Mendip Hills, not far from where I live and poked about in a number of different caves, all of which would present some challenges to an armoured adventuring party

Birthday Squeeze in Swildon's Hole . Note the caver has had to remove the one piece of equipment he is carrying (his lamp battery) so he can get through to the next part of the cave.
(Image from Dudley Caving Club's blog)

The traverse at Eastwater Cavern, a smooth surface, but at a 40' angle ready to slide you down into a crevice
(Image from WAYA blog)

The Drainpipe in Goatchurch Cavern (wiggly)
(image from Pinterest)

Swildon's Hole sump 1. A short underwater passage, adventurers would need to hold their breath for 30 seconds
(pic from Carbis Bay Crew blog)


These are some of the more extreme passages (not the most extreme, it has to be said), and there are areas where one can walk upright, and indeed large and wonderful caverns
The Throne Room in Stoke Lane Slocker (I never did this challenging cave!)
(Image from Dudley Caving Club's blog again)


 but they are all connected by tortuous narrow passageways involving crawling or wriggling, with no level floors and plenty of piles of boulders to clamber over.... which would make for an exciting (and literal) Dungeon/Cavern crawl.

The point of this rambling is that I am getting a real itch to get back underground. I chucked my kneepads and helmet away when we moved house  6 years ago, but I am getting a whispering in my head to lure me back down below...............


Entrance to Swildon's Hole 

one of the fascinating things for me is that an innocuous little hole like this can lead to over 9000 metres of cave passageway, 167 metres deep.... but could you get down with plate armour and a 10' pole?

4 comments:

  1. Just veiwing your photos is giving me claustraphobia! Tony

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    1. Luckily not something I suffer from... an above ground cliff or even ladder has me quaking in my boots however.

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  2. I'm not a fan of enclosed spaces, but I would give caving a shot just to 'see what it's all about'. I certainly have a lot of respect for those that, like you, have done it on a regular basis. Currently listening to Dust's 'Hard Attack'. Awesome, awesome album!

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    1. Not regular nowadays unfortunately (in fact not at all). I should go for it if you can, absolute blast, and the trip to the pub afterwards will be the best you've ever had.....generally I found I was too busy concentrating on sliding through small cracks in the rock to think about the bigger picture of millions of tons of rock with me underneath. I'll listen to Hard Attack in a minute.

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