213 – Underwater Stories

The Mythcreant Podcast

Spec fic takes us to amazing places, from deep space to the ancient past. But one place it rarely takes us is under water, so that’s what we’re talking about today. Dive in as we discuss the unique potential of underwater settings and why almost no one uses them. Don’t worry, we have a few examples that you can still learn from. Plus, as a special treat, Wes does a deep analysis of The Abyss, Oren talks about his weird boat RPG, and Chris professes her undying love for the noble whale shark.

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Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:

Rising Tide

The Voyage

The Abyss

James Cameron Aquaman Interview

Division of the World


Dinotopia Books

Dinotopia Miniseries


Bigger than a blue whale

Mantis Shrimp

Pistol Shrimp

Whale Sharks



seaQuest DSV


The Bends

The Temple

Area X

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Finding Nemo

The Little Mermaid

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  1. Leon

    Fore the love of god, don’t read Low!
    They lure you in with a beautiful charming family about to initiate their two daughters into the families warrior traditions, and set out to solve an exciting mystery and also embark on a quest that will yield the worlds salvation. Then they extract your soul one horrible, depressing page at a time.
    It doesn’t help that if you like your spec-fic on the firmer side the whole universe is utterly infuriating.

    • Dave L

      Rick Remender, the writer, specifically wrote Low to be about hope

      It’s a good story, but hopeful it ain’t!

  2. SunlessNick

    Aquaman features Jason Momoa riding Julie Andrews into battle. I’ll forgive it anything :).

    • Leon

      That would be awesome in the stage production.

  3. Dave L

    In the Underwater Rules? thread on reddit RPGdesign I made a comment which included the following:

    A quick search of “Underwater” on drivethrurpg.com gives only a handful of usable games

    Assuming you don’t drown, the main issues of underwater include:
    three dimensional movement, including things not falling when dropped and people not falling when knocked out or killed (non-buoyant things sink slowly and buoyant thing float up)
    weakened and slowed attacks and actions, especially if you wear heavy clothing, and most distance weapons won’t work, particularly modern guns unless specially designed, like a speargun (your roll twice and take the worst might work, but it probably would be easier just to have a penalty to hit and halve movement and damage)
    no fire, including fireball, except for certain magical fires
    electricity affects everyone in the immediate area
    lowered visibility, worse as you go farther down, and no visibility for a normal human w/out goggles
    cold and pressure increase as you go down
    certain items get ruined from water (steel rusts, paper gets soggy, leather shrinks)
    trying to drink a potion underwater is… not recommended
    normal humans can’t hear or smell underwater, but native critters can hear and smell better than surface critters ( sound travels farther and faster so a sonic blast is DEADLY, and although frequently exaggerated, a shark can smell blood 1200 to 1500 feet away, and some fish have electroreceptors that can detect electricity in their prey’s muscles)
    humans can’t talk under water
    Very few crabs sing w/ a Jamaican accent
    As I said, most of these are obvious, but they are something to consider before the game starts. Otherwise the guy in heavy armor who has a ring of Burning Hands and several Cure Wounds Potions might get annoyed…

    • SunlessNick

      lowered visibility, worse as you go farther down, and no visibility for a normal human w/out goggles

      Depending on how you decide infravision/darkvision works – despite the former name, it’s often treates as more magical than seeing in IR – that may suffer the same effect.

      trying to drink a potion underwater is… not recommended

      Unguents are probably going to be inefficient too.

  4. Ennis

    When you mentioned underwater aliens I immediately thought of Animorphs. It’s been a long time since I read it, but if memory serves an alien ship crash-lands in the ocean and the main characters have to morph into whales to contend with the pressure. It’s very tense because there’s a two-hour time limit for morphing and of course if they try to de-morph at the bottom (or even just not near the top) they’ll die. I can’t remember if it’s the same book or another, but the villain aliens (Yeerks) also have an underwater base.

    I believe the crash-landing ship book is this one: https://animorphsforum.com/ebooks/4/ The site hosts all of the out-of-print series, with the author’s blessing https://twitter.com/kaaauthor/status/1086782062898675714

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