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For those that are unaware, a Sargasso mat is a mat of floating sea-weed thick enough to walk across. The exact rules of the heavy mat (which is the one relevant for this question) as described in Stormwrack are as follows:

Mat, Heavy: Characters must spend 2 squares of movement in order to enter a square of heavy sargasso mat, and the DC of Tumble checks increases by 5. The mat is about 10 feet thick, and for 50 feet below that the seaweed impedes swimmers, who must spend 2 squares of movement to enter a square of heavy mat. A Large creature that ends its move on a square of light mat must succeed on a DC 15 Balance check or break through. Huge or larger creatures break through automatically

I am planning for the party to be ambushed by Sahuagin from below the Sargasso mat. The Sahuagin crawl through the seaweed, onto the mat, and try to grapple the party. When succesful, they'll try to take the party-members back down through the Sargasso Mat to drown them. How would traversing a Sargasso mat in the manner described above work?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you interested only in rules of movement? or is this a question about ambush tactics? - Can the Sahugin use magic (plant control, teleportation or freedom of movement, etc.) - or are they limited only to swimming/climbing through the mat? Also, can they cut through the plants? (maybe even just dropping their quarry into the water rather than fighting them topside)? \$\endgroup\$ – G0BLiN Jan 15 '17 at 18:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ I care only about movement, and the Sahuagin have no magic. \$\endgroup\$ – Arthaban Jan 16 '17 at 17:35
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The sahuagins can dig through it

Sargasso mats seem to be so dense that they can't be damaged except by tearing when a Large creature breaks through. Even a boat will not escape when entrapped.

From my understanding, each 3-dimensional square is treated like difficult terrain where a creature comming from under the heavy mat would have to spend twice (once for 5-foot of thickness each) 2 squares of movement.

It is not specified if it is land or swim speed but it would be fair to use swim-speed when coming from the water to the mat and land-speed when "digging" down in the sargasso.

Mat, light: light sargasso is quite difficult to walk on. Characters must spend 4 squares of movement in order to enter a square of light sargasso mat; running and charging are impossible. The mat is about 5 feet thick, and for 20 feet below that dense tangles of seaweed impede swimmers, who must spend 2 squares of movement to enter a square of light mat.

A Medium creature that ends its move on a square of light mat must succeed on a DC 15 Balance check or break through. A large creature that enters a square of light mat must succeed on a DC 25 Balance check or break through. Huge or larger creatures break through automatically. If a creature breaks through light mat, it creates a patch of open water equal to its space. In addition, climbing out of the water onto the mat again is difficult; a creature trying to climb back on top of a square of light mat must succeed on another Balance check at the same DC, or it fails to climb up out of the water.

Pass: A pass is a stretch of open water in a sargasso. Characters walking atop a sargasso mat must swim to cross passes, while characters swimming through a sargasso find that passes permit them to pass through the seaweed without going around or over it.

Passes are normally 1d4x10 feet wide and meander randomly among the floating mats.

Stealth and Detection in a Sargasso: Characters on top of the sargasso can spot others at a distance of 3d6x20 feet. Underwater, the maximum distance at which a Spot check to detect the nearby presence of others can succeed is 1d8x10 feet due to the heavy cover provided by the seaweed mat.

You could also add patches of light mat or passes to the encounter to allow your sahuagins to hide in clean water waiting for your players to be in reach.

(I do not know where you've taken this terrain block from. I used this sites that looks similar : http://www.realmshelps.net/adventuring/aquatic.shtml)

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Be Prepared

I suggest that the Sahugin be prepared... simply have them had previously cut or woven narrow tunnels through the mat that allows them certain access points for ambush.

One could also similarly cut or weave hideaways that are not passages or tunnels, but simple pockets large enough to hide one or more Sahugin with weapons and some camouflage on top. This would allow for ambush sites away from their tunnels, for protection and fall-back if necessary.

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