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Mucking in the Mud

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This is a common subtrope of Geo Effects, where boggy or swampy areas drastically impede your movement. So long as you remain in here, you'll move at a snail's pace, vulnerable to passing enemies. Your jumping, if applicable, may or may not be affected by this, and in fact, you may be able to move quickly by repeatedly jumping in and out of the bog.

In some cases the bog may actually be hazardous to your health, dealing damage over time, acting like quicksand and swallowing you whole if you spend too long within, or applying some unpleasant Status Effects.

For some reason, you're never able to simply walk around the hazardous terrain, as the area is almost uniformly flooded like this. Any safer paths will almost certainly be blocked off with fallen logs, impassible treelines, and so on. However, some mudpits look hazardous, but are actually safe enough to cross...

Not to be confused with Bubblegloop Swamp or Quicksand Sucks.

See also Swamps Are Evil and Grimy Water. Oddly enough, rarely combined with Mud Wrestling. Unrelated, except by name, to the old text game MUD and MUCK.



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    Anime And Manga 
  • Juzo Honenuki from My Hero Academia. His Quirk, Softening, softens any inorganic material he touches, making others go through this.
  • A very small bit of this was seemingly featured in the Episode "Training Daze" in Pokémon Chronicles...

    Board Games 
  • Candyland:
    • The Molasses Swamp, which causes anyone who lands on it to lose a turn.
    • Dotted spaces called "cavities," which required a player be "stuck" until drawing a card with the same color as the dotted space they're currently on.

    Comic Books 
  • In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Batman loses his first fight with the Mutant Leader, largely because age has reduced his speed and agility. He sets up a rematch in a mud pit, ensuring that they'll both be moving slowly and ponderously.

  • A segment of "The Ballad of Big Al" shows 2 Allosaurus falling victim to a mud trap after trying to scavenge a Stegosaurus carcass.

  • In The Hound of the Baskervilles, the moor has the Grimpen Mire, which only Jack Stapleton knew how to cross safely. Another character who'd tried to traverse it was sucked down into its depths.
  • Older Than Steam: The Slough of Despond from Pilgrim's Progress trapped unwary travelers unless Help came along.
  • The River Ankh in Discworld is very slow and polluted, so it's really more of a swamp than a river. The Truth has this:
    The Duck Man: I used to mess about in boats when I were a boy.
    Coffin Henry: We could boat about in mess.
  • The Doldrums in The Phantom Tollbooth pose all the usual hazards of a sticky, goopy swamp, and top it all off with a Lotus-Eater Machine effect that mires minds as effectively as wheels.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Jurassic Fight Club episode "Bloodiest Battle", 2 Stegosaurus and a Camarasaurus wind up trapped in the mud near a river, while an attacking Ceratosaurus and Allosaurus avoid getting stuck because their more spread out feet allow them to walk on the hard top layer without breaking through.

    Video Games 
  • Applied Once an Episode in the Dark Souls series: Made extra annoying because it limits the quality of your rolls and slows you immensely unless you spend stamina to run around faster.
    • In Dark Souls, there's the ground level of Blighttown, with the added benefit of poisoning you if you stick around too long.
    • Dark Souls II doesn't have a dedicated swamp level, but it does have equipment-destroying acid or poisonous muck in several areas, including Earthen Keep, Drangelic Castle and Lord Aldia's Keep.
    • Dark Souls III sees the return of the poisonous swamp with Farron Keep
  • The Nintendo DS game Summon Night: Twin Age consists of around 60% different types of sinky stuff by volume, such as "Poison Marshes" and "Desert Quicksand".
  • In the PC game Princess Maker 2, there's an "adventure" event which has a few swamps where you can slog around. They're not really dangerous; they have hidden secret shortcuts in them, even.
  • Pokémon:
    • In double battles, by using Water Pledge and Grass Pledge at the same time, the ground beneath the opposing team's feet is turned into a swamp for four turns, which makes them move four times slower.
    • The Great Marsh and the southern part of nearby Route 212 in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. The player character is greatly slowed down when he/she runs through the bog, and, in some places, he/she can even get stuck.
    • The spinoff game Pokémon Dash has a few courses with muddy, swampy areas. These aren't particularly unique, however, as every terrain type except paved road reduces your speed.
    • The bogs in Pokémon Legends: Arceus slow the player and their ride Pokémon down and prevent crouching.
  • Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth has 2 places known, with mud, they are Nethov swamp and Salerno Academy, you can only find them on normal and hard mode.
  • Mario Strikers Charged has a stage known as The Dump which is muddy.
  • One of the special minigames had this feature in Mario Party 7.
  • The Castlevania series has a couple of these. Perhaps most noteworthy is the poison swampy stuff in Castlevania II: Simon's Quest.
  • Castor Wilds in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap consists of a quicksand-like marsh with safe zones in the form of raised land. Traversing it safely requires getting ahold of the Pegasus Shoes, which let you dash across before the muck can take hold.
  • "Grail Mountain" with its purple puddles and "East Ghoss Forest" with its mud in Grandia II...
  • In Gretel and Hansel 2, Gretel can wade around the swamp but can't get across completely without her brother's help because of a snake that lurks halfway across.
  • One area in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is a thick marsh. You'll move more slowly both on the overworld and in battle sequences, though your enemies are, of course, completely unaffected.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has pools of mud like this. If the mud is deep enough, Snake will eventually sink to his death. What's more, the mud houses leeches which will cling to Snake and sap his stamina.
  • One Piece: Unlimited Cruise: Episode 2 had "Boggy Isle" with this feature...
  • Lufia Ruins Of Lore had Jungle Spire which have mud spots that take you down to a cave area if you step in the right areas...
  • The swamp level in Turok 2 has regular mud that slows you down, and quicksand that instantly sucks you down.
  • Although it's technically more of a swamp, both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls feature this, complete with reduced mobility and absence of rolling. In both games, the swamp is also poisonous, so staying in it for long isn't exactly advisable. In the first game, swamp jellyfishes that live in it can be killed to provide anti-poison herbs, but the absence of rolling is lethal since any other enemies can cross the swamp with nary a hitch, unlike you. In the second game, the enemies that live on it can still charge at you at maximum speed, but an equippable ring exists so that movement penalties are removed entirely when walking on swamps. Oh, and fast rolling (<25% equip burden, or Dark Wood Grain Ring ninja flip) is not disabled in the swamp.
  • Some of the jungle levels and one south pacific level in Tomb Raider III have mud that makes Lara sink if she steps in it. In some spots, the mud is deep enough to make Lara be completely submerged and she will quickly drown.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles has poisonous swamp water in Satorl Marsh.
  • Water in Left 4 Dead 2 reduces the survivor's running speed, though not the Infected's. The "Swamp Fever" campaign has this trope as one of its highlights, given the campaign's setting, as does "Hard Rain".
  • The "negative cover" system in Dawn of War usually consists of swampy or at least flooded terrain. In normal cover, units move slower but take less damage, here they move slower and take more damage.
  • In World of Tanks, different types of terrain offer different degrees of resistance to tank treads. Naturally, swampy ground or bodies of water make tanks move very slowly.
  • Jungles are the worst possible terrain for any kind of divisions in Hearts of Iron II. Armoured divisions barely make any progress at all, all troop types suffer massive penalties and on top of that they can easily start shrinking due to attrition if your supply lines and techs aren't on par. Marshes are almost as bad, but at least there's usually no attrition and Marine divisions suffer fewer penalties to combat and movement.
  • In the Heroes of Might and Magic series, swamp terrain drastically slows down army movement, unless the army is composed entirely of creatures native to that terrain type. This can be mitigated by sticking to roads... when there are roads.
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age:
    • Taopo Swamp: The actual swamp is only one screen, but it's so thick that you can stand on it, only sinking when you move forward (and standing on bubbles brings you back to the surface).
    • The Djinni Mud reduces foes' agility by... throwing mud at them.
  • Fire Emblem: Played straight with sandy terrain that reduces the movement of most non-flying units and especially horseback units and inverted for non-horseback magic units who gain a movement bonus instead on the same terrain.
  • DOOM Eternal has shallow pools of purple goop that prevent the player from jumping or dashing, forcing them to search for a ramp to escape. The game also likes to hide Tentacles just under the pool's surface to ambush you.
  • Some levels in Maze Burrow feature mud tiles and blocks stuck in them. Blocks stuck in the mud can only be pulled, not pushed.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures from the Book of Virtues
    • In the episode "Self-Discipline," Annie and Zach were walking on mud while they enter Plato's Peak.
    • In one scene of the episode "Moderation", Socrates is seen stepping in a puddle of mud, much to Aristotle's annoyance.
  • Mr. Bogus:
    • In the first act of the episode "Bad Luck Bogus", Bogus and Brattus both fall into a mud puddle in the front yard of the Anybody residence.
    • Bogus falls in a mud puddle during his first day of military training in the first act of the episode "Battle Action Bogus".
  • The animated film version of The Phantom Tollbooth also shows the Doldrums, a swamp that it's too easy to get mired down in both literally and figuratively. At first Milo's car just gets stuck, but as he starts to succumb to the effect the thing seems to be starting to melt.
  • Happens a few times in Craig of the Creek
    • Near the end of "Sunday Clothes", Craig and Kelsey end up trapped in a large mud puddle and J.P. can't go in to save them since he's still wearing his Sunday clothes. He resolves the situation by taking the clothes off before going to rescue his friends.
    • In "Memories of Bobby", Kelsey reminiscences about the time she helped the Horse Girls pull Mackenzie out of "quick mud". Near the end of the episode, Mackenzie comes to the main trio for help because Maney got trapped in the quick mud.
  • In The Wild Thornberrys episode "Forget Me Not", some elephants are shown taking a mud bath. This takes a dark turn when one of them gets stuck in another pit of mud and pulling her free requires the Thornberry's camper van.
  • In the My Friend Rabbit episode "Muddy Puddle", rabbit tries to cross a dried up river bank only to get stuck when his inflated shoes break. Thunder, Hazel, and the ducklings also get trapped and eventually they're all freed when Edweena gives them a log to climb onto.
  • In the Slim Pig episode "Sticky Situation", a game of fetch goes wrong when Dog ends up stuck in a mud puddle. Fortunately, he breaks free to continue playing fetch.

    Real Life 
  • In both the Napoleonic and German invasions of Russia, the Rasputitsa (Russian for "quagmire", literally "time when roads cease to exist") bogged down armies so much that there was practically no fighting for 6 weeks in the spring and fall.
    • Ironically, the same muddy terrain that historically helped defend Russia also hampered the nation's invasion of neighboring Ukraine in 2022.
  • The Battle of Passchendaele, from World War I. Heavy rains and silty, muddy terrain made this battle a symbol of soldiers' suffering.
  • This was a major factor in the outcome of the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years' War, with heavier-armored french troops getting bogged down by a muddy battlefield.
  • It isn't uncommon to hear stories of large animals and sometimes even people needing to be rescued from mud traps.
  • There is evidence that some fossil sites such as the Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry and the Shishugou Formation Dinosaur Traps were the result of hundreds of dinosaurs dying after getting stuck in thick mud.