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Andreas Habicher
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Onliner, Writer, Roleplayer
Onliner, Writer, Roleplayer

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#TheSpiderPit - part 31 - organic decay

Struggling to keep his cool, Reinhold grabs for the door handle, but Phoebe blocks his way. She pulls a strip of cloth around her face to keep away the pesky insects, then she explains: “Wait! Check the waste for clues first.”

Reinhold struggles, but he manages to avoid throwing up ( makes a WIL save ).

“Clues? What clues?” He leans to the wall and tries to breathe shallow while not breathing in an insect.

Phoebe directs the others towards the foul-smelling heaps, but they are reluctant. Uko clamps a hand onto his runny nose and sits down with wobbly knees. ( fails his WIL save )

Phoebe is the only able person with a long weapon, so she thrusts it deep into a dungheap and upends the pile.

Rotten meat and other organic matter rolls onto the stairs, and a swarm of isopods scuttles away. Something slimey clings to her spear. In the depth of the dirt she finds a tiny medaillon, a lucky charm as it is often worn by young girls in Woodbridge.

She topples another dunghill. This time she finds something. Under the waste there is a dead body - a human woman, partially decomposed and overgrown with a fungoid sprawl. She has been stabbed or cut, then discarded in the waste. On her right leg she wears a metal band with three links of a strong chain still attached.


Phoebe upends another dunghill, but this time her luck runs out. She has disturbed a nest of insects, and a swarm of hundreds of tiny prickflies envelopes her. All of the others shrink back towards the wall. Basil gasps in horror, and gasps in handful of bugs, so he staggers back and retches the crawling beasts back up.

Meanwhile, the swarm crawls all over Phoebe and stings - Phoebe loses 1 Health Point.


Phoebe has only three options:

Firstly: Swatting at herself and rolling on the floor to crush them all. This may take a while.

Secondly: Run - and the only way to run is back down the stairs towards the lake. This will require a DEX save to avoid a fall on the stairs.

Or thirdly: dive - dive into the dirt so the little pests cannot bite her. This will demand a WIL save to brave the stinking slime as fly armor.

What will it be?
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Run down the stairs
Dive into the filthy muck
100%
Crush the insects
0%
Run down the stairs
0%
Dive into the filthy muck
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Instructive summary of medieval love.
Contrary to modern popular opinion, courtly love was not inherently adulterous. What defined courtly love was much more important: it had to be mutual, voluntary, and exclusive. Find out more about courtly love and its impact on the status of women in the Middle Ages at:
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#TheSpiderPit - part 30 - Piles of Dirt

Step by step the adventurers wade past the gaping hole. An eerily warm draft blows out of the cave, like the breath of some gargantuan beast. A leech tests Harmony’s boot, but the elf pricks it with an arrow and the aquatic pest leaves off and sinks to the ground.
Having savely passed the cave, the adventurers instinctively make haste to leave it behind.

Soon enough they reach the stairs that lead out of the water and up a line of seven glowtorches. The stairs are built from big slabs of stone and look centuries old - as they really are, judging by the murals of Mu.

There is an odd stink to the stairs, but it is without doubt the right way, so the group walks up the stone stairs, reaching the height of the waterfall and higher.
Now they enter into a domain that shows recent use: Right beside the stairs on the right there is a half-pipe with some stinking mass running downwards to the lake. On the stairs themselves and on the eastern side there are discarded items, broken and dirty, rotting foodstuff, rusting speartips, an empty cart, and other such things.
There is also increasingly more life: bugs of varying size scuttle away from the group, insects buzz around them. The adventurers dare not speak for fear that the vermin might enter their mouths. The pests seem to develop a special liking for Harmony, and she has to swat at them with both hands, while Uko remains comparatively unmolested.

A good deal higher than the lip of the waterfall they reach the seventh and last glowtorch and find themselves in a huge pile of refuse of all kinds. The slimy half-pipe ends where a pipe-end comes out of the wall, dripping some dark matter. The stench draws tears to their eyes, tears that are eagerly lapped up by the flying insects. Reinhold starts to gag. But thankfully just two more steps higher they reach a sturdy door in the wall that has a bronze ring and, apparently, no lock.
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Open carefully and investigate
First look through the dirt for clues
21%
Quickly get away from the stench
21%
Open carefully and investigate
57%
First look through the dirt for clues
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More monster tactics like this.
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#TheSpiderPit - part 29 - The Hole

Silent like a ghost, Ursula shrinks back from the waterfall. No living creature ever noticed her.

Meanwhile, the others wait for her. Reinhold is fiddling with his backpack, Harmony watches the water.
“What was that?” she asks. They all look, but see nothing.
“Something moved in that lake. Looked like a tentacle. Tiny. But a tentacle.”
Uneasy, they all watch the water, but nothing stirs.
Suddenly Ursula is among them. “Dead goblins behind the waterfall. The way looks wrong.”
“By the gods, could you not sneak up on us like that? You nearly gave me a heart attack!” complains Harmony, too loud.
Ursula shushes her and hisses: “Shut up! The water carries your voice!”
Reinhold chuckles: “Déjà vu!”

The group lets Ursula take the lead along the shore, and they move east before slowly turning south as the lake curves. The darkness is unnerving, as are the noises -- now that they get farther and farther away from the waterfall, the rushing recedes, and small splashes and glugs are audible. From time to time, something tiny breaks the surface, only to vanish again, but always several yards away, never close to the shore. The roof cannot be too far up, judging from how far they went down since entering the cave, but there is nothing but blackness above them.

Suddenly they reach a huge cave leading into the eastern cliffside, an uneven hole two men high and three across. Water is lapping into it’s pitch dark opening. The air at the entrance smacks moist and stale. There are two options for the path - climbing a ways up and crossing above the hole, which looks doable, but may make some noise when loose stones get dislodged - or wading through the shallow water right at the opening, which is clearly easier ... but also scary.
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36%
Climb across above the cave entrance
36%
64%
Wade across the opening
64%
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Statistics: Strong correlation of good quality assessments and perceived physical attractiveness in professors, male and female both. Causation tbd.
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I struggle to find words. This is a really emotional piece about Lord Dunsany, the almost forgotten... let's call him the grandfather of roleplaying games.
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#TheSpiderPit - part 28 - Behind the water

While the rest of the group takes a moment to catch their breath, Ursula sneaks westwards, soft-footed like a cat. It soon becomes clear that the path leads behind the waterfall and back out on the other side, where it leads along the lake, not unlike the eastern path. Anything farther than 40 or 50 feet is shrouded in darkness, but it looks like there is some outpouring from the lake along a canyon in that direction.

As Ursula reaches the waterfall, she takes a careful peek behind the water sheet. She can see a skeletal form in rags, likely a goblin dead for months, clutching a rusted sword. A small heap of bones shimmers farther in some kind of crevice.

She looks into the water and up at the roof to determine cause of death, but can see only moss. Then she discovers that part of the moss is no moss at all … it is a a shaggy-haired, sheepdog-sized slug nestled between the natural plant-life in the moist cavern. Ursula inspects the whole roof, but discerns just the one moss-slug, and several gobs of whitish slime in places, but these look harmless.

PC stats and equipment: http://bit.ly/2tcRkhw
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Attack with slingshot
Attack with hatchet
Offer food
Use other equipment
50%
Back off
25%
Attack with slingshot
0%
Attack with hatchet
25%
Offer food
0%
Use other equipment
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This rings important.
 "Globally, remaining tropical forests are being rapidly cleared, particularly in countries like the Solomon Islands where commercial logging accounts for about 18 percent of government revenue, and at least 60 percent of exports while providing the largest number of formal sector jobs. However, the loss of native forests has huge ecological and social consequences, many of which are poorly documented.

A team of researchers from The University of Queensland (UQ), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and other groups have found that increasing land clearing for logging in Solomon Islands-even with best management strategies in place - will lead to unsustainable levels of soil erosion and significant impacts to downstream water quality.

Combined, these impacts will compromise the integrity of the land for future agricultural uses, interrupt access to clean drinking water and degrade important downstream ecosystems.

The researchers published the results of the study in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

The work focused on Kolombangara Island, where efforts are underway to create a national park to safeguard unlogged forests above 400 meters that have both cultural and ecological significance. This effort is being led by the Kolombangara Island Biodiversity Conservation Association (KIBCA), a community-based organisation focused on conserving the island's rich marine and terrestrial biodiversity. The declaration of a protected area would add significant levels of legal protection and explicit controls over land clearing.

UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr. Amelia Wenger, said the research can provide insight into the full range of impacts from logging activities, which are often not taken into consideration.

"When land-clearing extent reached 40 percent in our models, international standards for safe drinking water were exceeded nearly 40 percent of the time, even if best practices for logging were followed. Loss of the upland forest will compromise local access to clean water essential for drinking, bathing, and household washing," said Wenger.

Findings of this study are being used by KIBCA to communicate to island residents the potential impacts that could occur as a result of logging if the forest was not protected.

KIBCA coordinator Ferguson Vaghi said: "Previously people in Solomon Islands made decisions about logging from a selfish economic perspective. This study highlights that we also need to consider the impacts to the downstream environment."

More broadly, the findings demonstrate that national policies for logging practice must explicitly link soil erosion reduction strategies to natural and ecological thresholds, otherwise they will be ineffective at minimizing impacts".

(Posted by +rasha kamel )
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