Blightlady's Bread


Open Call: Design a wondrous item

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RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Aura: Strong Conjuration; CL 13
Slot: Neck; Price: 54,000; Weight: --

Description:
This dessicated insect corpse, when worn as an amulet, allows the bearer to use insect plague twice per day with a command word (Knowledge: Nature or Knowledge: Arcana check [DC 17] to discover). It also grants a +2 resistance bonus to Fortitude saves against poison.

The bearer may also choose to swallow the insect as a move action. If he fails a Fortitude save (which he may do willingly), he dies instantly. 1d3 rounds later, his body will explode into a creeping doom spell. In addition to the normal effects of creeping doom, each swarm eats all vegetation in its square if left undisturbed for two rounds.

These items are a specialty of the sociocidal druid called the Blightlady, and are often held by her most fanatical lieutenants as a last-ditch defense against capture or as a suicide strike against a particularly hated target.

Construction
Requirements: Craft Wondrous Item, creeping doom, insect plague, blight.
Cost: 27,000

The Exchange Kobold Press

This item has (if you'll pardon the expression) gotten under my skin. It's one of the few that makes me say "ick, but I like it!". A very nice way to keep NPCs from being questioned by smart players with charm spells, and also a great bit of horror for a cult.

Inclined to keep this one. Seems very likely for Top 32, in my view.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Ok, but for the last unneeded sentence of backstory this is a really great item. I love both creeping doom and insect plague. We have dinged some druid items but this is a great one. And it is a good DM item.

Big Keeper for me.

An item for suicidal evil druid minions? Oh man, I love it :)

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Kept.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Biggest problem is the name. This thing needs a better name.

Contributor

Killing yourself is pretty extreme to get a 7th-level spell effect rather than two 5th-level spell effects. Suicide items are just strange in general. What happens if you make your save against the swallowed bug? Nothing happens? The bug digests? Passes? If you'd always want the creeping doom effect to happen when you swallow the bug, there's no sense giving it a save if you can voluntarily fail, just say, "if you eat the bug, you die and...."

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Congratulations on making it into RPG Superstar 2009!

I like this item. It's extra icky and a lot of fun, and the visual of the bad guy eating it and dissolving into a mass of centipedes is awesome.

On one level, the power of its main abilities seems at first too similar. Hmmm... stay alive and cast 2 insect swarms, or die and cast one creeping doom. I think, though, that this focused too much on the rational PC mindset. It's okay for there to be some magic items that are for irrational NPCs.

One of the first rules of good DMing is that NPCs don't need to always think like PCs. They don't always have to do the smart thing every time. Sure, they shouldn't be complete idiots, and they should be smart, but they can also have a fatal flaw. Overconfidence! Suicidal tendencies! Unrequited love! Whatever it is. Sure, a PC would probably never use the CD power, but for an NPC, it's not a question of use one OR the other - he fires up the first two swarms, and then when he's about to die he chomps the bug and goes out with a bang. "From Hell's bug-infested heart I stab at thee!!!!"

Sean, is right, though: If you're going to allow a save vs. eating the bug (though it's unclear who, besides a suicide bug-bomber would EVER just eat this desiccated insect husk someone has been wearing), you need to say what happens if you save. Is the item destroyed? Do you barf it up or pass it through? Unpleasant questions that need unpleasant answers!

The name, and the background sentence at the end... especially given that this would be a heck of an expensive suicide strike. You might have been able to achieve the same flavor at a much lower cost (given that the CD effect amounts to a single-use potion/elixir of creeping doom) by letting the bug necklace allow you to summon swarm 2/day instead of insect plague. This would bring the item down into the price range where the Blightlady really could afford to hand these out to mooks and minions to go "bug out" on her enemies.

Summary: I like the item and love the concept. The name is not great, and the item might be a better fit for its intended flavor text purpose if it were rejiggered a bit to be lower power (and therefore cheaper).

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder aka Robert G. McCreary

In response to Sean's question, the save is there for PCs or captured prisoners being force-fed one. Suicidal minions don't need a save, but it could be abused as a kind of "super-poison" without a save. But it would be nice to know what happens if the save is successful. At the very least, is the item is destroyed, or can you use it again once it passes? (Ick.)

I like the flavor, but I agree the backstory isn't needed, and "Blightlady" is kind of uninspired. Definitely needs a new name. Otherwise, the effects are pretty cool.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Rob McCreary wrote:
In response to Sean's question, the save is there for PCs or captured prisoners being force-fed one. Suicidal minions don't need a save, but it could be abused as a kind of "super-poison" without a save.

Ooh, reminds me of the 1st Ed. scarab of death. I always figured it as a cursed item, but it really could be a hardcore interrogation device:

"You know what this is? It's a scarab of death (or the blightlady's bread). You better start talkin', punk, cuz in about 1 round this thing is gonna burrow staight for your heart, and then we'll just have to speak with dead to get the answers we want. So punk, what's it gonna be?"

I'm pretty sure that's against the Geneva Convention. Good thing there's no Geneva in Golarion... :)

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

I think Obama has banned its use. :)

Contributor

Rob McCreary wrote:
In response to Sean's question, the save is there for PCs or captured prisoners being force-fed one. Suicidal minions don't need a save, but it could be abused as a kind of "super-poison" without a save.

True, though if you have someone helpless enough that you can force-feed them a dead bug, you have them helpless enough to kill them with a dagger. And killing them with a dagger means they don't explode into a creeping doom that's going to kill you because you're right next to the bugswallower. :)

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

In the interest of professional honesty, I must recuse myself from commenting on this item, as I have prior knowledge of both the submitter and the item in question. As it stands, I can only say that I GREATLY look forward to seeing more from Michael in the following rounds of Superstar!!

I'm impressed by his execution of this item, which I saw in a very early stage of editorial development, and I look forward to the moment when he discovers that he was chosen for this competition.

Congratulations, Mike!

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Boomer,

I've suppressed your comment in this thread because it may reveal the identity of the contestant to the other three guest judges, and I don't want that to possibly be a factor in their comments. After they've commented, I'll return your review.

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder aka Robert G. McCreary

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
Rob McCreary wrote:
In response to Sean's question, the save is there for PCs or captured prisoners being force-fed one. Suicidal minions don't need a save, but it could be abused as a kind of "super-poison" without a save.
True, though if you have someone helpless enough that you can force-feed them a dead bug, you have them helpless enough to kill them with a dagger. And killing them with a dagger means they don't explode into a creeping doom that's going to kill you because you're right next to the bugswallower. :)

It doesn't have to be force-fed. Perhaps you could grind it up and sprinkle it over someone's food, or at the very least bake it into a meat pie or something. I'm thinking it could be used more as a poison - one that kills the target, and has the possibility to take out his entire household too!

Even force-fed though, you still have 1d3 rounds to get out of the way of the creeping doom. Yes, you could kill someone with a dagger, but where's the style in that? Where's the ickiness?

And I forgot to add: Congratulations on joining the ranks of RPG Superstar!

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar aka Leandra Christine Schneider

Swallowing desiccated insect better has to get you a pretty awesome effect. This item delivers, although the user hopefully doesn’t live to witness the destruction he caused.

Positive:
I liked the name quite a bit. I don’t know why others didn’t, but maybe there is a hidden meaning to Blightlady that I am not aware of.
It conjures a lot of the horror stuff and its creepy effect might make the skin of the PCs crawl. (Pretty weak, I know :P)
Requiring a move action to swallow the bread was a good choice in my opinion. It is not as bad as a standard action, no one ever wants to use up, but it is also not the auto-succeed immediate action.

Negative:
It is a little bit too expensive for a suicide item with a limited additional effect. Once you start throwing a few of those at your PCs, you should ask yourself how the NPC got those in the first place.
The best feature of this item is labeled “NPC only”. That is not a super negative thing, but it allows only for a very narrow use of the item.
(Also, we have the save issue from above.)

After reviewing all other items:
It is sort of mid-range thing for me. Cool effect with some uncovered details. I definitely want to see more of you for RPG Superstar 09!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

*jaw drop*

Thank you all for the feedback and for the vote of confidence (or, at least, the vote of "show-us-something-else"). I am absolutely stunned/excited/surprised to have made it to round two, and humbled by the company I'm in.

Is it kosher, now, to answer design-y questions on this thread?

Thank you again.

-Speck

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Demiurge 1138

I'm not too fond of the save vs. eating bug thing, for the reasons already mentioned. Who's going to eat it except for a suicidal bug-bomber?

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 aka Gamer Girrl

While I like squikiness factor of the item and the story behind it, this strikes me as more of a plot device than a wondrous item. I cannot for the life of me see anyone other than the suicidal followers ever using this. My thoughts on a wondrous item was one that anyone, if they can get their mitts on it, would likely use, even if there are drawbacks (cursed items are another kettle of fish).

Again, cool, but not wondrous to me, sorry.


Well, as people have said, this is more an NPC item, and that's fine with me. Really, the only way I could see a PC swallowing this thing is if the action would be in character, they are at low hp, and everyone else is dead. Just a nice little "screw you" to the BBEG. This would be an interesting item to hand out at low levels... a lot more PC death, less attachment to their characters, and not enough money to afford a resurrection. Plus, the effects could be devastating instead of merely annoying.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012 , Star Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 9

This is icky, and it's definitely something a DM, rather than players, would use, but I like it.

Sociocidal is not a word I'm familiar with. You probably should have included a definition of the word in your item. Ya know, for Clark. :-)

Congratulations!

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Conceptwise, this is my favorite item.

I'm all for NPC items, the items I was considering before I managed to misread the deadline were all NPC items.

I like the name, mostly. Blight is strong. Bread is good, solid. I think it might be "lady" that feels wrong to some people. But there's a good related name somewhere right next door to this one.

Pretty sure I'm going to like this one best.

Dark Archive

If the item then reincarnated the eater afterwards, I might consider it. Suicide items are a turn off for me. It reminds me too much of those 1e games where a pissed-off player would say 'screw it' and have his character fireball their necklace of missiles or something.

Knee-jerk negative reaction. Not useful, I know. :)


Other posters have said most of what I think already.

However this is only the second item which I have read, and like the first, apparently Clinton Boomer helped develop it. If your biggest chance to gain the judge's approval is to have Clinton Boomer personally edit your item, I'm not sure how open that leaves the contest to those who aren't in contact with Boomer...

I may have just happened to pick to read the only two items to be edited/developed by Boomer to start off with however.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka Clandestine

Apart from the name, I love much of this item. I can't help but think from a DM's perspective, as I take this role most of the time. And I would gladly add this item to various situations, with political intrigue and prisoner situations sticking out at first. This, uh..., Bread... fires up imagination and can spin entire adventures around itself. Very Superstar!

Star Voter Season 6

Congrats on your selection!

The one thing that I'd encourage you to think about for the upcoming rounds is whether smart villains and heroes will use your items. For example, you say that the Blightlady gives these to her lieutenants as a last-strike item. I can't help but think that if she had spent the 54K/lieutenant better, her minions wouldn't have to do suicide strikes in the first place. They'd actually achieve their objectives. That's perhaps unfair, but you highlighted the suicide pact part of the item, rather than the insect plague 2x/day.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

At first I thought maybe this item was going to allow someone to change into a creeping doom spell for a limited amount of time and then revert to normal...but, no...ummm, you're dead-dead and there's no coming back. Literally. I assume you can't even raise the corpse since there isn't one anymore?

I agree that it's a nifty way for DMs to protect their plotline by having evil minions use this to escape interrogation. But wow...what a way to go.

Just my two-cents,
--Neil

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 , Dedicated Voter Season 6

I actually kind of liked the name, but it doesn't match up with the item as presented.

Okay flavor, I like the suicide mechanic. The save makes sense to me - force-feeding a person is something I can see happening within a pin, which does not leave you helpless. Yeah, you're probably already screwed, but even so. Reminds me of the nerve gas luncheon in The Rock.

Also, you could probably pull an "eat this bug" with a charm person, certainly with a dominate, whereas you couldn't pull a "physician, coup thyself" as easily. So there are potential abusive applications if it is made instantly fatal.

I find it amusing that you can eat the bug while nauseated (move actions only) :)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

Blight Lady's Bread is an extremely high powered amulet, and very expensive. It's definitely not a spellpunk utility item, and that's a good thing, it certainly seems like the sort of evil item that you might come across in the hands of some crazed evil vermin-loving pseudo-druid. That being said, however, I can't help but wonder if this might be a little too specialized.

Probably not. Good job, except for the goofy backstory stuff!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Thank you all for your comments. I'll try and address some of the concerns here.

A general note first: I came at this from a flavor angle first. I wanted something disgusting, something creepy, something that would really give players a second thought about using it because it's just...perverse. I also really wanted something that had options for a big epic finish -- say, a cult's high ritual. Thus, the suicide creeping doom, and the save mechanic for unwilling subjects/sacrifices.

On that topic, I'd originally figured on nothing happening if the save was made...but that strikes me now as really weak. If I did a rewrite I'd at least throw in a sickening effect. Either way, I figure the item itself is gone/digested.

The insect plague exists so that the item isn't JUST a suicide bugbomb or a plot device (as per GamerGirrl's comment). I considered summon swarm, but got hung up on "rats, bats, or spiders" and said "they're just not as creepy as insects." Again, with a do-over, I'd be inclined to call it a summon swarm, and flavor-ize the swarm into bugs -- the argument on lowering the cost (from Jason and RogueRouge) has me convinced.

Erik -- I think you're quite right, that it is a specialized item -- certainly few PCs will want to use the "main attraction" of this item. I hope that, given the considerations above, you understand what led me in that direction.

Neil -- I'd figured that there's no corpse left to raise or to speak with -- the bugs ate it. Probably there would be enough bits left to reincarnate...ugh...but SWD requires a "mostly intact" corpse.

All (especially Clark): You've caught my big weakness: names. I have a much easier time with titles than I do with fantastic-sounding names. We'll see how well I deal with that this next round....

Again, thank you all! This was a great surprise (especially since I counted myself out about six times during Clark's "things I'm seeing" thread!).

-Speck


Well, I simply seem to have got off to a 'bad start' with the item read through.

Edit:
Ooops. Confused this with another item.
Out-of-place thought removed.

And well done on reaching the top 32, Mike.

Star Voter Season 6

Mike Speck wrote:


The insect plague exists so that the item isn't JUST a suicide bugbomb or a plot device (as per GamerGirrl's comment). I considered summon swarm, but got hung up on "rats, bats, or spiders" and said "they're just not as creepy as insects." Again, with a do-over, I'd be inclined to call it a summon swarm, and flavor-ize the swarm into bugs -- the argument on lowering the cost (from Jason and RogueRouge) has me convinced.

-Speck

An urban druid variant then could have been the cockroach swarm (see Second Darkness 1). I had my player screaming when those showed up in our campaign.


I like the flavour (pun semi-nonintentional). The mechanics have problems but...

The save should be there: charm was mentioned and there are also other ways to trick people into eating these (unless the insect is really big). Or when that pesky dragon comes against you, just throw this into its opened mouth and run.

I'm looking forward for your next submission.

Star Voter Season 6

My character would use suggestion to get someone to eat something with the bug in it, especially if they didn't know it was "poisoned." I'd prefer it as the amulet, but at higher levels it makes an awesome poison.

UGH! Fleshing eating cockroach swarms!!!!

Spoiler:
After being the unfortunate to be first covered by them, my character (the only female and a sorceress) was going to take Saul Vancaskerkin through the swamps and let him be eaten by those swarms. Before I could another character got Pigsaw mad and manipulated him to attack Saul. Pigsaw rolled three 20s.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka NChance

roguerouge wrote:
Mike Speck wrote:


The insect plague exists so that the item isn't JUST a suicide bugbomb or a plot device (as per GamerGirrl's comment). I considered summon swarm, but got hung up on "rats, bats, or spiders" and said "they're just not as creepy as insects." Again, with a do-over, I'd be inclined to call it a summon swarm, and flavor-ize the swarm into bugs -- the argument on lowering the cost (from Jason and RogueRouge) has me convinced.

-Speck

An urban druid variant then could have been the cockroach swarm (see Second Darkness 1). I had my player screaming when those showed up in our campaign.

Indeed. I swapped out the bat swarm for a roach swarm in D0. My players stocked up of alchemist's fire and lamp oil real after that... >:D

Edit: Also, congrats and welcome to the Top 32!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 aka flash_cxxi

I am of two minds about this one: Seriously.

On one hand I love it because of the creepy vibe it's got going, but on the other it just doesn't feel "right" to me somehow. I can't quite put my finger on why though.

Congrats anyway on becoming a Top 32! :)

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Epic Meepo

I have a suspicious feeling that we'll be seeing more of Blightlady in Round 2. I'm going to have to step up my game if I want to make the Top 16.

Star Voter Season 6

Amazing how much difference a year makes: Last year, the judges were concerned about how contemporary the Martyr Eater's suicide bombing minions were or how we'd react to it. This year, the concern is not nearly as strongly expressed from the Paizoans or the judges.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Epic Meepo

roguerouge wrote:
Last year, the judges were concerned about how contemporary the Martyr Eater's suicide bombing minions were or how we'd react to it. This year, the concern is not nearly as strongly expressed from the Paizoans or the judges.

I think it has to do with this item involving a swarm instead of an explosion. Exploding suicide bombers are a contemporary phenomenon in the real world, so they seem both gratuitous and anachronistic. Meanwhile, minions who melt into a puddle of hungry bugs are pure fantasy.


Just wondering, what happens when an undead, say a lich or vampire, eats this? Does it have to be digested?

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8 aka Benchak the Nightstalker

What happens when a player wearing one gets swallowed whole?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

A suicide item. Interesting, but not something that players usually go in for. Especially as this suicide item also takes the body with it, preventing you from being raised using raise dead. Actually, I think it would be really cool if you wrote this item so that if even one bug survived, the user could be brought back using that bug rather than his original body. I guess the other concerns here are tricking someone into eating this thing, although at 54,000 gp, that's probably the most expensive assassination attempt ever.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
What happens when a player wearing one gets swallowed whole?

Well, that's all kinds of awesome, isn't it?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

lojakz wrote:
Just wondering, what happens when an undead, say a lich or vampire, eats this? Does it have to be digested?

I guess my figuring would be that swallowing requires flesh and muscles. I wasn't thinking that specifically when I wrote "swallowing" instead of "eating," but I'll go with it. =0 So, if undead can't use potions, they can't set off a deathbug.

paul worthen wrote:

Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

What happens when a player wearing one gets swallowed whole?

Well, that's all kinds of awesome, isn't it?

Yes. Yes it is. Hehehehe....

Craig wrote:
On one hand I love it because of the creepy vibe it's got going, but on the other it just doesn't feel "right" to me somehow. I can't quite put my finger on why though.

If you think of it, Craig, please let me know! I'm glad you like the creepiness of it.

-S


I was going to make a comment on whether or not creatures with the Hit Dice to swallow a character whole might have to worry much about missing the Fortitude save, but I can't seem to find an exact value for the 'Fortitude save to avoid exploding messily in a bug swarm if you eat this item'.
I see a DC given for identifying the item's powers, but not for the save to avoid going kablooie if you eat it. Either I keep failing my search check, or this seems to have been an important omission.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16 aka eotbeholder

Not a fan of the name, but I love the item... it's my kind of crazy. :) I just wish this game would do away with gold piece costs and recommended wealth by level and NPC gear allotments and all that nonsense so every little minion could have one.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Oooh. That's mortifying.

Base save for creeping doom is 10 + 7 (spell level). I'd probably kick this particular save up to 21 for plot purposes -- if Joe Q Average is force-fed this bug, it's because the DM wants him to bugsplode (or wants the PCs to stop same). Conversely, it's within reach for most PCs, so it's not an auto-kill for them.

Good catch, Charles. Sorry, everybody!

-S

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

I think if you make the save, you should be ill. Maybe that helps with the interrogation bit. Either you're too sick to be beaten for information, or you die and take out the paladins.

This item is an example of good weird to me. It needs help mechanically, but it employs a disturbing concept and has a tight theme. Good job.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

This is a pretty cool evil druid cult item, but the price is way out of whack for what it does, especially when you have to kill yourself for the big payoff. I think I'd like this item a lot more if it automatically ate your body and turned into a creeping doom spell when your hit points fell below zero.

Good luck in the villain round.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Joel -- I hear you on price. Unfortunately, that x2 multiplier for multiple different abilities REALLY kicks up the GP requirement -- and I didn't want to get booted based on the math.

I'm working on my "director's cut" now, and still discovering that doubling to be a pain; now that I'm not worried about math-based DQ on this item, I'm going to be freer with the ad hoc adjustments. Take a look in a few minutes, tell me if you like what you see!

Another thank you to everyone who's taken the time to comment on this item, complimentary, constructive, or both! It's a privilege to be in the Top 32 -- especially with some of the awesomeness I'm seeing in Clark's review thread -- and I appreciate the civility of this thread and forum a lot. Thank you all.

-Speck

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Here's the "director's cut" of Blightlady's Bread. (Well, I suppose the one up there is the director's cut, since this version has been reviewed and *smack*)

*ahem* Sorry about that.

Blightlady's Bread
Aura: Strong conjuration; CL 13 (see below)
Slot: Neck Price: 30,000 Weight: -

Description: This dessicated insect corpse, when worn as an amulet, allows the bearer to summon a swarm of locusts twice per day with a command word (DC 17 Knowledge (Nature or Arcana) check to discover). Treat this effect as a summon swarm spell with a CL of 3, except that the swarm is always composed of locusts.

If the insect is swallowed whole (which the bearer may do, if Tiny or larger, as a move action), the swallower may make a Fortitude save (DC 21). A successful save means the character is nauseated for the next 1d3 rounds, and sickened for the next 1d6+13 rounds. On an unsuccessful save, the character dies instantly; 1d3 rounds later, his body explodes into a creeping doom spell. The creature's remains are not sufficient for speak with dead or raise dead, but resurrection and reincarnate are still possible. Once swallowed, Blightlady's bread is destroyed.

Construction
Requirements:
Craft Wondrous Item, creeping doom, summon swarm
Cost: 15,000

*********

SHOWING MY MATH:
Summon swarm by command word, 2/day: 2nd level spell x CL 3 x 1800, x 2/5 = 4320
Creeping doom single-use, use-activated: 7th level spell x CL 13 x 50 = 4,550; x2 for being the higher-cost of 2 different abilities = 9,100
TOTAL: 13,420; ad hoc adjustment to 15,000 because of death poison potential.

**********

Thoughts on this version? I cut the dead vegetation and the save bonus to keep the word count down and expand on some of the points of contention. If nothing else, I think the verbiage is cleaner this time around.

-S

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