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ID: 745


December 31, 1969, 7:00 pm

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Cheka Man

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The Ice Cave


To the primitive tribes on the plains of North, life changes rapidly from season to season. In summer, food is abundant. In the winter, death from starving is never far. A natural phenomenon helped one such tribe.

A cave can be beautiful, but is not very useful to most people, maybe shelter, but little more. Caves often contain water, some are flooded, and even freeze in winter. But due to a combination of favourable conditions, only one is known to actually stay frozen, even in the hottest of summers!

After discovery, it was a nice curiosity for a few years, if ignored otherwise. Kids often played there on hot summer days. Then, a little girl came back to her camp with fresh strawberries in her hand. But it was late autumn, and no strawberries grew anywhere! The puzzled elders soon got their answer, and the very next year the cave has seen its use…

The primitive hunters and gatherers have their good and bad times. In summer, where everything grows, and game abounds, it is good to become fat. The seasonal migrations are an excellent source of much meat, though it is better consumed fast, as ways to preserve it are limited.

Winter is the season when you become lean and often hunger. Anything left from the better months is good. No wonder a big natural refrigerator has become such a hit!

Possible plots
You can set the present at whatever moment you want. Maybe the tribe was just recently began to use the cave, and wants to keep it secret. A large part of its provisions is hidden there, and other tribes would surely take it with the idea.

Somewhat later, the secret is inevitably out, and the cave is guarded all the time, or sealed and masked to stay hidden. The tribe will have to stay in the area, and keep an eye open. Anyone seeking hidden underground locations will be instantly suspicious. Or if someone has a map leading to this cave, a few centuries old? Trouble and heated arguments guaranteed.

Later, the cave may serve as a food-bank for numerous tribes living nearby. A hotbed of tribal politics will be born, be sure to visit it. Some larger or more numerous humanoids may also want the cave for themselves, and take it without asking.

And still later? While it may be definitely exaggerated, a single cave may be the start of a new nation. Giving more time to create new inventions, forcing a tribe always on the move to settle, and creating alliances… who knows? It may become a memorial of how things started long ago.

At any point, some ice could melt, and something could be found inside. Whether a cute fuzzy creature, that can threaten the ecosystem one day, or some magical beast that should have stayed imprisoned? Or perhaps some strange disease from aeons ago? (remember X-files)

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Comments ( 8 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

February 6, 2004, 8:47
What about the use of ice to cast reflections to make PC's think there is more than one enemy around, or to warp somethings appearance (like a concave/convex mirror) to make something seem more ferocious than it is?

A wooly field mouse, magnified many times can seem like a ferocious beast. It could cause warriors to swing a blade at it, and dent their weapon against hard staligmite of frozen ice. It could cause mages to cast a fireball spell to kill it, melting a crucial ice column which was holding a pile of snow and ice up.

Also, if snow/ice covers someone, their body heat will melt some of the ice, causing discomfort, possible rusting of armour/weapons, heavier robes/undergarments which would make harder moving. ice which sets on chainmail may cause lack of movement in its joints, plus the mixture of cold and rust may make blades and armour more susceptible to shattering.

Basically, there are plenty of ways this setting can cause discomfort and irritation to characters, which is always fun.
April 26, 2005, 6:14
Now this post is more interesting for its social effects than the consequences for combat...
A detective plot could be about someone finding an alternative entrance and stealing food, while a troll lumbering into the cave and threatening the supplies could be a challenging encounter, especially if you have to watch out where exactly you throw that fireball.

The tribe politics about the Cave of Eternal Food could be quite enjoyable as well.
April 26, 2005, 6:38
Good that you bring it up. Now if there are business routes nearby, caravans with sensitive goods may wish to stay for a while, to restock, rest, etc., using the cave for storage.

For more detective work, a body is found inside. Who is it, and how long ago did the murder (obvious or suspected) happen? It could have been months or decades before. Was it one of the guardians (a very prestigious position reserved to trusted men only) or something worse?
Voted Cheka Man
November 3, 2005, 20:31
I really like this. Simple but useful and it could always be expanded to be part of a cave system.
Voted chilled
February 25, 2008, 7:58
I think its a great piece, like cheka man said "simple but useful"
Voted valadaar
October 8, 2010, 14:55

This could be a real boon to a kingdom if large enough. Rather then a storage chamber, it could be used as an ice-maker.  With enough capacity, you ave now given a kingdom refrigeration and increased their food preservation abilities dramatically, which an in turn change population and power balance.


Simple yet very powerful. Nicely done!

Voted Pieh
October 8, 2010, 15:29

Good one to bring up, Val. But I noticed something very odd here... and not do to with the submission itself. Take a look at when this was last updated. I'm sure I'm not the only only one who sees something wrong with that.

It appears Manfred is some sort of time-traveller. Good job, Man.

Cheka Man
October 8, 2010, 21:57

Can you share your time-machine with me?

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Man-Eating Grapes!

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A wild species, vinus homophagus, more akin to sea-grape rather than the terrestrial variety, is not a monster despite its fanciful name. The grapes, a deep purple color when in bloom, and oozing dewdrops of perspiration, like the most prized and delectable of drinking wine grapes, do however deserve their moniker. Wine made from this fruit, is deadly to most humanoids, as is the raw berry, if plucked and eaten from the vine. It is the unnatural chemical concoction found within the fruit’s tart skin, which gives the man-eating grape its name. The chemical stew found inside each berry, functions as a necrotic agent, the same as found in some species of venomous snakes. The grapes literally eat the victim from the inside out, via cell death, dissolving organs and flesh in quick succession.

The tribes of Pra-Oohk Crater, from the jungles of Ghlush are known to sell the fermented “wine” of this grape to merchants of distant lands. Sadly, the taste of the concoction is divine when first quaffed, and even worse, the man-eating grape wine will never detect as poisonous via mundane means, its horrid natures somehow masking all attempts. Luckily the man-eating grapes are extremely rare, and endemic to humid jungles.

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