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Gregorius21778

[Need !HELP!] Freshwater in a swamp

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Greethings brethern,

I screwed it an I need help.  I placed a stilt hut type village of about 150 people in a swamp.

Why do they live in a swamp? They were driven away from their other ground due to religious reasons. The swamp was the place no-one else would want. Everything fine and alright, but I one of my players asked the question I should have asked myself:

What is their fresh water supply?
Cooking water is not an option. Swamp are the ultimate thing in "being moist", and moist wood will not burn. I thought about "rain water", but somehow I doubt that rain water alone will be sufficient. "Praying for rain" will become a totally new meaning...

Next thing I thought about a well, but can you dig wells in a swamp?

Lakes are not an option as well. Swamp water is dangerous for all the (micro-)organismens dwelling in it..thereby you would need to cook it...here we go again, MOIST WOOD!

Last but not least, I think they will have cultivated a plant around the area I will call "Mon-Mon". The fruit will look like a green lemon, but twice the size of a mans fist. The fruit itself will taste horrible and will be poisenous in large quantities.. but the fruit stores lots and lots of water one can "wring" from it. The trick is not to swallow to much of the fruit flesh...

But this not going to the do the trick, even if I combine the fruits with the rainwater.

So, anyone any idea for (somehwat) believable sources of fresh water in a swamp? My players WILL ignore the matter if I am honest an claim that I made a mistake here... but perhaps the situation can be saved. Can it?preocupado.gif

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Also, you can dry out wood or use other flamable organics for building a fire as well.  Just because wood is damp dosn't mean it won't catch if you have a fire already going, say from some moss, leaves, smaller sticks, and other things taken from higher up in a tree or left near a fire to dry in the first place.  Also, lasers burn anyting ;-)  So, when it comes to boiling watter, it can be done.  There's also good old fasioned large-scale evaperator set-ups whic requier no high-tec wizardry and can be set up by most anyone wit a bit of cunning and a smooth enclosing surface.

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Graver said:

Also, you can dry out wood or use other flamable organics for building a fire as well.  Just because wood is damp dosn't mean it won't catch if you have a fire already going, say from some moss, leaves, smaller sticks, and other things taken from higher up in a tree or left near a fire to dry in the first place.  Also, lasers burn anyting ;-)  So, when it comes to boiling watter, it can be done.  There's also good old fasioned large-scale evaperator set-ups whic requier no high-tec wizardry and can be set up by most anyone wit a bit of cunning and a smooth enclosing surface.

Hi Graver. A sidequestion... can moss, eaves etc by dried in a general very moist surrounding?
In addition, what are those "old fashinoed large-scale evaperators"? my english is not good enough, it seems.

Thank you!

P.S: No Laser or anything "high tech" available inside the village *sigh*

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I'm going to join Malefic Sorcerer in saying that there is nothing necessarily undrinkable about swamp water. After all people have lived in swamps for centuries. Unless it's a salt water swamp, the water is drinkable if not pleasant. The worst problems they would face would be micro-organisms in the water and the folks living there would develop resistances and treatments to the associated diseases and parasites.

Ultimately, our 21st century mindsets are too clean . People have lived for centuries and, in parts of the world still live, without purified water. People live in filth and muck and slime and do survive. They aren't necessarily healthy and their life span aren't great, but they can and do survive. Humans are quite a bit tougher than our modern society, with it's fixations on being clean and sanitized, would have you expect. happy.gif

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I have lived actually in a bog/swamp for several weeks as part of a archaeological dig. the Water in a bog or swmap is quite potable and you can find a massof burnable materials. Moss is great kindling but not something you can rely on for continous source of fuel, there is however plenty of wood available and if it is closer toa  bog plenty of peat that can dug up, dried and then burned as we use peat here in Ireland still. Moss can also be used as a filter but as long as you can make a fire you can purify alot of water for cooking and washing etc. There is also usually fresh water streams in bogs or swamps it is just a part of all of the geography so you could get decent drinking water that could be later purified.

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Nuada_Obliage said:

I have lived actually in a bog/swamp for several weeks as part of a archaeological dig. the Water in a bog or swmap is quite potable and you can find a massof burnable materials. Moss is great kindling but not something you can rely on for continous source of fuel, there is however plenty of wood available and if it is closer toa  bog plenty of peat that can dug up, dried and then burned as we use peat here in Ireland still. Moss can also be used as a filter but as long as you can make a fire you can purify alot of water for cooking and washing etc. There is also usually fresh water streams in bogs or swamps it is just a part of all of the geography so you could get decent drinking water that could be later purified.

Nuada, I thank you very much for sharing your experiences!

 

@All
Thanks to all of you as well! I think that I will simply assume that clean water isn´t easy to get by, but that they somehow make it by a combination of the mentioned sources. "Firewood" will be  scarce, but obtainable... alas, they will usually use it for boiling water.

Thanks to all of you, guys!

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I would go with two approaches if you are looking to save face on this one.   Step one is to incorporate an elaborate system of rain gutters and storage containers around the community.

You said they lack high tech stuff like lasers, but do they also lack glass or metalurgy?  They could make elevated drying racks for wood supplies to heat sealed water basins attatched to evaporation coils and collection basins.  That way they can distill fresh water to suplement the rainwater supplies.

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ZillaPrime said:

I would go with two approaches if you are looking to save face on this one.   Step one is to incorporate an elaborate system of rain gutters and storage containers around the community.

You said they lack high tech stuff like lasers, but do they also lack glass or metalurgy?  They could make elevated drying racks for wood supplies to heat sealed water basins attatched to evaporation coils and collection basins.  That way they can distill fresh water to suplement the rainwater supplies.

Hi Zilla,

first, thanks for the input. They do not have a smith in the village, but since they are the descandts from a group of "forced settlers" (later driven into the swamps by their "neighbours") they could have some of this remaing intact.

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You have all the right answers here; peat fires and distilled water.  Stills can be fairly low tech and created using a wide variety of materials.  In fact, 'solar stills' can be created using extremely primitive materials.  Look up 'Still' in wikipedia and you'll get some very good information and a few diagrams on their construction.

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 On a related note, why is the player asking and how will they find out?  If these people are outcasts they are not likely to share information about their water supplies with just anyone - after all, you never know who might want to poison them for their beliefs.  And unless the pc is making a point of searching out the answer it shouldn't be something he can just know.  

Players like to think they're entitled to all sorts of information their characters simply have no access to, as a gm you need to be careful about this and setting a precident of letting them know everything.

 

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The 1st thing that comes to mind is a Ceramic filter, but honestly boiling the water should be enough.  Wet wood may not burn, but you can easily convert it to charcoal which burns readily, and works as a filter.  Also if the natives can find dry peat it burns as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceramic_water_filter

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_filter#Homemade_water_filters

 

PS- Personally as a GM I hand wave a lot of things by simply stating that most/all 40k humans are decended from Dark Age colonists.  During the Dark Age of Technology (which was extremely high tech) genetic engineering was common and nearly every colonist got a standard set of genetic resistances to disease, chems, rads, and injury.  Thus the average 40k human can thrive in conditions a modern human would slowly die.  Like wise a modern human taking a gun shot might need months of recovery.  40k humans on the other hand might need a week to recover the same injury.

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Jack of Tears said:

 On a related note, why is the player asking and how will they find out?   

Out of curiousity & because most "installations" for providing water inside a village (wells, things to catch rainwater) are quiet obvious. 
We are talking "medivial village" here, and my player has no "evil intended" against me, the plot or the people. happy.gif It just stroke his mind & I like to have my settings "somewhat reasonably arranged"

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 >>Out of curiousity & because most "installations" for providing water inside a village (wells, things to catch rainwater) are quiet obvious. 

 

We are talking "medivial village" here, and my player has no "evil intended" against me, the plot or the people. happy.gif It just stroke his mind & I like to have my settings "somewhat reasonably arranged" <<
 
Your player's character might have no evil intent, but that doesn't mean the members of the village are going to assume he doesn't.  Again, they've been persecuted and forced to flee for their lives once, who knows what might come next?  
 
As or the player's curiosity - that is fine and all, but if his pc isn't going to know then neither should he ... and sometimes things are merely mystery.  And if his character goes looking for the source of the village's water, well again they are going to likely be suspicious as to why.  
 
Speaking from experience, when you create an expectation in players to have everything they don't understand explained to them, you soon find yourself justifying every mystery and that gets tiring very quickly.
 

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Gregorius21778 said:



So, anyone any idea for (somehwat) believable sources of fresh water in a swamp? My players WILL ignore the matter if I am honest an claim that I made a mistake here... but perhaps the situation can be saved. Can it?preocupado.gif

On my recent trip to Borneo I witnessed a village situated in middle of a breakwater swamp on delta of a large river. They had all the problems you described with the additional problem of the water being salty. Now, this is what they did:

Cooking

Yes, all the wood was dampened with moisture to start with so they gathered the firewood into big piles inside their houses which were conveniently situated on stilts 10 feet above the ground. Now, as long as the wood was in the house air circulating in the house slowly dried the wood. The fact that the pile of wood was situated next to the cooking fire even accelerated the process. 

Rainwater, rivers and wells

The place was a swamp, ergo, it received a lot of water from somewhere or it would not be a swamp. In this case the water came from rain and multitude of smaller, inland rivers flowing down to delta so they got fresh, non-salty water from rain and smaller brooks. They could also dig small holes to the ground near the river and overnight the water would filtrate through the moist ground and fill the holes. As the weather was ghastly hot and humid you really couldn't trust the water to stay uncontaminated so you had to cook it before drinking anyway.

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Gregorius21778 said:

thanks Polaria, helpfull as always happy.gif

you mentioned cooking inside the stilt houses... how did they manage the fire from burning a whole in the ground of the stilt house? Layers of clay? Metal plating?

I didn't ask what it was exactly, but it looked like a large tile of clay that was put on some kind of reed mat. On the tile there was this little depression where the wood was piled. I would imagine that it was some kind of clay. Didn't see any signs of heat actually burning the reed mat so must've been pretty effective.

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Hi Polaria,

thanks again. Clay makes sense, especially if it is rather fresh (the heat will/might go in and "dry out" the clay...and thereby will not "burn" the reed).

 

Many thanks for sharing your infos, their is nothing like a first-hand-witness. happy.gifcorazon.gif

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Simplest way I'd do it is to get a long clay tube to function as a filter, starting with coarse gravel at the top going all the way down to fine sand and finally charcoal at the bottom before it drips though to a container.

Egyptians invented it around 4000 years ago, worked then, works now

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Gregorius21778 said:

Hi Polaria,

thanks again. Clay makes sense, especially if it is rather fresh (the heat will/might go in and "dry out" the clay...and thereby will not "burn" the reed).

 

Many thanks for sharing your infos, their is nothing like a first-hand-witness. happy.gifcorazon.gif

Not much of a concern.  Don't forget: heat rises.  Clay tile or brick will keep a wood floor from being damaged as would rising the fire a few inches from it (then you just have an open sided wood-burning stove) ;-)

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