Idea's for silent swamp problem?

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My group play's 3.0/3.5 mix  and we recently asked our DM to kick the toughness up a notch. We decided to play a group of Dragon-hunters. We have sorcerer, 3 fighters ( of different prestige classes from the dragonomicon) and a dracolyte cleric. We started off with some young ice dragons and did pretty well. Now our next stop was going to be a green dragon, but apperently that seemed too easy and though various plot twists we find ourselves on the edge of a black dragon lair in a place called the silent swamps wich is filled with mind flayers....

Our first and biggest problem is the swamps. They are called the silent swamps for a reason that we didn't expect. It's not a silence spell like we all assumed - it's a some sort of air compression thing that mutes sounds that aren't extreamly loud. Since we teleported into the middle of it we can't get out without a long dangerous trek. Now we can't communicate out loud or cast spells that have verbal components...the fighters are ready to just head out beat things to a pulp - but they don't have to fear having their brains sucked out or count on a crappy back-up weapon.

Oh yea - and we will have to roll will savesd continually to keep from going insane from the silence. Any ideas?
Get a GM who isn't a rooster.

Seriously, that's just douchey. Intentionally shut down one player(I assume the Sorcerer isn't a metamagic specialist and hadn't bothered to buy a MM Rod of Silence), and then place arbitrary "screw you" effects out there. Talk to your DM, make sure he isn't doing this out of some bizarre antagonistic nonsense. If he isn't, explain to him why this is such a stupid idea. If he is, get a new DM, because if the DM is out to get you, nothing matters.

Otherwise, my best advice is to prepare to roll up a new character, and this time get a Haversack and fill it with some backup utility items and wands. 

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I don't think it's all that douchey if they asked for the toughness to get kicked up a notch then went to a specific place called the silent swamp and encountered some difficulties with silence.  The fact that it was actually an atmospheric effect instead of the entire location being magical isn't unreasonable.

As for what to do, it's tricky to handle the verbal components of spells unless you've prepared for that (what was the plan if it was like a silence spell?), though if you're equipped for underwater spellcasting you could avoid the air problems that way.

Is the insanity just from the almost complete lack of sound?  You could probably use cupped hands to speak directly into someone's ear if you have some complicated message to convey or just need a respite from the silence.

On the plus side, it should make Move Silently checks much easier.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Fulminating Crab, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome LurkerIronglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

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Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
I dunno, to me the only roosterism here is the constant will saves vs insanity. The sudden teleport with no warning was a surprise, but only roosterish if it is a recurring problem. As for the swamp itself, I think that's interesting - at least at levels where you can't just buy your way out of it (telepathy, silent rods, etc). Although your DM might want to use a different pseudoscience explanation: denser media carry sound further, rather than suppressing it, while true silence emerges in vacuum (in space, no one can hear you scream).

Tactically, Dimension Door and most other teleports lack verbal components, so you can probably retreat if you wish. I'd return with a wand of Joyful Noise, if possible; it expressly negates silence through magically making sure sounds aren't suppressed, and enables your sorcerer's full casting (you may need go set it up with command thought activation though).

The mind flayers are going to be a bigger problem than the dragon here, especially if your fighters have that kind of bravado (and that's being charitable; I would normally call it idiocy). Why? Because they're psionic, and ignore silence effects anyway. They specialize in Telepathy - ie something that hits your fighters' Will saves - and are highly intelligent. They are NOT going to get close enough to Extract your fighter brains without disabling them with mind blasts or domination first, and THAT is what your fighters need to fear.

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[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
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[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
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[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
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[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
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[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
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Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

I dunno, to me the only roosterism here is the constant will saves vs insanity. The sudden teleport with no warning was a surprise, but only roosterish if it is a recurring problem.

I'd got the impression that they'd teleported into the swamp themselves to hunt the black dragon, though looking at it again, it could equally have happened to them unintentionally (depending on whether the plot twists included the teleportation).  I mentioned the possibility of underwater casting because it's the sort of thing you might arrange if you were heading out to face a black dragon in its lair.

The insanity is potentially serious if it makes the fighters go insane and kill everyone.
Tactically, Dimension Door and most other teleports lack verbal components, so you can probably retreat if you wish.

Isn't the verbal component pretty much the only component that they do have?

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Fulminating Crab, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome LurkerIronglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
wow - some of this is really helpful. Going underwater is clever, especially if we can find a tunnel or cave ( and hope it doesnt belong to the black dragon...) I'll try the ear-cupping, and several of us have limited flight abilities so we will try getting up high. 

About the teleportation - it was mostly our fault. We had planned to go shopping before the trip to the green dragon in a gnome town, but kinda pissed-off the high-spark by first telling him his engineering airship race went through a black dragon lair only 2 hours before it starts, and then by offering to bring his daughter with us. He had the gaurds looking for us to detain us. Leaving immediatly seemed like a good idea.  I was able to talk the wizard into joining us, so could just leave the next day, but that still leaves the racers getting eaten by dragons which we do not approve of...

Our DM isn't on a power trip - He's my husband btw.  He is trying to teach us to research and prepare before we jumped headlong into things. Even if we all die this time around I would say it is a lesson well learned. You can't have harder difficulty without having thinking too. 

Also I realized I (the cleric) am only a few hundred exp from lvl 12 - Silent spell here I come

I dunno, to me the only roosterism here is the constant will saves vs insanity. The sudden teleport with no warning was a surprise, but only roosterish if it is a recurring problem.

I'd got the impression that they'd teleported into the swamp themselves to hunt the black dragon, though looking at it again, it could equally have happened to them unintentionally (depending on whether the plot twists included the teleportation).  I mentioned the possibility of underwater casting because it's the sort of thing you might arrange if you were heading out to face a black dragon in its lair.


In my defense, I was just waking up and typing that out on my phone - and I'm pretty sure I meant to say "sudden teleport without escape". Hearing how it actually happened, it seemed to be between the two. 

Tactically, Dimension Door and most other teleports lack verbal components, so you can probably retreat if you wish.

Isn't the verbal component pretty much the only component that they do have?

And that one's pure derp on my part, likely again to pre-coffee strategy planning. As was my suggestion for Joyful Noise (a truly wondrous little niche spell that's really only useful if you focus on sound-based effects); I forgot it was bard-exclusive (largely because "all bard spells have verbal components" is a blanket rule in the PHB, but not the case on this specific spell!). It also might not work in this situation, depending on whether the atmospheric silence is due to a physical or magical effect. (Presumably Joyful Noise would not work if cast in the vacuum of space.)




wow - some of this is really helpful. Going underwater is clever, especially if we can find a tunnel or cave ( and hope it doesnt belong to the black dragon...) I'll try the ear-cupping, and several of us have limited flight abilities so we will try getting up high.

If you're fighting a black dragon near its lair, aquatic preparation is the norm - right alongside acid resistance and freedom of movement effects. Black dragons can be pretty beastly even before you get to their spellcasting, and a huge part of that is that "underwater" is their thing, and there's fewer options for fighting underwater than there are fighting in the sky.

The very first dragon a character of mine fought was a black, and I didn't know much about underwater prep. We probably could have taken the time and fought it there had we known better. (We wound up luring it out into a clearing in the marsh and fighting it there.)

Our DM isn't on a power trip - He's my husband btw.  He is trying to teach us to research and prepare before we jumped headlong into things. Even if we all die this time around I would say it is a lesson well learned. You can't have harder difficulty without having thinking too.


True, but an outcome where you survive due to clever planning is better than an outcome where you die but realize, posthumously, how you could have lived.

Honestly, I would retreat through whatever means you can (and hopefully the silence won't interfere with your cleric praying for different spells) and return with specific preparations for this area. Telepathic communication should be a given (that will allow tactical coordination and should prevent you from going insane from silence). Underwater combat prep (including the staple Freedom of Movement) should be a priority, as should anything that can guard your fighters against mental attacks (I assume you're fighting an adult or mature adult black dragon, which is still primarily a warrior beast instead of a spellcaster). A party of five with three anti-dragon warriors in it should be able to chew through a pre-spellcasting dragon pretty easily assuming you can get to it - and the mind flayers are going to be the bigger problem there. Most of these (apart from some of the underwater-specific prep) should be standard fare at or around your level.

However, without Joyful Noise, I'm not aware of anything specifically that would override the global silence effect on the battlefield. Therefore, magically, I'd suggest switching tactics. Specifically, buy a portable hole (the party really should have one of these - or, better yet, an enveloping pit from the MIC, which is better than the hole assuming someone in the party is the right alignment to open it) or some method of casting Rope Trick with a command thought. Once inside, you should be subject to the extradimensional space's atmospheric conditions instead of the swamp's. Once in there, you can buff the hell out of your fighters and yourself, summon bigger long-term allies (the Planar Ally spells are truly amazing if you know your outsiders), telepathically link up, and then hop out and take the swamp by storm. Sure, you won't be casting a lot of spells outside of the bubble you create, but that was the case before.

Also I realized I (the cleric) am only a few hundred exp from lvl 12 - Silent spell here I come

Honestly I wouldn't do this unless retraining is commonplace; Silent Spell is of niche usefulness, and feats are a precious resource. Taking feats for short-sighted reasons always comes back to bite you, assuming you survive. This is especially true if you're considering a feat that's easily replicated through a magic item whenever you need it to - here, that's a metamagic rod of Silent Spell.

(I've made characters with shortsighted feat choices before, but they were always intended for short-term games. For instance, I just finished an NPC villain that makes ample use of Spring Attack as a defining character trait - but that's because I don't expect him to survive to the point where he'll get multiple attacks or enough strikes to last through his encounters. Normally, Spring Attack is an exceedingly poor feat due to its high prerequisites and its inability to function on special attacks. Were I intending him to last a while, I would NOT make use of this - indeed, it's really only there so I can keep the battle mobile, moving over a lot of different terrain and forcing the PCs to think about the world as more than just a game board.)

Of course, if retraining is allowed, go for it; you might need a LOT of silent spells to get through this area if you don't do the buff tactics / extradimensional space stunt from above.

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These are NOT all my creations! The lead authors are identified as follows: [TS] Tempest Stormwind, [AR] Andarious Rosethorn, [RT] Radical Taoist, [SN] Sionnis, [DH] DisposableHero_, [SH] Seishi.

[TS] The Pinball Brothers: Large And In Charge (Melee, Lockdown, Charge, Juggling)
[TS] Ashardalon Reborn: I Will Swallow Your Soul (Melee, Fear, Negative Levels, AoE, Theme)
[AR] "A"-Game Paladin: Play That Funky Music, Knight Boy! (Team Support, Melee, Theme, Single-Class)
[RT] Uncanny Trapsmith: Get in, make it look like an accident, get out. (Skillmonkey, Stealth/Scout/Infiltration, Unorthodox Methods, Theme)
[AR] Wizsassin: *Everything* is permitted. (Spellcaster, Support, Sneak Attack, Utility)
[TS] Phantom Rush: General Gish Gouda. (Gish, Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Early-Entry PrC)
[TS] Storm Knight: Another kind of gish. (Melee/"Gish", Theme, Setting-Specific(Eberron), Unorthodox Methods)
[TS] Inevitable Nightmare: The weapon you only have to fire once. (Melee, "Unorthodox" Methods (no charging), Reliability)
[AR] Captain Constitution: The number one threat to America. (Melee, TOUGHTOUGHTOUGH, Defense, Theme)
[AR] Nuker: I casts the spells that makes the peoples fall down! (Spellcaster, damage, blasting, damage)
[TS] Dread Lord of the Dead: Let the Reaping Begin! (NPC-only, Variable (combat/casting/leadership), Iconic Villain, Theme)
[AR] Heavy Crusader: No Rest. No Mercy. No Matter What. (Melee, Damage (No charging), Variable, Theme).
[TS] Gun Fu: It's bullet time (Ranged, THEORETICAL, Twin weapons, Theme)
[RT] Face First: We should talk. (Psionic, social, mind-control, info-management)
[SN] Chaingun Porcupine: Never Enuff Dakka. (Ranged, Skirmishing, Spike Damage, Incarnum)
[RT] Always On Edge: The Mortal Draw deals death. (Melee, Generalist, Dungeoneering, Stunt)
[AR] Feral Druid: Real feral taste. Zero druid calories. (Melee, offense, damage, murder)
[RT] Rusty!: Man's Best Friend (Sentry, Support, Backup, Rearguard)
[RT] The T3 (Tashalatora Triple Threat): My Kung Fu is More Powerful (Hybrid, Flex-Function, Melee, Caster)
[RT] The #1 Snoipah: Boom. 'Eadshot. (Caster, Theme, Spike, Trapscout)
[AR] Dreamblade: Rest in Pieces. (Melee, Damage, Single-Class, Combo/Momentum)
[AR] Evasion Tank: “When fighting angry blind men, is best to stay out of the way.” (Melee, Tank, Unorthodox Methods (attack negation), Theme)
[DH] Psycarnum Warrior: ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA Start (Melee, Tank, Psionics, Incarnum, 1337 h4x)
[AR] Heavy Weapons Elf: WHO TOUCHED MY BOW? (Ranged, Cohort, Damage, Unorthodox Methods (ranged ToB))
[RT] Gnowhere Gnome: A little man who wasn't there (Caster, Stealth, Single-Class, Elusive)
[AR] Uberflank: I got your back. (Melee, support, stunt, teamwork)
[TS] Flip the Bird: Everyday I'm shuffling (Ranged, harrier, unorthodox methods (ranged ToB / off-turn movement), support)
[DH] Eat Sleep Gank: Real Ultimate Power (Stealth, Assassination, Spike, Magic Versatility)
[AR] Slash and Burn: Mind, Body, Blade, Flame / Aspects of a greater whole / which delivers death. (Melee, Theme (flex-style), Damage, Stunt)
[RT] Edge of the Light: Cut, Fade to Black (Melee, Defense/Offense, Momentum, Tactical)
[RT] Quiet Murder: Cut throats, not corners. (Melee, Stealth, Harrier, Tactical)
[TS] Wand Overdrive: Say Hello to my little friends. (Caster, support/artillery/variable, wand specialist)
[RT] God Hand: What did the five fingers say to the face? (Melee/Gish, Unarmed, SAD, Theme)
[AR] Zero Buff Time Gish: Try to keep up! (Gish, Speed, Movement, Opportunity)
[TS] Robo Tackle: I Am Iron Man. (Melee, setting-specific (Eberron), positioning, theme, stunt)

[TS] Holy Fire: Just getting warmed up! (Casting, damage, theme (fire), theme (sacred), blasting)

[TS] Groundhog Mage: ♪Let’s do the time warp again♪ (Casting, stunt, setting-specific (Faerun), spell stamina / versatility, spontaneous wizard)

[RT] Captain Charisma: All she wants to do is dance (Hybrid (melee/support), SAD, Theme (criticals), Theme (flex-style)

[TS] Assassin's Speed: A blade in the crowd (Melee (technical), iaijutsu, SAD, theme (Assassin's Creed), tutorial)

 

Want to see how the entire group rolls?
[All] Party Optimization Showcase: Dead for Nothing
[TS/RT/AR] Optimization Article: The Flash Step
[RT] Optimization Article: Kung Fu Witchcraft

 

Seishi: I think it might be fun to have a one-off [game] tuned fairly, but with the intention of wiping the party. 

DisposableHero_: if [my campaign] has taught me nothing else, it is that with this group, nothing tuned fairly will ever wipe the party

RadicalTaoist: I've been throwing **** at this group that's 5 levels over CRed in DFN, and have yet to wipe the party.

Those poor, poor Fighters ...
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We can swing the rope trick, water breathing, and acid resistance.  We have arrows that have a chance of lowering a creatures intelligence to 1 for a short time which should help with the mind flayers. We have frost grenades and nightmaregas grenades, and lots of fire type attack items. Our dm is letting those of us that were close to lvl'ing do so before the next session due to not being able to shop like we had planned, so thats something. 

And fear not for our fighters - they are a merry trio who can laugh off anything and keep the campaign moving when us intellects get too bogged down with "planning". If it was just adrian and I nothing would ever get done lol. It would be all shopping and talking and ignoring scary caves.We protect them and they keep us from being too careful. Plus our campains are never terribly long - 12-20 sessions overall, then at the end we just speculate on how our actions may have had long term change on the world and start the next one a few hundred years later in the same world.

 
If everybody is literate why not scratch messages in ground? Are will saves really based on deafness or is dm hitting you with another effect like an gas attack?

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