Tuesday, 3 April 2012

C is for Camping and Comfort: Hitting the Trail with the Wilderness Survival Guide

Camping, unless you are in a totally city based campaign, all characters have to do it. Yet mostly it is assumed.

Alexis blogged about Breaking Camp - The Best Part of the Day back in May 2011.

The WSG gives rules (percentage chance) for finding natural shelter based on terrain and season.

So Spring in the hills, 60%; the plains in Autumn, 30%.

It's a simple enough table, which could fit onto a DM screen. Perhaps DMs need different screens for wilderness than dungeon. Now that's a thought. I just received my Labyrinth Lord screen, maybe I need a different one for the wilderness. A city one with level advancement? I'm getting sidetracked.... camping.

Alexis in his post, made comment to the time it takes to break camp, and the weight of tents.

Well in WSG, this need for realism is catered for in Table 36: Portable Shelter Characteristics.

A good (4 poles - ridgepole, cross-brace, and 2 side poles; cord and rope cut to length, overlapped pieces of weather proof material so the seams are covered plus with reinforced holes) medium tent (fits two human sized charcaters or twice as many in close quarters), encumbrance 800 cn, will set you back 120 gold, take 1d3+2 turns to set up by one person, has heavy moisture resistance, can tolerate winds up to 40mph and has a life span of 120 (1 point lost for every 3 times set up, 1 point lost if exposed to wind greater than given, 2 points lost if precipitation equal to given, 4 points if precipitation greater).

Compare that to a poor tent, which is really just a cloth, and single pole, and bring your own rope. The equivalent medium variety has a life span of 40, wind resistance of 20mph and only has a light moisture resistance.

In a long trek these factors may make a difference. Isle of Dread?

Finally I want to mention Rest and Comfort, particularly lack of sleep. A character can miss one nights sleep, and be fine the next day, but if they don't get a minimum of 5 hours the next night, trouble sets in. 5 hours is the magic minimum number to remember.

Table 37: Effects of Lack of Sleep (starting from the second night and persisting until 5 hours sleep is had)
4-5 hours sleep = Dex check at +1
2-3 hours sleep  = Dex check +3, Str check +2, Wis check +1, -1 to hit, Climbing -10%, Movement -25%.

Again I think tables like these have to be accessible to be of use, and a Wilderness DM screen, seems the obvious answer. It should have come with the book. That would have been cool and made the guide instantly useable.


  1. Thanks Tim.

    Likewise I have been reading your two postings each day.

    I really admire the way you have attracted a number of non-gamers to The Other Side.
    To say I am blogging about a fringe of a fringe of a fringe, is still not an understatement.

    As the Jovial Priest - I naturally have thoughts about The Freedom of Nonbelief.