Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Making Camp: Part 1

Some procedures for camping in the wilderness.

Finding a Campsite
The first step in camping for the night is to find a suitable location. Depending on the terrain being traversed, this may not be trivial. Searching for a site takes one hour. This is assumed to be a part of the evening phase, when the party is beginning to settle down to rest.

First, the referee should make a density roll (a percentile roll against the density rating of the hex being travelled through). Failure indicates that the terrain does not yield any location suitable for characters to lay. A site with space to crouch or lean, where it may be marginally possible to sleep, can always be found. This entails a -4 comfort modifier (see rest, below).

Secondly, the party must make a WIS (bushcraft, survival) check to determine the number of different locations which present themselves. The character with the highest chance of success should make the roll on behalf of the group. Success indicates that two locations have been discovered; the party may choose between them. Failure indicates that only a single suitable location can be found; the party must either camp in this place or start searching anew.

If the party is unsuccessful or unsatisfied with their attempt to find a campsite, they may repeat the procedure, entailing another hour of searching. Each repeat attempt incurs a cumulative -1 comfort modifier, when the party eventually get to sleep, due to the extra time spent exploring.

Forest Campsites
Each terrain type requires its own table for camping locations. As an example, here is a table suitable for use in forested areas.

1. Dry, sandy ditch. Party must sleep in a line.
2. Mossy glade. Soft ground grants +1 to comfort but dampness incurs a -1 penalty to fire building.
3. Clearing beside a pathway. Increased chance of encounters.
4. Pleasant glade. Spoor of a random monster is present. Increased chance of encounters. (If an encounter occurs, it is 50% likely to be with the creature indicated.)
5. Flat, stony area beside a stream.
6. Clearing criss-crossed with gnarly roots. -1 comfort modifier.
7. Beautiful glade with a single large tree in the middle. (33% chance of the tree having some noteworthy feature; roll on the table of strange trees.)
8. Cosy, fern-filled depression. +1 comfort.
9. Sandy outlook atop a cliff. Encounter distance is doubled.
10. Small glade crossed by many small paths. Chance of encounters increased.
11. Mushroom-riddled glade. Roll on the fungi table to determine their qualities.
12. Verdant dell hidden between large rocks. Chance of encounters reduced.
13. Muddy banks of a pool. -1 comfort due to dampness. There is a 1 in 4 chance of the pool possessing special qualities (roll on the table of strange waters).
14. Among a cluster of fallen trees. -1 comfort due to the inconvenient trunks.
15. Cramped glade, only sufficient space for 1d4+2 humans.
16. Narrow ledge beside a deep gorge. -1 comfort due to fear of rolling off the edge while sleeping.

Post-Amble: Skill Checks
The text above uses a broad notation for skill checks which can be adapted to several different game systems as follows.

Basic: For games without any kind of skill or proficiency system (e.g. old-school Basic D&D and clones), all checks are resolved with an ability check on 1d20. A result of equal or lower than the ability score indicates success. The roll may be modified (-4 to +4) by the character's background. The referee should judge, from the player's description, whether the background experience (or lack of!) warrants a modifier to the check.

Advanced: For games with a roll-under proficiency system (AD&D 1st or 2nd edition, if the optional rules are used), the player should make a proficiency check with the most applicable proficiency or use the rules for making non-proficient checks if no suitable proficiency exists.

LotFP: Replace ability checks with skill rolls as appropriate. If no matching skill exists, fall back on the Basic system described above.

5e: Make an ability check as normal, adding a bonus from any applicable proficiencies. Assume a difficulty of 10.

Part 2 here.

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