Thursday, 21 May 2015

Making Camp: Part 3

Continuing from my previous posts on the topic of camping in the woods, here are some guidelines for what happens once the party have located a site in which to set camp.

Setting Camp
Characters may engage in various different activities to help with setting up a campsite. The following are typical.

Gathering wood: It is always possible to find wood with little suitability to building a fire (damp, rotting, frozen, etc). Finding decent wood is more difficult and depends especially on the weather. A WIS (bushcraft, survival) check is required, modified by the prevalent moisture conditions. Driving rain, for example, may incur a -4 penalty, while a spell of hot weather may grant a +4 bonus. Each character who goes gathering wood can collect enough to keep the campfire burning for 1d5 hours.

Fetching water: Is assumed to be successful, in a damp forest environment. The referee may optionally declare a 1 in 10 chance of the party discovering a source of strange waters (roll on that table).

Foraging, hunting, or fishing at dusk: These activities may be undertaken as normal during the hours while the camp is being set. The chance of finding anything is reduced by two thirds (due to the limited time available and the gathering darkness). A -1 rest penalty also applies.

Fire building: Given a means of producing flame (e.g. a tinderbox) and a stash of wood (either gathered from the forest by other characters, as described above, or carried in packs), the party may attempt to build a fire. An INT (fire-building, bushcraft, survival) check is required. If only ill-suited wood is available, the roll is penalised by -4. The referee may apply additional modifiers based on the prevalent environmental conditions (an additional -4 penalty is suggested, for example, in snow or heavy rain). If the check is successful, a campfire is started and may be kept burning for as long as there is wood available to feed it.

Resting: A character who lends no help to setting camp gains a +1 rest bonus.

Camp Activities
Once the campsite is established, more restful activities may be undertaken before the party beds down for the night.

Cooking: Given a fire, cooking utensils, and ingredients, someone may attempt to cook a meal. A successful WIS (cooking) check indicates that a palatable dish is produced, granting a rest bonus to those who eat it. A failed cooking check indicates that the meal is edible but distasteful. Very low rolls may, if the referee wishes, denote a ruined meal (burned, spilled, etc) that is utterly inedible. Modifiers may apply to the check based on the quality and variety of the ingredients available.

Camaraderie: Time spent around the fireside with one's companions may, given the correct conditions, lift the spirits and induce restful sleep. A character may attempt to entertain his comrades with music, song, storytelling, jokes, and so forth. This entails a CHA (entertainer) check. Success indicates that good cheer has been inspired in the party, whereas failure may fall flat or even, in the case of very poor rolls, lead to ridicule, argument, and discord.

Planning: The party may use the evening hours to discuss plans for the future. Generally this requires no checks and has no effect on resting, though if arguments occur, the referee may stipulate a rest penalty due to discord.

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