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Role Playing Tips - By Johnn Four

How To Keep Your Butt In One Piece While Adventuring In The Wilderness

Pick Your Camp Site Very Carefully:

Your campsite location could be the difference between gaining more experience points or rolling up a new character. Unless you fortify, do not camp close to a river. That puts you in a tricky spot as smart attackers will sandwich you between them and the water. Fortification, optionally, turns a river into your friend by cutting off a potential route of attack and keeps drinking water close by. But fortifying takes a lot of time and effort (unless you have the "dig" spell, of course :).

For the same reasons, don't camp near any spot that cuts off your potential retreat: near chasms, cliffs, ravines, dense forest... Don't camp on a slope as attackers could have higher- ground advantage. Do camp near a windbreak. Protection from the wind will keep you warmer and drier.

Avoid camping near pools and ponds. Those places are usually gathering spots for thirsty wild animals and monsters.


Guard Duty Is Very Important Your game master is most likely to strike while you're sleeping. So it's very important to post guards and to post them wisely:

Use two guards to keep each other awake and as back-up.

Keep the guards separated so that only one can be affected by an area affect spell at a time.

Guards should patrol the perimeter of the camp site, and choose random routes and intervals to avoid being predictable.


Early Warning Is Critical

If you're attacked at night in camp, you're first worry is waking up. You're second concern is your combat equipment: arms, armour, spell books & components, magic items, etc. An early warning system will help give you and your party members enough time to wake up and get prepared:

Spoons, cans or noisy objects strung up across paths, between trees or just placed on the ground to trip over.

Guards with night vision.

Spell wards.

Dogs or other animals with keen senses and a loud voice.

Dig pits, plant sharpened stakes and put other surprises all around the camp perimeter to slow down the enemy.


Vision At Night Is Crucial

You need to see what you're up against when being attacked at night. If members of your party cannot see well in darkness, then you should prepare for quick illumination:

Keep a low fire going at all times. Large fires could interfere with night vision and make you an easy target to spot. Place torches near the fire for quick lighting. Place lanterns around the campsite on level ground, hanging from tripods or branches, or resting on a stable surface. Keep matches, flint & tinder, etc. near each lantern for quick ignition. Keep all magical and hi-tech light sources under cover but nearby for fast activation.


Guard your Horses, Animals & Mounts Well Guard your animals well for several reasons:

They're prime targets for GMs as they're usually easy fodder Injured animals and a shortage of mounts will slow you down. This has huge repercussions if your GM likes wandering monsters or if you're on a tight deadline. Your animals usually carry your stuff while travelling, which makes them prime targets for bandits.


Learn Your Game Master's Tricks It's not really your character vs. mother nature. It's your character vs. your game master. And while real life knowledge of wilderness survival may help you roleplay yourself out of trouble once in awhile, you're best bet is to learn the typical dangers that your GM throws at you and figure out good solutions.

In other words, GMs are human, which means they're creatures of habit--so your GM will quite likely fall into predictable patterns throughout the campaign.

That goes the same for you. If you do things the same way all the time, your GM is going to learn your patterns and use them against you: Do you set-up camp the same way every night? Do you use the same marching order/defensive formation all the time? Do you react to ambush the same way each time?


Bring Building Tools With You Think beyond spell components, rations, arms and armour for your travelling equipment needs. Bring a sharp saw, lots of twine/rope, axes & shovels and a block and tackle in case you have to build anything (i.e. a raft, battering ram, etc.).

It's also nice to have a strong animal or two to drag logs, pull down obstructions, etc.

And a party member with civil engineering skills never hurts either. :)


Waterproof Yourself Getting wet can be bad news while travelling. Not only could it lead to health problems, but important things like scrolls, maps, spell components, etc. can be ruined in the rain, while crossing a stream, or when swimming for your life, etc.

So, carry one or more waterproof sacks/bags and put the stuff you need to keep dry into them (including a spare set of clothes & boots, if you have the room).


Pay the Toll--Fighting Isn't Worth It Let's say some bandits block your path and demand tribute or they'll chop you down where you stand. What do you do?

I'd pay the toll if I were you. Unless your foes demand a ludicrous payment, it's far wiser to pay the few gold pieces, dollars or credits than to start a large battle and weaken yourself for the upcoming adventure.

Would you rather pay a 100 gold pieces and pass by unharmed, or save the 100 gps and risk not being able to recover the huge treasure hoard that lies ahead?

On the return trip, if you're in good health, you may have the opportunity to settle the score...


Prepare For Ambush Every game master enjoys a good ambush. To thwart your GM's glee, be prepared: Bring along a guide or fellow PC who has sense ambush or alertness abilities.

Travel with companions who know many languages so you can parley if it's possible. Determine beforehand how you will react to attack: Does everybody need to hit the ground for the fireball that's going to roar overhead?

Should you stick together or split up? Protect spell casters or every-man-for-himself? Where would you re-unite if the party gets split up?

Have more fun at every game!

Johnn Four

* Coat of Arms 1.2a
* Promisance
* World of Phaos 0.9.2
Is Magic Armor Lighter Than Standard Armor of the Same Type?
Yes indeed
No, never!
In 1E yes, in 2E no
Only for encumbrance
Of course it is
Not in my world
* And-Mag.com

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