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critter3of4
2015-04-27, 01:17 PM
For a low level 5e campaign, but any sword and sorcery RPG is fine:

1) What's your group's protocol for setting camp? Watch schedules, traps set, alarms set, etc.

2) What measures do you take to protect yourself and your gear from these threats, still get a good night's sleep, and make the necessary recoveries (spells, powers, HP)?

3) Anything else you want to add about resting / camping, aka a "long rest" in 5e.

I'm specifically interested in temperate hill and forest environments, but if you have ideas for other environments, please share. Especially in an area where you may be attacked by natural and unnatural creatures. Including, but not limited to; orcs, goblins, bandits.

I've done a little camping and hiking, but I'm no boy scout. Basic things will probably help too.

Geddy2112
2015-04-27, 01:32 PM
1. Always have somebody on watch, 2 hours tops. If there enough people, the most wounded or least perceptive party member does not take watch. If anybody can make traps(magical and mundane) and has the spare resources to do so we do. Any ranger/rogue types or casters should hide tracks or make them mislead. A wand of alarm is pretty handy, but it can be tripped by random animals. Normally my groups break 1-2 hours before bed to setup, unwind, eat etc. Having ways to avoid needing to sleep or minimum sleep like rings of sustenance always help.

2. Bear bags work well if you have spare rope, keep anything important on your person though. If the thief can sneak up and kill you your stuff is gone anyways, but if you wake up to a thief in your tent you want your gear. Keeping your food and other items that attract normal animals spares you the trouble of waking up and readying to fight a couple raccoons or wandering bear. I suggest any medium or heavy armor wearers have light armor to sleep in just in case-there is no time to don armor in combat. Most of the time we prep in the morning before leaving as the day is generally safer.

3.Fire produces smoke which keeps most insects away, and crawling insects won't crawl over ash. Then again, most things that threaten adventurers are not beetles and mosquitoes. Always having a fire means a light source for anybody without darkvision, and even the low light vision party members can have a problem unless its a bright night or the canopy is dense. However, light attracts orcs, goblins and other intelligent things so its a double edged sword.

Generally you want to camp away from the beaten path somewhere where animals do not frequent, where you have long lines of sight and terrain advantage like a wall of brush, high ground etc. Of course, at higher levels you can use things like rope trick to simply hide from the world, and once you have mages magnificent mansion or access to safe planes you don't even worry about this kind of thing.

Keltest
2015-04-27, 01:39 PM
Whats the context for this knowledge being used in? Do you have a literal-minded DM who likes to assume that if you don't specifically say that you prepare your camp to prevent animals from eating your food, then you didn't?

critter3of4
2015-04-27, 02:03 PM
Whats the context for this knowledge being used in? Do you have a literal-minded DM who likes to assume that if you don't specifically say that you prepare your camp to prevent animals from eating your food, then you didn't?

No, that sounds like "zipper GMing." A term I just learned over at rpgdotnet. It refers to DMs who treat their players like idiots.

Since you asked for context, i'm using N4 Treasure Hunt for our group's 1st adventure. It's a zero level adventure originally created for AD&D.

The group will spend the night in an abandon temple. In the middle of the night, she'll appear to them. Amidst the dialogue that ensues, she'll point out things that the group missed in setting up their camp.

Also, the group will be taking on a reskinned Caves of Chaos from Keep on the Borderlands. I imagine they'll find a list of procedures for camping in a hostile land quite useful.

Last, I'm playing in two 5e campaign. It's just good general knowledge to have :-)

Gritmonger
2015-04-27, 03:38 PM
Latrines.

Challenge-response for those going out and coming back for various reasons.

Entry and exit points (usually one, two if you have tripwires and may need to leave hastily). Goes with challenge-response.

Listening/observation posts in front of the camp boundaries.

Does anybody snore?

Fire or no? Fire can chase away hostile animals, but draw hostile intelligent enemies.

VoxRationis
2015-04-27, 04:27 PM
Latrines? How long does your group stay in one place? Most "camping" we do at my table is resting for the night as we travel from point A to point B. You don't need latrines for that, unless you're an army on the march.

Keltest
2015-04-27, 04:55 PM
Latrines? How long does your group stay in one place? Most "camping" we do at my table is resting for the night as we travel from point A to point B. You don't need latrines for that, unless you're an army on the march.

Even camping for the night, if you don't properly dispose of your waste it can cause problems after you leave. Not for you, necessarily, but youre certainly going to attract the wrath of the local druid if you start spreading disease everywhere you go.

Telok
2015-04-27, 06:46 PM
My group went through something similar recently. A low level party trying to move through a region with orc raiding parties and goblin patrols. Goblins = wolf riders = track by scent. This being 3.5 D&D you can't stop trackers without middle-high magic and since the riders were faster than we were it devolved into nighttime harassing raids untill the next party of orcs showed up. After a while we just gave up on that campaign and switched to something else.

For me it comes down to hiding. If anything discovers you, kill everything and prepare to ambush the next party. If there's no follow up and you really did kill everything then continue as normal. If not then you have to run untill you reach a safe haven or find a defensible spot and kill everything untill there are no enemies left. Any survivors is essentially a gaurentee of harassment and night attacks timed to prevent recovery of hit points and spells.

Or you can go easy and just have the enemies be idiots who can't track anything.

cobaltstarfire
2015-04-27, 07:02 PM
A wand of alarm is pretty handy, but it can be tripped by random animals.




You can set exceptions for Alarm, otherwise it'd be thoroughly useless anywhere but the most remote locations.

Maglubiyet
2015-04-27, 11:12 PM
Stringing a cord around the campsite and hanging some pots and silverware on it as an early warning system works pretty good, too.

Admittedly, it's never woken me up when I'm solo camping, but in a group with a watch who's always awake it would probably help. I just do it so a deer doesn't blunder into my tent in the middle of the night. It's a Eureka, with a very low profile, so I could probably get stepped on pretty easily on a dark night.

VoxRationis
2015-04-27, 11:30 PM
You can set exceptions for Alarm, otherwise it'd be thoroughly useless anywhere but the most remote locations.

Yeah, the 3.5 version I think can be set to automatically discount all creatures of Tiny size or smaller; any animals bigger than that that come through, you'd probably want to be informed of.

cobaltstarfire
2015-04-28, 12:21 AM
Yeah, the 3.5 version I think can be set to automatically discount all creatures of Tiny size or smaller; any animals bigger than that that come through, you'd probably want to be informed of.

I was talking about the 5e version myself, where there aren't limits to what exceptions you can set.

The exceptions I use in my current game are: The party, and any animal that is small or smaller.


(the animal part is important, you say any small or smaller creature and you leave yourself open to halflings/kobolds/pixies and so on)

Sith_Happens
2015-04-28, 05:58 AM
This being 3.5 D&D you can't stop trackers without middle-high magic

...Or by traveling at half speed for an easy +5 to the DC to track you.

VoxRationis
2015-04-28, 12:40 PM
Or being a 3rd-level druid.
Or using levitate and using trees to maneuver for a few minutes to break the trail, then proceeding normally after that.

Telok
2015-04-28, 04:34 PM
...Or by traveling at half speed for an easy +5 to the DC to track you.

Tracking in 3.5:
The party: Base 15, -2 for six people, +5 for hiding the tracks and moving at half speed through a forest which is already difficult terrain. Result is DC 18 with the fleeing party moving 1/4 speed, which is 5 if anyone is wearing medium armor, carrying a load heavier than light, or is a dwarf, halfling, or gnome (the speed is 7.5 otherwise).
A goblin on a wolf. Tracking can be done by skill (wolf +5 vs DC 18 each mile, +2 if the makes an Aid Another check [45% chance]) or by scent (wolf +1 vs DC 13 each mile). They move at speed 10 and if the trail is lost it's an hour to make a Search check or another Wis check with scent. Which is fine if you have one absolutely standard Monster Manual goblin and wolf following you. If the goblin has ranks in Search and Survival instead of Hide and Move Silently the Aid Another check becomes automatic.
The scent DC increases by 1 each hour, the Track DC increases by 1 each day. If the PC party is only 3 people the DC increases by one, if anyone has a horse the DC decreases by one. Druids have trackless step but animal companions don't. Levitate works on one person for a minute per caster level. The Pass Without Trace spell conceals one person per caster level for an hour per caster level, which is great if you have a 6+ level druid in the party and useless if you don't.

So one goblin on a wolf starts with a 45% success rate and moves twice as fast as the party. Three goblins on wolves can't lose a PC party and you're only making three to six miles a day anyways.

In 3.5 D&D your party is either untrackable or caught by anyone who isn't incompetent and the determining factor is how much magic you have.

Sith_Happens
2015-04-29, 12:33 PM
Tracking in 3.5:
The party: Base 15, -2 for six people, +5 for hiding the tracks and moving at half speed through a forest which is already difficult terrain. Result is DC 18 with the fleeing party moving 1/4 speed, which is 5 if anyone is wearing medium armor, carrying a load heavier than light, or is a dwarf, halfling, or gnome (the speed is 7.5 otherwise).
A goblin on a wolf. Tracking can be done by skill (wolf +5 vs DC 18 each mile, +2 if the makes an Aid Another check [45% chance]) or by scent (wolf +1 vs DC 13 each mile). They move at speed 10 and if the trail is lost it's an hour to make a Search check or another Wis check with scent. Which is fine if you have one absolutely standard Monster Manual goblin and wolf following you. If the goblin has ranks in Search and Survival instead of Hide and Move Silently the Aid Another check becomes automatic.
The scent DC increases by 1 each hour, the Track DC increases by 1 each day. If the PC party is only 3 people the DC increases by one, if anyone has a horse the DC decreases by one. Druids have trackless step but animal companions don't. Levitate works on one person for a minute per caster level. The Pass Without Trace spell conceals one person per caster level for an hour per caster level, which is great if you have a 6+ level druid in the party and useless if you don't.

So one goblin on a wolf starts with a 45% success rate and moves twice as fast as the party. Three goblins on wolves can't lose a PC party and you're only making three to six miles a day anyways.

In 3.5 D&D your party is either untrackable or caught by anyone who isn't incompetent and the determining factor is how much magic you have.

First off, scent-tracking DC increases by 2 per hour, by 10 if you dump something smelly behind you a few times, and by ∞ if you cross a river. So not much a concern.

That just leaves regular tracking. Where are you getting that a trained goblin can always successfully aid another? Even with ranks the goblin would have a net bonus of +3 to Survival (can't have enough ranks in Search for the synergy bonus), which gives a 70% chance of success. Furthermore, your bonuses for the wolf are wrong, it has a +5 to track by scent and +1 to track by sight (if it even knows how to try, which seems unlikely) which gives some very different odds.

Telok
2015-04-29, 11:58 PM
First off, scent-tracking DC increases by 2 per hour, by 10 if you dump something smelly behind you a few times, and by ∞ if you cross a river. So not much a concern.

Those just break the trail which can be picked up with another survival check and the wolves are still moving twice as fast as the party. Even then it does nothing against sight tracking.

The "trained" goblin just swaps it's ranks in hide or move silently with survival, perfectly within reason for a tracker or scout. Then it's just a take 10 to always make the aid check. The wolves have both the track feat and a survival check so yes, they can track. As a bonus if that +5 is for scent tracking then they have +5 on a DC 13 to find and follow tracks without aid, which is even better than before. If the PC party isn't trying to hide it's tracks then it's +5 against DC 8 and they still only move as fast as the goblins who are tracking them.

In 3.5 D&D people are generally unable to avoid being tracked without using magic, being much faster than the trackers, or flat out assaulting and annihilating the trackers. A party of PCs is very easy to track through a stereotypical forest untill after 5th level unless that party has been designed to avoid trackers.

Sith_Happens
2015-04-30, 03:42 PM
Those just break the trail which can be picked up with another survival check and the wolves are still moving twice as fast as the party. Even then it does nothing against sight tracking.

In the case of the river you can just go as far downstream as you think is necessary to shake off the wolves. At the very least it'll buy you a lot of time, and time = difficulty to track you.

In the case of smelly stuff, do it a few times at points relatively close to each other, plus double back and lay some decoy stink in a few false directions. Once again, at the very least you're racking up that +2 DC per hour.


The "trained" goblin just swaps it's ranks in hide or move silently with survival, perfectly within reason for a tracker or scout. Then it's just a take 10 to always make the aid check.

You can't take 10 (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/usingSkills.htm#aidAnother) when you're trying to aid another.


The wolves have both the track feat and a survival check so yes, they can track.

By scent, sure. By sight, probably not. The "Track" trick can only tell an animal to track by scent and a run-of-the-mill goblin can't pass the check to push an animal.


As a bonus if that +5 is for scent tracking then they have +5 on a DC 13 to find and follow tracks without aid, which is even better than before. If the PC party isn't trying to hide it's tracks then it's +5 against DC 8 and they still only move as fast as the goblins who are tracking them.

See before about scent tracking being easy to foil or at least severely stall (and enough stalling becomes foiling).

Also, one thing it doesn't look like you're taking into account: every time you kill a given group of trackers (which you have every reason to be doing in this scenario) you're farther from where they came from than before, which means the next group of trackers has to cover more ground to catch up to you, which means they have to track you for longer, which means your trail will be colder.

Telok
2015-04-30, 04:40 PM
You can't take 10 (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/usingSkills.htm#aidAnother) when you're trying to aid another.

Huh, I misremembered that one.

Look, I actually played this scenario for several weeks. You might argue ways to foil a single tracker and some of them might even work, especially if you assume things like untrained wild wolves and and not being able to track with the Track feat. But in play a 4th and 5th level PC party can't avoid being tracked through a forest with goblin tribes unless they specifically build their characters for it or the DM fiats it. The goblins have Int 10, the same as humans. They are not the three stooges of tracking, they are not totally disorganized, they are not failed hunters because they can't track an animal through the forest, and they are not idiots.

Try it. Try it in a game with real players and real characters who aren't specially built for this. Put two towns on the opposite sides of a goblin controlled forest and have the PCs travel from one to the other and back again under a time limit. Or you can try it the other way, work up an NPC party, call them bandits and set the PCs on them. Try all your methods to hide the trails. Unless you start using DM fiat to stack things in the favor of the hunted they get tracked.

In D&D 3.5 magic or total obliteration of the tracking force is the only sure way once you're being tracked.

Leon
2015-05-02, 07:15 PM
Be an Elf in Dark Sun and never have to do Watch...

Lurkmoar
2015-05-05, 02:35 PM
Be an Elf in Dark Sun and never have to do Watch...

Pfft, Thri-kreen have no need for sleep, and they can travel twice as long as the other PC races.

Remember when everyone at the table rolled thri-kreen. We were a terrible raiding force until we finally met our fate to a Cloud Ray...

Jay R
2015-05-05, 09:48 PM
We tend to set a watch composed of the non-casters, but standing where they can kick a couple of sleeping PCs instantly if necessary. The first PC doesn't spread the alarm; he meets the attack. the one he kicks yells to wake people.

Sith_Happens
2015-05-05, 11:51 PM
We tend to set a watch composed of the non-casters, but standing where they can kick a couple of sleeping PCs instantly if necessary. The first PC doesn't spread the alarm; he meets the attack. the one he kicks yells to wake people.

Depending on edition the divine casters can also be on watch.

lacco36
2015-05-09, 02:36 AM
For a low level 5e campaign, but any sword and sorcery RPG is fine:

I’m GMing a sword&sorcery game, so I will try to sum it up for my players. Their assumed usual protocol (if they have enough time for everything) is written down there – this was created over time, when they came with suggestions. Currently, if they state they are „camping“ I assume they mean this.


1) What's your group's protocol for setting camp? Watch schedules, traps set, alarms set, etc.

Scouting for camp location – this only happens if I have something planned for their night, if not, it’s „you find a suitable location“. If you have one predetermined (like the temple you mentioned later), it’s also quite easy. However, in wilderness, I usually ask players for the type of place they would like to camp in (easy to defend, near water source, hidden from plain sight, good cover – as in cave, etc.) and let them roll their respective skill (tactics for tactical issues, survival/hunting for food/water/shelter). I provide two or three possibilities (based on how long they scout the area). If they roll exceptionally well, I let them describe/draw the area.
I assume they also scout the area during this for food sources, water, herbs, enemies, etc.

Camp building – setting of fire, building of tents (if they have them), camouflaging the area (removing tracks, camouflaging the entry points, etc.). They sometimes build simple traps (snares, wires with cutlery connected to them, tripwires). If they assume a pursuit, this part takes a lot time (small pits, etc.). Also – designating a „latrine“ as mentioned, usually little further from the camp (also all waste goes there) so it does not attract animals so much.

Camp tasks - gathering/hunting/trapping, water supply, gathering firewood, gathering herbs, tenting to horses, cooking (if possible) and eating, tending to equipment (sharpening, cleaning and oiling of swords, armour, small repairs, etc.), tending to wounded, if a scout is available and has no duties, sometimes he doubletracks to scout for enemies.

Watch schedules – 2 hours per person, if possible each shift has two guards (there used to be 8 PCs in the group). If there is only a small number of people in the group (as of now), they take 3-4 hour watches and rest for 12+ hours – slows them down, but if there is no pursuit, they don’t mind.

Fire watch – if they set fire, one person (usually guard) is on fire watch – to keep the fire burning.

Buddy system – if possible, nobody goes anywhere alone.


2) What measures do you take to protect yourself and your gear from these threats, still get a good night's sleep, and make the necessary recoveries (spells, powers, HP)?

Themselves – if fire is not present, temperature is an issue (blankets, sleeping bags). We had a herbalist who prepared insect repellant (this was a girl, who studied biology IRL, so it was pretty accurate). For vermin & predators, fire & traps usually helped.

For equipment – oiled weapons don’t rust so much. They had two sets of armour (usually one „heavy“ and one „soft“ for sleeping; the unused one was stored in a bag). They also usually unstrung their bows in high humidity and had a spare weapon at hand. If pursuit was expected, they kept the weapons at hand and usually tried to find a hard-to-access spot (location, location, location :smallsmile:).


3) Anything else you want to add about resting / camping, aka a "long rest" in 5e.

One of my players once mentioned, that the characters with highest endurance/least tired from last day should take the „middle“ watches. The ones between 1:00 and 4:00 AM – because their sleep will be „broken“ and they will not be as rested as someone who takes the first watch or last one... my players are this way – they impose their own negative modifiers :smallsmile:


I'm specifically interested in temperate hill and forest environments, but if you have ideas for other environments, please share. Especially in an area where you may be attacked by natural and unnatural creatures. Including, but not limited to; orcs, goblins, bandits.

For outside – weather prediction helps. If there will be an overcast during night, the bandits will need torches/lamps. If the moon is up and the night is clear, they might make it without light sources. So overcast – more traps; clear night – more guards.

For dungeon camping – the „foraging“ and gathering of firewood gets a little complicated (they can break down the wooden furniture for firewood). Usually there I assume that the PCs are on their own supplies (no hunting, no firewood gathering, no food from their surroundings). One of my PCs once placed small mirror on the corner of a hallway, stating that if someone with a light source comes, it will reflect his way.


I've done a little camping and hiking, but I'm no boy scout. Basic things will probably help too.

I personally have done veeeery little of camping and some hiking. No boy scout either, but I like to study topics that my PCs shall encounter.