Tuesday, January 14, 2014

But What About Water?

Journeying in the wilderness is tough. You have to carry food on your back, and at least a little water or wine with you. Yet there's no way to carry enough water on your person to make certain you aren't going to run out. Indeed, you probably aren't going to carry more than two days of water at any given time. Three, if you're careful. Now, you can always get a wagon and fill with wine tuns or ale casks... but then what if you need to go off the beaten path? Wagons and carts are notoriously bad at moving along unpaved wilderness; they need at least a little cart path to follow, else they risk breaking an axle and become very heavy and expensive containers.

What's to say, then, that PCs find enough water to refill their wineskins every few days? The most logical (really?) answer is that you have a map granular enough to cover the position of every small rill, stream, and pond. Of course, in reality you could never be expected to map with such delicate detail to every meter of crossed terrain. You could handwave and say it's fine; to me, that's a very unsatisfying option. You could just arbitrarily determine it (almost as bad, but what I tend to do) or you could make a table. Guess where there's a good table?

The Wilderness Survival Guide.

I was going to make a table myself for this post, but then I was suddenly struck with the inspiration to check there. I found one almost instantly. So, for the benefit of everyone who forgot or never new that this table existed...

I can only assume those abbreviations are Desert, Forest, Hills, Mountains, Plains and Swamps.

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