December 8, 2022
The words after aren’t mine. I am using this as a reference for my players, most new to this style of play, in our upcoming open table campaign Strike the Southern Sky!
I spoke to the original author and got his permission to post these writings for as long as I credit him with the following phrase: words based on Chasing a Blaze in the Northern Sky.
The wilderness holds no mercy for those accustomed to civilization, where one is spoiled by shelter, hearth, and a stocked larder.
Safe return isn’t guaranteed to those who dare trespass beneath the domain of the open sky. Those foolish enough to depart from a trail or the shores of a river risk becoming lost. Trees and rain limits ones sight, hiding familiar sights which that lead the way home. One could become reacquainted with the cardinal directions by finding the north star or constructing a solar compass and tracking the azimuth for an hour. These prospects are hopeless on days overcast by clouds.
On the Weather #
Likewise, one would be wise to watch the clouds above lest they turn dark, transforming into storms and spewing lightning. Those wishing to survive would need to descend from high terrain such as ridges or peaks, move away from tall objects like trees, avoid wide open areas where one is the tallest object, avoid open water, discard metal, and avoid close proximity where a single lightning strike could slay many.
Precipitation doesn’t follow any pattern, but the temperature is ruled by the season. When the weather is very hot, heat stroke is a risk, with an additional liter of water required per person. In the cold, hypothermia reigns. Nightfall, winds, and precipitation worsen the cold while shelter, fire, and warm furs wards it away.
In the absence of a tent, one could construct emergency shelter within 2 hours to provide an escape from the elements. In woodlands and forests, there are ample materials and this process takes only an hour. In winter, snow must be cleared away over the course of an hour and deciduous foliage is absent. In deep winter, once the earth has been blanketed by thick snow, one would instead be forced to construct an igloo over the course of 4 hours.
Fire is a dear friend to those in the wilderness, warding away beasts and offering light. Camping with a fire abjures the cold, camping cold without a fire reduces chance of being noticed in the night. Setting out food away from camp abjures hungry visitors. Setting out offerings of treasure away from camp abjures cruel spirits of the night.
On Other Considerations #
Those who engage in bushcraft risk becoming separated from their fellows and lost or attracting the attention of a wandering monster. Searching for water takes an hour with success higher when closer to existing large bodies of water, very hot weather dries out smaller bodies of water. Fishing takes 2 hours and is best when the sun is half-hidden by the horizon. Larger bodies of water indicate larger fish. Foraging takes 4 hours, is best in summer and in forests, and is worst in winter and in bad-lands. Hunting takes 6 hours and yields enough meat for several men.
Those willingly exploring the wilderness have a few further considerations. Surveying land to search for hidden places takes up a great deal of time but would allow one to find water and forage due to how much land is searched. Crossing a river is safe after finding shallows, 2 hours usually enough time to find them. Rain makes theses crossings more dangerous. Traveling in mountainous terrain is easier when one brings along climbing equipment as it lets them take vertical shortcuts.