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Thread: Lost in the Wilderness

  1. #1
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    Lost in the Wilderness

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    I was running my 3.5 Eberron game tonight, and the party ended up getting lost in the Talenta Plains. They had a crude map showing Gatherhold and a cave where they could find some monsters to smite, and they struck off into the plains.

    Not bothering to hire a guide, of course.

    Three days (and Survival checks under 10) later, the party realizes that they're lost. Cue another couple of days of wandering and hunting (I asked "How much food do you guys have?" on day 4 - answer: One ration, according to equipment lists ).

    Currently, they're about 40 miles from their objective, but they don't know exactly which direction to go in order to reach either Gatherhold or the monster cavern. If they choose poorly, they could end up wandering hundreds of miles across the plains!

    Hopefully they'll find their way in the next session...but in the meantime, I'm trying to brainstorm some interesting "lost in the plains" encounters.

    Got any ideas? I figure that EVENTUALLY, they'll either stumble upon a landmark that tells them where they are or run into some halfling tribesmen who can guide them...but in the meantime, I'd like to have a little more to go on than "You're lost in the wilderness for [n] days until some halflings approach you."

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    Attacked by a scouting party of Harpies far from their normal hunting grounds. They see the party, are hungry and go for it. If your party beats them off and manages to kill the one with the green hair and the silver pouch hanging from her neck they will find a map of the country scaled to show where your objective is and the nearest visible landmarks from their position so they can get their bearings. Assuming anybody in the group has the ability to read a map. If they kill 2 harpies the 2nd will have 2 whole days rations in her old scruffy smelly bag for 6 meals total.

    No treasure because the map should be enough but if they can use the bows and arrows of the harpies you could make them stolen bows of master work quality. Number of Harpies small so as not to overwhelm the party but tough enough to make them fight hard.

    Just a suggestion.
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    You know, it all sounds hopeless but these guys should have spells to deal with this. Create food and water is not very high level. And there are plenty of spells that will help in finding the correct destination--even at low level. What are they all? Artificers and fighters? Can't they even figure out east versus west?

    This all fun...for a while. But throw them something that gives them some progress.

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    The funny thing is, the party is 8th level and well-armed with distance weapons. They just left town a bit ... precipitously.

    Honestly, I didn't expect them to fail a couple of Survival checks for navigation - but the monk (1 rank in Survival) was having dismal luck with his dice.

    The party is:
    Halfling monk
    Warforged fighter
    Human fighter
    Kobold wizard

    So you can see why they don't have spells to deal with some of this stuff.

    Actually, if they're smart, they'll have an easy time getting back to civilization - they headed north from Gatherhold, and they know that the River Cyre is on the western edge of the plains. With some Survival luck for rations, they'll find themselves in no time!

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    If they are wandering in the plains, there could always be the chance of some stampeding buffalo or a fleeing group of antelope. Of course the latter would be fleeing from say a pack of wolves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elephantium View Post
    The funny thing is, the party is 8th level and well-armed with distance weapons. They just left town a bit ... precipitously.

    Honestly, I didn't expect them to fail a couple of Survival checks for navigation - but the monk (1 rank in Survival) was having dismal luck with his dice.

    The party is:
    Halfling monk
    Warforged fighter
    Human fighter
    Kobold wizard

    So you can see why they don't have spells to deal with some of this stuff.

    Actually, if they're smart, they'll have an easy time getting back to civilization - they headed north from Gatherhold, and they know that the River Cyre is on the western edge of the plains. With some Survival luck for rations, they'll find themselves in no time!
    How the heck do they heal themselves? Yes, they are ill prepared. Serves them right!

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    They used to have an elf cleric of the Silver Flame with them (but the player of that character quit the game due to scheduling difficulties). More recently? The halfling is a dragonmarked of House Jorasco, and they keep a goodly supply of Cure potions...and try to keep the warforged between them and the monsters (the wizard casts Repair Damage spells quite liberally).

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    I don't know anything about the Eberron setting but if the Talenta plains are like the high plains, then here are some suggestions. Nature survival checks should keep them alive. Getting food and water from tubers and other plants may not be ideal but it keeps you alive. Dehydration should be a bigger factor than starvation. Weather should be a challenge, hot days and cold nights. Unless it's winter, in which case, cold days and even colder nights. Precipitation in the form of wicked rain storms with copious amounts of lightning, let's not forget flash floods, brutal blizzards with large snow drifts as a possibility in winter. No firewood, dried animal dung as fuel for the camp fire. Stampeding herds of large animals, canine predators such as wolves, coyote or something along those lines. Fires, big raging prairie fires, caused by lightning, a careless fire, or native groups using them to drive herds into better hunting positions. The wind always blows, and I mean always, make it a factor in ranged combat. Have tents blow away during storms. The carrion eaters circle overhead, all day.....just waiting, biding their time, for the inevitable.

    Make life miserable and they'll remember to pack some supplies the next time.
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    I'm surprised the raptor riding halflings haven't used them for food yet...
    "well, g'night! dont let the flesh eating demon bed babies bite!!"
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    mmmm raptors! The Talenta Plains have dinosaurs, use them! Grab a childs T-rex toy and place it onto the gaming table 10 mins into the session - see what their faces do bwahahaha (I know I can be cruel)

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    You can live three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food...on average.

    Any herds will be located near water. Water is their biggest problem.

    In this situation, I'd seek a stream, and start following it downstream, to civilization.
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    If the party is greatly incompetent, then have a wandering woods men or something approach them that can get them back on track. Or put them up against a tough opponent who happens to have a more accurate map than the one they are holding, but make it a tough fight, your penalizing them for stupidity, not rewarding them.

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    Getting lost is a great way to find stuff. Like lost temples...

    I'm impressed that 8th level characters are wandering in the wild, yet none can make a DC 15 survival check (to find his way) by taking 10. Brave.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMMike View Post
    Getting lost is a great way to find stuff. Like lost temples...

    I'm impressed that 8th level characters are wandering in the wild, yet none can make a DC 15 survival check (to find his way) by taking 10. Brave.
    Maybe at this point it's up to the DM to give them this pivotal advice, or start fudging dice rolls or even just skip all that and say after two more days you manage to find your way, just for the sake of moving the story along. All of these are in the DMs power. When the game ceases to be fun it is no longer a game, it becomes life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMMike View Post
    Getting lost is a great way to find stuff. Like lost temples...

    I'm impressed that 8th level characters are wandering in the wild, yet none can make a DC 15 survival check (to find his way) by taking 10. Brave.
    Well, the monk's Wis is lower than 18, so with his 1 rank of Survival, yep, there's no taking 10 to find his way.

    Funny thing is, once they were lost, the party rolled really well on Survival for hunting and foraging - just not for navigation.

    Hmm, a "detailed map of the region" ought to count as a masterwork navigation tool; if they start buying maps, that ought to give 'em the extra +2 they need to get 15 on Take 10.

    In the meantime, the next session is next Wednesday. We'll see how it goes

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