Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Running the game - Camps, Extended Rests, and Rude Awakenings

The way I run rest stops in 4E is pretty similar to the way I ran them in older editions. I used to run my campaign days in six four hour segments. I assume that two of those are spent traveling, one is spent finding and setting up camp, and three of them are spent resting in-camp. A group can spend four segments double-timing but that started getting into the fatigue rules in older editions and most parties avoided that. It hasn't come up in 4th but I would probably go with giving up a healing surge after one day, maybe allowing that to be avoided with an Endurance check, then making it progressively more dangerous if they kept it up. I'm sure there are rules for it under Atheltics or Endurance in the Rules Compendium and that's where I will look if it ever comes up.

An extended rest in 4E is 8 hours. Since a prudent party will put somone on watch overnight spending 12 hours stopped allows everyone to get some rest. This also means there are three watches. I have the players declare whether they are building a fire and who is on watch for each shift. If an encounter occurs I roll to see which shift gets lucky:1d6, 1-2 = 1st, 3-4 = 2nd, 5-6 = 3rd. In most adventures there are "safe places" to camp and "unsafe places" to camp. In my games safe places mean no encounters will happen, while in unsafe places it's about a 50-50 chance. Spiking a door doesn't affect the odds, it affects what happens if something does show up. Running a cold camp doesn't neccessarily change the odds, but it will affect what shows up.

I have several generic campsite maps for outdoor use and cave maps for random underground camping. I have the players position themselves on the map. Based on the shift some characters will be awake and some will not. Being awake means that character gets a perception roll to notice intruders - some are easier than others - and if they make it will be able to raise an aalrm and act in the first round. If they blow it, then they are surprised and will not be acting in the first round. Shouting is a free action once they do get to act, and combat allows a free perception roll to wake up anyway unless there is something like a silence spell on the camp. Waking up is automatic if a character is damaged and they get to roll initiative and join the fight next round. Theoretically a sleeping character could be coup-de-grace'd, but I've never done this to a character as there is rarely an opportunity to even try.

Third edition worked pretty much the same way.

In second edition I had the same schedule and used relevant NWP's.

In AD&D and B/X D&D things were a little simpler. I use the same schedule and the same determination of timing. Surprise is a special case rolled on 1d6 with a 4-6 indicating the character is not surprised. Elves and Halflings get a +1, Thieves, Rangers and Barbarians get a +1, Familiars grant a +1, and certain spells and items may influence this role as well. I handle the wake-up roll with a 2+ on 1d6 indicating wakefulness.

Common sense does play a role here, regardless of edition. A silenced, invisible infiltrator moving into a campsite on a windy night is probably going to start the battle with a crippling strike on whoever they want to hit first. Drunken hill giants approaching through a forest may start the festivities at 100 yards. Beyond whatever number systems are in play I do have a category for "Zero Stealth" but I do try to give PC's a chance to notice something so I stay away from an absolute "Undetectable" category.

Anyway, there's my system for running overnight stops.


Fabian said...

That is a really nice system! I shall have to remember it.

Blacksteel said...

Glad you liked it! I have a few of these little one-page systems that I use for common situations. Some of it is summarizing the rules and noting some page numbers, the rest tends to be modifiers or notes on relevant skills and gear. I figure somebody out there might get some use out of them plus it forces mms to run through them again as I write them up. Sometimes a fresh look helps improve even these little systems.