20 Things: Wilderness Camping (system neutral)
This installment of the #20 Things-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
All right, we begin this dressing file with a page that depicts 8 sample travelers (9, actually – one entry features two characters) to share the campsite with; these travelers are depicted as fluff-only write-ups, noting suggested alignment, class and level, but nothing mechanical beyond this – this is, after all, a system neutral pdf. The class references do reference old school class descriptions: Thief and magic-user, for example, so if that kind of thing is important to you, you’ll enjoy this small touch. The write-ups include boisterous fellow adventurers that do have the means to back up the bluster, wounded and surly half-orcs, traveling tinkers, weirdly dressed gnomes experimenting with teleportation magic – quite a nice array here!
The second page contains two different 10-entry tables; the first one depicts notable campsite characteristics: Perhaps the campsite may be prone to flooding, or perhaps its straddles a game trail. A tree that is dead and may well topple when storm winds hit – some cool properties here! The second table on the page nets 10 different signs show that someone has camped here before: Moldy tarpaulins caught in roots, a stone-ringed fire pit, a particularly disgusting latrine – interesting array here, and this does include plenty of angles for the GM to elaborate upon and develop.
Of course, campsites may already be inhabited: There are 10 suggestions for such complications, which include wasps, owls, a nearby fox den…and mysteriously empty nests in the branches. A pool with a grumpy pike inside promises good fishing – some neat entries here. For more malign complications, 10 things lurking in the shadows should help with your designs: This table is particularly neat, ranging from a badger family to a shellshocked victim of a nearby threat to the slightly odd, with a shivering halfling ghost haunting the place. Nice diversity between the mundane and fantastic here.
There is more in the vein of complications to be found here: 20 Night-time campsite events include the mundane and ominous, like a big log burning through, creating cloud of sparks; clouds covering the moon, plunging the site in darkness, strange noises from afar, sudden rope snaps on the tent of the party – some nice tension-building here. The final table once more has 20 entries and provides things to find at an abandoned campsite: Food wrappers, fire pits surrounded with spattered blood – there are even more angles to create atmosphere here.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches apart from an erroneously capitalized “Perceptive”. Layout adheres to an elegant, minimalist 2-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports a couple of really nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and the pdf comes in two different versions, one of which is optimized for screen-use, and one is optimized for printing it out.
Creighton Broadhurst and Jeff Gomez have crafted a rather compelling dressing-file here: The entries are very much grounded in reality and gritty aesthetics, which I do enjoy. There is still some magic here, and the pdf, as a whole, feels like a well-rounded, fun offering. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. Great way to make campsites more compelling!
You can get this amazing little dressing file here on OBS!
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