Author Topic: Exploring the World #2: Camp and Survival

HobGoblin42

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#146 January 01, 2018, Monday, 09:01 pm
You’re an adventurer. For most of the time, that means, being a traveler. And you can’t just keep walking all day long and then on through the night. So what do you do when you reach a clearing in the woods at dusk and have no idea how much longer you will have to walk until you may reach another city? Camping is what you do. You pitch a tent for the night and you try to get some rest.

Camping in Pool of RadianceFor most D&D-based games, resting was an extremely important feature because it enabled you to recharge your spells. Aside from the elementary feature of memorizing spells or powers, in Realms Beyond, your party members will be able to use the time during an encampment to cook, eat, hunt, collect food, cure wounds or to identify items.

But encampments don’t come for free. There is always an inherent danger in staying out in the open at night, such as surprise attacks. As a result, setting up camp will become this balancing act because the longer you travel, the more it tires out your party members. Eventually, they will be exhausted, and once they are exhausted, they will become easy prey for a horde of Goblins that they would otherwise take with one arm tied behind their backs.

Camp in Bard's TaleThe key feature that is at play here can be called Resource Management. You have to weigh the dangers of resting in an unknown area (and risking a random encounter) against the downsides of forcing your party to press on. It adds just one more consideration to the list of things you have to contemplate before leaving a town and setting off into unknown territory.

Camp in Realms of ArkaniaAs mentioned above, setting up camp can be a risky undertaking. You are never alone in the woods and whatever monsters are roaming the dark, just outside the circle of light from your campfire, might consider you easy prey. But not all dangers come with the falling of darkness, even during the day, a camp may find itself the target of a surprise attack by roaming monsters.

In certain areas, it might make more sense to rest at night, since humanoids like Orcs and Goblins prefer to sleep during those nighttime hours. But there are others. Creatures of the night, and it might be safer for you to travel under the cover of darkness when the air carries sound better and you can hear every noise. It may just save your life when something awful decides to leave its lair where it hides during the day in search of prey.
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Andronius The Druid

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#320 July 06, 2018, Friday, 11:34 pm
So glad to read you’ve been giving so much thought to Camping mechanics (such an important part of RPGs and D&D!), taking inspiration from the best features found in those beloved cRPGs of yore, and perhaps adding also newer ideas and things to do while camping. It’s always such a shame, and such a wasted opportunity, when resting mechanics and camping systems become trivial, meaningless and spammable in games. Here’s a couple more ideas (some of which I didn't see mentioned yet on the forums) hoping to give you much inspiration to make this game’s camping system PERFECT.

I’m elated to read you’re building a camping system in which we’ll be able to cook, eat, hunt, collect food, do some fishing, cure wounds, read books, study maps, learn spells and identify items, as well as some minor crafting for consumables (potion brewing, healing items, etc.). I really hope we’ll also have nice engaging conversations, jokes, small talk and other interactions between our party members, including petting and feeding our Animal Companions and horses.

I’m also glad to read elsewhere (I think I did but now I’m not sure) that you’re really going deep into Resource Management within the camping system (not just generic “rations”, but adding torches, blankets, sleeping bags, tents and perhaps also cutlery? asking because I think I saw an inventory preview with some forks and spoons).

You already know I’m a big fan of all sorts of extra activities (besides just fighting from point A to point B) in cRPGs, like crafting, solving puzzles and mysteries, playing mini-games! (cards, dice, rat races, drinking contests, archery competitions, singing competitions for Bards, arm wrestling, fight clubs outside taverns… brothels) because they really contribute so much to the immersion and realism, and to that feeling of freedom and awe and wonderment these vast fantasy worlds can give us! But Camping is really crucial, fundamental, and I can’t emphasize enough the importance of being able to actually SEE, in “real time”, what is ACTIVELY happening during camp (yes, even sleeping or just reading a spellbook if we so choose too).


Master Sensei and Gamedev Supreme George Kamitani (also a D&D player and diligent student of cRPGs evolution, who participated in the creation of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Hillsfar, Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom for arcade, and made such famous masterpieces as Dragon's Crown paying homage to his RPG and D&D background) always gave a lot of attention to cooking and food sequences in his games. According to him, this is because “eating is one of the three human desires, and if someone eats, he is happy”, so he tries to capture that sentiment. There's wisdom there: indeed, cooking and eating is something so deeply human, because we’re all part of the great Food Family, regardless of our race, class, faction or alignment.

Therefore, it makes me so glad to think that during camp will be able to ACTIVELY do things as cooking, tending wounds, treat afflictions, craft potions, and have all sorts of different character interactions and conversations. Camping has always been such a missed opportunity for most of games, and here’s hoping this one will FINALLY give us a really wonderful camping system. I hope and pray cooking in this game won’t be just pressing a button and that’s it, and instead we’ll be able to ACTIVELY cook while in camp, ACTIVELY craft potions, and see what’s ACTIVELY happening during all these activities (including seeing our dwarf barbarian snoring while our cleric tries to concentrate and memorize her spells, while our druid is petting his Dire Wolf or feeding carrots and apples to the horses). Yes, it takes energy, code, time and some new animations and dialogue, but it’s not so expensive after all, and would be really worth the effort! Nobody has done it yet. This is the opportunity to craft, for the first time ever, the PERFECT camping system.
 

Dragon Age Origins had really great ideas regarding camping, and I loved to speak to each character (including those wonderful “dog conversations” with our Mabari and, of course, the “romantic scenes”... but mostly I wished for much more possible interactions and conversations with my beloved Animal Companion, to be able to play with him, train him, teach him tricks [as in D&D 3.5], feed him, talk with him, tend to his wounds, give him water, etc. https://youtu.be/hkCkjsWWTb8 ). Most unfortunately, we couldn’t tell each character what to do in the meanwhile, like reading a spellbook to learn new spells, crafting some potions and ACTIVELY help them do it, or watch them cooking as we ACTIVELY put ingredients in the pot –besides the campsite always looking exactly the same, regardless where on the worldmap we’d camp. Nevertheless, there were a lot of good ideas there to take inspiration from.

More recently, Darkest Dungeon and Pathfinder Kingmaker brought awesome camping systems, filled with good ideas to analyze carefully. Besides de “food phase”, I really like the “skill phase” in Darkest Dungeon camps, where we see dialogue between companions tied to both their sanity/stress levels and their specific Camping Skills. How wonderful would it be to have some dialogue lines while in camp tied to, for instance, buffs, debuffs, wounds, race and class (having specific camping dialogues tied to quests and the world's current events would be too difficult, really over the top, but just writing some random dialogue pools and tie them to those variables I mentioned shouldn't be too difficult at all...).

How wonderful would it be to add some extra activities in RB’s camping system, besides all those mentiones before, similar or equivalent to DD’s “Camping Skills” ( https://darkestdungeon.gamepedia.com/Camping_Skills ), related to our heroes’ classes, stats and races: e.g. the Halfling Bard could sing a song around the bonfire to lift everyone’s spirits, the Human Cleric could pray to her deity to boost everyone's morale, and so forth with each class/race.

Most unfortunately, camping in Darkest Dungeon is timed, linked to a timer and to torches fading, which I hate because I don’t want to be hurried by any game while camping, I want to enjoy it! I want to spend as much time in camp as I want, even if only to repeat the same dialogue lines, try to cook better meals for longer-lasting effects, or simply watch everyone sleeping and snoring if so I choose to! If I'm not mistaken, there’s Day/Night cycle and Weather System in Realms Beyond, so timers and rushing the player shouldn’t hopefully be an issue here: if a player wants to stay camping until it rains and they all get wet, or until all his water, food and rations are finished and everyone dies of thirst, hunger and boredom, or until a group of Orcs finds them, it should really be the player’s choice. If another player just wants to camp quickly, put the heroes to sleep and skip everything and wake them in haste to go on with his adventure ASAP, it should also be he's own choice.   

Finally there’s the more recent Pathfinder Kingmaker's camping system, a very good one that also deserves to be analyzed ( https://youtu.be/flowPpeaXCc ). It’s wonderful that the few (too few) activities you can do while camping (hunting, camp camouflage, cook, heal and guard) are tied to stats, perception rolls, world knowledge, etc. It’s lovely to actually SEE when a character goes to the cooking station to prepare something while others set camp and so on. However, most regrettably we don’t ACTIVELY participate in any of those activities, not even in cooking (like we can in Dragon's Crown) nor brewing potions (like in Kingdom Come: Deliverance). That system would’ve been PERFECT if we just had a few much more things to do, specific Camping Skills, more dialogues and possible interactions between party members (linked to those things I mentioned above, or like DAO tried to do), being able to ACTIVELY participate in cooking etc, but above all being able to remain camping without being rushed nor pushed by the game.

Here’s just adding my two copper :cp: :cp: as always, and sharing some brain food. Cheers!
Last edited: July 07, 2018, Saturday, 11:28 pm by Andronius The Druid

StoneAgeArtisan

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#323 July 23, 2018, Monday, 05:43 pm
Yes CRPGs always "cheap out" on the camping menu. I'd take the not being rushed thing a step further and suggest that game-time not pass during camping. That's how many older games did it.  Once you click "Done" or whatever, then it can check for random encounters and whatever else and advance the time.

daveyd

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#355 July 31, 2018, Tuesday, 04:42 pm
Another recent CRPG with a really nice camping system is Expeditions: Viking.   In that game, the night is divided into four shifts and you assign your party members various activities such as: Guarding, Scouting (to find resources for crafting or possibly some food rations), Hunting, Healing injured, Crafting, Cooking,  & Sleeping, Cleaning (done at the final shift to preserve / improve the security of the campsite)  and there's also the possibility of random events that give you an opportunity to interact with party members.   While I'm not sure exactly how much of this would apply to Realms Beyond, but definitely worth consideration.  And it's a great turn-based CRPG. The first Expeditions game, Conquistador, is also great, but it's more of a strategy game with RPG elements. 

StoneAgeArtisan

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#357 August 01, 2018, Wednesday, 03:15 pm
I've had Expeditions: Vikings on my Steam wishlist for awhile now. Your description of the camping system may inspire me to actually buy it before a big sale! Back in my pen-n-paper days, most of us that GM'd required a detailed plan of who was laying where, what they were wearing, and who was on what shift. A watch and sleeping plan would be drawn up and would apply unless specified otherwise. It made the occasional random attack (and not-so-random) at night much more tactical. Similar to that were terrain-dependent formations.

daveyd

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#360 August 01, 2018, Wednesday, 08:11 pm
I've had Expeditions: Vikings on my Steam wishlist for awhile now. Your description of the camping system may inspire me to actually buy it before a big sale! Back in my pen-n-paper days, most of us that GM'd required a detailed plan of who was laying where, what they were wearing, and who was on what shift. A watch and sleeping plan would be drawn up and would apply unless specified otherwise. It made the occasional random attack (and not-so-random) at night much more tactical. Similar to that were terrain-dependent formations.

It's definitely worth getting. Even at $30, it's a good deal. I'm in the middle of my third playthrough.   My only major criticism of the game was that at a certain point combat became a bit too easy even on the highest difficulty setting.  However, there have difficulty tweaks in the updates since my last full playthrough, so that may have changed for the better. 

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#366 August 08, 2018, Wednesday, 12:25 pm
Also I am very happy wiht the planned camping system and we already got here a lot of good ideas to make it right.
Just a few more small ideas to this theme:

1. Maybe the magic using characters can rarely get a "visionary dream", a spiritual experience while they are sleeping in a camp and as a result of this, their mana pool can get a small expanse. This is one more thing, that makes camping interesting and enjoyful, because people are hoping, that this could occur and they are happy, when this sometimes really occurs.

2. Maybe we could have a "Camping Set" item, a typ of item, needed for camping. Without this, it could be still possible to camp, but with a much lower effectivity and with more dangers. There could be different quality of camping sets. Better ones giving more effectivity and safety. Maybe some can get mixed advantages and disadvantages. One could give more Safety, but less resting effectivity, another type of item contrary to this.

3. Each field on the world map could get  "Camping Effectivity" , "Camping Safety", "Camping Resourcefulnes" (how high is the chance to find rare herbs and such) values. This is mostly the same, but there are some very bad and some very good locations. When a player is going around the world, he is able to learn the world, to find out where are really good camping spots. Next time he is travelling in that area, he already knows, gets a plan, where its the best to make a camp. This give the player even more the good feeling, that he is immersed in this game world.
Additionally good side effect is, that player will post about this kind of experience, knowledge, opinion in message boards. Discussing such themes make the community more active and valueable.
Last edited: August 08, 2018, Wednesday, 12:28 pm by Omenaton

AbounI

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#369 August 08, 2018, Wednesday, 01:32 pm
Wait ! A mana pool ? I thought spellcasters had to memorize spells. Am I wrong ? (see Peter's post #327 here : https://www.realms-beyond.com/forum/index.php?topic=110.0)
Last edited: August 08, 2018, Wednesday, 01:34 pm by AbounI

HobGoblin42

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#371 August 08, 2018, Wednesday, 03:16 pm
Wait ! A mana pool ? I thought spellcasters had to memorize spells. Am I wrong ? (see Peter's post #327 here : https://www.realms-beyond.com/forum/index.php?topic=110.0)

You're not wrong.  Since we use D&D 3.5e, we don't have any kind of mana. Spell caster need to refresh their spell "slots" by resting. Very similar to the system Knights of the Chalice used.

Omenaton

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#372 August 08, 2018, Wednesday, 06:30 pm
Ok, that with the "mana pool" is a misunderstanding on my side. I was not aware of, how exactly the mana is handled in this game. I just pointed on a direction, what could be done, how a spell caster character could profit. Maybe we will find another way to give a caster some minor improvement.

AbounI

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#373 August 08, 2018, Wednesday, 06:32 pm
Ok, so if you wanna make some bonus/malus for spell memorizing, why not use something similar to DragonLance when the moons influenced the number of low level spells allowed to memorize, assuming it fits Realms Beyond lore.

daveyd

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#377 August 09, 2018, Thursday, 02:01 pm
2. Maybe we could have a "Camping Set" item, a typ of item, needed for camping. Without this, it could be still possible to camp, but with a much lower effectivity and with more dangers. There could be different quality of camping sets. Better ones giving more effectivity and safety. Maybe some can get mixed advantages and disadvantages. One could give more Safety, but less resting effectivity, another type of item contrary to this.

3. Each field on the world map could get  "Camping Effectivity" , "Camping Safety", "Camping Resourcefulnes" (how high is the chance to find rare herbs and such) values. This is mostly the same, but there are some very bad and some very good locations. When a player is going around the world, he is able to learn the world, to find out where are really good camping spots. Next time he is travelling in that area, he already knows, gets a plan, where its the best to make a camp. This give the player even more the good feeling, that he is immersed in this game world.
Additionally good side effect is, that player will post about this kind of experience, knowledge, opinion in message boards. Discussing such themes make the community more active and valueable.

#3 would be a good feature. One thing I neglected to mention above in regards to camping in Expeditions: Viking, they have various campsites you discover scattered about the map, which each have quality ratings in regards to the amount of food, shelter, and security they provide.  A campsite with good shelter can give a temporary "well rested" stat bonus to party members (I don't think poor shelter sites result in a penalty but I could be wrong, as I tend to avoid those).   Low security campsites require additional members to be on guard duty or risk getting ambushed or robbed.  Low food obviously means you might not find as much through hunting / foraging so party members might get hunger penalties, unless you've stocked up on rations.

#2 could be a good money sink.  I gather that a lot of players hated the camping set mechanic in Pillars of Eternity, but I think that was mainly because you couldn't rest without one and you could only carry a few at a time... But as long as it's still possible to rest without one and you just miss out on safety or "well rested" bonuses then I think it would be received better. 

StoneAgeArtisan

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#383 August 09, 2018, Thursday, 09:49 pm
#2 could be a good money sink.  I gather that a lot of players hated the camping set mechanic in Pillars of Eternity, but I think that was mainly because you couldn't rest without one and you could only carry a few at a time... But as long as it's still possible to rest without one and you just miss out on safety or "well rested" bonuses then I think it would be received better.

Yes we should definitely be able to rest without one. When I was in the Army, I fell asleep face-down in the dirt out in the woods of Ft. Benning. The Drill Sergeant left us there supposedly guarding something, and wandered off for an hour. I didn't have diddly squat except my BDU's and my M-16, but that was one of the best "power naps" I had during basic training. I felt very refreshed when I woke up. So you don't need a "camping set" to rest. But yeah, it could give a bonus or reduce a penalty.

The Old Farmer

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#388 August 10, 2018, Friday, 11:50 am
Sleeping any where is easy, it's the risk of wakeing up with a troll chewing on your ass that can be hard on you.  Poor camping prep can make for a rough night.  On the other hand once you figure out a SOP for camp setup and watch schedual with teardown and setup of the camp things go smoother.  The question though is that something you would roll play in a CRPG? 

I guess there could be a check list for camp activities like set up camp, set out alarms, setup defences around the camp, set guard times, the more you do the safer you are but the more time you spend in camp.  It only realy becomes relevant if you have timed quests ie.  10 days to get from A to B but you can only make it if you run with a short camp time with a higher risk of being ambushed.  Otherwise you take as much time as you need to travel.

If time is not of any concern then why would the party not make it as safe as they can hence "Camping" always involves a full safe setup.  No need for all the details just a initial description of how camp is set and any future encounters work within those settings.                                                                             

HobGoblin42

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#393 August 10, 2018, Friday, 05:24 pm
Sleeping without proper clothing or missing equipment  (tent / sleeping bag / campfire) in the Northern areas of our world will definitely result in a bad cold or worse.
Walking through the desert in full plate armor will increase the need for drinks dramatically.

In those regards, our world map survival part is in line with the great Realms of Arkania: Star Trail  aka DSA Sternenschweif.