Wilderness Survival and Travel in Scourge of Shards | World Anvil
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Wilderness Survival and Travel

With thanks to Murphy Barrett, who was kind enough to share this with me.

Daily Routine

A normal day is assumed to be 8 hours of traveling, 8 hours of sleep, 2 hours to make or break camp and prepare breakfast or dinner, and 4 hours for other tasks or relaxation.  

Stamina, Fatigue, and Exhaustion

GURPS handles Fatigue in two ways. Regular fatigue is recovered by simply resting for some minutes. However, there are several other fatigue class the require a night’s rest, food, and water. For the sake of clarity, any fatigue that is not recovered by a simple rest is hereby termed “Exhaustion”. The regular “fatigue pool” is now termed “Stamina”. Both Fatigue and Exhaustion lower Stamina. Exhaustion just recovers more slowly. If Stamina reaches 3 or less via Fatigue, Move is halved. If 3 or less via Exhaustion, move is halved and further Fatigue/Exhaustion is lost as HP. If reduced to 0 Stamina via Fatigue, you pass out until Fatigue recovers above 3.
Recovering Fatigue: Fatigue is restore by the original method of simply resting 1- minutes per point (modified by Fit, Extra Fit, or Recover Energy).
Recovering Exhaustion: At the end of each day in which you eat three full meals (food and drink) and get a full night of sleep, remove 4 Exhaustion. If you spend the whole day doing nothing but resting and eating, double this.


  Daily travel distance is determined by how fast the group chooses to move, and how many hours they choose to hike. Normal daily values assume 8 hours of hiking. Hikers should choose slow, medium, or fast pace.       Table 1Good 125%Avg 100%Bad 50%Very Bad 20%Orienteering, Perception, & Stealth ModForaging Rolls ModFatigue/ExhaustionPaceMPHHr/DayHr/DayHr/DayHr/DayNoneLtMedHvyXHvyFast45/404/322/160.8/6-4Unable45678 Normal33.75/303/241.5/120.6/5
-- -2 2 3 4 5 6
Slow 2 2.5/20 2/16 1/8 0.4/3 +2 -- 1 2 3 4 5
      Instantaneous Fatigue: Whenever players attempt a physical activity, such as fighting, climbing, etc. after an hour’s hike or more, they are fatigued according to Table 1. They may rest before the activity if time permits.
Travel Exhaustion: Every day of hiking costs Exhaustion according to Table 1.
Hiking Skill: At the end of a period of hiking, roll vs Hiking or HT-5. If successful, choose between accumulating Exhaustion at one encumbrance level lighter or increase mileage by 20%. On a critical success, you get reduced Exhaustion and increased mileage. Failure is normal fatigue and mileage. On a critical failure, treat as one encumbrance level heavier and roll 1d. On a 5 you got a minor injury, movement -1 and effectively one encumbrance level higher for the next day as well. On a 6, a serious injury. As above, plus 1d damage.
Forced March: Every two hours of hiking over 8 costs 1 Exhaustion. Hiking rolls do not reduce Exhaustion but will increase mileage.
Optional Mileage Rule: If players wish, rather than default values they may instead use Basic Move/2 for an hourly rate, in miles.


Adventurers frequently have to travel on whatever nature has provided. This can very greatly in a very short time. A traveler in the North American west, for instance, can spend most of a day struggling a few miles through heavily forested mountains. Then he clears the mountains and can make five times his morning distance, in the same time, as he crosses the plains. Terrain changes with weather. Deep snow turns a plain into very bad terrain. The same cold changes a river from an obstacle into a solid highway.
Very Bad Terrain: Jungle, dense second-growth forest, swamp, mountains, soft sand, or deep snow. Daily rates of movement are only 20% of normal (10 miles a day for an unencumbered man). Such terrain is usually impassable for wheeled vehicles or animal teams.
Bad Terrain: Steep hills, forest, or terrain “broken” by gullies, arroyos, or frequent steep-banked streams. Movement rates are 50% for foot or mounted travel. Daily movement rates for teams and wheeled vehicles are 25% of normal.
Average Terrain: Rolling hills, light forest or solid ice. Movement is normal.
Good Terrain: Hard-packed desert or level plain. Daily movement rates are increased by 25%. Wheeled vehicles move as on an average road (see below).


In civilized country, honest travelers will usually keep to the roads; indeed, leaving the roads will be seen as a sign of bad intentions. Traveling on roads provides a +6 to navigation.
Very Bad Road: Little more than a quite to the way around the worst obstacles. It has no weather-proofing, and is not completely cleared. Rivers are crossed at unmarked fords, or by swimming. Daily rates of movement are the same as for the surrounding terrain, except in very bad terrain. Here, daily rates of movement are 50% better than Very Bad Terrain, and teams and wheeled vehicles usually can move. Weather affects movement just as it does on the surrounding terrain.
Bad Road: Cleared but not metaled, that is, nothing is put on the surface to make it waterproof. Rivers are crossed at bridges, ferries, or (at worst) marked fords. Treat as Average Terrain. Weather affects movement on the road just as it does on the surrounding terrain, except for mud. Since the road is chewed up by traffic, the effect of mud is to turn the road into Very Bad Terrain, forcing wheeled traffic to travel beside the road or stop moving.
Average Road: Cleared and metaled. Treat Very Bad and Bad Terrain as Average. Travel rates are not affected by rain (except for motor vehicles). Rivers are crossed by all-weather bridges or ferries.Effective weights for animal-drawn loads on wheels are halved. Wheeled motor vehicles can travel at speeds up to 50 mph without difficulty and without damaging the road. Tracked vehicle traffic will degrade the road surface. Most roads below TL6 are average at best. Examples are Roman roads and the English coaching roads of the 19th century.
Good Road: Permanent hard-surface road, effectively weatherproof and not damaged by wheeled or tracked vehicles at any speed. Only the worst weather (e.g. floods, car-toppling winds, sheet ice, or blizzards) really affects travel conditions, though rain (see sidebar, p. 187) will slow prudent motor-vehicle drivers. The autobahnen and Interstates of TL6 and 7 rank as good roads.

Hazards and Weather

Survival in the wilds isn’t easy, and comes fraught with many dangers.
Starvation & Dehydration: Each day a person needs three meals consisting of at least 0.5lbs of food and 2 quarts of water, 3 in hot climates, 5 in the heat desert. If you don’t have enough to eat and drink, gain Fatigue and Exhaustion for every missed meal, and do the same for every missed quart of water.
Missed Sleep: A normal human needs to sleep eight hours a night, modified by Less Sleep and Extra Sleep. On any night when you get less than this amount, gain 1 Fatigue and Exhaustion. If you miss your target by more than four hours, double these amounts; if you get no sleep at all or miss it by more than eight hours, triple them.
Heat: If exposed to temperatures over 90°F, roll HT or Survival (Desert) every 4 hours. Failure costs 1 Fatigue and 1 Exhaustion. Double if failed by 5+, triple on a critical failure. If exposed for less than 4 hours, roll each hour for 1 Fatigue only. Failure costs 1 Fatigue+Encumbrance (Note: for hiking just add 1 to the Table 1 result).
Modifiers: Temperature Tolerance, -1 to -10 for humidity or extreme heat.
Cold: Much like Heat, but when exposed to temperatures below 35°F. Roll HT or Survival (Arctic).
Modifiers: Temperature Tolerance, -5 to HT rolls for inadequate clothing or wet, +5 for arctic clothing or sleeping in a proper bag or furs, -1 to -10 for very low temperature or winds.
Snow: Ankle deep snow halves movement rate. Knee deep quarters it and imposes -1 on any activity involving legs. Worse for deeper snow. Snowshoes treat all snow as ankle deep. Skis allow normal move across snow, half uphill, and 4x downhill.
Rain: Halves foot travel rate except on Average or Good roads. Reduce vehicle travel to 90% or -2 on Driving. Turns Bad Road to Mud-Very Bad Terrain.


In hospitable terrain, you can supplement you supplies by foraging for food. One any day, each character can “forage” as the party travels. Each character gets one Survivalist/Naturalist roll and one hunting roll each day. Alternatively, the party can take some time off from travel and do some serious foraging. Each person may make an additional roll per two hours. Meat can be smoked over a fire and added to the regular store of rations. A critical success doubles foraging values. Foraging bonus/penalty ranges from +2 with bountiful terrain to -2 for barren.
Gathering: A successful Survival or Naturalist roll will collect enough edible plants and berries for one meal. (A roll of 17 means you poisoned yourself; make your HT roll. Lose 1 HP if you make the roll, 1d HP otherwise. A roll of 18 means you shared with your friends and the whole party suffers likewise.)
Hunting: A successful weapon roll (-4) results in two meals worth of food. For missile weapons, every roll costs one unit of ammunition, two on a critical failure. For a melee weapon, critical failure costs 1d HP. If stopping to hunt rather than hunt on the move, roll Tracking and Weapon skill, with success earning 1d+1 meals.
Fishing: A successful Fishing roll (-2 with improvised gear) yields two meals. Critical failure damages the fishing gear, imposing a further -2 on future attempts until the gear is repaired or replaced.
Trapping: Traps may be set overnight (roll Survival or Traps at -5). Critical failure destroys or loses the trap.


Each day of travel is broken up into six 4-hour blocks: Morning (0600-1000), Noon (1000-1400), Afternoon (1400-1800), Evening (1800-2200), Midnight (2200-0200), and Predawn (0200-0600). Decide how dangerous the terrain is, and roll 1d for every block of the day. For every roll at or under the Danger value of the terrain, a random encounter occurs in that block. A random encounter can be enemies, monsters, creatures, or just terrain features.
1. Relatively Safe, civilized or barren
2. Dangerous frontier
3. Enemy territory
4. Regularly patrolled hostile territory
5. Extremely hazardous
Scouting: the party may send up to a quarter of its strength ahead of the main body to scout out potential dangers. For any block with a potential encounter, the scouts roll a Perception and Stealth vs the potential enemy. If both groups pass, a regular encounter happens. If both groups fail, they simply miss each other. If only one group passes that group may ambush the other. Note that pace affects these rolls. Scouts must be alert for danger and cannot forage.
  Navigation: The party must pick a navigator. The navigator rolls Orienteering, Tracking, or IQ-5. Skip this roll if traveling towards a large visible, static landmark, or if the navigator has Absolute Direction. Navigators may attempt to improve this roll with Area Knowledge, adding the amount passed or failed to the navigation roll. If following a road, roll at +6 if there is a chance of taking the wrong fork. Navigation rolls may have a bonus from +2 to -2 depending upon how open the terrain is and how many landmarks are visible. Navigators must pay attention to their course, and are at a -2 to forage.
Getting Lost: If the party became lost on any day, roll 1d. 1-Got Lucky, full progress anyway; 2-Add a half day’s progress; 3 or 4-no progress; 5-subtract a half day’s progress; 6-subtract a full day’s progress. Each day the party may roll navigation to realize that they have become lost. They may also realize it if they pass or fail to pass an expected or unexpected landmark within a certain time. Once the party knows they’re lost, they may simply continue to navigate from their present position, or attempt to return to the point at which they became lost.


Assign discovery number from 0-6. Discoveries are optional opportunities for the party to explore. If roll is equal to or under the discovery number, a discovery encounter happens. Discoveries normally take about 4 hours.  


One member of the party rolls Survival to pitch a campsite (-2 without basic supplies). Critical success allows the campers to claim all three benefits below; success, two of them; failure, just one; and critical failure, none.
Comfort: Without comfort you spend the night cold, wet, bug-bitten, or otherwise miserable, and lose one Fatigue and one Exhaustion. Double this if entirely without bedding.
Concealment: A well-concealed campsite gives a +1 to the party’s camouflage roll and a -1 to any attempt to find it.
Sightline: A good sightline grants a +1 to Perception to spot intruders, and a -1 to Stealth to infiltrate the camp.
Shelter: On nights that are not too unpleasant to sleep outside, campers need shelter.
No Shelter: Treat as Uncomfortable. Note that No Shelter and Uncomfortable stack.
Basic Shelter: A reasonably warm and weather-resistant shelter such as a tent or lean-to. Note, if camping in a vehicle, it can shelter half its normal occupancy.
Nice Shelter: Warm, soft, and weatherproof. A night in a nice shelter restores one extra Exhaustion per night.

Traveling Day

1. Roll Danger for each block of the day.
2. Roll 1d for Discovery.
3. Play out any Encounters or Discovery for the day, taking into account Fatigue from hiking.
4. Making Camp
a. GM rolls vs Navigator Orienteering to see if the party got lost that day.
b. Figure out how far they traveled, factoring in being lost or not, discoveries, long encounters, or other party behavior.
c. Figure meals based on foraging and rations.
d. Set Camp.
5. Night: Figure out Fatigue and Exhaustion.


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