Happy Fourth of July folks! Remember, it’s not enough to value your own liberty, you have to love other peoples’ liberty just as much as your own.
And also remember – two or three hotdogs is probably sufficient unless you want to put on a fireworks display in your gut to rival the one outside tonight.
Now then … I’m busy working, as I’ve mentioned before, on an Old West supplement for Grit & Vigor. I love working on things like this because they give me a chance to learn about things about which I only have a passing knowledge. A couple days ago, I started working on something like random encounter tables for PCs wandering around in the wilderness. I wanted to keep them relatively simple – just suggestions a VM could use to spice up an overland journey. I started out with some general categories of “encounter”, and then realized that I had no idea how frequent these things should be. What to do?
Then it occurred to me … Lewis and Clark kept a diary!
So now I’ve spent a few hours going through the diary and making notes on what they encountered each day, both while traveling in the summer and fall, and camping in the winter. Pretty interesting stuff – I highly suggest giving it a look – and here are the results, according to my encounter definitions (with the definitions following):
Danger: This is a danger of some kind that strikes a person unawares, such as a snake bite, illness, a fall that results in injury, pests, etc.
Herd: This is an encounter with numerous large her-bivores, such as bighorn sheep, elk or bison.
Omen: This is an event that has spiritual significance to one or several of the adventurers.
Predator: This is an encounter with a large predator capable of killing an adventurer, especially if it achieves surprise. In the American West, this is probably a bear, cougar or pack of wolves.
Ruins: The remains of a settlement, such as mounds left by the Mississippian Culture, or an abandoned settlement (see below).
Settlement: A settlement appropriate to the region and time period. This includes trading posts and forts.
Travelers: An encounter with a small or large group of travelers. These people may or may not be capable of defending themselves, but their purpose is not one of violence and the group probably includes women and children. This could be a wagon train, a migration of American Indians or a prospector and his mule. There is a 1% chance that they are accompanied by a famous person appropriate to the time and place.
Warriors: An encounter with a relatively small band of armed men. It could be a hunting or war party of American Indians, a troop of U.S. Cavalry, a gang of outlaws or European fur trappers. There is a 1% chance that they are accompanied by a famous person appropriate to the time and place.
That’s enough for today – I have to prep the dog for the horrors of fireworks tonight. Be good to one another folks – love each other – it’s the only way forward!