Wilderness Survival Guide

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Wilderness Survival Guide

Postby Big Mac » Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:24 am

Is there anything in Wilderness Survival Guide that is useful to people that do not play D&D with 1st Edition rules?

Is there any campaign setting element to this? (For example, does it have a map of Greyhawk's wilderness or anything like that?)

Are there any rules for designing a wilderness, when building a world?

Are there any wilderness monsters or magic items, that are not found in other editions?

Is there anything else in this book that is so good that it deserves to be converted to other editions?
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Re: Wilderness Survival Guide

Postby Havard » Mon Aug 01, 2016 2:03 pm

Hey there,
I really like this book! My group used the Wilderness Survival Guide along with its companion book, the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide for many of our early campaigns. Even when we did not directly consult the books, they served as inspiration, expanding on our ideas of what exploring these environments might mean.

Big Mac wrote:Is there anything in Wilderness Survival Guide that is useful to people that do not play D&D with 1st Edition rules?


Depends on what edition I suppose. The Wilderness Survival Guide details exploration in all kinds of Outdoors terrain, effects of weather, natural disasters etc. We used it a lot in our 2nd Edition campaigns.

Is there any campaign setting element to this? (For example, does it have a map of Greyhawk's wilderness or anything like that?)


Nothing like that. There are a few examples and perhaps a setting could be constructed from those, but the book does not easily lend itself to this. For instance, one example talks about nation A, nation B and nation C. If there had been more given names or examples repeating the same references it would be easier to do something like this.

Are there any rules for designing a wilderness, when building a world?


Yes. This is discussed to great length in the book. Although it is written more as guidelines than rules.

Are there any wilderness monsters or magic items, that are not found in other editions?


I have not been able to find any, no. It refers to magical items from other books and then goes on to describe how these could work in a wilderness campaign though.

Is there anything else in this book that is so good that it deserves to be converted to other editions?


My favorite parts of the book are actually more the guideline discussions than the rules. This is one of the things I really like about the TSR era editions. They have sections that don't really include that many rules, but the same sections make you think and provides inspiration.

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Re: Wilderness Survival Guide

Postby Big Mac » Mon Aug 01, 2016 7:05 pm

Havard wrote:Hey there,
I really like this book! My group used the Wilderness Survival Guide along with its companion book, the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide for many of our early campaigns. Even when we did not directly consult the books, they served as inspiration, expanding on our ideas of what exploring these environments might mean.


These books do seem to be pretty important, from a 1e point-of-view.

I've always been baffled as to why neither of these books got reprinted for later editions. That's what has made me wonder about how usable they were. I was wondering if this was a 1e-specific topic..or if other books were doing the job this book did, in a different way. (Dungeoneer's Survival Guide seems to have been replaced by various Underdark books, for example.)

Havard wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Is there anything in Wilderness Survival Guide that is useful to people that do not play D&D with 1st Edition rules?


Depends on what edition I suppose. The Wilderness Survival Guide details exploration in all kinds of Outdoors terrain, effects of weather, natural disasters etc. We used it a lot in our 2nd Edition campaigns.


I was trying to be fairly general (to make the topic useful to people other than me) but, as you asked, I want to make Spelljammer material, for 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons rules. So, I would most likely be looking at designing uninhabited astroids, and areas on larger celestial bodies that were not built up civilisations.

I might need to add a fun funky rules about blue grass or man-eating plants, but mostly, I'd be trying to use the book, as is.

Havard wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Is there any campaign setting element to this? (For example, does it have a map of Greyhawk's wilderness or anything like that?)


Nothing like that. There are a few examples and perhaps a setting could be constructed from those, but the book does not easily lend itself to this. For instance, one example talks about nation A, nation B and nation C. If there had been more given names or examples repeating the same references it would be easier to do something like this.


Is this anything like that Medieval Demographics stuff...but for plants? :lol:

Joking aside, does it do stuff like give advice on how to add different amount of plants to make areas more or less habitable?

Does it tell you how to design things like marshlands, valleys, lakes and various other terrain?

Havard wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Are there any rules for designing a wilderness, when building a world?


Yes. This is discussed to great length in the book. Although it is written more as guidelines than rules.


Guidelines - not rules, hmm. Does that make this the third sort of content (not fluffy or crunchy, but squishy)?

Havard wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Are there any wilderness monsters or magic items, that are not found in other editions?


I have not been able to find any, no. It refers to magical items from other books and then goes on to describe how these could work in a wilderness campaign though.


So it's all about the wilderness, and not about what you might find in the wilderness?

Havard wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Is there anything else in this book that is so good that it deserves to be converted to other editions?


My favorite parts of the book are actually more the guideline discussions than the rules. This is one of the things I really like about the TSR era editions. They have sections that don't really include that many rules, but the same sections make you think and provides inspiration.


I'll have to figure out what this "guidelines - not rules" thing means, as it is going to influence the value that I get out of this book (if I buy it).
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Re: Wilderness Survival Guide

Postby timemrick » Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:12 pm

I own the book, but hadn't looked at it in ages before seeing this post. Based on a quick skim through just now, it looks like the book would be most useful for 1E and 2E, where almost everything in here is new material even for 2E. However, the core rules for 3E (and Pathfinder) cover most of the same material, and in less space thanks to being more abstract. I didn't play enough 4E to recall how much those rules address wilderness (and no longer own the books to check). The 5E rules go into much less detail, but also don't need as much detail as 3E or 4E.

To go through the book in a bit more detail (with comparisons mostly to 3E, which I know best):

Wilderness proficiencies: Introduces nonweapon proficiencies, which are in the core rules for 2E. From 3E on, skills are much more detailed, and rather more elegantly implemented.

Dressing for the weather and effects of environment: Part of core rules in 3E; see DMG about terrain and weather.

Movement (including overland movement, swimming, vehicles, flying mounts): See tbe 3E PHB and DMG for skills, movement, aerial combat, etc. The v.3.0 Arms and Equipment Guide provides more details about mounts and vehicles.

Food and water: The 3E Survival skill and hunger and dehydration rules are far more abstract than the rules in the WSG.

Camping: The 3E rules cover finding shelter (Survival), sleep, fatigue, and forest fires.

Medicine and first aid: See the 3E Heal skill and injury and recovery rules.

Vision and visibility: See the adventuring chapter of the 3E PHB.

Natural hazards: Covered by the terrain rules in the 3E DMG.

Combat rules; fatigue; mounts: See the 3E PHB for skills (climbing, balance/acrobatics, handle animal), mounted combat, and fatigue.

Magic in the wilderness: Discusses the use of certain spells and magic items in the wilderness. Be aware of differences in spell/item descriptions between editions.

Starting from scratch: Step by step guidelines for creating wilderness maps with realistic terrain. IIRC, these guidelines also appeared in a 2E DM's splat book, but this very short chapter remains the most useful in any edition (and is the main reason that the WSG is one of the few 1E books I've kept).

Weather: A very detailed system for determining the weather. The 3E rules are far simpler.

3E also has a number of sourcebooks giving much more detail for specific terrain types: Stormwrack for aquatic/waterborne adventures, Frostburn for winter/arctic, etc. This series adds a great deal of optional detail on weather and survival in those environments, as well as new player races, monsters, vehicles, spells, magic items, etc., tied to those areas. I only own Stormwrack, which was a great source of inspiration for my Freeport campaign, but I never used anywhere near all the new rules.
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Re: Wilderness Survival Guide

Postby Big Mac » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:15 am

timemrick wrote:I own the book, but hadn't looked at it in ages before seeing this post. Based on a quick skim through just now, it looks like the book would be most useful for 1E and 2E, where almost everything in here is new material even for 2E. However, the core rules for 3E (and Pathfinder) cover most of the same material, and in less space thanks to being more abstract. I didn't play enough 4E to recall how much those rules address wilderness (and no longer own the books to check). The 5E rules go into much less detail, but also don't need as much detail as 3E or 4E.s.


Thanks Tim. That explains why I've not seen it reprinted. Essentially, they liked the ideas in Wilderness Survival Guide so much that they folded it into the core rulebooks. :)

timemrick wrote:To go through the book in a bit more detail (with comparisons mostly to 3E, which I know best):

Wilderness proficiencies: Introduces nonweapon proficiencies, which are in the core rules for 2E. From 3E on, skills are much more detailed, and rather more elegantly implemented.


I was a big fan of nonweapon proficiencies. (One of the things that "sold" me on 3rd Edition - which I was originally resistant to - was that Skills were like NWPs that you could level up.)

I think I'll be intrested to see what NWPs are here, although they probably won't be too useful to me, unless there is some sort of table that shows what can be done with various NWPs. If there is anything like that, I might be able to use it for inspiration for working out the DCs of Skill checks to do obscure things.

timemrick wrote:Dressing for the weather and effects of environment: Part of core rules in 3E; see DMG about terrain and weather.


One of the things about Spelljammer, is that you are supposed to have a ton of different worlds. So if there are any obscure weather rules, they might be troublesome if they are complex, but if one unusual WSG weather rule was made into a "feature" of a Spelljammer world, it could give it a unique feel.

I'd be interested to skim through this section, at the very least.

I would also be interested to see if they had good descriptions for weather in this book.

timemrick wrote:Movement (including overland movement, swimming, vehicles, flying mounts): See tbe 3E PHB and DMG for skills, movement, aerial combat, etc. The v.3.0 Arms and Equipment Guide provides more details about mounts and vehicles.


That's probably going to be less useful to me, unless they have anything that was dropped from later editions.

timemrick wrote:Food and water: The 3E Survival skill and hunger and dehydration rules are far more abstract than the rules in the WSG.


That also sounds less useful. But I suppose that if it gives names of food, that would be good background material.

timemrick wrote:Camping: The 3E rules cover finding shelter (Survival), sleep, fatigue, and forest fires.


Is there any camping equipment here?

timemrick wrote:Medicine and first aid: See the 3E Heal skill and injury and recovery rules.


That seems less useful to a non 1e player, unless they have anything like a list of first aid supplies or useful herbs.

timemrick wrote:Vision and visibility: See the adventuring chapter of the 3E PHB.

Natural hazards: Covered by the terrain rules in the 3E DMG.

Combat rules; fatigue; mounts: See the 3E PHB for skills (climbing, balance/acrobatics, handle animal), mounted combat, and fatigue.


These all seem less useful, but I'd like to have a skim read anyway.

timemrick wrote:Magic in the wilderness: Discusses the use of certain spells and magic items in the wilderness. Be aware of differences in spell/item descriptions between editions.


That does sound like something where rules changes could make a book less easy to use. Thanks for the heads-up.

timemrick wrote:Starting from scratch: Step by step guidelines for creating wilderness maps with realistic terrain. IIRC, these guidelines also appeared in a 2E DM's splat book, but this very short chapter remains the most useful in any edition (and is the main reason that the WSG is one of the few 1E books I've kept).


This sounds like the bit I would like most. :)

timemrick wrote:Weather: A very detailed system for determining the weather. The 3E rules are far simpler.


I think that obscure weather rules might be useful for Spelljammer planets...if used in moderation.

timemrick wrote:3E also has a number of sourcebooks giving much more detail for specific terrain types: Stormwrack for aquatic/waterborne adventures, Frostburn for winter/arctic, etc. This series adds a great deal of optional detail on weather and survival in those environments, as well as new player races, monsters, vehicles, spells, magic items, etc., tied to those areas. I only own Stormwrack, which was a great source of inspiration for my Freeport campaign, but I never used anywhere near all the new rules.


Those are books I am interested in too. I've thought about using each one as the basis for designing a Spelljammer planet I figured WSG was a one-stop book that maybe split up into those books.
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Re: Wilderness Survival Guide

Postby Falconer » Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:26 am

Big Mac wrote:I've always been baffled as to why neither of these books got reprinted for later editions.

I think the very existence of the DSG and WSG made it seem like there were way too many AD&D 1e manuals, and was one of the main reasons it was claimed that the 2e revision was needed: to bring the core back into a manageable number of books. Furthermore, it has always seemed to me that these books were ubiquitous on the secondhand market—always multiple copies, always pristine, unused. Why would they ever need to be reprinted? I have always said that the DSG should be eschewed in favor of D1-3 (Descent into the Depths of the Earth, etc.). What good is a textbook about the underdark, compared with all the fantastic adventuring material and inspiration to be found in the modules? It’s that old “show, don’t tell” principle. Same with the WSG. The World of Greyhawk set is a much, much better window into the genre of wilderness adventuring.
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Re: Wilderness Survival Guide

Postby Big Mac » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:57 am

Falconer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I've always been baffled as to why neither of these books got reprinted for later editions.

I think the very existence of the DSG and WSG made it seem like there were way too many AD&D 1e manuals, and was one of the main reasons it was claimed that the 2e revision was needed: to bring the core back into a manageable number of books. Furthermore, it has always seemed to me that these books were ubiquitous on the secondhand market—always multiple copies, always pristine, unused. Why would they ever need to be reprinted? I have always said that the DSG should be eschewed in favor of D1-3 (Descent into the Depths of the Earth, etc.). What good is a textbook about the underdark, compared with all the fantastic adventuring material and inspiration to be found in the modules? It’s that old “show, don’t tell” principle. Same with the WSG. The World of Greyhawk set is a much, much better window into the genre of wilderness adventuring.


I started with 2nd Edition...and moved onto 3rd Edition. But, I've never really bought into the "D&D has too many books, so we need a new edition" logic. That's always felt like backwards logic to me. (To me, the logical reason for 2nd Edition to be created is that books like Dragonlance Adventures and Wilderness Survival Guide had brought forward the idea of Non-Weapon Proficiencies and they had become so popular, that TSR decided they wanted to fold them into the core rulebooks (along with some other changes. Something like that would be something I could buy into more easily.)

I don't have the World of Greyhawk boxed set. (It can be a bit pricey - which could fit in with your logic of the market being flooded with cheap copies of WSG.) What sort of stuff does that boxed set have? Does it cover all the same areas of WSG or are there some areas it misses out or adds more detail on?
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Re: Wilderness Survival Guide

Postby rabindranath72 » Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:35 pm

The most useful ideas and rules bits for day-to-day adventuring in both WSG and DSG ended up in the 2e DMG (and in streamlined form.) But as Havard says, they are mostly interesting for the guidelines.
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