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Sunday, January 6, 2013

More About Simple Hunting

Some of you are looking at the title and saying "*More*? What happened to the first part? I don't remember any posts about simple hunting?"

Oh, there was a post. It was about a year ago. But there was a recent question about it, so I thought I'd break it out of the old post and write something up-to-date.

The quick summary of the old post: use the situation roll technique (if things could possibly change or someone is trying to change them, a 5+ on 1d6 means they do.) Situational modifiers are possible (trained hunter gets +1 on roll, famine/drought may mean a -1,) but the modifiers are ad hoc. Game animal being sought determines time needed to find the animal; time is shifted up for deserts and wastelands, down for fecund areas. If the hunter comes up empty-handed, hunter can keep searching; GM keeps adding +1 per extra time period to the initial result until 5+ is reached. Once game is located, the hunter must actually catch or kill the animal, but that's resolved separately.

In the comments, 1d30 says, "I like that it's simple, but I would prefer a system that presents a number of potential animal choices to the hunter and he has to choose which to pursue." Technically, we already have such a system:
Hunter: What game animals are available here?
GM: (consulting notes, or pulling answer out of ass.) Lots of rabbits, rats, and small birds, but also wolves, deer, and bear.
Hunter: OK, I want to hunt a bear.
But maybe I'm misinterpreting the comment. Maybe the intention is to offer more strategic choices, such as if there are three large game animals: wild boar, long-neck deer, and ambush moose. The first might be more common, but dangerous to hunt; the last might be heavily camouflaged and harder to find. Thus, there might be a bonus to find wild boar and a penalty to find ambush moose. The rest of the comment does go on to mention modifiers for weather, which seems to support this interpretation. I didn't set down specific bonuses and penalties for most things because I think it's going to be heavily dependent on the choices the player actually makes, versus the GM's notes on the kind of area.

For example, if the players can mimic the mating call of an animal, that can alter the odds. Infravision might make ambush moose easier to spot, regardless of camouflage. The winter would seem to be a bad time to hunt, but what if the players say they're looking for areas that might have small caves suitable as dens, so that they can dig out hibernating creatures? There's nothing set in stone about the simple hunting procedure; it's all up to GM discretion, with just a handful of guidelines.


  1. What I meant with the comment was that I envision a detailed hunting system working something like this:

    Player: I wanna hunt something.
    DM: Do you have any tracking skills?
    Player: Yep, I'm a Ranger.
    DM: OK (taking this into account, rolling based on terrain and season), you find signs of squirrel, boar, and deer.
    Player: I'll try tracking down some deer.
    DM: (rolls to see if player tracked down deer, or got nothing, or found something un-looked-for). You creep up to a brook and there's a few deer standing around. Half are drinking and looking up, half are just alert and ready. Their ears and noses are twitching.
    ... (and we continue as combat).

    So a system that involved player choices in what game to follow would mean the player asking what he sees and the DM giving information - like any dungeon exploration.

    But the system I started writing like that was waaay too complicated. It's not a part of the game that's interesting enough to warrant cumbersome rules. If the DM and player want to RP the hunting more they can do something like the above but the only roll is the basic hunting success roll.

    If the player just says "I'm hunting for bears" and rolls for success, we don't find out whether he found something else.

    You could easily include such a chance on a d20 hunting success roll (such as 2E's proficiency system or a 3E Survival skill check). If you fail, you get nothing. If you fail by 5 or less, you get something but it's not what you wanted. If you succeed you get what you wanted. All of this assumes what you wanted was present at all!

    Or just use the random encounter tables.

    Or just use the "you find food 1 in 6 if you travel, 2 in 6 if you dawdle".

    1. You could also use the system I described, but assume that there are one or two "major" varieties for each of the game sizes (small, medium, large) and roll 1d6 per major variety, distinguishing each die result somehow (I'd use my traditional "read left to right" approach.) So, if the major varieties are moose and squirrel, you'd roll 2d6, and if you get a 5 on both, you find traces of both. "Minor" varieties may be present, but you don't normally roll for them unless the hunter specifies.