Thinking in line with the significance of roads and towns, I started to wonder if perhaps acquiring food, water, and a safe place to sleep were too easy, considering how dangerous it is to try and find these things in the dungeon. If you step outside for a few seconds and miraculously find lodging, there’s way too much disparity. But I don’t want the players rolling to set up camp in the dungeon.

There’s another problem. There are conditions for dehydration, exhaustion, infection, and starvation, and only really apply when your rest in a dungeon. Rules that apply to only one part of the game are easily overlooked or forgotten. The best kind of rules are internally consistent, apply generally, and reinforce one another.

Part of the answer I came up with is, “a couple more conditions.”

Because I never get tired of coming up with reasons why it’s dangerous to go into a dungeon, let alone stay there for long stretches of time, we have the “aberration” condition, which the character is exposed to every time they take an Extended Rest outside of a settlement. That’s on the road, in the wild, or underground.

This is partly a social condition … mostly a social condition, actually. Characters who are more the back-woodsy type will be more resistant to its effects. They’re always kind of aberrant, preferring to stay away from civilization for long stretches of time. It’s just kind of what they do, whether it’s hunting, trapping, or training in secret.

One other condition I came up with is “ostracism.” This is also meant to tie in with the game’s internal social structures. Any time your character takes an extended rest in a settlement where they don’t belong to a locally-recognized affiliation, they’re exposed to the ostracism condition. This serves a couple functions.

While the general application of ostracism is to “outsiders,” it’s also meant to apply more specifically to incidents of law-breaking. If the character is an acknowledged outlaw of some kind, it works as a kind of “wanted level.” (Compare this concept to wanted levels in the Grand Theft Auto series.) I may deserve a kick for this, but “the easiest way to beat them is to join them,” which then brings its own difficulties.

I’ve already done a little work with affiliations, so now I’m trying to find the best way to involve player characters more in local and regional politics, since they’ll eventually become “kind of a big deal” as the characters solve problems and grow in power.