I’ve come back to the idea of staying in town, versus traveling out of doors, and camping out in the wild. First things first: roads and settlements have to mean something. Part of that will probably involve coming up with new meanings for them periodically. It made sense to incorporate travel into the “Camping Challenge.”

It will require some coordination on the part of the party, now. If any of the characters intend to travel, it should be determined at the beginning of the week, and the party will “camp” on the road. If the characters plan to raid a dungeon, it necessitates camping in the wild (no more traveling and dungeon-crawling in the same week).

Instead, if the characters want to perform missions for a faction, they camp in town and operate out of the faction’s home location. In this way, roads and settlements serve an abstract purpose, and there’s a reason for players to at least seek their protection, if not actively seek their construction. Individually, however… *sigh*

What I’d like to do is have the number and level (town, city, metropolis) of settlements count toward the difficulty of checks made to staying there. For instance, a walled city is safer, and therefore easier to operate out of — unwalled towns and cities face constant threats from wild animals and bandits. That sort of thing.

So, what if you have more than one settlement bordering a hex? There can be up to three under the normal rules. It would make sense to have the difficulty of camping checks in descending order from “hard,” to “average,” to “easy,” based on how many towns there are bordering the hexagon, and/or how advanced the settlement(s) are.

Let’s say, finding a place to set up in town is hard, because you have to worry about the locals sticking a knife in your back and taking your stuff. That makes sense in accordance in stories like The Seven Samurai, where one of the twists encountered is that the peasants have been slaughtering samurai and stealing their equipment.

Of course, that means characters will want to absolutely stick to the places that are the most settled, and work toward improving them at all costs. If it’s dangerous to sleep at night, of course the players will want to work to make it safer! Even if all we’re talking about is building one road and establishing one settlement to make one hex safe.

The alternative would be camping on the road, so the characters can travel as they please, right? Well, what if the difficulty of camping on the road were based on the number of roads bordering the hex? Normally, you’re talking only one or two, which would probably make camping out on the road hard. (Hard to stay safe, that is!)

One or two roads make the checks “hard,” three or four make it “average,” and five or six (basically, the most you can expect) make the checks “easy.” (Why you would have six roads bordering a single hex eludes me at the moment.) By comparison, perhaps camping out in the wilderness is always hard, regardless of improvements?