I was trying to think how I might incorporate the “Making Camp” Challenge without creating a bookkeeping nightmare for the players. I mean, can you imagine what it would be like if the players had to roll dice to camp every night? Virtually all the experience they gained toward level advancement would come from finding a safe place to sleep, they could forget their career as a monster-slayer!

Now, say you were to create a camp once per week, instead of every night. That already sounds a lot more reasonable, and it means the Challenge aspect is actually a lot more interesting. You could argue the Challenge takes place over an entire week, rather than just one day or night. Plus, it paves the way for other Challenges.

I started to realize after my friend and I plowed through a first-level dungeon, that instanced dungeons were a powerful thing. Maybe a bit too powerful. I’d puzzled over what characters could do when they weren’t in a dungeon, and it hadn’t occurred to me that the dungeons were the real problem.

I realized that I’d made it too easy for characters to harvest experience points. I was missing an important part of the town-travel-dungeon-shop-rest cycle. While you have to encourage characters to head into the dungeon, they need a reason to come back to town, then go back into the dungeon. Why would they ever go back to town?

One idea (hinted at above) answered several of these questions at the same time. Let’s say the characters decide where they’re going to camp at the beginning of the week. Based on where they set up shop, they can pursue quests in or around town, in or around roads and trails, or out in the wilderness.

Characters who are just beginning their careers will find staying in town much safer than going out into the wild. When you take a look at the Challenges, you can expect Complexity Three for camping in the wilderness, Complexity Two for camping along a road or trail, and Complexity One for staying in a settlement.

In addition to exposing characters to the Aberration condition up to seven times in relatively short order, finding quests (and the potential length of said quests) could well be linked to wherever the characters decide to set up camp. In fact, part of the process of selecting and securing a camp could involve finding work for the week.

Then, there’s limiting the level and length of a dungeon to whatever quests the characters are able to find over the course of the week. Perhaps failure to find a secure camp means the characters will be cut off from an important adventuring resource for the week, like merchants, dungeons, or a proper place to rest.