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Scouting and Wilderness Encounter Distances - Jen's Sweetie and Code Poet [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Jen's Sweetie and Code Poet

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Scouting and Wilderness Encounter Distances [Feb. 14th, 2007|04:50 pm]
Jen's Sweetie and Code Poet
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[More ad&d stuff for your reading pleasure(?)]
[Updated: one of my players saved the day and pointed out the section in the DMG that I had been missing!]

I've found determining the exact distance between the party and a wilderness encounter to be a little difficult. So I spent a bit of time reading about Spot and Hide and figuring out how I wanted to apply it. I came up with the following house rule for scouting.

When scouting, we are interested in a few things:

(1) When (how far away) does the scout see obvious things (caravan on the road, burnt out tree, logs across road, etc)?

(2) When does the scout see unobvious things (bandits in ambush)?

(3) Is the scout seen by those he is trying to hide from?

For #1, the DMG has a list of encounter distances, adjusted by terrain. (see DMG p.86-93)

We will use the Spot skill for #2 and #3, opposed by the Hide skill as appropriate.

Base Spot DCs (within 10') (unopposed):

0: Huge and noisy creature in plain sight.
5: Typical caravan or other large group.
10: One or two travelers.
15+: As appropriate.

Standard Spot Modifiers:

+1 to DC per 10'
+5 to DC if Spotter is distracted

Determining Spot Distances (house rule):

To determine the distance at which the target is spotted, perform a normal spot check (modified by distance). If the check fails at the current distance, find the distance at which they would have suceeded.

Assuming nothing else triggers a new check, the character will spot their target when they reach this point.

Standard Hide Modifiers:

* Must have cover or concealment.
Move at up to 1/2x normal speed: -0
Move 1/2x - 1x normal speed: -5
Hide after bluff or other distraction: -10
Hide after Sniping (move action): -20

Example (Ambush):

3 Orcs (+3 Spot, +0 Hide) wait in ambush. Bhone Thornwalker (+6 Hide, +6 Spot) is scouting ahead for the party at normal speed (-5 to hide).

Since both groups are attempting to hide, I have him roll an opposed Spot/Hide (vs. all of the Orcs).

BT: 11 (hide), 17 (spot)
Orc1: 3 (hide), 11 (spot)
Orc2: 17 (hide), 15 (spot)
Orc3: 15 (hide), 23 (spot)

Bhone will see Orc #1 (who blew his hide check) from 140' away. He would notice the others if he were 10' and 20' away (respectively).

Orc #3 would spot Bhone from 120' away.

End result: Bhone is alerted to their presence (and will probably take time to conduct a more careful search). The Orcs remain oblivious until he comes closer or does something to make his presence known.

Example (Something Strange):

Something strange is up ahead, and in plain sight. Bhone is scouting again. The object is in plain view, so I won't require a spot roll. Since they are traveling through light forest, he is 3d6x10 (110) feet away when he notices it.


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