Monday, 18 April 2022

O is for Outdoor Survival

Outdoor Survival has a history going back to the beginning of TTRPGs. 

Today, most Players tend to see it as a Character Skill, it is in most games, or a mechanic.

The beginnings have probably produced hundreds of blog posts in the last 15 years. Since there is "too much," I'll "sum up."

Outtdoor Survival (1972)

Before the release of the original "white box" D&D, Avalon Hill released Outdoor Survival: A Game about Wilderness Skills. Boardgame Geek describes it as a "varied wilderness simulation scenarios—from simple survival to search and rescue."

The game was certainly influential to the creators of D&D, known fans of Avalon Hill games such as Gettysburg. So influential, the game was considered an important third party system the original D&D. Outdoor Survival used a single board with varied types of terrain. The mechanics of Outdoor Survival are such that it is possible to develop random encounters with terrain and obstacles for characters exploring and traveling between villages, towns, and cities. Each use of the system providing new challenges.

This may have been the nascent use of a "hex crawl" in the "sandbox" exploration of a territory or kingdom in D&D. The board of Outdoor Survival was superimposed with a hex grid, apropos of Avalon Hill's wargame maps.

I have never used Outdoor Survival in my games or campaigns. Many modern games with published modules for short sessions and even in campaigns detail all of the possible territory characters may encounter, making the need for terrain generation less imperative. However, the use of the system is intriguing to me in hex crawl campaigns and I may have to visit it sometime soon.

Posted by caffeinated at 12:42 PM in d10