Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Creature Comforts - Mountains

Short of the wonders of the night sky, mountains are probably the most majestic of natural features that can be found on a planet's surface. Rich in natural resources, with clean air and clean water, the mountains provide an attractive location for establishing a thriving community. Mountainous terrain comes in a rich variety, from gently rolling hills to jagged alpine-like peaks. Living in the thin air of the mountains is not without its challenges, but there are several creature comforts that make the inhabitants of such lofty places happy to live there. Here are but a few:

Panoramic View

It seems a given, and perhaps even a bit cliché, but the mountains do provide an amazing view out over the rest of the world. Whether the view overlooks a gently rolling valley, or peers over the top of the world from a majestic peak, the opportunity to view the world from this perspective is a sight that cannot be dismissed. Beyond the obvious advantages from a tactical standpoint (it is quite difficult to be surprised by a huge army from an elevated position), a panoramic view can give one a depth of insight never before experienced. Be warned, however, such insights are short lived, as mountain folk can become jaded and over used to their overlooking view.

Game Rule: A hero that takes an extended rest and spends at least 1 hour enjoying a panoramic view from the mountains gains a +1 to all Insight checks until his next extended rest. A hero that has spent more than 1 week in the mountains no longer gains this bonus to Insight checks.

Pure Mountain Spring/Glacial Water

Water from rivers, streams, & lakes is the source of life, a fact made clear by the large number of communities founded near such places. Most of these locations get their water from rivers and streams that start in the mountains. Melt water directly from glaciers or glacial lakes formed by the same, contain some of the purest water to be found. Devoid of waste & debris, this water is useful in rituals and provides an unprecedented benefit to nearby inhabitants that can make use of it. The burden of a hot day or difficult work can all be washed away with a single glass of cooling, crystal clear water.

Game Rule: A hero that drinks at least a quart of glacial water during an extended rest, gains a +1 to all Endurance checks before his next extended rest. In addition, any ritual that requires the use of water as an ingredient gains a benefit. If glacial water is used as part of the ritual, the caster gains a +1 to the check to determine the success of the ritual.

Kite Flying

It is said that the four winds no few boundaries when it comes to covering the world, and the mountains force no exception. The wind is ever present in the mountains, and ingenious inhabitants have come up with a number of ways to utilize the wind to make it work for them. Grinding grain, drying clothes, and even pumping water have all been powered in the past by the wind. While these are useful things, a creature comfort that is often overlooked is the art and science of kite flying. While the person who first set aloft a bit of canvas and wood is lost to the ages, the ability to send a kite into the air, is a useful skill and unique creature comfort. The simple kite, whether made from canvas, skin, or paper, can be used as a signaling tool, a means of (albeit risky) travel, or as a simple leisure toy to those of any age.

Game Rule: A hero that spends at least one hour during his extended rest flying a kite, gains a +1 to both Athletics & Acrobatics checks before his next extended rest. In addition, a message of up to one sentence long, can be strung up on a kite to relay a message over 5 miles away. The message must be set aloft on a clear day. This type of messaging system can only be used in areas where the DM decides it is appropriate for the local mountainous culture.

As a DM, seeding some of your mountainous communities with the creature comforts listed above. A trip to mountains can be difficult, and any of these creature comforts can make a nice reward for the struggling hero. Enjoy the view while you're there!

Until next time…

Game excellently with one another.

*Note:  Images pulled from the web and used without permission.  Images are the property of their respective owners.

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