I am not sure how many people have not done this already, but…
Camping and roleplaying! Yes, I know to some people this must sound crazy. Camping is fun. Roleplaying is fun. What is not to like?
Maybe start small by having a session in a tent. Get the person who owns the biggest tent to bring it over. It could be a good lesson in working together for some groups. Then broach the idea of going camping as a group.
Relaxing and having fun
Some people have never had the pleasure of going camping. In Canada, especially Western Canada, it is almost a given that you have been camping. Regardless, adding roleplaying can make it even more fun.
When you go camping, you get out and enjoy all the beauty of nature. You get away from your electronic devices. You start to understand life a little more. You breathe. You relax. Sure, you will need a few books and the usual stuff if you are having a game session, but it forces you to work with less. This type of experience helps you figure out what you do and do not need to bring, plus what to do when you forget something and have to ad-lib a bit.
Weather and planning
By this time of year, you have to realize that autumn is upon us and soon enough it will be winter. This is the perfect time. If you like fishing, the weather is getting better for shore fishing again. You will need sleeping bags for some of the nights coming up however. Soon enough the rain will not be quite so much and it will get to be peaceful.
Planning can be a problem though. Finding a weekend that is good for everyone can be a challenge. We all lead busy lives and sometimes we are too busy. But this experience will help people get away from the hectic lives we all lead if you can arrange it.
Turn it into an adventure for a weekend
If you turn it into an adventure, it will only be more fun. Have it so your heroes understand what it is like to be on an actual adventure. Let your players live through the experiences your characters take for granted. Chopping wood is not hard. Setting up tents, cooking over a fire, fishing, etc can be quite easy and fun.
During the day you can play flag football, go for walks, and learn more about different areas of your world. You can relate the areas you visit while camping to the areas of the game world. In the evenings, you can play games like capture the flag, telling stories around the campfire, and look at the stars. While you are at it, you could play your favourite roleplaying game. The difference will be that it will be with flashlights.
We did a session recently where there were ghosts and undead encounters. The doors did some opening and closing and there was a bit of a chill that came into the room we were playing in. Imagine just hearing animal or wind sounds while in tents and how much that could add to the experience.
This could be a great experience. You might not realize what you are missing out on by mixing camping with roleplaying. In the belief that many of you have gone camping, this could be a way to enjoy those times with your gaming friends. It may have been a while, but remember all the fun you had. Plan an adventure that involves some of the experiences you would have while camping. Maybe the party is between adventures and they are taking a break. They could decide they do not want to be in the urban centers they live in as they have had so much time out in the wilds. They are not ready for the hustle and bustle of town or city life just yet.
Here is a thought, use the idea from the last article I wrote about the treasure hunt challenge. You could have so much fun with that and make up a map that could take the party a couple of hours to navigate instead of one that takes about half an hour. Give your friends and players a reward when they are done.
Give it a chance and take up this challenge. I dare you!
I promise you that it will be an experience of a lifetime and everyone will remember how much fun they had for the rest of their lives. Who knows, they might just want to do it again as soon as possible.
Clear skies fellow GM’s and players – until next time!
Keith R. Byers, A.Sc.T., Esq.