Island Castaways

Howard Pyle (1853-1911) Title Marooned Date 1909
Howard Pyle (1853-1911) Title Marooned Date 1909

Crime and Punishment

Author Keith Baker

Series Campaign Style

Publisher Atlas Games

Publish date 2003

The Survival skill can be used to provide food and water, or to help to find shelter against the weather and the elements; refer to the skill description for full details. If the island is especially desolate, the GM may increase the DC of these checks by 5 points; if it’s a sheet of bare rock or ice, the DC may be increased by 10.

  • If you fail these checks, you’ll start to take damage due to starvation, dehydration, and exposure.
  • If you don’t have any skilled woodsmen, hopefully you have a cleric on hand to cast create water or create food and water.

If your island is home to hostile animals, beasts, or humanoids, weapons may be the first order of business. If there is wood on the island, it is a fairly simple matter to make clubs, halfspears, or quarterstaffs. You can also gather rocks to throw (1d4, x2 crit, 7-foot range increment, 1 pound, bludgeoning). If you have a party member with Craft (leatherworking) and access to animal hides, she may be able to Craft slings (DC 15), leather armor (DC 18) or hide armor (DC 22). All of this equipment will be crude, and liable to need constant maintenance or replacement
– but it may be enough to keep you alive.

In an ideal world, one of you will have polymorph, alter self, fly, lesser planar ally, teleport, sending, or some similar spell. These allow you to simply go for help or contact an ally. On the other hand, if your enemy knows you’re a spellcaster, he’ll almost certainly have deprived you of your spellbook and any spell components, focuses, or divine focuses; he may even remove a few fingers or your tongue to be safe. Even if you can cast without any of these, there’s still the matter of distance and direction – it’s not good to be over deep water when your fly spell
wears off!

If magic isn’t an option, you can build signal fires and hope that a nearby ship comes to investigate (and that a nearby dragon doesn’t). If you come up with some sort of cutting tools you can attempt to build a raft; this requires a successful check with one of the following skills: Craft (carpentry) (DC 20), Craft (shipmaking) (DC 15), or Survival (DC 20); you may make a check once per day. However, unless you have Profession (sailor) – not to mention some way to acquire food and water – you could easily drift at sea until you starve to death. And that’s not even addressing the possibility of hungry sea creatures looking for snacks!

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