Beasts and the role of Fire in Wilderness Survival

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Beasts and the role of Fire in Wilderness Survival

Postby Timshel on February 10th, 2014, 8:09 pm

I did a quick search and read up on the lore but didn't find anything (see edit). I also asked a bit in chat but got some conflicting answers. Here's what I'm thinking:

On earth, a fire is huge in terms of survival. It provides warmth, sanitation and a means to cook. But just as important-- it provides protection. It deters everything from mosquitoes (the worst) to bears (also bad). They don't like the smoke, and the fire's scary. If you just walk through it a bit, a fire's smoke can also really hide the human scent well. Fire is huge for how humans have survived for thousands of years. On earth, I have a fire going every night I'm hiking/camping (as long as it's legal).

Now, I'm only asking about fire itself. Even on earth if you're cooking meat over a fire, it's going to attract animals. If you're openly cooking in general (not an underground fire), it'll probably attract animals. I'm sure proper storage of food is also huge for Wilderness Survival in Mizahar.

Does fire play the same role in Mizahar as it does on earth? Are animals afraid of fire? What about beasts like Glassbeaks or Tsana? Is it on a case by case basis? What animals are not afraid of fire? Are any beasts actually attracted to fire?

It really makes a huge difference for, say, a novice in Wilderness Survival. If we can say that a novice can confidently survive up to a week in the dangerous wilds of Mizahar-- how can he do it if fire doesn't act as a deterrent? Hide? Hope predators don't find him? That sounds like a huge risk to me, like he's not actually using any skill to avoid detection but rather just hoping that a beast won't show up.

An expert in Wilderness Survival spends up to a month in the wild. The Average Joe would almost certainly get gobbled up in that time. How does that expert avoid predators, assuming he's only using wilderness survival/related skills (nothing fancy like webbing or any other magic)?

Or are the dangers in the Mizahar Wilderness less about predators and more about the harsh weather, the world and whatnot?

EDIT: Rereading the lore, it actually does say, "provide protection from animals" here, but because it's such a quick line, and because I've seen people really stress the danger of Mizahar's wilds, I'm going to leave this post up for discussion.
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Beasts and the role of Fire in Wilderness Survival

Postby Gillar on February 13th, 2014, 7:36 am

The Wildnerness Survival Skill primarily addresses the ability to survive in the wild areas of Mizahar without having to rely on the comforts of civilization. The skill becomes more effective with various types of Wilderness Survival Lore. The skill and associated lore provides the character with survival knowledge. Building a fire a fire and keeping it fueled is of course a large part of survival. Obviously, with the use of a fire in the wilds of Mizahar, there are a few different associated benefits and drawbacks.

Yes, fire serves as a way to heat food and water thus making both safer for consumption. It provides warmth, comfort and some security. It is considered on of the primary comforts of civilization. The Wilderness Survival Skill and Lore provides the basic knowledge of building and using a fire in a way that the character can go longer without needing civilization to provide this for them. In a more civilized area such as a city, one can for the most part readily find access to fire or at the very least the materials needed to build one.

Fire does deter some animals as well as protects against insects such as mosquitoes. While it may not necessarily deter "smarter" more determined animals or unique creatures and monsters, it may keep them at a distance. Of course it can also attract others, Zith for example as they are intelligent and know that where there is a fire, there could be prey. In general however, smoke helps mask scent and most animals tend to avoid smoke and fire (think wildfires and how animals run from them). Truly determined animals will not be deterred by fire especially if they are hungry and even more so if you are cooking food such as meat.

Now, with each level of Wilderness Survival, one can survive longer in the wilds without the need for the comforts of civilization. The part mentioned "comforts of civilization" is key to all of it.

Let's say a character with Novice Wilderness Survival, heads out into the wilds. With them they carry some flint and steel, a skin of water, a small tent, a couple torches, four days of rations, a couple sets of clothing, a dagger and a machete and a basic first-aid kit. This character is essentially leaving civilization but is bringing with them some of the comforts of civilization. They have the gear to tend to the essential basics; fire, shelter, food and water, at least for a short time.

Now, if the character is careful and conservative, they have roughly enough supplies to survive in comfort for up to four days. They have rations for four days and a full waterskin that they can stretch out for that long. They have adequate clothing and the ability to start a fire. They also can tend to the bumps and scrapes one may get while trudging around the wilds.

The Wilderness Survival Skill can help with resupplying. More food can be gathered and water sources can be found. Better shelter can be found and more material for building and maintaining fires can be gathered. It is when the character basically runs out of, loses or otherwise no longer has access to the comforts of civilization that the time frame for survival associated with their level of Wilderness Survival comes into play. So, let's say the character's tent is destroyed in a storm. Their first-aid kit is used up after they fell down a short yet steep hill and injured themselves. Their rations ran out as did their water and the storm also caused readily available firebuilding material to now be too wet. The character's novice survival skills can keep them alive for roughly 7 days or until the character can somehow improve their survival conditions in a way that can be maintained.

If the character is able to establish a stable source of water, enough food to sustain them somewhat regularly, a sturdy and secure shelter and adequate materials for building and maintaining a fire for lengthy amounts of time, then they can be considered to have reestablished the basic comforts of civilization.

Steering back to the topic of fire and it's more direct relationship to survival in the wilds of Mizahar, fire isn't the most important part of surviving as far as protecting one from outside risks. As I mentioned, it acts as a deterrent but not an invincible shield against outside dangers. So, how does one survive for seven days, fourteen days, thirty days or even indefinitely? It is done through a mix of different skills, knowledge and ability. A character who has gained the skill and lore of Wilderness Survival isn't going to knowingly put themselves in situations where their skills will be pressed to the limit. A big part of survival is planning. If you want to avoid predators, don't set up your camp right next to a water source predators need water too. Don't set up your camp right next to obvious game trails as game animals aren't the only type of animals to use those trails, predators hunt prey. Predators, like most animals, can be kept at bay by noise. Whistling, singing, overall being loud while traveling can scare away the average predators. Even setting up small "traps" around your camp such as a simple trip-wire that causes a tree branch to release and swing can cause sudden movement and sound to frighten predators. Combined with fire, these are all ways to avoid becoming somethings meal. Nothing is fool proof but many predators tend to stake out territory. By looking for signs of predators such as scat, tracks and leftovers, you can have a better idea of where to be and where not to be.

The dangers of the Mizahar wilderness still involves predators. Just because you have the Wilderness Survival skill, doesn't mean you will be able to fend off one or more predators if it comes to that. Having combat skills including some weapon training helps with that. Eventually, no matter how much survival training you have, if you don't have a way to defend yourself when you need it, you're going to die. Also, weather does play a large role depending on where you're at. If you're in a desert trying to survive, obviously heat during the day and cold at night will be threat. In the tundra and arctic areas, cold becomes a true threat. Environment in general can be as dangerous as weather and predators/monsters. Take the marsh/swamp for example. So much of that type of environment is poisonous. The water is often filled with parasites and diseases, the animals are venomous and plentiful, mosquitoes are as plentiful as the incessant moisture that permeates and rots clothing and gear.

The Wilderness Survival Skill/Lore grants you the knowledge and ability to better cope with the weather, flora/fauna and overall conditions of the particular type of environment your skill is devoted to.

Hopefully that helps with your questions and continuing discussion.
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Beasts and the role of Fire in Wilderness Survival

Postby Timshel on February 13th, 2014, 7:54 am

This reply goes way above and beyond what I was expecting. It's quite comprehensive-- a huge help.

Thank you, Gillar!
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