• Justin Handlin

Wilderness Survival Guide

Let's talk about _____!

Ryan S. asks;

I currently run a game where one player is role-playing way more than the rest of the party, to the point where the rest of the party feels like they can’t say or do anything due to the fact that the player(a paladin) will out role-play them and shut them down. I want everyone to enjoy the game as the DM. Any tips?

CA Answer: Pull the player aside and ask them to reach out in character and ask the others for input. Let them know they are doing great work, but have them nudge decisions from other characters by asking their opinions in character. If that doesn't work, pull the person aside and talk to them about the issue. Most adults can handle it. Likely, they don't realize they are doing it.

Main Topic: Wilderness Survival Guide

A free Dmsguild supplement created by Aeron Drake. Contains a wonderful collection of extra rules for Dungeons and Dragons for harvesting creatures, collecting minerals and a simple alchemy system for brewing potions and bombs and even equipment for surviving the wilderness!

We absolutely love this guide as it gives rules on collecting materials DURING your travels, which are then used to craft new equipment, create alchemical concoctions and gemstones. To get new materials, you must expend the whole process without major interruptions (like combat). There're three material categories, and each one has a special way to collect them: Creatures, Minerals and others, and Plants and herbs.

Also, depending on the type of material and the place where it is, they might be modifiers to the skill check made for collecting the materials. Below are a few samples that we found juicy.



Creature parts are used as alchemical materials and for creating armor and weapons for the adventurers, which some of them give special features. Others take some of the creature parts as trophies and decorations for their armor and houses.

Parts Values:

The value of each harvested unit goes from 1% to 50% of the experience of the creature. The harvested parts of common creatures have a value of 1% of the creature's experience, while the rarer creature’s parts value is close to 50% of the creature's experience.

Minerals and Others:

Minerals are earthen materials used for making armor, weapons, and gaining special effects for those armors and weapons. Minerals can be divided in two types and each type has a unique way to acquire them.

  • Ores are extracted with the use of a Miner's Pick and a Strength (Athletics) check.

  • Gemstones are extracted with the use of Gem Extraction Tools (worth 25 gp) and Dexterity check

  • If the character is extracting ores, on a success they collect a number of ore units equal to 2d4 + your Constitution modifier.

  • If the character is extracting gemstones, the DM determines the amount of the gemstones found, or he can roll a d20 and compare the result with the following table. You can determine the kind of gemstones found using the tables in page 134 of the Dungeon Master's Guide.

Non-Mineral Materials

There are also other materials which are not ores or gemstones, such as wood, stone and coral that can be also used to craft weapons or pieces of armor.

Plants and Herbs

Plants are used for creating alchemical potions and mixtures, and they are divided in four levels of rarity.

Common plants, which have one essence Uncommon plants, which have two different essences

Rare plants, which have two essences of the same type Very Rare plants, which have two essences of the same type and one extra essence A value chart is provided for market value.

A large table gives examples of plants and their alchemical essence for various environments.


  • You can create bombs and potions using up to six ingredients to craft them.

  • The ingredients are any resource which have one or more essences you use to create the mixture (such as blue herbs or a Mandrake root).

  • You need a glass bottle worth 2 gp for each bomb or potion you craft.

  • The value of bombs and potions equals to 10 gp plus 15 gp for each extra ingredient after the first. Bombs have a range of (20/60).

  • If a bomb requires a saving throw, the DC is 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier.


Creating a Mixture

  • After determining the number of ingredients and the value of the mixture, you can start the process of crafting the bomb or potion.

  • The character can distribute the essences to choose the effects for the bomb or potion at the beginning of the creation process.

  • The creation process must be made in sessions of 4 uninterrupted hours for each 25 gp of the object you're trying to create. When you start the first session, all ingredients are consumed.

  • Bombs and potions which have a value of 25 gp or less can be crafted anywhere, while an expensive mixture will require a place for crafting due the amount of ingredients and the required tools for creating it.

  • At the end of the last session, the character must make an Intelligence check, adding the proficiency bonus if he's proficient with the alchemist's supplies. The DC for the check is 6 + twice the number of ingredients used. If the character passes the check, the mixture is created. On a fail, the mixture is not created and all the ingredients are lost.

This episode is brought to you by our generous sponsor, Kobold Press!

Unearthed Tips and Tricks! We bring you new and creative content for you to bring with you on your next adventure.

Character Concept:


Luke Occhionero

Monkeying Around

My friend played in a 1-shot where he was a highly intelligent monkey who was gifted with intelligence by a mad wizard. The monkey hates the crippling weight of reality his intelligence lets him feel and longs for the blissful stupidity of normal monkey life again. He was on a mission to find the mad wizard and bring him to justice for the monkey's suffering. The monkey itself was a homebrew race and he was classed as a weird dex-based barbarian berserker.

Pick up Monstrous Races

Monster Variant: Gang Leader

Origin: Thug

New Features:

Hammer Blow

If the gang leaders mace attack is a critical hit, the target must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or be stunned until the end of the gang leader’s turn.


Parry. The gang leader adds 2 to its AC against one melee attack that would hit it. To do so, the leader must see the attacker and be wielding a melee weapon.


Patron Gabe K

  1. The Wax Congregation

  2. The players are traveling through an old temple or museum, there they find lifelike statues made of wax adorning the halls. Eventually, they begin to hear the preachings of an aged priest echoing through the halls, and when the party finds its source, they see the preacher standing in front of a dozen wooden pews- but sitting in the pews are lifeless wax statues, just like the rest of the museum.

  3. However, if the party disrupts the service, then the preacher gets angry, and commands his congregation to attack. It is then revealed that the wax statues aren’t completely wax- they’re corpses that have been covered in wax, sculpted to resemble people. And with the instruction of the priest- or, should I say, the Necromancer- the wax statues come to life, and attack!

  4. For added bonus, the wax zombies take extra damage from fire, but hitting them with fire damage ignites the wax, which makes them move faster (less wax slowing them down) and they deal fire damage whenever they attack (or grapple!).

Magic Item:

Elven Watchtower (Wilderness Survival Guide)

Wondrous item, uncommon

As an action, you can open the bag next to a tree to create a portable platform in one of the three sides, giving a stable surface. The platform is created up to 20 feet high, and the bag also creates a rope ladder to climb up and down. The surface has space for one medium-sized creature, and when a creature uses its action to close the bag, the ladder and the platform disappears until the bag is opened again.

Dungeon Master Tip:

Patron Gabe

  1. Play out the afterlife!

  2. When a player character dies, most people either shrug and start making a new character, or that player sits out until the party can resurrect them, at which point they pop right back into the game. (Sometimes they deal with the consequences of having been dead; maybe not.)

  3. But why not play out what the character experienced after death? Not only could this lead to some serious weight to being resurrected (if the character experienced a demon-filled hellscape before they were raised, maybe they’ll change their ways- or perhaps they were in absolute paradise and they don’t want to come back) but it could also be a great send-off for a character who isn’t going to be raised. Imagine if a character died heroically in battle, and rather than just have the player roll up a new character, he got to roleplay the character being escorted into Valhalla to sit and drink with his deity who commended him for his valiant work while he was alive. It’ll make character death feel more like a fitting part of the story rather than just a nuisance that everyone wants to move past.

Player Tip: Don’t be a Dick

Patron: Johm Gemstone

Wizards! Don’t waste your downtime! Make spell scrolls and/or share spells/rituals with each other. Spell scrolls can save a person's life in combat if you make them in advance. Or if you need to be ready for combat have a few passwall spell scrolls made and handed around.

Great tip: A great way to support your party as well, without burning spell slots:

Aid, Mage Armor, false life and other spells without concentration can be passed out to reinforce the group.

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