How do you guys play Take Watch?  By the rule, the player only rolls if “something approaches the camp”, but there’s…

How do you guys play Take Watch?  By the rule, the player only rolls if “something approaches the camp”, but there’s…

How do you guys play Take Watch?  By the rule, the player only rolls if “something approaches the camp”, but there’s no advice about how it should be determined if something does.  I guess, by the rules, after the characters decide their watch order and bed down, they players probably look at the DM to hear what happens next, so it’s time for a DM move.  DM decides whether to attack the characters, decides what time of night it happens, then that player rolls Take Watch.

It feels kind of arbitrary, though.  Does anyone use Wandering Monster tables for this?  Or any other, more clever kinds of randomization?

20 thoughts on “How do you guys play Take Watch?  By the rule, the player only rolls if “something approaches the camp”, but there’s…”

  1. I’d say you have to look at your fronts. If one of them advances in a way that makes sense introduce something from that front.That might not be the mostest cleverest answer but i’d say it depends on the monsters that are nearby and their moves as well as on fronts.

    Take Watch is a strange duck because it get’s triggered by the GM not the player if i see this right. 

  2. It would still put me in a really uncofortable place as a GM. 

    But yeah, i decide there will be an encounter and so there will be an encounter – it’s actually not different from stumbling into any other monster. I get to decide that this will fit with the principles and so i do it. I look at the monster and think when it would be most appropriate for it to make it’s move and that character then get’s to roll for a watch. 

    It’s not like the encounter can be avoided with Take Watch. It’s not like monster magically appear because you failed your move. 

    Yeah, it actually works i think. 

    When they decide the watch order you can also show signs of an approaching threat or reveal an unwelcome truth. 

    “By your count the vampire will have regenerated on second watch so keep that in mind” or “you seem to have lost the naga, if they find your camp again then surely it won’t be before morning strikes again” or something like that. 

  3. Tim Franzke I totally agree with you. If I want some randomness, as a gm I could roll a dice (or by any other means) to decide wich pc is on watch at the moment of the attack.

  4. nooo,you should decide those things in line with your principles. 

    You coud offer a chance for a class/race or show the downside of someones choices ^^

  5. Uh, don’t you just interrogate the fiction as normal, to see if anything stumbles on or stalks the camped characters? The GM is always the loyal servant of the fiction, not the other way around.

  6. Tim Franzke yeah, fiction & principles first, of course. So If everything lead to an anbush from the orcs raiders during the night while the group is camping, I don’t think that picking a random pc on watch would spoil the game. Another thing is if I want to put, let’s say,  the wizard pc on the spot for some reason.

  7. Personnally, if some random encounter could flow from the fiction (say, they camp in the woods, where there are some wolves and whatnot) but could also not lead to it (they were not careless and took some precautions), I’d roll a dice. Party of 5, each one taking his turn as a watch? Roll a d10 (or a d6, or a d12, or a d20…) and something happens to the person who’s taking watch on this turn (so, if the dice gives you a 4, the fourth PC taking watch must make a roll); if the dice roll higher (a 6 or higher for our party of 5), nothing happens and no rolls is needed. 

    Now, if someone is not taking his turn, that’s a golden opportunity to me…

  8. Of course, anything flowing from the fiction, the agenda or principles trumps this. But as a way of not feeling too arbitrary, that can work well and is super simple to use.

  9. Anyway, I wasn’t thinking about wether happens or not something during watch (that comes as we all sayed from prep, principles etc.) but on wich pc’s watch turn. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough before.

  10. I tend to make all of my players roll +Wis anyway, and then figure out whether or not it would be appropriate for something to be approaching camp and when they’d do so. My players like rolling dice, and making everyone roll before you figure out if anything is going to happen just feels more natural (the players feel more like they’re taking watch in a dangerous locale).

    This only applies if they’re in the wilderness or a dungeon, of course.

  11. Keep in mind a failed watch roll doesn’t necessarily mean monsters attack. Perhaps some wildlife has raided their rations, or someone set up their bedroll on a stinging insects nest. Perhaps it starts raining or it gets miserably hot and humid. Think of all the horrible camping experiences you’ve had and apply that as a consequence

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