PCs finding themselves stranded and lost in the distant wilderness are subject to situations unlike any they’ve faced before. Not only do the need to fear animals, monsters, and other “creatures,” they must also survive the elements while finding the essentials for life…food, water and shelter.

Food and Water

A Medium creature requires a gallon of water and a pound of decent food each day to avoid starvation —in hot climates (such as the tropical climate of Smuggler’s Shiv), characters need twice as much water each day. Small creatures require half the amount of food and water that Medium creatures do, while Large creatures require twice as much.

PCs will need to rely on Survival skill checks. Smuggler’s Shiv is relatively hospitable when it comes to game and fresh water, and 4 hours of hunting and foraging allow a character to attempt a Survival check. With a TN 4 success, a character provides enough food and water for himself— every raise provides food and water for an additional character.

Environmental Hazards

Shelter is important on Smuggler’s Shiv, if only to give the PCs a place to rest and recover their strength after a day of hunting, exploring, or adventuring. There are two environmental effects on Smuggler’s Shiv that shelter can help protect against— disease and heat. Note that these effects are of little concern to natives of the island, as they are well acclimated to the environment.

Disease: Smuggler’s Shiv is rife with biting f lies, mosquitoes, gnats, ants, and other pests—many of which carry disease. Each day at sundown, each PC has a 25% chance of being exposed to a jungle disease. Sleeping in a shelter reduces the chance of exposure to any disease to 15%. (Disease rules can be found on pp 99-100 of the Savage Worlds Core Rulebook)

Heat: “Souls for Smuggler’s Shiv” takes place during the height of summer, and despite frequent rainfall, the days can become very hot for 3 hours from 12:00 to 3:00 pm. (see page 99 of the Savage Worlds Core Rulebook for rules on hot conditions). A character can avoid having to make Vigor roll against the heat’s effects by spending those hours in shade or shelter and not taking part in strenuous activity—but even one combat is enough to trigger a Vigor roll for hot conditions.

Establishing a Base Camp

Creating a safe camp to sleep, eat, and relax in can make the difference between survival and death. A base camp needs to be located in a safe and stable location, and must adequately provide for shelter from the environment and protection against wildlife. Locating a suitable site and building a shelter requires a Survival check (TN 6) and takes 8 hours. Lack of building tools imposes a –2 penalty on this check. The time required is reduced by 1 hour for every raise.

Once a campsite is established, it provides a safe place to rest out of the relentless heat of the sun, while the shelter and smoke from a campfire helps to ward off insects (reducing the chance of being exposed to disease to 10% per day). In addition, there are five roles that PCs or (more likely) NPCs can take up as part of their daily duties to further enhance the effects of a campsite, as detailed below. In order to fill one of these roles, the character must spend the entire day pursuing the role.

Defender: A defender works to set traps, shore up a shelter’s walls, and see to the safety of the campsite. The first time in a day that a wandering monster or hostile creature attacks the campsite, the defender’s traps inflict 2d6 points of damage on one such creature. Each additional defender assigned to a campsite increases this damage by 2d6.
Entertainer: An entertainer helps to raise hopes for rescue—each entertainer grants NPCs a +2 bonus on Spirit rolls to increase morale (see below).
Guard: Each guard reduces the chance of a wandering monster attacking the camp during the day or night by 5% (minimum chance of 5%).
Hunter: Each hunter provides enough food and water for eight Medium creatures per day (no trait roll is necessary).
Medic: Each medic reduces the chance of being exposed to disease by 5% and allows PCs and NPCs to heal one wound during a night’s rest.


The NPC castaways react to their near-death experience in different ways, and if the PCs don’t bolster their morale, they could easily fall prey to despair.

Morale has five categories: hopeful, normal, fearful, frightened, and panicked. All five castaways start with a morale of shaken. Events during play can adjust each castaway’s morale in one direction or another—either positively (to normal and eventually hopeful) or negatively (to frightened and eventually panicked). Morale affects only NPC castaways.

Adjusting Morale: Every morning, an NPC castaway must make a Spirit roll. If successful, the NPC’s morale remains at its present level. A raise increases morale to the next category toward hopeful. If the Spirit roll fails, the NPC’s morale moves one step toward panicked. Note that once an NPC reaches hopeful morale, he no longer needs to make these Spirit rolls, but special events can still adjust his morale downward (in which case he’ll need to start making his morning Spirit rolls again).

Effects of Morale: Each level of morale has different effects on the NPC castaways, as listed below.

Hopeful: The NPC functions normally, and does not need to make morning Spirit rolls to adjust morale. Diplomacy rolls to adjust the NPC’s attitude gain a +2 bonus.
Normal: The NPC functions normally.
Fearful: The NPC is fearful, suffering a -1 on all trait rolls.
Frightened: The NPC is afraid. In addition to the effects of fearful, Diplomacy rolls to adjust the NPC’s attitude take a –2 penalty.
Panicked: The NPC is near mad with fear and suffers -2 on all trait rolls. In addition, during any attack by hostile forces, he immediately becomes panicked and flees the area, heedless of the danger. Diplomacy rolls to adjust the NPC’s attitude take a –4 penalty.


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