10 Signs Someone Has Camped Here Before

Heroic adventurers often find themselves on the edge of civilisation in the wild lands. But they are not the first to explore such places, and previous explorers often leave signs of their passing.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)


When the PCs find a campsite, use the table below—at your discretion—to dress the site with the leavings of previous explorers.

  1. An old, mouldy boot stands on a flat bit of ground between two saplings sprouting from a low, mossy bank.
  2. A slender rope has been strung at roughly shoulder height between two trees. It is slightly mouldy. A Perceptive PC noticed a balled up weather-beaten tarpaulin caught in the roots of a nearby gnarly oak tree.
  3. A fire pit, ringed by scorched stones, stands in the middle of a patch of cleared ground. Here, the shrubs have been cut back and some attempt has been made to clear away fallen leaves and brush. The burnt remains of several branches lie amid the campfire cold ashes.
  4. A small, bulging hemp sack stands propped up against a tree. Investigations reveal it is full of empty wine skins.
  5. This campsite appears pristine and unused. However, an unlucky PC leaving the camp—perhaps to relieve himself—discovers an unburied shallow latrine by standing it in. Unfortunately, recent rain has reduced the contents to a kind of viscous slop.
  6. The ground slopes upwards in the PCs’ direction of travel. Someone has previous taken the time to scrape out a flat section just large enough for a couple of bedrolls.
  7. A ripped and weather-worn, wind-blown cloak hangs from the branches of a thorn bush. It flutters in a faint breeze, making a rustling sound.
  8. A shallow fire pit stands in the lee of a small rise. Nearby, several small piles of gathered firewood stand ready to use.
  9. Some attempt has been made to screen this spot from a nearby path. Fallen branches have been arranged in a haphazard screen of sorts and the camp’s fire pit is positioned behind a mossy pile of stones.
  10. Trash—the leavings of an extended camp—cover the ground. The rubbish includes frayed rope, a mouldy tent and several wine flasks. Perceptive PCs can make out the “footprints” of four tents.

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5 thoughts on “10 Signs Someone Has Camped Here Before

  1. (4) A small bugling hemp sack . . . .
    What in the blazes is a sack bugling for? That’s more than just a little flavor text, that’s an adventure!