20 Uneventful Days in a Forest

Not everyday in an adventurer’s life is packed with excitement. Sometimes, nothing of note happens but a GM wants to give some detail and substance to the nothing.

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)

By William McAusland (Outland Arts)


Use the table below, to describe at uneventful day’s travel through a forest or woodland:

  1. The morning sees a light drizzle drumming the leaves. Muddy puddles are common but avoidable. Birds dart about, looking for worms pushed up to the surface by the rain.
  2. The daylight hours are filled with the bustle of bird song and small critters. A wan sunlight filters through the leaves gently blown by a southerly breeze. The sun sets behind a veil of clouds, before a jagged half moon rises.
  3. A bright sun shines in a cloudless blue sky though the canopy overhead provides shade. A brief thunderstorm rolls in quickly during the evening before moving off. It cools the air leaving the earthy smell of wet earth and fresh rain before the stars emerge in force.
  4. A cold wind scours the trees, whipping them into a frenzy. Dark grey clouds loom threateningly on the horizon, never making their move, retreating in the afternoon to reveal a tired sun which exhaustedly gives way to a thin, sickle of moon limping through the sky.
  5. A group of loggers passes you in the morning. Their ribald songs and the chopping of their axes accompanies you for the early part of the day, replaced eventually by the chirping of insects heralding the coming of night.
  6. A wet snow starts falling late morning. The sight is both beautiful and tranquil as the trees stand suspended in white surrounded by the winter silence. The sun sets them ablaze in red and orange flame as it dips below the horizon.
  7. A languid, warm day stretches before you. In the afternoon, a herd of deer thunders through the trees, startled by a small fox, its tongue lolling as if laughing at the trick it played.
  8. A cold, heartless rain pours from the skies, driving into your faces and turning the earth into a boot sucking morass. The sun never shows itself from behind a thick wall of clouds.
  9. A bright sun filters through the treetops while the sound of hunting horns shatters the tranquillity. The yips and yaps of hunting dogs answer the horn’s call. The sun collapses beyond the horizon in a splendid pageantry of orange, pink and purple.
  10. The leaves of the trees flutter gold, red and orange in a faint but chill autumn wind. The smoke of home fires disappears on the horizon as a large full moon rises
  11. Faint, green buds grace the tips of skeletal tree branches. Chattering bird song accompanies the soft scurrying of recently awoken critters. The sun slinks away behind fast moving clouds to the raucous croaking of frogs.
  12. A constant chill fog refuses to give ground, though not so thick as to obscure the path. The sun fails to make an appearance and taking its que from its compatriot, the moon seemingly takes the night off, as well.
  13. Grey clouds gather late morning, exchanging a brief salvo of booming thunder. A tree in the far distance erupts in a gout of flame as rain hammers down around you, an onslaught which lasts late into the night.
  14. An uneventful morning slips into an equally boring afternoon. A nearby bush rustles, and a small animal saunters out and stops to briefly groom itself before ambling away.
  15. A heavy wind tousles the tree-tops, shaking free a few loose branches which crash heavily. The high pitched squawking of two feuding animals carries on the wind battering away at you, which dies down in the late evening.
  16. In a clearing, birds pick the last remaining shreds of flesh off the carcass of a large animal. Its white bones glisten in the fading sun. The birds squawk angrily at you for being disturbed, ass they ascend towards the setting sun.
  17. The trees form a thick canopy overhead where the squeals and squawks of numerous creatures can be heard. A young couple gathering berries hurries away at the sudden gathering of dark clouds which threaten a storm but never carry through on the promise. Night arrives quickly.
  18. Tree branches creak beneath a steady, muggy wind while the sun beats uncomfortably hot, the heat trapped beneath the canopy. Despite the promise of a pale moon, it brings no relief.
  19. Animals seem to catcall you from the trees and bushes. A wild energy hangs in the air but never seems to erupt before the sun slips away in a blaze of vibrant colour.
  20. A lone hunter crosses your path, hailing you before sprinting through the trees. You swear later at dusk you smell the cooking of fresh, roasted meat on the still air.

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Related Product

  • Campaign Backdrop: Forests & Woodlands: Packed full of tables, encounters, settlements this handily organised compilation gives the busy GM all the tools needed to run an awesome adventure set in a forest or woodland.

This article will appear in Campaign Backdrop: Forests & Woodlands, available in March 2017. For more, check out our Free Resources page.

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This article was by John Bennett–long-time Raging Swan Press freelancer.

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