Remembering to look up and around is something that you find you have to remind yourself to do.
What does this have to do with encounters? It strongly impacts the distance at which the encounter happens!
This is a list of creatures I encountered on the trail:
- Human, AT Thru-Hiker
- Human, AT Lifer
- Human, AT Section Hiker
- Human, AT Day Hiker
- Human, AT Volunteer
- Human, Law Enforcement
- Snake, Large Black
- Snake, Ribbon
- Turtle (not mutant or ninja that I could tell)
- Goat, wild
- Birds (various)
- Bugs (various)
The various human encounters, when they didn’t happen at a shelter, usually happened at a distance of 5-15 yards.
Both snake encounters happened at 1-2 yards
The (non-human) mammalian encounters and the bird encounters ranged from about 2-15 yards.
|Yes, that's a wild goat|
Bug encounters usually happened at 0-1 yards.
Encounter distance in the Rules Cyclopedia is based entirely on light levels. I had good light the entire time, but the 4d6x10 yards range is ridiculous in the woods. Sure, in a field, or a grassy plain or something open like that, but there is no way I was spotting anyone at anything even half way approaching 240 yards away unless it was a marching band or something else similarly loud.
|Might be a teenage turtle|
While I don’t think I’ve ever used the encounter distance chart, since I usually base it on what’s happening directly at the table, but if I did, I would take the result as the maximum distance the PC’s would spot the counter on a featureless plain, and then start knocking it down to a more reasonable distance based on the terrain. I’d also be more likely to impose a penalty on surprise checks in situations where the footing is uneven.
Creatures Not Encountered:
- Snake, Poisonous
- Mountain Men
- Cats, wild
- Boars (generally only found further to the south)
- Moose (generally only found further to the north)