You want to know what conversation I’d like to never have again? The friggin’ watch order conversation. Feel free to hum along if you know the words.

“I’ll take first watch.”

“I’ll take second.”

“Wait, don’t you need eight hours to recover spells?”

“I can just trance for four hours.”

“Well I need first or last.”

“Who’s on watch with me? It has to be someone with darkvision.”

Blech. It’s the D&D equivalent of arguing over the check at a restaurant, and shit’s dull as dirt. In my experience, the question, “Who’s on watch?” is just GM-speak for, “I’m going to roll three times on the random encounter table, and I want to know who gets to react.” And if that’s your use-case for setting a watch, I’d just as soon default to the same advice we gave way back in the day: Have this argument exactly once and then write down your watch order.

That said, I think there is some utility in to watch orders in roleplay-heavy games. In particular the, “Who’s on watch with me?” question is a license to create RP moments between character pairings. Think of your last Dragon Age playthrough. Remember the party camp? You know, the place where, “Companions will discuss personal, even intimate, matters?” You don’t have to be a bard to see the possibilities. Licentious liaisons, tearful confessions, and overly dramatic backstory dumps are all on the table.

Here’s the thing though: If it’s possible to imagine “the boring watch conversation” actually having a purpose, what else might we be missing? Is there a way to spice up bedding down for the night?

And so, for today’s discussion, why don’t we talk about the “party camp” in general? How do you use it in your own games? Does it tend to get hand-waved, or do interesting things happen there? Head down to the comments, and tell us all about the monsters, romances, and clandestine meetings that have happened around your party’s campsites!


ARE YOU AN IMPATIENT GAMER? If so, you should check out the “Henchman” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. For just one buck a month, you can get each and every Handbook of Heroes comic a day earlier than the rest of your party members. That’s bragging rights right there!