Standing guard will be different. If those trees are climbable, that might be a good spot. If the wall is stable enough for him to sit on, that would be a good one too.
Yes, the trees are climbable at DC 15. The wall is standard masonry. I guess they also are technically climbable, but the DC is 20. There's a corner where you can brace against perpendicular walls, so the real DC is 15 in that spot, but I think Swarbrick would find it disruptive to have people climbing over his bedding.
If you climb something, then it could be difficult to participate meaningfully in a fight, because it deprives you of your Dexterity bonus to AC, and you need both hands free to move. You can cling to the wall or tree with one hand and use a weapon or cast a spell with your free hand, but that doesn't get you your Dex bonus. Note well: without Dex to AC, you can be sneak attacked.
I suppose that if you're up one of the trees, you could use a length of rope to try to harness yourself so both hands can be free (Use Rope DC 15), allowing you to use a bow or other two-handed ranged weapon. But it won't solve the Dex bonus problem; you'd still be tied in place.
If you're atop the wall, you can use a Balance check to move at half speed along its top (DC 12), or at full speed (DC 17). But you'd still be denied your Dex bonus to AC unless you have at least 5 ranks in the skill.
Either option also would limit, if not eliminate, your ability to fight in melee against an opponent who wasn't also climbing or balancing in the same tree or atop the wall. Getting back to the ground would require checks, either Climb (DC 15 or 20 as appropriate for the location) or Jump (DC 15 reduces your falling damage, potentially converting some of it to non-lethal damage or eliminating it altogether).
Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold
I was thinking more visibility for a watch than fighting, as whoever is on watch should first be responsible for seeing and then waking everyone else. So, I'm open to suggestions in which spot would be best for a solo watch with that objective in mind first.
It's a difficult problem. The top of the wall where it makes its corner is probably the best option if you're on a solo watch and want 360° visibility.
If you climb a tree, you'll get better visibility than if you were on the ground, but the walls are still going to block some of the view for anyone who's on sentry duty. That doesn't matter as much if you're relying on your sense of hearing, but the walls certainly impede visibility. That's good insofar as it makes you less visible overall, but if someone/something figures out that you're there and then wants to get close without getting spotted, the wall is a problem. Kind of a trade-off.
Being on top of the wall also makes you a target; there's nothing to hide behind once you're up there. Anything that has low-light vision will be sure to see you when the moon is up, as will any foe with darkvision who gets close enough to you. That could be a really serious problem if they manage to take you down before you have time to alert the rest of the party.
If you're up a tree, the foliage will give you some concealment even with moonlight or against a foe who's got darkvision, so it's a more secure location for a sentry. But the view isn't nearly as good, either.
Obviously, the best thing is to have multiple sentries at all times, but there are seven of you, so even if you accept longer watches in order to double up, you're still going to have a two-hour watch where someone's going to be alone.
I think the tree sounds like the best compromise. At least there's a view through the breaks in the walls.
The low walls aren't quite as big a deal anyway, even versus sentries on the ground, because they only grant cover to whoever is closer to them. I don't think I'm going to have them grant cover versus someone who's in an elevated position unless you're actually adjacent to them.
Kisasi isn't going to commit to hunkering down in one spot for a span of a few hours. He will make the rounds outside the perimeter of the ruined house, pausing for a few minutes here or there. He trusts Henrik to find a good spot somewhere and just hopes one of them sees trouble before it can reach anyone who is asleep and helpless.
Under the description of the Listen skill in the SRD, it says the character gets a -10 penalty to their roll but if they succeed, they wake up without me having to do anything. Is that accurate for this campaign?
Henrik isn't particular about where he sleeps, but I assume no one is inviting him to be right next to them. He'd prefer not to be on the perimeter - if someone is going to get murdered in their sleep, he'd prefer it be someone else, first. Hopefully they'll scream enough to wake him up.
To clarify, each watch lasts two hours. Which is kind of a long time to spend up a tree or sitting on top of a wall, from a comfort standpoint, but I guess it's doable.
Anyway, yes, everyone gets a Listen check to notice any noises from things going bump in the night. Sleeping characters will be assessed a -10 penalty to their checks.
The DC to overhear a normal conversation is 0, modified for distance at a rate of +1 per 10 feet of distance after the first 10 feet, so basically there's about a 50% chance per round that you'll wake someone up if you're sitting next to him and having a conversation while he's trying to sleep. This assumes that your normal Listen modifier is +0.
The DC to overhear someone who is walking around slowly, trying to be quiet, but who isn't trained to be stealthy and isn't wearing armor, is about 10. If he's walking back and forth next to you while you're trying to sleep, there's roughly a 5% chance per round that he'll wake you. That chance falls to zero if he's at least ten feet away.
We'll say that shouting is somewhere in the neighborhood of DC -15, so it's virtually impossible to sleep through a sentry's alarm cries unless you've got an incredibly poor Wisdom score, almost unplayably bad, or unless you're drunk or drugged.
As an extension to the above comment, the sound of battle is about a Listen DC -10. That means the DC to be awakened by fighting, if the sentry somehow fails to give an alarm in time, is roughly 0. I don't think anyone in this party actually has a Listen mod that would fail that check.
If there's a shift where someone will need to be on firewatch alone, it might as well be Armund. He, at least, has Sally to be a second set of ears and eyes.
Armund isn't particular about where he and Sally will bed down. Near enough to the fire for comfort is fine.
I'm all for blindly trusting a near stranger we just met who roams the moors without friends or companions other than a wolf. There's no risk he'll just kill us all, loot the bodies, and return to his solitary ways and just claim to be the 'sole survivor' if anyone asks.
Kisasi definitely thought something was up when that dude told us he LIVED out here with all these monsters running around. But sticking his neck out in a crazy fight against unnatural horrors is kind of a lot to go through just for the chance to slit our throats when we all fall asleep. Whether he's in it for the money or that's just how he gets his rocks off, there's gotta be an easier way.
It's been a rough couple of days for me, so forgive me if I'm not as active as I should be. I don't remember, do elves only need 4hrs of sleep in this version? If so, that opens up Kaarys for more hours of watch time.
Elves don't sleep, but they spend 4 hours in a trance. Arcane spellcasters still have to be at rest for 8 hours for spell preparation purposes, though.
I'm inclined to the position that being in a trance is like being asleep, in terms of conferring helplessness, conferring penalties to Listen checks, being difficult to do when you're physically uncomfortable because you're wearing bulky armor, etc.
But even a spellcaster can be awake for four of the eight hours of 'rest' as long as they don't take any standard actions. So they can 'watch' while chilling.
Elves would make the best Netflix bingers.
Armund's not going to slit anyone's throat while they sleep.
Sally, though... Man, watch out for that crazy bitch! I once saw her beat a giant to death with a sack full of nickles, just because she didn't like the way he said the word "costume."
I'm sure that if Kaarys wants to spend extra time on watch, nobody will complain about having a buddy to help out.
Alrighty, here's my best stab at a guess as to how you guys might have bedded down. The spots I picked were selected because they let you take shelter next to the walls, and because they make for an illuminated approach to the party on the sides that aren't covered by walls, while leaving the party itself outside of the light cast by your fire.
So, short of flying, tunneling, turning invisible or coming in over the top of the wall, it's very difficult to get at the party's members without being seen. Coming over the wall is probably the easiest approach out of that list, but that's not to say it would be easy.
Since I know that Swarbrick is going to climb a tree when he's on duty, I figured I'd mark the tree I considered most appropriate for that with an orange X. Sentry positioning for shifts where there are a couple of people on duty is a more complicated affair if you want to find the optimum solution, because it's pretty challenging to set up an arrangement that allows for both sides of the wall to be monitored. There's only one configuration that allows a full view of both sides of the ruined building without also putting your sentries out of visual contact with each other.
Black 1 - Armund
Blue 1 - Sally
Black 2 - Leland
Blue 2 - Raksha
Grey 2 - Horace the Mule
Black 3 - Kaarys
Grey 3 - Serry
Black 4 - Kisasi
Grey 4 - Kisasi's Horse
Black 5 - Henrik
Black 6 - Vanderstrike
Black 7 - Swarbrick
Grey 7 - Swarbrick's Horse
Let's have a Listen check and a Spot check from each party member, please. If you plan for your character to climb a tree or wall when he's on duty, please go ahead and roll three Climb checks, as well.
I vaguely remember something about us setting an order of watch already, putting Kaarys in the middle hours. If that's accurate, he'll also do 2hrs before and 2hrs after his watch, giving some overlap.
Watch 1 - Henrik and Kisasi
Watch 2 - Armund
Watch 3 - Kaarys
Watch 4 - Swarbrick
Watch 5 - Vandersrike and Leland
Each watch is two hours.
Swarbrick has a rope, so he's either going to use the rope to drop the DC to 5 or he'll ask that having the rope to loop around his target branch gives a "right tool for the right job" bonus of +2 to climb the tree using the help of the rope and take a 10. If none of these work for you, I'll use the rolls below.
Rolls (for some reason they didn't show up).
If you wake up to find Henrik standing over you breathing heavily, rest easy - that's how a sentry is supposed to act.
But how do we know the GM knows which one is which if we don't say? HUH?
If each watch is 2hrs, could Kaarys then double with both Armund and Swar and still get his needed trance time?
I dunno if rolls are needed for Sally or not, so I included them.
Might as well get those from @Dafyd, too.
@Cronono, how about you?
Sorry for delay.
Spot, listen for Raksha.
Okay, decision time for DDMW. If Henrik thinks it's an animal out there, or an owlbear, or something else that's not particularly intelligent, he probably ought to just raise the alarm. But if it's an intelligent foe, then it's possible that he might want to try to make out like he didn't hear anything while he tries to come up with something clever to do.
If he's giving the alarm, then I think I'll need DDMW to roll me an initiative check, and then all of the other players to do likewise. If he's going to spin this out a little, let's have a Bluff check.
My plan was to move against the wall. Bluff.
That's a -2, for a toast of 2. If possible, Henrik would like to move 20 feet due east, assuming he doesn't see something that makes him wet himself in terror.
Do we have any casters in our party? Is there anyone that I think would be negatively impacted by waking up other than the natural grumpiness of having a good nights sleep disturbed?
I think they would pretty much all be negatively impacted by being eaten by a grue.
There are no arcane spellcasters in the party. You have a couple of divine spellcasters other than Henrik, but they don't suffer any penalties from being woken up.
However, divine spellcasters cannot regain spell slots that they've expended in the last 8 hours. They pray/meditate for spells at a set time each day, though. If you pray for spells at sunset, then you're not going to regain slots that you expended during a combat encounter directly after lunch that same day--you have to wait until the NEXT sunset.
On the bright side, sunset preparation means that if you are ambushed in the night or need to do some fighting in the early to mid morning, you'll be set to replenish those spells before bedtime.
If you prep spells in the morning as a divine caster, then a night fight is disruptive because you're likely to hit your 8-hour limit, depriving you of those slots until your next prayer period.
I THINK everyone in this party does morning prep.
Arcane spellcasters are subject to the same 8-hour limit in addition to needing a full 8-hour rest in every 24 hours. Wizards are a special case; unlike other spellcasters, they can replenish expended spell slots so long as they are rested. So if a wizard goes to bed with a full spell complement, rests four hours, is awakened and has to fight (expending only a single spell slot), and then sleeps for an additional five hours, he wakes up rested, can prepare spells normally except for the expended slot, and then three hours later he can stop for some proportionately smaller period of time (minimum 15 minutes) and prepare a new spell in that slot.
Bards and sorcerers regain spells when they ready their spells after awakening from rest.
Even with these limitations, arcane spellcasters as a group are more flexible in the sense that if they expect to be operating during the night, they can rest during the day and then be fresh to prepare spells. Divine casters don't have this flexibility, but they're not required to get rest.
Henrik considers whether it is worthwhile to wake everyone up for what is likely no more than a sniffling badger or inquisitive skunk. It wouldn't be right to interrupt their sleep without good cause. On the other hand, if he died in silence, that would probably end badly for everyone else, too. Deciding that nobody could be too mad if he was too cautious he screams out, "Alarm!"
Dice Gods, don't fail me now!
Holy lack of sleep, Batman.
Might as well get an initiative check from Henrik for this, DDMW. Everyone else, too.
Init for Leland, Raksha.