Zenopus Archives’posts on Adventurers’ Packs (), as well as a number of the miscellaneous items (like soap) in 3.x, got me thinking and reminded me of one of the near universal tropes of fantasy: Heroes never poop.
Though they may wade through pits of offal and feces of the abominations of the deep, these hardy warriors plunge the depths for days, even weeks, camping, eating, sleeping and living in the darkened halls they delve without ever having to worry about finding a safe alcove for taking a #2.
All of this is, of course, handwaved. Poop is not a particularly heroic subject, thus those involving themselves in the imaginings of heroic pursuits typically do not wish to concern themselves with so unheroic a subject. Maybe it is assumed that heroes DO do their business, but simply ‘off screen’. But when you’re in a dungeons where you are going to be exploring for multiple days without seeing sunlight, it becomes a real survival issue. Real dungeon divers would need to find safe places to do their doo.
Many animals (and monsters) may hunt and track by smell, and finding heroic droppings may indicate that new prey may be about. These creatures are probably pretty aware of their own ecosystems, and hero poo would most assuredly set things off in their animal brains to let them know that all was not usual in their habitat. Wandering monster might flock to the “safe” places where the party stops to do their business; dogs like cat poop, maybe maybe dungeon monsters like hero poop?
So, how does this tie into the Zenopus Archives post? Well, in being prepared for adventuring outside of city. The idea of the Adventurer Pack is to quickstart a character’s non-equipment item inventory in the name of general preparedness. Whether you’re in the wilderness or in a dungeon, there are a few things that you might want to bring. Something to wipe with, is going to be a definite must; while leaves work, they’re not necessarily the best for comfort and hygine. And you’re probably not going to find a lot in a dungeon, unless you don’t plan on bringing those fancy tapestries back for a measly 50 gp. But let me tell you, you’re not going to be at the top of your game against that ogre if you’re suffering from swamp-ass or mud-butt. Out in the wilderness? You’ll need a latrine shovel to bury your business. Otherwise, who knows what’s going to be tracking you. Or maybe you just don’t want to smell what the Dwarf had for lunch when the wind changes direction. Always be prepared!
At some point, I might do a follow up about latrines and how fighting men in the middle ages dealt with using the bathroom before going into battle (just how DID medieval knights cope with swamp-ass?!), but it may be awhile. I don’t want to suddenly become known as the “poop” blog. Nor am I someone who ACTUALLY thinks that there needs to be a mechanic for poop. Sorry, FATAL dude.