Tuesday, December 4, 2012

For the want of a 10 foot pole

Back around the time that WotC announced that development had started on 5e (D&D Next) I read a message board post by someone complaining about how stupid the 10 foot pole was and how he wanted nothing to do with a game resembling the older editions of D&D. He went on to complain that he didn't want to waste time exploring and just wanted to get on with the game.

This of course got me thinking about how easy their DM must make things for the group. Do they search for traps? Is the loot all in bearer bonds to make sure they don't have anything heavy or bulky to transport? Their DM must not make them figure out how to get all the loot out of the dungeon.

If that is their preferred play style fine, however it did give me pause to imagine them trying desperately to remove a dragon's hoard without hirelings and the tools to do the job. Imagine if this was how you had to haul out large sacks of treasure.

Not only would you have to leave a bunch of your equipment behind, but a bunch of treasure as well. Your movement would be hindered and if you came under attack you would likely have to drop your loot and beat feet since you might have left your armor and weapons back in the vault.

Humans figured out millenia ago that there was a better way to haul things and still keep your weapons on hand . . . the ten foot pole. It makes the task of moving heavy or bulky objects quite a bit easier, and easier to put down in an emergency.

Here we have a couple of hunters with their catch posing for a picture. That pole may not be ten feet long, but it isn't much off the measure. Think how much freer these guys would be to defend themselves if they'd thought to hire a couple of pack bearers as well.

This is such a basic thing that there are even toys/miniatures for the concept of the ten foot pole for hauling stuff.

Just like hunters with a deer carcass strung to a long pole rested on the shoulders of two men, so too can bags of loot be tied to the ten foot pole and rested on the shoulders of hirelings.

So before your party sets out on an adventure, don't forget to take a ten foot pole or two. They're not just for trap detection, they're an investment!


StevenWarble said...

In all my years of playing D&D, I have never used a 10 foot pole to carry things...

But I will take a little bit of umbrage at your opening paragraphs.

Deny though you do, it seems clear that you consider one style of play (old style, exploring every square for traps and counting encumbrance) superior to other styles.

Which is fine by me. Just be honest about it.

OSRbaron said...

". . . and deny it I shall, sir! Harrumph!" he exclaimed, smartly wedging his gold rimmed monacle betwixt eyebrow and bridge of nose.

While I have a preference for the older style, it is definitely not the be all and end all.

I have played many styles and enjoyed them in their moments, including the fight after fight, no counting encumbrance method.

In this post I was lookng to have a touch of absurd fun and chose the lead in style of grumpy grognardism with a wrap up at the end like a used camel salesman.

Ten Foot Pole, don't leave the Inn without it!

Bighara said...

Fashioning a travois with 10' poles (purchased or cut from a stand of trees) to drag things (or people) with is a time-honored tradition in our group.

In an early draft of Skull Mountain, there was actually a followup adventure about getting to a subterranean dwarf hold in order to make a deal, trading the hoard for portable gems.