If you want to survive a monster attack, you need the right tools. A monster hunter’s kit likely includes a bit of everything, so we’ll forego the monster-specific stuff. Suffice it to say that salt (zombies), wooden stakes (vampires), silver stakes (werewolves), holy water (demons), and anything else that will take out the monster de jour. We’ll also leave out firearms with the assumption that sufficiently motivated characters know how to get those.
The survival kit sets the standard for emergency situations – and as most horror situations involve emergencies, these can be literal lifesavers. They are usually stored on board planes and lifeboats. Comprehensive kits contain equipment for shelter (blankets, tent, sleeping bags) and warmth (matches or ferrocerium rod). First aid includes everything from rubbing alcohol to pain killers, bandages to latex gloves. Food and water is a must, usually in the form of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) or energy bars. There’s also communication – flashlights and flares are important, but so are mirrors and walkie talkies. These kits can handle six people for seven days.
Vehicle kits are more accessible. These kits contain all the gear you might need for a camping trip: actual food, cooking and medical supplies, and heavy duty tools like saws, axes, and fire extinguishers. Few vehicles contain these kits unless the owner is a survivalist, camper, emergency professional, or fights monsters on a regular basis. Game masters can assume the kit can handle four adults for 72 hours.
Not everyone has access to vehicle or survival kits; cruel game masters destroy them before things go down the crapper. That’s why enterprising players have their characters pack Bug Out Bags (BOBs) on hand. BOBs are stored in backpacks with the express purpose of providing supplies until help arrives. The challenge with BOBs is that they can only carry as much as will fit in the backpack. This is usually enough to feed and clean two adults for 72 hours.
Finally, there are personal survival kits. At just the size of an Altoids tin, these kits have the bare essentials – but are still a step up over having nothing. In addition to the aforementioned means of starting a fire, the kit includes fishing line and hook, water purification tablets, and perhaps some very basic food staples (tea bags or candy). Flashlights and knives round out the kit. This kit is enough for one adult for a day – stretching the resources will depend on the owner’s survival skills.
A large part of horror is being thrust into the unexpected. In modern campaigns, civilians lack most of the necessary skills to get by, which is why emergency situations are so stressful. Assuming player characters are a step up your average Joe or Jane, being ready for anything is part of the job.
Your Turn: Do your players assume they have survival kits on hand or do they list one in their inventory?
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