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Design: Rick Swan Editing: Elizabeth Danforth Black and White Art: Terry Dykstra Color Art: Julie ... - page 153 / 157





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often, the chapel is isolated from the main forgathering site, erected in a nearby woodland or other quiet location.

The communal campfire, typically constructed in a central location, serves as the focal point of the forgathering. The campfire burns all night and day, continually tended and fed deadfall logs. At any hour, rangers can be found crowding around the camp fire, roasting meat and exchanging stories.

As forgatherings are primarily intended as social events, rarely are there fixed agendas or schedules. Activities tend to develop spontaneously, continue as long as the rangers show an interest, and end when the participants have had enough. Following are a few of the activities and events most likely to occur:

. Trading goes on virtually non-stop at most forgatherings, ranging from private transactions between individuals to dozens of rangers peddling their wares in what amounts to an open air market. Merchandise includes both the common (rope, saddles, boots) and the unusual (chainlink leashes, camouflage paint, homemade wine). Weapons and maps are especially in demand, particularly bows and quarterstaves with hand-carved designs, and maps of exotic territories that detail the newest trails. Rangers pay for their purchases in fur, food, and trinkets as well as gold pieces.

Magical items are occasionally available, but many rangers are more inclined to loan them to needy comrades rather than sell them outright. Rangers who borrow magical items are expected to return them at the next forgathering. Being men and women of integrity, the borrowers rarely fail to honor their agreements.

Information flows freely at forgatherings, and most rangers are eager to learn about the trials and tribulations their comrades have experienced in the previous year. They hear of marriages, births, and deaths, as well as followers acquired and abandoned. They learn which expeditions resulted in new discoveries and which ended in disaster. Rumors abound of lost civilizations, hidden treasures, and gruesome monsters. An attentive ranger may hear about employment opportunities or new hunting grounds. If he's lucky, an unattached ranger may make contact with a potential mate.

The typical forgathering attracts rangers with a wide range of skills. Often, they're willing to give instruction to novices for a small fee or as a gesture of friendship. If he locates a willing teacher, a ranger may be able to pick up hunting or tracking tips, acquire cooking secrets from a master chef, or learn how to construct emergency shelters from an elder woodsman. (The optional training rules in Chapter 8 of the

can be used to allow rangers to acquire new skills as a result of their forgathering experiences.)

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