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How to Make 5e Dungeons and Dragons More Deadly

No, this is a characters, but remember it’s not! The players were trying to kill it’s the characters that we’re trying to kill. You know: okay, okay, yeah, yeah, yeah, right right, no, I’m with you, okay um, but we are still on for the purge, though later right, yeah yeah.

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Let’s get fatalistic with it death making making that D & D more deadly, and what does it mean for didi to be deadly lethal deadly? It’s sort of this word that often gets thrown around in terms of combat and a sort of type of game or certain type of jamming style, but the Dungeon Master’s guide, sort of defines a deadly encounter or deadly combat as being one which could be lethal, potentially Resulting in the deaths of one or more characters, there is a risk of defeat and the players will have to use.

You know good tactics and quick thinking in order to overcome the challenges. Now, personally to me that just sounds like I what I want all of my combats to be at least when I’m a player, because otherwise like what’s the point playing it out. If it’s yeah, there’s not a risk of defeat or something like that. Yes, kind of narrate it then right yeah, I mean you keep that in the RP. You know if it’s just one guy that really can’t party right right.

He could like take a swing at one person, but a lot of this is system dependent right. So we’re talking about Deenie fifth edition. In that case it’s a common thing that you see sometimes where people are saying like. I can’t challenge my party with the baseline monsters or or I have to do something to up my game, to to offer the players a fight that tests their abilities and challenges their their play.

Styles and I think for me it’s it’s often a question that I see Dungeon Master’s, ask and not a lot of players right like it’s one of the things to think about. I mean yes, players would like a challenge, but I don’t know I’ve if I’ve heard a lot of players calling for you know it to be more deadly. I know those people that love playing there go yeah. You know survival mode on hard, but that’s that’s one thing, but D & D is is a whole other.

What do you think the ratio is of like actual DMS versus actual players that want this? Well, I mean obviously there there are players out there who want a challenging and difficult fight. You know fights that require them to think and to to not just go on autopilot or spam, their biggest spell and you’ve, but not read up and try it again. Rest up and try it again: they want to have to consider the situation a lot of times.

Deadly is synonymous with tactical and complex yeah. There are players out there who want a more deadly fight or more challenging fight in their fifth edition games. But in terms of just sort of the people who are asked, it’s usually a dungeon master asking because they feel like it’s not challenging enough or it’s not deadly enough. I bring it up it’s only because it’s like this is one of those areas where you might just like.

Ask your players, hey. How do you guys feel about the fights and combats like? Did you think it was challenging? Did you not? You know that was a hard encounter by the rules of the game. Do you think it was hard? You can get a feel for what your players think versus what you think. It’s very often like as a dungeon master, you sit here. It’s like all. Your pieces die correctly, you’re constantly losing you’re constantly getting your ass kicked.

Your monsters are all over. You know a giant graveyard of of lost potential if things go right, excuse the thinking, sometimes where you might think. Like. Oh man, like cuz, I mean you have this happen to you all the time, all the time it happens to me. It’s happened to me and not just in fifth edition’. It’s happened to me in ultra lethal games like say, Warhammer yeah, where I’ll look at say. The number of enemies that were killed, like you, guys chewed through eight beast men.

I really need to make my fights harder. Moving my perspective from just behind the virtual screen and looking like oh wait: everybody’s characters are below half wounds, to bring it back to fifth edition’. It might be one where actually wow the the players escaped that no one dropped to zero. No one was hurt. You know it was a breeze, all of my enemies are toast and the comment only lasted like maybe four rounds, but if I look at their character sheets that tells a very different story: they’ve used their all their resources.

They’ve you know spell slots have been expended. Hit points have been lost, you know, potions were used. If you talk to them, they might say like no man, I’m stressed like that, was we barely got out of it if you’re thinking about, if you saw the title of article you’re, just like web DM and you’re like yeah, well I’ll, make my fights and combats In fifth edition more lethal, like I would start with having a talk with the players first, because this articles really for people who are newish to the game newish to homebrewing and modifying it, and also have players who have, even though they might be new they’re savvy Enough about the rules and learning them that you might find the base monsters are just not cutting it yeah, and the truth of the matter is, is that the monsters that came out in the same monster manual are not as robust as those that Sun came out.

In photos or Morden Condit’s same with fourth edition and it probably prior editions of D & D as well. Well I mean it is the evolution of things. Is it not? Okay, so our DMS have had talks with their players. Yes, they want to make it more deadly. Let’s go through some some different options on how that can be made possible yeah, so there’s options in the Dungeon Master’s guide to start with. These are in Chapter nine start around page 266.

They begin with healing variants. The first one would be healers kit dependency, and this is basically you know whenever you’re the character, stop for a rest, short or long. It’s been hit dice. This requires a healers kit to be used as a as a sort of an in-game justification for the spending of the hit time. Once you start tying character, abilities to equipment, you’ve now opened the door for there to be situations where they don’t have a healer’s kit or it’s been soiled and ruined.

And it’s not, you know not use or burned up, because the person who had it failed their save for a fireball. Their equipment got singed, so it makes the possibility of of getting to and get their hip points back. Excuse me, it makes the possibility of getting their hip points back up for grabs same with a lot of these, so we’re looking at slow natural healing. This would be no hip points gained on a long rest automatically that you have to use hit dice to get the hip points back.

The gritty realism rest variant. I see this one used a lot and we recommended it, for you know, emphasizing the difficulty of travel and that’s an eight-hour short rest and a week long long, rest, all of those things they they slow down. The game right, like the pacing of your game, will change if you use well all three of them, but certainly any one of them yeah and a lot of the ridicule going towards the cleric is going to evaporate before the dawn jury.

Yeah. You know when, when it comes down to like having the one person in the party who actually has a healing kit you’re, like keeping them stocked on healing, kits yeah and keeping them alive like you’re, going to start thinking about your tactics differently, you’re not going to Have those those renegades running off the Leroy Jenkins is of the world. Let’s face it, there’s so many things sure right yeah, but for the most everyone else, I think that it would lead to a more a more tactically sound game for your players, because it might cause them to think more yeah.

And if you have players who say rush into combat sand and you’re worried that you know, they’ve expressed an interest in in a more challenging fight. But you haven’t seen them display any of the quick thinking and tactics that you think might be necessary to overcome the challenges. Then you know letting them know like hey, hey guys, this thing’s going to be a little different than say the last game we play or, however, you implement the changes, you’re going to need this to heal and it’s going to take longer to heal.

So you might want to think about things more. You might want to consider your approach to things more so that you don’t like drop to zero and need to be like full healed back up. You approach things slower and maybe you don’t lose as many hit points you don’t have to use as many spells, and you can substitute tactical thinking and sort of approaching things, and it was a mindset of problem-solving instead of just like battering ram and our spell thoughts And character abilities will see us through the day yeah I kind of kind of snap out of that article game mentality of like.

Oh, these abilities will come back as soon as they read. You know, yeah. The respawn is like no, no, no you’re going to have to take it. Slow, you’re, going to take it slow and so in the pace of your campaign will slow down. If you’re using say gritty, realism, rest variant – and you know they’re not just like ret short resting for eight hours and then not doing anything after that, they press on where they still adventure and that these long rests happen.

Sort of in between you know, forays to the dungeon or something like that: it’ll slow down the pace of your game right, there’s no more time for downtime activities when they’re in that week-long rest period. Of course, you can still like do some things during a long rest, you don’t have to be sleeping. You can be reading talking. You know, socializing yeah. You can even get in a little bit of fisticuffs as long as it’s not too much of it or too exciting.

You know yeah. It would result in a different game, a game in which they have a lot of free time, and so you might find that’s an advantageous thing or that they have no idea what to do with all this time on their hands. Those are all in the healing and rest variants. There’s two in the comment section and that’s sort of injuries, which is on page 272, and this is a rule. That’s like all right any time you take a crypt any time you drop to zero or or fail death saves by five or more you’re going to roll on this table and there’s going to be a lingering injury.

That’s there you might lose an eye, it might be a hand. This would be one of those actually where I would, the dungeon master and player to sort of like work through it. D & D doesn’t really have a hit point or sorry hit location system. Does it hit point system, and so a lot of combat is just arbitrary in descriptive. You hit them here. You add them there and if you’re now, attaching penalties to certain locations where you’ve been hit, you might want just a simple.

You know hit location where it’s like take a d12 and divide it between head body, arms, legs, torso. You know that kind of thing: yeah head shoulders knees and toes yeah yeah, you know do something like that, so that it feels less arbitrary because it would suck to like be a. I don’t know someone that needs both their limbs. Someone who uses say a great weapon and have one of their limbs. You know disabled for a while when it, you know at the whim of the dungeon master role on the hit location, yeah yeah, yeah yeah, I’m going to have to reinvent the monkey grip feet.

Wield in that right will then that lot that great sword like guts right exactly what I needed yeah like some damage, would be the other one right like well, but yeah like talking about entries. That’s one thing that I love about. Warhammer, oh yeah, like the possibility that you might you could because I’m sorry, if you want this to be realistic, which is kind of what we’re talking about you know there could be a possibility, like oh ya, know, there’s a reason why you’re like seven fingers, Larry Yeah, I’m sure you know beyond just even like sort of realism in it.

I think there’s some low powered D & D that that works really well, when you use sort of like real world assumptions and realism is sort of the goal for it. But as you get up in levels of D & D, that becomes harder and harder maintain yeah, but you still want. Like a you know, you still want a dragon to be terrifying. There is a point at which a DC character can look at some very powerful and terrifying monsters and just go.

Who cares it’s going to take less than a minute to deal with this, and these options that are create a more lethal game will tap that down. A bit, and even as you get higher levels, it’s like oh well, yeah. These are. These are still scary right. It’s not going to take us a long time to recover from this at least yeah. It will give us pause and let us think about how we approach things. That’s for injuries.

Massive death is another one where it’s like. If you, if you take more than half your hit points from a single source of damage, you make a con, save and then another a separate table that has a lot of similar effects to it. But they see more like temporary, like you’re, momentarily dazed or or even worse, right, like there’s some pretty nasty effects on that team. Oh, you can get drop to zero right and you’re all the sudden again, death safe right and, if you’re, using both of the injuries in massive damaging conjunction, then that chances are that that losing more than half your hit points in a single attack, possibly a crit And you might have an injury from hattie than an injury from dropping to zero.

You see how it turns the game that the base D & D game and finishin from like oh yeah, every time I sleep, I get everything back every time I fight. I run the risk of there being permanent injuries. You know that I have to deal with. Obviously, life cleric would be a huge asset, a game like that right, most definitely and and but if you want to make that dragon seem terrifying, one crit from a dragon.

Slash or a winged Buffett and all of a sudden, your fighter got knocked across the room as it’s currently unconscious right, especially if you’re, using these in conjunction with low-level D & D yeah, because, let’s be honest, like first through third level, is plenty lethal for most Groups in fifth edition I find it perfectly lethal and have accidentally killed characters at those levels, even as I’m like trying to teach them a new game and, like you know, hey new player.

This is your second time playing we’re going to have a sample combat oops. This is Barnes dead right, you know, or at least they drop to zero. Now we had to see what the death rules or the death saving throws are like low-level D & D in conjunction with injuries and massive damage would probably be a very different game. Maybe it’s the game for you and you try it out, but those are the options that are in the Dungeon Master’s guide that are ready-made to sort of drop in your game.

Thinking through the the impact that they’ll have is one thing, but you have more tools in your DM toolbox to make the game leave for you. Oh almost definitely so yeah, let’s, let’s go through some some different ways that a Dean could think about altering their their game or the monsters yeah. So there’s some player facing things that a dungeon master can do. They could cap level right. They could just say: hey guys.

Our campaign is not going to get beyond X level. For those of you familiar with the epic six variant of third editions, it says that six level is perfect. Your characters are more than capable of portraying themselves as powerful individuals within their world clerics can heal diseases and cure the masses. Wizards. Can you know level an entire village fighters are more than a match for any average soldier or group of average soldiers at six level.

From there you still gain XP, but you don’t get any levels or benefits. The XP is used to buy feats and other things, and you can use something like that for for fifth edition that. I think the fact that fifth edition has a less unified progression to the classes and the way it’s sort of third edition was like yeah. Everybody at a certain level gets a beat and gets a thing, and even though there were dead levels and like it six level work for that fifth level, you might go from anywhere from 7th to 9th level or lower.

It really depends on your group right. Then you would cap a little another way to do. It is to cap HP. That’s the way that older editions of dungeons dungeons of dragons did it, and it was you know, after usually somewhere between 8th to 10th level. You stopped rolling for hit points and got a fixed number every level, and if you were a warrior or a fighter, you also got to add your Constitution to that, but for most classes, they’re only getting one or two hit points per level after a certain level And it really did a lot to deflate those hit point numbers which meant that the game was still deadly yeah and so your skits still do more sure.

Yeah, don’t fling an epic magic right. Your wizard still sitting over there with like 30, hit points, yo yeah right. If that, if you’re lucky, my my original DD wizard, I think at 8th level was 30-some 3233 hit points, and I was that’s a lot yeah, that’s a lot, given that I spent more than 4 levels with single digits for a while. I got some boosts and it was good, so those are two things that a dungeon master can do sort of like for the players they can also mess with death saves riot.

The common, when I see is to say all right did you drop to 0? Then you you, when you get back up, you still have that one fail that you got when you were dropped, or it might even I’ve seen some people even say like alright, you dropped once and then you were brought back, but now you drop a second time. Well, because it’s the second time you automatically start with one of those failed you’ve already been at death’s or once within the last 30 seconds right yeah, I like maybe doing it where the deaths is only refresh on a short rest or maybe a long long rest.

I, like the long rest refresh or maybe something like you know they refresh on a lesser restoration or oh yeah. What’s the restoration it should be able to because something like that because still you’re draining the resource yeah, I mean that’s the that’s sort of how you think about it and when you for sort of an aside, if you kind of shift your thinking away from only Looking at their hip points as a gauge for how difficult or challenging a fight was, and instead, like we mentioned earlier, look at their entire character, shave and see which spells were used which abilities were used.

You know of very often the reason why it looks from a diems perspective like it wasn’t, that challenging is because the players you know are still standing at the end, but from their perspective and looking at their character sheet, it’s a very different story. So I think that the death saves and capping HP and capping level first of they’re, all conversations to have with the group, but the dungeon master can do things on their side of the screen that that don’t really they don’t need that the players permission to do.

Oh helmet right and those are things like adjusting the monster stats everything’s up for grabs here, the the numbers that are in the Monster Manual usually represent the average, so it’s average hip points average damage that kind of thing. That means that you can adjust. All of that, particularly for hit points you can like double them use max to make it stand out now. Sometimes I can result in a slog.

You know having a monster with a bucket of hit points, but not much else can result in very boring combats. So you want to be careful with this adjustment. A lot of teams do this on the fly right like in the middle of combat, and they will adjust the stats of the monster because they’re like oh man, this is taking too long and we’re running out of time. You know, like heaven forbid, that the real world intrude upon the game for a second, you have to make adjustments for it or maybe you’re you’re, simply like man.

This thing is about to go down and like this creatures about to, I didn’t, expect it to die within around half, and I would like to do more. You know I wore them when I write you know, you know everyone would be disappointed if, if it ended now we’re having a lot of fun, this is a good moment for the game. If we win a couple more rounds – and maybe you describe it differently to maybe you know, you know he gets a second wind or something or an unseen Ally bolsters it or you know some.

You can smooth over a lot of these things with how you present them in the in the campaign. A monster with maximum hit points is a legendary creature, surely giant among its own kind, fearsome dragons things like that. You can look to the D & D adventures as well for a lot of these things because say, and storm Kings Thunder the adjustments that they make to the dragons for the in Liffe and Klaus.

I think those are the two names for the dragons they’re they’re. Very different monsters they take the base one and they modify them same with the Giants that are there and a lot of other ones. Almost every one of them has done that yeah be a good gauge, though that’s just hit points you can do the same with damage. If you use fixed to damage, then try rolling, random and see if that doesn’t make for a more lethal fight, we’re doing a mix like I use the fixed number +1 dice of the damage to give it a bit of a variability.

You can do a lot of things you can just basically say like yeah. Every the first attack this monster makes is always a crit like they just that’s just their big opening shot adjusting the armor class, whether by changing the equipment that the monster has or just changing the armor class. I’d be careful there just because of the way the math of fifth edition works, but an adjustment of one to two isn’t going to hurt anything that much and it might make for a more challenging encounter.

Other than that, you can add legendary actions, legendary resistance, special abilities, there’s a lot that you could add to a monster to modify it mostly we’re here to tell you that you should be doing that and it’s a fun exercise and you can turn those unique monsters Into something special of your campaign world and attach a legend to them, which is, it was always fun. Well, you can mix both parts of what’s fun about teaming the mechanical science or the narrative sciences.

Oh yeah, you got to give them some kind of signature attack. If you’re, you know certain dragon that does this one thing right right, right or say so I did this with Medusa and land between two rivers and I sort of the Medusa has a layer, that’s near a No to the elemental, plaintiff elemental earth, and so the Medusa has mastered just petrification magic period, earth magic period and they’re more like an earthbender from say avatar than they are just like.

You know the the snake-haired Gorgon petrifies people with a glance, and so you know this particular Medusa has full mastery over the petrification. Can animate the statues that she petrifies a complete command of the earth and it’s just a it’s just a Medusa with some things change some special abilities added, some spell like abilities thrown in presented she’s, a sort of majestic terrifying sort of figure of the wasteland who’s.

You know a powerful force to be reckoned with yeah now. I think one of the things about this is by tying these modifications that you make to the story of your game or whatever is going on in it. Players have a chance to disrupt it and maybe weaken the monster right. Oh yeah. Definitely I look forward to my players in Starbound, interacting with the overseer again that was a monster I wanted, but a little bit extra needs a body modification guys so he’s the overseer and give himself some beholder eyes at the end of his tentacles, oh yeah.

So you know it was fun, fun, probably more finger the Barbarian, it’s fun, one of my best being able to land a polymorph on barbarians free. Well, I was, I was really random, like I was rolling randomly for what bean would go off? Oh yeah, I wanted, you know there were forward, it was like disintegrate, polymorph and almost charm and telekinesis yeah. So it was like two of them are pretty bad: either you take them out of the fight or you you could kill them for rent.

You know some. Some red shirts got red shirted. That’s right well, but that’s a good point right, because if you are in that, if you’re in this transitionary phase, where you’re, where you go from playing like the base game, no modifications we’re all learning this to a game where we’re making it our own and part Of that is making it more challenging, then maybe you do have some red shirt NPCs who take the brunt of some of the attacks and and that’s you for a while right, like not always, but they are there to sort of show.

The party like this is what’s in store for you, here’s what we’ve chosen this guy got his arm ripped off. You know this. She got disintegrate. This guy just got to see it. That’s sort of one way of approaching it in terms of like modifying your monsters or things you can do right last little bit is just think about the action economy. One way of making things more lethal is to have your monster, have more actions or to have more of them there.

So you might even you don’t even need to modify a monster if it has a lot of minions and things like that. So considering the action kana me, I think for me: that’s literally counting up the actions on each side and looking and seeing is one of them like way out of balance, then they’re probably going to win and that’s sort of my gauge for the difficulty of a Fight one times: oh, oh definitely yeah you got it.

You got a you got ta at least get close to what they can do. Right yeah I mean, if you really want a challenge. Yeah, if you, if you have a lot more actions than they do, but if you have those actions, how does a DM user is that said, another way to think about this, oh yeah, there are things that you can do that require no changes to the game. At all, and it’s entirely about your approach to playing the monsters and and your approach to how you present combats and everything so to me, the big one here, the one that I really try to get into is playing my monster as a piece in the game.

Yeah and so like what would my monster do? How would they approach this situation? Are they just like a brutish beasts that charges headlong and attacks whatever threat, it seems the most obvious, or are they cunning and manipulative? Are they disciplined and orderly, like all of that, is going to color how I approach the game because to me role playing the monster role playing the NPC and how they would approach a combat is a big part of the challenge of it.

A lot of the monsters that that are in the Dungeon Master’s guide, if you sort of like think for a minute of you know, how would this creature exists in the world? How would it approach things? What does it know about its own abilities? Yeah? Then it you might turn some creatures that go from say. Like you know, it looks like they’re brutish. Give me an example like an ogre. Mage yeah seems like they’re, big brutish type creature.

They’ve got a big area of effect attack. They can sneak around but they’re an ogre, essentially right and you might want to think of them as like. This magical battering ram of sorts. But if you instead at the fact that there they can always be invisible and they have a host of other smell like abilities there. If you use them in a role of like a harasser of someone that that can come and go as they please in say.

A dungeon or a wilderness environment where they might find them, then that’s a different sort of encounter yeah and looking at the spell like abilities of everything. This is one of the reasons why I recommend rolling your random encounters ahead of time and even though you’re rolling them randomly – and you know using your tables or whatever you’re like I throw out that results, I don’t like it.

Whatever method you use getting a chance to read, what’s going on with the monster first before you sit down with the fight as opposed to oh, I rolled this encounter in the middle of the fight all right, let me look up the stats. What can it do? Whatever you know, if you’re using like simple monsters – maybe that’s okay, but if you’re using more complex monsters, you deserve a chance to sit down and think about how you’re going to approach things.

Well, I mean you need to know what the monster can do yeah. So you can use them in the best way possible like so if they are a fairly intelligent monster, they’re going to come at a problem like say some murder, hobo adventurers busting up in their dungeon right. I guess what now we got a dispatch, the troops right now we got a dispatch that you troops yeah, so to meet my sort of like top five strategy and tactics strategy, slash tactics because there’s difference obviously, are these right, the first one being know your enemy And that’s an approach to dungeon mastering that that treats the game world as a you know, sort of seriously.

I don’t just know what the players can do, because I’m the Dungeon Master, but my enemies can find that out. Maybe they’re spies Scouts people that are, you know, trying to get the information that they want from the party there’s magic involved. There’s the party’s reputation there’s survivors from their battles, particularly if you know you sort of go with the fact that all the monsters also make death saves and in the middle of a fight, the players rarely take the chance to just like kill a downed opponent.

So if they’ve just loot the corpses and leave, then they probably maybe left some people alive, and maybe that’s how you know their reputation precedes them it. This turn. This can turn into sort of a game which may be what you want, as the party attempts to keep their enemies from learning information about them, while they also are learning information about their enemies. To me, that’s the appeal of this sort of thing.

You can also read our article on combat as war versus combat a sport for us more approaches to this. The second one, when you’re thinking about strategies and tactics for your enemies is reserves and reserves are always useful and they should be kept out of line of sight of the rest of the party, if possible, in the wings in a separate room through a teleportation circle. Just beyond the veil of reality waiting to slip through once the moment is right, like there’s a lot of different ways, but you don’t want your reserves to be say accidentally fireballed, you know, but you do want them in the world somewhere.

You don’t want them like. In a in a fictional non space, like you know the matrix loading room before they come in there in the world somewhere, but they’re hidden. You know this is useful for many reasons: number one, because they’re out of line of sight, if you don’t need them, you can always just say they did something else, or they were too scared or there’s any number of justifications for why they might not come in Ones that fit with the overall tone of the game, you can bring them in as away an extra wave right whenever you need it and if it turns out that after the first round of combat – and you have a crazy alpha strike, because all the players went First, before you had a chance to and they opened up with all their a OE and best attacks, and it might be like oh sand in the reserves now yeah – that’s that’s just what you can do so having something a buffer, not committing all your forces at Once is something that you should probably be doing.

Readying actions would be a third, don’t forget, ready to actions, there’s a lot of conditions which you might want to use them like I’m ready in action to anyone, who’s, attempting to heal, to ranged, attack them or ready. In action to you know trigger a trap that the party might be near or something in the environments same goes for like dodge other sorts of actions, number four would be divide and conquer, and that is, if you can split the party.

The wall spells are great for this, while a force, while a firewall of stone, really wants form a barrier, because the party will brave a wall of fire if they’re, desperate and that’s right or like a pit trap. That brings them down to another level down to another level of shifting door, a sliding door, a spinning room, there’s a lot of like mechanical thing. You do it the dungeon there there you can split their priorities in that you may be part of your force threaten something that they care about and you force them to be like you know, it can’t be in two places at once.

Maybe you split the party you got to take one of the players loved ones right, they’re being held hostage back here. The fighter runs in players will resist splitting the party, but you know, if you can it’s a good way to make the game more lethal and finally, number five is mixed arms? Don’t you having just one monster type that does one thing is it makes for a less dynamic combat, gives you less options, having multiple monsters with multiple different ways to attack.

Obviously, it makes the solo fight the PCs versus one monster, not, as you know, nots frequenting. Your games, but I think you’ll, find if you include lots of different monsters with lots of different attack types that threaten the PCs on a wide range of levels, big bruisers, to engage the melee guys and ranged attackers and spell support and fast strikers. You can come in and all over the the battlefield.

That’s one way that you can challenge the party, because now they’ve got lots of different threats to think about other than that the individual monsters require a you know. Some of them require a lot of thoughts, and we can spend like the next hour talking about this particular tactic. So that’s kind of my top five, though of what I try to keep in mind when I’m running a challenging, combat any closing thoughts here, after after kind of going through this, they got the dmg options.

You know you: can you can mess with the monsters, mechanics you can mess with how they fight. You know any closing thoughts, though part of the reason why you might want a challenging combat or a comment that that is deadlier is that you want to vary the levels of tension in your game. Yeah there’s an idea that that part of the appeal of RPGs is this rise and fall. This build-up and release and that combat is one of the ways in which tint engines are released, but they’re also ways that tensions can be built right, particularly if it’s a tough combat where the outcome is unclear until the very end.

So a mix of these kinds of things is good. A mix of lethality is good old-school RPGs do this through randomness. They they let the dice determine the the variables in the mixing and then they enjoy the spontaneity of it. The fact that it’s different every time yeah, and so, if you’re not doing that right if you’re not using those random variables in the old-school style, then you have to plan out and sort of say like okay.

Well, maybe this one’s not as tough as the last one and you have a couple of like say, hard to medium fights and then you ramp it up with like a quad deadly. You know something like that: oh yeah, but it’s the mix of it it that that’s the appeal for a lot of players, not necessarily the individual level of challenge. But the fact that there are variable levels is: what’s appealing: you got ta find Kano before you can get to Goro.

You know you got a ramp up right when you’re changing things, particularly if you’re making the game more complex, which a lot of these things will do. Then it has the potential to drag things down and if you’re, finding your fights are already running long, but that people aren’t being challenged, then the only advice I have there is perhaps a different game would suit you better, and that fifth edition, just might not be Your game no big deal.

There’s plenty of games out there to try, but if you’re, in a position where you’re like yeah we’re good our pacing and combats good people are on it with with their spells. They know what dice to roll, even if they’re new, they know the game. These changes might slow things down, so you need to be prepared for that and then, as always, this is a group discussion unless you’re adjusting monster stats, which again you don’t need, advice, permission to do, even though some players will get bent out of shape about it.

The other changes and just the approach to things overall, is worth a discussion with the table because, as we always say, this is not one person’s game. It’s your group’s game and talking about it is almost always the answer. So communication is key and they don’t need to be memorizing monster stats anyway. Sure that’s metagaming, which we have two articles on head on over to patreon for our weekly podcast and so much more web DM is also on twitch with three weekly games, which we upload to web DM plays our second youtube champion: okay, sweet right! Can we go right? Do I have to take these knives on to take my knife, hands didn’t, say no

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Knives and Processing Wood

What I wanted to do today was continue in our article series. We talked about yesterday, my humble opinion on knives, and I want to talk a little bit more and expand on some of those things that we talked about. Yesterday and show you some techniques and also again talk about some nonno’s for knife use. One of the things that we talked about a lot yesterday was using a baton with your knife, and basically, a baton is just a piece of hardwood and again I, like mine, you know about arm length from my armpit out to you, where the crook of my Wrist is, and it needs to be made out of a piece of hard wood that you can make contact with the back of your knife to create a better cutting tool out of your knife and give it more force.

If you don’t have an axe and you need to cut something that you can’t just push your knife through. Obviously you don’t want to chop with that knife, and we talked about that. So this becomes the thing that you swing and the knife becomes a solid point of contact that becomes a blade for cutting. So this is an extension of your knife. If you don’t have an axe now, if you have a saw, you may still need to baton.

But if you have an axe, you have no need for either. The problem is you’re not always going to have an axe in every situation and that’s why you need to learn or understand the limitations and capabilities of baton in your knife. So we can use any sized knife from the TLC that we talked about yesterday. All the way up to and including, like the Pathfinder Scout, with a big six-inch blade to baton, we can use the mores if we have to.

But again I tend to stay away from baton knives that are not full tang for fear that they may break at the rat tail and you may go for years without ever breaking a rat tail tang knife, but the time you need it. The most is usually when your equipment fails and I’m not going to take that chance and that’s what we talked about full tang knives. So what we’re going to talk about today is a little bit of do’s and don’ts with your knife, how to use your knife properly with a baton, how to not use your knife properly.

Obviously we talked about you never use your knife to swing like in hacks, because it’s very uncontrolled, it’s very unsafe and it doesn’t take maximum advantage of that blade. I can take a lot more advantage of that blade as a cutting surface by using it with a baton, then I can ever take by sewing it with my hand. The other thing I would never do with my knife is tie it to the end of the stick and make a spear, and I had a couple questions about that.

I’ve had people ask me about that before. Why don’t the knives that I use have the ability to be bolted on to something else as a spear? Well, if your knife is your only tool, why would you want to attach it to a stick? It could possibly come off of and now you’ve lost. Your only tool goes back to my same mentality of throwing knives. Why would I ever want to throw a knife and throw away the only tool that I have? I would never do that.

So I’m not going to use it for a spear at the same time by swinging it as something like an axe. I take a chance on doing damage to that knife for damage to myself. That’s unnecessary. If I can better control the way that knife cuts by using a baton and that’s what we’re going to talk about a lot today, stay with me guys, okay, so what I have in front of me is: I have a hickory sapling and this sapling is about Three inches in diameter at the bottom.

It would be something that I may use for a ridgepole or a construction portion of my shelter. If I were having to build something primitive, it’s a pretty tall tree, it’s probably over 20 feet tall. It’s got a lot of limbs on it. It’s got like I said about a three inch base. So let’s talk about how we would use our knife to process this tree depending on what we’re trying to do. Okay, so the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to bend this tree over and decide how much of this tree? I don’t need because I’m not going to need the top of this tree for my shelter, although I may use the branches and things like that.

That’s why we’re going to limit, but I’m not going to use the top most crooked portion of this for a construction element, my shelter, so I need to get rid of part of it. Okay, so, as I said, we’re going to have to limb this tree, someone there’s no reason for us to use our knife necessarily unless we have to. If I’ve got a baton already, I can probably beat on many of those limbs off of there by striking against them and down and just pull them off.

If they don’t come off. That way, then I’ll use my knife with the baton, but I want to save that knife as much as I can first remember that in a situation where you are truly stuck down to one tool and that tool is your cutting blade, it’s your most important asset. So the least you have to use it the better off. You are okay, so I’ve got the one here that doesn’t want to come off. What I’m going to do is I’m going to straddle this tree and I’m just going to cut it off with my knife.

The best way for me to effectively do that now that I’ve got it ripped down, is just to put my knife on top of it and hit down just like that and cut it off now. If I’ve got an area where I can’t get the limb off for some reason with my baton, then I will choose to baton my knife through that limb and we’ll talk about that next. Okay. So if I have a limb like this one and this one would come off just by smacking it with this baton, but for sake of this demonstration, we’re going to use our knife, what I’m going to do is I’m going to put my knife in the crotch Of that limb, just like this going down the tree, I’m going to use this area of my knife and again the majority of what you do is going to be used is going to be using this portion of your blade.

So I’m going to get that thing as close to the bottom, as I can and just cut it straight off, just like that with my knife. If I get to that point, I’m good it didn’t take, but a couple of small taps to get that done, and I wasn’t swinging and flailing my knife around like some kind of an axe and that’s the point. Okay, now we’re to the point where we’re going to take the top out of this tree. The best way for us to do that is to bend the top in toward us and push down what that does.

Is that put stress on the bend right here once we’ve got that Bend stressed, we can then safely cut it and as long as we’re standing on it, it’s going to flip out of our way. So we’re just going to take our knife and push down in toward the material just like this and we’re just beaver chewing in just like this, with our knife and sooner or later, even on a live hickory we’re going to get that off of there.

Now we have no top on this tree. All we have is this point. I want to get to add a little less dangerous and just round it off a little bit and then we’ll let the tree go back up. Okay. This is a very good example. This live hickory that were working on right now is a very good example of something that you would use for a spring poll you’re going to have to get rid of all the foliage on this tree, because it’s going to cause resistance when it tries to spring Upward, but a sapling like this – that’s nice and big nice and tall.

This thing’s still like 15 feet tall and has a lot of pressure on it. That’s what you’re going to have to have if you’re going to try to do primitive trapping, because something like this will lift an animal off the ground. Remember if you’re, using primitive methods to trap with you’ve got to get that animal off the ground. Something like this will do it, so that’s a very good technique to take the top out of a tree take a few, the branches off of the tree of the sapling, so that you can then use that for a spring Pole.

Okay, so again, this is our pole at present right here. This is a heavy-duty pole. I’m going to pull this thing down and let’s string up one more time on you about where it would be if it were a trap, spring device, and you can see how heavy due to that piece of hickory is. That makes a great spring pole you’re going to need something the size of that if you plan to do primitive trapping okay. So let’s look at this pole as if we’ve decided, we need to take the whole thing with us now.

Maybe we’re going to use this as a structural pole for a shelter or a travois or some type of a device for dragging someone out of the woods if we needed it like a like a mature of some kind that we can drag like a trip away Or we’re going to use this whole thing for a spring poll, but we didn’t happen to get lucky enough that this great spring poll was right by where we want to set our trap. So we got to take this with us to jam it somewhere else.

In a log jam or bury it partially in the ground or lever it somehow so that it will work the way we want it to work at any rate, when we cut this down, we don’t want to leave. You know a three-foot stump sticking up out here. That’s going to be a killing device if somebody trips on okay, all we’re going to do with this tree is we’re going to pull our knife out. So I figure out which side of the tree I need to get on for you guys to see this.

The best we’re going to come down at a low level of the tree and we’re going to cut ourselves a v-notch in this tree a little bit of an angle. And I want to cut that in there. With the belly of my knife, or just behind the belly, and then I want to come in cut that notch out just like that and if I’ve gotten myself half way through the tree. At that point, I should be able to bend this sapling over and it should break.

If that doesn’t happen, then I’m just going to move over a little bit and I’m going to cut a bigger chunk out off to one side, just like this again trying to go half way through the tree trying to control this. Let you guys see it at the same time a little bit sure, but that’s okay! Now it’s going to come straight over now. I can take my knife and shear it off just like this, and if I get some stubborn bark I’ll just run that over the top and go straight down on it and now that tree is ready to go.

I just beaver tune around it until I could push it over and then chopped it off, get it all with my baton, the first two-thirds of my knife and never had to swing anything except this, which is much more controllable and less sharp than swinging this. Okay. So, let’s take a smaller tree in this example, is something that we’re going to harvest. We’ve got a triple triples coming out of the ground right here.

All we’re going to do is bend this down and find our Bend and then we’re going to be virtual with our knife. If we don’t have a big enough knife that we can beat on it, oh we’re a little bit leery of batana our knife. We can always be virtue this thing down and I’m going to show you how to do that right now. Okay, so maybe the knife that we have is not optimal for batani, but it’s still plenty sharp.

Well, that’s just going to dictate to us what size trees. We can pick on a little bit, but we can still get the job done. We just need to figure out where this tree is flexing. You can see it flexing right there and that’s what we’re going to use our knife we’re going to take advantage of that Bend and we’re going to start to cut into that Bend. Just like this, you see how that just bent right over and busted with just a couple of cuts once I’ve done, that I can be virtu my way back around until I cut that completely out.

Just like that. Okay, again we’ll go back to our small knife for a minute and say that we want to process this down to a certain length, we’re going to use it for a tripod stand. Whatever the case may be, we can’t sit here and hack on this thing. For a half an hour with our knife trying to chop it, or we can just take our baton and make a V cut in here over halfway through on this side, turn it over and do exactly the same thing on the backside.

Having problems getting to lay the way I want to house it in top it first, that’s okay, another advantage to topping the tree beforehand is easier to control, and then you can see. I just cut that to length with two cuts very easily snap that off and that things cut to length I didn’t have to swing my knife. All I had to do is very controlled and use my baton very simple, okay, well we’re sitting here with this.

Stick in her hand, let’s talk about another reason or another way that we can use our knife. Now that we know we have a ninety degree spine on that knife again, we’ll go back in a smaller knife, the trap line, companion and if I want to process this thing, maybe this is a dead limb and I want to process this bark for use. As a tinder bundle, I can’t scrape the bark with my knife just like this on the back side, or I want to just remove the bark down to the inner bark or down to the sapwood.

I can do that very easy. With the back of this knife – and I don’t have to sacrifice my blade to try to do things like the bark removal – I can do that with the spine of my knife just like this, and you can see how good that 90 degree spine removes that bark. If I want fine shavings, I can get those as well, and this will work the same way for dead wood as it does for green wood. That 90 degree spine allows me to get very, very fine shavings if I need them, and that is exactly what happens with your ferrocerium rod when you scrape it you’re, taking those fine shavings of magnesium and other materials and removing them, and they spontaneously combust with oxygen And ignite, and one of the things I was talking about yesterday in my article, was about not worrying about carrying a downes bar because you wear out the mat, the mag board.

You wear out the Ferro rod long before you’re, going to wear out the magnesium and what a lot of people don’t understand is because these rods have so much magnesium in them. You can’t always just scrape the rod to get a pile of shavings and those shavings are going to be highly combustible. You just got to be careful about it, so that you’re not creating spark and then you’re going to get the same thing you get with magnesium.

So I wouldn’t carry the downes bar because it has magnesium on. I just care extra feral rod, okay, so real quick. Let’s talk about “’but awning wood as far as processing firewood goes now. This log is about four inches in diameter. If I have a saw, I can cut those logs, but I’m going to be here all day trying to do this. So it’s a lot easier for me to baton this. If I don’t have an axe, if I have an axe, I can forego all of that.

But I don’t have an axe because I’m down to you know I just carried a saw and a knife because that’s all I thought I was going to need or all I have is you know well I’ve got then I may have to beat on wood and That’s all there is to it, so there are ways that you can beat on logs like this properly and there’s ways to do it, I’m properly or unsafely, and one thing that I want you remember is like I said this is a four inch diameter long and That is one of the reasons for the length of this knife.

Okay, and this is about a five inch log. Actually, so there’s barely any stick out on the edge of this log. So when I get this knife down into here that this log hasn’t split for some reason, I still have something to hit with my baton. Besides the back of my knife or the back of my hand, that’s the reason for that blade length. If I have a four inch blade and I’ve got a vlog, this big once I get down to the center of it now I’m either banging on the back of my hand or I’m banging on the handle, and I don’t want to do that.

So that’s another reason for the five to six inch blade length, because a four inch log is good fuel size. It’s also good size for shelter, building material. You should never have to process anything bigger than four inches in diameter in a woodland emergency or a wilderness emergency scenario. You should never have to process anything bigger than that, so big choppers and things like that in eastern Willa’s aren’t necessary.

You really don’t need them. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to lay our knife on the log and I like to split the center first and you want to you: don’t ever want to do this, you don’t want the belly of your knife or the point of your knife. Going into this piece of wood remember that this area is going to be used for skinning tasks, find carving tasks and all of those types of things, and it’s also the hardest to resharpen that area in the field.

That’s important thing to remember that some people, don’t realize, is a straight long flat like this is much easier to resharpen than a curved edge right here, even in a controlled environment. That’s the part that most people have struggle with. So in the woods it’s really going to be a problem, so I need to conserve that area of my blade, the best I can so I’m going to push my knife, no matter how big my log is all the way to the edge of that blade.

Now this one just happens to be wide enough. Then it’s going to take up some of that area. I don’t want to use, but I have no choice in that with this long. If I had a choice I wouldn’t be doing it, then I’m going to get I’m going to hold back on the handle a little bit to make sure my hands completely out of the way and I’m going to take a seating tap. I’m going to make sure that knife is seated in there very well, then I’m going to take a harder smack if my knife gets cockeyed I’ll, move off to the side a little bit and continue now you can see I’ve went down through this log and it Did not split it completely out.

Part of that is blade, grind issue. If this was a Scandinavian, grinder or a wedge shape, it would split this much butter. This is a flat grind, which is a narrow. It’s a full flat grind, which is a narrow wedge, not near as good for splitting wood, much better for processing meat and game again trade off. If I had the Pathfinder knife in this thing, it would have split wide open. So now I’m at the mercy of smacking on this tip, but if this tip wasn’t here, what would I do? I need there to be swinging this down to try to bust it and flail around my knife, or I’d have to try to pry it out of there start over again, alright be smacking back here on my handles so by having that little blade length out there, I was able to effectively split that log open.

If I quarter this, that’s going to be more than enough for fuel, that’s going to be enough! Cutting down of that material to make fuel! This is long burning fuel. If it’s hard wood, that’s going to burn a lot faster. If I’m trying to make fire material for starting my fire like a kindling pile, then I’m going to have to split this down considerably more because kindling to me is something the size of a pencil or less.

So now I’m going to have to split that down again into eights. Then I’m going to have to drop down and split it into 16 crossways. Then I’m going to have to split that down into 30 seconds. I don’t have to get out of control with this. These pieces here are going to be good kindling. That’s an important thing to understand, especially if you’re in a wet weather situation you can’t find dry material oftentimes breaking inside a log is going to give you the driest material.

Now you could choose to go down. One step further with this: no problem, if you were really in wet conditions, you want to insure yourself a lot of surface area. You could split that down it’s a little bit more to stuff like this and that’s going to be more highly combustible. Now, if I were really really worried about my fire and I had really extremely wet conditions, then I might take a stick: the size of this one that was going to be kindling, and I might take that and use that to make a feather stick and again, I’m just using my thumb for a guide here.

This is hard wood, so it’s not going to shave down near as well as a piece of soft wood, wood, soft wood wood, but I can still get their surface area increased dramatically by putting some fine shavings around this piece of wood. Just like that, I knock them off. They don’t do me a whole lot of good. I really need to stay on their partner. That’s a function of this wood being dry, but these kernels are going to give me increased surface area for the flames and again you know this is a pretty good sized knife.

This is no Maura. This is a big butchering knife that we’re using, but it’ll get the job done, not as well as a Maura, but it’ll definitely get the job done and that’s what counts. Okay, folks! Well, I hope you enjoyed this article today a little bit more about knives. My thoughts on knives, what you can do with your knife, if you got the right skill level, how to use your knife to process different types of wood, and things like that, you may need to do in the woods and the safest way to do that.

I appreciate your time your support, your views, everything you for me for my school and for my family I’ll be back to another article. Soon, as I can, thanks guys, you


Knives and daggers are awesome! Plain and simple, right? Let me say, I enjoy my dagger collection with a little music playing in the background. 

 

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Knives JMHO

I have recently been involved in quite a few discussions and visual things on knives, and I want to put this in the basic series so that people understand why I choose the types of nice that I choose.

Why. I think that some knives are more favorable over other knives and then also I want to talk to you about things that you see on the internet, about different knives, and one thing that I want you to understand right off. The bat is, if you are reading a review of any piece of gear, it doesn’t matter whether it is a knife or what it is. If you’re reading a review, somebody saying I’m going to review this piece of equipment.

First of all, look at what conditioning equipments in if it’s brand new chances are they’ve, never used it. How can they review it? Number two look at that person’s overall skill level. Have you readed any of their other articles to see what their skill level is? As a woodsman as a bushcrafter as a survivalist, and that would lead you to believe either hey this guy knows a little bit about what he’s talking about or maybe not so much and that’s what you need to understand.

I see a lot of reviews on YouTube and I don’t read many because a lot of times I’d flat turn them off I’ll, be honest with you fi. If I pull up a article, let’s just take a knife review. For instance, if I pull a knife review up on YouTube and the knife looks brand new, I generally shut the article off if it’s laying on a table and it’s not in the woods or the guy’s, not using it to do something with and he’s just talking About the knife, I generally turn it off.

The other thing is, I look to see what the guy’s skill level is, while he’s using that knife, if he’s using it – and I will tell you now that if you take the crappiest bud, K knife on the planet and you put a good sharp edge on It and you take a nice Mora that cost 20 bucks and you put a good edge on it and you take any given knife that meets the criteria that we’re going to talk about, and you sharpen that thing up.

It doesn’t matter if it cost three or four hundred dollars. If you put all three of those knives in the hands of more Skowronski he’s going to make every one of them look like a knife. You’d want to buy because his skill level and his expertise at fine carving and things like that are so precise and so good and so well, honed that he makes it look natural, no matter what he’s using the deal with. On the other hand, if you take that same set of knives – and you put them in the hands of someone of lesser skill level, much less skill level, it doesn’t matter how good the knife is they’re going to make that knife look bad and it could look Like something you don’t want to buy, even if it might be something, that’s very good.

So I want you to think about those things when you’re looking at articles of a knife reviews and things like that, because some of what we’re going to do today is going to be talking about knives right in front of you. Some of its going to be we’re going to demonstrate some things with the knives pros and cons of the different knives. One thing that you will never see me do with a knife and it’s another thing that I turn it completely off as soon as I see it in a article is you’ll, never see me, take a 5 or 6 inch blade and chop with it.

There’s absolutely! No reason to chop with a knife: that’s not meant for chopping! If you want a chopping knife, get a machete get a Chris Kane survival tool, get a goal lock get a poor wrong, get a kakari, get something that’s made for chopping and processing, wood or vines or bamboo or whatever the case may be, but don’t use a 5 6 inch knife to smack around and try to chop with and make excuses that the handle is not long enough or that you need to move it up and choke back and put a lanyard on it.

So you don’t let go of it and get more leverage on the blade. That’s bunk, okay, you should never have to chop with a knife. That’s not made to chop with that. Knife should be used to baton through material or to push through material by using different types of cuts, not swung like some kind of axe or a machete. That’s what you want! That’s what you buy! That’s the next thing that we need to talk about in this article is understand before you buy a knife.

What is that knife going to do for me versus what do I want that knife to do for me and I get a lot of questions from a lot of people about you know: what’s the best survival knife out there? Well, the patented answer to that is the one you have on you in a survival scenario, but that leads you right back to that’s, probably the knife you bought to begin with. So did you buy the right knife and when I look at that, what I want to tell you is, I look at any knife that I’m going to strap to my hip on a daily basis as a survival knife, because chances are that’s the knife I’m going To get stuck with in an emergency because I put it on my hip every single day and I’m not going to lose it so with that said, I need to make sure that whatever knife I’m going to select a carry every day is going to be a Knife that is multifunctional in an emergency scenario.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a chopper, because a big chopper is not going to be good at fine carving. It doesn’t necessarily have to be great at fine carving, because it’s not going to be very good for batana processing would necessarily it has to be capable of a lot of things. It has to be capable of processing game. It has to be capable of processing wood. It has to be capable of the fine carving, but it also has to be capable of making bigger logs smaller pieces so that you can create things like pencil sized sticks from a 4-inch log.

If you have to or just split things out when you absolutely have to so that knife has to do a lot of things for you and has to cover a lot of bases, if you go back to my article on knives of the frontier or you know, The kind of history of knives that have been used throughout time you’ll see that really the most common denominator is about a five to six inch blade, at least in the United States, about a five to six inch blade and some type of a butcher knife design.

Either a European butchering knife or an Americanized version of a butchery knife or a French version of the butchering knife and those type blade designs, lend themselves well to a lot of different things for the woodsman. That’s why they use them. That’s why they were around four to three hundred years. That’s the reason. Some of them are still made today so understand what you want to do with that knife.

It’s a back up knife that you’re buying you’re going to put your backpack. Then maybe it doesn’t have to be that perfect knife. That’s going to do everything, maybe you’re buying a backup knife only for you know the trap line you’re going to make your money cuts with and you’re going to keep that thing. Razor sharp and it’s going to be a perfect blade for you to make those precision cuts that you have to make not to mess up a fur on an animal, or maybe it’s going to be your bush crafting knife that you’re going to put in your in Your backpack and you’re going to keep that thing with you to do your fine, carving and making feather sticks and doing those little fancy things that we do in bushcraft, but does that lend itself to a good survival knife? Maybe yes, maybe no depends on if it meets the criteria that you decided needs to meet for me.

I have certain criteria that I look at in a knife and we’ll talk about that right now, okay, so let’s get started on our knife discussion here a little bit and let’s talk about it, I’ve got a table or a bench of knives here. Basically, that are all knives that I have personally used over and over and over and over none of these knives are brand new. All of these knives have been tested thoroughly in a wilderness environment for a lot of different tasks.

So I can tell you, I feel confident that I can tell you what the pros and cons are of these type knives. Now the first thing that you need to think about when you’re selecting a knife is again back to what is that knife going to do for me versus what do I want it to do for me so for the sake of this discussion, because we’re talking about Basic concepts: let’s talk about this is the knife I’m going to strap to my tip, and this is the knife that I’m probably going to end up with.

If everything goes bad, I lose all of my gear that knife is going to be shot to my hip and it’s going to be my only tool that I have to use to affect my survivability and there is a big difference between that and a bushcraft knife That you carry in your pack as a spare where you put it around your neck or where the case may be totally against putting knives around my neck, but that’s beside the point: okay, so blade thickness.

That is your first key element to me. A knife that’s going to be used for a multitude of tasks needs to be 3/16 of an inch thick at a minimum. I do carry knives personally that are only 1/8 of an inch thick. This three dollar butcher knife from a yard sale is only a little over an eighth of an inch thick. It’s not quite 3/16. So if I had to measure it, you know it’s right in between there, but it doesn’t quite meet my minimum standard.

Although I’ve used this knife for everything under the Sun, so I’m pretty confident that in its ability to sustain me, it needs be this butcher. Knife is 3/16. This is the habilis Pathfinder butcher knife it’s 3/16, so 3/16 is a good thickness to start out with now. Let’s talk about why not at 8:10, it’s okay! Because generally what you’ll find is most knives will be 1/8 inch 3/16 and then quarter inch 1/8 inch.

Knife is going to have a lot of flexibility in it if the metal is tempered correctly and it may Bend on you or snap on you, depending on again the temper of the knife. I’ve never broken an old hickory butcher knife and they’re eighth of an inch thick. So an eighth of an inch knife can do the job for you, but it’s not going to be near as rigid or good for prying. If you have to do things like that, that’s 3/16, so there’s a little bit of a trade-off there.

I would say my personal opinion is 3/16 for beginning knife, though it’s going to be the one night that you buy to keep on your hip, and this is where you’re going to put all your eggs. Okay, in my opinion again, this is just my opinion. Your knife should be your most expensive item in your kit for the most part, or you should have the majority of your budget set aside for your knife, because that’s what you’re really going to stake your life on with that knife, you can’t do everything else.

If you have to as long as you have the skill level now remember during this article, there’s I’m not talking bad about any knife makers, I’m not talking about about any people who review knives on TV on on YouTube or use knives on TV. All I’m saying to you is: these: are my standards? These are the knives that I choose, and this is why you can make your own decision from what we’re talking about once we get beyond the thickness of the blade, then we need to talk about.

The tang is a full, tang, absolutely necessary. In other words, is it one piece of solid metal that the scales are both the two on both sides? Almost all of these knives, all of these knives are full tang, the knives I have over here or not again. I go back to if I’m going to get stuck with this one, and I have no other tools. I may have to do things like prying, hitting hard on the back of the spine, with a baton of some sort to process firewood.

All those types of things lend themselves to a weakness in a rat tail Tang knife, because it’s smaller, it’s not like that rat tail, tangs the same thickness, the 9 and 3/4. The way back to handle, generally speaking, a rat tail tang knife is exactly that. It shrinks down to a rat tail and then goes back into the knife, so that is a weak point in the overall structure of that knife. That could compromise you in a real emergency situation.

So I choose again: I choose to always carry a full tang knife on my hip and that’s my personal opinion. So all of these knives are full tang. Now, backup knife could definitely be a non full tang knife, and most of my backup knives generally are non full tang. We’ll talk about that in a few minutes. The next thing that I want to know on this knife is – and here again this is the these. Some of these things are kind of go no-go for me.

I can live with eight-inch if I have to I’d rather have 3/16, but there’s certain aspects of that night that I can’t live without or I’m not willing to do without. One of them is that that knife has a very sharp a 90-degree spine on it, so that it will effectively remove material from a ferrocerium rod, and there is a big misconception out there about ferrocerium rods and knives. Most of the time, if you’re having problems striking your Ferro rod, it’s not the rod, it’s the knife.

So what I’m going to do is I’m going to take a couple random knives here for you, I’ve got several different feral rods from cheap $ 5 Ferro rods. All the way up to $ 50 Ferro rods and we’re going to strike them with a knife and you’re going to see that, for the most part, they’re the same. Ok, so what we got here is we have a variety of ferrocerium rods. This rod is just a cheap rod, probably off of our website and the handle of been yanked off of it.

It’s been wrapped in duct tape. To give me a good heavy-duty handle most of the feral rods that you’re going to buy – and I say most not all most of the feral rods are going to buy. The handles are going to come off of them eventually sooner or later anyway. So I just take mine off on these cheaper ones and I wrap them in duct tape, so I’ve got an element of fire wrapped around it. An emergency plus I have this.

This duct tape is for no other use except a handle or fire. I carry duct tape, my kit for other things. On this side, I have arrived from Canton shop, comm, Rob Simpson spare rod, I’m very fond of these they’re good feral rods, they’re a little bit more expensive than wrapped in the leather. I think they come from deeply handcraft, I’m not sure that and they’re very good, fair rod to stick inside your knife sheet.

That’s what you like to do. This is a cheapie like a Coghlan model, ferrocerium rod. This is the Bob spark from fire. Steels calm. This rod is just a long blank fire rod that was made by one of my instructors, that has a copper, butt, end glued or epoxy Don and pinned in that’s filled with lead on the backside. So they can be used for a Bopper for napping, whether it’s for your flintlock or whether it’s for making arrowheads out of glass or flint, whatever the case may be.

It also gives you a good handle to hold on to and a large striking surface to remove material into your tinder bundle again. Cost difference is a lot here. You’re talking this one in this one are probably five bucks or less this one’s around 2025. This one’s around 2025 – I believe these things are around 40 50 bucks, so you’ve got a big difference there, but the bigger the rod is the longer it’s going to last.

A lot of guys ask me about this blocks of magnesium, with a little bitty rod going across the top of them. Those things are useless, in my opinion, you’re going to wear that rod out long before you ever get rid of that magnesium, and most all of your ferrocerium rods have a heavy content of magnesium in them. Already that’s going to burn if you can’t remove the material with your blade, that’s the important thing: it’s generally, not the Ferro rod that causes you the problems, it’s the blade.

Okay, I’m going to use a couple of different knives to do this stuff with first one. I’m going to use is the Pathfinder knife. This is made by blind or snobs. It’s called the PLS k1. The Scandinavian grind 3/16 own inch a little over a five-inch blade. This one happens to have curly maple handles on it. It has a good, sharp, 90 degree spine. So let’s try this one. First on just a cheapy rod. Now, that’s just as cheap II $ 5 rod.

Here’s the cheapy one off my website! You can see it’s removing enough materials! Hang it up on the back of the knife. Even here is the gob spark. Okay, canteen shop comm got to get the coating off of it. Okay. Now I’m going to show you what just happened here. The cap just came off of this. The leather coiled cap. Just came off of this. I’ve never seen that happen to one of these fair rods. Before that it goes right back to what I was telling you almost any fair rod you buy.

The cap is going to come off of it unless it’s pin through it’s going to come off, just wrap it with tape and go on and don’t worry about it. If you’re looking for something fancy, looking do yourself a favor make sure you got some duct tape with you when you get done here is the large barrel rod again, we’ve got to get the coating off of it once we get the coating off of it. It shouldn’t take a whole lot of effort when you do this.

If your knife is good 90-degree spine on it, it won’t take much effort, so you can see that all of those barrel rods will work just fine with that knife. Okay, this is the more of bushcraft black. We haven’t talked about this knife, yet it’s not a full tang knife. It is high carbon steel, which means it’s going to rust. If you don’t take care of it, but it’s going to be easier to sharpen in the field than stainless.

I prefer a high carbon we’ll talk about that a little bit in Y on our next exercise. But let’s look at what this will do and again it has that good 90-degree spine. So, let’s start with our cheap e Ferro rod here, pretty good the other cheap e Ferro rod, pretty good gob sport real good, the long heavy-duty one real good, the canteen shop. Pretty good! Ok, so you can see that as long as we have a good 90 degree, spine doesn’t really matter whether the knife cost 30 or 40.

Bucks like this one, we’re close to $ 300, like the Pathfinder knife, they’re going to do what you need them to do with the Ferro rod and that’s the important characteristic to understand. Will this knife be good for striking a ferrocerium rod every time I see someone take their knife and strike their ferrocerium rod with the blade of their knife? I know that person doesn’t know what they’re doing, because I’m never going to sacrifice my knife blade to strike a Ferro rod.

I can always use the back of this or I can find something else. If I can’t do that, but I’m never going to sacrifice my blade, this area of your blade from here to here from this curve back, is going to do. Two-Thirds of everything you do with this knife will take place right here. We’ll talk about that. A little bit too ok, so that gives us a pretty good look at one of the things that we want, our not to be capable of which is striking our ferrocerium rod.

A ferrocerium rod, in my opinion, is the most reliable fire-starting device you can possibly have in an emergency scenario. Matches are a one-shot deal, lighters run out of fluid and get wet all of those types of things. You need to concentrate your efforts on understanding how to use a Ferro rod with lots of different tenders, because a Ferro rod there is a very, very hot spark that will light up a lot of tender and it works even when it’s wet get yourself as big.

A Ferro rod as you can find that you can afford in the long run and carry that with you as your main ferrocerium rod. Alright. Moving on the next thing that we want to look at is the steel that this knife is made out of everything that I do with this knife has to be a multifunctional deal. Obviously, I can do a lot of things at this knife as far as making other things, and that makes it multifunctional, but it also needs to be part of my kit as far as being useful for at least three, I need to be able to start fire With this thing, as one of those chores or duties of my knife, and by scraping that ferrocerium rod that takes care of that element, but I would also like for my knife to be able to throw sparks from a hard rock in case.

I would lose my ferrocerium rod for some reason and all I’m left with is this knife if I can get a fire built somehow, because I made a bow drill set with my knife, I don’t want to have to go through that hassle, the second time. So if I can make char cloth in that first fire thinking ahead to my next fire and I can find a nice hard rock, I can use that to create an ember, then put in a bird nest and forego the whole bow drill.

Action on the next fire, so I want this knife to be made out of high carbon steel so that it will throw sparks off of the spine with a hardrock high carbon Steel’s. Oh one tool: steel 1095, while the Condor knives are made out of a 10 65 1070, not really enough carbon in them to throw a good spark. You see, there’s no Condor knives on this table, not because I’ve never used one, but because it’s not a knife that I would carry all of the time.

So if you’re going to ask me about other knives – and you don’t see it on this table – it’s because I either haven’t carried it, don’t carry it or I have carried it and don’t like it and don’t carry it anymore. These are the knives that I trust. Okay, so let’s talk about striking sparks with the back of our knife. So again, what we’re trying to accomplish here is turning our knife into an ignition source and we can do that as long as we have that high carbon steel blade.

So, let’s pick up, first of all, we’ll just pick up this butcher knife, what I’m going to do with my knives when I’ve decided I’m going to buy one. Is I’m going to do this first that thing’s throwing sparks I’m a happy camper? Now I know I got a good high carbon steel blade for sure. Even if I have no idea what this thing’s made out of yardsale three dollar butcher knife looks like carbon steel, it’s rusting up.

It’s got some patina to it. Let me take a rock to it: okay, now, I’m in business, does it have a good 90-degree spine on it yep now in double business. This is the right thickness. It’s pretty close as I got a good nice five to six inch blade on it yep. Okay now want that knife. That’s my factors now any knife that you have that’s high carbon steel and will, in fact, what we’ll do is we’ll get another cheaper type knife out here.

We’ll look at this more on bushcraft black again: does it throw sparks? Yes, it does okay. Is it throwing them as good as the butcher knife, not quite, but that could just be because the blade is like blue and not all this wore off yet, but I know this will start. It will create ignition with char cloth because I’ve done it. So if I have a high carbon steel blade, I’m going to be able to affect cognition that way and I’ll show you how to do that right now, up close, hang tight guys! Okay, so I have a charring 10 here.

It’s got some char cloth in it right here, so we’ll pull that piece of char cloth out and that’s what we’re going to use for this demonstration now, if I’m trying to strike sparks up my knife, there’s a couple ways you can do this, you can hold The knife blade like this and strike it against the rock. Exactly like you would do a striker, but I don’t like that method very well, because I’ve got my knife blade toward my hand.

If something were to slip, I could cut myself if I have to wrap something around the blade. I may not get a good grip on it, so I would rather strike down on the blade to the charred material. So we’ll pull a piece of this charred material off of here and lay it to the side. Real quick just like this, and what I like to do is lay that thing out and get as much surface area exposed as I can to catch my sparks and then kind of tack it down with my knife.

Just like this now I’ll lean my knife backwards. Just a little bit and I’ll strike sparks on to the char cloth, just like that. Okay, that out now, let’s look at the three hollered butcher knife. We’ll do the same thing. Get it out here, pin it down with the blade hold on the handle, push them down; okay, we’re on a fire all right. Now, let’s look at the pathfinder Scout bigger than the Pathfinder pls k, one larger in blade, size and blade length.

This is a six inch blade, it’s a little bit wider and so now the full flat grind, but it does have that 90-degree spine. It is three sixteenths, it’s just a little bigger more of a French trade or butcher knife style design. Alright sparks is going right by here. Here we go. Okay, we got a char cloth on fire, so you can see that a $ 40 knife will do it. A three dollar knife will do it. A $ 200 knife will do it.

It doesn’t matter how much the knife costs it matters, what the physical characteristics and capabilities are of that knife. Okay, so what I want to do now, real quick is: I want to kind to kind of go through some knives with you guys. One at a time show you knives that I trust doesn’t mean that there’s other knives on the market that aren’t good. But again, if you’re going to ask me what I think of this of that.

If you didn’t see in this article, that should give you an indication of what I think about it means I don’t carry it. Alright. Anything by blind horse knives is going to be bone. Anything by hapless bush tools is going to be a good knife. Anything by Moore is going to be a good knife, but it’s not going to meet all of the criteria that we talked about. Some of them are not high carbon they’re stainless, and none of them are full tang.

Alright. So, let’s start off with the Morris. The Mora bushcraft block is by far my favorite. It’s got a nice blue blade. It’s got a three quarter: tang nice comfortable, rubber over plastic handle here high carbon steel, blade, good 90-degree spine the blade on it’s almost a little over four inches long, and for me you know the minimum is about five. But again this is not going to be. My main knife, so it doesn’t have to be five inches.

This is another more. This is the Mora companion, another good knife about half a little over tang, maybe 3/4 rubber over plastic handle. You can see the blades a little bit less robust than the bushcraft block. It’s a little bit shorter, it’s not not as wide and it’s about the same, not quite the same thickness. So this is a heavier knife than this one, but does not cost more than this one. Both of them will do the job.

A knife. I’ve been carrying a lot lately as a backup or carving type knife or bushcrafting is this martini, and this was given to me by one of my instructors: solid rubber handle three quarter inch tang molded over. It’s got a really nice 90-degree spine on it. It’s good and thick it’s over 8 of an inch. It might be close to 3/16 Scandinavian grande. It’s a very short blade. It’s only a little, it’s a little less than 4 inches.

I think so. It’s not going to be a main night for me, but it is a great backup, skinning carving and crafting knife for my pack. This is the habilis butcher knife and this knife was designed directly after this knife. This is a three dollar butcher knife from a yard sale. This is the habilis butcher knife. It was designed and made directly to mimic this knife because we knew there’d never be another one of these come along, so we wanted something that was very close to an 18th century design with 18th century type, handle materials and scales.

This one has one two, three four five six pins on it, so that it’s more period-correct for something along the 18th century lines, solid, hardwood handles. They are flat, as many of them were back, then it does have the Pathfinder logo and the habilis Bush tool logo. On it as well, it’s a nice Scandi grind and scanned effects. It’s got a little bit of a convex grind compound grind at the bottom of the Scandinavian grind.

It’s got a good 90-degree spine on it and it’s made out of 1095 so it definitely meets all the criteria. Definitely a good, robust knife. Okay, now, let’s get 2 BHK blind horse knife a blind horse. Obviously, I’ve had a very, very long relationship with blind or knives they’re. Absolutely my favorite knife company Bar None in the world, their knives have never failed me and everybody. I’ve talked to says if they’ve ever had any issue with a knife that blind horse has replaced.

It without question so any guarantee like that is the guarantee I want they’re fit and finish is perfect. Their shops really nice I’ve been to their shop. So I know what it looks like. I know what the craftsmanship is: good, american-made quality, but again you’re going to pay for american-made knives. This is the Pathfinder Scout, the one that I carry probably 95 % of the time, not because I don’t like the PLS k1, but because this one has a little more versatility for what I do every day.

If I were going to have to choose one knife for an emergency, it would be the PLS k1. That’s what it was designed for. This knife is more of a hunting skinning butchering type knife. It’s got a big 6 H butchering style blade on it. European type. French trade knife style blade, 3/16 heavy heavy spine. Oh one tool, steel, curly maple handles it’s just a really really nice heavy duty knife – and I carried this one quite a bit.

The PLS k1 is the original Pathfinder knife that was made by blind horse knives. Scandinavian grind blades about five and a quarter inches long. It’s got some jimping on the top of the blade here, curly maple handles on this one, like I said, oh one tool, steel, heavy duty, 90 degree spine. This knife will do anything in the world that you want it to do and if you have it in, if it’s in the right hands of the person with the right skill, it can do anything you want to do from fine carving to processing firewood.

This is the muck, the Nemec with the Pathfinder logo, on it that’s made by blind horse Scandinavian ground, Nemec style blade, it’s basically a short butcher knife and I think that’s pretty much what nest Mehcad in mind when you had this knife made. If you look at this knife compared to a larger butcher knife they’re pretty much the same, it’s just shorter and squatty ER than a butcher knife. It’s got that same hump at the top so that it rides high over bone when you’re cutting with it.

It’s good for batani! I like this dished area right here, because that forces a lot of forces a lot of pressure right here to the belly when you’re trying to split wood and things like that with it. So it’s a really really good knife, but remember with any knife you’re going to about this. Much of your blade is where you’re going to do 90 % of your work. You know the before you get to the upsweep on the belly is where you’re going to 90 % of your work.

When I see guys carving, sticks and they’re making points on sticks out here on the blade. I know those guys don’t know what they’re doing, because that area of your knife should be the most pristine area, because that’s what we can use to process game. That’s what you’re going to use from very fine under cuts and notches and find carving tasks. You don’t want to use that for hogging material off to make points on sticks.

That’s what this area of the knife is for. Okay, just a little tidbit there, the nest McKnight’s are really really good. All-Around hunting type knife: this is the blind horse. Bushcrafter great cat part style, design, blade cat part style really designed knife for the most part. It’s got this Inlet in the handle, which makes it really comfortable for your finger. It’s got a nice round grip. As my instructor chair, jamie burly, always says, it’s like a broom handle doesn’t matter how you hold it.

It’s always going to be comfortable in your hand and that’s kind of one of the pluses to this knife for bushcrafting and things like that. It’s got a four inch blade on it. Like I said it’s got a cup art design spear point blade on it. This one happens to have a full flat grind. I think the ones they sell have a hollow grind. I’m not positive of that. Don’t quote me on that, and this one happens to have curly maple handles.

This is a really nice little knife that blind horse makes is the woodsman pro now I’ve carried this knife, not as extensive as I carried the others, but it is a really nice woodsy style design, knife for hunting and trapping, and things like that. It’s just not quite big enough for something to me to be beyond a carving knife or a skinning knife for a one tool, type knife. But it is a very good back up knife for the trapline for hunting for skinning and things like that, and this is called the trapline companion now.

This knife has got about a four inch blade on. This was an accidental knife. This is a knife that was made, another knife was messed up and this knife was ground out of it by Dan at blind horse knives and when he showed it to me, I fell in love with him. The reason I fell in love with it and decided to adopt it as the TLC is because it has a nice hollow grind, which means it’s going to stay razor sharp.

It’s got a nice little drop point right here for skinning and making money cuts on furs and hides, and things like that, and it has that small kitchen knife like feel to it. That makes it great for fine carving tasks and things like that. So for making feather sticks for doing fine under cuts and notches and all those types of things. This thing is like the Morra of the blind horse world, except this full tang and it’s high carbon steel with a 90 degree spine.

So it does everything for me. If it needs to okay, one thing: I want to talk about real quick in this article. As I see a lot of people talking about making feather sticks. How, well is the knife make feather sticks well depends again on how well you can handle the knife, and what your skill level is. A good sharp knife will make feather sticks. Obviously a thinner blade is going to make better feather sticks than a thicker blade.

So you have to understand the limitations of what you have, but even a blade that is 3/16 or thick like the Pathfinder knife. But it’s got a big heavy Scandinavian grind on which makes it really good for processing wood and things like that, and a good heavy-duty tool is not going to be as good for fine carving tasks as say this TLC, or even this martini or Mora, because the Blades are thinner, they have a sharper Scandinavian bevel to them and they’re going to make those fine cuts.

This one is hollow ground, so it’s definitely going to make fine cuts all right, but let’s look at these knives and when you’re making feather sticks, you’re not trying to you, don’t want this thing hanging out on a stump between your legs and you’re, trying to push The knife with both hands – that’s not the way to make feather sticks feather sticks, are a fine finesse, carving task I’ll tell you.

Nobody would complain about that butter. Stick! Okay! Out of a 3/16 inch blade with a heavy scanning grind on it. That is a nice feather. Stick that will take flame very very quickly and that’s the advantage of a feather stick. Is you have increased the surface area and made the material very thin so that it heats up quickly and combust faster, okay, guys? Well, I appreciate joining for this article I turn today.

I wanted to go over my mentality with you or my line of thinking when it comes to noise. I also wanted to talk you a little bit about understanding what you’re looking at when you read other people handling knives using knives, reviewing knives and things like that again. This is not a Bosch on any knife company. It’s not a Bosch on a You Tube reviewer. I just want to educate the people who are reading my articles as to what you should be looking for and be sure that when you read a review on any product, whether it’s a knife or a steel pot that that person has used that item.

And you can’t say that you’ve used an item by taking it to the woods one time or for five minutes or five hours or likely even five days. You need to use and abuse that item before you can really say what is worthiness is to have in someone’s kit, I’m Dave camera at five fire school. I appreciate your views, your support, everything you do for me for my school, for my family I’ll be back. Another article soon as I can thanks guys, you


Knives and daggers are awesome! Plain and simple, right? Let me say, I enjoy my dagger collection with a little music playing in the background.