You Never Forget Your Many Deaths


Recommended Posts

Edit: This thread is going to be a running series of short stories about my many lives and deaths in The Long Dark.

This Is Not Skyrim

I consider myself an explorer type player.  In games like Skyrim, I explore every nook and cranny on a map.  The game developers reward my exploratory nature with treasures and experience.  I added camping and survival mods to my Skyrim game, so I was intrigued when this game came up on my Steam Recommend List.  I liked the visual style and the reviews piqued my interest, so I decided to purchase.

Within 20 minutes of playing The Long Dark, I learned a harsh lesson.

This is not Skyrim.

This is a survival game.  I would come to regret my normal pack-rat impish style of "collect everything" in time.  This isn't a leisurely hiking trip, and looking around aimlessly could kill me when fog rolls without warning.

My first sandbox game threw me on a hill with blizzard conditions.  I saw sticks on the ground, and collected them as I normally would in a sandbox style game.

The game warned me that I was near freezing in my jeans, running shoes, and sweater, but no winter coat.  I no longer stopped to pickup sticks.  Panic set in.

I didn't know where to find the nearest shelter.  I ran blindly against the howling wind and snow. I spotted a sign depicting a tower in the forest.  I spotted the incline going up.  I didn't know if anything would be up there, but I didn't have a choice.  If I didn't go, I would die there in the blizzard, clutching a handful of useless sticks.

I began the long, torturous climb up.  My freezing bar was in the red, and my condition dropped rapidly.  I felt a sense of urgency.  Just...a little more.  I'm almost there.  Right? 

I thought, "I'm not going to make it."  My virtual life flashed before my eyes.  If only I hadn't tried to pick up all those sticks...

When I spotted the outpost, I felt my spirits rise.  I can make it!

As I shut the door behind me, I actually sighed with relief.  I looted the items in the tower. I threw the sticks I collected into the stove.  (Good thing I picked up those sticks!)  I heated a can of Pork and Beans, which I imagined to be the best meal I ever had.

The following morning was clear, so I walked down to the forest clearing and explored.  I chopped wood and carved a leftover deer carcass I thought was a lucky find.  

But...I bought the game without any research, so I wasn't prepared for the wolf attack.  I fended it off, but it beat me up very badly.  I used the bandage and antiseptic I found in a first aid kit, then crawled my way back up the Forestry Lookout incline to rest and heal my sprained ankle and wrist.

Once refreshed on a can of peaches and bed rest, I made my way down the incline again...

...and promptly ran into a bear.

Unlike the wolf attack, I was unable to fight back.  I 'survived' the attack at 10% condition, but
unfortunately I already used the bandage and antiseptic on the wolf attack.  I tried crawling back up the incline, but it was futile.

And there I died on my first death in The Long Dark, my blood freezing on the snow.  I survived a blizzard and a wolf, but died to extremely bad news bear.

Since then, I have died to: wolf attacks, losing my bearings due to sudden fog, hypothermia due to not paying attention to my freezing condition while skinning rabbits, food poisoning, poor resource management, missing the mark on rifle shots, and falling off of railway bridges.

Each time I die, I learn something new about survival.  Even when I reached 88 days survived, it just took one mistake to fade into the Long Dark...

Edited by Vhalkyrie
  • Upvote 9
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 245
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Edit: This thread is going to be a running series of short stories about my many lives and deaths in The Long Dark. This Is Not Skyrim I consider myself an explorer type player.  In games li

Day 99: R&R After returning to the Farmhouse, it seems I am in no hurry to move.  I've contented myself with fishing, rabbit snaring, and general aimlessness smelling the rose hips (not

Day 30: Just One Arrow I just made 30 days on a new Voyager game, but I had a rough start and I almost gave up. I started on Mystery Lake as I usually do because it's like "hometown".

Posted Images

Wow! Your first experience is so similar to my own, right down to the play style in Skyrim and the harsh lessons I learned because of it. Very well written, took me right back to my first day in The Long Dark. 

Many lessons lie ahead. Stay warm out there. 

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

@June Thanks!  I'm having a blast!  Can't wait for the Story mode!

@Bethany Williams That first blizzard was quite a shock - haha!

@hauteecoleriderFrostfall, Realistic Needs, and Climates of Tamriel!  The climb up High Hrothgar was much more challenging, interesting and satisfying when you had to haul supplies and camping gear to make it!  But man, I was totally unprepared for that first 20 minutes in TLD!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome read :)
I'm another who came from a "Bethesda" universe (Fallout 3 with survival & 'realism' mods) to The Long Dark.

 
Vhalkyrie, one thing that helped me out is that I started using burnt out torches to "point the way" back towards my nearest shelter.  Or sometimes I'd take 5 sticks and shape them into an arrow pointing back to the closest shelter.
Doing that saved me through countless sudden blizzards or days where I'd started getting very tired and over-encumbered...and then there was sudden heavy fog.
Thank God for those "stick arrows" I left on the snow and burnt out torches pointing me to safety!

Now I've just moved to Coastal Highway and will be using the "safety marks on the snow tactic" to keep me alive in this new area.

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Vhalkyrie said:

falling off of railway bridges

Nice immersive story thanks for sharing, didn't think it was possible to fall off the scary bridge but doesn't stop me freaking out a little when crossing, especially when it starts to creak in places.

9 minutes ago, Wasteland Watcher said:

Thank God for those "stick arrows"

I tried this making arrows that pointed from a burnt out shack in Deadfall area up to a prepper cache but they vanished, I used drag and drop though, perhaps you have to add to your inventory?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, illanthropist said:

I tried this making arrows that pointed from a burnt out shack in Deadfall area up to a prepper cache but they vanished, I used drag and drop though, perhaps you have to add to your inventory?

 

Yes exactly! Pick them up, then drop them and shape them -- they'll stay :)

  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, illanthropist said:

Nice immersive story thanks for sharing, didn't think it was possible to fall off the scary bridge but doesn't stop me freaking out a little when crossing, especially when it starts to creak in places.

Oh yeah, it's possible - lol.  I was quite surprised and sad when it happened.  It occurred on one of my better runs, and I had grown quite attached to my character.  I was making my way to the Coastal Highway and I guess my "feet" center wasn't quite where I thought it was, and I fell. :(  Next time, I may just skip the ravine and go around through the Pleasant Valley way!

12 hours ago, Wasteland Watcher said:

Vhalkyrie, one thing that helped me out is that I started using burnt out torches to "point the way" back towards my nearest shelter.  Or sometimes I'd take 5 sticks and shape them into an arrow pointing back to the closest shelter.
Doing that saved me through countless sudden blizzards or days where I'd started getting very tired and over-encumbered...and then there was sudden heavy fog.
Thank God for those "stick arrows" I left on the snow and burnt out torches pointing me to safety!

Now I've just moved to Coastal Highway and will be using the "safety marks on the snow tactic" to keep me alive in this new area.

Yes, indeed - this was one of the "lessons learned the hard way"!  I use stick-shaped markers to point me towards shortcuts navigating also.  I placed a number of sticks pointing me to directions at junctions in caves so I can move through quickly.  With my stick markers inside of caves, I can actually jog through in record time, conserving torch/lantern fuel!

Thanks, all, for your kind comments about my story. :)  If you're interested, I also posted a similar review on Steam, but with a little more focus on the gameplay elements: http://steamcommunity.com/id/Vhalkyrie/recommended/305620

Edited by Vhalkyrie
  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Wounded Wolf

On one of my earliest runs, I died to starvation because I ate through my canned goods too quickly. I hadn't yet learned how to establish a sustainable food supply with rabbit traps and fish.  I researched and read that you could go as low as 20% condition, eat 800 calories, then sleep 11 hours to return to full health.  I started a sandbox game with the purpose of experimenting with starvation methods in order to conserve food.  I didn't expect to last long - this was purely testing the limits so I was prepared for "the real thing" should it ever happen.

I started on Mystery Lake.  This was my 4th or 5th game, so I was pretty well acquainted with the map, and I knew exactly where to go.  I ran immediately to scavenge supplies from the trailers, outpost, and camp office, then bunkered down in the Trapper's Lodge.  I stashed all the canned goods, soda, and energy bars into the locker and set a plan to ration them.  I would only eat to 800 calories when I got down to about 20-30% condition, then sleep to recover.  Dangerously low, I know, but I wanted to test "how low can you go".

I set rabbit traps, and scavenged deer kills from wolves.  Surprisingly, I made it to 20 days survived.  I had a surplus of food.  At this point, I didn't need to maintain my anorexic state, but I did so anyway.  (Perhaps I was already starting to feel a little too bold about my success.)  I crafted a set of deerskin pants/boots, and rabbit mittens.  I even had enough wolf skins curing to make a coat.  I was doing really well, I thought.  Surely I had 200 days in the bag!

I spotted a wolf chasing a deer.  I followed after it.  While the wolf was distracted eating the deer, I snuck up behind it and shot it with my bow.  I hit the wolf, but it wasn't a killing blow.  He went yelping off into the woods.  My condition was around 30% because I was still experimenting with how long I could stretch out my canned supplies and starvation survival.

I tracked the wounded wolf, and I could see he slowed down.  He walked with a limp and his head hung down (The Long Dark comes for both man and wolf).  Feeling a bit of both pity and impatience (just die already), I moved closer so I could take another shot and hopefully make a killing blow.

Suddenly, the wounded wolf turned around snarling and jumped me.  Because of my experiment with extreme starvation survival, I died instantly with no chance of recovery.

I learned two lessons:

(1) Yes, it is possible to survive with extreme starvation rationing, if worse comes to worse.  But it's extremely risky - for emergency use only!
(2) Yes, a wounded wolf will still fight back if you get too close!  Stay back!

Edited by Vhalkyrie
  • Upvote 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

My near misses (never understood that term surely if you nearly missed then you hit) seem to be more memorable than my deaths at the moment, but saying that only on my 4th run so there's time yet.  200hrs in 7 weeks, that's over 4hrs a day, shoot me now!

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, illanthropist said:

My near misses (never understood that term surely if you nearly missed then you hit) seem to be more memorable than my deaths at the moment, but saying that only on my 4th run so there's time yet.  200hrs in 7 weeks, that's over 4hrs a day, shoot me now!

Maybe I just die a lot - haha!  My best so far is 90 days, so I'm getting better. :)  I also learn a lot from my "near-deaths" where I pulled out in the end and survived!

Edited by Vhalkyrie
  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

That was my record 90 days in tourist mode, forgot to pause the game and went out for 2hrs with the dog.  Glad in a way though as it was dull just shuffling supplies from place to place, soon as I switched to voyageur became a lot more aware of my surroundings rather than running down the main paths.  After that had 2 deaths at 6 days and now currently on 65, though only by the skin of my teeth.

Got a surprise mauling by a bear at Waterfront Cottages, Coastal Highway and made the stupid decision to travel all the way back to Trappers Homestead for gear repairs, infection, starvation, exhaustion, 2 bleed outs, no antiseptic, 2 sprained ankles and a sprained wrist from 2 further wolf attacks almost ended me as i had to push on in the dark else would have died if stopped.

The worst of it, my one and only wool scarf was hit down to 2%.

Ironic that I don't really get upset after a death but when things like that happen it's a fist bump feeling, even if I did deserve to fail after being a plonker making rash choices!

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Deadly Candy Bar

In another previous life, I again setup shop in the Trapper's Homestead.  This was after my 'starvation' experiment, so I felt pretty well prepared to manage my food supply.  I could snare rabbits like a pro, and had a very steady meal plan.  The cabin was stuffed floor to ceiling with rabbit pelts and guts.  I scavenged deer hides and downed wolves when the opportunity presented itself.  Life was pretty routine - I had many days of relative peace without struggling for life.

I placed 4 rabbit traps down in the rabbit run and went to sleep.  I woke up to 3 trapped bunnies - perfect.  I set a fire, and went to work harvesting them.  I think the time was set to 1 hour per rabbit.  I threw enough logs in for a 3 hour burn, which I thought was plenty of time.

I harvested the first rabbit just fine.  Went to work on the 2nd, thinking all was well.  Then went to finish the last one.  When the last one completed, to my surprise, I was freezing to death.  My fire has burned out at some point, and there was a complete snow-blind blizzard raging.  I went into full "OMG RUN" mode back to the cabin.  By the time I closed the door behind me, I had the "first aid" warning and was diagnosed with hypothermia.  This was my first time in hypothermia.

The first aid message said I had to stay above freezing for 24 hours. "Ok, no problem," I thought.  I had plenty of wood stored in the cabin.  I could warm myself by the fire, and boil water.  Plenty of rabbit haunches in the footlocker.  I didn't need to go anywhere for several days.

I dug through my food supplies and ate a candy bar.  The condition was about 55%, so I didn't think it was a food risk.  I got food poisoning.  (I later learned that any food below 75% has risk of food poisoning - although candy bars are unlikely!  Extremely bad RNG).  So now I had hypothermia and food poisoning.

I misread the "first aid" cure for food poisoning.  I thought you only had to sleep for 10 hours; I didn't know you also had to consume an antibiotic.  I thought, no problem.  I'm already cold, I'll just go to bed.

I woke up in delirium.  My condition said I had 10% life left!  What the heck!

I ran around in a panic.  I thought maybe I needed to eat more food.  So I ate all my rabbit until I had a full stomach and drank water.  Then went back to bed.

Died in my sleep.

On a following playthrough, I read the description more carefully when I got food poisoning, and saw the part about needing an antibiotic.  I facepalmed hard; I had 10 antibiotics stashed in my first aid kit when I died in my sleep!

Lessons:

(1) When setting a fire to harvest animals, I never use a burn time longer than 1 hour.  If 1 hour is up and no wind, I throw in another 1 hour log and repeat.

(2) Read the "First Aid" messages thoroughly. :P 

Edited by Vhalkyrie
  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, illanthropist said:

Lol I can relate to that, in my very first play-through almost died twice as no meds

Day 1 - Food Poisoning

Day 9 - Food Poisoning

Day 14 - Food Poisoning

All from granola bars, I call it granola ebola!

LOL!!!  :D:D:D

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, illanthropist said:

Lol I can relate to that, in my very first play-through almost died twice as no meds

Day 1 - Food Poisoning

Day 9 - Food Poisoning

Day 14 - Food Poisoning

All from granola bars, I call it granola ebola!

oh my god, i thought i was the only one!

granola bars in this game are EVIL!!! -.- 

  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Vhalkyrie said:

And to think, before "The Great Disaster", people used to eat it as health food!  :o

i've eaten many things. i've eaten canned foods below 10% condition, i've eaten fish fresh out of the lake, i've eaten meat straight out of a fresh-killed deer.

but the only thing i've ever gotten food poisoning from is granola bars.

  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Who knew whether to eat a granola bar or not was a life or death decision?

"Well, I had two choices. I could either eat this here granola bar, or I could brave fighting Fluffy with my bare hands.  I chose Fluffy."

imgres.jpg

Edited by Vhalkyrie
  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Vhalkyrie said:

Who knew whether to eat a granola bar or not was a life or death decision?

"Well kids, I had two choices. I could either eat this here granola bar, or I could brave fighting Fluffy with my bare hands.  I chose Fluffy."

imgres.jpg

The Long Dark's Sandbox truly is a story engine. :durbear:

Personally, I would eat the granola bar. If it all really does fall apart here pretty soon, I'd love to have a Nature Valley tucked away in my pocket. ^_^

  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm guessing that in Story mode it will be explained why granola is so deadly.

"Back before THE GREAT DISASTER, people turned to organic granola.  And now we stand on the precipice of disaster.  Turns out Yellow Dye #5 might have been the one thing to save us."

  • Upvote 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Patrick Carlson said:

The Long Dark's Sandbox truly is a story engine. :durbear:

Personally, I would eat the granola bar. If it all really does fall apart here pretty soon, I'd love to have a Nature Valley tucked away in my pocket. ^_^

seriously, what is with the granola bars though? i didnt know it was humanly possible to get food poisoning from a granola bar. then the long dark comes along and now my stomach churns every time i see one xD

  • Upvote 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now