Casual player's challenges

Ranger Ali

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I have seen posts about hardcore and serious survival challenges, but not much about more casual and fun challenges. I've been playing tld since it came out and I love it to bits, but I'm probably in the minority of veteran survivors that doesn't play hardcore survival. Instead of making things "harder", I like to find less stressful ways of making my gameplay enjoyable. So, I thought I would put a post out to find people in the same boat as me, and ask what kind of challenges you make for yourselves in a playthrough. Here are some of mine (not necessarily personally completed, but fun things to try out before I inevitably wander around collecting hoards of sticks and get distracted by a new shiny idea):

Basic Gameplay Ideas (things I'm sure a lot of players aim for, but I will include for completeness sake): 

  • Spend 50 days minimum in each region
  • Collect all notes and buffer memories
  • Set up cairns. everywhere. as many as you can. fill with non-perishables. My list includes birch bark, rose hips, reishi mushroom, cat tails, a matchbook or firestarter, spare tools, fishing tackle, cloth, bandages, antiseptic, accelerant, torches, and just general emergency supplies. I like to play on custom with all of the loot to help me with stocking cairns everywhere. 
  • Set up campfires. Small locations all over the map (I mark mine with spray paint) that act as temporary waypoints in places you tend to shelter, in case you get caught out away from your main base(s). Get some wood, some raw meat, a can, some water, and just leave little stashes everywhere. they are materials you won't really miss, but which can save your life if a storm comes through or you forget your pot somewhere like I tend to do. It doesn't take up much time or effort to secure little areas like this wherever you tend to shelter, but it's really satisfying knowing that these havens are waiting for you. no more looting entire areas and then dying if you have to come back to the area because you moved all the loot and put it somewhere unhelpful.
  • Collect harvestables, leave in key areas to cure. and remember to write in the journal where you put them so you don't get mad at your past self when you remember that you picked it and dumped it and don't know where.
  • Make a key base, maybe one or two in each region with your major loot, and/or a "best" base where the absolute best loot goes. make it nice and tidy and organized. (My current favourite base is the Lonely Lighthouse in DP. Pain to get to, but nice and pretty and there's decent storage and beachcombing for when I eventually need to settle. Also It's forever away from the other regions (unlike my old haunt in ML) which means that getting absolutely everything from everywhere to DP is a personal achievement all of its own. )
  • Max your skills. This is something that tends to happen normally over a playthrough, but it's good practice to actually keep an eye on them and make progress over time. Some of the skills you can grind out in a relatively short time of focused activity (such as fishing or cooking), but spending some time reading books now and then, or practicing repairing clothes as you find them is a lot easier than getting a few hundred days into a playthrough before remembering that you should actually be aiming for them. A few extra fires here and there, and some sock sewing every couple days, helps max those skills without seeming like a lot of work than is needed if you neglect them and have to actively grind them. Helps pass time too!
  • Arrange your "main base" all nice and tidy. Put things in shelves, make nice piles, place things in their proper containers. Never underestimate the value of an organized home.
  • Keep some spare clothes somewhere. Who says you might not need 12 pairs of underwear??? Keep a few different outfits, change them for your needs. Hunting a bear? Stack up on defense. Hauling stuff around? Go lightweight. Plan to be out in the cold for a while? Dress for the warmth.

Less common Tasks (things I like to do generally on playthroughs, but which don't add much to the game or aren't everyone's cup of tea):

  • Max your skills. This is something that tends to happen normally over a playthrough
  • Be tidy! all that cloth, metal scrap, wood jut lying around, pick it all up. Place it nice and neat in a base somewhere. campfire or snow shelter you're not going to keep? Break it down. 
  • Use the journal.
    • spent a day collecting coal? write note to remember when you collected it so you can see if enough time has past that it has likely respawned and is worth going back. kill the moose? same deal. beachcombing? note it. helps to get an idea of respawn timers, and is a handy thing when coming back to old games after a break. 
    • write where you leave stuff. seriously can't stress this enough. So many games get abandoned because you come back to them an discover you have looted everything but have no idea where anything is. Especially important for things like that moose hide that you left curing on the floor of the first building you found pot hunt. 
    • make a story! sometimes I like to role play, and decide to keep a journal of my doings for the day or my discovery of the world. true, it usually gets abandoned, but it is a nice creative way to spend some time and to immerse yourself in the gameplay.
  • Make a map. I love the charcoal mapping system, so I am a huge fan of diligently mapping everything. It is a good way to both pass the time, and to also mark where you've been.
  • No container goes unemptied. Loot everything. Sure, you might not need it, but it personally makes me nice and happy to just gather everything and put it somewhere else neatly.
  • Deploy ropes. Those climbing spots without rope? Find some rope and put it there. Who cares if you will never actually use that climb, you never know what can save your life, and it's just good practice. I use a "searched" spray paint over empty climbing spots so the location shows on my map as an empty climb. Helps me remember which ones I have to go back to to make useable after I find some spare rope.
  • Beachcombing. Learn how to scavenge the blessings of the sea. Sure, the world has a lot of loot and will sustain you for a good long while, but making a routine of beachcombing every now and again is a great way to kill time and risk your life for sticks.
  • Mark the center of rabbiting areas with a broken snare. That way if you ever come back, you know the most effective position to place your snares. Handy if you do a lot of traveling, or are still unfamiliar with an area and the spawns.

Random Things for Kicks (just weird stuff which helps nobody or is just WTF, but a nice laugh or personally satisfying):

  • Get every single single storm lantern you can find from everywhere and place them all on top of the desolation point lighthouse. Fill them too! For a bonus, include the flashlights.
  • Every single building gets pillaged and emptied. Break down everything you possibly can and cart it somewhere else (say, your main base in the region). I'm talking all those chairs, shelves, crates, beds, curtains, everything must go. I personally use spray paint to mark buildings I have looted for items but left resources with an arrow, and buildings where I have gone the extra mile and scavenged with a do-not-go arrow. Why. Because I can. It's interesting to see just how many resources are available in the region and world when you do this. And if you ever make it to a day when you actually need some of those resources, well, truly well done, and you will thank your past self for nicely collecting materials from buildings you will probably never see again and placing that precious cloth somewhere you can easily find it. 
  • Log the weather. Use your journal to keep a daily weather report. How cold was it? Was it snowing, blizzarding, or nice and clear? Did the weather change over the day? It's tedious, but a weather log can tell you if the world gets colder over time, by how much, if the weather changes between regions, if some areas are colder than others. Sure, you could just look this stuff up in the wiki, or learn through personal experience of general tendencies, but there is something truly satisfying about gathering the data yourself, and actually noting the changes with your own eyes and pen.
  • Find every single little survivors cairn. I like to spray an arrow over ones I've found before so I know if I've logged it yet or not.
  • Tinder. Use all the tinder. Do you need to? No. Can you? Absolutely. Burn all those left over remnants of civilization, you weren't going to use those stacks of paper anyway. Cat tail heads left abandoned all over the ice? So unsightly, collect them all and use them instead.
  • Make a Library. Collect all of the books from across the game world in a single location, and lay them all out. 
  • Breadcrumb trails. Leave little trails of tinder or sticks as emergency markers between locations such as fishing huts and shelter in case you get stuck in a blizzard.
  • Harvest animals completely. You probably don't need another wolf pelt or more guts, but you should take it all and cure it anyway. It's rude to waste nature's bounty.
  • Keep and place bedrolls around campfires and key shelters without a bed of their own. You're sure to find/make at least a couple on your playthrough, so you should make use of them. Bedrolls eventually decay and need repairing, and you can't place a ruined bedroll. You can however place an almost ruined one, and then keep using it even when it's ruined, as long as you never pick it up again. It won't convey any warmth, but you can at least take a nap where you might not be able to otherwise. If you are strategic in where you put them, you might not even need to carry a bedroll around for certain trips.
  • Make friends with the corpses. Find someone freezing in the now? Give then a bandage, a match, a stick, a can, and a couple painkillers or some other necessities and be on your way. I'm sure with your gracious gifts they'll be up and about and on their way in no time. Or at least after a small nap.
  • Keep your tools fresh. With the introduction of the milling machine, now you can repair your tools long after you run out of whetstones as long as you have scrap. Try not to let any get too broken, and repair them when you can. How many perfect hatchets can you hoard? You'll never need more than one at once, if that, but still. It's the principle of the thing. Who says you can't open a store and sell some new shiny knives in the quiet apocalypse?
  • How rich can you get? Keep a stash of all the cash you can find. I'm sure it's not stealing, finders keepers, right?
  • How long can you keep a fire going? You could always do this in a nice sheltered fireplace in your base, but you could also make a signal fire somewhere sheltered from the wind and have to make frequent trips to keep it going. 
  • Become a picky eater. Finding food too easy to get? Try limiting yourself to one food source. Maybe you only want moose, so you have to ration your kill to last however long it takes to find the next one. Either you will have to employ starvation tactics while you wait, or you have to travel constantly, chasing your meat around Great Bear, hoping to find an elusive spawn before you starve. Or maybe you only want fish? Or what if you want to try a whole playthrough as a vegetarian?? Sure, food is (mostly) finite without meat, but how long can you last?
  • Feed the wolves. How many can you successfully bait in a row without getting mauled? Maybe you want to try taming a few, venturing out regularly to feed your aggressive friends.
  • Craft as much as you can. I'm sure someday you will need 500 arrow heads or 30 pants. Great way to pass the time, and having clothes or tools to put away is much more satisfying than a pile of old hides who knows how deep.
  • Never stay in the same place longer than a day/week/however long you want. Blizzards will try mess with this, but if you're always on the move it can help combat cabin fever and also help you manage your shelter and supplies. Get out there, see the world!
  • Get everything down from TWM summit. Everything. Not just the useful stuff. I'm talking about all those crates and carting all that wood down with you. Or, for a nice change of pace, why not set your main base at the summit? It'd be super annoying, but how many people can say they have successfully hauled all their loot from all over Great Bear up to the top of TWM and managed to live there???
  • Set rules on what weapons you can use for what animals. Bow for the deer, rifle for the bear. snare for the rabbit, crowbar to the face for a wolf. Might be sub-optimal, but who doesn't want to bash hundreds of wolves in the face with a crowbar?
  • Battery pile. Find all the car batteries you can from all over the island and haul and stack them all up somewhere instead of breaking them down. 
  • Maul memorials. Use sticks, stones, tinder, torches whatever to mark locations wherever you get mauled. Watch them build up in areas over time, and discover hotspots of almost-death.

Those are some of my ideas. Sure some of them might be terribly impractical, but might be worth a good laugh. Please add comments with you own personal challenges and let me know what you think of these and what random things you do to help pass the days! Keeping things interesting and surviving in the long dark doesn't have to be about making it harder, you can make it fun and quirky too!

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Any level - One zone only challenge - Start and finish a complete run without ever leaving your starting zone.  Do a separate run for each zone.  The only exception is for Bleak Inlet (because of the passcode needed to get into the cannery).  For that zone, you can start your run in Mystery Lake, but only pick up matches and a bedroll (if starting gear is set to low). and/or sticks while still in Mystery Lake or while in the Ravine.  (ETA:  I forgot, you may also need to get a rope from Mystery Lake or the rail car in the Ravine.)  Get as many skills as possible to Level 5 in each zone, get as many different items crafted as possible in each zone, and survive as long as you can in each zone.  This really helps with learning the individual maps and learning what resources are lacking in each zone at the various baseline resource availability settings and learning which skills are possible to max in each zone and which ones are not at the different resource levels as well.

Any Level, but requires that animals be set to Passive - You won't hurt me, I won't hurt you challenge - Basically, this is a kill nothing challenge.  Scavenge what you can when you can and discover how long you can survive as a total pacifist (Hint:  scaring that wolf off his kills is allowed)

Edited by UpUpAway95
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