Best survival weapons for non-weapon use?


Advice

Scarab Sages

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The machete got me pondering what weapons would be best for wilderness survival as its actually described as being primarily for cutting down vegetation. So it got me wondering are there any other weapons that people think would be a good thing to have along from a survival perspective rather than a combat one? An axe could be useful for cutting up firewood and a kinfe has many uses. Are there any other things that people think would be good to have along for surviving in the wilderness rather than fighting things?


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Cold Iron Sawback Kunai...

It's a saw, a shovel, a climbing piton, a crowbar, and a simple weapon with two damage types as well as a range increment.

What more can you ask for?


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I like the Sawback Kunai, but I think "Shovel" needs a bit of a clarification - it's the size of a throwing knife. It's more like a trowel than what people think of as a Shovel.

But yes, it would make a great pooper scooper.


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An Adamantine dwarven maulaxe would be pretty useful for survival. It can be used as both an axe and a hammer. Being able to ignore up to 20 points of hardness mean it can cut or break just about anything. Even a normal dwarven maulaxe will be useful.


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We cannot forget about the Monk's Spade...

It is an excellent garden tool, able to dig and work the ground, as well as hoe, edge, cut for clear, cut for harvest, and take care of any pests/vermin/unwanted guests. In any environment with multiple people working, the Monk's Spade provides an excellent leaning rest for everyone except the one guy actually working.


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A simple hatchet is pretty versatile. An axe blade, but also small enough to do some finer cuts with; a minor hammer head on the back end of the blade - not big enough do deal Bludgeoning damage with but good enough to tap spikes into earth or wood. Whips, knotted ropes or chain weapons for obvious reasons. A net. Also, speaking of shovels... don't forget about your trusty shield, or even a properly sturdy vambrace or greave.

Also, don't overthink it: Unarmed Strike is virtually the best weapon to use in a survival situation. Using hands and feet, humanoids can break wood, manufacture simple tools, assemble shelters and so on.

Another way to go... arcane Cantrips. Acid Splash is only V and S; you don't need any material components to deliver 1d3 Acid from 30' away. How handy could THAT be hunting small game? Spark is an Evocation, so KIND of like a weapon, and it can be V OR S. Now you have fire all the time too.

Seriously, imagine an Arcane caster with access to Cantrips and 1 rank in Survival. If they have a Familiar, even better. Craft is an Int based skill that can be used untrained; with several builds, Int will be their highest stat.

If the caster can get to a good source of flint or chert they can use Craft: Stonemasonry (or some other Craft skill) to make simple stone knives or saws. Mage Hand, Spark, Mending, Prestidigitation... these would be invaluable tools in the caster's survival. Add in Acid Splash for self defense, a dagger and a club as well, and, if they DO have a familiar, their little buddy helping them hunt wild game and a level 1 Arcane caster could conceivably survive quite well for some time in the wild.


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Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
A simple hatchet...

They even wrote a book about it.


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The traveling kettle would have a number of uses due to being a vessel for storing water and a cooking implement, though that's more because it's literally a kettle than the fact that it is a weaponized kettle. In a similar vein, Iron Spikes are tools that double as weak weapons.

If you have rope, or can make cordage via Survival, Craft, etc., then the humble quarterstaff can be used to make a number of structures. Survival shelters, bridges, an improvised tower to get a better view of the surrounding area.

Wooden stakes are useful in a variety of roles, and can be further split into kindling if necessary. Clubs could provide the basis for a torch, or larger ones (esp. a Large or Huge sized Creature's Club) could be used as fuel for a fire rather than kindling.


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A tiny shovel, and a handful of earth and stone. Let me explain.

Expeditious Construction and Expeditious Excavation are both Level 1 Wizard/Sorcerer spells. Construction can also be accessed by Druid while Excavation shows up on the Bloodrager list.

One use of the Excavation spell gets you a 5' cube pit in earth, clay or sand. Now, if you're not stranded in this type of environment I don't know what to tell you, but otherwise I'll progress.

Every casting of Construction yields a 3' high, 10' long and 3' thick wall of packed earth and loose stone, kind of like the filler between courses of masonry in some castle walls. These summoned walls have to stand on solid footing, but once summoned they're permanent.

Finally, Craft is a skill that can be used untrained. Simply weaving sticks together to make a skein, basket, a ladder or the wattle of a wall are all between a DC 10-15, so possible if difficult for an untrained level 1 PC. However, using this skill and these spells, the caster could:

Excavate a 5' deep pit, surround the pit with another 3' of walls creating an 8' deep by 5' wide space, then roof this with a very simple skein of wood and bark, which is then heaped with debris.

The caster now has a permanent dugout hut, provided they have the materials on hand for the roof and the proper ground environment in the first place. If the caster can cast from the Sorcerer/Wizard list and also has Cantrips, they may have access to Spark meaning they can start a fire; other spells and Cantrips could be very useful in finding and obtaining game in the area; finding basic water and food in the area is a function of Survival with a Survival DC 10 which, again, can be used Untrained.

You now have decent food, water and shelter covered until either local wood supplies run out or a blight comes along and ruins the foraging in the area. FYI, a "tiny shovel" could be crafted by making a Simple (DC 10) roll using chert or flint, flintknapping a sliver and shaping that to resemble the blade of a shovel, and affixing it to a split stick or branch using bark cordage rolled on your leg if need be.


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Maybe Flint was more readily available in different times, different universe... but, I have literally never found a piece of random Flint large enough to pick up the craft of flintknapping and form even a tiny shovel.

The GM would not be outside of reason to demand a Survival check to try locate a suitable stone, and/or Knowledge Nature to know what you are actually looking at... maybe a Profession Miner check, for you Kobolds out there. Most people could not even identify the limestone that flint shows up in, much less the flint, itself.

Probably better off with a Sawback Kunai... for it is also a shovel, after all.


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VoodistMonk wrote:
Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
A simple hatchet...
They even wrote a book about it.

Two, actually.


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VoodistMonk wrote:

Maybe Flint was more readily available in different times, different universe... but, I have literally never found a piece of random Flint large enough to pick up the craft of flintknapping and form even a tiny shovel.

The GM would not be outside of reason to demand a Survival check to try locate a suitable stone, and/or Knowledge Nature to know what you are actually looking at... maybe a Profession Miner check, for you Kobolds out there. Most people could not even identify the limestone that flint shows up in, much less the flint, itself.

Probably better off with a Sawback Kunai... for it is also a shovel, after all.

Gotta be regional. I grew up in IL, in the USA. Flint happens a lot along rivers, streams and (apparently, according to Google) wherever oceans USED to be. Anyway, during HS I did 4 years of weeks-long field trips learning to live as the indigenous peoples did and have found flint and made my own knives and simple tools.

The process of pressure-flaking with a hammer stone and crafting tools can also be done with obsidian, some kinds of jasper and other rocks in the composition of chert.

Last, but certainly not least, if the spell caster was really desperate... they could find a couple tiny-sized sticks and pull bark, tall grasses or vines together. One stick could be the "handle" of the shovel while the other would simply be rubbed against a rock until it resembled the head of a shovel, then the two could be tied together into the spell component.


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I actually built a character around this very concern.

Slings: Free to buy, weightless, can throw bullets or stones (turn a 1d2 x2 at 10ft stone to a 1d3x2 at 50ft projectile. DC5 to craft (Under alternate crafting rules), bullets just need clay and time and a DC5/10 check to craft for survival animal hunting ammo.
Can be used as cordage, knotted together as a simple rope, or for traps.
A normal sling can be between 1 and 3ft long when folded, or 2-6ft when at length and be 1 single piece of cordage/leather. Technically you could have 50 of them stashed all over your character as strapping.

Sawback mod, hollow pommel mod, Brass Dagger: Light, simple, cheap, impervious to corrosion. Can be used as a simple woodworking tool (therefore DC5 under alternate crafting rules, to make quarterstaves, wood spikes, clubs/wood hammer, or simple slings and ropes from plant fibre). Plus it is also a knife for regular survival uses. I am sure for a higher DC you could craft fishing spears, shovels, bows/crossbows, arrows, furniture, etc.

Travelling tea kettle/adamantine kettle: Container, boiling vessel, hammer, inefficient oil/wick lamp or dry tinder holder.

Bonus Mentions:

Machete: Obvious for its use as a weapon/knife/axe/+1 survival, sawback mod to get it to count as a simple woodworking tool as well. Heck hollow pommel it to hold a potion of endure elements/bandages/tinder/candle/etc.

Bill: Literally a farming tool made weapon, great for harvesting fruits, branches, or clearing brush at reach.

Net/Bola/Boomerang: Hunting tools, and net to hold supplies.

Halfling sling staff: All the advantages of a sling, plus a club and walking staff.

Rope dart: Rope and retrievable hunting implement, also has a metal spike for log splitting/climbing.


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Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
Every casting of Construction yields a 3' high, 10' long and 3' thick wall of packed earth and loose stone, kind of like the filler between courses of masonry in some castle walls. These summoned walls have to stand on solid footing, but once summoned they're permanent.

Packed earth or loose stone, although I suppose the "or" could be read as inclusive so you could also do a packed earth and loose stone combo wall. That would help get some of the benefits of stone while also having the earth fill in the gaps to make it less permeable to the wind.

The loose stone only version could be used as a source of stone for making celt axes or other stone tools or weapons, too. Even more so if Stone Shape were on the table to get the basic form down for further finishing. Of course, if Stone Shape is on the table, then you can eventually make yourself a stone hut, or even larger structure, over time once your immediate needs are satisfied.

For further reference, Expeditious Excavation can clear out a 5' cube, which is 125 cubic feet of soil. Using a Common Shovel, a single person can dig out 2 cubic feet per minute, meaning you can excavate the same amount as one use of the spell in about 62.5 minutes. Although you would not be able to do perfectly squared sides as easily as using the spell, and you'd likely need to take some extra time to have a slope downward on one side. OTOH, you would be able to control where the removed soil went, too, which could aid in adding some elevation to the sides, or, such as if you strike clay, allow it to be set aside for further use.

So it depends on the exact details, number of people, resources already possessed, etc.


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While you could indeed dig 2 cubic feet of soil in a minute, you're not going to keep that up for 62.5 minutes. For one thing, the shovel isn't going to go through tree roots, hard clay or rocks. Even turf and weeds will slow you down. And that 125 cuft of hole will expand to some 300 cuft of loose dirt which has to go somewhere.

You will also need a mattock, a wheelbarrow, maybe a ladder to climb in and out of your 5' deep hole, a big bucket, a friend to lift the bucket out of the hole, some boards to stop the sides collapsing and to make a roadway for the barrow, and a lot more than 62.5 minutes. And maybe a pickaxe, a hatchet and a steel bar.

Added to that, a 2cp Common Shovel is NOT going to have a decent steel blade. It will be wooden: blunt and fragile. It's a shovel, not a spade: a spoon, not a knife.

Digging holes is properly hard work and creates a fantastic amount of dirt.

And the hole will fill with rainwater or ground seepage. And, if the dirt is deep and soft enough to dig with a shovel, Ankhegs.

Scarab Sages

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Mudfoot wrote:

While you could indeed dig 2 cubic feet of soil in a minute, you're not going to keep that up for 62.5 minutes. For one thing, the shovel isn't going to go through tree roots, hard clay or rocks. Even turf and weeds will slow you down. And that 125 cuft of hole will expand to some 300 cuft of loose dirt which has to go somewhere.

You will also need a mattock, a wheelbarrow, maybe a ladder to climb in and out of your 5' deep hole, a big bucket, a friend to lift the bucket out of the hole, some boards to stop the sides collapsing and to make a roadway for the barrow, and a lot more than 62.5 minutes. And maybe a pickaxe, a hatchet and a steel bar.

Added to that, a 2cp Common Shovel is NOT going to have a decent steel blade. It will be wooden: blunt and fragile. It's a shovel, not a spade: a spoon, not a knife.

Digging holes is properly hard work and creates a fantastic amount of dirt.

And the hole will fill with rainwater or ground seepage. And, if the dirt is deep and soft enough to dig with a shovel, Ankhegs.

And I'm now imagining the kind of magical pests you can need to deal with in Golarion.

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