Re: Survival: 21st Century Man vs. Wilderness

#1
In another thread, someone was lamenting how almost all transmigrated MC's land in other worlds either in, or on the doorstep of whatever passes for civilisation, which got me thinking:

How long would an average 21st Century denizen of an industrialised nation last, if dropped into an alien wilderness with nothing but the clothes on their back?

Bear in mind that even here on Earth, there are countless places that many people would struggle to survive in long enough to reach the nearest civilisation; deserts, jungles, forests, islands, tundras, plains.

The more extreme environments are pretty much death sentences ie; eg; deserts, tundra.

Re: Survival: 21st Century Man vs. Wilderness

#2
assuming at least a moderately accomodating climate, so no extreme heat or cold, I'd give most people about a week. That is assuming there is no wildlife actively hunting them.

You can go for weeks without food, but only days without water. We can function properly without food for more than a week, but only a day or so without water. Once you drink contaminated water, which is a decent probability, your days are numbered. Dysentery or just diarrhea will kill you

A lot of people will know what to do in theory, but not in practice. Creating a fire is much harder than they show in survival shows.

Re: Survival: 21st Century Man vs. Wilderness

#3
An actual alien wilderness, with different plant and animal life than Earth? Right up until they took their first breath, and the allergens in the air killed them.

But if we pretend that's not an issue, and if they don't run into any explicit dangers right away, then they might live long enough to eat their first berry or mushroom-equivalent, or take a drink of water out of a spring, and kill themselves either via poison or bacterial infection.

Even if you switch it to a world with normal Earth plants and animals, poison or starvation is still likely unless they're in an environment they're very familiar with and they've learned the skills to survive in that specific environment. Putting them in an unfamiliar wilderness with no supplies is basically a death sentence for anyone. Even if there was civilization within walking distance, they wouldn't have any idea which direction to go to find it. They'd be wandering aimlessly. Even if they could use the sun or stars to guide themselves, they wouldn't know if the direction they were going would make things better or worse.

Not being a survivalist, the best option I can think of is to find running water, follow that to a stream, and then to a river, and then to a bigger river, and hope that you'll eventually reach civilization somewhere along the waterway. Use half-remembered memories of old movies and tv shows to try to figure out how to spearfish and start a fire, and hope like hell that the nighttime temperature doesn't drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The character would probably still die, and I doubt it would make for an interesting story. Even if you reach civilization, you wouldn't be able to speak the language, so that might not help you unless the people are altruistic to outsiders.

Re: Survival: 21st Century Man vs. Wilderness

#5
well, there is one thing we (modern people) don't often realize. Creatures that don't naturally hunt humans, don't hunt humans unless they run out of other stuff to hunt. We humans aren't the only ones who shy back from eating stuff we haven't learned to recognize as food. Anyone some fried larva? 

If they are used to people, there are two options, the first being the most likely. 1: they have learned to associate humans with danger and will avoid you even if you're not armed. Even if humans don't kill them, just hurting creatures is enough to make them avoid you. Mothers will teach this to their kits, pups or whatever too, so it doesn't even have to be direct experience. They see mom smell a spot for a specific scent, copy her and smell it. Mom gets agitated and turns into the opposite direction. babies learn: not a good smell, avoid.

Or 2: they have learned to view humans as food and will hunt you. This is the most common in really young or really old specimen, or exiled pack hunters, as they may be unable to hunt their usual prey and have been desperate enough to hunt humans.

So either you will be far enough away that creatures don't view you as food, simply because they don't know you, or it's more likely creatures will avoid you. Trouble could come from true apex predators that view a hunting party as food, but since you're far from villages and such they will also associate such parties with pain since there are no helpless villagers this deep into the wilderness.

Danger is more likely to come from intelligent creatures or from animals hungry enough to try anything. And that means really hungry. A group of wild wolves on the hunt will pass a human by in favor of some good old deer.

Keep in mind that, unless a creature has a way to heal itself better than normally possible in nature, big injuries are lethal. Wounds will get infected and fester. Broken legs, hips or shoulders are a death sentence. A rib puncturing a lung means death. Internal bleeding, a punctured stomach, a dislocated jaw, all are deadly. Almost all hunting tactics in known animals are about minimal risk for maximum rewards

Re: Survival: 21st Century Man vs. Wilderness

#6
Surviving in the Wilderness is HARD. Everyone knows you need water food and shelter but the thing that will kill the most is probably improper time management. It gets Dark faster than people think and if someone searches for food/water too long (and probably don't accomplish it anyway bc who can hunt an animal in this time/age anyway with their bare hands or a spear? and veggies you forage prob doesnt replenish the energy you burned to find it or it kills you) then they don't have a fire/Shelter and vice versa and you stumble in the dark until you are done.

Re: Survival: 21st Century Man vs. Wilderness

#8

A Wrote: Never underestimate what the human animal will do to survive.


Never mind transmigration to a alien world where I know nothing, if I were to magically wake up tomorrow morning in the exact same spot as I'd fallen asleep, but, say, 300 years ago?

I would have to contend with lions, leopards and cheetah as outright territorial predators. And did I mention Hyenas? Or African Wild Dogs?

Bigger threats would be the several indigenous varieties of venomous snakes. Black Mamba, Puff Adders, Boomslang - may not view an adult human as prey, but that isn't going to make a difference if you're careless or unlucky enough to get bitten. And Puff Adders are the lovely combination of hard to spot, rapidly fatal and too damn lazy to get out of your way.

Scorpions? Only one local variety is outright potentially lethal, but even those that aren't are no fun to be stung by.

The elephants and rhino will leave you alone. Or not. Depends. Hippo's? Only adorable on TV. In nature they're murder machines, especially if their young are near.

Found a water source? Remember, "Never smile at a Crocodile"...

These are just the obvious threats, and at least the weather isn't actively trying to kill you...

Re: Survival: 21st Century Man vs. Wilderness

#9
(spicy hot take, but men can't even wear a mask during a respiratory pandemic, they sure as hell can't survive in a foreign wilderness lol)

Nah but really it boils down to the fact that humans are social creatures, a lot of our adaptability comes in the form of cultural and knowledge exchange and unless they are already well versed in wilderness survival (and they luck out and end up in a similar environment) then they are goners faster than you can say "i see smoke." Just look at the history of fur trappers in N. America. No seriously, that's the perfect example. The europeans thought they were so rugged and superior to the native populations but they almost all froze to death in the first winter, they didn't know how to make shoes, they couldn't patch their own clothes, they constantly eat the wrong foods, without the assistance of the indigenous population they failed and those that did get that assistance still did pretty damn awful (but bragged like no tomorrow lol). People die quick and hard. If you want to write a decent survival story it better star a skilled individual in an environment they are familiar with or a ton of people working together in an environment they aren't familiar with (and a good chunk of them better know how to garden, sew, skin, tan, fish, trap, sew, sew, did i mention sew?)

Re: Survival: 21st Century Man vs. Wilderness

#10
just had a scene of the sewing in my head

"I can sew!"
"okay, what do you need."
"A needle, thread and scissors, though a knife will do."

"Anyone who can make a needle? Okay, this may take some time. Thread? You can make thread?"
"Sure, I just need some plant fibers or wool or something."
"Okay, wool is a no-go at the moment. Just tell me which plant and we'll collect fibers."
"How should I know which plant it is? I just got it at the store."

Re: Survival: 21st Century Man vs. Wilderness

#12
It would be at least 90% luck. Like, does it rain when I arrive and I get soaked the first thing that happens? Lol that's too bad. Is there a decomposing body higher up the water source? Unfortunate. If my destination is random, do I arrive in a patch of hogweed or a massive bramble of thorns the size of my arm? Because. Well. No thank you. 

That said, surviving in a fantasy world wouldn't necessarily be the same as surviving on Earth. Maybe I don't need to build shelter because the world is basically a megafauna paradise and I'm comparatively the size of a mouse and I can hide in that big old bramble. Or there's a massive predator around and the rest of the carnivorous fauna is sated and cause me no trouble because the big one leaves behind enough brontosaurus carrion to go around. 

But generally speaking, it's just luck. I think many people with a bit of wildlife experience to go around may survive long enough to figure out what they're doing, if they are familiar with the kind of climate they are in and find themselves in good starting conditions. IF they're willing to put in the trial and error. Waiting to tan a hide to sew clothes until winter nearly there, is a bad idea. You don't want to wait until you need the fur clothes to figure out that scraping a hide is fucking difficult and that you'll probably ruin a few. 

Re: Survival: 21st Century Man vs. Wilderness

#13
But also: Humans are social animals. Even someone who is really, really good at surviving is likely to struggle if they're alone for too long and run into a problem they don't have the skills to solve. The whole idea that someone could just transmigrate to a fantasy world and become OP without a support network or a civilization to source problem solvers from is wish fulfillment in itself.