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There Are No Tents

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In many a Role-Playing Game, the Player Character can't keep Walking the Earth and deal with Random Encounters forever due to running low on Hit Points or Mana Meter. Since a Healing Potion is best saved for emergencies, the easiest (and cheapest) way to recover is to visit a Trauma Inn and rest for the night (at any time of the day, since usually the game barely if at all keeps track of the passage of time).

Unfortunately, the hero and their party can't just set up camp in the wilderness; the only place where you can get a good night's rest is at an inn, which of course costs money. The cost almost always depends on how far has the player advanced along the plot (or the character's level, in some cases). This can go to ridiculous extremes, such as "inns" in the middle of dungeons, to avoid getting in tents.

A form of Resting Recovery, where additional restrictions are placed on where you can use that mechanic. Well on its way to being a Dead Horse Trope, as recent RPGs tend to offer characters more options to deal with resource shortage and often have faster-paced plots where taking off days at a time wouldn't be appropriate for the hero. Back in the day, however, it used to be a commonly used pacing mechanism, forcing the party to level up and get gear until they can survive a lengthy sequence between being able to recover. This mechanic can be used without involving inns or rest time at all if the game has save points that trigger the same effect instantaneously.

See also the multiple exceptions below.


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    Action Adventure 
  • Quest for Glory I. The Hero is only human, and while he can stay up for 24 hours without a problem, by the second consecutive night, he would be in danger of just passing out. Unless he gets a night's rest at one of the safe points scattered about the valley, he would just fall to the ground and fall asleep, which quickly resulted in death from Night Gaunt. Later games gave him a permanent room at the Inn, which was either free or forced a weekly charge on him, but the dangers of sleeping in the wilderness were still extreme. The only exception is Quest for Glory III, in which it is possible to sleep anywhere in the savannah or jungle as long as you build a campfire, which is actually required for one plot-important occurrence.
  • Sort of averted in Phoenotopia and Phoenotopia: Awakening. There are no tents as such, and there are a lot of inns with wildly different prices (one of them only has the luxury suite available). But there are also beds around the place that you can decide to sleep in for free (including one in the open air that looks kind of like a campsite), and if you can exit an area and return to the world map, you always have the option of heading home and sleeping in your own bed.

    Eastern RPG 
  • Averted with Kingdom Hearts ...sort of. You get "Tent" items that heal the party. However, each world's adventure is presented as a non-stop series of events that would only take a day or less, and Sora and the party have a spaceship and hub world where they can rest their heads. The "tent" items seem to be a hold-over from the Final Fantasy series.
  • Paper Mario
    • In Paper Mario 64, all of the Toad Houses are free. When storming Bowser's castle, there are a few beds in prison that Mario can take a kip in.
    • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Mario is at one point shipwrecked, along with part of the ship's crew. When the crew constructs a makeshift tent, they then charge him for using it. This is actually made insulting by the fact that Mario was charged with leading the ship as captain, and everyone still refers to him as such and has him solve all the problems while shipwrecked.
  • Averted in Pok√©mon Sword and Shield, where you can set up camp anywhere except on water or during a Gym Mission and cook curry for your Pokémon to heal them and give them additional perks.
  • Tales of Symphonia is another game that does not allow you to use a tent in the field, instead replacing it with a "cooking" feature that allows you to make and eat food to heal your party. It can be very helpful, but there is never any biological necessity to do so. Raine also has her "Personal" skill, which drops the cost of her healing spells to 1 when the party is standing on a Memory Circle.
    • ...a system which began five years before with the PlayStation Tales of Phantasia. Tales of Eternia averted it completely. though. While the cooking system was there, you could also heal your HP (but not your TP) on the world map by camping. Dungeons also had fire pits at which the characters could pull out sleeping bags and camp for HP.
    • Also fully averted in Tales of Vesperia, which does have tents and other camping sets. Here camping provides the full benefits of a Trauma Inn, though cheaper sets heal less than 100% HP/TP. It even includes a plausible justification for why the item is consumed when used: a smelling monster repellant.
  • Final Fantasy: Most of the games with an Overworld Not to Scale do utilise tents or cottages, except in dungeons where they can only be used at Healing Checkpoints. The later games fall into this trope.
    • Final Fantasy XI: Characters can simply use /heal to rest and recover HP and MP. There are no inns for players, either, but that's because every major city has a Mog House/Rent-A-Room that you can go into and restore your health for free. Heck, smaller towns even have Nomad Moogles that let you swap jobs and restore your health too.
    • Final Fantasy X did away with tents since now just interacting with a save point heals you.
  • Chrono Trigger averts the trope with Shelters, which function pretty much identically to Tents, including the single-use component.
  • The Shadow Hearts series follows in Final Fantasy tradition with the tent, but like so many other things, it pokes fun at the concept: the tents are described as "fully biodegradable," and the reason given for their single-use nature is that "no one can figure out how to fold them back up."
  • Further exception: Breath of Fire III actually has a "Camp" option that lets you put up a tent and camp overnight. The only drawback is that reduced maximum HP (the game's penalty for Non-Lethal K.O.) can only be healed in inns. The camping tent is the site of several cut scenes, as well.
    • The fourth one had a camping system too.
    • Dragon Quarter is also an exception to this rule — there are no tents nor inns anywhere in the game. There are a few spots where the characters will "take a break" and talk for a while, but no health is restored afterwards. This is justified because your characters don't have time to sleep since Nina needs to get to the surface before her lungs completely collapse and Ryu has to escort her there before his soul is completely taken over by the Wyrm.
    • In Breath of Fire II, it's partially subverted. You cannot pitch a tent, but you can, in at least one point, rest outside. It's like an in, but you don't have to pay. Partially justified by the fact that when roaming a field full of monsters, manipulating time, become a dragon, and probably magic exposure helps the need to not sleep, and the outside encounter is somebody inviting you to rest with him, meaning it's most likely safe.
  • One more exception: Valkyrie Profile allows you to spend "periods" of allotted time to heal your party on the world map.
  • Grandia II partly averted this where the characters will set up a campsite when on a long journey, however, they're scripted events that happen maybe three times. So it plays the trope straight most of the time. This originated in the first Grandia game, where the party would oftentimes have excursions over large landmasses and would set up camp.
  • Super Mario RPG: The game plays this one pretty straight, having "?" blocks with a mushroom (which fully heals the team) throughout the game's dungeons, oftentimes right before a boss. The trope is also taken to the extreme in one area, having an inn (along with item and armor shops) IN THE MIDDLE OF A FREAKING VOLCANO. Said inn also shows you that Adam Smith Hates Your Guts; the owner's prices are the second highest in the game. Comfort doesn't seem to be necessary to heal damage and restore star power, either; in the same volcano inn, there are no beds (Mario wakes up laying face-down on a pile of crates in the corner).
  • Skies of Arcadia does not allow the party to rest and recover even when they're out sailing the skies. On a ship. With hammocks. Although random encounters are common while sailing which might explain the impossibility of resting, they do stop coming when the ship is not moving. And later in the game, you gain the ability to travel in the upper atmosphere, where there are no random encounters, but you still can't rest on-ship. Of course not, the air is too thin up there, you could suffocate in your sleep when your breathing slowed!
  • Averted in Opoona. You can carry pocket tents around and sleep in them outside whenever you want.
  • Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City introduced the concept of camping in the Labyrinth to the series; all you need is a campground and a Tent. Farmers can also learn Camp Mastery to buff up the benefits from sleeping, and an early Side Quest involves looking for clues about what happened to a cautious Guild at the campsites.
  • Somehow averted and exaggerated at the same time in EXA_PICO games. You see, you can take a rest in either save points or inns, no Tent items needed. However, much of the Visual Novel part of the game happens when you take a rest and chat with the girls to increase relationship value. While you do this, the background is that of a tent (large enough), even if you take a rest in an inn.
  • No tents in Dragon Quest, and very few dungeons have healing spots (which are strictly for healing, they are not save points). Healing must be done in inns, which tend to be much cheaper than in some other games. Some dungeons do contain ordinary inns, but these are exceptionally rare and usually cost a lot more than inns at a town.
  • Both played straight and partially subverted in Dragon's Dogma, as you can't carry a tent around with you to rest, and you can't sleep in the many tents around Gransys that are part of bandit camps or abandoned campsites, but you CAN rest in tents that are part of "official" encampments set up by soldiers of the Main City. If you pay, of course.
  • Inverted in I am Setsuna where there are Final Fantasy-style Tent items, but no inns. Fortunately the Tents are a reasonable 200 gold.

    First Person Shooter 
  • The majority of mods for all three S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games include a sleeping bag for the player to sleep because otherwise time is slow to pass and night in the Zone is even more dangerous than the day. Though you do have to have a good sense of where you camp because otherwise, a mutant will pay you a nighttime visit...

  • Kingdom of Loathing has a Noobsport Tent that's available from the Market Demon. It's the first step up from Sleeping on the Ground. There are better options up to and including a full-sized house, a giant pumpkin, an Egyptian-style "BRICKO�" pyramid, a hobo fortress made of scrap metal, and an alien hypercube, but the Item-of-the-Month mountain hotel is by far the best. That said, since you can reach all unlocked locations from all unlocked locations without much trouble, you're not exactly wandering the earth, so a personal place for you to rest is all you need. The more expensive/difficult-to-assemble options are also Awesome, but Impractical for the simple reason that they're permanently destroyed when you ascend.
  • Averted in the old Runescape Classic, fatigue is an issue that has to be addressed by sleeping in beds or by... Sleeping bags. Got removed in the modern Runescape because it was a Scrappy Mechanic.

    Platform Game 

    Simulation Game 
  • Some of the Rune Factory games contain sleeping bags that allow you to spend the night in caves and dungeons. In the first game in the series, the sleeping bag is a reusable (and upgradable) item, and occasionally came in handy because in that game you needed to clear a dungeon in one go or it would just reset. In its other appearances, it's much less useful, mainly because you can now leave a dungeon without losing progress, but also because it's now a single-use item. Due to the resulting underwhelming use by the players, the sleeping bags and camping skill were taken out in Rune Factory 3.

    Tabletop Game 
  • Zig-zagged in The One Ring: A night's rest out on the road is sufficient to begin recovering Endurance loss from a fight or other hardship, but long-term Fatigue from a journey can only be reduced by resting in a safe refuge like an inn — sleeping rough in potentially dangerous locations is part of the hardship of a journey, not a respite from it.

    Turn Based Strategy 
  • Exception: Ogre Battle 64 has a Camp option, that allows you to gradually restore energy (but not HP), but this option is only available if a unit is fatigued (ie. can't fight as well as they normally can), and also resting means fighting any enemies encountered with your unit asleep (unless you have Golems).
    • Strongholds would gradually restore HP, but not energy.

    Western RPG 
  • Storm of Zehir allows your party to rest for the night anytime in the wilderness (complete with tent icon), at the risk of being disturbed by wandering monsters.
  • Another Exception: In Ultima IV and V one could pitch camp in hostile territory, but you had to risk a monster attack. Having a guard stay awake meant they didn't get any healing. Having everyone asleep during a monster attack resulted in very bad odds.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind allows you to sleep anywhere, tent or no tent, as long as you're outside in the wilderness; if you want to sleep inside a city, you must do so in an inn or find an "unowned" bed. There are permanent campsites in the game world with tents, but none you can set up yourself.
    • In Oblivion, there are tents in the wilderness; permanent campsites, usually occupied by bandits you have to kill in order to sleep there. Nothing portable, however. Though this is correctable via downloadable mods. If you have the PC version, anyway.
    • Skyrim keeps the series' trend going. Once again, there are tents present in the game, mostly at permanent campsites and the like, but nothing portable.
  • SSI's Gold Box games made an effort to avoid this trope. You can camp and rest at any time except during combat, but resting outside of a designated area incurs the risk of interruption. Interruptions range from the benign (town watch urging you to move along if you sleep in the middle of town) to the dangerous (wandering enemies engaging you in combat, if you sleep in a hostile area).
  • Fallout:
    • The hero in Fallout can rest in the middle of nowhere. It's not like the world is infested with radioactive mutants, right?
    • In Fallout 3, the only rest points that actually restore your condition are beds (including mattresses or piles of makeshift bedding), and the game won't let you rest if there are enemies nearby. So as long as somebody abandoned a mattress in the middle of nowhere two hundred years ago, you're just fine.
    • Fallout: New Vegas continues this tradition, with some of the "beds" being nothing more than bedrolls or rush mats, yet still being non-portable. That is, until the Lonesome Road DLC adds the "Roughin' It Bedroll Kit," an item that lets the Courier rest any time he could Wait (i.e., when not falling or nearby enemies). Resting restores lost HP, and is necessary in Hardcore Mode, and there's even a Perk so that the Bedroll Kit grants the experience buff like the bed in your house.
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura works similarly to Fallout, although monsters may attack you (waking you up and generally being a minor inconvenience.)
  • In the Baldur's Gate series, you can rest in many places, but there's a good chance your sleep will be interrupted by wandering monsters if you're not at an inn. The trope's title, however, is explicitly averted—when the party sleeps, a rendered video of a fire and a tent plays. And if you try to sleep in the streets of Athkatla, a guard wakes you up and tells you to use an inn instead. That happens in most cities, really— particularly if the city has an inn.
  • The Spiritual Successor to BG, Dragon Age: Origins, thoroughly averts this trope. You have a party camp, implied to be set up near wherever you happen to be (though always the same map), and the game depicts a complete camp with tents, bedrolls, campfires, food, a pit latrine, and even a merchant and his autistic enchanter son who camp near you for protection and sell you stuff. Hell, your Player Character and his/her significant other can even use a tent for... other activities besides sleeping... with funny comments from other companions who've overheard later.
  • Wasteland actually had a bizarre version of this—resting would cure any and all hit point damage, and the best place to rest was in the middle of the hottest you-take-damage-if-you-don't-have-a-canteen part of the desert since no one would attack you there. The second best place was a temple built on and to nuclear physics.
  • Mount & Blade averts this full stop, giving you the option to set up camp (and pack up and leave) anywhere and anytime on the world map. While camping, you can still engage in some minor actions, like trying to persuade captured prisoners to join your party or reading the books you bought to boost your skills or attributes. Also setting up a camp restores the health for all heroes and the player if they are injured.
    • The only downside is that, unlike cities, villages, and castles, your camp won't protect you from the wandering hordes of bandits or hostile lords note  or if you are unlucky enough a passing campaign (a group of lords following a marshall). Time goes faster while you are in a camp so that gives you less time to react to incoming threats.
  • In Gothic series you can rest only on a bed.
  • Similarly, in The Witcher, Geralt can only meditate in crowded bar rooms and in the homes of the people he trusts.
  • This is a major plot and gameplay point in A Dance with Rogues. Finding a safe place to rest is a rare and relieving occasion for the Princess since there is only a handful of them throughout the entire module: her room at "The Bear Pit", her own house, a couple other inns in Part 2, and about one safe room (which you have to find first) per major dungeon. In one memorable case, a dungeon room is not flagged as safe until the Princess reverse-picks the lock on its door (i.e. locks it) from the inside. Occasionally, the mod lifts its restriction on the base game's Resting Recovery mechanic in otherwise unremarkable places—which usually indicates that you will have to use your Rod of Resurrection (which recharges upon rest) soon.
  • Averted in Pathfinder: Kingmaker, where the party can rest outside of combat and assign each member of the party a task such as foraging for food, cooking, standing guard, or even hiding the camp. Additionally, every character has a special ability that can affect your campsite in some way. You can even rest in dungeons, but only if you packed in provisions. You may be attacked while resting, and hiding the camp reduces the odds of it happening.
  • In For the King, the "Tinder Pack" item allows a character to set up a campsite with tent and campfire in any empty hex on the world map; the campsite possesses the two basic functions of a Trauma Inn, and allows any member of the party to Rest (regaining hit points) or Meditate (regaining focus, the game's version of mana) for a turn. Each tinder pack is single-use, but the campsite persists for several rounds; if you set up a campsite outside a dungeon, it will last long enough for the party to spend a couple of turns resting and meditating up to full health and focus, crawl the dungeon, and then rest and meditate again on the way out.
  • Averted with a tip towards realism in Darkest Dungeon. Dungeons longer than the default Short give you bundles of firewood (the longer the dungeon, the more bundles you receive). Using these in any room causes the heroes to camp. Healing depends on how much food you're willing to expend (the more the heroes get to eat, the better their recovery), and additional effects are available depending on what Camping Skills you use; the use of the skills is limited by time periods since the heroes can only afford to spend so long fooling about before they have to rest. Unless specific skills are used, there's a percentage chance that the heroes will be ambushed when they wake up, forcing you into combat. If you take a Shieldbearer, you will have to fight.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Radiation Island: You can sleep through the night in-game, but only if you're in a bed inside a building. Fortunately you can craft a bed and place it inside any building you find. Doing so protects you from attacks, but increases your hunger meter and any mooks that might have chased you into the building will just wait for you to wake up. The last place you slept is always your respawning point, so choose it wisely.
  • Red Dead Redemption averts this, using a campsite as the main savehouse for the player that can be set up anywhere. Marston doesn't use a tent on-screen at all, as he idles crouched next to the fire, and when told to let time pass (i.e. sleep), Marston just curls up into a ball and closes his eyes, presumably relaxing a bit further before going to sleep either in a bivy, or a proper tent if the player purchases the campsite upgrade.
    • Red Dead Redemption 2 expands upon this feature by making the camp fully interactable, you can put up a tent, lay down, cook, brew coffee, and do many other activities at the camp. Your only reason to even stay at an inn is mostly just to get a bath or try on a new hat you bought, but you will want to do one of these things eventually so you can't keep camping forever.
  • Initially played straight in Rimworld, but one of the last patches before leaving Early Access added Old West-style bedrolls that could not only be used as furniture but when taken on a caravan going off the map would provide stat and morale bonuses because your colonists were getting better rest on the road. There are still no literal tents in the base game but at least one Game Mod rectifies this deficiency.
  • Valheim: Despite the player character being a deathless Viking exploring a world empty of civilization, sleeping is possible only in a bed, that's surrounded by walls and a roof, has a lit fire nearby, and has no enemies nearby. Sleeping for the night is often a matter of either teleporting back to a main base (requiring the materials to make a portal) or finding an abandoned building (well, abandoned by its builders, you still have to clear out the greydwarves/skeletons/zombies etc. still lurking inside) and setting up camp there.