This is some kind of follow-up to this question. TL;DR for the question : There are multiple small (10-15 members) nomads that must travel from place not to be found by monsters that hunt them.

This is a fantastic world in a medieval era. The nomads have some experience with hunting and fighting. This means they have knowledge of war strategy and trap making.

There are two kind of enemies that can attack the camp :

  1. Most of the time, it should be groups of skeletons, which can be handled by the nomads. But after they've taken care of the skeletons, they must change location because they're now discovered.

  2. Rarely, nomads can be attacked by much stronger creatures. They never attack in group but are devastating (Let's say werewolf kind of creature, without any known weaknesses like silver). They are fast and particularly strong but do not have abilities to jump great distance or to fly. In this case, they must flee right away, leaving everything they have behind.

They live in a world that is mostly always covered in snow and is pretty dark. Some plants (Including trees) still live and there are lots of dead trees, meaning they have access to wood and other plants to work with. They could also travel with any kind of tool that is small enough not to be a burden to carry.

To increase their survivability chances, they must set up defences. Though, since they're nomads, they can't build walls around their camp or do any "long term" work on their camp. The defences should be able to turn the fight against skeletons to their advantage and hold the "werewolf" a little so most of them have time to flee (But it is assumed that they will loose some members when such a creature attack).

I believe such defences would include some sort of "alarm" that would warn them that something is near their camp.

So, what kind of defence, traps and alarms could be set to help them in their war for survival?

They're mostly hidden in non-dense conifer forests and grottos. Considering the territory is very large, they can stay at the same spot for about a month, unless they have reasons to believe they were discovered.

Edit : The skeletons are commanded by an hive mind (Explained in this post) but they do not communicate with "werewolves" at all. They work on the same side but never together unless it happens that both of them fall on a camp at the same time by "luck". The werewolves-like creature are human-like intelligent and sadistic. They like to play with their preys (if that can be any help) and won't hesitate to take a longer time to kill a target just for the fun of seeing them suffer (which might give more time for the others to run).

  • $\begingroup$ Hot air ballons would help. $\endgroup$
    – PyRulez
    Nov 25 '15 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ Could you be more specific about the kind of big monster attacking the nomads? The defenses will depend greatly on the capabilities of the monster, ie, an sprinting monster (a la cheetah) can be defeated by setting up a maze of pickets to prevent the monster from building up speed. $\endgroup$
    – Green
    Nov 25 '15 at 15:38
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    $\begingroup$ Dark, snowy, scattered trees: is the ground frozen for most of the year? That makes digging a lot harder. $\endgroup$
    – user243
    Nov 25 '15 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ The temperature would be just around 0, but yeah, digging is quite difficult in such a scenario. $\endgroup$
    – IEatBagels
    Nov 25 '15 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ How coordinated is the skeleton threat? Are they sharing information with the werewolves and other advanced threats? Do they have a commander in common? $\endgroup$
    – Sean Boddy
    Nov 25 '15 at 18:13

No security would be absolute, but a few simple (and cheap) precautions would greatly increase a party's survivability. I am advocating these goals: early detection of threats, ease of escape, and ease of setup, at the expense of actually damaging would-be attackers, since it sounds like the attackers are relatively strong and direct confrontation is to be avoided where possible.

  • Scheduled watches. Traveling in groups of three or more would allow them to set up scheduled watches of their camp, so that there is at least one pair of eyes scanning their surroundings to provide early warning of an attack to their sleeping comerades.

  • High (but not too high) ground. The advantage to high ground in this case is the visibility. Since the party is in a relatively sparse forest, they should choose locations that afford the best line of sight, that is, without dense clumps of trees or brush that could conceal an enemy advance. You don't want your location to be so high that you can't easily escape from it, though!

  • No fire at night. Cooking and boiling water is best done during the day, away from camp, as fires are very visible at night, and even then the smoke could well be detectable by your werewolves.

  • Concealment. You want to be downwind of those werewolves, for one thing.

  • Multiple escape routes. If you don't know with certainty where the enemy will approach from (rarely the case!), then you need multiple pre-planned escape routes. Choosing locations with the most naturally accessible escape routes will increase survivability. Edit: As sdrawkcabdear commented below, your party should agree on a meet-up location (and maybe a backup location) beforehand, such as "if we get split up, we'll meet where that ridge meets the treeline".

There are a few defenses that might slow the enemy down:

  • Simple snare traps. Nothing elaborate, here, just a loop of rope here and there hidden in shallow snow. Even a length of twine tied taughtly between two trees would slow the enemy down when they trip on it, giving your party valuable seconds to get away. Combine these with noise-making objects like dry twigs, bones, whatever you can most easily scrounge.

  • Easily manually-deployable traps, making use of your surroundings. Kicking a log down a hill won't work every time, but if it's easy to set up and only takes half a second, it might be worth a try. If there's a natural pile of small rocks that can be tipped to make the enemy's approach more difficult, great! If there's a natural crevice or overhang you can conceal that might slow down the enemy, great! The point is, come up with creative terrain for your party to use to their advantage without spending precious calories and hours building. Having every encounter on flat ground with a few trees will lead to fairly predictable encounters.

  • $\begingroup$ You may also want to agree on a meeting place ahead of time so you can find each other after fleeing down the multiple escape routes $\endgroup$ Nov 25 '15 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ @sdrawkcabdear Indeed, that's good advice. I will edit my answer to include it (with my attribution and thanks of course!) $\endgroup$ Nov 25 '15 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ Setting up simple noise-making alarms a little way out from the camp as an early warning system is probably a decent idea too. Anything that will make noise, like pots and pans hung from trees, when something brushes against it will do. $\endgroup$
    – wjousts
    Nov 25 '15 at 19:09
  • $\begingroup$ Good idea, @wjousts . However, it was already in my answer: "Combine these with noise-making objects like dry twigs, bones, whatever you can most easily scrounge." $\endgroup$ Nov 25 '15 at 19:33

If in a forested area on flat ground, snare traps made from big nets will work, as well as pits. Whilst attackers will be able to get out of such traps, it will at least slow them down, or succeed in separating or thinning out a horde of attacking skeletons.

They will need to be placed at different distances from the camp, and overall cover the entire circumference of the camp, so anyone charging directly at the center will at some point be caught up in a trap. This will mean that no one trying to approach the encampment will get there through the luck of approaching in the one place there are no traps.

The different distances means that there will be at least one path through them, that only the nomads would know, and would likely be plotted on a map when the temporary settlement is made, that each settler needs to memorize if they are leaving the camp, which would ensure no one else gets access to the map. This is unless the map can be coded in a way that only the nomads can read it.

Additionally, there should be some sort of rope device attached to each trap, that reaches to the center of the encampment, so that if any traps are triggered the rope will stretch, and the people in camp can see what direction the attacker is approaching from, and can thus prepare for battle/ escape in the opposite direction.

This can also done with noise, but unless it is a loud obvious noise such as bells, which I would assume there isn't exactly an abundance of (particularly if the encampments are being abandoned every month they would run out quickly), other noise based alarms made with things that could be made from natural noises (twigs, rocks) might be deceptive about the direction that they are coming from (especially if there is heavy wind that would cause the sound to seem as it's coming from a different direction, or not reach the camp at all).

It would also mean that if any similar noise was made accidentally by animals stepping on twigs etc. the camp would jump to be at high alert for an attack, when really there is nothing dangerous approaching. This would end up being a case of 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf', and the nomads would eventually not respond quick enough thinking it is a false alarm, and end up being killed. Obviously there may be some false alarms by animals wandering into the traps, but they should be minimized as much as possible.

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    $\begingroup$ I like your idea of attaching ropes from the traps to the center of camp. Your low-tech approach to a centralized alarm system is clever! $\endgroup$ Nov 25 '15 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ Animals wandering into the traps might not be such a bad thing if the traps can disable them. I somehow doubt that a band of nomads that is being hunted down by monsters would be picky about their food. $\endgroup$
    – thkala
    Nov 25 '15 at 21:13

Pit traps, dig them around the camp. Skeletons and werewolves alike fall in and are helpless and the noise of them falling in acts as an alarm. Digging out of the pit will keep the werewolf busy for a decent amount of time, and if the land is covered in snow that both makes the pit easier to dig and easier to cover. You would probably want to melt the walls somehow to turn them into ice instead of snow though.

  • $\begingroup$ How would the nomad know which class of enemy was attacking them? The response differs wildly depending (standing ground vs fleeing) on what's been caught. $\endgroup$
    – Mike G
    Nov 25 '15 at 17:10
  • $\begingroup$ Look inside, the pit gives you enough time to pack the most important possessions before fleeing as it needs to tunnel its way out.. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Nov 25 '15 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ @mikeTheLiar In addition to what Tim B said ("look inside"), I would imagine a large werewolf falling into a pit would make a distinctive "thud", where a few skeletons falling into the same pit would make more of a clatter. Failing that, I suppose you could also chuck a scrap of meat in and listen for the snarfing sounds to tell if it's a werewolf. $\endgroup$ Nov 25 '15 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ All valid points, just something to think about. Something else to think about re: werewolf - the deeper you dig the pit the longer you have to escape, but also the more time you have to spend digging pits. Depending on how long these nomads are staying in these camps (1 day vs multiple days or even weeks) the trade off might be significant. I'm not really challenging this answer, just food for thought. $\endgroup$
    – Mike G
    Nov 25 '15 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ Everyone who has ever dug a pit - or even a ditch - would tell you that pits do not scale very well. They are extremely hard to dig and you would need a lot of them to surround the camp at a large enough radius to allow both time and space for an escape. $\endgroup$
    – thkala
    Nov 25 '15 at 21:17

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