Monday, April 25, 2011

S is for (Dual) Survival

Last year when my mother was visiting, I stumbled upon what would become one of my favorite shows. Dual Survival is a reality show on the Discovery Channel about two survival experts with different styles who are placed in a scenario where they have to find a way to survive outdoors and get their way back to civilization. Like most reality shows, there is drama between our two leads. Fortunately, it isn't the typical trash-talking and back-stabbing as it is a clash of styles that usually gets dealt with quickly.

Dual Survival stars two survival experts. Cody Lundin and Dave Canterbury. Cody is a minimal skills survival expert, who lives in an off-the-grid home in Arizona and gone without shoes for over 20 years. Dave is a woodsman and former Army sniper. The difference in approach to survival between the two is the show's strength. Neither man is portrayed in a bad light and, over the course of the last season, they learned to appreciate each others strengths. Cody is the go-to man for building a fire and finding shelter with minimal work. Dave uses his expertise as a hunter to find food to allow them to survive. That's not to say that they don't have their quirks. Cody's tendency to not wear shoes or full-length pants has put a hurting on him when the two are dropped in cold-weather or rocky climates. Dave is a firm believer in risk = rewards and has endangered his life to get food, including hunting an alligator and trying to get honey from a very large hive of Africanized bees.

Dual Survival has given me a few ideas to think about as far as plotting out a game. I don't usually run wilderness adventures, but I'm starting to lean towards them the more I watch the show. I would seriously consider handing out XP for surviving outdoors in a hostile environment, even without random encounters. Maybe 10% of what they need to reach the next level for their first time in a hostile environment. But still make it something that will remind the PCs why they should buy enough food and other supplies to survive.

Even if you're not a gamer, I highly recommend Dual Survival. It's a great show with good drama, good friends and good lessons. Dual Survival airs at 9PM Eastern/8PM Central Fridays on the Discovery Channel.


  1. Thanks for the show recommendation, and it's a pleasure to meet you via the A-Z Challenge!

  2. Thanks for the comment. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the show when I did. It's got just the right combination of educational and entertaining that works.