Even adventurers that spend the bulk of their time among friends occasionally venture into the wilderness on their own. One common reason for this is to gather materials for crafting.
Adventurers need a wide variety of materials whether they are making fast-selling weapons or popular food. Sometimes these materials are the hides, bones and meat of monsters. Other materials are best obtained by mining, harvesting, or logging.
Of course, you'll need proper weapons and armor for hunting monsters and the right tools if you are mining or logging or harvesting. These are all things that adventurers carry in their packs.
Many adventurers craft their materials as soon as they gather them so that they can save space in their packs. But to do this, they need to carry the crystals that are the basis of crafting.
But sometimes the best laid of plans go astray. Even with a perfect pack, a single misstep can have a monster preying on you. Poor luck can lead to a gang of monsters attacking you just as you start to swing your pickaxe. Gathering materials often means risking your life.
With so many methods of earning supplies being dangerous, adventurers have latched onto one method known for its safety. This method is commonly known as "chocobo digging."
There are no worries about attracting the attention of monsters while mounted atop a chocobo, so anybody can dig safely. That, along with the fact that a busy adventurer needn't invest large amounts of time, is the secret of chocobo digging's popularity.
Another contributing factor to the popularity of digging is the rumor that the stones needed to make elemental beads can be unearthed throughout Vana'diel. This has spurred plenty of novices into the digging field, hoping to make some quick money.
So what do chocobo diggers carry in their packs? How do they make use of the space? I decided to interview chocobo diggers throughout the world in order to learn more.
I first asked about the most important item of their trade, gysahl greens. Chocobos are famous for their love of these bitter vegetables. In fact, chocobos will only dig when fed gysahl greens, so they are absolutely essential for a chocobo digger.
Those I interviewed carried an average of ten stacks of the vegetable into the field. For reference, that's enough to dig 120 times. That sounds like a lot already, but some diggers who worked in areas far from a steady supply of Gysahl Greens said they carry up to twenty stacks at a time.
One digger told me of a superstition surrounding gysahl greens. He said that eating gysahl greens yourself before mounting your chocobo is believed to improve your connection with the bird and increase your chances of finding good items. Diggers who believe this carry some extra gysahl greens for themselves.
But what about the empty space inside the pack? The survey indicated that diggers tend to keep an average of ten spaces open for the items they gather.
But ten spaces fill up very quickly. So before heading out, they check the going prices for all the items they are likely to uncover. Anything of little value gets disposed of right there in the field. Items that will fetch a pretty penny are taken back to town, whether the digger needs them for synthesis or not.
Of course, not all diggers are on a full-time hunt for items of value.
"I'm usually partying with friends, but when we split up, I get sort of lonely. I don't know what to do with myself. That's when I go out riding on a chocobo," answered one adventurer.
For some reason, heading out into the wilds astride a chocobo and digging in the ground seems strangely relaxing. It may indeed be pleasant to just go for a walk, like this adventurer. I ended my interview with that thought.
Reviewing this three-part series on adventurers and their packs has allowed me to take an honest look at adventurers.
Even the most serious-minded adventurers, those who daily risk their lives in battle, appeared to have one or two items in their packs for purely sentimental reasons. Some are mementos from friends or lovers. Some are lucky charms. Adventurers return from the battle with the spoils of war filling their packs and waiting for sale. Some lose themselves in gathering materials or in fishing. Some even spend time just enjoying a leisurely chocobo ride.
And no matter what adventurers may do, their packs are there with them, holding treasures and weapons and memories and dreams.
Their packs witness every joy and every sorrow. What would the packs say and feel if they had souls?
Thinking about all that I have learned in my interviews, I realize that this series is a reflection of my own life as an adventurer, never without my pack.