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Archive for July, 2010

Overland travel

Greetings again!

My group has begun to travel quite a distance overland, as I’m sure many groups do. The handwaving of, ‘You travel for 6 days and reach your destination’ didn’t sit right with me, not did the idea of a random table that handled all the variables. To that end, I’ve written up a few rules that I hope will make overland travel more fun and engaging for the players (it should be noted that, on our campaign map, rather than work out distances, we’ve gone with the 1 cm = 1 days travel guide):

Step 1: Distance

Determine how far you want to go and in what timeframe (+2 to the DC if travelling off-road, -2 from the DC if travelling by horse).

Normal pace: 1 day = 1cm = Easy DC

Hurried pace: 1 day = 2cm = Easy DC +5

All out: 1 day = 3cm = Easy DC +7

All party members make the check. The party succeeds if half or more of the members (rounding up) pass the check. A failed check means you make the distance, but suffer the following consequences:

Fail by less than 5 (take a -1 penalty to attacks and defences for the next encounter).

Fail by 5 or more (take a -1 penalty to attacks and defences and lose your second wind for the next encounter).

Fail by 7 or more (take a -2 penalty to attacks and defences, lose your second wind and any dailies for the next encounter)

Step 2: Approach

Determine if you wish to travel stealthily. If so, roll a group stealth check. The perception DC for enemies is equal to the lowest roll from the group.

The party can get a +5 to these checks if a party member takes a scouting position. This means that one party member effectively moves ahead of the groupĀ  to see what’s coming. They roll a perception check against the enemies stealth (if that enemy is trying to remain hidden) or against an easy DC (if not). These checks take pace penalties if the party is moving faster then normal pace. Furthermore, a scouting party member may be asked to roll a stealth check is required (landing them in potential danger if they fail).

If the party succeeds, they can choose to ambush any enemy threat (gaining a surprise round), or move around them.

If they fail the check, they themselves are surprised in the first round of any encounter.

Step 3: Foraging

The detrimental effects of distance travelled can be alleviated by successful hunting and foraging. At the end of each days travel, one party member (who is not the scout) can roll an athletics, nature or stealth check to see if they can provide for the group, whilst the rest sets up camp. Their success is judged against a moderate DC. If they:

Succeed – reduce the detrimental effects from the says ride one step.

Succeed by 5 or more – remove all detrimental effects from the days ride.

Succeed by 7 or more – remove all detrimental effects from the days ride and gain a +2 bonus to the next days travel.

Step 4: Getting rest

After camp has been made, the characters finally get to sleep. The DM determines whether they are attacked during the night (if this happens, the party loses any beneficial effects from an extended rest, unless they decide to camp for longer). Each of the party members maintains a watch during the night. If attacked, the member keeping watch at that point is determined by a roll of the dice. That party member must then make a perception check against the attacking enemies stealth or a moderate DC. The PC gets a +2 bonus for any party member besides themselves who doesn’t need sleep or is otherwise aware of their surroundings whilst they rest, as well as +1 bonus for low-light vision, or a further +2 bonus for darkvision. If they:

Succeed – they see the enemy coming and combat continues as normal (PCs start where they were sleeping).

Succeed by 5 or more – they see the enemy coming and get a +2 to initiative checks.

Succeed by 7 or more – they see the enemy coming, gain a +2 to initiative checks and gain a surprise round.

Fail – see the enemy coming, but those sleeping or meditating start prone.

Fail by 5 or more – see the enemy coming, but those sleeping or meditating start prone, and the party takes a -2 penalty to initiative.

Fail by 7 or more – see the enemy coming, but those sleeping or meditating start prone, the party takes a -2 penalty to initiative and the enemy gets a surprise round.

So there you have it. It really is a work in progress, and I’d like to find ways to add RP bonuses to the rolls, and if the players ever offer any I’d be more than happy to oblige them. The encounters they face will be, usually, story driven (ie: people or creatures they looking for, are looking for them or will clarify the plot is some way), but a few random encounters would be fun as well.

So what do you think? Too harsh? Too easy? Over simplified? Too complicated? Let me know! Like I say, a work in progress, and I’d like to get them smooth before implementing them. Also, how does your group handle overland travel?

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