Part of favouring sandbox games is needing to deal with lots of wilderness travel (usually). But as someone who has done his fair share, wilderness travel is pretty brutal business even without monsters. Plenty of would be explorers died without the need for monsters or war bands to do them in.
I already make exploration give out XP, so there is reward for doing it. But choice requires risk VS reward (even if its just lost opportunity that is being risked).
Currently I use GM fiat, random encounters, slow table etc. But that puts a lot of extra burden on the GM to be both fair, creative and interesting all on short to no notice. Sooner or later travel will get a stale "ya, you make it" in any long term campaign.
I'm currently mulling an idea of ability checks to determine how much hiking through the woods sucks.
So far the one I'm liking the most is negative healing checks, being forced to make health(con) checks even at full health, risking that one will slowly TAKE damage (foot in a gopher hole, sun stroke etc). An intelligence check to avoid getting lost (say moving 1 hex off course in the approximate direction) and an awareness (wisdom) check to avoid losing 1 dot worth of gear ,perhaps forcing players to mark down no more than say 5 pieces of critical gear they will NEVER lose unintentionally. These checks could be made say, once per week of wilderness travel.
So travelling across a forest for 3 weeks means you could get beaten up, lose some of your stuff and wind up 2 days north of the village you were looking for.
Its a rough and half formed idea that impacts most hex crawls, what do people think?