Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Experimental Travel Mechanics - A half formed though on hex crawls

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?


  1. Instead of them losing the gear, I'd describe the gear as wearing out and needing replacement.

  2. I stole an idea from Savage Worlds or whatever it's called.

    You have consumable gear tracked ambiguously instead of itemized. You have the following types of gear:

    Ammo (Arrows, quarrels, bullets)
    Climbing (Rope, pitons, graplping hooks)
    Light (Torches, oil)
    Shelter (Clothes, tents)

    Food and water are tracked separately because you might be in a situation where you have lots of one and none of the other, which could happen often.

    Each unit of gear weighs 1. Characters can carry 10 (or whatever). Other equipment weighs some whole number - armor weighs 2-4, weapons weigh 1-3, etc.

    So everyone has six slots on their equipment list for the six types of gear. And a number for how many units of gear you have.

    When you use some gear, roll 1d6. On a 1 you used up a unit. If you have no units of the gear you cannot use it.

    Ammo is used every time you fire your weapon at least a little in a fight / scene / whatever.

    Light is used every half hour.

    Food and water are used every day - water used twice a day in hot places and food twice a day in cold places.

    Shelter is used if there's a storm or something while you camp.

    Climbing is used every time you climb.

    The system assumes both wear and tear, item loss, and item consumption. For example you may find one unit of food lasts you ten days due to lucky rolls, or you may use it up on the first day. The referee would explain the former case as the food stretching for a longer time than you thought, and you weren't as hungry as you expected, and in the latter case perhaps the food was spoiled or got wet or animals got to it at night.

    The bookkeeping is easier than with itemized inventory. Use is more quickly tracked. It's more random, whether you like that is another matter.

  3. In terms of eq management, that still seems a lot harder that the dot system linked above: