Tips and Tricks.   Posted by GM.Group: 0
 GM, 7 posts
Wed 12 Sep 2018
at 15:45
Tips and Tricks
1. This game is player-driven, rather than story-driven or plot-driven. The players create the story and plots as they play. The GM will not tell you what to do next. There is no NPC boss ordering you around. Ultimately, your characters are responsible for setting goals for yourselves, and for deciding how to achieve them.

As you travel through the wilderness you will encounter events and discover things. Movement is somewhat abstract, in that exact positioning within a given hex is not tracked. A 9 mile wide hex covers 70 square miles of territory. Accordingly, unless a feature is visible from a distance, it’s very easy to miss something even if you’ve passed through multiple times.

As a result, a party will only “randomly stumble” across anything interesting present by chance, unless you’re following a road or river that the interesting feature happens to lie upon.

So if you suspect a cave or hut or something is located in a given hex, you can stay there and “search the area” until you find it. It may take several days. Secondly, if you’re exploring, you can opt to travel at a half-pace “travel rate” to more thoroughly search an area, doubling your chances of finding something interesting… or having something interesting find you.

That said, keep in mind that finding nothing, even while exploring, might indicate that nothing is there… or that you just haven’t found it yet.

3. Settlements are mostly places to resupply, rest, and recuperate. What options are available depend upon the town in question, but in general the activities presented in the Players’ Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide may be possible.

Possible Activities:

  • Crafting
  • Rest and recover
  • Seek out rumors of things to discover in the wilderness
  • Spend coin
  • Sell treasures or maps you’ve made
  • Train to learn a new language or equipment proficiency.

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:48, Wed 12 Sept 2018.

 GM, 8 posts
Wed 12 Sep 2018
at 16:04
Expedition Process
When a party sets out into the wilderness, I'll need the following information:

1. Where are you going?
This can be towards a landmark you're aware of, a given distance (50 miles down the coast), or a given length of time (follow the river for two weeks, then come back.)

Make sure to pack enough food and other supplies to cover yourselves.

2. Who is the navigator?
One person reads the map, watches the stars, or just keeps track of which way is north. Uses the Survival skill. Their job is primarily to keep the group from getting lost; parties that contain a Ranger in his favored terrain don’t need one of these.

3. Who is making the map?
Requires cartography tools and proficiency in using them. If nobody is making a map, you won't create one as you travel. The mapmaker cannot be the navigator or a scout.

4. Are you using a scout?
A character traveling a few dozen yards ahead is taking point. A scout travels several hours ahead of the main party to make sure the way is clear, and that you have ample warning before stumbling into danger, so you can plan a raid, set an ambush, or just avoid trouble.

The primary benefit of the scout is early warning of encounters and enemy encampments at a distance where the rest of the party can decide whether or not they want to deal with the problem. Scouts are also better at remaining undetected; a party’s ability to move undetected is determined by the worst Stealth skill in the party, and at Disadvantage for their numbers.

The downside is that, first of all, a Ranger scout’s ability to ignore favored terrain modifiers does not aid the main party. Secondly, as the Scout is running off ahead and coming back frequently, this effectively cuts the group’s travel time in half: In eight hours of marching, the party can make four hours worth of progress. This is mitigated if the scout is somehow at least twice as fast as the rest of the group.

5. What is the marching formation?
Where is everybody walking in relation to the rest of the group? This will be referred to when an encounter occurs. Remember that an encounter might come from the side or behind the party.

6. What is the watch order at night?
Who watches the camp, and in what order?

7. What pace do you want to set?
Basic foot travel rate is 3 miles per hour. Rough terrain will cut that in half, unless the PCs include a ranger whose favored terrain is involved. However, there are a few options players can use that will either speed themselves up or slow them down. Make sure the party is appraised of these:

If they’re not in a particular hurry, players can opt to explore as they go, covering more of an area rather than walking in a straight line. This cuts their travel speed in half, but doubles the chance of them finding something interesting or having an encounter.

Players with a decent map can use it to plot a route. This calls for a Survival roll on the navigator’s behalf. If the roll is a success, their effective speed per hour is boosted by 10%, though this is lost if they leave the route.

If the players want to use a scout, that will give them the advantage of advance warning when an encounter does happen, at the expense of half of their effective travel time. While this does slow things down, the party does have the option to use that extra time to forage or focus on other tasks (see Downtime, below). So, a party traveling for eight hours will only make four hours worth of progress, but adds four hours to their Downtime.

Typically a group will wish to avoid Exhaustion by traveling at most eight hours a day. Accounting for time required to sleep, eat, make and break camp, the PCs have the option to try and push this to up to twelve hours of marching per day, but this invokes the rules for Exhaustion: For every hour past eight, characters must make a Constitution check at 10 +1 (cumulative per hour) or take a level of exhaustion.

The use of these options will give the party an overall travel speed, and a number of hours traveled per day. Record both on the Expedition Log.

8. What do you want to do in your downtime?

As mentioned above, players have 12 hours per day spent awake and active. Any of these hours spent not traveling can be devoted to other activities. While they can do almost anything - pray, spar, tell stories, socialize, cast ritual spells - one option merits special attention. It'll take about an hour to make and break camp for the day.

Players can gather food through the act of foraging. A competent forager can gather one meal per hour devoted this activity with a successful Survival roll at the end of the travel cycle. A failure indicates only half as much food as expected was gathered, and a roll of 1 indicates that not only was no food gathered, but the forager ate a bad berry or poison mushroom and got sick.

Characters will generally be able to find water as they travel, providing they have waterskins to keep it in. If the party members lack waterskins or are traveling through the desert, daily Survival rolls to find water will be required.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:37, Fri 14 Sept 2018.