Sep 9, 2013

A Procedure for Exploring the Wilderness

This post will refer to the party roles I outline here.

Structuring overland travel makes it easier to run, and in my experience, more fun for players. This post will outline one possible procedure for structuring this part of play. The procedure is sequential, with each numbered step resolved before moving onto the next one.

My assumptions in the design of this procedure:
1) PCs are moving overland under their own initiative.
2) PCs are in at best semi-civilised lands where resupply is uncommon.
3) There are subprocedures for certain steps not outlined in detail here (for example, wandering monsters, determining what you can see when you look around, searching and surveying, handing the PCs shady and contradictory agendas before their adventure).
4) You are using a hexmap.
5) The PCs move on average 2 hexes (20km) per day, one in the morning and one in the evening.
6) I interpret 3-in-6 to mean "On a result of 1-3 on a d6", 4-in-6 to mean "On a roll of 1-4", etc.
7) Each PC is executing their role in parallel rather than sequentially.

This procedure is executed each day the PCs travel, once per day.

1. Preparation for departure (2 hrs.)
a) Spellcasters determine memorised spells.
b) Any healing from resting overnight or for the previous day is recorded by each PC.
c) Any relevant landmarks within sight of the party are noted.
d) Roll 1d6. The corresponding hex face has the path of easiest travel.
e) The direction, pace and marching order are determined by the caller.
f) The timekeeper determines any expendable resources that have been activated by the PCs (rations, water, protection items, etc.).
g) Any relevant spells may be cast.

2. Morning travel (4 hrs.)
a) If the PCs are not on the path of easiest travel then the DM rolls to determine if the PCs veer off-course. (3-in-6 chance; +1 on the roll per landmark kept in sight for the entire morning)
b) The mapper is informed of what terrain the PCs are moving into and marks this on map in pencil. (Either procedurally generate or DM informs them based on prepared map). They also mark the existence of any paths the PCs have been following.
c) Any extended in-character socialising during the morning is performed.
d) The guard, or one PC not otherwise occupied, rolls for any morning random encounters and fills in the random encounter tracking sheet appropriately.
e) Resolve any morning encounters.
f) Timekeeper and quartermaster update their records.

3. Noon stop (1 hr.)
a) PC may attempt to determine if they are lost. (1-in-6 chance to determine correctly; +1 per landmark they can sight themselves on).
b) Any relevant landmarks within sight of the party are noted.
c) Roll 1d6. The corresponding hex face has the path of easiest travel.
d) The direction, pace and marching order are determined by the caller.
e) The timekeeper determines any expendable resources that have been activated by the PCs (rations, water, protection items, etc.).
f) Any relevant spells may be cast.

4. Afternoon travel (4 hrs.)
a) If the PCs are not on the path of easiest travel then the DM rolls to determine if the PCs veer off-course. (3-in-6 chance; +1 on the roll per landmark kept in sight for the entire morning)
b) The mapper is informed of what terrain the PCs are moving into and marks this on map in pencil. (Either procedurally generate or DM informs them based on prepared map). They also mark the existence of any paths the PCs have been following.
c) Any extended in-character socialising during the afternoon is performed.
d) The guard, or one PC not otherwise occupied, rolls for any afternoon random encounters and fills in the random encounter tracking sheet appropriately.
e) Resolve any afternoon encounters.
f) Timekeeper and quartermaster update their records.

5. Evening (4 hrs.)
a) PC may attempt to determine if they are lost. (1-in-6 chance to determine correctly; +1 per landmark they can sight themselves on).
b) The quartermaster, or one PC not otherwise occupied, draws the camp layout on a scrap of paper.
c) Any research, preparation for the following day, etc. may be done.
d) The caller determines the watch schedule.
e) Any extended in-character socialising during the evening is performed.
f) The guard, or one PC not otherwise occupied, rolls for any evening random encounters and fills in the random encounter tracking sheet appropriately.
g) Resolve any evening encounters.
h) Timekeeper and quartermaster update their records.

6. Night (9 hrs.)
a) The referee rolls for any night time random encounters and determines which PC is on watch if/when they occur. The PC on watch fills in the random encounter tracking sheet appropriately.
b) Resolve any night encounters.
c) Timekeeper and quartermaster update their records.

Note: Searching Hexes

The PCs may search hexes during morning and afternoon travel and during the evening. Searching a hex takes four hours and allows them to activate whatever searching subprocedure you wish.