I wanted to piggy back on my last post about travel. If we did decide to keep travel, what travel-related rules/subsystems should Lost Worlds support? I think I’d certainly need some overland travel speeds and rules for forced marching. I’d probably want some rules for light and the impact of additional or insufficient light for travel. But there’s a whole host of rules that seem like they’d go along with travel that I’m wary of.
I can imagine adventurers, trekking out into the wilderness, getting lost ALL THE TIME. I could see groups spending most of their day, or even days at a time, going the wrong way down a mountain and finding out that you have to double back. But is getting lost, and then un-lost, ever actually fun? On The Alexandrian, Justin posts some rules for exploring a hexgrid and includes some detailed rules for getting lost. I admire that the system he’s using supports realistic travel, I’m not sure players are going to enjoy it, as opposed to all the other D&D that they could be playing at the table instead of being lost. Even if you don’t get lost, just looking around a hex of nothing until you actually manage to find the lost tomb just doesn’t sound interesting. Sure, there’s not really nothing in the hex, but as the GM and players, that hill and those trees, even the wonderful view from the rock outcropping – those things probably aren’t what the players brought their characters here for. There’s D&D to be played, and hiding that temple is just slowing things down. Of course, when the players walk directly there, they may wonder how it stayed “lost” for 1000 years, but then again, probably not.
Food & Water
I’ve given up trying to enforce rations and water skins. Players never want to track it, and they don’t care. I could see it being an interesting challenge in specific scenarios, like you’ve been dumped into the desert and you have one water skin between the four of you. On the other hand, given the prospect of adventure and travel into the wilderness, this would in reality be the number one issue on the minds of the explorers.
Illness & Disease
This would also be a major issue with all that travel through the wilderness. No hygiene, eating whatever you can find, sleeping in the outdoors. While this would be another major, and dangerous, issue to actual exploration – I’m not sure having rules for coming down with Malaria is exactly what the players are looking for when they sit down to game.
I’ve considered a subsystem for generation of weather, but I have rarely had players interested in it (unless they were a weather mage). I think varying weather can add some spice to encounters without taking a whole lot of effort to generate. This is actually a system I could see adding, although I’m not really how sure I am that the players would care much about the extra work of including this with each day.
That rope you’ve been carrying since level 1 is awfully sturdy! You’ve used it to scale pits, tie up enemy hostages, brace your friend who was crossing a rickety bridge, etc. Those boots? Heck, your shield has been hit how many times? By dragons teeth? Unless there’s something special about an item, deterioration of items is just too much book keeping to be interesting, I think. A number of computer RPGs, such as Fallout, include item deterioration, and make it a sub-game to keep items repaired. The computer RPG has the luxury of making all these rolls and calculations behind the scenes, and even then, I’m not sure how fun that sub-game really is.
People went mad at sea. Long voyages with no site of land. Traveling by sea posed all kinds of risks, not the least of which was the morale of the ship’s crew. I could see a group of players, traveling by ship, finding that the crew’s morale was putting their own lives in significant peril. I like the idea of it as a one-time encounter, but this kind of sub-system may be too much for standard exploration rules.
Do any of these subsystems interest you? Am I missing something related to travel you think should be included in the exploration rules for Lost Worlds?