Thursday, October 1, 2015

Why no Hiking in my GURPS game?

One of the skills I've merged away, or just wrote away, is Hiking.

It makes a lot of sense, given that my DF game started centered on a megadungeon. No one needed to roll, so it really was a useless point.

But we've had a couple of wilderness settings in a row. But still no Hiking.

Why not?

Basically, my philosophy is to cut away as many rolls from the game as possible where:

- neither success nor failure are especially interesting;


- they have marginal effects.

Hiking is definitely the former for me. It's just a speed issue. It's not like Boating, which can turn a idyllic day of travel into a horrible hell or dramatically speed up your transit to a new place.

I don't mind rolls being of marginal utility, as long as they matter a lot when they come up. My players greatly enjoy mocking Mimicry (Bird Calls), but if it comes up in play, you can be sure it's going to be significant. So that's a keeper.

That's why no Hiking, though - a short delay or a sped-up march isn't that exciting. I'd as soon leave it out . . . so I did, even with a wilderness trek on foot.


  1. From your write-ups, you are using Navigation to 'safely' arrive at the complex. Is that the equivalent of the Boating roll?

    1. Navigation is determining if they stay on the right trail or not. If they fail, they get off of it and either get lost (very bad roll) or just have to hack through jungle to get back or retrace their steps. Net effect is 0.2x movement rate vs. 0.4x on the trail. We also did Navigation rolls in the Colds Fens game, along with Boating - one for direction, one for speed and mishap avoidance.

    2. Ah, I didn't see a reference to a first Navigation roll (I probably missed something). So the big change is the reduction to one roll? Reasonable, especially as Hiking seems to do different things (seems closer to 'Marching'). Maybe you could introduce 'Boating (land)', though you might want to rename it ;)

    3. This Navigation/Boating situation of three rolls sounds like the ideal use of your campsite rule. Cut down rolls and let the players choose two of three on a successful roll (critical success grants all 3, failure grants only 1, and critical failure grants none): go the right way, get there quickly, get there without mishap. So they might get to the right spot and get there fast but have a run-in with a wandering monster (jumping throat leaches, swamp cow, snake men, etc) or stumble into an environmental hazard (quicksand, razor briars, a concealed hunting trap left by natives, etc). OR maybe they reach their destination without mishap, but {currents, wind, thick vegetation, etc} mean it took them much longer than hoped.

      If you couldn't tell, I really embrace the pick-2 choice you gave the players for picking a campsite. Excellent rule, Peter!


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