Sunday, May 24, 2015

Stripped-down Wilderness travel in the Cold Fens

For the Cold Fens portion of my DF game, we've been using a subset of the rules in Dungeon Fantasy 16: Wilderness Adventures.

Not because I don't like all the stuff in the book, but rather because I always use only a portion of the rules on offer. Pretty much, here is what I do:

Travel Time: I used the rules to figure travel time on foot, on a skiff, and the cost of failed Boating rolls on time. That worked out to 3 miles a day (failed Boating roll) or 6 (on a success). I haven't referred back because we haven't needed it.

Daily Survival: I also only have two Survival rolls per day: One general one for safety, gathering water, and otherwise not doing foolish things. One roll for a campsite, with the "choose of these three" of comfort, concealment, line of sight. We use the Complementary skill rules from Action 2 (review) (also used in Gladiators), which means usually at least two people are jumping in on the roll.

Compressed Encounter Rolls: I roll for encounters 4x a day. Once for every 1/3 of their travel time, and once at night. As I mentioned in some of the sessions reports, they are a mix of nuisances and lethal encounters.

Navigation/Getting Lost rolls - I haven't required these. I should, but the PCs first went with a local expert. Since then, they've followed his path, and I made them make all of one Navigation roll to follow the same path. They made it, I haven't asked again. I really should, especially as conditions in the swamp change with the weather.

If they adventure further I will certainly roll for Navigation and see where they wander to. There are rumors of ruins, another ruined temple, a dragon's lair, and other things in the swamp.

One Roll Home: Since the trip back to town from the dungeon is the least fun thing we do all day, I compressed it down to a single set of rolls that determine, overall, how long it takes and how it goes. I don't roll any wandering monsters (not fun), nuisance encounters (don't matter), or extraneous rolls. Make you rolls, see how long it takes to get back. Done. It was fun once, but not fun again, and forcing the players the hold back in reserve and leave the dungeon earlier to get back to town isn't that exciting. Perhaps if they have a critically injured person, a weird disease, are being pursued, etc. - then yes, we'll play it in detail. Otherwise, no thanks.

Other than that, I haven't required much. The swamp is still dangerous and interesting. It's still a challenge. The PCs still need to stock up on extra food, make sure their boats are okay, and be wary of the wilderness. But it remains only part, and not the focus, of the adventure.


  1. Is everyone making a general survival skill roll or just one for the group?

    1. Do you do any foraging/ hunting rolls?

    2. Not in this situation - everyone on a couple of skiffs, in a dangerous swamp. I forgo the hunting/foraging rolls in return for the assumption people aren't off alone. I'd let someone fish, but they're convinced (at least partly correctly) that it's better to keep a sharp eye out than try to hook an extra meal or two and be caught with a fishing pole instead of a weapon in your hands.

  2. This looks like a good way to handle these rolls. Survival hasn't been strictly required in any of my more recent games. Generally speaking, my players have a history of being fairly Careful and getting their rations in order before taking off. Navigation has, as well, been pretty easy since they've generally only followed known routes. When heading out off the beaten trail, I've typically made use of this:

  3. Are the rules in DF 16 broad enough to be adapted to a Sword & Wizardry Core Rules game? I plan on using a simplified skill system.

    1. They depend heavily on the GURPS skill system. You could use them as a basis, but you'd have to back-convert from skill-based to flat chances or attribute based rolls for just about all of the player-facing rolls.


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