Thursday, May 26, 2011

The dangers of off-road travel

Been reading on the periphery of some discussion about how travelling in the wilderness should cause damage or some other form of attrition.  I think it's a good idea and I've been thinking how I could apply it to Beacon/Microlite.  Travel is physically demanding and is exactly the kind of fatigue that the HP system in Beacon is supposed to represent.  So it's pretty simple to justify all the bugs and scrapes and exposure to the elements and mental fatigue as HP damage.  As to how much and when it occurs, as I keep stressing, I don't want to have a lot of rules and tables to consult during a game.  Most importantly it has to be simple, it has to be meaningful (otherwise why bother) and it has to allow for low level NPCs to go about their business while still causing problems for higher level PCs.  I also think that for Beacon it has to deal with the Survival skill.  So here's my first shot at this.

Off road travel through hazardous terrain should cost a cumulative X HP per day spent in that terrain. The X would be based on the terrain type and how hazardous it is, e.g. forest 1, swamp or desert 2, a Princess Bride Fireswamp 4, etc.  So spending 4 days travelling in a normal forest would do you for 1 HP on day one, 2 on day two and finally 4 on day four.  It's not a lot but that's just a forest- it would be pretty noticeable when spending a couple of weeks hacking your way through a swamp.  Also I figure the Survival skill would negate this damage on a per point basis - so Survival score of 4 (a level 1 human hunter for example) would shield you for up to 4 points of this damage each day.  Experienced survivalists (like high level hunters and druids) could stay out in the woods for very long times where a first level mage would probably die from exposure from a long weekend on the beach.
Huzzah! An oasis!
I think that if you couple this with the resting restrictions on HP recovery (specifically what constitutes a good rest) you could easily wear down a party over time and make those treks into the unknown much more exciting.
When that oasis comes into view over the sand dunes the weary travelers would indeed rejoice... that is until they discovered the terrible secret hidden within it's walls.

1 comment:

  1. I like this concept. There's something similar called "survival days" (I think) from the Dark Sun setting. If I remember right, a character could carry so many days of rations and water, abstracted as survival days, and then would start to take damage once that ran out. Suddenly makes the decision between carrying extra weapons/gewgaws and food much more interesting...