View Full Version : "Okay, you go there"

2009-10-07, 02:22 PM
What do you guys do to show the passage of time while traveling from town to town? Most specifically on those trips where it's impossible to make a huge side quest for? Do you just say "okay you go there" and be done with it, or is there more to it?

2009-10-07, 02:23 PM
Pretty much that's it. Say "it takes you guys a month and nothing exciting happens." Maybe I'll throw an encounter in so something happens.

Temet Nosce
2009-10-07, 02:34 PM
What do you guys do to show the passage of time while traveling from town to town? Most specifically on those trips where it's impossible to make a huge side quest for? Do you just say "okay you go there" and be done with it, or is there more to it?

A combination of player preference and situational relevance. If one of the players has something they want to RP, or if anything they might encounter would possibly be relevant (whether then or at a later date) I'll go ahead and cover that but otherwise I generally montage.

2009-10-07, 02:46 PM
That's something I've been debating on how to do, since I'm starting my first game soon. I figure I'll sprinkle some encounters around, depending on where they go, and what they pass through (Does the area have a lot of bandits? Monsters? etc?). I'd rather not just say "You go there," since there's supposed to be some roleplay going on and whatnot.

So... does this sound good? Any suggestions?

2009-10-07, 02:47 PM
Depends on how much I've been drinking.

2009-10-07, 02:50 PM
Unless it's going to be interesting for anyone I fast forward through all that nonsense. I don't see the point in random encounters. If a player is big into survival I'd run something though just because it wouldn't be fair to skip over the part of the game where that character could shine.

I try to make sure there's stuff going on in the world. If players leave town for two months, I'll make damn sure it's not the same town when they get back. I think this is much more effective than playing out a string of campfire random encounters.

I'm also giving some thought to treating travel as a skill challenge. Gonna be running a 4e game soon and this seems like a good place to use skill challenges. Obviously it'll have to be something more interesting than 7 different ways to roll a survival check. I'm sure I'll think of something.

2009-10-07, 02:50 PM
I'll throw in an encounter. If the party investigates further then there will usually be the equivalent of a full day's adventuring in it for them. Or they can just arrive at their destination.

I run a rediculous number of things like dragons in my world. They're usually just one good invesitgation of a random encounter away from the PC's.

2009-10-07, 02:50 PM
If the players are in a position to observe or hear about facts, I might narrate major events, like:

"You wait a month for the snows to melt so you can use the mountain pass. Spring comes and the snows thaw. Planting time has come, and the peasants are out in the fields every day planting their crops. The armorsmith you hired finishes making that suit of full plate you wanted. Okay, does anyone want to do anything else, or are you ready to attempt the pass?"

If it's a small interval of time, I simply say something like "fifteen minutes later, you've made your way across town to the duke's palace. Servants usher you into his study, and the duke greets you."

2009-10-07, 03:02 PM
I do my best to arrange travel like this at the end of sessions, especially if we're talking more than a week's worth of time. That way, players have the option of doing RP amongst themselves or with me in between one game and the next, and we can just come back the next game and do a quick summary of what happened. "So, you all traveled for a month! Characters X and Y had a contest of who could steal the most from the other-- X won, by the way, and has been gloating-- and Characters A and B finally resolved their UST and hooked up. They are sappy and sweet and a few of you are probably annoyed. And now you're arriving in City Z..."

2009-10-07, 04:19 PM
Lets say it takes a week travel from place to place. We roll once for each day to see if there is an encounter. For month long ones, its once for week. I give the players an option to RP. But usually they just describe what they do for one day and that tends to be the rutine

2009-10-07, 04:36 PM
A technique me and my DM have developed is to have your current location surrounded by little "points of interest" that could potentially be used for sessions. A point of interest could be a town, or a treacherous mountain pass, or an interesting geographical feature of another sort - in any case, if you're going to travel a long distance, you'd have to go through one or more of them.

On a world map, if you have one, surround your players' current location with six or so of these points. Just have a few sentences explaining what's there - if this includes unique monsters or enemies, have them rolled up beforehand. If your players want to travel a long distance away, put points between those two areas, as well. A point of interest could be a brief RP interlude or even a whole session's worth of adventure, and they're certainly going to feel the travel time if stuff actually happens while they travel.

Naturally, since you're surrounding their current locations with six or so such points, and they're only going to be travelling in one direction, most of these are going to go unused. That's good. Save them! Eventually, you'll have a world with a healthy smattering of points of interest everywhere. That way, if your players decide to totally go off the rails and go somewhere completely unexpected, you'll have something to go off of instead of having to make stuff up from whole cloth.

2009-10-07, 04:44 PM
I generally feel its best to abstract travel time unless a player or the plot present a reason not to. Its important, however, to remember that time passes at the destination too. If they are traveling to deal with a specific situation, it should generally have gotten better or worse in the meantime: in the absence of a compelling reason, having a plot-centric situation remain static strains disbelief in the time spent traveling.