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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
    Yora's Avatar

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    Apr 2009

    Thumbs up [Any D&D] Overland Travel and Wilderness Survival rules

    Dealing with how much characters can carry, how much food and arrows they have left, and keeping track of weather and travel durations very often is a huge amount of work that is just too troublesome to deal with and regularly gets ignored. However, it's a quite important aspect of wilderness adventures and you lose quite a substential amount of elements that can make quite a difference and add a lot of fun and excitement to the game.

    AD&D loved it's long random table, even when something simpler might have been more practical. And later editions often just copied and pasted those table while completely ignoring the context they were originally made for, which makes them all but useless and anything but fun.
    There are, however, indeed ways to approach this aspect of wilderness adventures in much simpler ways. I've been browsing through many OSR sites and some older D&D books, and have come up with a compilation of what I consider the best and most simple rules.
    This is, however, still a draft, and I would very much love to hear other peoples oppinions, as well as recommendations what other rules and subsystems should be added to the list. Once it's complete, I want to release it as a free pdf.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
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    Apr 2009

    Default Re: [Any D&D] Overland Travel and Wilderness Survival rules

    Note on movement speeds
    Many game use different systems to track the movement speeds of characters and creatures. All the rules and tables presented here will indicate simply a reduction of movement speed by "-1 step" or similar phrases. One step means the difference in speed that happens for example when a character wears heavier armor, is encumbered by a heavy load, or has a slower movement speed than human characters in general.

    Encumbrance represents how much a character is slowed down by the carrying of heavy loads. The system presented here is highly abstracted and does not measure specific weights or volumes. Encumbrance can be a very useful tool that adds new and potentially interesting elements to the game, but one that is very often ignored and forgotten because recalculating the weight of a characters gear every time he gains or uses any item, and consulting a table any time a characters effective Strength score changes is regarded as too much additional work for very few actual gain. (And rightly so.) By abstracting the weight of items and a characters carrying capacity, encumbrance becomes a lot easier and faster to handle, and much less obstructive to the enjoyment of the game. (Credit for this system mostly goes to Nick Whelan of Pencil and Paper.)
    A characters carrying capacity can be imagined as a number of inventory slots. Objects can be either "insignificant" and not take up any inventory space, or "significant" and take up 1 or more inventory space. As a rule of thumb, most objects with a weight of 1 pound or less can be treated as insignificant and not count towards a characters carrying limits. Common sense should be applied if a character attempts to create very large amounts of "insignificant" items, but generally the weight of small items carried by characters as part of their normal equipment can be ignored. "Significant" object usually take up 1 slot of a characters carrying capacity. Again, as a general rule of thumb, any object that can be held in a single hand should count only as one item. Objects that are either too heavy or too large to be easily held in one hand take up 2 spaces in the characters inventory, or possibly even more. If in doubt, divide an items actual weight in pounds by 10 to get the amount of carrying capacity it takes up. (Or by 5 if the weight is in kg.)
    A character can carry a load equal to half his Strength score without penalty. A character can carry a load up to equal to his Strength score while being encumbered, and suffering a one step reduction to his movement speed. The maximum load a character can carry is equal to one and a half times his Strength score, resulting in a two step reduction of movement speed and the character is unable to run or charge.
    This penalty to movement speed overlaps and is not cumulative to any penalty from wearing medium or heavy armor. If a characters class abilities can not be used when wearing medium armor, they can also not be used when being encumbered. Similar, a character being heavily encumbered suffers the same penalties and restrictions as a character wearing heavy armor.

    Encumbrance Rating Max. Load Movement
    Unencumbered 0.5 Strength
    Encumbered 1 Strength -1 step
    Heavily Encumbered 1.5 Strength -2 steps

    Item Load
    Item Load
    Light Armor 2
    Medium Armor 3
    Heavy Armor 2
    1-handed Weapon 1
    2-handed Weapon 2
    Shield 1
    Coins (100) 1
    Crowbar 1
    Grapling Hook 1
    Rope (15m) 1
    Lantern 1
    Pickaxe or Shovel 2
    Potions (3) 1
    Quiver (20 arrows) 1
    Spare Clothing 1
    Spellbook (100 pages) 1
    Ration (1 day) 1
    Tent (2 people) 2
    Thieves Tools 1
    Torch 1
    Water (1 liter) 1
    Winter Clothing 2
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
    Yora's Avatar

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    Apr 2009

    Default Re: [Any D&D] Overland Travel and Wilderness Survival rules

    Hex Travel
    This system presents overland movement in Movement Points. Under ideal conditions, one movement point allows characters to cover 1 mile of distance, but conditions are rarely ideal.

    Overland Travel
    This table indicates how many movement points characters get per day based on their base movement rate.
    Movement Rate 60 50 40 30 20 10
    Movement Points per day 36 30 24 18 12 10

    Terrain Effects
    Terrain Movement Point Modifier
    Rugged 1.5
    Very Rugged 2

    This table shows several types of mounts and other types of transportation. Mounts can either be unencumbered, encumbered, or heavily encumbered. Animals pulling a cart are always at least encumbered, regardless of load.
    Transportation Method Max. Load Movement Rate* Movement Points per Day
    Donkey 10 40 24
    20 30 18
    30 20 12
    Horse, Heavy** 16 50 30
    32 40 24
    48 30 18
    Horse, Light** 14 60 36
    28 50 30
    42 40 24
    Pony** 12 40 24
    24 30 18
    36 20 12
    Cart, Donkey (per donkey) 40 30 18
    60 20 12
    Cart, Horse or Oxen (per horse/ox) 60 30 18
    90 20 12
    Sled, Dog 24 50 30
    36 40 24
    * Treat a movement rate of 40 as the standard speed for unarmored and unencumbered humans. Every +10 or -10 represent one step up or down for any games that use different measurements.
    ** -1 step/-6 Movement Points per day when wearing barding.

    Becoming Lost
    The chance of getting lost.
    Terrain Type Lost Chance*
    Desert (steppe), forest (light), grasslands, hills (low), plains, scrublands, snow (light) 1:6
    Bluffs, forest (moderate), hills (steep), icy / glaciated, mountains, snow (moderate), tundra (open) 2:6
    Desert (sandy), forest (heavy), snow (heavy), swamp / marsh 3:6
    * If the party contains a barbarian or a ranger, roll a d8 instead.

    Becoming Lost: Deviation
    You can use this table either to navigate directly on a map, or using a hex map, using the appropriate row.
    d6 roll 1 2-3 4-5 6
    Degree 90 left 45 left 45 right 90 right
    Hexes 2 hexes left 1 hex left 1 hex right 2 hexes right

    Food and Water
    The rules presented here for dehydration and starvation are a gross simplification meant to be easy to apply to the game rather than being a realistic representation of the effects caused by lack of food and water. They are, however, useful to create a sense of urgency for players whose characters find themselves in situations where death by thirst or starvation becomes a looming threat.

    Human-sized characters need 2 liters of water per day, 1 liter if they don't perform any exerting activities. Smaller characters require half the amount, larger ones four times the normal amount. In extremely warm conditions like hot deserts, the requirements double.
    At the end of every day, during which a character did not get his required amount of water or other drinks, the character temporarily loses 1d4 points of Constitution. If a character does not get at least half his required amount or no water at all, he loses 1d6 points of constitution instead. At the end of every day, during which a character receives his required amount of water and takes no further penalty to Constitution from thirst, he regains 1d8 points of Constitution.
    When a character loses any Constitution to dehydration, his movement rate is reduced by one step. When a characters Constitution score reaches 0, the character is dead.

    Characters require food equal to 1 ration per day. If a character goes without food for more than 3 days, he loses 1 point of constitution every day. On every day that a character does not perform any exerting activities, he can make a Test of Constitution to avoid losing any Constitution that day. If characters do not get the required amount of food, but at least half of it, they lose a point of Constitution only every 3 days.
    On any day a character receives the proper amount of food, he regains 1d4 points of Constitution lost to hunger.
    When a character loses any Constitution to starvation, his movement rate is reduced by one step. When a characters Constitution score reaches 0, the character is dead.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Default Re: [Any D&D] Overland Travel and Wilderness Survival rules

    I really don't like these encumbrance rules. Just as a quick example, I have a Barbarian with 22 strength, who carries around enough weapons to arm a squad of soldiers on his own.

    In 3.5 he can carry 200lbs unencumbered. Under your system he can carry 11 slots. Right now this character is holding:

    3 two-handed weapons (6 slots, 34 lbs)
    4 javelins (one handed weapons) (4 slots, 8 lbs)
    1 Longbow (2 slots, 3 lbs)
    Spiked Gauntlets (1 slot, 1 lb)
    Light Armor (2 slots, 25 lbs)
    80 Arrows (4 slots, 12lbs)

    Total: 19 slots vs 83lbs. By switching to your system, my character just went from less than half of a light load (and thus plenty of capacity for other supplies), to nearly at a heavy load. This is even before considering any supplies, clothing, or other gear being carried (which if I bothered to add it up would probably put him over a heavy load).

    Your system dramatically favors lower strength characters, because high strength characters gain increased encumbrance capacity exponentially. A 10 str character goes from having a 33lb light load to having 5 slots (net gain approx 17lb. +50%). A 20 str character goes from 133lb to 10 slots (net loss approx 33lb. -25%), and the differences become more pronounced the further on you go in either direction, with 16 being the break even point if each slot was actually 10lbs rather than anywhere between 1/10th that and double that, depending on the item.

    And yes, it seriously is that skewed. Consider the absurdity of 1 days rations and 1 liter of water, or even 100 coins being worth an encumbrance slot. Seriously, those are in the range of 1-2lbs each, especially when an encumbrance slot is described as being 10lbs. Those numbers should be about 10x higher per slot at minimum. I'm also not entirely sure why heavy armor weighs the same amount as light armor, regardless of what system or logic you are using as your baseline. But that makes heavy armor 2 slots when it normally weighs 50lbs, so a 2.5:1 ratio above the stated standard.

    Now looking at the exploration rules, you need 2 liters of water and 1 ration per day to survive. Having only a single liter drops your con damage from 1d8 to 1d6, so if you don't have a full 2 liters you really may as well drink nothing. In a desperate situation it seems like a character could go drinking 2 liters of water every 2-3 days rather than 1 every day, and come out ahead statistically. I'm not sure if that makes any realistic sense or not, but it seems to me like a very metagamey thing to do and counter intuitive.

    Either way, an average character going for a hike is going to have to overburden himself just to go out for a day or two, because two days worth of food and water is already more than an average person can carry without slowing down, before even adding any other supplies into the mix.

    You specify the number of movement points a character gets, but I don't see any indication of what a Movement Point actually does. I'm assuming it lets you move across on hex square, but how big a square is or what that actually means seems to be undefined.

    The getting lost rules are totally nonsensical, mostly because you're trying to do this edition agnostic and thus have no tie-in to any skill system. A 20th level ranger with maxed out Knowledge Geography and Survival? He can track an orc who passed through this place 6 months ago before that series of 5 hurricanes hit, but he's still going to get lost traveling across an open plane 12.5% of the time! Also apparently only Rangers and Barbarians are even that good at navigating. A druid will get lost traveling through his own native forest literally 50% of the time! I make fun of critical fumble rules for generating Three Stooges comedy skits, and this whole set of travel rules falls into the same sort of trap. It's not slapstick, but it's still generating characters so incompetent that it belongs in some sort of comedy show.
    If my text is blue, I'm being sarcastic.But you already knew that, right?

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
    Yora's Avatar

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    Apr 2009

    Thumbs up Re: [Any D&D] Overland Travel and Wilderness Survival rules

    My default assumption was that a character with full adventuring gear ncluding clothes, tents, tools, rations and so on is not unencumbred. Unencumbred is the state in which thieves and monks can do all their crazy stunts, which should be doable with light armor and a small bag of tools, but not full camping gear for a week.
    Now that you point it out, it's indeed the case that carrying capacity in most edition of D&D does not increase lineary with the Strength score. In 3rd Edition, the maximum load is 50 pounds at Str 5, 100 pounds at Str 10, 200 pounds at Str 15, and 400 pounds at Str 20. Translating that to an easy conversion rate is difficult to put it mildly, and probably can't be done without several steps of multiplication.
    The original proposal for the system was to use Str x1, Str x2, Str x3, which seemed too high for me, but you might be right that halving that might be too much.

    Worst case scenario: Str 10 thief who wants to stay unencumbered. So a maximum of 10 slots.
    Light armor: 2
    Short Sword: 1
    Short Bow: 1
    Dagger: 1
    Tools: 1
    1 Ration: 1
    1x Water: 1
    Bedroll: 1
    Rope: 1
    That is indeed still a pretty small pack he'd be carrying around and that'd be without any meaningful amounts of treasure to pick up. Setting the limit at 5 would really be quite harsh.

    In your example, the barbarian could have 22 slots without being encumbred. If you'd translate slots directly to weight, he'd still be able to carry significantly less, the same as a Str 16 character would normally be able to. However, I think that is a problem that could be ignored. a.) There is still the amount of all the items of insignificant weight, of which the character could carry a lot, and which would not count as slots at all. b.) The weight lists for carrying capacity are pulled out of thin air and are not connected to versmiliude, and c.) this is a system aimed primarily at people who never tracked weight anyway.
    So if effectively a Str 10 character could carry as much stuff as a Str 13 character, and a Str 22 character only as much as a Str 19 character, I would personally not consider that a big problem.

    But I entirely conceed, setting the encumbrance limits at Str x0.5, x1, x1.5 was a rather dumb idea. x1, x2, x3 matches way better overall.

    That I assumed 6-mile hexes, that require 6 movement points to cross, but didn't put that information anywhere, is also indeed a serious oversight.

    I see your point about getting lost. I'm going to have to look into a few more alternative systems to come up with a more believable way to do it.

    Thanks, lots of helpful pointers.
    We are not standing on the shoulders of giants, but on very tall tower of other dwarves.

    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery
    Spriggan's Den Heroic Fantasy Roleplaying

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Default Re: [Any D&D] Overland Travel and Wilderness Survival rules

    Actually, one of the things I disliked about moving away from the encumbrance of earlier editions to straight weight limits was the acknowledgement that the two are not identical. Encumbrance is how difficult something is to carry around. A 30 kg object is a lot easier to carry around on adventures if it's shaped like a belt and worn right on your center of gravity than a 5 kg object that is a sphere with radius nearly 2 meters.

    Now you can argue that the exact implementation here needs a little work, but I like the general idea.

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