Tuesday, February 16, 2016

28 Days Later

The 28 day journey from Sloobludopp to Gracklestugh was a long arduous slog that took three sessions!

I kept track of the journey using the spreadsheet I created a few weeks ago. I printed out a copy and kept it in front of me. All of the encounters were pre-rolled and recorded on the sheet so I didn't have to roll during play. The only thing I'd have to roll was the details, and even that I did before the session if I had the time.

I had the players go through a daily ritual after each long rest, following the routine outlined here.

I'd begin each day by writing down how much food and water carried over from the previous day. The maximum water they could carry over was based on how many water skins they had.

FULL DISCLOSURE- I found out after the fact that butchered meat only lasts 1 day. I didn't know this so you'll see days in my notes with +40 pounds of meat that lasted for several days. Oops.

Then I had players assign PCs and NPCs to specific jobs:

  1. Navigator - it was the navigator's job to keep their eyes peeled for the clues and marks that led to their destination. Only NPCs who have previously made the journey to the destination could navigate. This put a premium on protecting certain NPCs over others. If you were navigating, you didn't have the time or attention to forage or hide your tracks. You also spent your downtime mapping your progress. The players wisely assigned multiple NPCs to navigate. The back-up navigator helped prevent the party from becoming lost. 
  2. Forager - it was the forager's job to look for food and water, both during the journey and after the party had stopped to camp. If you were foraging, you could not navigate or hide your tracks.
  3. Hide Tracks - You did what you could to obfuscate any evidence of your passing. This was a full time job. If you hid your tracks, you couldn't navigate or forage.  

These jobs stayed pretty much consistent day after day. Once they lost the drow pursuit, I had Hemeth say "I think we lost them." so they wouldn't have to be paranoid or waste resources on hiding their tracks every day.

Next I would ask for the pace: Slow (4 miles), Normal (6 miles), or Fast (10 miles).

If they took a slow day or a fast day, instead of calculating exact times, I'd just add or subtract a day from their journey.

If there was an encounter indicated during that day's travel, I would roll 1d6 (or 1d4 for slow days or 1d10 for fast days) to determine during which of the 6 miles (or 4 or 10) the encounter occurred. Then I would resolve the encounter.

If there was no encounter, I'd say, "You traveled 4/6/10 miles without incident. Roll for navigation."

The player controlling the navigator (Hemeth) would roll WIS (Survival) vs. 5 for slow, 10 for normal, 15 for fast. The player controlling the back-up navigator (Sarith) would also roll. If both rolls failed, I'd roll 1d6.

  • 1-3 =  no days lost. 
  • 4-5 = half a day added to their journey. 
  • 6 = a full day added to their journey.

FULL DISCLOSURE- Although I did this on the journey from Velkenvelve to Sloobludopp, I did it wrong when they traveled to Gracklestugh. I was adding a full day to their journey with each failure. This resulted in adding 8 full days to the originally 20-day journey. It should have been around 3.5 days. 

Then I'd ask the players controlling anyone hiding tracks to roll WIS (Survival) vs. 16. A success lowered the pursuit level by 1. Angolwen's player wanted to help by collapsing the tunnel behind them using Thunderwave. I liked the idea so I lowered the difficulty to hide tracks by -2 for each use of Thunderwave that day.

Finally I'd say, "Roll for food and water. The difficulty is..." I'd roll 14+1d6, "(15-20)." I'd write the difficulty in the far left margin.

Each player would roll for their PC and for any NPC they controlled. A success indicated WIS modifier + 1d6 pounds of food or gallons of water. 2d6 for a natural 20.

Then I would go around the table and ask for results.

Player 1: "Nothing."
Player 2: "2 pounds of food. No water."
Player 3: "No food. 3 gallons of water."

They would usually tell each other which NPC found the food or water and they would remember who was contributing and who was just consuming.

I would record the results on the sheet, indicating food/water found, added to previous day for total food/water, then subtract food/water consumed, and record remaining food/water which was carried over to the next day.

For camping, I'd ask for watches. The players had five watches, making sure there was always someone with darkvision on watch. If there was an encounter that night, I'd roll 1d10/2 to determine on which watch the encounter occurred.

I gave the players some narrative control for the random encounters. I had some home-made wall pieces with some Dwarven Forge stalagmites and some aquarium decorations arrayed on the table. I'd ask the players to set up the encounter how they wished. I'd simply say, "There's an encounter. Arrange the cavern." and let them be creative. Pits, columns, furrows, stalagmites, boulders, shelves, whatever they wanted. That's where the encounter took place. After they set it up, I'd reveal the opposition.

Anyway, here's a scan of the two pages of sheets showing their daily progress on their journey as well as the pre-rolled random encounters.

The printed portion on page 1 (days 1-10) represents the travel from Velkenvelve to Sloobludopp, which transpired before I made the sheets. The bracketed days on page 1 represent the sessions. So days 11-14 were run in a single session on 1/29. We only got 5 days done because I ran the Hook Horror Hunt side adventure.  Days 15-19 was the next session (2/5). Again, we only got that much done because I went back and ran Angolwen's solo time from days 11-14. Plus there was a lot of role-playing and NPC interaction that week.

The entire page 2, days 20-37, was run on 2/12. The players were set on reaching their destination, so we plowed through, gaming until 1:30am that night, until they arrived in Gracklestugh.