Monday, June 9, 2014

We didn't get to play Sunday

The title says it all. One of the two main players, Chris, is in a rehab center with a bad foot. Don't ask, don't tell. Eric, the other player, and I went over a bunch of hexcrawl stuff and GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 16: Wilderness Adventures, which both of us bought. He wound up agreeing with my idea for a daily list of things to handle, which is below.

  1. GM determines weather (Nasty Weather, DF 16, p. 30) and disasters (Disasters, DF 16, p. 32).
  2. HT roll for comfort (Harsh Climates, DF 16, p. 30).
  3. Roll against skill for movement (e.g., Hiking, Riding, Skiing) (Trudging, Trotting, and Trundling, DF 16, p. 21).
  4. Roll against Weather Sense to mitigate weather (Nasty Weather, DF 16, p. 30).
  5. Calculate movement rate (Covering Ground, DF 16, p. 23).
  6. Roll for morning random encounters.
  7. Roll Navigation in secret each time group goes into a new hex. GM makes Per-based roll to see if the group realizes it's off-course. Roll for random encounter in new hex.
  8. Roll for afternoon random encounters.
  9. When done for the day, resolve foraging rolls (Food and Water, DF 16, p. 42).
  10. Set up camp (Camping, DF 16, p. 24).

The number of rolls is more-or-less the same, with the HT roll for comfort taking the spot of the Survival roll to sadistically inflic damage. In the stead of random generic damage, there are disasters. There's no specified rate of how often they happen, and I thought a 6 or less on 3d (or about 10%) would be good, but some happen more often in bad weather and some don't, so I'm going with a roll for each kind, 5 or less on 3d. I have tables for each terrain kind; here are Woodlands, which are what will kill the players in two weeks:

1d  Static Woodlands Disasters
1    Disease (generic; roll HT or suffer -1 to all attribute and skill rolls for 1d days, or -3 on a critical failure)
2    Fire
3-4 Stinging Plants
5-6 Swarm

1d  Weather-Affected Woodlands Disasters
1-4 Falling Tree
5-6 Sinkhole

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 16: Wilderness Adventures: A Review

This is one dense supplement. It is in three parts. In the first, "Who Goes There?" Sean Punch updates what has come before (all supplements, but nothing from Pyramid articles) for the wilderness. It gives ways to tweak each template for wilderness adventuring ("From Delvers to Outdoorsmen"), and that has a hidden gem on page 5, "Wilderness Training." While he gives it as a 15-point lens to boost any delver's wilderness skills, it also works as a list of which skills you'll need in your hexcrawl. 

In the section for tweaking buddies, "Allies," there's a new henchman template, native guide, that you can put afore your delvers and take damage first, after leading everyone to the dungeon. And there's more about furry friends too. 

In the third section in this part, "Equipment," he talks about gear, including the gear about which I wrote not long ago, as well as some new thingies.

The second part, "Braving the Wilderness," is the meat of the book. There are 26 pages of so much crunch that NestlĂ© is getting free advertising. The first section, "Travel," is relevant to me. Of course, I care about hex crawling, but at no point does he write about hex crawling; travel stays in miles. It might be best to set hexes to "effective miles" to handle this best. Say, a five-mile hex with a road (1.25) costs 4 miles; with some hills (0.50) and no road, it costs 10 miles. It's easier math with 5-mile hexes, but 6-mile hexes match the idea of Move=hexes. 

The next section, "Camping," does add a bunch of new detail over which I skipped before. It isn't too much, however. It's only about a page.

The third section, "Exploration," handles a bunch of little tasks, like scouting ahead and getting lost. On that last one, this is something else that using a hex grid could help, since it lets the GM know where a gang of murder-hoboes wander when lost. There's also a bunch of little movement nuances which won't suit every terrain or game. 

The fourth section, "Dangers," has a short weather section. To adhere to it, I rated the 64 days of weather I had already rolled with one of the four levels. There are also the afore said ways of Mother Nature fucking over PCs, six traps, and almost four pages of combat notes. 

The last section in this chapter, "Mother Nature's Bounty," has ways of getting food, loot and gear out of the wild. Of note is the "Despoilers" sidebar, since it touches on how Mother Nature herself can take offense and go on the offense. I had wanted something like this for my game, and was winging it. There isn't a formal rule, so I'm still winging it, but with a little more guidance.

The third part is "Outdoor Adventures," and gives guidance about how to use what you've just read. "What Could Possibly Happen?" has a list of ways to adventure in the wild. It only loosely touches on hex crawling and other location-based adventures. Most of it is handling wandering and hacking monsters from point A to point B, then using a wilderness as a dungeon.

"Under a Big Sky" goes in another way, that of world building. This is nothing that has been in a DF supplement before, which was intentional. If you're in a dungeon, who cares about the rest of the world? With the rest of the world an adventuring locale in of itself, it needs some love.

"Wilderness Woes" talks about how the players can handle how the world causes damage. It's a look back at the big uncharted wild through which the rest of the book has trod.

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