Visiting the Archives: Travelling…

2008 November 10
by Dante

This Behind the Screen piece was posted in a much simpler time before Stupid Ranger and I were cast across the country for my day job. We are in the process of unloading boxes at the moment, so please feel free to sup at the banquet of this post while we figure out which drawer gets our silverware and which one gets our character sheets.


originally posted by Dante on 10/13/2007

This weekend the StupidRanger crew is heading out of town and that got me to thinking: how does everyone handle traveling long distances? I would like to recount one failed attempt on my part and open up the floor to obvious criticism and comments.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ (wheels, not dice!)

In one of our recent campaigns, the party was tasked with traveling across country to locate pieces of an important artifact. It was all fun and games for awhile, I had a few episodic encounters put together for them to experience along the way and I augmented that with a few random encounters.

Even though the encounters fit into the landscape (feral wildlife and whatnot), eventually both the players and I tired of the encounters. They still had a long way to travel, and having already established this as a “dangerous” territory it didn’t stand to reason that they would be able to travel unmolested for a week or more.

How not to see the coastal plains on just three gold pieces a day.

Eventually, I ended up giving up and in the best interest of the players I handwaved a fair portion of the rest of the travel. I wasn’t very satisfied with this as a DM, I felt as if I should have come up with a more interesting way to transport them across hill and dale without just nixing the “dangerous” aspect of the terrain. The group ended up getting from Point A to Point B and things quickly picked back up once they were wired back into the plot, I suppose a good solution would’ve been not to establish plot points half of the coastal lands away.

Has anyone else run into this difficulty before? If so, how do you quickly move your group without having a random wizard show up and teleport them where they need to be conveniently?

5 Responses leave one →
  1. Thaeus permalink
    November 10, 2008

    Hmm. I think the problem is that the encounters are random and sort of detached from one another.

    How ’bout if the party started running into goblins regularly, only to find out that there’s a major goblin base near their destination? They could interrogate their victims about what’s ahead, or maybe sneak a ride in a goblin transport, or something.

    Or maybe you have to just take a sudden detour story-wise to keep things interesting. Perhaps on their way the adventurers stumble across a hidden town of dwarves under attack by an elf driven mad with syphilis?

  2. wyattsalazar permalink
    November 10, 2008

    I agree that tightening up the encounters into the story instead of making them random would’ve been a great help. You can’t get a lot of plot advancement out of feral beasts, but intelligent creatures (especially intelligent social creatures) always make for interesting story.

  3. Noumenon permalink
    November 11, 2008

    This post is half done without its comments, so here’s a link to the old ones.

  4. Dante permalink
    November 11, 2008

    Thanks for the link back to the original, noumenon… a less frazzled author would’ve done that in the reposting. 🙂

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