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D30 Overland Travel Mishaps

Adventurers walking from one location to another with gear on their backs face several challenges. Whether backpacking in Traveller or Call of Cthulhu or journeying in Dungeons & Dragons or Ryuutama, here are d30 mishaps an explorer might encounter on the trail.


These mishaps use D&D 5E rules. For each journey decide on a number of Survival checks a group makes, every day or every two or three days. A failed check triggers a roll on the mishap table. On a natural 1 roll on the special mishap table. Alternatively, add these in as set encounters either picking a desired result or rolling randomly. If an event affects only one PC roll randomly to determine which one or choose the PC making the Survival check.

Mishap Survival Check Table (-2 DC on a trail, +2 DC for foul weather)

TerrainDifficulty Class
Grasslands7
Deserts and hills12
Forests, mountains, and swamps17

Roll a d30 to determine the mishap or a d6 for a special mishap. To simulate a d30 roll any die, odd roll 1d20 on the chart and even roll 1d10+20 on the chart. All saves on the mishap table are DC 13 and DC 15 on the special mishap table.

Mishap Table

D30 RollMishapEffect
1Lost, walking in circlesRoll d6 for hex side moved through; if hex side is the desired direction stay in current hex instead
2Venomous snakeSnake bite +5; Constitution save or 1d6 poison damage and poisoned for 1 hour
3Dangerous weatherBlizzard, lightning, tornado; 2d6 damage
4Monster disturbedRandom encounter
5Savage animalBear, boar, large cat, or large canine attacks
6Provision shortage or spoiled foodLose half your rations to miscalculation or rot
7Blocked terrainCannot move in desired direction due to debris, washed out trail, etc.
8Worn outGain a level of exhaustion
9Quicksand/mud/water/floodingFall results in being restrained; after 1d4 rounds begin suffocating or use DMG description for quicksand
10Sprained ankle or blistersSpeed is halved for 1d3 days, magic healing cures
11Torn clothes and gearUntil mended, suffer disadvantage on Charisma skill checks if appearance matters
12LandslideDexterity save or 2d6 damage and restrained and suffocating until Strength check to dig out
13Spider biteConstitution save versus poison or 1d6 poison damage and poisoned for 1 hour
14Distracting weatherFog, heavy rain, or hail; disadvantage on ranged attacks and Survival checks
15Wasp’s nestDexterity save or poisoned for 1 hour
16Mosquito swarmCarries the disease sewer plague
17Pestering animalAngry squirrel or mocking bird pesters you triggering a random encounter
18Poisonous plantsPoisoned until washed clean
19Black fliesIf not in shelter, disadvantage, lasts 24 hours
20TicksCarry cackle fever
21Lost gear or weapon1d6 on a 1 a weapon is lost otherwise a piece of gear
22Hunter’s trapDexterity save or restrained by net/snare or animal trap; 50% chance it is an animal trap that also inflicts 1d6 damage
23Sick or rabid animalSmall animal bite +5 for 1d4 damage and exposure to sewer plague
24Fall from cliff, into cave, sinkhole, or old wellDexterity save or fall 1d3x10 feet
25SkunkDexterity save or “poisoned” until washed off
26Dirty drinking waterEveryone’s drinking water tainted with sight rot
27FireA fire burns in your intended direction, turn away or Constitution save to dash through: succeed poisoned by smoke for 1 hour, fail as succeed and take 2d6 fire damage
28Lice“Poisoned” until treated
29Fire antsTake 1d6 poison damage, poisoned for 1 hour, and lose half your rations
30Broken gear1d6 on a 1 a weapon is broken otherwise a piece of gear

Special Mishap Table

D6 RollSpecial MishapResult
1RazorvinePer the DMG
2Acid rainFind shelter or take 2d6 acid damage, leaves behind acid puddles for 1d6 hours
3Ash stormBlocks the direction you want to travel, push on by making a Strength saving throw or gain a level of exhaustion
4Dust tornadoDexterity save or take 1d6 bludgeoning damage and Speed reduced by half for 1d6 hours
5Magnetic pulseIf wearing metal armor, Strength save or prone and restrained for 1d6 hours
6Weird energyIntelligence save or “poisoned” for 1d6 hours as strange visions warp your sight

Exploring the wilderness is a wonderful challenge but it also brings a host of possible mundane mishaps. In a magical or supernatural world there may be even stranger mishaps. Use these tables to spice up travel in your RPG of choice.
 
Charles Dunwoody

Comments

Wagon trains are slow, vulnerable, easy to spot, and don't maneuver well. Perfect for an RPG. Don't forget a savage animal could be a stampede.

Is this D&D or something else? "Cause in D&D you have to look out for the mimic wagon train. You know, looks like a friendly camp of fellow wagons but everything, maybe even the fire, is alive and wanting to eat everyone in your own wagon train.
D&D. We're going through Horde of the Dragon Queen.
 

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Am I the only one here who actually has a d30? Got it at GenCon in the mid-80s. Only found a game use for it once.
I have two! In case I have to roll 2-60 orcs or something.

I sometimes use the d30 in place of a d20 for big bads. So a dragon or the evil high priest rolls a d30 instead of a d20. With advantage, rolling 2d30s looks really impressive.

Also works to randomize the day of the month.
 


I have two! In case I have to roll 2-60 orcs or something.
Too bad "number appearing" isn't a thing anymore in the era of CR and balanced encounters.

I sometimes use the d30 in place of a d20 for big bads. So a dragon or the evil high priest rolls a d30 instead of a d20. With advantage, rolling 2d30s looks really impressive.
That is just evil enough that I might try it sometime.

Also works to randomize the day of the month.
That's the one thing I used it for back when I was playing in the 80s.
 


jeffh

Explorer
I personally prefer your method, but the one they suggest gives an equal distribution also... It just looks awkward

Roll any die, odd use a 1d20 and even 1d10+20... so say we roll a d4 initially, on a 1 or 3 you get an equal chance of a 1-20... if the d4 was a 2 or 4, a 1d10 and add 20 still gives and equal chance of getting a 21-30... What makes it fair is you have a 50/50 chance of getting odd or even on the d4 (or d6, or d8, or whatever), no matter what there is only one way out of 30 to get each number from 1 to 30
No, that's wrong. Half the time you're getting a result from 1-20, and half the time you're getting a result from 21-30. That makes any given result from 21-30 twice as likely to occur (50% divided by 10=5%) as any given result from 1-20 (50% divided by 20 = 2.5%).
 

While there are some neat ideas in the table, a lot of them sound annoying enough to make your players hate overland travel. I prefer to encourage my players to travel, rather than discourage them.

With the snake bite, how do you decide which player gets bitten? Do they not get a check to spot the snake first? Likewise with quicksand, do they just automatically fall in?

I think more rules are required there to make it more fair. I think players should at least be able to spot the quicksand, and if they spot it, be given the choice to find a safe path across, or to turn around.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I think more rules are required there to make it more fair. I think players should at least be able to spot the quicksand, and if they spot it, be given the choice to find a safe path across, or to turn around.
I think you can do that. No new rules to handle, most rules sets already handle these situations. But different rule sets have different ways of handling. And the OP explicitly called out that these could be used for multiple rules sets.
 

Eltab

Hero
While there are some neat ideas in the table, a lot of them sound annoying enough to make your players hate overland travel. I prefer to encourage my players to travel, rather than discourage them.

With the snake bite, how do you decide which player gets bitten? Do they not get a check to spot the snake first? Likewise with quicksand, do they just automatically fall in?

I think more rules are required there to make it more fair. I think players should at least be able to spot the quicksand, and if they spot it, be given the choice to find a safe path across, or to turn around.
I took it as a narration aid, so there is more than "You travel all day ... and nothing happens." Maybe the PCs interact with the event, maybe not.
"You find quicksand. " "We razz the Ranger about watching his step, and move on. " -or-
"You see a wagon with a broken wheel in the road ahead of you." " Hey, guys, let's stop to help. " "OK."
are both valid responses.
 

While there are some neat ideas in the table, a lot of them sound annoying enough to make your players hate overland travel. I prefer to encourage my players to travel, rather than discourage them.

With the snake bite, how do you decide which player gets bitten? Do they not get a check to spot the snake first? Likewise with quicksand, do they just automatically fall in?

I think more rules are required there to make it more fair. I think players should at least be able to spot the quicksand, and if they spot it, be given the choice to find a safe path across, or to turn around.
I like your first idea. Maybe I'll make a table of wonders of the natural world. For example. my wife and i were canoeing last night and a beaver circled us a few times and splashed its tail in warning even as its curiousity drove it within five feet of us. Worth being in the wilds.

As to your questions. First one: random d20 roll lowest gets bit or roll initiative and slowest gets chomped. Or random numbers for each PC. Other questions you can use the rules of your system or a 2 in 6 change (4 in 6 four outdoor types).
 

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