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UA Into the Wild: New Unearthed Arcana Covers Wilderness Exploration

Ohh the Nentir Vale - Moon Hills example that Mearls had showed a screenshot of before. Nice.
 

Comments

guachi

Explorer
I liked this enough I tweeted Mearls to give us more. Basically, I said that with the increased popularity of D&D we need more rules and advice to help all the new DMs. The UA was a five page Wilderness Survival Guide.

At least, I assume there are lots of new DMs.

A for concept, B for execution.
 

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Ristamar

Explorer
Also I would avoid any encounters which do not "progress the story".
I strongly disagree, but that's an entirely separate discussion that's already racked up a lot of mileage across many forums and blogs and isn't likely to be fruitful.

The big flaw in "navigation DC" is - so let's assume the characters roll bad on this one. They don't reach their destination. Nothing happens. Passivity.
Nothing happens? One would assume the PCs continue their efforts to find their destination of choice. At the very least, they have to get back to civilization, so to speak. That's hardly passive, it's just a question of desire and aptitude. The PCs should not be required to reach their destination.
 

MagicSN

First Post
Nothing happens? One would assume the PCs continue their efforts to find their destination of choice. At the very least, they have to get back to civilization, so to speak. That's hardly passive, it's just a question of desire and aptitude. The PCs should not be required to reach their destination.
Then it's basically "I try the same again". I still think this not a good choice.

About "requiring to reach their destination" - if this is what they want to do - to reach this destination, it gives us dicing instead of story. I would recommend to do this without dicing tables. Story-based. But it might of course be a matter of RPG-ing style.

About random encounters, yes, they have been discussed a lot, but I still think them an absolutely awful mechanics and all at my table agree. Why random, if you can do it "in-story"? But right, this discussion probably does not belong here, I agree.
 

Ristamar

Explorer
Then it's basically "I try the same again". I still think this not a good choice.
There are (or should be) consequences for trying again. Time and resources are limited. If the tax to find or reach the destination is negligible, there shouldn't be any checks involved. Just let the party fast forward to their destination and ignore these types of mechanics.
 

Istbor

Dances with Gnolls
There are (or should be) consequences for trying again. Time and resources are limited. If the tax to find or reach the destination is negligible, there shouldn't be any checks involved. Just let the party fast forward to their destination and ignore these types of mechanics.
Which is fine if your group isn't into exploration or travel.

This document are for those who are.

If nothing else I like the concise template it presents for creating a region from the DMs perspective. I am always looking for better ways to organize my thoughts and notes in the case that a return to the region is made, or a new group enters my swamp of DOOM! I like to then be consistent. Think it could also help create regions that could become a favorite to the group or a player/character.
But I dig world building stuff. So... to each their own.
 

Ristamar

Explorer
Which is fine if your group isn't into exploration or travel.

This document are for those who are.
As a simplistic point crawl, I think it's a decent start with a notable gaps. Like others have already stated, I hope this UA gets revisited, refined, and expanded.
 



Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
There are (or should be) consequences for trying again. Time and resources are limited. If the tax to find or reach the destination is negligible, there shouldn't be any checks involved. Just let the party fast forward to their destination and ignore these types of mechanics.
Agreed, but isn’t a consequence for trying again exactly what the risk of random encounters provides?
 

maceochaid

Explorer
This is somewhat interesting, but in my Planescape campaign I'm adapting the 5E Middle Earth rules, and I'm infinitely more excited for it. I appreciate how they come up with a much more interesting understanding of how to make the failure of the DC do something other than "they don't reach the Dungeon that is the whole point of my adventure so I'm going to wind up fudging that DC because otherwise I have no game to run"
 

Gradine

Final Form
I'm a huge fan of the Planar Confluence stuff; I think it's a fantastic way to model, for instance, manifest zones in Eberron.
 

mrpopstar

Sparkly Dude
How does the ranger's Natural Explorer feature interact with the Navigation DC? If the ranger's group can't get lost except by magical means, do groups with a ranger present auto-succeed?

:confused:
 

Ristamar

Explorer
Agreed, but isn’t a consequence for trying again exactly what the risk of random encounters provides?
Maybe it wasn't clear when I disagreed with [MENTION=6784745]MagicSN[/MENTION], but I'm in favor of random encounters and repeated attempts should have consequences (more random encounters, if nothing else). Of course, while most random encounters may not be relevant to the PC's current interests, there's no reason some shouldn't be tailored to hint at other plots or world building elements.
 
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mrpopstar

Sparkly Dude
Content along these lines is everything I need in my D&D life! I'm absolutely a survival horror-type DM, so I can (and will) use all of this. -- Definitely needs some refinement, though.

:)
 

Remathilis

Legend
This is somewhat interesting, but in my Planescape campaign I'm adapting the 5E Middle Earth rules, and I'm infinitely more excited for it. I appreciate how they come up with a much more interesting understanding of how to make the failure of the DC do something other than "they don't reach the Dungeon that is the whole point of my adventure so I'm going to wind up fudging that DC because otherwise I have no game to run"
The issue, of course, is what those consequences should be...

Right now, exploration is mostly a breezed over concept as there is few resources to track. In theory, food and water are resources to track (as being lost or waylaid could cost you both) but few DMs worry about tracking the minutiae of rations (hell, most don't track arrows). Besides, an outlander makes automatic food recovery and hunting or foraging is a survival check away.

So the only cost to failing a check is time; either as players (going through random encounters that might not further the plot) a characters, or both.

Perhaps some form of stamina mechanic (combining exhaustion and hp loss from environmental hazards) that measured your ability to withstand travel might work. That way, the effect of things like being lost, starved, caught in the rain, attacked by mosquitos, or chilled to the bone) could sap your strength. Resting at a non-dangerous place (like an inn or residence) could recover them. Seems like it would be another complicated system to track.
 

MagicSN

First Post
here are (or should be) consequences for trying again. Time and resources are limited. If the tax to find or reach the destination is negligible, there shouldn't be any checks involved. Just let the party fast forward to their destination and ignore these types of mechanics.
If it is just fast forward - skip the whole traveling and directly start at the destination with the game session. Neither random tables nor skipping forward is interesting.

Instead of rolling on tables you think of an interesting scene to happen, one which presents the character with a hard choice to make or present another obstacle (one that is not just "x enemies of type y randomly rolled"). Then they need to decide how to overcome the obstacle, and every failure will lead to a consequence (one which is more "interesting" than getting off-track for 2d6 miles) - and failure and success as well might result in something the players will remember for a long time. Possible the consequences of decisions will make them never arrive at their destination - possible they will arrive early. But very likely more interesting situations will arrive than from a random table. Why roll on a random table, when you can also design a situation, include maybe some backstories of characters? Maybe re-introduce some old acquaintences of the characters? Or the adversaries make a move? The game lives of situations, obstacles and what the players will think of to overcome their obstacles - not of random tables.

But true, to each his own and of course Unearthed Arcana is free content, so nothing to complain there ;-)
 

mrpopstar

Sparkly Dude
The issue, of course, is what those consequences should be...

Right now, exploration is mostly a breezed over concept as there is few resources to track. In theory, food and water are resources to track (as being lost or waylaid could cost you both) but few DMs worry about tracking the minutiae of rations (hell, most don't track arrows). Besides, an outlander makes automatic food recovery and hunting or foraging is a survival check away.

So the only cost to failing a check is time; either as players (going through random encounters that might not further the plot) a characters, or both.

Perhaps some form of stamina mechanic (combining exhaustion and hp loss from environmental hazards) that measured your ability to withstand travel might work. That way, the effect of things like being lost, starved, caught in the rain, attacked by mosquitos, or chilled to the bone) could sap your strength. Resting at a non-dangerous place (like an inn or residence) could recover them. Seems like it would be another complicated system to track.
Food, water, and exhaustion are built into the current adventuring rules regarding travel. I think this UA simply seeks to make them more prominent and more easily utilized in the game.

Exploration is my favorite pillar!
 

Remathilis

Legend
Food, water, and exhaustion are built into the current adventuring rules regarding travel. I think this UA simply seeks to make them more prominent and more easily utilized in the game.

Exploration is my favorite pillar!
It's sorta realized in the game; but right now it's a mix of the exhaustion rules and hp loss, with some things (like inclement weather) not doing much at all. It's a hodgepodge of systems and could use a tad more tightening and consequence so that it becomes akin to how hp is tracked though combat...

That said, the article starts with a good idea and if I'd love to see more sample terrains done...
 

mrpopstar

Sparkly Dude
It's sorta realized in the game; but right now it's a mix of the exhaustion rules and hp loss, with some things (like inclement weather) not doing much at all. It's a hodgepodge of systems and could use a tad more tightening and consequence so that it becomes akin to how hp is tracked though combat...

That said, the article starts with a good idea and if I'd love to see more sample terrains done...
Never underestimate the crushing, destructive power of inclement weather!

My group adventures extensively in wild and dangerous northern climes (tundra, taiga, muskeg), so unexpected storms are a very real hazard. -- The most impactful death they've experienced was an important and much loved NPC guide who succumbed to exhaustion.
 
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Ed Laprade

First Post
As is usual for me, I've only read the first page of comments, so someone else may have already made the point I'm about to.

What if the characters have DIRECTIONS? That is not mentioned in the article, and should have an effect on the DC. And where's the forth part of the rules, camping?
 

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