Unearthed Arcana Into the Wild: New Unearthed Arcana Covers Wilderness Exploration


dave2008

Legend
Think harder then, your players expect it. If needed take a 5 minute break. Then present a cool, detailed, complex new situation. This will be much better than the result of a dice roll. This would be my advice.

Wow, that is a pretty jerk move. Why insult someone who has method that apparently works for them (the DM and players). And, of course, you are not inherently correct. If this works for you great, but that doesn't mean it will work for others or that the idea sparked by a random table will not be better (and possible require harder more detailed and complex thought).

EDIT: PS - sorry for jumping into this discussion mid stream - I should have just moved on.
 

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MagicSN

First Post
Wow, that is a pretty jerk move. Why insult someone who has method that apparently works for them (the DM and players). And, of course, you are not inherently correct. If this works for you great, but that doesn't mean it will work for others or that the idea sparked by a random table will not be better (and possible require harder more detailed and complex thought).

EDIT: PS - sorry for jumping into this discussion mid stream - I should have just moved on.

Was not meant as insult - if it was taken as such I apologize. After rereading my post I think you are right this could be taken as offensive. I edited my old post because of that. I just wanted to explain that it is not required (and I think not even recommended) to introduce a random table element to introduce a "new element" into the running session.

I also did not "ignore" posts about using random tables "because of the new element". I said several times that this is not an argument for random tables, but an
argument for new elements. And that new elements can be done in a different way (and probably better).

I probably should have left this discussion long ago.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Talk about third rate content.

How about using UA to shore up the core game instead?

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Calm_EyE

First Post
I feel like this UA was quite underwhelming for experienced GM's and players, however for newer GM's it really provided some fun new ideas.
 


But I think it makes not much sense to continue this discussion. The fronts are - too hard. For me Random Tables is just something we did when we were still teens and which have no role in current RPGing anymore. Others seem to think otherwise.

I agree it doesn’t make much sense to continue the conversation. This is getting way off topic.

We have a fundamental difference in play style, but that’s ok. If it works for the group there is no right or wrong way to do it.

To suggest that the way another group plays is objectively wrong is not constructive. In the end we all want the same thing, different groups have different ways of getting there.






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MagicSN

First Post
I agree it doesn’t make much sense to continue the conversation. This is getting way off topic.

We have a fundamental difference in play style, but that’s ok. If it works for the group there is no right or wrong way to do it.

Yeah. If I would have guessed that someone would still use this other playstyle and continue to do so I wouldn't have posted.
Just was trying to teach and help ;-) But sure, everyone to his own.

Let's agree to disagree and leave it at that.
 
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In my view, they still didn't get it right with this.

The problem I've had early on with my games is that tracking hour by hour, or even day by day, becomes too monotonous and becomes too much accounting. It just seems like work without much fun in return.

I really like the approach Cubicle 7 did with the One Ring and Adventures in Middle Earth, and I think there's a three-step method to port some of that over to a standard 5th edition game with high magic, but you'd have to 1. make exhaustion levels more meaningful (receiving a con check for them when the navigator fails a navigation check, or when the forager fails a foraging check, etc. This is an abstraction of getting lost for a time, or not doing a good job finding enough food or water, etc.), 2. make a special "long rest in a sanctuary" that is the only way to remove exhaustion levels, and 3. abstract travel over the entire journey (whether it's 3 days, or 5 days, or 10 days) instead of trying to track day by day or hour by hour.

When my group wants to go out in the wilderness they usually do so for two reasons:

1. They want to go to a place and explore it.
2. They want to wander out in a random direction and see what they find.

The TOR / AiME rules work very well for the first reason, but not so well for the second.

In the first case the travel is just a means to get to the adventure. In the second, the wilderness is the adventure (my campaign world is seeded with lots of mini-adventure locations plus I have tables that procedurally generate content - you can’t throw a stick without finding something interesting)

But you are right, detailed wilderness exploration can be dull, especially if the group is more interested in getting somewhere (why force them to drill down hour by hour if that’s not what they want to do?)

This article is a bit incomplete. But it’s a start to a kind of ‘fractal’ approach to wilderness. Where there are rules that support an abstracted route: players make a navigation roll to find the place they are going to, or a more detailed hour by hour exploration.


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rmcoen

Explorer
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.

This, definitely this! Long-term drain/exhaustion. Proper preparation mitigates the drain, but these aren't wounds a cure
spell can just fix...

Ultimately, though, adventurers in a "normal rules" situation have so many resources that it just comes down to Time. (unless they are 0th or 1st level, perhaps) So ultimately, I as GM generally give a time constraint (or at least, the impression of one) for most situations that require travel. "You decide to head out to find the ruins of Tremalta, which your just-discovered map says is 3 weeks southwest. There and back should take 2 months, reasonably, so you should get back just in time for the Mayor's big announcement..." Or "Your divination has revealed that the drow army will make landfall in 5 days; you think you can get there in 3, and loot the tomb before they arrive." Sometimes even something as simple as "Sure, you can do that. It'll take about a day, though... are you sure?" "Why? What's the time limit?" "Nothing, that you are aware of..."



Having said all that, I want more help building wilderness. I don't have time with 3 kids, 2 jobs, and a wife - but I want to run an "explore and conquer the new world/continent/area" campaign. I want help with making interesting destinations, or populating a zone with foes and features and [an f-word that means loot]. I want the players to have the joy/excitement of a 4X, of wanting to push on and explore the next hex on the map... not just "the ranger succeeds on his Nature check; you spend 10 days hiking through forest, and arrive at the mountain."
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Talk about third rate content.

How about using UA to shore up the core game instead?

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I couldn’t disagree more. This is the kind of content I wish we’d see more of in UA instead of a bunch of Subclasses and Subraces I’ll never use. Remember when D&D Next was all about modular design? That sure didn’t happen, but at least Mike Mearls is occasionally giving us rules modules in UA.
 

I couldn’t disagree more. This is the kind of content I wish we’d see more of in UA instead of a bunch of Subclasses and Subraces I’ll never use. Remember when D&D Next was all about modular design? That sure didn’t happen, but at least Mike Mearls is occasionally giving us rules modules in UA.

I don't think the Capn is thinking about subclasses and subraces....
 


BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
Then why you don't just let the party arrive at that grove, without the dice-roll about 5 miles randomness? If it is a cool situation, by all means - bring it.

Ugh. Once again you've quoted me within the middle of a post also quoting others, but have removed my name from the quote thus making it very difficult to know that someone is talking to me.

This difficulty of communication is causing a remarkable rise in my social anxiety that I usually don't get interacting on the forums.

But we seem to have come to the heart of it. You dislike random tables. Good for you.
 

Satyrn

First Post
My play-style is such that I like random encounters and random events. I find that if I try to derive everything from my own internal concept of the story, I tend to fall into the same tropes and situations I'm used to and comfortable with. Sometimes the dice present situations I would never think of on my own.
Just as a little aside.

This describes my preferred way of making a dungeon, too. I love using things like the DMG's random dungeon tables because it inspires ideas I know I'd have never considered.

Letting the dice set a course of events can be so effective.
 

MagicSN

First Post
BookBarbarian said:
Ugh. Once again you've quoted me within the middle of a post also quoting others, but have removed my name from the quote thus making it very difficult to know that someone is talking to me.


Was not meant in any offensive way. Apologies if it was perceived as such. And for me the whole thread also caused a lot of "social anxiety". For my own "RPG experience" I don't know anyone in RL who uses random tables in their games, so I was quite surprised people/groups here do it different. If I would have suspected this would be even an argument, I would have stayed quiet.

That's it for me at least, regarding this discussion.
 

dave2008

Legend


Was not meant in any offensive way. Apologies if it was perceived as such. And for me the whole thread also caused a lot of "social anxiety". For my own "RPG experience" I don't know anyone in RL who uses random tables in their games, so I was quite surprised people/groups here do it different. If I would have suspected this would be even an argument, I would have stayed quiet.

That's it for me at least, regarding this discussion.

It is interesting that their use is not seen in your area (in your experience at least). My experience is different than yours. You seem to suggest that you and the people you know grew out of them, but as I have become a better DM I have grown into them more. Here is my random table usage growth:

Stage 1: When I was a new DM I only ever used them when preparing an adventure (just to pick some monsters for a planned forest encounter every once in a while), never during play. I was too frightened about not knowing how to run a random encounter.

Stage 2: I stopped using them to prepare adventures and still lacked the confidence to use them in play.

Stage 3: After about 20yrs of DM experience (I'm a slow learner ;) I have the confidence to use them again, but this time only in game play, never for planned encounters. I have the wits and ability to roll with whatever comes up and make it not only fun for my players, but me too!

I still use them sparingly as I tend to base random encounters on what i know, but I must admit that now that I have the confidence and the ability to run them effectively I get a little thrill when things go off track and I decide to whip out a random table. Actually the whole group does. I should probably use them more as everyone just gets energized when this happens.
 

MagicSN

First Post
It is interesting that their use is not seen in your area (in your experience at least). My experience is different than yours. You seem to suggest that you and the people you know grew out of them, but as I have become a better DM I have grown into them more. Here is my random table usage growth:

Alright then I answer once more after all. But in a different style (I hope ;-) ). It is interesting to hear of other people's (different) experiences.

I wonder if it is a country issue (I am from Germany). Also while I was playing D&D 1st edition as a kid, my "RPG-growingup-phase" was with the german game-system Midgard which uses very "story-based" adventures (though definitely not a storytelling-system). Random Encounters existed in printed adventures sometimes (not often), but usually we skipped them or replaced them with something more "story-based". But it's not only the people I grew up with RPG-wise - friends of my brother who I do not know personally (and who asides from the random table thing do things completely different than us) also do not use random tables. And the second group of one of our GMs also doesn't do random tables (though his influence might play a role there).

Possibly should also be mentioned we usually have 1-3 fights only per game session (but those pretty tough and long ones). To "waste" one of them to a random encounter - sounds like a waste. I know many people use more fights, of course.

Stage 3: After about 20yrs of DM experience (I'm a slow learner ;) I have the confidence to use them again, but this time only in game play, never for planned encounters. I have the wits and ability to roll with whatever comes up and make it not only fun for my players, but me too!

No problem, if I would be player in one of the games gamemastered by me 10 years ago I probably would find it total awful gamemastering ;-) Learning is always part of being a GM I think.

Planned encounters are pretty rare in our gamesyle BTW. I use them sometimes as a "start of session" - to throw everybody directly into action, but not at all asides from that. I plan NPCs and how they would react on certain actions by the PCs. If this will be an encounter depends on the players a lot. But I know it depends a lot on gamestyle (and game system, in 4e for example you probably had to use planned encounters).
 

dave2008

Legend
Planned encounters are pretty rare in our gamesyle BTW. I use them sometimes as a "start of session" - to throw everybody directly into action, but not at all asides from that. I plan NPCs and how they would react on certain actions by the PCs. If this will be an encounter depends on the players a lot. But I know it depends a lot on gamestyle (and game system, in 4e for example you probably had to use planned encounters).

Me to mostly. By "planned encounters" I mean NPCs and monsters I know in x area are doing y things, etc.

Funny, it was 4e that taught me to open up and be more improvisational. Which gave me the confidence to use random encounters.
 


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