Level Up (A5E) Need Help Understanding Extended Journies

Stalker0

Legend
So I looked over the updated T&T book but I'm still struggling to understand how journey activities are supposed to work over long stretches.

For example: Lets say a party of 4 has 8 supplies total and has a 5 day journey ahead of them. Lets say 2 of the party members decide to hunt for two days, and the other two will hunt for all 5 days. How is this supposed to work?


Based on the letter of the rules, it seems that after two days I would have two of the party members roll to gain supplies, and the other two after 5 days. Its highly likely the party will run out of supplies in the meantime, and so accrue fatigue. Is that intended....is there no way to get supplies day by day, you basically starve until the end of the journey?

A number of journey activities work this way, and I just really don't understand exactly when we are supposed to roll and gain the results.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I don’t narrate it by day, I narrate it by region. Roll for all the journey activities, roll for any encounters I want, then narrate what happens.

“It’s a two week journey. Three of you spend most of it hunting, while the cleric prays. About 4 days into the journey, a thunderstorm hits…”

The timing doesn’t matter.
 

Stone Dog

Adventurer
I can see where timing doesn't matter mostly, but for Scouting it kind of does.

A successful scouting gives the party advantage against surprise and ambush for the days where the scout scouts, right? So you should at least have an idea of how to say whether an ambush falls into those days or not, when it happens. Maybe as simple as "you scouted for two thirds of the days, so on a five or six on this d6 they get through your defences."

Of course, a Ranger with Guide wouldn't have to worry about this!
 

Stalker0

Legend
I don’t narrate it by day, I narrate it by region. Roll for all the journey activities, roll for any encounters I want, then narrate what happens.

“It’s a two week journey. Three of you spend most of it hunting, while the cleric prays. About 4 days into the journey, a thunderstorm hits…”

The timing doesn’t matter.
Ok, so it sounds like you do everything ahead of time. That seems to work more smoothly, that way I could say the players gain the supplies as they go instead of after the fact.

Though one major problem remains....player agency. If my players had chosen to hunt for the first 3 days lets say, and just had terrible rolls and were running out of the supplies.....they are going to throw daggers at me if I said "well sorry you can't hunt the next days you had chosen to do XYZ ahead of time". Aka it seems exceptionally strange that my players have to make decisions ahead of time and can't change them organically based on the results of the first few days of journeying.

I've been thinking about it, to me doing it day by day seems the smoothest result, but obviously you have the issue that critical successes and failures could build up a lot more often than what the system would "expect". So I am considering this tweak to the rules:


Journey Activities are rolled each day. You can only get one critical success or failure per region for a given activity. (in some cases I might make it once a week or something if its a really large region).

That seems to maintain the "spirit" of limited critical success and failures while giving me the smoother curve of day to day activity selection.
 

getquarked

Villager
Based on the letter of the rules, it seems that after two days I would have two of the party members roll to gain supplies, and the other two after 5 days. Its highly likely the party will run out of supplies in the meantime, and so accrue fatigue. Is that intended....is there no way to get supplies day by day, you basically starve until the end of the journey?

A number of journey activities work this way, and I just really don't understand exactly when we are supposed to roll and gain the results.
So I think your question is more mechanical than narrative, however, if your players are aware they would run out of food, they wouldnt all just go out on that activity, which means the narrative would impact the mechanics.

I would rule that the narrators and players have a duty to realize that "crap, you're all going to run out of supply if you each do multi day hunts, so I will have you roll on a daily basis since you don't have the supply to cover yourselves in case of failures.

As an answer to your question, if your players know they dont have enough supply to cover them for the duration of the hunt, they should do a daily roll. In fact, I think it should usually be a daily roll, as youve concluded in your other post, when supplies are limited. In cases where it is not limited and you're free to perform activities, you can plan ahead to make longer activities.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Ok, so it sounds like you do everything ahead of time. That seems to work more smoothly, that way I could say the players gain the supplies as they go instead of after the fact.

Though one major problem remains....player agency. If my players had chosen to hunt for the first 3 days lets say, and just had terrible rolls and were running out of the supplies.....they are going to throw daggers at me if I said "well sorry you can't hunt the next days you had chosen to do XYZ ahead of time". Aka it seems exceptionally strange that my players have to make decisions ahead of time and can't change them organically based on the results of the first few days of journeying.

I've been thinking about it, to me doing it day by day seems the smoothest result, but obviously you have the issue that critical successes and failures could build up a lot more often than what the system would "expect". So I am considering this tweak to the rules:


Journey Activities are rolled each day. You can only get one critical success or failure per region for a given activity. (in some cases I might make it once a week or something if its a really large region).

That seems to maintain the "spirit" of limited critical success and failures while giving me the smoother curve of day to day activity selection.
There is a great section on maladies, you could just assign some if the players are trying to game the system by doing everything but forage & expecting bob alone to handle it or the gm to handwave any problems.

  • GM: "three days in Alice & Dave are doing pretty poorly with as pretty serious case of blurry vision & 'weakness/shakes/fever (slight rot) making it tough for them to do things, y'all are starting to think some of the supplies Bob found were tainted. The journey is definatelky going to get tougher as a result"
  • Players: "we would have used the safe supplies first & only started using bob's stuff after we ran out
    • gm:"uhhuh... does anyone have a refrigerator?... no... everyone but alice & dave make a con save... five days in even more of you are doing pretty bad with that food poisoning or whatever because Bob & Eddy just failed the com save too"
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Supply is definitely a 'dial' the Narrator can use to adjust the focus/difficulty of journeys. You can give Supply as a boon or take it away in an Exploration Challenge or other encounter. It lets you pitch it right for your group -- if your group really isn't interested in the journey 'survival' aspect, simply let them have tons of Supply.
 

King Brad

Explorer
Ok, so it sounds like you do everything ahead of time. That seems to work more smoothly, that way I could say the players gain the supplies as they go instead of after the fact.

Though one major problem remains....player agency. If my players had chosen to hunt for the first 3 days lets say, and just had terrible rolls and were running out of the supplies.....they are going to throw daggers at me if I said "well sorry you can't hunt the next days you had chosen to do XYZ ahead of time". Aka it seems exceptionally strange that my players have to make decisions ahead of time and can't change them organically based on the results of the first few days of journeying.

I've been thinking about it, to me doing it day by day seems the smoothest result, but obviously you have the issue that critical successes and failures could build up a lot more often than what the system would "expect". So I am considering this tweak to the rules:


Journey Activities are rolled each day. You can only get one critical success or failure per region for a given activity. (in some cases I might make it once a week or something if its a really large region).

That seems to maintain the "spirit" of limited critical success and failures while giving me the smoother curve of day to day activity selection.
The whole point of the Journey rules seems to take the day by day approach to travel (which most tables don't bother with btw) and simulate them in a more streamlined way. Yeah, some choice is lost but not agency. The players are already choosing to use this system. And you can narrate it however you feel to make it make sense to you, such as saying that they didn't realize how low they were on supply until they reached the end, or whatever. If you're opposed to loosing the granularity of changing everything every traveling day (again, what this is supposed to be replacing) then don't use the journey mechanics.
 

Stalker0

Legend
The whole point of the Journey rules seems to take the day by day approach to travel (which most tables don't bother with btw) and simulate them in a more streamlined way. Yeah, some choice is lost but not agency. The players are already choosing to use this system. And you can narrate it however you feel to make it make sense to you, such as saying that they didn't realize how low they were on supply until they reached the end, or whatever. If you're opposed to loosing the granularity of changing everything every traveling day (again, what this is supposed to be replacing) then don't use the journey mechanics.

I would argue the journey rules do the exact opposite. They take the "handwaving" of "you all travel for 3 days, have one combat, and make it to your destination" and transform it into a crunchier experience, full of various encounters, player choices, and the survival limitations of supply.

Now, every game mechanic has a certain amount of "contrivance", assumptions and simplifications that allow the model to work, at the expense of some measure of flavor or "realism".

For example: Journey rules assume you can only do one main task a day. Does this really make sense, not really, its unlikely someone is hunting or praying for 16 hours a day. But we assume the notion of "this is the only task is mechanical value", and it gives us the benefit of only doing one roll in a day instead of like 3 or 4. I can say my players raised an eyebrow on this one when we playtested, but ultimately came around to it.

The key question in every game system is....at what point is too much flavor sacrificed in the name of mechanics? I would argue that the inability for players to choose what activity they are going to perform in future days is the final straw on the camels back. Flavor wise....I just can't sell that. Why the heck would a starving party who had terrible luck with hunting the first few days, just give up and go "well we said we were going to busk today when we started the journey, so nothing else to be done" Character wise....that's insanity, no one would do that. That is the equivalent of the DM going:

DM: "Alright everyone, you open the door, head into the next room and our confronted with 3 giants!"
Players: "Whoa wait a minute! We just had a big fight in the hallway, we don't get a chance to rest or retreat or anything?"
DM: "Well you all told me you wanted to head down the hallway and into the next room before the first fight started...so your committed to that action now"

Do you think a group of players would find that reasonable? I guarantee my players would not.
 

Stone Dog

Adventurer
Why the heck would a starving party who had terrible luck with hunting the first few days, just give up and go "well we said we were going to busk today when we started the journey, so nothing else to be done" Character wise....that's insanity, no one would do that.

Wait, are you having the whole party do ONE thing every journey day, not each person doing their own activity?
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Personally, @Stalker0, I have a hard time seeing how Busk is a traveling activity in the first place, since to me busking is standing in one place playing music or something similar. I see it as more of a downtime activity. Maybe it has a different meaning than I'm used to.

(I also have a hard time believing that Hunting and Gathering only nets 1 Supply on a normal success. You bring down a deer but only get one day's meal for one person out of it? I looked it up: you can get about 60 pounds worth of meat off of a deer! I might accept 1 Supply per member of the party though.)

But anyway. As @Stone Dog said, each party member is supposed to do their own thing. So the entire party shouldn't be busking unless everyone in it is or aspires to be an entertainer. Anyway. The rules also say you decide how many days you're going to be doing a thing, and you roll just once, no matter how many days it is. So, like, the ranger says she's going to spend three days hunting. You roll once. On a success, she gets 3 Supply (it's one Supply per day spent) or if you're me, Supply equal to 3 x the number of party members*. You can say that she bagged one deer and got a ton of meat from it, and on the other days, she just gathered some berries and bagged a squirrel.

Also, I would assume you're spending a work-day (8 hours) doing this thing, not 16 hours. Walk 8 hours, then stop, set up camp, do your journey activities. If your party is so hard-up that they genuinely will spend 16 hours doing one activity, take them out of journey time and into adventure time, and roleplay hunting down and killing the deer. The journey activities are supposed to be abstract, after all.

*If there's an entourage of hirelings and hangers-on, they don't count towards determining how much Supply you get, but you still have to feed them).
 



Faolyn

(she/her)
Hunting for one supply is probably just a rabbit and/or some edible roots.
See, this I don't quite accept because if there are any party members with these sort of survival skills--which can include Rangers, someone with the Outlander background or the Wildling culture, etc.--than for some reason they'd be doing a poor job hunting and gathering. We would have to take them out of journey mode and into actual gameplay for them to get decent-sized prey animal. Which is fine, since journey is abstract, but that might be too abstract.
 

Stone Dog

Adventurer
I don't think it is too abstract, I just think that they aren't setting the expectations as clearly as they should have in the text. The goal of a journey activity seems to be merely the things you do in the free spaces of that day of dedicated travel. Not eight hours of travel, eight hours of activity, and eight hours of sleep any more than one of us will regularly do eight hours of work, eight hours of sleep, and eight hours of productive errands. The characters need to have breaks in there, chat for a while, spend time setting and breaking camp and everything else they do.

In my view, you take the Hunt and Gather activity for Supply of Opportunity and mostly that character will get a net zero, no Supply gain, no Supply loss, but still a full day worth of travel along with everybody else. The hunter is just keeping a dedicated eye out for a pheasant to pop out of the long grass or a rabbit to scamper by or "hey, look, wild fruit that probably won't kill us." The critical failure would be that the hunter was wrong about the fruit or something similar.

If for some reason the party needs to replenish enough Supply for all characters for the rest of the journey, then yes, I'd absolutely stop the journey system, lose a day of travel, and pick it back up as a fresh journey the next day or however long it takes to get the supplies back up. I've seen fully prepared and skilled game hunters go out for days and come back with nothing, promising one Supply per successful day of travel feels kind and generous to me. Even when they did come back with a deer or a boar there was a dedicated day of breaking the beast down to turn it into functional blocks of food.

The place in a journey for a deer to pop up and say "hello friend, how are youUURGHK" and give everybody a bunch of Supply would be in the Boons and Discoveries, not the Hunting and Gathering journey activity.
 

RuinousPowers

Adventurer
I don't think you could hunt things like deer while on the move. Dontyou need to skin it, separate the meat, and preserve it somehow? You aren't just throwing the carcass into a fridge. I'd think that kind of hunting would be a full day activity without travel.
 

Stone Dog

Adventurer
I'd say so. Find, track, kill, skin, butcher, and prepare at least. You can't just kill a deer and have a bunch of Supply fall out of it. A smaller animal you can probably do all of that on the move, but that big of an animal takes some dedicated time to transform into food.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top