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D&D 5E Rewarding Overland Travel


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pemerton

Legend
To be honest, that's kinda the heart of the problem. Exploration is never really a goal in and of itself.
But it can be. It's not my personal favourite aspect of RPGing, but sometimes it looms large.

Can we escape the Bright Desert without dying? Can we find the hidden alien outpost on Zinion? (That second on is sci-fi, not FRPGing.) Those can be interesting scenarios - in principle, as interesting as Can we find the gold hidden at the heart of the DoDD?
 

Rabulias

Hero
You know I thought the same at first glance when I went to do the math starting with the ration weight until I looked up how much food is needed on page185 of the phb

at "one pound of food per day" 20 pounds is ten days in a backpackplus whatever they add via sacks larger containers like the 300 pound capacity chest. Like all things in 5e, the way to fix it is not simply to enforce or modify the obvious rule that at first glance should fix the problem. I know this because I've tried that particular "fix" before...
One pound may be how much one needs to eat, but it's not what it weighs to carry it around, and that's the point of the discussion here. The Adventuring Gear table on PHB p.150 is very clear: Rations (1 day) cost 5sp and weigh 2 lb. Maybe the extra weight is from packaging, like to keep it fresh, keep out pests, and/or keep the scent from escaping (adventurers already smell tasty to monsters; no need to add additional enticing aromas... :) ).
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
One pound may be how much one needs to eat, but it's not what it weighs to carry it around, and that's the point of the discussion here. The Adventuring Gear table on PHB p.150 is very clear: Rations (1 day) cost 5sp and weigh 2 lb. Maybe the extra weight is from packaging, like to keep it fresh, keep out pests, and/or keep the scent from escaping (adventurers already smell tasty to monsters; no need to add additional enticing aromas... :) ).
I bet Rations Stores still advertise them as a full 2 pounds, not counting the packaging.
 


One pound may be how much one needs to eat, but it's not what it weighs to carry it around, and that's the point of the discussion here. The Adventuring Gear table on PHB p.150 is very clear: Rations (1 day) cost 5sp and weigh 2 lb. Maybe the extra weight is from packaging, like to keep it fresh, keep out pests, and/or keep the scent from escaping (adventurers already smell tasty to monsters; no need to add additional enticing aromas... :) ).
Which still does not really change things because there is no limit on the number of containers one can carry and one of those containers has a three hundred pound capacity as noted in the post you quoted. There are a wide array of factors coded into 5e's mechanics to obliviate food & water from being a much of a hardship
 

NotAYakk

Legend
So this isn't bad, but it still looks like "build a dungeon with random tables".

In my opinion, exploration should involve interacting with a world that makes sense, and the players should be responsible for using the information they learn (while exploring) to make exploration decisions.

This isn't bad as the mechanics for an "exploration leg". And randomly rolling ideas for exploration events isn't bad.

But if exploration is nothing more than a bunch of stitched together random events, then the player's decisions are limited in scope by the interval between random generation steps.

...

In order for exploration to have a longer "leg length", yet still amenable to random generation, we need a fractal structure.

Start with the idea of a decision point. A decision point is a spot where a players can make a meaningful, informed choice. From LOTR: do they go over the mountains (a pass), under the mountains (through ancient mines), or around the mountains (past the wizard's tower).

That is a 3 fold decision point. All of them are intended to end at the same destination.

Step 1: Decide how long the exploration is. How many decision points. (This is akin to how big a dungeon is).

Step 2: Generate a decision point:

Each decision point connects to 2 or more paths that the PCs choose between. Do determine how many:
Roll 1d6:
1-2: 2 fold decision point. If possible, one or two options rejoins another not-taken path (ignore on first roll).
3-5: 2 fold decision point
6: Roll again, add 1. Repeat as long as you roll 6s, adding 1 each time.

Now, for each path, roll 1d3 for length (# of events) before another decision point. (I found that if I didn't include this, the size of the graph would explode for any decent length exploration; having more stuff happen between decision points decreases the graph size for a fixed exploration length a lot).

Then roll up the events on a random table. It should include what hints the path provides, what danger, and what reward.

Step 3: For each path that has not reached the length, add a decision point. Do this until you reach the length of the exploration.

Short cuts "consume extra length" if taken. But possibly a short cut should just be a in world short cut, not an in game one?

Like, we convert stories about "travelling overland" to stories about "dealing with short cut complications". A short cut can also be a higher stakes or higher variance option somehow? Like, you replace 2 "events" of length 1 with a 1d3 event shortcut?
 

Faolyn

Hero
Which still does not really change things because there is no limit on the number of containers one can carry and one of those containers has a three hundred pound capacity as noted in the post you quoted. There are a wide array of factors coded into 5e's mechanics to obliviate food & water from being a much of a hardship
First, there is a limit to the number of containers you can carry: your carrying capacity. Note that containers are not weightless. A chest weighs 25 pounds, and not many people want to, or can, carry 325 pounds of gear... in their hands (thus making them unable to wield a weapon, spell components, etc.), unless they specifically rig up some sort of system that allows them to carry a chest as a backpack. Not every part has an artificer or someone good at jury-rigging such a harness.

Secondly, while I'm sure there are plenty of parties where a player doesn't mind being treated as a pack mule, there are also going to be plenty of parties where the player does mind.

Third, there's another limit to the number of containers you can carry: common sense. Unless you're dressed like a Rob Liefeld character, there's only so much you can strap on you before it becomes silly, and not every party has people who want to suspend their disbelief in this manner.
 

First, there is a limit to the number of containers you can carry: your carrying capacity. Note that containers are not weightless. A chest weighs 25 pounds, and not many people want to, or can, carry 325 pounds of gear... in their hands (thus making them unable to wield a weapon, spell components, etc.), unless they specifically rig up some sort of system that allows them to carry a chest as a backpack. Not every part has an artificer or someone good at jury-rigging such a harness.

Secondly, while I'm sure there are plenty of parties where a player doesn't mind being treated as a pack mule, there are also going to be plenty of parties where the player does mind.

Third, there's another limit to the number of containers you can carry: common sense. Unless you're dressed like a Rob Liefeld character, there's only so much you can strap on you before it becomes silly, and not every party has people who want to suspend their disbelief in this manner.
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a 20 strength goliath can carry six hundred pounds due to powerful build. Add the right barbarian choices and it doubles again. The 25 pound weight of that chest is not a notable burden. Saying "common sense" container limits is all well and good, but when "one" container that container plus contents is barely over half or barely over a quarter of your carrying capacity it's reasonable to wonder what point your trying to make. "Sorry bob it doesn't make sense that you can carry one container"
 

Faolyn

Hero
a 20 strength goliath can carry six hundred pounds due to powerful build. Add the right barbarian choices and it doubles again. The 25 pound weight of that chest is not a notable burden. Saying "common sense" container limits is all well and good, but when "one" container that container plus contents is barely over half or barely over a quarter of your carrying capacity it's reasonable to wonder what point your trying to make. "Sorry bob it doesn't make sense that you can carry one container"
Sure. A 20-Strength goliath barbarian can carry two mostly-full chests. And have no hands left to do anything else. If the goliath wants to act as a pack mule.

I mean, sure, my firbolg was fine with dragging a loaded sled back in our Icewind Dale game, because we wanted to get the sled back to town and we didn't have any sled dogs or other pack animals. I wouldn't want them to be the party's pack mule though; they're not that kind of person.
 

Sure. A 20-Strength goliath barbarian can carry two mostly-full chests. And have no hands left to do anything else. If the goliath wants to act as a pack mule.

I mean, sure, my firbolg was fine with dragging a loaded sled back in our Icewind Dale game, because we wanted to get the sled back to town and we didn't have any sled dogs or other pack animals. I wouldn't want them to be the party's pack mule though; they're not that kind of person.
Did you forget what we were discussing? They don't need to carry two. One is enough for 150 rations. Don't forget goliath barbarian was noted in the OP. A early as post 5 there has been a steady chant of just enforce container sizes & backpacks only hold 20 pounds& there has been quite a lot of discussion about how that doesn't solve anything because more & bigger containers like the 30 pound sack & 300 pound chest since.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Did you forget what we were discussing? They don't need to carry two. One is enough for 150 rations. Don't forget goliath barbarian was noted in the OP. A early as post 5 there has been a steady chant of just enforce container sizes & backpacks only hold 20 pounds& there has been quite a lot of discussion about how that doesn't solve anything because more & bigger containers like the 30 pound sack & 300 pound chest since.
All of this assumes that you can buy 150 rations. How many DMs allow for stores to have infinite stock?

And you're ignoring that PCs aren't characters in a video game who will gladly carry everything for you just because.
 

Hussar

Legend
All of this assumes that you can buy 150 rations. How many DMs allow for stores to have infinite stock?

And you're ignoring that PCs aren't characters in a video game who will gladly carry everything for you just because.
This, right here, this is why these conversations are completely bogus and bad faith.

Seriously? You cannot buy a week of food for 5 people? The DM is limiting things THAT much? Note, that all I bought was 70 pounds of rations. Two week iron rations, in AD&D, was the standard amount that every character carried.

Yes, @Faolyn, you're absolutely right. Every setting is in famine conditions where it's impossible to buy that much food. :uhoh:

Give me a break.
 



Faolyn

Hero
This, right here, this is why these conversations are completely bogus and bad faith.

Seriously? You cannot buy a week of food for 5 people? The DM is limiting things THAT much? Note, that all I bought was 70 pounds of rations. Two week iron rations, in AD&D, was the standard amount that every character carried.

Yes, @Faolyn, you're absolutely right. Every setting is in famine conditions where it's impossible to buy that much food. :uhoh:

Give me a break.
A week of food, sure. That's easy to get. A week of food is going to be many loaves of bread, several pounds of fresh meat, wheels of cheese, bunches of carrots or beets, sacks of potatoes, bushels of apples, maybe some herbs and spices if you're all fancy. You know, food. You can get that in any village. (Barring, of course, famine conditions. Considering the typical D&D world is beset by raiding monsters, eldritch weather, vengeful spellcasters, and disgruntled gods, I'm surprised that more worlds aren't suffering famine conditions.)

A week of preserved rations that only adventurers eat? If you're in a city, sure. And maybe if you have a setting where NPCs exist solely to help adventurers out in between their adventures, yeah. But why assume that every village or town is going to have 300 pounds worth of iron rations for sale?

And if you're so adamant that exploration is borked, why would you have villages stock all those rations instead of making the PCs hunt and forage?

(Also, you can't math: 1 ration/day x 5 people x 7 days = 35 rations, or x 10 for 50 rations if you use the Realms' "tendays" instead. Neither 35 nor 50--even doubled for two weeks of iron rations--isn't 150.)
 

pemerton

Legend
Part of the rationale for this thread, in the OP, is that making encumbrance a feature of the game gives a reason to build a PC who is good at handling encumbrance. And that gives a reason to build a Goliath. Who then, it turns out, makes the encumbrance aspect of the game basically disappear, because of the very large carrying capacity compared to the weights of goods that are salient in the context of overland travel.

It's no answer to this to say but my Goliath PC hated carrying things. I mean, maybe someone once made a wizard who hated casting spells - that doesn't mean that no one else (let alone the designers) ever had to think about the number of spell slots a character has available.
 

Faolyn

Hero
You can buy them but an exploration challenge might wipe half of them out.
Yup!

Or a bear might get into them, or you might come across some hungry wanderers and decide to help them out with some food, or a supernaturally evil fiend or fey may cause them to spontaneously generate maggots, or any number of things that make it so it honestly doesn't matter how much the goliath can heft.
 

Hussar

Legend
(Also, you can't math: 1 ration/day x 5 people x 7 days = 35 rations, or x 10 for 50 rations if you use the Realms' "tendays" instead. Neither 35 nor 50--even doubled for two weeks of iron rations--isn't 150.)
No kidding. That was kinda the point I was making. That 2 weeks of iron rations was a standard PHB thing you could buy in AD&D. It wasn't even considered anything difficult.

And, only adventurers eat iron rations? Yeah, no. You might want to look up things like salted meat, pickles, and soup stocks. Y'know, common things that common people ate all the freaking time before refrigeration?

LOL - we want our adventurers to explore so we'll make rations really rare so that the PC's have to forage. No thanks.
 


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