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D&D 5E Rewarding Overland Travel

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.
Don't forget there are two outlanders in the party & the group didn't actually need those rations anyways. The sheer scale of levelup's changes show how nontrivial fixing this kind of thing is to accomplish with mere houserules
 

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BookTenTiger

He / Him
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.
Yeah, exactly. I say: let the Goliath wipe out the need to keep track of encumbrance! Let the Outlander wipe out the need to keep track of rations! Let the Ranger prevent anything from ambushing the group! Let them be powerful!

AND add in incentives to encourage exploration!
 

In another thread on the Exploration Pillar, I came up with the idea of using rewards instead of consequences for Overland Travel. I had a little free time, so I worked up a system!

Reward Instead of Cost

The idea of this system is to replace the consequences of a Random Encounter during the Overland Travel portion of the Exploration Pillar. When exploring a dungeon, the characters are naturally curious, wanting to know what's behind locked doors, inside trapped treasure chests, or beyond the monsters because there are rewards: treasure, quest goals, etc. On the other hand, I've found that many Overland Travel systems rely on a series of costs: rations, water, encumbrance, exhaustion, HP, HD, and so on.

The problem is that characters are really good at mitigating costs. In my own group, we wanted to play really crunchy 5e so we studied up on the rules of encumbrance, rations, resting, and so on... Then the Druid cast Goodberry, two characters had the Outlander background, the Goliath Barbarian could carry everyone's stuff (and everyone), and my own wizard quickly got Rope Trick. We quickly mitigated the costs of survival in the wilderness.

I propose flipping this on its head. Instead of a chance for a cost, Random Encounters should always have a chance for a reward.

These rewards can be trivial: fresh food or water, a bit of lore, some healing potions... but the encounters will now reward player curiosity and drive characters to explore more!

The Simple Solution: Roll for Rewards, not Dangers

My usual Random Encounter table is made up of a big list of monsters and environmental risks, with a smaller list of friendly or neutral NPC's or natural wonders.

I think this should be flipped! DM's should be rolling on a table of Rewards first! Then, the obstacles and risks can be decided.

Now just a note: I don't think this is appropriate for Dungeon Exploration. Dungeons already have a balance of rewards and risks planned out in advance. This system is meant for Overland Travel.

How It Would Work

Theoretically, a DM would add this system to whatever they are already using for Overland Travel. If you keep track of rations and water, great! If you have characters take on levels of Exhaustion, great!

The DM would also decide how often Random Encounters occur. Maybe they roll three times a day (that's what I do, Morning, Afternoon, Night). Maybe once a day. Maybe there's one encounter per journey.

When a DM decides there will be a Random Encounter, they roll on the following tables, or just use them for inspiration. Please note that these tables don't provide rules, just flavor. A DM is invited to deviate from these ideas, or just use them to generate other ideas. In other words, a cliff doesn't have to be a cliff. A Glyph of Warding doesn't have to be a Glyph of Warding.

The first table a DM uses is the Rewards Table. This creates a reward for whatever Exploration will follow. These rewards should be adjusted to the environment; while low-level characters will be glad to find a source of Fresh Water, for a 14th-level character that source of Fresh Water in the 82nd Level of Hell might have healing properties or allow them to cure Exhaustion levels.

Once the Reward is rolled, the DM then rolls on the Obstacles and Signs tables. The Obstacles Table generates an idea for what is preventing the characters from immediately accessing the reward. The Signs Table generates ideas for what catches the characters' notice in the first place. Keep in mind more clues and signs can be found, such as finding out what enemies are near, or what risks lie in wait.

Overland Travel Tables

Encounter Reward (1d6)

  1. Treasure (1d4)
    1. Coins, Gems, and Art Objects
    2. Magic Item (common)
    3. Magic Item (uncommon)
    4. Useful Tools, Supplies, Weapons, or Armor
  2. Resources (1d4)
    1. Food: hunting grounds, wild fruits and vegetables, or stored rations.
    2. Fresh Water: natural spring, ancient fountain, or stored bottles
    3. Magic Materials: adamantine, mithril, or material components
    4. Potions: healing potions, holy water, or alchemist's fire
  3. Knowledge
    1. Information (1d6)
      1. about a local enemy (resistances, vulnerabilities, motivations, etc.)
      2. about a local settlement (secrets, alliances, thieve's guilds, etc.)
      3. about the current quest (secret doors, traps, treasures, etc.)
      4. about a treasure (reroll a random encounter with a Treasure Reward)
      5. about a shelter (reroll a random encounter with a Shelter Reward)
      6. about a shortcut (reroll a random encounter with a Shortcut Reward)
    2. Source (1d4)
      1. a hunter, turncoat, spy, adventurer, traveler, or hermit
      2. a tome, map, journal, scroll, or sign
      3. a mosaic, carving, statue, song, or legend
      4. a ghost, devil, talking animal, or awakened plant
  4. Alliance (1d6)
    1. Helpful expert
    2. Enemy with information
    3. Merchant with goods for sale
    4. Local politician or nobility
    5. Important guild representative
    6. Traveler with knowledge (reroll on the Knowledge Reward table)
  5. Shelter
    1. Lookout tower
    2. Deserted village
    3. Fortified outpost
    4. Secure cave
    5. Abandoned temple
    6. Crumbling castle
  6. Shortcut (1d4)
    1. safe (no encounters)
    2. dangerous (characters will encounter enemies; roll on the Enemies Obstacles Table)
    3. difficult (characters will encounter natural obstacles; roll on the Natural Obstacles Table)
    4. magical (teleportation circle, flying rug, etc.)
Obstacles (1d4)
  1. Natural Obstacle (1d6)
    1. cliff or gorge
    2. avalanche or fallen trees
    3. storm or exposure to the elements
    4. thorns or thick vegetation
    5. biting insets or poisonous pests
    6. thick fog or toxic miasma
  2. Dangerous Enemies (1d4)
    1. easy encounter
    2. medium encounter
    3. hard encounter
    4. deadly encounter
  3. Difficult to Locate (1d4)
    1. far away
    2. in a labyrinthine location
    3. purposefully hidden
    4. known only in legend or song
  4. Magical Barrier (1d4)
    1. magical traps
    2. illusionary terrain
    3. glyphs of warding
    4. desecrated territory
Signs (1d6)
  1. Gossiping Travelers (1d20)
    1. thieves
    2. merchants
    3. brigands
    4. hunters
    5. herbalists
    6. smithies
    7. sages
    8. bards
    9. captured enemies
    10. couriers
    11. soldiers
    12. knights
    13. exiled nobles
    14. caravanners
    15. mercenaries
    16. priests
    17. weary travelers
    18. cartographers
    19. toll takers
    20. bridge builders
  2. Traces or Tracks
    1. old coins printed with the symbols of a long dead kingdom
    2. monstrous footprints
    3. footprints of hungry or thirsty beasts
    4. traces of fresh water or food
    5. signs of a recent battle
    6. signs of a battle from long ago
    7. torn pages from a book
    8. footprints from the indigenous population
    9. footprints of enemy scouts
    10. wagon wheel tracks
    11. torn bit of a banner
    12. footprints of a unique mount
    13. caravan tracks
    14. footprints of a roosting beast
    15. an ancient, overgrown road
    16. footprints of travelers
    17. broken branches and twigs leading in one direction
    18. footprints of outlanders, purposefully covered up
    19. an abandoned campsite
    20. lots of blood
  3. Corpses (1d12)
    1. thieves
    2. monstrous guards
    3. travelers with fresh food or water
    4. beasts with fresh food in their claws, mouths, or bellies
    5. slain enemies
    6. slain adventurers
    7. a sage with blood-spattered notes
    8. couriers
    9. guards wearing the sigil of a noble house
    10. roosting beast
    11. caravanners
    12. a local hermit
  4. Documents
    1. a treasure map
    2. a journal entry
    3. a song
    4. a lost letter home
    5. a hand-drawn map
    6. a merchant's itemized list of supplies
    7. a tome of lore
    8. a lost painting
    9. a letter of scholarly inquiry
    10. a scroll sealed with a signet ring
    11. an order signed by a knight
    12. an intercepted letter of political import
    13. written directions on a scrap of parchment
    14. a letter from a guest
    15. a charcoal sketch
    16. a coded letter
    17. an ancient traveler's tale
    18. a star map
    19. a will
    20. a wanted poster
  5. Signs and Carvings (1d12)
    1. a hand-carved sign
    2. codes carved into trees and rocks
    3. an old, cracked wooden sign
    4. the carved sigil of an old merchant house
    5. statues of legendary heroes
    6. signs carved in an enemy language
    7. sigils of important factions carved into trees or stones
    8. the word HELP, BEWARE, or DANGER quickly slashed into an old stump
    9. statues of an ancient ruler forgotten to time
    10. an overgrown archway that once stood over a common road
    11. signs naming a village that no longer exists
    12. carvings into overgrown cobblestones of horses or other common animals
  6. Magical Signs
    1. ghost
    2. programmed illusion
    3. consecrated ground
    4. trickling stream of holy water
    5. magic mouth
    6. animal messenger
    7. alarm spell
    8. glyphs of warding
    9. spirits of the former inhabitants of a lost village
    10. wandering animated objects
    11. druid signs
    12. unnatural changes to the environment

Two Examples: Low-Level and High-Level

I'm going to create some examples of Random Encounter using this system, using imagined adventures for a 2nd-Level Group and a 14th-Level Group.

Encounters in the Witchwoods (2nd Level)

The first example will be a 2nd-Level Group traveling through the Witchwoods to a big dungeon called Blind Bear Hollow, a series of caves beneath the roots of a gargantuan oak tree. As a DM, I've sketched out some ideas of what the Witchwoods are like: a big tangle of trees, branches, and briars. There are goblins and worgs who work for a nearby hag. It'll take three days for the characters to reach Blind Bear Hollow. There's a 10% chance for a Random Encounter, which I roll three times a day.

Encounter 1:

On the first afternoon I roll a Random Encounter! I roll a Reward, Obstacle, and Signs.

Reward: Shortcut (safe - no encounters)
Obstacle: Dangerous Enemies (hard encounter)
Signs: Signs and Carvings - statues of an ancient ruler forgotten to time

While traveling, the rogue scouting ahead sees the statue of some ancient queen, worn smooth by rain and time. It's standing above the entrance to an old tomb. The characters will find out that this tomb is a shortcut, a tunnel beneath a series of hills with a thick growth of trees. It'll cut a day off their travel. Using a Random Encounter Generator, I create a Hard Encounter: a Goblin Boss, two Goblins, and a Wolf. These goblins have set up a camp here, and don't like intruders!

Encounter 2:

The next evening I roll another Random Encounter. So once again I roll a Reward, Obstacle, and Signs. Here's what I get:

Reward: Resources (potions)
Obstacle: Magical Barrier (desecrated territory)
Signs: Corpses (caravanners)

The group notices corpses of caravanners near a big gnarled tree. When they approach, they all have to make Wisdom Saving Throws or become Frightened of the tree! The Wizard uses an Arcana check to recognize the area around this tree is Desecrated. The cleric makes a Medicine check and finds out these caravanners died of fright! The Barbarian gets buffed up with some Saving Throw bonuses and charges in. In the hollow of the tree they find a few Healing Potions, brewed by the local hag. Meanwhile, the Cleric starts rituals to cleanse the souls of the caravanners and bury them away from the evil tree. And the rogue searches around for where these people left their cart... maybe there's something valuable!

Encounter 3:

On the way back out of the dungeon, the characters again head towards that useful Shortcut! Luckily they drew it on their map. I roll a Random Encounter on the morning of their last day in the Witchwoods...

Reward: Resources (magical resources)
Obstacle: Natural Obstacles (thorns or thick vegetation)
Signs: Magical Signs (glyph of warding)

On the final day, the group is passing through some very thick briar patches, hacking and slashing, when they come upon a clearing that looks like it was hit by a tornado! On the far side of the clearing is a massive thicket of dry, thorny vines. At the front of this thicket, the vines have been curved and shaped into an odd glyph. This a Glyph of Warding, set by the local hag to protect some valuable magical materials inside the thicket. If a character approaches too close, the triggered Glyph casts the spell Dust Devil! Inside the thicket, the characters find three leather bags with 50 gp worth of Ruby Dust in each, perfect for the now 3rd-Level Cleric's Continual Flame spell!

Encounters in the Fractured Lands (Level 14)

A group of 14th-level characters is traveling in the Fractured Lands, an area torn apart by planar forces. They're heading to a kingdom of Genasi who live on a floating bit of earth above the arctic sea. I'm imagining the Fractured Lands as a series of volcanoes, but each erupts with a different element: fire, cold, acid, lighting... This is a long journey, two full weeks, and the characters are most likely flying around. Because of the elemental forces, the characters must make Constitution Saving Throws three times a day or take on a level of Exhaustion (max: 3). I don't want to interrupt the journey too often, so I roll for Random Encounters once a day.

Let's say during the journey they have three random encounters...

Encounter 1:

Reward:
Shelter (deserted village)
Obstacle: Dangerous Enemies (medium encounter)
Signs: Traces or Tracks (footprints of an enemy scout)

The group's ranger finds footprints of half-dragon scouts emerging from a cave in the nearby obsidian cliffs. This cave leads to an underground abandoned village, now home to a camp of four half-red-dragon veterans. The cave keeps the village protected from the exhausting heat of the volcano, allowing the group to rest without having to make Constitution Saving Throws!

Encounter 2:

Reward:
Knowledge (of a local enemy from a hunter, turncoat, spy, adventurer, traveler, or hermit)
Obstacle: Magical Barrier (magical traps)
Signs: Gossiping Travelers (bridge builders)

This is a high-level area, so those bridge builders are not ordinary! In fact, they're celestials, building a Planar Bridge that will eventually allow other celestials to use the Fractured Lands to journey to different planes. They tell the characters that there's a local Hermit, a Deva who prefers to live in the Fractured Lands, and who is an expert on the Fiendish Dragons who are the most powerful enemies in the territory. However, they should be careful, they hear he's surrounded his abode with magical traps! Using a Random Trap Generator (thank you, internet!) I develop a Lightning Coil Trap, and I like the idea of the Hermit living on a Lightning Volcano, trapping and using the lightning for strange planar experiments! If the characters get through the trap, the Hermit will tell them of the Resistances and Vulnerabilities of the various Fiendish Dragons who rule over the Fractured Lands.

Encounter 3:

Reward:
Alliance (enemy with information)
Obstacle: Difficult to Locate (purposefully hidden)
Signs: Signs and Carvings (signs naming a village that no longer exists)

While flying about, the characters start to notice odd floating cobblestones, and finally a sign floating in mid-air, held aloft by a propeller! It points to an old floating Modron City that long ago was destroyed by an eruption from an Acid Volcano below. However, in the direction the sign points, the characters notice a big, unnatural storm cloud, just floating there. It turns out one of the Air Genasi Pirates (enemies of the kingdom they're traveling to) was injured in a recent attack. They've hidden themselves inside a big summoned storm cloud. If the characters can locate the Pirate and give them healing, they'll give the characters a token of gratitude, which will be useful in any future encounters with Air Genasi Pirates!

Conclusion: Rewarding Exploration

My hope with this system is to create opportunities that reward players for exploring more, rather than focusing their efforts on mitigating costs.

So what do you think? Would this be useful?
I don't see a huge problem. I think the CORE thing that is going on here though is that 5e is just super generous with resources, such that the classic 1e resource game, whether dungeon or wilderness, is pretty much broken. Where it was critical for the PCs to manage resources and have a good idea where they were going or what their goals were back then, now you just proceed endlessly until and unless there's some challenge to overcome.

I guess I'm not sure about the rewards system. I mean, presumably exploring the wilderness is done so that you can find 'stuff' and acquire it. So I am not sure why players would avoid something, unless they have some specific agenda. Yeah, MAYBE a small reward will elicit some risk taking in that situation, but I'm not really sure I know why that is superior to just "get on to the place you were actually interested in."

And like I say, if the goal was simply exploration, then the PCs WILL EXPLORE, right? This is a less demanding activity than in 1e, but so it goes!

Anyway, the tables themselves are OK. They seem like a fairly decent "random wilderness walk" set. I presume there are also random encounter tables.
 

The way I run it, the main reward is the chance to find treasure hoards rolled from the random DMG tables appropriate to those random encounters. This means you can really get the jackpot. A random encounter with a troll lair gave our bard an fochlucan bandore and a couple other magic items I believe, in addition to the coin and gems.

It just occurred to me that that bears a strong resemblance to the jackpot random troll encounter in the Hobbit.

The key here is random treasure. DM doesn't decide. Rolls. Hmm. Rod of lordly might it is.

Now that's D&D to me.
 

The way I run it, the main reward is the chance to find treasure hoards rolled from the random DMG tables appropriate to those random encounters. This means you can really get the jackpot. A random encounter with a troll lair gave our bard an fochlucan bandore and a couple other magic items I believe, in addition to the coin and gems.

It just occurred to me that that bears a strong resemblance to the jackpot random troll encounter in the Hobbit.

The key here is random treasure. DM doesn't decide. Rolls. Hmm. Rod of lordly might it is.

Now that's D&D to me.
It was definitely classic AD&D 1e play. You saw a monster, you decided to go kill it, skin it, maybe eat it if it wasn't icky, and most important you got XP and treasure! What else were you out there for? If you're running from stuff, its because you're hurting, too weak to mess with it, or have urgent business elsewhere.

Seems to me that system can still work fine in 5e, granting it is easier to negate the basic environmental challenges. I mean, any decent 9th level party in 1e wouldn't worry about travel itself, not in the Prime Material anyway! They'd worry about the family of Ancient Huge Red Dragons that might come visiting you instead! lol.
 

It was definitely classic AD&D 1e play. You saw a monster, you decided to go kill it, skin it, maybe eat it if it wasn't icky, and most important you got XP and treasure! What else were you out there for? If you're running from stuff, its because you're hurting, too weak to mess with it, or have urgent business elsewhere.

Seems to me that system can still work fine in 5e, granting it is easier to negate the basic environmental challenges. I mean, any decent 9th level party in 1e wouldn't worry about travel itself, not in the Prime Material anyway! They'd worry about the family of Ancient Huge Red Dragons that might come visiting you instead! lol.

It was much much much more lethal than 5e too. That treasure could be spent on things to keep you & your friends alive if it wasn't already somehow useful to that end. That gets to 5e not having a magic item budget & near immortal PCs so either thy can't spent that treasure similarly or it maes the PCs much more powerful than they should be
 

It was much much much more lethal than 5e too. That treasure could be spent on things to keep you & your friends alive if it wasn't already somehow useful to that end. That gets to 5e not having a magic item budget & near immortal PCs so either thy can't spent that treasure similarly or it maes the PCs much more powerful than they should be
Well, I don't buy the 'near immortal PCs' thing, that's on the GM! If you want lethality BRING IT ON! I've played in 1e games that were extremely survivable. Ran some. Ran some that were meat grinders too. I mean, 4e was really rather geared away from 'oops you died', but 4th Core still had some stupid lethal adventures.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think the less that the system cares about gear, the harder it is to make exploration and travel interesting in an intricate way.

That's a conjecture, not a mathematical theorem, so I'm interested to hear counter-examples. I'm just reflecting on my own experience of various systems.

If gear (and I'm including vehicles here) doesn't matter, then I think exploration and travel tends to depend on endurance/travel checks to work out how tired the PCs are when they get to wherever it is they're going. That's fine, and is how I resolve plenty of travel scenarios, but it doesn't make the travel interesting or intricate in itself.
I’d say The One Ring does interesting exploration without relying on tracking resources.
 

Well, I don't buy the 'near immortal PCs' thing, that's on the GM! If you want lethality BRING IT ON! I've played in 1e games that were extremely survivable. Ran some. Ran some that were meat grinders too. I mean, 4e was really rather geared away from 'oops you died', but 4th Core still had some stupid lethal adventures.
Yea it's totally on the GM to nerf healing word, healing light, 1 point lay on hands, death saves, & damage beyond zero simply going away as long as it's not enough to bring someone to negative max hp, & the rest of phb197. You don't need to "buy" anything because that's just how the rules are & those rules make it a problem if you as the gm start giving the PCs things to raise PC power or mitigate lethality. That's the problem, as the "just enforce container sizes>limit containers allowed>just don't sell things" showed it's a never ending cascade of fixes.
 

pemerton

Legend
Yeah, exactly. I say: let the Goliath wipe out the need to keep track of encumbrance! Let the Outlander wipe out the need to keep track of rations! Let the Ranger prevent anything from ambushing the group! Let them be powerful!

AND add in incentives to encourage exploration!
Yes, I think your rationale is pretty clear.

I think your subsystem is a fun one. I don't think I share the presupposition that it sits within - a sort of "main quest"/"side quest"/"random encounter" framing of the activity in the game.
 


In another thread on the Exploration Pillar, I came up with the idea of using rewards instead of consequences for Overland Travel. I had a little free time, so I worked up a system!

Reward Instead of Cost

The idea of this system is to replace the consequences of a Random Encounter during the Overland Travel portion of the Exploration Pillar. When exploring a dungeon, the characters are naturally curious, wanting to know what's behind locked doors, inside trapped treasure chests, or beyond the monsters because there are rewards: treasure, quest goals, etc. On the other hand, I've found that many Overland Travel systems rely on a series of costs: rations, water, encumbrance, exhaustion, HP, HD, and so on.

The problem is that characters are really good at mitigating costs. In my own group, we wanted to play really crunchy 5e so we studied up on the rules of encumbrance, rations, resting, and so on... Then the Druid cast Goodberry, two characters had the Outlander background, the Goliath Barbarian could carry everyone's stuff (and everyone), and my own wizard quickly got Rope Trick. We quickly mitigated the costs of survival in the wilderness.

I propose flipping this on its head. Instead of a chance for a cost, Random Encounters should always have a chance for a reward.

These rewards can be trivial: fresh food or water, a bit of lore, some healing potions... but the encounters will now reward player curiosity and drive characters to explore more!

The Simple Solution: Roll for Rewards, not Dangers

My usual Random Encounter table is made up of a big list of monsters and environmental risks, with a smaller list of friendly or neutral NPC's or natural wonders.

I think this should be flipped! DM's should be rolling on a table of Rewards first! Then, the obstacles and risks can be decided.

Now just a note: I don't think this is appropriate for Dungeon Exploration. Dungeons already have a balance of rewards and risks planned out in advance. This system is meant for Overland Travel.

How It Would Work

Theoretically, a DM would add this system to whatever they are already using for Overland Travel. If you keep track of rations and water, great! If you have characters take on levels of Exhaustion, great!

The DM would also decide how often Random Encounters occur. Maybe they roll three times a day (that's what I do, Morning, Afternoon, Night). Maybe once a day. Maybe there's one encounter per journey.

When a DM decides there will be a Random Encounter, they roll on the following tables, or just use them for inspiration. Please note that these tables don't provide rules, just flavor. A DM is invited to deviate from these ideas, or just use them to generate other ideas. In other words, a cliff doesn't have to be a cliff. A Glyph of Warding doesn't have to be a Glyph of Warding.

The first table a DM uses is the Rewards Table. This creates a reward for whatever Exploration will follow. These rewards should be adjusted to the environment; while low-level characters will be glad to find a source of Fresh Water, for a 14th-level character that source of Fresh Water in the 82nd Level of Hell might have healing properties or allow them to cure Exhaustion levels.

Once the Reward is rolled, the DM then rolls on the Obstacles and Signs tables. The Obstacles Table generates an idea for what is preventing the characters from immediately accessing the reward. The Signs Table generates ideas for what catches the characters' notice in the first place. Keep in mind more clues and signs can be found, such as finding out what enemies are near, or what risks lie in wait.

Overland Travel Tables

Encounter Reward (1d6)

  1. Treasure (1d4)
    1. Coins, Gems, and Art Objects
    2. Magic Item (common)
    3. Magic Item (uncommon)
    4. Useful Tools, Supplies, Weapons, or Armor
  2. Resources (1d4)
    1. Food: hunting grounds, wild fruits and vegetables, or stored rations.
    2. Fresh Water: natural spring, ancient fountain, or stored bottles
    3. Magic Materials: adamantine, mithril, or material components
    4. Potions: healing potions, holy water, or alchemist's fire
  3. Knowledge
    1. Information (1d6)
      1. about a local enemy (resistances, vulnerabilities, motivations, etc.)
      2. about a local settlement (secrets, alliances, thieve's guilds, etc.)
      3. about the current quest (secret doors, traps, treasures, etc.)
      4. about a treasure (reroll a random encounter with a Treasure Reward)
      5. about a shelter (reroll a random encounter with a Shelter Reward)
      6. about a shortcut (reroll a random encounter with a Shortcut Reward)
    2. Source (1d4)
      1. a hunter, turncoat, spy, adventurer, traveler, or hermit
      2. a tome, map, journal, scroll, or sign
      3. a mosaic, carving, statue, song, or legend
      4. a ghost, devil, talking animal, or awakened plant
  4. Alliance (1d6)
    1. Helpful expert
    2. Enemy with information
    3. Merchant with goods for sale
    4. Local politician or nobility
    5. Important guild representative
    6. Traveler with knowledge (reroll on the Knowledge Reward table)
  5. Shelter
    1. Lookout tower
    2. Deserted village
    3. Fortified outpost
    4. Secure cave
    5. Abandoned temple
    6. Crumbling castle
  6. Shortcut (1d4)
    1. safe (no encounters)
    2. dangerous (characters will encounter enemies; roll on the Enemies Obstacles Table)
    3. difficult (characters will encounter natural obstacles; roll on the Natural Obstacles Table)
    4. magical (teleportation circle, flying rug, etc.)
Obstacles (1d4)
  1. Natural Obstacle (1d6)
    1. cliff or gorge
    2. avalanche or fallen trees
    3. storm or exposure to the elements
    4. thorns or thick vegetation
    5. biting insets or poisonous pests
    6. thick fog or toxic miasma
  2. Dangerous Enemies (1d4)
    1. easy encounter
    2. medium encounter
    3. hard encounter
    4. deadly encounter
  3. Difficult to Locate (1d4)
    1. far away
    2. in a labyrinthine location
    3. purposefully hidden
    4. known only in legend or song
  4. Magical Barrier (1d4)
    1. magical traps
    2. illusionary terrain
    3. glyphs of warding
    4. desecrated territory
Signs (1d6)
  1. Gossiping Travelers (1d20)
    1. thieves
    2. merchants
    3. brigands
    4. hunters
    5. herbalists
    6. smithies
    7. sages
    8. bards
    9. captured enemies
    10. couriers
    11. soldiers
    12. knights
    13. exiled nobles
    14. caravanners
    15. mercenaries
    16. priests
    17. weary travelers
    18. cartographers
    19. toll takers
    20. bridge builders
  2. Traces or Tracks
    1. old coins printed with the symbols of a long dead kingdom
    2. monstrous footprints
    3. footprints of hungry or thirsty beasts
    4. traces of fresh water or food
    5. signs of a recent battle
    6. signs of a battle from long ago
    7. torn pages from a book
    8. footprints from the indigenous population
    9. footprints of enemy scouts
    10. wagon wheel tracks
    11. torn bit of a banner
    12. footprints of a unique mount
    13. caravan tracks
    14. footprints of a roosting beast
    15. an ancient, overgrown road
    16. footprints of travelers
    17. broken branches and twigs leading in one direction
    18. footprints of outlanders, purposefully covered up
    19. an abandoned campsite
    20. lots of blood
  3. Corpses (1d12)
    1. thieves
    2. monstrous guards
    3. travelers with fresh food or water
    4. beasts with fresh food in their claws, mouths, or bellies
    5. slain enemies
    6. slain adventurers
    7. a sage with blood-spattered notes
    8. couriers
    9. guards wearing the sigil of a noble house
    10. roosting beast
    11. caravanners
    12. a local hermit
  4. Documents
    1. a treasure map
    2. a journal entry
    3. a song
    4. a lost letter home
    5. a hand-drawn map
    6. a merchant's itemized list of supplies
    7. a tome of lore
    8. a lost painting
    9. a letter of scholarly inquiry
    10. a scroll sealed with a signet ring
    11. an order signed by a knight
    12. an intercepted letter of political import
    13. written directions on a scrap of parchment
    14. a letter from a guest
    15. a charcoal sketch
    16. a coded letter
    17. an ancient traveler's tale
    18. a star map
    19. a will
    20. a wanted poster
  5. Signs and Carvings (1d12)
    1. a hand-carved sign
    2. codes carved into trees and rocks
    3. an old, cracked wooden sign
    4. the carved sigil of an old merchant house
    5. statues of legendary heroes
    6. signs carved in an enemy language
    7. sigils of important factions carved into trees or stones
    8. the word HELP, BEWARE, or DANGER quickly slashed into an old stump
    9. statues of an ancient ruler forgotten to time
    10. an overgrown archway that once stood over a common road
    11. signs naming a village that no longer exists
    12. carvings into overgrown cobblestones of horses or other common animals
  6. Magical Signs
    1. ghost
    2. programmed illusion
    3. consecrated ground
    4. trickling stream of holy water
    5. magic mouth
    6. animal messenger
    7. alarm spell
    8. glyphs of warding
    9. spirits of the former inhabitants of a lost village
    10. wandering animated objects
    11. druid signs
    12. unnatural changes to the environment

Two Examples: Low-Level and High-Level

I'm going to create some examples of Random Encounter using this system, using imagined adventures for a 2nd-Level Group and a 14th-Level Group.

Encounters in the Witchwoods (2nd Level)

The first example will be a 2nd-Level Group traveling through the Witchwoods to a big dungeon called Blind Bear Hollow, a series of caves beneath the roots of a gargantuan oak tree. As a DM, I've sketched out some ideas of what the Witchwoods are like: a big tangle of trees, branches, and briars. There are goblins and worgs who work for a nearby hag. It'll take three days for the characters to reach Blind Bear Hollow. There's a 10% chance for a Random Encounter, which I roll three times a day.

Encounter 1:

On the first afternoon I roll a Random Encounter! I roll a Reward, Obstacle, and Signs.

Reward: Shortcut (safe - no encounters)
Obstacle: Dangerous Enemies (hard encounter)
Signs: Signs and Carvings - statues of an ancient ruler forgotten to time

While traveling, the rogue scouting ahead sees the statue of some ancient queen, worn smooth by rain and time. It's standing above the entrance to an old tomb. The characters will find out that this tomb is a shortcut, a tunnel beneath a series of hills with a thick growth of trees. It'll cut a day off their travel. Using a Random Encounter Generator, I create a Hard Encounter: a Goblin Boss, two Goblins, and a Wolf. These goblins have set up a camp here, and don't like intruders!

Encounter 2:

The next evening I roll another Random Encounter. So once again I roll a Reward, Obstacle, and Signs. Here's what I get:

Reward: Resources (potions)
Obstacle: Magical Barrier (desecrated territory)
Signs: Corpses (caravanners)

The group notices corpses of caravanners near a big gnarled tree. When they approach, they all have to make Wisdom Saving Throws or become Frightened of the tree! The Wizard uses an Arcana check to recognize the area around this tree is Desecrated. The cleric makes a Medicine check and finds out these caravanners died of fright! The Barbarian gets buffed up with some Saving Throw bonuses and charges in. In the hollow of the tree they find a few Healing Potions, brewed by the local hag. Meanwhile, the Cleric starts rituals to cleanse the souls of the caravanners and bury them away from the evil tree. And the rogue searches around for where these people left their cart... maybe there's something valuable!

Encounter 3:

On the way back out of the dungeon, the characters again head towards that useful Shortcut! Luckily they drew it on their map. I roll a Random Encounter on the morning of their last day in the Witchwoods...

Reward: Resources (magical resources)
Obstacle: Natural Obstacles (thorns or thick vegetation)
Signs: Magical Signs (glyph of warding)

On the final day, the group is passing through some very thick briar patches, hacking and slashing, when they come upon a clearing that looks like it was hit by a tornado! On the far side of the clearing is a massive thicket of dry, thorny vines. At the front of this thicket, the vines have been curved and shaped into an odd glyph. This a Glyph of Warding, set by the local hag to protect some valuable magical materials inside the thicket. If a character approaches too close, the triggered Glyph casts the spell Dust Devil! Inside the thicket, the characters find three leather bags with 50 gp worth of Ruby Dust in each, perfect for the now 3rd-Level Cleric's Continual Flame spell!

Encounters in the Fractured Lands (Level 14)

A group of 14th-level characters is traveling in the Fractured Lands, an area torn apart by planar forces. They're heading to a kingdom of Genasi who live on a floating bit of earth above the arctic sea. I'm imagining the Fractured Lands as a series of volcanoes, but each erupts with a different element: fire, cold, acid, lighting... This is a long journey, two full weeks, and the characters are most likely flying around. Because of the elemental forces, the characters must make Constitution Saving Throws three times a day or take on a level of Exhaustion (max: 3). I don't want to interrupt the journey too often, so I roll for Random Encounters once a day.

Let's say during the journey they have three random encounters...

Encounter 1:

Reward:
Shelter (deserted village)
Obstacle: Dangerous Enemies (medium encounter)
Signs: Traces or Tracks (footprints of an enemy scout)

The group's ranger finds footprints of half-dragon scouts emerging from a cave in the nearby obsidian cliffs. This cave leads to an underground abandoned village, now home to a camp of four half-red-dragon veterans. The cave keeps the village protected from the exhausting heat of the volcano, allowing the group to rest without having to make Constitution Saving Throws!

Encounter 2:

Reward:
Knowledge (of a local enemy from a hunter, turncoat, spy, adventurer, traveler, or hermit)
Obstacle: Magical Barrier (magical traps)
Signs: Gossiping Travelers (bridge builders)

This is a high-level area, so those bridge builders are not ordinary! In fact, they're celestials, building a Planar Bridge that will eventually allow other celestials to use the Fractured Lands to journey to different planes. They tell the characters that there's a local Hermit, a Deva who prefers to live in the Fractured Lands, and who is an expert on the Fiendish Dragons who are the most powerful enemies in the territory. However, they should be careful, they hear he's surrounded his abode with magical traps! Using a Random Trap Generator (thank you, internet!) I develop a Lightning Coil Trap, and I like the idea of the Hermit living on a Lightning Volcano, trapping and using the lightning for strange planar experiments! If the characters get through the trap, the Hermit will tell them of the Resistances and Vulnerabilities of the various Fiendish Dragons who rule over the Fractured Lands.

Encounter 3:

Reward:
Alliance (enemy with information)
Obstacle: Difficult to Locate (purposefully hidden)
Signs: Signs and Carvings (signs naming a village that no longer exists)

While flying about, the characters start to notice odd floating cobblestones, and finally a sign floating in mid-air, held aloft by a propeller! It points to an old floating Modron City that long ago was destroyed by an eruption from an Acid Volcano below. However, in the direction the sign points, the characters notice a big, unnatural storm cloud, just floating there. It turns out one of the Air Genasi Pirates (enemies of the kingdom they're traveling to) was injured in a recent attack. They've hidden themselves inside a big summoned storm cloud. If the characters can locate the Pirate and give them healing, they'll give the characters a token of gratitude, which will be useful in any future encounters with Air Genasi Pirates!

Conclusion: Rewarding Exploration

My hope with this system is to create opportunities that reward players for exploring more, rather than focusing their efforts on mitigating costs.

So what do you think? Would this be useful?

I think this is a good idea. I take a very simple approach to this which is not all encounters are bad, some are good, and I either literally leave it to a coin flip (really a d10 roll where the lower end is worse, the higher end is better), or I base it on context (who the PCs are, what they are encounter, etc). But I think none of us would leave our houses in the real world if every person we bumped into mugged us. By the same token, characters aren't going to move around as much (or at least they are going to engage moving around in a very cagey way) if everything wants them dead. Another thing I do that I have found helpful is to allow the players to use random encounter tables actively to their advantage (i.e. they are hunting for something or for a particular person----so let them make some kind of roll and if they do well at least give them a chance of getting the result on the table they were looking for)
 

Yea it's totally on the GM to nerf healing word, healing light, 1 point lay on hands, death saves, & damage beyond zero simply going away as long as it's not enough to bring someone to negative max hp, & the rest of phb197. You don't need to "buy" anything because that's just how the rules are & those rules make it a problem if you as the gm start giving the PCs things to raise PC power or mitigate lethality. That's the problem, as the "just enforce container sizes>limit containers allowed>just don't sell things" showed it's a never ending cascade of fixes.
Then you should have 8 encounter days, or encounters that are well beyond what is considered the 'norm', or gotchas if that's your thing, etc. There IS A LEVEL OF CHALLENGE which will produce highly dangerous and uncertain outcomes. I think this is virtually axiomatic. If you want to tell me that "when I run published adventures, or exactly follow every guideline in the book and the danger level is low" OK, I can buy that. I'm not sure what that says about the design of the game, except that the people writing material for it seem to feel that this is the 'sweet spot' for most players. Obviously they would be wrong about some.

Frankly, I think we have to acknowledge that over the whole life of D&D the concept of 'meat grinder' where most PCs die and the object is to be clever enough to run that ONE GUY that will 'make it' to higher levels has more and more died. The game is more and more about the character, the world, the relationships, development, etc. So the game doesn't try, by default, to put you on the 'razor edge of death' at every turn. You can CHOOSE danger. You can put it on the line if that's what you think you gotta do, but most adventures will not thrust death on your character simply for walking down the path, if you're reasonably prudent. Now the focus can be on what the players and GM WANT to focus on.

So if you map that back to the whole travel thing, you can see why 5e provides the resources it does. They don't obviate all danger in the wilderness, by a long shot. What they do is outline certain challenges, finding your way, provisions, being exposed to attack, needing a secure camp site, weather, etc. A highly effective solution, in the guise of a build choice or two, is present. The character making that choice is going to look good, he finds the path, chooses the best camp site, carries a ton of supplies, etc.

Now the focus can be on the greater story, the more interesting stuff that happens. I liked the way JRRT did it. The characters end up equipped with a bunch of lembas, which gets mentioned now and then in the story, so it isn't just a crutch, but it does practically solve the issue of how they trek for weeks and months without a baggage train. I THINK at least some of the 5e mechanisms the OP talked about are meant to work in a similar way. Granted, it is a far cry from the days when we used AH's Survival game rules to run a wilderness trek!
 

Yes, I think your rationale is pretty clear.

I think your subsystem is a fun one. I don't think I share the presupposition that it sits within - a sort of "main quest"/"side quest"/"random encounter" framing of the activity in the game.
Yeah, and that kind of leads to my question, which would be: is randomization really serving a good purpose here? I mean, these elements seem like they might best occur as active scene-framing devices intended to engage with things that hook into what the PCs are doing. Now and then one might be sort of arbitrary, like "Oh there's a hill over to the west" which maybe is just 'color', but mostly it seems to me they can 'carry water'. I don't really hate randomizers that much, but I hardly ever actually ROLL dice! lol. They are more like 'lists of ideas to use'.
 

I think genre is important too. I mean, if you are running a game which is meant to evoke Medieval romantic tales of knights and quests, then the things you run into better be enemy knights, damsels in distress, beasts, hunting parties, castles, and maybe a stray sorcerer or witch. Particularly in this sort of milieu a lot of these things wouldn't be direct or overt threats, but most of them will present some challenge, dilemma, or subtle danger. A few might simply open up some new avenue of adventure (IE a quest giver).

In a Gygaxian hex crawl, its more likely most everything wants to eat you, but might be bribed, frightened, or MAYBE negotiated into some other stance. Doing so will be the clever and rewarding path, when possible. Failure usually means some PC(s) die...
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I think genre is important too. I mean, if you are running a game which is meant to evoke Medieval romantic tales of knights and quests, then the things you run into better be enemy knights, damsels in distress, beasts, hunting parties, castles, and maybe a stray sorcerer or witch. Particularly in this sort of milieu a lot of these things wouldn't be direct or overt threats, but most of them will present some challenge, dilemma, or subtle danger. A few might simply open up some new avenue of adventure (IE a quest giver).

In a Gygaxian hex crawl, its more likely most everything wants to eat you, but might be bribed, frightened, or MAYBE negotiated into some other stance. Doing so will be the clever and rewarding path, when possible. Failure usually means some PC(s) die...
Yeah, I definitely think a system like this should be adapted to fit the campaign world. Or even each location within the campaign world!

In adapting it to my own campaign world, I am putting in local factions, enemies, settlements, etc, AND changing the ratios of each reward, obstacle, and sign to make it fit more regional locations.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Yea it's totally on the GM to nerf healing word, healing light, 1 point lay on hands, death saves, & damage beyond zero simply going away as long as it's not enough to bring someone to negative max hp, & the rest of phb197. You don't need to "buy" anything because that's just how the rules are & those rules make it a problem if you as the gm start giving the PCs things to raise PC power or mitigate lethality. That's the problem, as the "just enforce container sizes>limit containers allowed>just don't sell things" showed it's a never ending cascade of fixes.
So, a few weeks ago we had a BBEG encounter. Party has a fighter, a bard (who doesn't use a lot of healing magic), a rogue (me), a cleric, a monk, and a sorcerer. Pretty much everyone but me got knocked out and was on the brink of dying. Oh, and we were on a sinking ship. Luckily, I had specifically bought healing potions ahead of time so I was able to get the cleric back up.

The game I'm running and will be starting up again in a few weeks after a hiatus as we rotate our DMs will have a rogue/bard, a rogue, two warlocks, and a paladin, and we're going to be introducing a new PC, a (reborn spore) druid. The adventure possibilities are extremely dangerous. They won't have access to the vast majority of healing magic you think they should have and they haven't bought any potions.

Death saves are a 50/50 chance each time. Taking damage after being reduced to 0 hp causes a failed save.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I know it a bit but not in detail. Are you able to elaborate a bit?
So, first I'll say that the system works for quick and dirty "let me summarize what basically happens as you red dot across the map, and let you know what resources you had to spend to get there", and for playing out the journey in detail. Either way, you go in 5 steps. For longer journeys you can do the whole process multiple times, with potential breaks at the end of each "leg" of the journey.

1. Pick your route, using the hex map. In a DnD you could either make a hex map for this, or do so descriptively, and just say that every 10 miles is a hex.

2. Determine overall distance. A hex is 10 miles. Total distance will matter later.

3. Terrain. The most common terrain for the journey is used as a multiplier to the distance of the journey. Easy well maintained roads are x .5, flat terrain is x 1, going all the way up to x 5 for mountain passes and other "Daunting" terrain.

4. Speed. "The Loremaster now divides the distance measured in the previous steps by the travelling speed of the Company — rounding all fractions to the nearest whole number. The result is equal to the expected length of the
journey in days. The table below shows the distance covered in miles by a Company in an average day of travel"

5. Fatigue Tests. In TOR you have a fatigue score to represent how worn out you are. In 5e, I might convert this using hit dice. You make a fatigue test every x number of days of travel, where x is a number determined by the season in which you're travelling. So you check more often for winter than for summer.
There is also an optional Regional table that varies the DC of fatigue tests based on whether you're in normal wilderness, enemy territory, friendly lands, etc, or you can simply always use DC 14.

Hazards. Every fatigue test has a chance to generate a Hazard. If a PC fails their check and gets a "sauron's eye" rune on their d12 (I think it's the 1 if you're using normal dice), a Hazard occurs. I won't get into the details of hazards, but basically the LM rolls to see which Journey Role is the focus of the hazard, and the PC filling that role makes a skill check to overcome the hazard. If no one is filling that role, someone can spend Hope to make the check, otherwise it automatically fails.

Hazards then essentially become challengs with consequences for failure, such as the Guide screwing up and if they fail the check to get back on track everyone sleeps rough due to poor camping conditions and travel is unrestful for that journey/leg.

Actions In A Journey. Each PC can usually make 2 skill checks during a travel day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.


And that's basically it. Print out the tables or get a TOR DM's screen (I think), and you've got an engaging but fairly simple set of rules for a journey.

Also at the start of the journey you can make a check to determine preparedness for the journey. I'll just quote the book again for this bit.

Preliminary Rolls
Adventurers learn fast that if they want to survive when out in the Wild, they better be prepared, whether they are leaving to go on a journey, or when facing the enemy in combat, or even when meeting strangers in an encounter upon the road.
At the beginning of any one of the three main heroic ventures (journey, combat and encounter), all players are entitled to make a preliminary skill roll against TN 14 to determine their character’s preparedness.

Every type of heroic venture targets a specific skill (see below), but the results are interpreted in the same way: based on the quality of the result, every successful roll grants a hero a number of bonus Success dice (advantages) to use in the coming endeavour. Each ordinary success grants the player one Success die, a great success grants two dice, while an extraordinary success grants three dice.

How to use bonus Success dice Heroes may spend their bonus Success dice to boost their rolls during the ensuing endeavour.
When a player is about to make a roll, he may add one bonus Success die to the roll. To add the die, he may spend one of his own bonus dice, or another player may spend it to give it to him.
Commonly, heroes spend their bonus Success dice on their Travel rolls when journeying, on their attack rolls or Protection tests when fighting, and on any useful roll during encounters.

During the same turn, a player may spend one or more of the dice in his reserve at any time (for his own roll or to help others), but any roll may be modified by a maximum of one bonus Success die.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So, first I'll say that the system works for quick and dirty "let me summarize what basically happens as you red dot across the map, and let you know what resources you had to spend to get there", and for playing out the journey in detail. Either way, you go in 5 steps. For longer journeys you can do the whole process multiple times, with potential breaks at the end of each "leg" of the journey.

1. Pick your route, using the hex map. In a DnD you could either make a hex map for this, or do so descriptively, and just say that every 10 miles is a hex.

2. Determine overall distance. A hex is 10 miles. Total distance will matter later.

3. Terrain. The most common terrain for the journey is used as a multiplier to the distance of the journey. Easy well maintained roads are x .5, flat terrain is x 1, going all the way up to x 5 for mountain passes and other "Daunting" terrain.

4. Speed. "The Loremaster now divides the distance measured in the previous steps by the travelling speed of the Company — rounding all fractions to the nearest whole number. The result is equal to the expected length of the
journey in days. The table below shows the distance covered in miles by a Company in an average day of travel"

5. Fatigue Tests. In TOR you have a fatigue score to represent how worn out you are. In 5e, I might convert this using hit dice. You make a fatigue test every x number of days of travel, where x is a number determined by the season in which you're travelling. So you check more often for winter than for summer.
There is also an optional Regional table that varies the DC of fatigue tests based on whether you're in normal wilderness, enemy territory, friendly lands, etc, or you can simply always use DC 14.

Hazards. Every fatigue test has a chance to generate a Hazard. If a PC fails their check and gets a "sauron's eye" rune on their d12 (I think it's the 1 if you're using normal dice), a Hazard occurs. I won't get into the details of hazards, but basically the LM rolls to see which Journey Role is the focus of the hazard, and the PC filling that role makes a skill check to overcome the hazard. If no one is filling that role, someone can spend Hope to make the check, otherwise it automatically fails.

Hazards then essentially become challengs with consequences for failure, such as the Guide screwing up and if they fail the check to get back on track everyone sleeps rough due to poor camping conditions and travel is unrestful for that journey/leg.

Actions In A Journey. Each PC can usually make 2 skill checks during a travel day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.


And that's basically it. Print out the tables or get a TOR DM's screen (I think), and you've got an engaging but fairly simple set of rules for a journey.

Also at the start of the journey you can make a check to determine preparedness for the journey. I'll just quote the book again for this bit.
The preliminary rolls, and the journey roles tied into who is the focus of a hazard, are the main things that make journey's engaging and fun.

In my Space Fantasy! games, we use the same system more or less, except that the person in that role is "in command" of the crew for the resolution of that hazard, so while they do make a check, they also give commands to the crew and basically treat the ship as if they were the captain for that "scene".
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I guess to bring this back to the OP, the TOR system could be converted to focus on rewards rather than just draining resources, as well as rewarding preparation by having resources give advantage and lacking them giving disadvantage on hazard checks and preliminary rolls.

The other thing I'd say is that if you want travel to be engaging and challenging, don't let the party get a full rest during a journey unless they get a reward or have a stopover in a safe place that would make a full rest make sense. Like let them spend hit dice, maybe devise a table or something for regaining some resources spent during the journey when they succeed on hazard checks or have a leg of the journey without any hazards, but they end the rest with resources spent. They end the journey with that level 1 slot for goodberry spent, and the level 2 slot for pass without trace they used to get +10 on the check to bypass the bandit camp, and the hit dice they lost due to a failed hazard check to ford the icy river, etc, all spent.

When tou combine dynamic costs with reward focused challenges, you encourage exploration because if they don't explore they can't ever get those sweet rewards that might negate whatever price they've so far paid. They might find the Great Fairy's Fountain and spend the night there, taking a full long rest and gaining water skins full of fountain water that gives them all the water and calories they need for the day on top of 2d10 thp that lasts until the next dawn, from a single sip. Or they might just find a cache of gems and a spellbook, magically preserved from a time so long past that they've no reason to thnk anyone still owns it. Or they might see something so magnificent that they all gain Inspiration. But not if they don't explore.
 

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