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D&D 5E Rewarding Overland Travel

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.
Seems like basically a bit more complicated version of a 4e SC with the goal being "complete the journey in good shape." What I like about the SC system is that it fits almost anywhere, you don't need a whole other different system for "social situation" or whatever (admittedly combat is its own thing).
 

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pemerton

Legend
@doctorbadwolf

I had the same thought as @AbdulAlhazred - in broad outline it seems similar to a 4e skill challenge. The main difference I noticed is that 4e probably doesn't worry as much about the distance travelled - though it would be possible to do something like complexity equals number of days of travel if you wanted to, I guess.

It's more elaborate than merely checking for exhaustion, which has been my default in Prince Valiant.
 

Hussar

Legend
Yeah, I have to agree with folks here. 5e is not hard to get pretty darn lethal. You start targetting downed opponents and you can obliterate a PC PDQ. Remember, you'd auto critting that downed PC, so, automatically two failed death saves. You don't have to do it very often to make it really, really deadly.

I mean, right now I'm using 6 meanlocks in a mine (props if anyone else is running a Candlekeep Mysteries game). I am chewing the crap out of the PC's with this. Bonus action teleport (with no need for line of sight) when in low light? Everyone's huddling up around the warforged cleric who has a lantern. :D The first time someone got a bit ahead, he got mobbed, paralyzed, and was only barely saved from a serious beating by the combined efforts of the entire party and some serious luck.

When you have a 3D envirnment and a 30 foot teleport that recharges, you can go to town on the PC's.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
@doctorbadwolf

I had the same thought as @AbdulAlhazred - in broad outline it seems similar to a 4e skill challenge. The main difference I noticed is that 4e probably doesn't worry as much about the distance travelled - though it would be possible to do something like complexity equals number of days of travel if you wanted to, I guess.

It's more elaborate than merely checking for exhaustion, which has been my default in Prince Valiant.
I mean the 4e skill challenge is going to look a bit similar to anything that involves multiple skill checks to determine the full scope of resolution of a scene.

This also generates scenes within the journey, which I don't think is a normal part of 4e skill challenges.
 

Yeah, I have to agree with folks here. 5e is not hard to get pretty darn lethal. You start targetting downed opponents and you can obliterate a PC PDQ. Remember, you'd auto critting that downed PC, so, automatically two failed death saves. You don't have to do it very often to make it really, really deadly.

I mean, right now I'm using 6 meanlocks in a mine (props if anyone else is running a Candlekeep Mysteries game). I am chewing the crap out of the PC's with this. Bonus action teleport (with no need for line of sight) when in low light? Everyone's huddling up around the warforged cleric who has a lantern. :D The first time someone got a bit ahead, he got mobbed, paralyzed, and was only barely saved from a serious beating by the combined efforts of the entire party and some serious luck.

When you have a 3D envirnment and a 30 foot teleport that recharges, you can go to town on the PC's.

It's not simply that 5e can't be made deadly, your targeting an argument that wasn't really put forward in isolation of the relevant bits. The gm can deliberately execute characters(something they could do before) is very different from past editions were more lethal and as a result there is less room for the GM to provide players with cool toys that mitigate lethality... 5e is still far lower risk of death even if execution is still effective. Using 5e's oversimplified to the extreme ruleset torun the grindiest of grindfests with 8 encounter days as the norm will fix a lot of problems stemming from the 5e designers targeting an absurd 6-8 encounters to force things during normal play towards something akin to ye old 5mwd as well, but pushing players towards the end of the encounter budget was possible in old editions & doesn't change the fact that o5e is unquestionably less deadly than older editions.
 

@doctorbadwolf

I had the same thought as @AbdulAlhazred - in broad outline it seems similar to a 4e skill challenge. The main difference I noticed is that 4e probably doesn't worry as much about the distance travelled - though it would be possible to do something like complexity equals number of days of travel if you wanted to, I guess.

It's more elaborate than merely checking for exhaustion, which has been my default in Prince Valiant.
Right, a 4e SC would more likely focus on the greatest obstacles, with perhaps things like sheer distance, hostile terrain as a general problem, and the environment generally, treated as specific instances of challenge. So, you'd have a check to endure forced marching for 200 miles, and maybe a nature check to find adequate shelter either from a specific nasty environmental problem, or maybe from the environment generally. If you survive the snowstorm, you manage the rest of the environment as well. If you find enough water, you're OK, etc. Honestly, with an SC I would probably include some more dynamic element, like you are trying to avoid being tracked, or you are trying to navigate to a specific location, etc.

So, an SC might differ a bit from 'general sequence of survival-type checks' in that they generally work much better when there is a specific discrete goal and evolving plot along the way, vs just a long sequence of similar days of trudging along. In 4e's suggested techniques the trudging part should be elided (though as I say not without a check if you need it). James Wyatt did after all write something about "skipping to the action." OTOH DMG1 P24 also talks about pacing and build up, etc.
 

I mean the 4e skill challenge is going to look a bit similar to anything that involves multiple skill checks to determine the full scope of resolution of a scene.

This also generates scenes within the journey, which I don't think is a normal part of 4e skill challenges.
I think that is the HALLMARK of good SCs! If your SCs are just the PCs standing around in one place doing the same stuff for a bunch of checks in a row, then don't bother! Every check in an SC may not be an entirely different scene, but it should AT LEAST address a unique situation.

So, an SC covering a journey in my book would definitely have multiple scenes. You'd encounter some sort of terrain challenge, then maybe an environmental challenge, and then maybe address a specific instance of potentially getting lost, etc. So it would almost definitionally be a bunch of scenes. What would, IME, be missing would be the sort of 'daily routine'.

Now, if, for some reason, there was a strong desire to portray a journey in terms of the plodding, grinding routine of crossing distances on foot, then you probably would not use an SC for the whole thing. Instead specific scenes would be SCs. In this case maybe a random generator would work, but I would think a list of SCs/encounters could simply be followed in order too, the effect is not really different...

You could also have a large scale 'controlling SC' for the whole journey who's 'checks' were individual encounters. I think there's a brief mention of this sort of possibility in one of the DMGs, but I could be remembering other discussions of the possibility.
 

Faolyn

Hero
the norm will fix a lot of problems stemming from the 5e designers targeting an absurd 6-8 encounters to force things during normal play towards something akin to ye old 5mwd as well, but pushing players towards the end of the encounter budget was possible in old editions & doesn't change the fact that o5e is unquestionably less deadly than older editions.
The designers didn't design 6-8 encounters in a day. This is a misreading of the actual text, which says that a typical party can handle 6-8 encounters before they run out of resources (with more or fewer encounters if they're easier or harder than the norm). There was never any expectation that DMs "have" to have that many encounters between long rests.
 

The designers didn't design 6-8 encounters in a day. This is a misreading of the actual text, which says that a typical party can handle 6-8 encounters before they run out of resources (with more or fewer encounters if they're easier or harder than the norm). There was never any expectation that DMs "have" to have that many encounters between long rests.
Actually they did. The entire section from the bottom of dmg81 to 84 is about combat encounter experience before continuing on into things like encounter difficulty & such from 85 on.
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If you fit that many encounters into the adventuring day* it will begin to tax PC rest based resources enough to make them regret being reckless or even find themselves without those resources they feel in need of as the number climbs towards 8 or more. If you have less it moves the game towards the trivializing end of things where the 5 minute work day exists. That is the design.

Unfortunately that design exacerbates other bad design elements like the ones that fail to provide the gm much room for magic items & cool toys with mechanical impact. Yes you can reduce that number by having fewer harder encounters, but that screws a lot of things as many abilities go from a sometimes thing to an always thing and it amplifies the impact of the bad design on PHB197 to once again limit the GM's ability to actually provide magic items & other cool toys with mechanical impact.

*or whatever value of time for that adventuring day you want to use.
 

Yora

Legend
It's only when resources become scarce enough to consider managing them that the game becomes interesting. Before that the game just wastes everyone's time.
 


Yora

Legend
Then what are you doing in an encounter when you just can throw everything you got at your opponent, while also feeling certain that the GM won't put anything in your path that could threaten you?
 

Faolyn

Hero
Actually they did. The entire section from the bottom of dmg81 to 84 is about combat encounter experience before continuing on into things like encounter difficulty & such from 85 on.
If you fit that many encounters into the adventuring day* it will begin to tax PC rest based resources enough to make them regret being reckless or even find themselves without those resources they feel in need of as the number climbs towards 8 or more. If you have less it moves the game towards the trivializing end of things where the 5 minute work day exists. That is the design.
You realize that the page you linked supports what I said? The book says that PCs can handle that many encounters, not that you have to have them.

Also, if you have PCs engaging in the 5 minute work day, it just means that you, the DM, need to have encounters interrupt those rests.

Unfortunately that design exacerbates other bad design elements like the ones that fail to provide the gm much room for magic items & cool toys with mechanical impact. Yes you can reduce that number by having fewer harder encounters, but that screws a lot of things as many abilities go from a sometimes thing to an always thing and it amplifies the impact of the bad design on PHB197 to once again limit the GM's ability to actually provide magic items & other cool toys with mechanical impact.
I almost always have fewer, tougher encounters, and have never once had that screw anything up. And one of my games has two warlocks. And no, they don't have a rest after each encounter.

There are also no limits on the DMs ability to provide magic items. You can provide as many or as few as you like.
 

Then what are you doing in an encounter when you just can throw everything you got at your opponent, while also feeling certain that the GM won't put anything in your path that could threaten you?
Aside from the fact that this isn't addressing what I said about resources being interesting to expend, I'll take 'playing tactically and doing cool stuff for fun' for 500, Alex?
 

You realize that the page you linked supports what I said? The book says that PCs can handle that many encounters, not that you have to have them.

Also, if you have PCs engaging in the 5 minute work day, it just means that you, the DM, need to have encounters interrupt those rests.


I almost always have fewer, tougher encounters, and have never once had that screw anything up. And one of my games has two warlocks. And no, they don't have a rest after each encounter.

There are also no limits on the DMs ability to provide magic items. You can provide as many or as few as you like.
You have a habit of taking a point in isolation from the context and debating it in a whole new context in order to say things that sound convincing but aren't really relevant to the original point, please stop. Interrupting rests was something that used to be possible & used to make a big difference in things like the rate of HP recovery, but 5e provides tools like ritual improved force cage & instant fortress on top of rest rules that make actually doing so rather pointless. This is not a situation where you can simply blame the dm for 5e's bad design because the lack of lethality & triviality of recovery in 5e still provides the gm with little room to provide magic items & cool toys with mechanical impacts on survivability, combat effectiveness & recovery.
 

Faolyn

Hero
You have a habit of taking a point in isolation from the context and debating it in a whole new context in order to say things that sound convincing but aren't really relevant to the original point, please stop. Interrupting rests was something that used to be possible & used to make a big difference in things like the rate of HP recovery, but 5e provides tools like ritual improved force cage & instant fortress on top of rest rules that make actually doing so rather pointless.
And you have a habit of ignoring the fact that many parties don't have access to these things. As I mentioned elsewhere recently, in the five games I'm playing or running, there's a grand total of two wizards (only one of whom is even high enough level to cast tiny hut) and two bards (one of whom is multiclassed and so way behind on the spellcasting).

You're also ignoring what can be done with a tiny hut. Yeah, the monster can't enter it. But they can surround it and lie in wait, lay traps outside of it, kill your horses (which you can't bring inside), or leave creepy notes outside of it (did that one once, to great results--they couldn't decide what was worse, the note's threats or the writer's terrible spelling). And there's no way for the PCs to do anything about it without dropping the tiny hut or leaving its safety.

You're also ignoring that bards get very few spells and, outside of those two free spells wizards get each level, DMs have total control over what spells a wizard gains access to. If you choose to drop a scroll or enemy's spellbook and it has tiny hut in it, the blame's on you if it wrecks your long rest encounters. If a wizard or bar wants to give up one of the few spells they can actually pick each level in favor of taking tiny hut, then that means they're not picking up a spell that's useful in other places. That's the trade-off.

This is not a situation where you can simply blame the dm for 5e's bad design because the lack of lethality & triviality of recovery in 5e still provides the gm with little room to provide magic items & cool toys with mechanical impacts on survivability, combat effectiveness & recovery.
You keep saying this and I have no idea why. There's absolutely nothing in 5e that prevents you from putting magic items and "cool toys" with mechanical impacts in the game. As a player, I have found or purchased magic items. As a DM, I place a fair number of them.

Let's see... one of the paths I'm working on is an almost complete redo of the Amber Temple in CoS, since I don't like the actual adventure location in the book. I'm counting 19 magic items of various levels of power. A couple of the items have curses of one degree or another, and many of them are creepy enough that my players will almost refuse to do anything with them besides maybe destroy them with fire (such as a circlet of blasting that looks like a bronze crown studded with human teeth). My players have a weird aversion to searching bodies, so they will likely miss several of the items as well. But they're there. And nothing in the DMG is forbidding me from placing these items.

Of course, the monsters include a fair number of high-CR fiends and undead, and the party has no cleric, just a paladin.
 
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And you have a habit of ignoring the fact that many parties don't have access to these things. As I mentioned elsewhere recently, in the five games I'm playing or running, there's a grand total of two wizards (only one of whom is even high enough level to cast tiny hut) and two bards (one of whom is multiclassed and so way behind on the spellcasting).

You're also ignoring what can be done with a tiny hut. Yeah, the monster can't enter it. But they can surround it and lie in wait, lay traps outside of it, kill your horses (which you can't bring inside), or leave creepy notes outside of it (did that one once, to great results--they couldn't decide what was worse, the note's threats or the writer's terrible spelling). And there's no way for the PCs to do anything about it without dropping the tiny hut or leaving its safety.

You're also ignoring that bards get very few spells and, outside of those two free spells wizards get each level, DMs have total control over what spells a wizard gains access to. If you choose to drop a scroll or enemy's spellbook and it has tiny hut in it, the blame's on you if it wrecks your long rest encounters. If a wizard or bar wants to give up one of the few spells they can actually pick each level in favor of taking tiny hut, then that means they're not picking up a spell that's useful in other places. That's the trade-off.

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[/spoiler]
Any interruption has an impact on recovery & hp recovery is significantly less than "all lost hit points" making resting in unsafe territory something th at can easily be one step forward with two steps back or vice versa.

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Every party has access to that, If combat lasts for one hour. it will interrupt the rest. If less than an hour "ok lets finish the rest". Tiny hut is one of the many "well actually no we ignore that problem too" & as was covered earlier players have some level of self preservation so will put effort into gaining abilities that mitigate risk.
You keep saying this and I have no idea why. There's absolutely nothing in 5e that prevents you from putting magic items and "cool toys" with mechanical impacts in the game. As a player, I have found or purchased magic items. As a DM, I place a fair number of them.

Let's see... one of the paths I'm working on is an almost complete redo of the Amber Temple in CoS, since I don't like the actual adventure location in the book. I'm counting 19 magic items of various levels of power. A couple of the items have curses of one degree or another, and many of them are creepy enough that my players will almost refuse to do anything with them besides maybe destroy them with fire (such as a circlet of blasting that looks like a bronze crown studded with human teeth). My players have a weird aversion to searching bodies, so they will likely miss several of the items as well. But they're there. And nothing in the DMG is forbidding me from placing these items.

Of course, the monsters include a fair number of high-CR fiends and undead, and the party has no cleric, just a paladin.
It was my original point before you got repeatedly found ways to distract from it in defense of 5e. A system that relies on rewarding players will run into problems because of how 5e is coded to provide the gm very little room to provide those items (directly or via purchase.) due to being built with no magic item budget. 5e further binds the GM's hands here with a very low lethality that makes restorative & protective items not really needed or even all that important.

As often as wotc themselves likes to brag in detail about how you don't need magic items and how they aren't required that alone discounts all of your but my players have magic items discourse. Adding them to exploration means subtracting the very limited budget allotted to them elsewhere. You want to ignore all of that and instead debate how a gm can fix 5e in order to avoid the problems for this reward based system that are created by 5e itself & keep lunging further from the point with each post.
 

Faolyn

Hero
Every party has access to that, If combat lasts for one hour. it will interrupt the rest. If less than an hour "ok lets finish the rest". Tiny hut is one of the many "well actually no we ignore that problem too" & as was covered earlier players have some level of self preservation so will put effort into gaining abilities that mitigate risk.
OK, and? You do any of the things I just mentioned and the PCs aren't ignoring the problem, they're delaying it. The longer you delay going out to fight the monsters that are surrounding the tiny hut, the better their defenses get. It doesn't matter if you get back all your hp after a long rest if you immediately lose it due to twenty bandits all shooting everyone the instant the hut vanishes.

It was my original point before you got repeatedly found ways to distract from it in defense of 5e. A system that relies on rewarding players will run into problems because of how 5e is coded to provide the gm very little room to provide those items (directly or via purchase.) due to being built with no magic item budget. 5e further binds the GM's hands here with a very low lethality that makes restorative & protective items not really needed or even all that important.
You don't need a magic item budget. You give them what you want to give them. That could be some items, no items at all, or lots of items.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say magic item budgets are ridiculous. It forces you to give out specific totals of magic items in a strict order of power level and doesn't allow you to deviate from it. One of the players in my group likes to put a single high-power item in each of his beginner dungeons, well-hidden but there for someone who really looks hard. Which is how the group's fighter got a sunsword at 4th level. It hasn't actually made anything unbalanced at all. And just in case you were wondering, no, it hasn't caused any problems among the group, either.

As often as wotc themselves likes to brag in detail about how you don't need magic items and how they aren't required that alone discounts all of your but my players have magic items discourse.
No it doesn't. I don't have to give out magic items. There's not a single monster that can't be hit with a non-magic weapon in the game, for instance. I choose to give out magic items because it's more fun. And I pick items that actually make sense for the adventure's setting, not that are "level appropriate."

Adding them to exploration means subtracting the very limited budget allotted to them elsewhere.
No it doesn't. Because there is no budget in 5e. You can add all the items if you wanted to. You can decide that somewhere, deep in the forest, there's a magic sword in a stone, and if the players happen to roll well while wandering around in the forest, or when they're running away from a powerful threat, or if they decide to follow the faeries, they manage to stumble across it. Or you can add no items while exploring. But you can't do that if you have a magic item budget. So why do you think that's better?

You want to ignore all of that and instead debate how a gm can fix 5e in order to avoid the problems for this reward based system that are created by 5e itself & keep lunging further from the point with each post.
Since all of your claims are based on something that doesn't even exist and isn't a problem, I fail to see how I'm ignoring anything.
 

pemerton

Legend
This also generates scenes within the journey, which I don't think is a normal part of 4e skill challenges.
On this, I agree with @AbdulAlhazared. And I think we're both just reiterating what is implicit in the DMG and express in the DMG2. The first travel skill challenge I ran was for 2nd level PCs in the first half of 2009 (so before I could be influenced by DMG2) and it feature multiple scenes.

You realize that the page you linked supports what I said? The book says that PCs can handle that many encounters, not that you have to have them.
It also says "For each character in the party, use the Adventuring Day XP table to estimate how much XP that character is expected to earn in a day." And those figures are 6 to 7 times the figures for a Medium difficulty encounter. Which I think is @tetrasodium's point. The point is also driven home by fairly basic considerations of intra-party balance of mechanical effectiveness.

And you have a habit of ignoring the fact that many parties don't have access to these things. As I mentioned elsewhere recently, in the five games I'm playing or running, there's a grand total of two wizards (only one of whom is even high enough level to cast tiny hut) and two bards (one of whom is multiclassed and so way behind on the spellcasting).

<snip>

You're also ignoring that bards get very few spells and, outside of those two free spells wizards get each level, DMs have total control over what spells a wizard gains access to.
That second claim seems doubtful to me: assuming that there's been no houseruling of Leomund's Tiny Hut out of the game, then presumably the player of a wizard can make the appropriate action declarations to learn/recall where such a spell might be learned, and then learn it.

As for the first claim: it's true that there are some campaigns that don't feature 5th or higher level wizards. But I think the number of campaigns that do feature wizards in that level range are not wildly unrepresentative of how D&D is played.
 

pemerton

Legend
Aside from the fact that this isn't addressing what I said about resources being interesting to expend, I'll take 'playing tactically and doing cool stuff for fun' for 500, Alex?
That reads like code for "play 4e"! More seriously, in the context of 5e design don't you get intraparty balance issues if you're not also doing the resource-sucking stuff?
 

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