D&D 5e Travel rules

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The party travels from Phandalin to Triboar and … – DM rolls a d20 and checks on the Encounter table – … and nothing happens.

The idea behind this rules is making the game more intense by adding some tension on travels, because you know, there are some perils out there in the wild.

These set of rules are an adaptation from the Traveling rules that are described in Francisco Nepitello game The One Ring

Roles during travel

The Playing Characters must be assigned to an specific role that should not be changed during the travel:

Guide responsible of the decisions and manage the reserves (only one member can be the Guide). Makes charisma (persuasion/intimidation) checks.

Look-out responsible of the security of the traveling party. Makes wisdom (perception) checks.

Huntsman after expending the provisions is the responsible role for getting the supper. Makes wisdom (survival) checks. Only makes rolls after the party has run out of provisions. The PC can be a Look-out or a Scout in the meantime.

Scout locate good camping places find menaces in advance. Makes intelligence (nature) or wisdom (perception) checks.

Planning ahead

Everyone con make a survival (wisdom) or nature (intelligence) checks to try to gather information about the trip. If more than one character is making the check, use theGroup Checks rule:

Difficulty class of checks is based on environment:

DC 5: free lands, easy environment.
DC 10: border lands, moderate environment.
DC 15: wild lands, hard environment.
DC 20: shadow lands, severe environment.
DC 25: dark lands, daunting environment.

If they succeed choose one of the advantages:

  1. Reduce the length of the journey a number of days equal to the difference between successes and failures but never make the travel shorter than 2/3 of the original duration.
  2. Give inspiration to one character only during this travel.
  3. Reduce the DC of all travel checks made by one character by one level.

But if they fail:

  1. Extend one day per difference between successes and failures roll.

Calculating travel time and number of checks

Take these steps to calculate travel time.

  1. Measure in a map the distance in miles.

  2. Multiply distance per difficulty factor based on terrain:

    x0.5: Very easy, well maintained known road.
    x1.0: Easy, open terrain, good track or path, plains, meadows.
    x1.5: Moderate, pathless wilderness, hills, sparse woods, bog.
    x2.0: Hard, marshes, washes, fells, woods with tracks.
    x3.0: Severe, dense wood, rough ground, roads or paths on hostile territory.
    x5.0: Daunting, densest wood, desert, ruined land, mountain passes.
  3. Calculate length in days of travel:

    20 mpd: Foot.
    40 mpd: Mounted.
    60 mpd: Flying.
    20 mpd: River, downstream.
    5-10 mpd: River, upstream.
  4. Each character will take a number of travel checks based on travel time depending of the traveling season and using the ability assigned to its role:

    1/6 days: Summer.
    1/4 days: Autumn.
    1/3 days: Winter.
    1/5 days: Spring.
  5. The difficulty class of checks is based on environment:

    DC 5: Free lands, easy environment.
    DC 10: Border lands, moderate environment.
    DC 15: Wild lands, hard environment.
    DC 20: Shadow lands, severe environment.
    DC 25: Dark lands, daunting environment.

Failing the check

When someone fails the check it will have consequences for him or for the entire party:

Failing the check everyone that fails the check gains a level of Exhaustion (PHB-291).

Failing by 10 the failing character gains a level of Exhaustion and also an effect occurs depending on the role:

Guide the party gets a bad shortcut and looses 1d4 days. You may have to readjust the number of Travel Checks that the party has to make.

Look-out a monster attacks. Roll in the random encounter table.

Huntsman for several days, the hunting was insufficient, everyone in the party gains a level of Exhaustion.

Scout the camping sites were uncomfortable and everyone gains a level ofExhaustion.

Critical Failure the failing character gains 2 levels of Exhaustion and also an effect occurs depending on the role:

Guide the party gets lost and looses 1d4+5 days. Recalculate the number of checks to take.

Look-out a monster attacks by Surpise. Roll in the random encounter table.

Huntsman there was no hunt at all, everyone gains a level of Exhaustion and the Huntsman attracts a monster. Roll in the random encounter table.

Scout the camping place was uncomfortable everyone gains a level ofExhaustion and the Scout attracts a monster. Roll in the random encounter table.

If several characters fail by 10 or Crit, take only the worst failure (determine randomly on ties) but everyone that fails still gains a level of Exhaustion.

Recovering from Exhaustion

For recovering from this «Traveling» Exhaustion the party has to rest an entire day in order to loose an Exhaustion level and hence add one day to the total travel time.

Why don’t they get recovered every night? Probably because they are too muchExhausted to sleep well. 😀

They can also recover using the Greater Restoration Spell or other Magical Items, but they can only recover one additional level per day using magical sources.

At the end of the Travel, the usual recovery options can be taken.

Does everyone has to have a role?

Yes and all of them have to make the Travel Checks, but obviously only if there are at least 4 PCs.

For smaller parties there always must be at least a Guide, and having to choose betweenLook-out and Scout it goes into the party preferences… but probably a small party would travel without a Scout.

If they are traveling for less than a week, they will be, probably, using provisions and therefore they can travel without a Huntsman.

There should also be the possibility of changing the roles in every leg of the travel (except for the Guide).

Spreadsheet Aid

In order to make the calculations faster I have made a Google Docs Spreadsheet to help the DM.

If you have a Google account you can copy it to your own Drive, or you can Download it in xlsx format

Changelog

2015-09-23: Added a link to a GDocs Spreadsheet

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