Dungeon Mast Tips in 140 Characters or so #20 – Travel

That’s right, it’s about time for another DM tips in 140 characters or so. I have decided to try to add a theme to each round of questions. This first attempt to set a theme to the madness is going to be about overland travel. I’m also thinking about bringing back some of the first questions I ever asked. I didn’t really have the amount of response I have these days so it might be nice to get some new answers to my old questions.

If you have advice to add please feel free to add it to the comment section below.

Question #1:  How often do you give your players transportation e.g. air ship? How often do you take transport away?

dreadgazeebo: rarely when story requires far travel to reduce narrative. IMO too much free reighn otherwise, hard enough keeping em’ in check.

KatoKatonian: The halfling in my game often rides on the Dragonborn’s shoulders. Does that count?

valthonis: A fair amount, but they break down often. I try to strike a good balance between travel convenience and narrative control. My group pays for airship travel around the continent (gold sink ftw!) and has a short-range sky carriage for in-city driving.

pdunwin: I have yet to have occasion to give my PCs their own transport. When I do, using it will sometimes risk its loss.

SlyFlourish: I try to give transportation once per tier. Heroic is horses. Paragon is ships and teleport. Epic is Spelljammers and Chaos Ships.

deadorcs:Nothing as fancy as an airship, but they usually acquire enough funds for a nice wagon. I don’t make special transportation arrangements for them. It happens organically within the campaign.

wshoffner: Depends on the campaign. If I have planned an open overland campaign, then I will let them keep it. Plot devices are taken back.

hvg3akaek: For both: when it fits 🙂 An air-ship lasted less than an encounter; some submersibles lasted a campaign

nosferatu1208: my players haven’t gotten that far. I would have to say that I had plans in implementing some ships into the game.

WolfSamurai: I give them transport or take it away as the plot needs or if it would be an interesting addition/complication.

gmsmagazine: in what game? If it is in #dnd, when they need it or buy it, and take it away when is fun or they risk missing out on the story.

ethankillett: I finally gave my level 7 group a horse and wagon. My lvl 3 group had to take an airship to travel to a away land.

b_s_lynn: Gave them a ship once, I didn’t take it away, but they made a choice to teleport to a remote location.

LeStew: FAR TOO often…Far too often

atminn: I’ve been trying to get into a world of airships and swashbuckling for a while because really, what’s cooler?

Question #2: Do you have any tips for making overland travel exciting?

WolfSamurai: Either make it quick, or fill it full of side quests and opportunities for the PCs to explore.

newbiedm: Yeah. Handwave it as fast as you can and get to the good stuff. Like fights and wenches and ale.

dreadgazeebo: exciting, I dunno. Dangerous, yes. Healing surges sapped, sickness, stray animals, bandits. Can’t forget a good old avalanche!

SarahDarkmagic: Oh yes, lots and lots of ale. Hell, why not bring a keg or two with you on the journey?

theweem: I generally skip them, unless there is something important along the way, or the players want to stop somewhere specific

deadorcs: I have to admit, I pretty much hand-wave it, unless the travel is integral to the story.

Sewicked: only environmental hazards.

WyattSalazar: Require at least one rousing campfire story of youthful stupidity. Or if your players hate talking I suppose a random encounter will do.

DMSamuel: Print out a nice picture of what it looks like where they are and do a short SC that involves fantastic terrain. show them pic, but describe the fantastic terrain in fantastical terms, let them decide how they get through it.

psychopez: I gave my players an airship at the start of the campaign. Overland travel is rping on the ship inbetween ‘missions’. And when I say overland, I mean 7 miles overland.

WastexGames: Various mounts, deadlines, & random attacks.

RCarlton87: Bandits attack on horseback – battlemap moves at speed, fight while racing down the road.

pdunwin: Give them & let them make meaningful choices about the route to take & how they take it.

AVJax: good description, player decisions, random enc not all combat. Player interaction.

Chip17: do it in real time and any time they bitch lower a stat permy style. 🙂

criticaltable: i like using caravans, storms with low visibility help add a sense of unease.

LeStew: compress time.. only show the fun parts

Reyemile: I follow the Final Fantasy model: unlimited transportation gives PCs a chance to wrap up sidequests before the endgame.

ethankillett: Roadblocks are nice, & if it’s blocked by soldiers can offer up some good RP’ing. For fun, put a hungry, dumb bugbear in the way

DnDHelper: Other than skill challenges and random encounters, not too much exciting there. (unless they forget rations or something)

ub3r_n3rd: I just try to infuse it with as much detail as possible about the landscape that they are travelling through. I also like to throw in random wilderness encounters for $hits and giggles.

gmsmagazine: Play with the weather creatively, or random encounters related or not to the main plot work a treat. A chase is always good!

wesleykhall: one word: Bandits. Be them orc, goblin, human, kobold, or even gnome (those guys will steal EVERYTHING,& for no reason at all).

SlyFlourish: I handwave most travel in flavor text and maybe have a specific situational skill challenge like avoiding a soul storm.

WindsorGaming: be descriptive, think Tolkein, what flowers, what colours, what scents. Add landmarks. Ruins, Shrines, Dragon Soaring.

Question #3: DMs: How often and how far do you make your players travel in the average adventure?

TheBeardyDM:My game is still in Nentir Valley, but recently as a player, my PC had a ship. Some glossing over, but there was a pirate attack.

digitaldraco: As often and as far as the story requires, naturally!

8encounters: what u mean “make them” – the PCs have travelled halfway across Faerun in the first half dozen heroic adventures

ObsidianCrane: Travel: as often as needed & as far as needed. I heavily abstract travel because counting miles isn’t that much fun imo.

valthonis: My group spends most of their time in the same (admittedly large) metropolis, but can go very far afield when needed.

WolfSamurai: Depends on the campaign and adventure. Some are constantly moving, others I have the PCs set up shop in an area and stay.

WyattSalazar: It depends on what the average adventure is. I like travel though, as it lets me use a lot of different events.

LeStew: Only if there’s a story attached to it…

Part idiot. Part old man. All geek. Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.

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About Thadeousc

Thadeous can't think of anything interesting about him self right now. Know this though if he could it would be creative and funny as well as thought provoking.

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