Friday, October 2, 2020

Discussion - How Do You Handle Travel?

 Go on enough car trips and you realize that sometimes the journey is the more enjoyable part of a trip. At the same time, enough time is lost in transit that the ability to teleport - if made - would be a hot commodity and not just for the efficiency of it. When it comes to table top RPGs where a 2 month journey can be handled as quickly as saying "it's 2 months on the road before you arrive at..." and how one feels about travel can definitely come out in ones game.

So how do you feel about it? How do you handle it? Obviously approaches can change from specific scenario to specific scenario, but in general how do you like to handle it? Do you get straight to the arrival - or close enough to that - to continue whatever the PCs were doing or will be doing? Or do you explore what happens on the road, laying down seeds for potential side quests and side tracking that can push of the 'main' plot (if there is such a thing) for multiple sessions at a time?

The more I'm running D&D the more I feel like there is a lot that can be done going into the journey that happens. More than just the survival aspects of the game, but the chance to get information, have fun encounters, make allies, or just get in some silly side trouble.

What about you? Do you have a preference?

1 comment:

  1. When I first started playing, I had a DM who insisted on playing out the entire journey. It took at least 6 months out of game to reach the port where we were supposed to set sail to the other continent. Two sessions after reaching the continent, the game ended, the DM burned up.

    Didn't we do anything in the meantime? No we did quite a lot actually, but as a player I always felt they were sidequests and distractions. I wanted to reach our goal. And when the DM realized he couldn't live up to our expectations and his own, he ended the game. Personally, I felt like his game never really really started even if it had run for months.

    Once I became the DM (which was shortly after), I took inspiration from Dragon Age Origins, which I was currently playing at the time. (Almost) every time you travel there from one point to another, you have one encounter along the road. Just one. Some are important for later events and fleshing out the world, enriching it. Others are, well, filler. I decided I'd only run travel-sessions for two reasons: To give my players the time they need to wind down ingame (being the sort of players they are, giving them the time they need to figure out their strategy and traps), and to set up story hooks. I still use the same base for planning. It doesn't matter how long the journey take in or out of game, but what matters is that the sessions my players play don't feel pointless.