How do you guys spice up long distance travel?

How do you guys spice up long distance travel?

How do you guys spice up long distance travel? And I don’t mean “Perilous Journey” into the heart of the mountains. I mean as in setting off from a city to a nearby town. Or along a highway with frequent checkpoints to keep bandits and monsters away so people can travel safely?

14 thoughts on “How do you guys spice up long distance travel?”

  1. “Or along a highway with frequent checkpoints to keep bandits and monsters away so people can travel safely?”

    Are the guards effective but corrupt? That’s one angle. If they’re just effective, give a quick summary and move on to the next interesting thing.

  2. Aaron Griffin “What dangers exist on this road.”

    Nothing that’s why they want to take that road specifically.

    I even offered that there was a faster way through a swamp, but they elected to take the one where there would be no risk of conflict.

  3. Aaron Griffin That doesn’t answer the question then. “How do you guys spice up long distance travel?”

    Just teleporting them “You want to go to the town? Ok you’re there.” Isn’t interesting fiction.

  4. I did answer the question – you spice it up by asking the players what sort of things are dangerous and playing off that, much like anything else in DW. The “spice” is specific to your table. If they say “nothing” than they’re not interested in what you deem “interesting fiction”.

    So just say “after two weeks of travel, you arrive at Tristam, dusty and worse for wear. Fighter, what was the worst thing to happen on the road at night? Thief, you have a new trinket from the journey – what is it and where did you uh, acquire it?” Etc

  5. There are lots of very interesting fiction that does just that. Moves and plays will ‘cut’ to the next scene, books will give you a * then your in the next scene, usually in some place different than the last.

    After they decide to leave, just let them enter the city in media res.

    If you want something else though, try B/X or BECMI DnD’s travel. It’s my favorite honestly, but no one ever talks about it. You can pick them up a DTRPG for pennies, and they’re worth every bit of it.

    Or as Andrew Raphael suggested, use montages from 13th Age. Just talk about the exploits of the adventurers on their way. Here’s a pretty good explaination:

  6. Have any of the characters had cause to travel this way before? Ask them what’s interesting about it: “Ranger, what’s the most notable landmark between Citydale and Bumhick? What local legends have you heard about it?” “Paladin, what great battle was fought on the plains north of Bumhick? Who was involved, and what happened?” “Thief, who finances the patrols and checkpoints on the road? Are the guards honorable and reliable? Corrupt bullies? Or what?”

    If no one’s been this way, ask them what they’ve heard. Then maybe put a twist on it. “Oh, you’ve heard that the farms south of the Hellas Way are richer and more prosperous than anywhere else in the world? Well, that seems to be true. But the rumors you heard didn’t mention that they were worked by enslaved orcs! You see workcrew after workcrew on your travels, each orc chained and collared to its fellows and taking regular lashes from stern overseers on horseback.”

    Or do what Aaron Griffin said: fast forward to the end of the journey, and ask them some leading questions about what happened en route?

    If the trip happens between sessions and you’ve time to prepare, you could even give them a love-letter move, like the Stalwart Fighter move in the Advanced Delving section.

    Regardless, make sure you add in some color like: the nature of the terrain, the season, the weather, the types of people they pass on the road, local flora and fauna, how and where travelers rest (caravansaries? waysides? inns? oases? muddy fields?). Feel free to tell some stuff, and ask the players/characters other stuff.

  7. Also, have something occur thematically appropriate whatever they roll during a journey. I mean, imagining your road, and a failed journey type roll, you could have them surprise attacked, or otherwise nastily caught off guard by bandits. But a successful roll doesn’t mean “no bandits”. I mean, these folk make their living robbing those travelers: you will have an encounter. But maybe it’s just “a nice looking family along the rode”, asking to camp together for safety on this dangerous road, (but really just bandits sizing up the PCs… if the PCs act or look out of their league, they won’t attack, and maybe only steal at night 🙂

  8. “Help! Ive lost my child. He ran off into the woods here and i cant follow after him carrying my twin newborn daughters. Can you please find him?”

    “Oh thankyou! Thankyou so much”

    So you leave the safe path to help a lost child and hit on your alignment. Great, mark XP and now you run into an Old Witch fat on lost children.

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