Here’s the latest draft of the Travel & Exploration Moves for Freebooters 2e.

Here’s the latest draft of the Travel & Exploration Moves for Freebooters 2e.

Here’s the latest draft of the Travel & Exploration Moves for Freebooters 2e. Trying to make these applicable to overland and underground exploration. Also cribbed and modified the “Cramped Quarters” move from Uncharted Worlds because I’ve been wanting a formalized way to encourage character development and interaction.

14 thoughts on “Here’s the latest draft of the Travel & Exploration Moves for Freebooters 2e.”

  1. Huh. There’s some interesting, subtle stuff going on in there. I’m not sure I’m following it all.

    The two modes of Venture Forth are neat, but not obvious. At first, I read it as “hex crawl” (cover ground) vs. “point-crawl,” but I that’s not right, is it? The second option (“move with care and caution”) sort of has to be smaller scale than just “cover distance.” Otherwise you’re potentially skipping Make Camp moves (and not consuming rations).

    So, like, the second one is about making the 2-hour hike through the Bleakwood to get to the barrow mound therein, right?

    Would you, as Judge, tell the PCs that they have to move with care or caution in certain (perilous?) terrain? (And make a whole lot more Scout/Navigate rolls as a result?)

    On Navigate, you’re mixing a more-or-less positive choice (Discovery) with choices that negate badness (minimal resources, no harmful effects).

    Is the intent here that the negation choices don’t matter if the journey doesn’t warrant them? So if it’s a short, 2-hour trek through the Bleakwood, maybe we aren’t in any serious danger of consuming resources and therefore not choosing minimal resources is no big deal.

    Is that the intent? Or is the intent that if you don’t choose “minimal resources consumed” or “no ill effects,” then the Judge’s job is to make those negatives matter–even if they didn’t seem likely to matter before the roll?

  2. Jeremy Strandberg, yes, the two “modes” of Venture Forth are meant to handle travel situations as you describe. Particularly, I was thinking the “care and caution” mode could be applied to dungeon exploration as well as things like a 2-hour hike through the Bleakwood.

    On Navigate, I’m mixing positive and negative choices intentionally. The negative consequences are meant to happen if you don’t choose to negate them. Too harsh?

  3. Regarding Navigate and mixing positive & negatives… I’m not sure about whether it’s too harsh, but I’ve found that the format tends to confuse. You could maybe clarify it with something like this:

    <...choose 2 or 1>:

    * Minimal resources (time, fuel, etc.)are consumed (otherwise, ask the GM what its cost you)

    * No one suffers any ill effects _(otherwise, ask the GM who suffers and how)

    * You make a Discovery (ask the GM to describe it)

    Another option would be to establish up front (before rolling) what the expected time/resources/ill effects will be, and then the pick 2/1 could be:

    * You make good time and/or manage your resources well (ask the GM what you save)

    * You make a Discovery of the GM’s choice

    * You avoid the worst of it, and suffer no ill effects

  4. Keep company is, like, super, but i woud modify it a little bit – the “ask a personal question” part is really really nice, and i think it could easily be the key part of the move.

    When you spend significant time with others in close quarters, tell us what you do and who’s the character who got nearer to you. They get to ask you a personal and meaningful question:

    – if you answer truthfully, they take +1 forward to help or hinder you.

    – if you don’t answer, or tell an obvious lie, it’s awkward, and you take – 1 forward to help each other.

    if you tell a beliveable lie, nothing else happens.

  5. Jason Lutes I feel like it being a single exception is weirder than giving XP for it. It’s also another incentive to actively engage the mechanic even for low CHA characters.

  6. Speaking of engaging the mechanic, while I’m also a big fan of the idea of Cramped Quarters, I’ve never loved its failure as written. Along the lines of Andrea Serafini’s suggestion above, here’s an alternate bond move I made a while ago that you’re free to plunder for ideas (I’m getting deja vu here so I may have actually shared this previously):

    Fireside Chat

    When you get to know one of your companions while making camp, ask them something about (choose one you haven’t chosen recently)…

    – Their life before adventuring

    – The culture of their people

    – Somewhere they’ve been before

    – Their intentions after fulfilling the party’s current goal

    – What they think about another companion or an NPC

    If your character is intrigued by the answer, the character answering marks XP, and you gain +1 bond with them. They can then ask you the same question; if you answer, they also gain +1 bond with you and you mark XP. Max bond is +3.

    When you fail (or should it be 10+?) Help or Hinder, remove 1 bond with that character.

  7. Apologies for just getting to a detailed look at this, after the holidays. Some looooong thoughts:

    As a GM, I kinda want a bit more support for Travel the Well-Beaten Way to be baked into the move a little. Or at least for it to point me at a table or something. Otherwise, I have to come up with all the results myself, no? Seems like something at least moderately interesting or unexpected should happen every time, even if it’s not necessarily super-dangerous or provocative. Maybe generate some inopportune weather or another traveling band you bump into or signs of the danger you’re traveling toward/away from or something.

    On Venture Forth, if you’re moving with care and caution (and therefore more slowly and rolling more often), do you have to Camp afterwards or not? Seems a bit unclear now. Seems like you don’t have to, right? You just roll again for the next stage of movement, and keep going (risking more dangers) until you end up needing to Camp later on?

    For Scout and Navigate, who says stuff about the things you find? The “beneficial aspect” in Scout specifies the player but the rest are maybe unclear. Could be intentionally vague (when you don’t really mind if it’s the players or GM) or could mean that you’re trying to default to the GM. From GMing FOTF recently, I will say that players are going to make these two moves (as part of the hexcrawl-like wilderness travel portion) OVER AND OVER. Dozens and dozens of times in a wilderness campaign of any length. So I suspect you might need some more interesting / provocative / numerous results on these moves, otherwise things run the risk of getting repetitive to the point of being boring. Maybe each of these choices is also linked to a table where you can roll 12+ different types of results for each one? Like you have a d12 table of different types of things that give you “a +1 bonus to Navigate” (notable geographical feature that serves as a landmark, vague memory of having been here before or seen it in your dreams/nightmares, corpses / body parts / blood from the creatures that inhabit the place you’re going / showing you the way, etc.). You kind of already do this with the “Discovery” result anyway, yeah? If you do something like that for all of them, it’ll make coming up with interesting/meaningful results off these tables much more sustainable in the long term.

    Navigate is also a move that generates “negative results” in terms of things NOT happening, which is a tricky thing. It might help if the move (or the rest of the text) made it clear all the bad things that WILL DEFINITELY HAPPEN if you don’t roll well on the move. That makes it feel more like an accomplishment when the player rolling uses their roll to cancel some of those disastrous things (which, in effect, helps turn the move into more of one with positive results instead of negative results).

    Does the first result on Camp for “restless sleep” mean you don’t get the bonuses for sleeping at the bottom of the move? That makes sense to me (otherwise, what does that result signify?), but you might want to make it even more explicit. Also, doesn’t the random Danger that you roll partially determine whether the Danger is immediately hostile? I remember this kind of coming up in play. Part of rolling a Danger often involves rolling their overall disposition and what they’re after, so if you say in the move that the Danger is not immediately threatening, you kind of override that, no? Some random Dangers might actually be immediately threatening and some might not.

    Finally, I like the overall idea behind Keep Company. My main worry with it is… At what point in time do you actually roll the move? When can you say that you have adequately spent time with someone to hit this fictional trigger? It’s a bit vague, no? Is it when you settle down to camp and tell stories? If so, then my worry is that reaching for the move may end up short-circuiting the kinds of in-character interactions the players might have, turning even more of the game into a chess-match of mechanical moves without the liveliness of focusing on the fiction and actually roleplaying stuff out. That said, I do think it’s important to provide an opportunity/excuse for those interactions to happen, especially during a section of wilderness travel when players may just want to check some boxes for meals and make the next move for the next part of the journey. So having a move that requires them to take a moment and roleplay some interactions between the characters seems good. I wonder if the move can help facilitate that more somehow. Alternately, it seems like it could also work as an end-of-session or even end-of-travel move, where you’re transitioning to a different moment in play and you want to reflect and reassess how things stand between characters. That’s different than a move that reminds players that, oh yeah, maybe we should take some time for character/relationship exploration, but could also be a useful thing if it’s more about tracking the things that have already occurred in play rather than generating new things.

    Anyway, hope that’s useful.

  8. Very useful! Thank you, J. Walton. I have been erring on the side of vagueness to allow for more open interpretation, while feeling the pull toward more explicit mechanics. On my next pass I’ll be a lot more explicit about the mechanical interactions and see how that goes.

  9. That’s fine too! If part of your GM guidelines are to have folks make rulings and expand/clarify the basics, that could also work. I like the way that A Storm Eternal treats all the basic moves as rulings.

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