I’m still dissatisfied with Undertake a Perilous Journey.

I’m still dissatisfied with Undertake a Perilous Journey.

I’m still dissatisfied with Undertake a Perilous Journey. For whatever reason, none of the modifications to the move I’ve read or created seems to click for me.

Then it came to me today. Why not just ask for plain Defy Danger?

I know, right? How innovative! If I’m dumb enough not to have thought about it before, I guess its worth mentioning XD.

Here’s the modified move:

Undertake a Perilous Journey

When you travel through dangerous lands, indicate the course you’d like to take. The GM will determine how many days the party travels before reaching the next point of interest, describe the scene and tell you to mark a number of rations. Then, each character describes what he does to help the party reach its destination and avoid dangers along the way and roll Defy Danger.

Point of interest here is a catchall term for any Danger, Discovery, Dungeon or Steading that the party will stumble upon, whether it’s randomly rolled through Perilous Wilds or a prepared encounter. It can also be a simple event such as “After X days, you only have 1 day of ration each and decide to make Camp” which would certainly lead the characters to Forage or otherwise do something about it (eat their horse… they’ll definitely eat their horses).

9 thoughts on “I’m still dissatisfied with Undertake a Perilous Journey.”

  1. Err, nope lol. Although, I’m always playing with 3 players so not really an issue for me. I guess the easy answer is the GM might decide to only spotlight 2 of the players and ask only them to roll (the rest of the group is considered helping but out of camera)

  2. I generally agree with this idea, but I would personally keep it fluid/uncodified. I think the point is that by using Defy Danger you have some flexibility to decide which story elements you want to trigger, I suppose based on the fiction and which would be interesting. If a group is traveling through a forest, finding water is not a major challenge. But managing water would be critical in a desert crossing. Honestly, this is very close to the “skill challenge” idea from D&D 4e, right? Decide what the challenges are in the travel and then ask for a handful of DD rolls to match. Not necessarily one for every player. And some journeys just aren’t “perilous” so you call for none.

  3. John at Deep Six Delver already pointed out the biggest mechanical problem: more rolls = more chances to miss = more complications. Even with just two players rolling Defy Danger, the chances of getting a miss are greatly increased.

    The other problem I have with this approach is that the players are effectively in charge of deciding what the dangers of the journey are. That is, they each say how they “help the party reach its destination and avoid dangers along the way”. There’s little room in there for the GM making moves and/or telling them what’s required and/or asserting what the dangers are. The Bard could be like “I hum a merry tune to keep everyone’s spirits up!” and roll CHA and get a 10+ and you’re left thinking “but… but… the cannibal halflings…”.

    This line of thinking brought me to these two moves (which are pretty similar to what Ray Otus is describing).

    I think you’re maybe familiar with them already, but if not, have a gander. And if you have looked at them and found them lacking, I’d love to hear what’s not working for you.

    docs.google.com – Chart a Course

  4. Those are very cool Jeremy Strandberg. The first one is really an emergent adventure builder/story generator. Clever. I would need to play with the second one a while to see about that more rolls = more failure bit. But I like that those who get the 10+ can essentially dig out the 6- results, so it probably works just fine.

  5. Ray Otus I’ve been using Struggle As One a bunch and it works very well. It’s a lot more forgiving mechanically/statistically than everyone rolling normal Defy Danger. I recall running the numbers, though I don’t recall where I wrote them down. 🙂

    The biggest snag I’ve run into with Struggle As One is the players drawing a blank when asked what sort of a spot they get themselves into. I’m thinking about adding an “out” the language, something like “You find yourself in a spot, tell us how you got there (or ask the GM to tell you instead).”

    The more subtle thing that I’ve noticed is that it’s never a move triggered by the players… it’s a move that I call for as a GM. “Oh, you’re all trying to get from King’s Rock to the other side of the river without any of the Hillfolk encampments or patrols noticing you? Let’s handle that with Struggle As One.”

  6. What if it were something like “the GM chooses 1-3 obstacles for the journey” and one player Defys Danger for each. Anything else that comes up in addition requires a new player to roll.

  7. Jeremy Strandberg Yeah I knew Stonetop moves, those are great! Huge fan! 🙂

    Char a Course for me is something I already do implicitly to a Perilous Journey, but it’s cool to have it codified (although I’d probably don’t need to consult the move 99% of the time). This is the “describe the scene” part of my aforementioned modified UAPJ move. This is where the GM can speak about bad weather, hordes of mosquitos, rugged terrain or ask players to add flavor to the scene.

    I didn’t realize that it would be followed by a Struggle as One, though, which makes lots of sense. So, the difference between those two moves is that you have no consequence on 7-9 and you can “save” another PC on a 10+, right? I’m not so sure I like the codified 6- result though. I feel it slows down the pacing a bit too much. There might be some times where you want a detailed scene for the journey, but most of the time I just want to glance over it while keeping the feeling that traveling is harsh and dangerous. Being limited to “put someone in a spot” essentially means that you’re asking for a reaction, hence at least another check (usually DD) (which kinda goes back to my initial reaction of asking for a DD in the first place). I’d like that the UAPJ is resolved under 1 check and that the consequences of a failure are immediate.

    For example, one of the player tells me he tries to follow an old overgrown path. I ask him for a DD (Wis) check and he gets 6-, I tell him “take a debility as you need to back and forth all day long”, then move on. I’m usually not interested in the minutiae of having them being actually lost, and ask them how they find the path again, make few rolls and all that stuff.

    I guess I could mod the Struggle as One move and simply remove the 6- result. I like the open-endedness of how usually moves don’t have a 6- line anyway.

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