By now you should know I have a fixation with the Undertake a Perilous Journey move.
The move as written is kinda boring to me.
I don’t track rations.
I usually don’t do random encounters.
I never had actually interesting scenes when the party got lost. It just detracts from the actual adventure and it isn’t particularly exciting to play; it turns into an awkward moment of “well… so… yeah, we just continue in a random direction, hoping we’ll spot a landmark to try to figure out where we are exactly”. It might be fun the first time. Certainly not the second.
I’ve run many hacks (mine or found amongst the community) of the move and I’m still dissatisfied.
I’m trying this now, inspired mostly on Shawn Tomkin ‘s Ironsworn.
UNDERTAKE A JOURNEY
When you lead a group through hazardous or unfamiliar lands or explore a perilous site, roll +…
■ … +STR if you carry most of the gear.
■ … +DEX if you move cautiously and stealthily.
■ … +CON if you push on with resilience.
■ … +INT if you analyse the best path based on knowledge.
■ … +WIS if you follow land features and stars.
■ … +CHA if you motivate your group.
On a 10+, you reach a waypoint and gain 2 Progress.
On a 7-9, you reach a waypoint and gain 1 Progress, but use 1 Supply/Adventurer’s Gear.
When your reach a waypoint, tell us about:
■ A bond forged or broken
■ A trait or quirk of your character
■ A vista, landmark or terrain feature.
■ A task you undertook to help the journey
■ A hardship you endured or overcame
REACH YOUR DESTINATION
When your journey or exploration comes to an end, roll 1d6+Progress.
On a 10+, you reach your destination and take +1 Forward.
On a 7-9, you reach your destination but face an unforeseen hazard or complication.
On a 6-, your objective falls out of reach, you have been misled about the nature of your objective, or there is something you missed. If you push on, reset your Progress to 1.
========== PLAY EXAMPLE ==========
The adventurers gather their stuff and head out. They must reach the Temple of Doom before the sacrifice ritual happens in a fortnight.
GM: That seems like an Undertake a Journey move to me. Who wants to lead?
Ranger: I act as the group’s navigator, so it makes sense I do it. I roll+WIS; an 11!
GM: Great start, gain 2 Progress! Who wants to do the Vignette?
Paladin: I’ll do it. I’ll go with terrain feature. So, at first, we navigate through farmlands. Since peasants recognize me as a zealot of The-All-Father, they offer us food and lodging. Then the land transforms into meadows as we move farther from civilization. The first trek is easy as we can follow paths, even if they are more like animal or hunter tracks after a few days. As we move further, the terrain becomes more rugged and plains give way to rocky hills.
Wizard: I’ll lead the group for the next segment. I watched closely the stars patterns and studied the maps (roll+INT); I’m pretty confident on what bearing to follow… Or not. I rolled a 5!
[Here the GM has an idea, so he does the Vignette himself]
GM: Don’t feel bad, it’s totally not your fault. The weather as been so terrible you barely made any progress. At first it was heavy rain which made everything miserable. Trudging through mud, soggy bread and frail campfire. Then as you reached higher elevations, rain turned to slushy snow. Some days, you had to stay put until weather calmed. All of you guys, suffer a Debility of your choice; some of you might just be demoralized or pissed, while others might be actually physically taxed. What do you do?
Ranger: If you don’t mind, I’ll take the lead back. My character is in a bad grumpy mood. Again, I’m just doing what I’m best at: navigating by following natural features. I roll+WIS, 7.
GM: Alright, so you’re now a 3 Progress, but this delay has taken a toll on your supplies. Lose 1.
Paladin: I’ll do the vignette. I think this group needs a pep talk. I want to portrait my Lead by Example drive, so we have a moment where I notice the morale is very low. Everybody is grumpy and tired. He turns to them and says: “I don’t know about you, but I won’t let these people die just like that. If I must walk day and night and pass out on the porch of the temple, by The-All-Father, so be it.” Then I head out.
[Here, the waypoint isn’t a physical location. It’s just a moment where the camera stops showing travelling montage and shows the characters in a situation.]
GM: Great! So, you proceed. I think Paladin should lead this segment!
Paladin: Follow the leader! I guess I’m rolling + CHA. Hmm, so let’s see. 9!
GM: Good, so you do keep going but I think you chose to leave some of your gear behind to move faster. Lose 1 Supply.
Wizard: Yeah, I guess we kinda accepted the fact that we’re probably not coming back anyway, haha!
GM: You’re now at 4 Progress. I think we had enough interesting scenes for this journey. Do you feel like this journey comes to an end?
Ranger: Yeah, I think so! Wizard, care to do us the honor?
Wizard: My pleasure! I roll only a single d6+4, is that so? That’ll be 8.
GM: Excellent so you reach your destination, although you see a troupe of cultists in the distance, maybe 200 yards from the temple entrance. They are moving a dozen of frail looking prisoners into a caged wagon dragged by weird muscled furless bull-like creatures. They seem to be moving some of the prisoners to another location. What do you do?