Travel and zones, re-revisited

Over at RPG.net, Gullerbutry had a take on travel that I hadn’t thought of before and looks pretty solid. Yes, it’s adding even more stress tracks, but I’m not sure anymore whether or not you can actually have too many (or, at least, there is no reason a stress track of some flavor shouldn’t be in play at all times).

The central concept I’d like to take on his post is the idea of using a stress track to represent progress while travelling. I’m surprised that I didn’t think of it before. It very neatly segues into my previous post on Zones and Locations here.

The modification I’d make to the previous rules would be this: zones have a Distance stress track, with stress boxes per level equal to Terrain + Threat. Consequences represent encounters of some kind, or perhaps reaching specific Locations within the Zone. The Consequence only takes place if the first Stress box on that level is hit, otherwise they are ignored. Each roll represents travel for a time increment appropriate for the scale (for Vimary, that’s one hour at Campaign Scale but for a larger campaign it might be a day). If the exact distance traveled is important, each rank in Terrain represents approximately 1 mile at Campaign Scale. So a Terrain 6, Threat 4 Campaign scale zone covers roughly 6 miles, with every 6-7 stress boxes representing a mile traveled. More threatening zones make travel more difficult. For large campaigns, the scale can be adjusted but it could just as easily be the same if more granularity is desired. A kingdom could then be composed of multiple zones instead of one large one for more variety.

When the characters travel, they “attack” the Stress track, making a roll with an appropriate Ability against a standard roll plus Terrain. The Ability used is dependent on the Scale – for Campaign Scale it’s Endurance for characters or Physical for units; Scene Scale either Agility or Reasoning, and Personal Scale uses Agility. Obviously various Advantages and Aspects may be used to modify the roll. If the roll is failed, the character or group makes no progress for that time increment and must make a roll versus Threat or take Stress. Borders are reworked to be an additional roll that must be succeeded in order to cross the border, taking an attack from the Zone’s Threat if they fail.

The beauty of this is that it can be used to represent personal scale movement in conflicts. Hurray for the Fate fractal! Overall I think it is a very, very cool setup. Once I get done with some exploration rules I’m working on, I’ll work on detailing Vimary’s Campaign scale zones. Kudos to Gullerbutry!

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