In Part I, I covered a few of the basic ways that travel can be handled. In this second installment I’ll give some examples of slightly specific Extras that can be used to add more detail to or just spice it up a little bit. These can either be used by themselves or possibly combined together, depending on the game’s exat needs.
Aspects are the easiest and most obvious additions to any scene involving travel, from Impassible Mountains to Plentiful Game to Trade Winds. Since the scale is much larger than most scenes, it’s also possible for specific locations to be their own aspects. These location aspects can be used much like situation aspects. For example, a player can invoke the Greenbriar Village aspect to get a Lore bonus on finding the ruined tower or for a hot meal to help make a recovery roll.
Zones are another relatively simple addition to travel. Geographic areas tend to have natural barriers or boundaries – rivers, mountains, forests, marshes, etc. These boundaries can provide passive resistance to moving between zones, prompting appropriate rolls if one or more zones need to be crossed within the same scene. Similarly, they can be used to keep track of the pace of travel. Zones will likely have their own aspects. Locations can also be smaller zones with aspects of their own.
Distance Stress Track
Speaking of pacing, using a distance stress track is one technique for keeping track of how far the characters get and how fast.The stress track has a number of boxes each representing some unit of distance. As the group travels, they make appropriate rolls (Drive, Physique, Athletics, whatever). Each roll takes place at a specific time increment – the more shifts the characters accumulate, the faster they travel. Most of the time the resistance to the roll will be passive, but it might be active under the right circumstances (which we’ll get into more in a bit). This stress track would likely be one that is “attacked” with straight shifts – two shifts means mark off two boxes. When the track is filled, the characters reach their destination.
An enhancement to this idea is to have specific boxes on the stress track represent locations that can be reached. In order to reach the location, the characters need to mark off stress equal to or greater than the location’s box. If a location is very difficult to find, unknown to the characters, or hidden, you can require that the characters have to land on that exact box.
It’s also possible to the distance stress track one or more Consequence slots. These Consequences should be predefined, and are there for the GM to “absorb” shifts and thus slow down or complicate the journey. Good examples are Bridge Out, Roadblock, or even Flight Delayed.
Once you get to this level, you’re pretty much going full Fate Fractal. The most obvious choice for a skill would be any situation where the environment can actively take action against the characters. A Winter Storm might be a skill used to attack characters travelling through a mountainous region. A more abstract skill could be Treacherous Terrain that can interfere with how far the characters travel in a scene – effectively meaning that the terrain is offering active resistance to the characters trying to mark off distance stress, if it’s being used. Aspects can still be used to for specific threats – like Wolf Packs or Bandits.
Combining multiple Extras together can result in what amounts to a write-up of a campaign region. Each Zone would have aspects, a distance stress track with defined Consequences, and a skill or two (for generic zones Terrain or Weather and Threat are good choices for skills). Over time, the aspects and skill ranks for the zone can even change as campaign milestones are reached.
Here is an example “campaign scale” zone from Tribe 8. The options in use are:
- High concept, trouble and several other aspects Distance stress track with Consequences.
- Two skills: Toxic Environment and Terrain.
Each box on the distance stress track represents 1 mile travelled (Vimary is a pretty small place), and rolls are made every hour of game time. Characters roll Physique to mark off distance stress, opposed by the Terrain skill. Consequences are used to absorb shifts the characters generate, slowing them down and placing
The Rust Wastes
Disintegrating Industrial Area
Deadly Rust Storms
Artifacts of the World Before
Access to Subterra
Toxic Environment +4
Keeper Pitfalls (-2)
Collapsing Ruins (-4)