It’s been a while since we’ve participated in one of the fantastic RPG Blog Carnivals now hosted by Scot Newbury over at Of Dice and Dragons, but I like to chime in when the stars align. This year, thankfully, I am able to not only chime in but host a month!
So welcome to the May 2020 RPG Blog Carnival!
This month it’s all about the journey! Whether it’s meters, miles, or light years, adventures often take our characters all over the place. And regardless of whether we travel by horse, wheeled vehicle, or spacecraft, it’s usually boring. *WHAT?* you might be saying! Beyond the occasional random encounter that gets exciting, every trip is about time, space, and a lack of attention.
But I invite you to change my mind and help me find ways to enjoy the trip.
- Do you have a mapping trick that keeps you (and your players) interested along the way?
- Do you use the time to explore party relationships and build cohesion?
- Are there any mechanics you leverage to make the time useful?
- What are your favorite stories of how journeys went wonderfully right or fantastically wrong?
- Or do you (like me) tend to hand wave the whole time a bit like a transition in Scooby Doo or Wayne’s World?
Ultimately I want to pick your brain for the secret sauce you use to make journeys entertaining at your game table.
Let me start with a bit of my own secret sauce. I came up with it in a recent campaign we’ve been using to playtest a new RPG we’re working on — Tattered Magicks. I call it “fifteen minutes from anywhere”.
The town of Plunkett, Wyoming, is small enough that it’s bounded by a Walmart and two Starbucks. And the running gag for a while was “how long will it take me to get to X?” My answer inevitably would be “15 minutes max.”
If you’re at one end, you can pretty much speed walk to the other end. And it’s definitely more than a mile long in any direction, but I really don’t want to really figure out the true length and width of this strip of fictional living space. As a result, the 15 minute hand waving just… stuck.
If you’re at Walmart and you have to get to the hotel or the diner, it’s about 15 minutes. If you want to get to the graveyard between Old Plunkett and New Plunkett from the hotel, that’s about 15 minutes. And that’s close enough to me.
I know a lot of folks get hung up on “true distances” — but for our games set in Plunkett, it’s good enough to have a rough guideline and let it go.
Now, next time I’ll detail a bit about the challenges I’m facing detailing a galactic map for Aliens & Asteroids!
Thanks for reading! If you are curious about other blog carnivals from the past (or future), I encourage you to check out the archive at of Dice and Dragons . There you’ll find all sorts of inspiration, big and small!
If you want to join in the fun, I encourage you to write about your own tips and tricks for travel and provide a link in the comments on this post. I’ll gather them all up at the end and share everyone’s wisdom with the world!
Thanks folks! Hope you are staying safe, healthy, and getting some gaming in!