Travel Without Maps

In my journey to create an Accessible Mega-Dungeon with a focus on Roleplay, I need to ensure that journeying within it is fun.

When I’m playing a TTRPG I want travel to feature a cool encounter as I move toward my destination. An obstacle, an interaction, an NPC or an event. Something which shows me this world is alive.

I enjoy encounter tables, so I have begun creating tables for different types of travel.

Travel Encounter Tables

Rooms: Encounters between each and every room is unnecessary. Players need a break in-between rooms, so it should be randomized if an encounter occurs or not. Whenever Players travel from one room to another they roll 1d6, on a result of 1 they roll another d6 for an encounter. With each location having a maximum of seven rooms, I only need to create six encounters per location. So this is what I’ve been doing, each location (there will be 52) has a d6 encounter table specific to that location.

Locations: Moving from location to location has a cost, an encounter each time. I am creating a d100 table of ‘City Encounters’ for this purpose. . Whenever players travel from one location to another they should roll 1d100 for a ‘City Encounter’.

Districts: Travelling between districts costs another encounter. Players should roll 1d100 for a ‘City Encounter’ to move from one district to another and then roll a second ‘City Encounter’ to move to a location within that district. This is to simulate the dangers of travelling longer distances.

City: Entering or exiting the city has it’s own d100 table for ‘Outskirt Encounters’. These are typically more dangerous than those within the city, as opportunists or worse attempt to target you. The idea is that Players don’t want to run their Characters into the ground before returning home and will add a risk in heading back out of the city to their safe haven.

Location, Location, Location

I love spark tables. When I’m getting ready to run a game I enjoy rolling on a couple of tables to get inspiration and then going to town on concocting ideas. While I want this Mega-Dungeon to be able to function without any prep, I also want to provide tools for those who want to generate their own ideas in advance.

For locations I’ve created a d100 table for Game Masters to also generate unique locations outside of the ones already provided. This tool, for those who want a little extra, sees you rolling on a d100 table twice for the following output:

  1. Location
  2. Location Quirk

Location: The place itself, what was it before the city was abandoned? Here are the first ten results on the table so far:

  1. Alms House
  2. Armoury
  3. Artisan’s Guild
  4. Bakery
  5. Ballroom
  6. Bank
  7. Barn
  8. Barracks
  9. Bathhouse
  10. Brewery

Location Quirk: How is the location since the city became abandoned? Here are the first ten results on the table so far:

  1. Artefacts: Someone has been collecting artefacts here. What are the artefacts? Who is collecting them? Why?
  2. Blood-Soaked: Painted crimson this place is soaked with blood. What is the blood from? Who drew it? Why?
  3. Camp: A group has set up camp in here. Who are they? What are they waiting for?
  4. Changing Architecture: The layout of this place seems to constantly change. Doors not leading back where you came from and rooms changing entirely.
  5. Collapsing: Unstable, this place gets more dangerous the longer spent in it.
  6. Crater: An enormous crater lays in the center of the wreckage of this lplace. What caused the crater?
  7. Cult Lair: A cult has taken up refuge here. What do they worship? What is their end goal? Wht here?
  8. Decrepit: Likely in ruin before the City was abandoned, tis place is a shadow of what it once was.
  9. Demonic Influence: Tainted by the presence of evil a Demonic entity has made it’s home here. Why does a Demon stay here? What does it want? How has it utilized this place?
  10. Eyes In The Walls: This place has sprouted eyes in the walls that follow anyone who enters. Who can see through these eyes? Why do they keep watch?

Next Blog

I’ll be developing lots of Encounters over the next year and I’ll share some of the tables I create in future blogs.

Next blog discusses how do you write a Mega-Dungeon for any system and still tailor an experience?

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