Behind the scenes – Journeying

Travel is a big part of Crestfallen, as it was in the ancient world. Everything you need in life does not lie conveniently at your feet. That delicious honey you love so dearly is a mornings walk away to the east, and the beehive is tricky to get to. The shrine to Amben that will ease your elders fever is a full two days travel to the south, maybe four if you are dragging her on a litter.  Your abundant turnip harvest can be bartered for bronze tools if you can take it to market, but it is a full seven days travel to the north, and gossip says escaped slaves have turned to banditry along the way.

Travel will frequently involve; fatigue, illness, exposure, hunger, injury, bad weather, wild beasts, natural disasters, disorientation, despair, war and the supernatural—and usually many of these things combined. Your characters will reach their destination as physical wrecks, injured companions will slow them down and calamity will stalk them at every turn. But they will travel because they must, and because there is much to gain.

When starting a Journey, the players make a scouting test (either using maps, asking the locals or testing their own wilderness knowledge), with luck they will at least know what to expect for the first few days of travel. They then combine their characters into a group character—but beware, there is not enough room for every skill on the group character sheet, so difficult choices must be made. This is why scouting is vital, if you scouted out a Looming Cliff Face, you might add the Athletics skill to the group character for example—anticipating a tough climb. The group character receives penalties for any dead wood: injured members and inexperienced city dwellers slow them down.

We then chop the Journey up into convenient chunks of time (typically five days), and test for each one in turn. Failure leads to dire consequences, success allows progression to the next stage. There are many additional options and subtleties to Journeying in Crestfallen, adding a truly unique strategic scene to your adventures. We have found a Journey really brings the players together as a team, it’s exciting, dynamic and fun!

Unfortunately for the inhabitants of Kerun & the Otherlands, roads are rare, because civilisation itself is rare. If they can, travellers use boats or ships – it’s faster, less demanding and avoids wild beasts—thought water travel has it’s own unique perils to contend with. We talk about Sailing in our next preview, look out for it soon.

 

 

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