Wilderness: Adapting 5E AiMe Rules to D&D

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Havard
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Wilderness: Adapting 5E AiMe Rules to D&D

Post by Havard » Sun Jan 13, 2019 12:52 pm

I've been reading the 5E Adventures in Middle-earth (AiMe) rulebooks lately. One of the rules introduced there that I am fascinated by are the Journey Rules and I have been thinking about adapting these for 5E.

One of the things that game attempts to do is to have a more narrative approach to journeys. Now I know many D&D fans don't like words like "narrative" and "story" and for good reasons too. But hear me out.

What I mean by "narrative" is simply asking the question, "what effect does this journey have on the game experience after the journey is completed"?

Now, that doesn't mean we have to reduce the journey to that. AiME doesn't do that either. But I think one point that AiMe makes clear is that the journey to a place (new city/settlement, Dungeon, or whatever) affects your situation when you arrive there. Are you already weary from the trip and in a grim mood from witnessing evil acts, or do you arrive inspired and in high spirits to take on whatever you set out to achieve at your point of arrival?

Older editions of D&D actually had this in effect already since they had the action economy aspect. Do you arrive at the Dungeon with all your spells, hit points and potions intact, or have you had to spend a bunch of that stuff on the trip?

The way the 5E Long Rest/Short Rest rules work, this aspect of the game has been reduced. What doesn't quite sit right with me with this is that activities have fewer consequences. Depending on how restrictive you are with Long Rests, the PCs will almost always be at their full game at the beginning of an encounter. While this can be fun, it can also lead to players thinking that certain activities are less meaningful.

My favorite things in the AiME rules are these two things:
  • The Embarkment Roll
  • Arrival Roll
The first roll determines some things about what sort of encounters the PCs might expect. A low Embarkment roll means it is likely to be a more gloomy trip with harder encounters and darker experiences and vice versa.

The Arrival roll determines the contintion the party is in when they arrive. How they handled the encounters along the way will affect this roll. I like how the game uses Inspiration as a reward for a good Arrival and Exhaustion as an affect of a poor arrival roll. I also like how Charisma/Social rolls might be improved by a glorious arrival etc.

While I like the system from AiMe, I do think it is a little too complicated for my tastes and I also think that some concepts that work well for Middle-earth might not be as appropriate for other settings.

What do you think about tinkering with rules for travel? Have any of you taken a look at the AiMe rules I'm talking about? :)

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Re: Wilderness: Adapting 5E AiMe Rules to D&D

Post by Dread Delgath » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:30 pm

This is worth a look, especially as I am looking for a system to deal with travel in a home-made campaign setting and I sometimes don't want to deal with day-to-day travel or encounters.

With some tinkering, this just might fit the bill.

BTW, do you have an online link to the AiMe rule? Thanks! :)
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Re: Wilderness: Adapting 5E AiMe Rules to D&D

Post by barrataria » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:57 pm

Thanks for this thread, as I've given up tinkering with 5E for adapting stuff to add back to 1E instead :)

I don't know much about AiME, and that mechanic is a little too story-gamey for my taste. I really like the randomness of random overland encounters, even though I always massage the results to balance encounter types: fighting, roleplaying, etc., and to try to pack as much exposition of the campaign world in as I can. I really loved the outdoor portion of Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, and that was a great aspect of those. Patrols varied by origin, there were easter eggs (literally, in the hippogriff nest) in the treasures, over all creating very Greyhawky feel, maybe better than any of the other modules. In this case it seems like you're making "one roll to rule them all" at the outset of a journey that determines, say, whether you roll on the "fun" or "fury" encounter table for the whole voyage doesn't interest me at all.

The "arrival" idea is quite interesting, although again I'm not crazy about the idea of it being randomized. I've always been intrigued with the idea of a notoriety/fame type mechanic that would follow PCs around, and this is an interesting flavor of that. For instance if the party encounters and kills a tiger/wolf that's been terrorizing farmers in the surrounding area, they'd be welcomed as heroes, if they hassled a patrol they'd be more likely to be harrassed/watched by the town militia, etc., and that idea of a temporary Charisma bonus rubbing off because of it is quite interesting. Ditto for some kind of fatigue effect depending on how rough the journey was. Maybe having x number of rests interrupted during a week causes fatigue?

Good ideas to mine for sure.
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Re: Wilderness: Adapting 5E AiMe Rules to D&D

Post by Havard » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:53 pm

Dread Delgath wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:30 pm
This is worth a look, especially as I am looking for a system to deal with travel in a home-made campaign setting and I sometimes don't want to deal with day-to-day travel or encounters.

With some tinkering, this just might fit the bill.

BTW, do you have an online link to the AiMe rule? Thanks! :)
The rules take up an entire chapter in the Adventures in Middle-earth Player's Guide, so I don't think they are available online.

But that is also another reason why I want to simplify things quite a bit for my own campaign.

Another thing I do like about these rules is how they assign 4 important roles to any journey:
Guide (Wis, Survival)
Scout (Stealth, Investigation)
Hunter (Survival)
Look-out (Perception)

These are called for under various types of encounters along the way. No player may assume more than one role. If there are fewer than 4 players then checks for the role not filled are taken at disadvantage. If there are more than 4 players then other players may aid the lead for that role and grand him advantage.

The abilities for the various roles are also added to the Embarkment roll. However, I would like to change this so that each player rolls at the onset of the journey instead of having this clunky formula presented in the AiMe book.

-Havard

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Re: Wilderness: Adapting 5E AiMe Rules to D&D

Post by Havard » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:47 pm

barrataria wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:57 pm
Thanks for this thread, as I've given up tinkering with 5E for adapting stuff to add back to 1E instead :)
Indeed, I was pondering on posting this in the general Crunchy Bits forum for that reason, but the post ended up more 5E specific. Still, many ideas can be used across editions.
I don't know much about AiME, and that mechanic is a little too story-gamey for my taste. I really like the randomness of random overland encounters, even though I always massage the results to balance encounter types: fighting, roleplaying, etc., and to try to pack as much exposition of the campaign world in as I can. I really loved the outdoor portion of Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, and that was a great aspect of those. Patrols varied by origin, there were easter eggs (literally, in the hippogriff nest) in the treasures, over all creating very Greyhawky feel, maybe better than any of the other modules. In this case it seems like you're making "one roll to rule them all" at the outset of a journey that determines, say, whether you roll on the "fun" or "fury" encounter table for the whole voyage doesn't interest me at all.
I think I was explaining this poorly. The Embarkment Roll doesn't determine the entire Journey. There are also events along the way. However, the Embarkment Roll can affect the type of encounters you run into or give you bonuses or penalties when you face them. Also, the roll isn't completely random as the abilities linked to the "roles" characters assume on the Journey (See above) will affect the roll.

But I agree that this can be overdone. One thing I like about the "encounters" from AiMe is that it focuses a lot on non-Combat encounters like bad weather, witnessing wondtrous elven ruins, dark & cursed places etc. All of this exists in D&D too, but is too often forgotten. The 5E DMG also has quite a few cool ideas on this though. However I like that in AiMe, witnessing such things typically has a game mechanical effect.
The "arrival" idea is quite interesting, although again I'm not crazy about the idea of it being randomized. I've always been intrigued with the idea of a notoriety/fame type mechanic that would follow PCs around, and this is an interesting flavor of that. For instance if the party encounters and kills a tiger/wolf that's been terrorizing farmers in the surrounding area, they'd be welcomed as heroes, if they hassled a patrol they'd be more likely to be harrassed/watched by the town militia, etc.,
Those are cool ideas. Have you taken a look at the Glory mechanics from Chaosium's Pendragon RPG?
and that idea of a temporary Charisma bonus rubbing off because of it is quite interesting. Ditto for some kind of fatigue effect depending on how rough the journey was. Maybe having x number of rests interrupted during a week causes fatigue?

Good ideas to mine for sure.
All of these are worth thiking about. AiMe has the focus of the Tolkien stories, so arriving at a new place typically involves meeting people like Elrond, Galadriel or the Elven King of Myrkwood and asking them for help/hospitality. That might be less of an issue in most D&D games where the PCs might be more of the mercenary/adventurer types. Even though that description would fit the company in The Hobbit as well...

-Havard

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Re: Wilderness: Adapting 5E AiMe Rules to D&D

Post by RobJN » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:08 pm

Havard wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:47 pm
I think I was explaining this poorly. The Embarkment Roll doesn't determine the entire Journey. There are also events along the way. However, the Embarkment Roll can affect the type of encounters you run into or give you bonuses or penalties when you face them. Also, the roll isn't completely random as the abilities linked to the "roles" characters assume on the Journey (See above) will affect the roll.
I used something similar to this in the "Uthorrad" portion of the Throne of Stars: The rolls of the PC (and NPC) logged into the complex's security network impacted the number and type of opposition the rest of the party encountered along their evacuation route. Fun times, on those botched rolls ;)
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Re: Wilderness: Adapting 5E AiMe Rules to D&D

Post by Havard » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:20 pm

RobJN wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:08 pm
Havard wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:47 pm
I think I was explaining this poorly. The Embarkment Roll doesn't determine the entire Journey. There are also events along the way. However, the Embarkment Roll can affect the type of encounters you run into or give you bonuses or penalties when you face them. Also, the roll isn't completely random as the abilities linked to the "roles" characters assume on the Journey (See above) will affect the roll.
I used something similar to this in the "Uthorrad" portion of the Throne of Stars: The rolls of the PC (and NPC) logged into the complex's security network impacted the number and type of opposition the rest of the party encountered along their evacuation route. Fun times, on those botched rolls ;)
Grrrr ;)

-Havard

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Re: Wilderness: Adapting 5E AiMe Rules to D&D

Post by Hugin » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:19 am

This is a very interesting concept, to me anyway. The journey roles are really getting my brain juices flowing - they seem like a fantastic way to make knowledgable guides and such desireable for wilderness travel. Definitety going to think some more about this.

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