Expedition conflicts and adventure locations

So in preparing for an Expedition conflict from the Vagrants Guide, the GM sets out threats in the territories you move through. These have danger levels to help estimate the relative difficulty of threats.

I was wondering if about ideas for using danger levels to build adventure locations in the territories.

My thinking is that an ecosystem of a territory will normalise over time. So an adventure location might have roughly the same danger level as the threats in surrounding area, particularly monster and folk threats and the presence of a Stronghold.

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Challenge ratings are contentious, but I’ve always held that it’s better for the GM to be informed than surprised. Problems arise when the GM is over-reliant (and therefore uninformed again) or the players develop a sense of entitlement. Let’s presume we can avoid both of those.

There’s a general challenge metric discussed on Mordite Monday: the Monstrous Obstacle. It basically ranks monsters by their average expected successes in a given conflict.

The trouble I see with using Danger level from the expedition is that it only measures danger to the expedition. There are many instances where something has a higher or lower danger than would be reflected by its menace in the adventure phase. The dragons are a great example. They have a high danger, sure, but they’re basically unbeatable in the adventure phase.

But taking your idea at face value, I’d say a territory’s average Danger level somehow correlates to an appropriate Drive Off “Monstacle” from the Master’s Manual articles.

So are you suggesting something to the effect of using an average of Danger Levels in a territory to set a monstacle? It’s interesting in an ecological sense.

Your points are good, particularly how Danger level and Monstacle are in used in very different contexts.

I guess I’m thinking about ways to reflect the presence of territorial threats when developing adventure locations in a territory. Like gnoll slavers (Danger 2), an orc patrol (Danger 4) or a white dragon (Danger 3) will all have different effects on travel through that territory. They will also probably affect what survives and thrives there, how they hide or defend themselves, what was there before but gone now, what’s been plundered and what lies undisturbed.

I mean, Danger level may not be the right way to that. I’m pretty open to ideas.

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Yeah, I think I understand what you’re getting at. I’m interested in what problem this idea solves for you. Do you feel a disconnect between the territory an the adventure sites in it?

World building was an explicit goal of the whole expedition/territory/threat system, so I’m glad it is raising these kinds of questions for you.

I guess help answering “What’s in the territory?”, beyond a few folk and bad weather.

I‘m not thinking about balancing challenges or smoothing our gradients of danger. I’m not really thinking about mechanical play at all. And besides, surprises and spikes of danger are probably better for game play and stories anyway.

No I just want to maximise the use of the pieces already in play.

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Sure! It’s worth noting that the threats we gave were as much examples as anything. I’d really love to see some threats tailored to someone’s unique game world at some point. That’s why we included those threat writing guidelines!

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