Travel Conflict

Party was traveling from the metropolis to the temple, by way of the capitol. I made these rules:

To travel between two fairly distant locations, use a Travel conflict. This conflict structure surrounds the normal phase structure. After each action, drop back into the Adventure phase. Every action takes a turn. When the conflict ends, mark off a turn as usual for a conflict. On a successful Defend, the party may drop directly into the Town phase unless the GM says there are zero available Towns. The party may spend 1 Maneuver success to drop directly into the Camp phase with a +1 on the roll.

Weapons for Travel
Civilization: +1D to Maneuver or Defend
Rest: +1s to Maneuver
Off Trail: +1D, +1s to Feint; -1s to Defend
Horses: +2D to Attack
Maps: +1D to any action (choose up front)

Attack, Feint - Pathfinder
Maneuver, Defend - Survivalist

Order of Might starts at 1.
Length: long, super long
Danger: routine, hazardous
Unknown: untraveled, untravelable

Nature is 10 - niceness.
Inns and towns: some, many
Roads: trails, roads, active roads
Civilization: not yet tamed, tamed

GM guidance: depleting party disposition - what happens to make the party lose supplies, morale, or health? increasing opposition disposition - what happens to make the journey take longer than expected, the party be further from their destination, etc.? Maneuver - what’s more difficult now? Dropping back into the Adventure phase - what did the players and GM just describe? Figure out the next obstacle based on that, this should usually be something they have to deal with rather than going directly back into Travel. Continuing the conflict - whenever the players want to Travel rather than something else. Suggested compromise for player defeat: you didn’t get to your destination because here’s a lucrative side quest.

One scripted action at a time. Everyone acts. If someone is knocked out, they are fed up with traveling and their actions basically don’t help.

How it worked in practice: we forgot about scripting one action at a time and just scripted all three. Worked fine. They were against moderate Travel opposition, a long, routine, Order of Might 3 journey, in a tamed wilderness along roads with some inns and towns for Nature 5, and were all Fresh. Dispositions Party 10, Travel 9. They chose a smattering of Civilization, Maps, and Rest as weapons, since there was civilization along the way, they had a map, and you can always use rest. Travel got no weapons, I forgot to make weapons for the GM. First script:
Travel: ADA
Party: MAD

Action 1: Travel Attack versus Party Maneuver.
Hailstorm forced them off the road. Dwarf led them to a nearby cave. The closest cave. A shitty cave a dwarf would never really go in. “Better leave soon before the bear comes back,” he said. Party won with MoS 2. Then I had a bear come in the cave. They drove it off, not before it Injured the cleric, then looted the cave and found some sweet elven stuff. They built a nice firepit and a little wall at the cave mouth and camped. The cleric tried to make a poultice but discovered his herbs were all super old and useless. The dwarf fixed up the cleric’s helmet, then the cleric made his recovery test to remove the Injured condition.

Action 2: Travel Defend versus Party Attack.
Soldiers are stopping everyone on the road asking questions about the frog invasion and/or impersonators of the king’s guards, 'cause that’s what the party did last few sessions. They brazen it out, winning with MoS 6. I should have made them encounter an obstacle of one of the checkpoints but forgot. Whoops.

Action 3: Travel Attack versus Party Defend.
Party stops briefly in the capitol, where thieves abound, but the party stays aloof from basically everyone and everything and is fine. Didn’t obstacle here either. Probably shoulda.

Switch weapons. Party disposition still 10, Travel disposition 3. Only the halfling hasn’t acted, she’ll act first and she chose Maps and she loves to Feint, so I script:
Travel: ADA
Party: FFF

Yeah they did that. Well played.

Action 4: Travel Attack versus Party Feint.
Party decides to go off road, taking a “shortcut”. They find a bandit camp. Travel has MoS 1. :frowning: Halfling leads a sneak-around with Nature+Nature to beat bandits at Scout (they have base 5!), and party ends up on the other side of the bandits. They snatch some stuff before running away, including a potion, which the halfling tastes, and it’s poison, but she succeeds her Health check and is not Sick, but that’s turn 4 and they all become Hungry & Thirsty, so she cooks.

Action 5: Travel Defend versus Party Feint.
Bandits set up an ambush on the main road. Party keeps offroading merrily with MoS 4 which is enough. They reach the temple with a very minor compromise, having lost just 1 of 10. I make 'em Hungry & Thirsty again, halfling cooks, they forage in the nearby forest enough to replenish the cleric’s useless herbs, and then enter Town.

Overall it felt pretty good. Maybe not dangerous enough, though I only stopped the Travel on 2 out of 4 non-last-actions. Next time I think I’d require at least one obstacle after every single action. The party could still overcome it with a Good Idea of course.

Is it kosher to assign Order of Might to non-monstrous opposition?

It would probably make more sense to invert the “niceness” factors and make everything add up to the nature of the travel. Hmm, or you could define a set of obstacles and each obstacle has a nature and a descriptor and participates in the conflict as individual monsters would. Then when you eliminate the disposition of one of the obstacles it means you’ve overcome that obstacle. Obstacles could be things like travel bans, road blocks, deep woods, raging rivers, wild animals, or even enemies hot on your tail.

Also, given the framework you’ve laid out, I don’t think it’s essential that you break out of the conflict for a non-conflict obstacle after every turn. I would actually lean toward breaking out only when the conflict is lost or won, with the severity of the obstacle they encounter dependent on the level of compromise. Then if they can overcome the obstacle and haven’t reached their destination they can attempt to travel again from their new location, which may be easier or harder, but they have to start from scratch.

I think evil GM factors would suffice for increasing difficulty.