The intention of these rules is to set up a conflict whenever the player characters travel to and from an adventure site. It is meatier than a simple Pathfinder roll, while being more abstract than a string of wilderness encounters. It is meant to provide a narrative framework for the journey, and allow the players to flex their outdoorsy skills. It plays out like a normal conflict: if the players win they arrive safe and sound and if they lose or must compromise they arrive in bad shape, get lost on the way or similar.
Wilderness Nature and Disposition
The Nature rating reflects the severity of the journey. It is calculated using a combination of season and the most difficult terrain type of the journey. The season changes each time the players are in a town phase following an adventure.
[li]Spring: 3D[/li][li]Summer: 2D[/li][li]Fall: 3D[/li][li]Winter: 4D[/li][/ul]
(In a tropical climate, use whichever rating fits)
[li]Fields/Moor: 2D [/li][li]Forest: 3D [/li][li]Mountains: 5D [/li][/ul]
(Other terrain types can be substituted here – e.g. Mountains could be replaced by Desert or Jungle)
The Disposition of the journey is based on the length of the trek.
[li]Nearby (a few days): 5 [/li][li]Short journey (about a week): 8 [/li][li]Long journey (several weeks): 12 [/li][li]Halfway across the world (month-long): 16 [/li][/ul]
Example: The players are travelling to a shrine that is about a week out from their starting point (Disposition 8). They are travelling during summer (2D), and while the terrain is mostly moorland they will have to venture through the Deepwood to reach their destination (3D). The combined Nature pool is thus 5D.
Actions and skills
Disposition roll: Pathfinder + Health
Attack (Pathfinder): For the players, this represents a direct march towards the goal. For the GM, it represents the weather and general hardship wearing the adventurers down.
Defend (Survivalist): This reflects the players stopping to camp, eat and regain their strength. When the GM plays this action, it represents a defined terrain obstacle that the players must overcome to continue. If they fail, they may have to take a longer route around instead (the wilderness regains disposition).
Feint (Pathfinder): For the adventurers, this is a shortcut or other risky ways of trying to make ground, such as heading out without taking precautions or continuing the march after sundown. For the GM, a Feint is wildlife and other nuisances that makes camping difficult and prevents the players from resting.
Maneuver (Survivalist): This action is a cautious approach where the adventurers spend time trying to gauge when the weather will turn, estimating which path is the safest or looking for fresh water and shelters as they go. For the GM, a Maneuver is a wilderness feature that obscures the trail and causes the players to waste time as they look to get back on track.
Horses: +1s Attack, -1D Maneuver. These two actions must be tested with the Rider skill, instead of the normal skills.
Gather food: +1s Defend, -1D Attack and the Defend action becomes an independent test against any action (even Feint). Hunter or Scavenger is tested when playing Defend, instead of Survivalist.
Map: +1D Maneuver. This action must be tested using the Cartographer skill.
Feast: +2D Defend. When playing Defend, you must expend 2 rations and test Cooking instead of Survivalist.
Night march: +2D Feint. This action consumes 2 torches, or half a flask of lantern oil (candles aren’t good for trekking in the dark).
Cloak: This piece of gear counts as armor when taking disposition damage from being wet or cold (-1s).
Note that each exchange, the GM picks two weapons from the list below. The bonuses cannot stack, however. This is to make up for the fact that the wilderness is only a single actor without helpers, and to provide a more interesting and varied narrative.
[li]Rain/Snow/Wind: +1D Attack[/li][li]Blazing sun/Freezing cold: +1D Attack[/li][li]River/Swamp/Icy lake: +1D Defend[/li][li]Cliffs/Dense vegetation: +1D Defend[/li][li]Swarming bugs/vermin/beasts: +1D Feint[/li][li]Thunderstorm/Stinky bog: +1D Feint[/li][li]Fog/Overgrown trail: +1D Maneuver[/li][li]Mud/rock slide: +1D Maneuver[/li][/ul]
Note that wilderness weapons can be combined to make sense in the narrative. For example, rain can be used both to attack and to wash out the trail with mud (maneuver), and a swamp could be both a defend action and prevent the players from camping (feint).
GM wins: you have expended all your rations; you are all Sick/Injured/Hungry; transition directly to an encounter in the wilderness (animals attack, lost in the woods at night); entire new adventure lead (give up trying to cross a mountain range and instead go through dwarven mines that aren’t as empty as they seem).
GM loses, compromises: you are exhausted; you are hungry; you arrive late; your cloak is torn; your waterskin is emptied; you lose a ration
Comments and critique are welcome!