Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Attrition - A Better Overland Travel System

Okay, Alexis blew my overland travel system out of the water with his improvement. Using this idea, let's rethink the damage caused by travel.

This system focuses on accumulation of damage, so that short trips are very safe for our precious 1HD characters but longer journeys will eventually tax even high level characters. Here's some pseudo code to represent what I am talking about.

Base damage = 0.1
Attrition(0) = Base damage
i = 1

Attrition(i) = Attrition(i-1) * Topography * Climate * Season * Road * Situation * Provisions + Base Damage

The Attrition value represents Hp damage taken. I would truncate the value and take its integer so anything <1 would be 0 damage. Then, all these modifiers act as a factor as follows:

Definitions remain the same as in the previous post. Here's a quick list of situational modifiers; there is plenty of room here to incorporate spells, non weapon proficiencies and skills, class abilities, hirelings/guides, etc etc. Feel free to tinker to your hearts content.

Sheltering down is a way to reduce the attrition rate currently being suffered. In order to shelter down, no travel may be undertaken for an entire day. Travelers are free to act without restriction so long as they refrain from strenuous activity outside of maintaining camp. Sheltering down works as follows:

Attrition(i) = Attrition(i-1) * Shelter

Shelter values are:

Structures would be buildings and permanent shelters that provide protection from the elements and a warm hearth (wayside inn, homestead, monastery). Natural shelter would be a cave or enclosed canyon that protects against all but the worst weather and temperature extremes. Camps consist of tents and other temporary shelters.

Next post, I'll tease out the numbers and demonstrate some examples. I'm sure these numbers will shift and change over time. Feel free to make them more forgiving or brutal as desired.


  1. Ah, the nice thing about this, I come up with the spark and Anthony produces solid work. I would probably muck a bit with the numbers for my campaign, but the thing that strikes me as very important here is multiple people working in a practical fashion on the same solution.

    It's like the game could be improved or something.

  2. My values are pretty arbitrary here. Basically, mountains and desert are really bad but a forest not so much. Spring and fall are nice, but a cold winter kind of sucks. I'm not sure if tying actual climatic conditions to hp loss is a worthwhile endeavor, but maybe someone wants to spend the time.

    I put up another post with some examples to see how these values play out. I think it works well to accomplish a goal of having short distance traveling and established roads pretty safe but the world's harshest terrains will eat up even high level adventurers.

    But yea, always good to put a few good minds on an issue :D