Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How Much of Your Campaign Involves Getting to the Next Adventure?

I'm sitting here in the Poconos, looking out the window at the woods across the street from me, and it occurred to me that much adventure could be had within (and there certainly was much adventure had within when I was 30+ years younger).

How much of your campaign takes place in the places in between? Done properly, the travel to one adventure from another can in and of itself be an adventure. To a large extent, this is what sandboxes are about, but even without running your campaign in a sandbox, the places in between have the potential to challenge the players. I'm not talking random encounters but more like "random localized locations" that you can drop in between to change the pacing.

Hmm, in many ways this is what +Daniel Bishop 's series of Campaign Elements for the DCC RPG seeks to do, but it could be done on even a smaller scale of simple fleshed out encounters that include localized setting elements.

In any case, do you explore the places in between when you run a campaign, or do you players more from location to location fairly uneventfully?


  1. It's funny you should post this, as my regulars just embarked on a journey to get to the location of the next adventure. They've been situation in the same general area for close to 40 sessions now so this is a big move for them...traveling about 4,000 miles in-game to get to the new spot. Ironically I was all prepped to offer a way for them to teleport when they decided they wanted to take the journey overland; I figure it will take them at least five or six sessions to get there, unless they get distracted along the way! I love overland travel adventures....getting there is half the fun.

  2. Well, you know my answer to that. Getting there is half the fun!

  3. In order to drive more story into a sandbox, I had my characters be part of a group of exiles that dissented against the local lord. They were kicked out instead of killed, thankfully ... but commenced a sort of "pioneer" trek to another hospitable area.

    So far, this has been most of the adventure, but sometimes you get bogged in the details of travel and it starts to suck out the fun. Minimizing the trip ... especially when they were in the mood for a dungeon, can be important exception to make in the case of what I've been running. :D

  4. My campaigns are so sandboxy that there is rarely a difference between the "adventure" and "getting there"...

  5. Until I started reading some of the OSR blogs , I had never realized that there was a form of campaign where you begin one adventure and then the next is started without a connection in-between the two. In my area we had always included the traveling as a part of the adventure.

  6. It depends. I don't run a sandbox as the OSR defines it. I also don't impose a "plot", but I DO try to control the pacing with an eye toward the length of the session. If the destination has a lot of interesting stuff, I'll probably gloss over the trip ("three days later you arrive in Bomborium"). If I think the session needs a little "padding", I'll toss in some encounters en route. Or I might roll and let the dice decide. What I won't do is play out every minute of the trip just for the sake of doing it ("we unpack, we gather wood, we eat, we sleep, we eat, we pack, we walk..."). That's not interesting for me OR the players.

    (The other case would be if the players tell me they want to travel somewhere between adventures - i.e., during the off-time. Usually I just have them start the next session already in their new location. But occasionally they might get waylaid en route...)


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