A common troupe in fantasy literature is the journey. From The Hobbit to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to countless other stories, a major component of the plot is a journey. However, traditional fantasy roleplaying games don't always represent these well, particularly if you are trying to complete a journey in one game session.
My saturday morning group was going to play fiasco, but we didn't have enough time, so instead we continued to try out a friend's game that he's developing. While I don't want to get into much of the actual mechanics with his game until he's ready to share it, I will share some of the rules that I used to make the journey work.
This worked better than I hopped. The story was they lived on the edge of civilization, and the town they lived in was suffering from a strange wasting disease. Few people if any come through their town, and so they must set off on their own to the capital city to find a priest who can cure their people.
I put a bunch of different titles on notecards, and gave each player 2 cards. The notecards had titles such as the following, and each represented a different location.
- A small village
- Eyrewild Forest
- The Darkmark
- The Abyss
- The cavern
- Castle Ruins
- The Old Wizards Tower
- The Impassable Mountains
- lonely farmhouse
- ring of stones
The players each wrote a threat and a reward on each notecard. For example, a player wrote on the impassable mountains that the threat was fire giants, but the reward was lots of treasure. Another
I then included a couple more, including a couple forest cards and stretches of roads. I shuffled them all together, and then took the bottom 5 cards and shuffled the city card in with them and added them back to the bottom of the deck. That way, the players would know they are getting close, but not know when they would arrive.
I knew it worked when near the end of their journey they ran into some bandits, and one of the players just said. “Listen, we just survived fire giants, a volcano, a monstrous tree. Just get out of our way.” In that statement, it incapsilated the way I wanted it to feel: they had had a long, trying journey. They had started as locals and became heroes.
Seriously, a fun way to spend the morning. Thanks to Matthew for his game design!