I think we all have begun to rethink TOR's Journeys Rules once AiMe came out. Rich H is already working on his [viewtopic.php?f=56&t=6970], and I'm eager to see what he's come up with. But for now, this are my own ideas.
I've always considered TOR's Journeys rules to be the best concept in ages for a RPG, but the mechanics have ended up being too much of dice-rolling for me, without any significant decisions on behalf of the players once the route has been set.
Even if, as LM, I try to introduce small descriptions during the travel, the number of rolls remains the same. Even Hazards, which I love, end up being all the same: just rolling one determined skill, whatever the Hazard is about.
With the publishing of Journeys & Hazards, it became even more blatant for me that all those wonderful ideas about Hazards and Natural Wonders couldn't have a direct impact on the mechanics of Hazards and encounters during Journeys.
This is a first draft on a modified Journey Rules.
Hope you care to comment and criticize on it, please.
1) Set route and assign roles.
2) Preliminary rolls, with a Lore check at TN14.
3) Calculate the number of Fatigue tests needed depending on the length of the Journey.
For the purpose of calculating the length of a Journey, count roads and rivers when sailing with the current as half hexes (rounding down):
-Short [1-12 hexes]: 1
-Medium [13-24 hexes]: 2
-Long [25+ hexes]: 3
4) Calculate the severity of the Fatigue tests.Force the March
If a fellowship wants to hasten the Journey and force the march, add +1 to the difficulty TN of all Fatigue tests and the Hazards encountered (see below).
In addition, all Fatigue tests are resolved using the worst of Travel or Athletics skill.
Note that, as this mechanic doesn’t calculate the exact duration of the Journeys in days, the consequences of arriving earlier at the destination should be considered by the LM and introduced in the adventure.
Use the TN of the terrain with more hexes during the Journey. If even, choose the highest TN.
Hint: If the fellowship traverses terrains with very different TNs, the LM can choose to divide the Journey in shorter legs that accomodate to those regions. Or he can place one or more of the Hazards in the most difficult terrain using its higher TN to solve it/them.
5) Roll and resolve the Fatigue tests.
* Each Fatigue test increases the Travel Fatigue points by 4 during Spring-Summer, and 6 during Autumn-Winter.
Each level of success on the Fatigue test reduces the Travel Fatigue points gained by 1.
Example: A Great Success (-2 Fatigue gained) during a Short Journey in Winter (base increase of 6
Fatigue points) will make the hero gain 4 Travel Fatigue points.
*After rolling the Fatigue tests, a hero can "give" his successes over to one or more companions. A success that is "given" to a companion is substracted from the hero that gives it. This can lead to a hero who succeeded at a Fatigue test giving away all his successes and end up failing the test.
Modification to the Virtue Endurance of the Rangers: Whenever you give your levels of success to a companion during a Fatigue test, you don't lose your own successes.
Example: Omac, the Dwarf resolves his Fatigue test and rolls 3 Tengwars, for an Extraordinary Success
(only 2 of the Tengwars count towards the quality of the Success). His companions, Otto the Hobbit and
Fidulas the elf, fail completely their Fatigue test. Omac decides to take care of his companions and gives
one of his Success levels to Otto and the other one to Fidulas. As a result, Omac will pass the Fatigue test
with an Ordinary Success, and so will Otto and Fidulas.
Invoking a Trait for auto succeed counts as a normal success, decreasing the Fatigue gained only by 1 point per test passed this way.
If using ponies and/or boats during half or more of the Journey, reduce the Travel Fatigue points gained by 1.
All reductions are to a minimum of 0.
Add 1 extra Hazard (see step 6) for each Eye result during the Fatigue test rolls.
6) Calculate the number of Hazards during the Journey.
For the purpose of calculating the number of Hazards, use the length of the Journey as with the number of Fatigue tests. Count roads and rivers when sailing with the current as half hexes (rounding down):
-Short [1-12 hexes]: 1
-Medium [13-24 hexes]: 2
-Long [25+ hexes]: 3
Remember to add 1 extra Hazard for each Eye result during the Fatigue test rolls (step 5).
7) Hazards resolution
A) The LM rolls on the Role affected and Hazards table as usual. With the results, he describes the situation of the Hazard.
Optional: If rolling a Gandalf rune on the Hazards table, the LM can choose to introduce a positive encounter to the fellowship, like finding one of the Natural Wonders described in the Journeys & Maps supplement, that can have benefitial consequences for the group.
B) When a Hazard is described, all of the Heroes in the affected role can decide to avoid facing the Hazard:
The characters in the affected role don't test their skill, the Hazard is considered passed (the consequences of failing the Hazard are not applied), and the whole fellowship gains automatically 1 Fatigue point.
If at least one of the Heroes in the affected role decides to take the test, then proceed to step C (next step).
C) If they decide to face the Hazard, each one of the Heroes in the affected role can invoke a Trait meaningful to the described situation, and substitute the skill usually used for the test (as defined by his role) for another one of his choosing. This has to be argumented narratively and needs the LM approval.
This rules might help improve a few aspects:
- Less rolling, of course.
- Great and Extraordinary Successes now have an impact.
- The use of Traits for autosucceeding in Fatigue tests only allows to reduce the Fatigue gained by 1, but not all of it.
As for Virtues, I was thinking that:
-Beorning's Twice Baked Honey-Cakes reduce the TN of the Fatigue tests as usual. I don't see a need to tweak that Virtue. Although with less Fatigue tests in general, and the need of 6s in the rolls to better negate the Fatigue gain, the Virtue gets a bit weaker than by RAW. But, IMO, that's not a bad thing and it's still very useful.
-Ranger's Ways of the Wild might allow to pass your successes to another player. Example: the Ranger rolls an Extraordinary Success (reducing the Fatigue gained by 3) on his Fatigue test, but his Hobbit companion rolls a Failure. The Ranger decides that he'll keep 2 successes, and pass one to the Hobbit.
Healing while travelling: For simplicity, and after calculating an aproximate average of the healing rate when crossing different types of terrains (that involve more or less days of travel out of a single hex), simply consider the following rule:
- Heal 0 points of Endurance for each 2 hexes travelled if Wounded and untreated.
- Heal 3 points of Endurance for each 2 hexes travelled if Wounded but treated.
- Heal 6 points of Endurance for each 2 hexes travelled if not Wounded.
When playing a Hazard, situate it in an exact hex during the Journey (in the middle of the Long Marshes, when crossing the Forest River,...). Then, you'll be able to count the hexes travelled until that point and allow the players to recover the corresponding Endurance before facing the Hazard.
Optional: If more detail is needed, so that the difficulty of the terrain affects the healing rate, this other numbers can be used:
*A Wounded hero with an untreated injury does not recover any Endurance while travelling.
* The rates indicated next apply to Wounded but treated heroes / Unwounded heroes.
1 hex of Easy terrain recovers 0.5 (i.e. Recover 1 Endurance point each 2 hexes of Easy terrain) /1 Endurance point.
1 hex of Moderate terrain recovers 0.6 / 1.2 Endurance points (i.e. simply use the Easy terrain ratio).
1 hex of Hard terrain recovers 1/2 Endurance points.
1 hex of Severe terrain recovers 1.5 (i.e. Recover 3 Endurance points each 2 hexes of Severe terrain) / 3 Endurance points.
1 hex of Daunting terrain recovers 2.5 (i.e. Recover 5 Endurance points each 2 hexes of Daunting terrain) / 5 Endurance points .
-Original: At the end of a day of activity, you recover a number of
Endurance points equal to your Wisdom rank. If you then
take a prolonged rest, you recover normally.
-Addition to be usable with this Journey Rules: Every 2 hexes travelled, add 3 times your Wisdom to the amount of Endurance healed.
*Tough in the Fibre:
-Original: When you are travelling, you recover normally (the reduced
recovery rates found at page 163 do not apply to you).
-Addition to be usable with this Journey Rules: Every 2 hexes travelled, recover 3 Endurance points if Wounded and untreated, 6 if Wounded but treated, and 6 plus 3 times your Heart rating if not Wounded.
Blighted Places: The LM should consider the amount of Corruption tests needed depending on the place travelled, independently of the Journey rules. Crossing the Long Marshes might need a daily Corruption test, and the LM can define that it takes three days to cross them. Passing along the shore where Smaug's corpse lies might need a single Corruption test, but at a much higher TN.
If needed, the usual way of calculating the duration of a Journey, as found in the Revised Core Book, can be used.