Posted by : David Guyll July 14, 2015
In case you don't have the move memorized, here's the most relevant part:
When you travel through hostile territory, choose one member of the party to act as trailblazer, one to scout ahead, and one to be quartermaster. Each character with a job to do rolls+WIS.
It's a move that, at first glance, aims to streamline the whole overland traveling process. In older editions of Dungeons & Dragons, going from point A to B could involve multiple rolls (every day/hour/etc, or maybe each hex if you use hex maps), to see if you run into something and/or whether you notice it.
So, why doesn't it work?
For starters, the I guess explanatory text that follows the move says you only make the move when you know where you're going.
This means that if you're just wandering around aimlessly, no one is the scout, or trailblazer, or quartermaster. I'm not saying that you still wouldn't want to have people in charge of those tasks even if you know where you're going, but when you don't know what to expect, they seem like they'd be especially important.
Then there's the fact that a job can only be taken by one person, no matter how many people are in the party, and everyone makes one roll, no matter how far the journey is.
Take the scout job. Yes, I wonder why more than one person can't help out with each of the jobs, but when you're going through hostile territory, wouldn't it make more sense fictionally for everyone to be on the lookout? This can partially be addressed with the aid or interfere move, but the problem is no matter how many people help, whether one person or the entire party, you can only get +1.
Then there's the quartermaster job. How come when you don't know where you're going, you eat up rations at the "normal" pace, and how come when you take a journey to a known place, only one character handles the group's rations? There's no move for preserving/managing supplies when you're in a dungeon, or when you're aimlessly wandering through the woods, both times when you'd think closely monitoring your food stores would be much more important.
Nope, only when you know where you're going does one person in the party take responsibility for everyone else's food.
I'm going to just write off the move in its entirety. For the as-of-yet-unplayed elf ranger, you'll just always reduce the amount of time it takes to get through wilderness terrain (not sure what I'd do with Follow Me, though). Instead, when the characters go somewhere I'll tell them how many days it takes (not rations, days...except in A Sundered World, where there aren't days), and they'll make camp each day.
If they run into something en route, I'll make up some sort of new +WIS "special move" for either one person or the entire party to roll: on a 10+ you notice the creature and have time to act before it closes the distance/does whatever it's going to do (maybe even a +1 forward, like with take watch's 10+ result), on a 7-9 everyone's going at the same time, and on a miss it gets the drop on you.
This gives everyone a chance, and "fictionally" reinforces the idea that everyone in the party is doing their part to keep an eye out.
Another, maybe simpler idea is to make one person roll for the entire party, probably the guy with the highest Wisdom, since my group always elects the character(s) with the highest Wisdom to tackle the jobs anyway. Not sure if I wanna do +1 for each other character also looking about, or just limit it to characters with a Wisdom of +1 or higher.
This would also represent everyone else keeping an eye out, but with a party of 3-4 people it means they're likely rolling +3 to +5 at the start of the game (though, you could slap on -1 or -2 for good cover). But, hey, sneaking up on a group of understandably wary adventurers is probably hard.
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