Posted by : David Guyll August 27, 2016

There are plenty of problems with Dungeon World, one of which is everything to do with the undertake a perilous journey move. While going through an adventure that +Victor Julio Hurtado was working on, I proposed a change to one of the moves, which I realized would also make for a nice fix to undertake a perilous journey.

Here's the original move:

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.

The problem with the move is that only when you know where you are going (which isn't mentioned in the actual move, but four paragraphs down), one person in the party manages everyone's food, one person watches for danger, and one person watches the road/chooses the route.

Oddly, when you don't know where you are going or are crawling through a dungeon (or, I suppose, going to a known location that isn't in hostile territory), everyone manages their own food, watches the road, and checks for danger.

In other words it's a lazily designed, flawed move that doesn't make any sense (or, as they say, "follows the fiction"), because if you're traveling and you expect danger, everyone would be watching out for danger. Also, if you're taking a road or path or whatever, then why do you need a trailblazer? And, if there isn't a road pointing you to where you need to go, then everyone would also be on the lookout for landmarks, easier routes, potential hazards, and so on.

So, here's what I got as a fix thus far:

When you travel to a known location (or have a destination in mind), choose one player to roll:
  • +1 for each character with WIS +1 or higher
  • -1 for each character with WIS -1 or lower
  • +1 if the terrain is open
  • -1 if you're passing through dangerous/hostile territory
  • -1 if the terrain inhibits movement/obscures vision (such as a forest, mountains, or swamp)
On a 7+, you arrive at your destination and choose 2. On a 10+, choose 3.
  • It doesn't take you longer than expected to reach your destination.
  • You aren't ambushed during the trek (you can always be attacked on the way, but if you choose this you notice the trouble)
  • You don't use up more supplies than expected (such as adventuring gear, bags of books, potions, tools, and rations)
  • No one is harmed during the trek (such as by falling, prolonged exposure to extreme heat or cold, or contracting a disease; could also apply to animals and hirelings)
With this move everyone in the party can be a factor (you can't just put characters with the best Wisdom scores on all the jobs); you aren't for no reason giving one character everyone's food to monitor, having only one character look out for danger, and a third person watch the road. It's assumed everyone is tracking their own supplies, checking for trouble, and watching the road. Again, like you'd expect everyone to be doing anyway.

It also keeps everything in one move (as opposed to breaking it into even more nonsense moves): you figure out the total modifier (and you could make up new modifiers on the fly), make one roll, and then everyone can figure out what they want from the list. Even better, it also allows for you to use up supplies that aren't food. For example, maybe going through some mountains everyone ends up using stuff from their adventuring gear.

For the times when you go back and forth between two places:

When you travel to a place you have been to before, if the route has not changed in a meaningful way treat this as undertaking a perilous journey, except you choose +1, and on a miss you still choose 1 in addition to whatever the GM says.

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{ 3 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. What about the Ranger Elf racial "When you undertake a perilous journey through wilderness whatever job you take you succeed as if you rolled a 10+." - how would this work if the Elf can just instantly succeed at a single roll every time?

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    1. @Anon: Since a 10+ gets you three things and there are four options, first thing that comes to mind is that the elf makes a choice no matter what is rolled (so on a 10+ with the elf you'd get all four choices).

      Elf could also just give +1 to the entire roll, or boost one or all results you choose (you get there faster, you get the drop on baddies, etc).

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