Travel Skill Challenges

minst-blogSo my previous post on Travel Skill challenges went well in play the first time used. After a few more uses I will definately have some refinements. Here is a printable version for use at the table.

Image is from Ryuutama which is an RPG that focuses on travel.

Travel RPG


Travel Skill Challenges

Recently Matt Colville mentioned using Skill Challenges in 5e for travel. This was somewhat on my mind as we are starting a low level campaign that will need something for travel. So here is my take.

Travel has three types in gameplay: Day trip, Getting from A to B, or Exploration/Scouting

Day Trip Single random encounter roll
From A to B Skill Challenge Challenge Level determined by difficulty of the path
Exploration/Scouting Procedural Dungeon-like Skill Challenge  Mix of fixed encounters and random encounters. Each day, hex, or week becomes it’s own skill challenge with at least one each of Scouting, Navigating, Quartermaster. and Foraging check

Common Checks

Role Check Why Skill Used Bonus Tools (conditional) Drawbacks
Weather Check Determines Current Weather (preroll) Special Table
Event Check For What Happens Special Table
Scout Travel Check  For travel complications Perception Spyglass / flying familiar  sprains, equipment breaks, etc
Navigator Direction Check  For getting Lost (most likely to not use) Survival Compass / Map getting lost (losing time, losing way)
Quartermaster Camping/Condition check  For how well you are able to rest. Survival Camping Gear No long rest, sprains, equipment breaks, etc
Foraging Foraging Check (option) How much food you can gather Nature / Athletics / Survival / Dex  attack  non improvised hunting traps equipment breaks

Other checks in the skill challenge may be terrain dependent, such as fording a river, getting across a gully or scaling a cliff. This may be a good place to make players come up with something they want to focus on doing.

Terrain and Weather DC’s are as follows: If they are proficient, with good weather, and in grassland the only thing we are looking for are critical fails or successes.

Grassland, meadow, farmland, sea coastline 5
Arctic, desert, hills, or open sea with clear skies and no land in sight 10
Forest, jungle, swamp, mountains, or open sea with overcast skies and no land in sight 15
Overcast, light fog, light rain/snow +5
Heavy Fog, Heavy Rain/snow, Storm +10
White out conditions, Complex Illusory Terrain with a failed save +15
Role: Scout Roll: Travel Check

Tools that grant advantage: Spyglass, Flying Familiar

d6 Failed Failed by 5 or more
1 Scratches  (1d6) Sprained Ankle (disadvantage dex saves)
2 Scratches  (1d6) Scratches  (2d6)
3 The difficult Route  1 lvl fatigue Sprained Elbow (disadvantage str saves)
4 Insect Bites  (1d6) Broken Item wielded
5 Insect Bites  (1d6) Broken Item Worn
6 Sinkhole  (1d4) Broken Item in pack
Role: Navigator Roll: Direction Check Skill: Survival

Tools that grant advantage: Compass, Map

Critical Success: Faster Travel is possible move an extra 50% or shave a quarter of the time off

d6 Failed Failed by 5 or more
1-2 Lost some time (lose half your movement) Went the wrong Way (lose half your movement)
3-4 Lost some time (roll for extra event) Went the wrong Way (lose all your movement)
5-6 Discovered something unwanted Went the wrong Way (go a random direction)
Role: Quartermaster Roll: Camping Check Skill: Survival

Tools that grant advantage: Special Camp gear/ wagon

Critical Success: Party Advantage

d6 Failed Failed by 5 or more
1 Got wet and cold (sluggish start to the day, lose half the next day distance) Bad Sleep (No long rest, only short)
2 Smoke in the eyes. (Next day’s scouting check has disadvantage) Fire out of control (1d6)
3 Can’t Light a fire Bad Sleep (1 lvl of fatigue)
4 Vermin Infestation Freaks you out (No long rest, only short) Broken Wagon/camping equipment
5 Fey play tricks on you Really Bad Sleep (No long rest and 1 lvl fatigue)
6 Animal or Vermin decides your pack/wagon is a new home Haunted Campsite (1 lvl of fatigue)

Or check:

Role: Hunter / Gatherer Roll: Travel Check Skill: Nature, Survival, Dex Attack etc

Tools that grant advantage: special Traps 

Critical Success: Gain an extra two rations worth of food

Failed Check Table

d6 Failed Failed by 5 or more
1-2 No Food/Water gathered Tainted Water gathered (Con 15 save or poisoned for half the day)
3-4 as 1-2 and Animal Steals some Rations Bad food makes you sick (Con 15 save 1 lvl fatigue)
5-6 Food comes to you, a herd invades your camp Prey Attacks Back (monster or 3d6)
Roll: Weather Check d6
inclement weather moderate to major 1
inclement weather minor 2
regular for season 3-4
a bit colder/cloudier than usual 5
a bit warmer /sunnier than usual 6

Moderate /Major Inclement Weather:   roll d6 1-4 moderate, 5-6 major


These can be scripted, but at times may be random. Generating random events may take some time. I would roll the event check with players but not all the other rolls. I would roll for half a dozen interesting encounter and half a dozen problematic encounters to be available as DM notes, cross them off in play and generate more for the next session as needed.

Roll:Event Check d6 Number of Events
Nothing 1-2
Interesting 3-4  d4-1  (min 1)
Problematic 5-6  d4-1  (min 1)
Interesting Table d4
Roll on DMG Monument Table 1
Roll on DMG Weird Locations Table 2
Generate with Random Generator 3
Friendly/ Neutral Table 4

For Nothing do nothing.  For Problematic roll on a monster random table appropriate to the terrain. For Interesting / Problematic roll a d6 to determine the time of day the encounter takes place.

Time of Day Event Occurs d6
Dawn 1
Mid morning 2
Noon 3
Afternoon 4
Evening 5
Night 6
Friendly and Neutral d6
Settlement/ Hamlet 1
Animal Group 2
Animal Solo 3
Intelligent being Group 4
Intelligent Being Solo 5
Caravan 6


Sometimes it is tricky

So my nephew and son wanted a game. They wanted to play a rouge an17158-thumb140.jpgd sorcerer in 5th edition. With almost no notice and prep time I felt it was messy to run something, however they seemed to enjoy it.

When dealing with two soft and sqishy characters, and when they really wanted to fight was tricky. Several moments of near death, a bit of dice fudging and monsters who decided to cut their losses instead of deal with the PC’s that much saved their lives. I should really have a couple short things prepared for when they want to play “right now.” I think I should prep B2 Keep on the Borderlands, It has been forever since I reviewed that adventure, but would work well I think.