This is in spirit of “note to self”: portraying travel is a weak spot for me, so I keep trying to figure out how to do it better. This is what I think about it today.
My particular weaknesses:
- Turning distances into mush.
- Making travel something that doesn’t involve much player input at all once started — or worse yet, a monologue.
Things I might be able to do to fix this:
It’s Time, Not Distance. I should keep an eye on how long the trip takes, not how long it is on the map. I should really maintain a matrix of destinations so I can keep things consistent.
Keeping It Either Fast Or Playable. I should either keep travel something playable, or make it snappy. “Week later, weary from the road, you arrive.” at least has the advantage of being over fast. Making it playable can mean anything from a hexcrawl to simple roadside events that players can react to: strangers to meet on road, drinking games they teach the characters, bad food, broken gear, topics of conversation, etc. Those are all things you can engage with, unlike the weather or another bloody sunrise over the desert. An old-school hex crawl might not be to everyone’s taste, but at least it engages the players.
Normally I’m a decent improviser, but since travel is a weak spot I should probably prepare some lists of roadside events for my games beforehand. I should think about possibility of using hexcrawling for my Guild of Dungeoneers game — not just now yet, but should the game ever move its focus outside the Caverns of Thrachia…