[PnP] Navigation Woes

Choinski, Burton Burton.Choinski at matrixone.com
Sun Oct 1 05:37:53 CEST 2006

>>Navigation is an 'or 80' skill, Survival is a regular skill (typical 
>>value of 6). The grid has difficulty ranging from 1 to 100. Except in 
>>plains or desert during the daytime that gives the world's best 
>>navigator (without survival skill) a 20% chance to get lost each hex. 
>>Far too big a chance of being lost in my opinion.

Remember, being lost is not necessarily going in circles. If you happen to get alternating "left and right" you will still be going the right way, just wiggling instead of straight.  Tonight they started heading south of Doom manor (intendign to head straight south).  As they started to wiggle a bit off course they decided to head east and hit the road.  They would have eventually made their trek south, but odds are they would have been 2-3 hexes off from their original destination.

The 20% chance of being shifted off the beam, unless you have good solid landmarks, for the best of the best (actually, 20% less any survival skill), is not that bad.  Again, theer is no chance that you actually end up going backwards, just off to the left or right.

>>Off the top of my head I would be more inclined to use 11d10-10, where 
>>the odds of getting extremes in difficulty would be quite low. Either 
>>way this system would REQUIRE someone in the party to have Navigation 
>>skill if the party ever leaves the coast or roads. Otherwise the party 
>>will be lost most of the time.

It actually was kind of interesting.  After the first move, they tried to compensate, but their low NAV bit them again and they ended up backtracking (original plan south became South-west.  They planed to go counter with a South-east move and ended up going north-east).  Again, this was "player god knowledge looking at the map" getting confounded by the character-level mechanic.  Sort of like how some wargames simulate fog of war by introducing command lag from when the player gives and order to the units until how long it takes for then to respond and start to move.

>>Given any landmarks (sun, distant mountain, etc.) the odds of getting 
>>lost should be quite low. Perhaps I or Em should be added to the 
>>effective Navigation skill. Only when darkness, bad weather or total 
>>lack of landmarks is present should the chance of being lost be anywhere 
>>near this high.

Sun is marginally useful, but I presumed that that is what the navigator is using (No GPS).  The problem with "distant mountains" is that at 20 miles per hex you are lucky to see anything that distant.  perhaps +5, and that is one damn big mountain.

>>It might work fine if you cut in half the chance of being lost. It is a 
>>nice idea, presented well...but I don't think I would use your 
>>navigation matrix without modification.

I'll keep that suggestion in mind, though cutting in half removes some of the intent...player-god knowledge looking at the map book and moving a marker from hex-to-hex on it without fear of getting lost.  Now, if the way you play is to keep the map to yourself and ask the players how they travel "sight unseen" then there is less need for this grid (if at all).  And as my example showed, like happens when ANYONE is having trouble travelling, you make a beeline for a route, be it a river or road.  Cross-country travel is for the real hair-shirts.  I doubt anyone on the list could travel, in real life a hundred miles of howling wilderness westward and not end up 10, 20, 30 miles north or south of the intended spot.

But I suggest giving it a go as a little experiment.  take your best character and make a sample cross country run with the grid.  I don't think it  works out that bad, though I will have to see how it goes in future games (if the characters don't stick to roads).

                                    Alex Koponen 

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