Crawl Game turns

I currently work on a Barbarians of Lemuria hack for dungeon crawls and did already post several versions, excerpts and ideas on G+. Thinking about the play style of dungeon crawls resulted in my trying to fins structure for myself as I do not know much the old DnD games. I posted something similar to the Blow on G+. There two articles called Overload the Encounter Die and Hazard System where linked to me. I liked the ideas presented there a lot and based on this I have refined my own system. Let me know what you think.

Turns & Phases

Everything is played in turns. During a turn each character has one action. The length of a turn varies based on the phase the game is in. At the end of each turn, besides Journey and Combat Phase, an encounter Roll is made. Usually all characters are in the same phase. You cannot initiate a Recuperation Phase while on a journey, during travel or exploration. Phases are a structure for the game but not boardgame like rules. The GM does not need to say “We enter Wilderness Phase”. He must simply pay attention to the specific rules for certain situations and apply them accordingly during the game.

Hazard Tables

Each phase mentions when to roll on a hazard table and shows the table itself. They vary from phase to phase but certain items are shared by all. It is suggested rolling on these tables is done by a different player each turn.

1 – Encounter: I suggest setting up a short, separate table with a few entries for possible random encounters for the area the players are in. 4-6 entries are usually sufficient. Not all of them need to be inherently dangerous or hostile.

2 – Foreshadow a future encounter: While on 1 you encounter something specific, a 2 will foreshadow one of these or a different, planned encounter. For example: if you have a dragon in your random encounter table a result of 2 could be tracks he left behind, a barn on fire and eaten cattle etc. Something that gives the players an idea of the encounters they can or will face.

3 – Location-specific Effect: Depending on the location these can be anything from weird sounds, weak earthquakes, morale checks for troops, a sudden downpour, a murderer on the loose etc. and should be set up in advance, but nothing too major.

4 – Location specific effect – Clock: Set up one or several big events or places for the location. An earthquake that will be so violent the landscape changes, a spring flood, a goblin horde attacking, an outbreak, an invasion from enemy forces, a hidden lost city etc. It must be something big, important or dangerous. It should have a clock with 4-10 fields. The shorter a turn in a phase is the more fields the clock should have. When in doubt use 6. Whenever this result is rolled, fill one of the clocks fields and foreshadow the event or location. When you fill out the last field the event occurs or you discover the location.

5 + 6 are Phase specific.

Journey Phase

In this phase a turn represents one or several weeks. You are only in this phase on long and relatively save journeys where the characters supplies don`t matter much. Like a voyage on a ship to a distant continent or a carriage ride to a faraway kingdom. In this phase you do not track the characters supplies and if the journey is comfortable enough you can even consider all wounds healed. The phase ends when the characters arrive at their destination, at which point you shift to the Adventure Phase, or the journey becomes more dangerous and you shift to the Travel Phase.

Wilderness Phase

This phase alternates between a night and a day turn. You use it when the characters travel from one location to the next in a way where their own supplies matter and when the environment poses a certain risk. Wandering through the Evergloom Forest or traversing the Eagle’s Pass high in the mountains are examples of situations for the travel phase. The distances should not be as vast as in Journey Phase and every day should pose a risk of random encounters.

Characters can take various actions during a wilderness turn. They can search for hidden locations, explore the land around them without a specific goal, travel to a location or track a quarry. They can also make camp. During the night turn all actions have a -1 penalty. Spending two consecutive wilderness phase turns without making camp will cause the characters to suffer Fatigue!

While you cannot recuperate during travel you can rest. Two consecutive turns spent in camp count as a Rest. During that time characters can interact with each other and careers can be used for various purposes eg: Hunting or searching for supplies, applying healing herbs to heal some wounds, repairing gear etc. At the end of the day any fatigue is cleared but double the supplies are consumed. Treat every result of 6 on the hazard table as a 1 for a rest day. Yes, staying in one place is dangerous.

Wilderness Hazard Table

Roll 1d6

  1. Encounter (May differ between day and night)
  2. Foreshadow a future encounter
  3. Location-specific effect
  4. Location -specific effect – Clock
  5. Foul Food – Loose an extra supply for food & drink
  6. Hard Days Travel – The day was extremely demanding, characters suffer fatigue.

Recuperation Phase

A turn in this phase is one day long, during which the characters either don`t do much but light reading and conversation, if they want to heal wounds, or spend their days training or cultivating contacts. Recuperation can only take place in a safe area. At the end of a turn characters can either heal wounds or spend 1 AP. If they want to spend more AP they need to take several Recuperation turns. In this phase characters can craft items as well. Every character also needs one supply for food & water per turn if they are not staying at an Inn or in a Hospital. At the end of a recuperation turn roll on the hazard table.

Recuperation Hazard Table

Roll 1d6

  1. Encounter (Should contain social conflicts involving the PCs)
  2. Foreshadow a future encounter
  3. Location-specific effect
  4. Location -specific effect – Clock
  5. Either foreshadow the big event or, if the event already took place, its effects are lessened.
  6. High cost of living: Each player must spend an additional 10 sp

Adventure Phase

In this Phase one turn equals roughly 1-2 Hours. You use it when the Characters do things that are time consuming in a specific place. For example: carousing through taverns, following rumours on the streets, investigating ancient tomes in the library. After about 10 Turns every character consumes one supply for food & water and needs a rest. If they do not rest they will suffer fatigue.

Adventure Hazard Table

Roll 1d6

  1. Encounter (should contain a wide variety of things)
  2. Foreshadow a future encounter
  3. Location-specific effect
  4. Location-specific effect – Clock
  5. Either foreshadow the big event or, if the event already took place, its effects are lessened.
  6. High cost of living: Each player must spend an additional 5 sp

Exploration Phase

In this phase a turn is roughly 5-15 Minutes. You use it while on a dungeon crawl. This assumes characters are moving very slowly in an incredibly dangerous and deadly environment and take care not to fall to an ambush or into a trap. Hence it is assumed they would automatically detect the presence of secret doors or traps in this phase. This is the phase where tracking light sources and supplies is very important. At the end of each turn roll on the hazard table to see what happens.

As soon as you encounter hostiles and it results in armed conflict the game shifts to the combat phase. If you leave the dungeon or other dangerous area the game shifts to either Adventure or Travel phase, depending on what you are going to do.

Exploration Hazard Table

Roll 1d6

  1. Encounter
  2. Foreshadow a future encounter
  3. Location-specific effect
  4. Location-specific effect – Clock
  5. Torches burn down. Fill one field in the clock of all torches.
  6. Lanterns and Torches burn down. Fill one field in their clocks.

Combat Phase

In this Phase a turn is just a few seconds. You only use it during combat. No matter how many turns a combat has, at the end of it mark time as if one exploration phase was spent.

Narrative Phase

The GM can initiate this phase during any other phase, Time is malleable during this phase and can take anything from a few minutes to month. Usually any time the characters start to interact with NPCs or the GM introduces something into the game is Narrative Phase. The Narrative Phase can result in an encounter roll if it is appropriate.

And that’s all so far. I still aim to improve on the recuperation and adventure hazard tables as I am not really happy with the 5+6 entries yet.