Saturday Jul 13, 2024

Focused Location Crafter Exploration

In this Homebrew, I propose some RPG compatible mechanics with the Location Crafter, that allow us to participate more in the exploration and navigation. With this, we would enable our characters to influence more the results on the table. Hope you like it!

For an example reference, my party needed to find a Demon’s Rift. Since the region was about deep, snowy mountains, it would take them quite some effort to find the portal. It is based on their skills to find it before they freeze! So, I set up Location Crafter List:

Assumptions

This should work well with both the original Location Crafter, as well as the randomized ones. But I have only tested this on the original one, which requires slightly more “prep”.

The biggest assumptions for these rules to work well are:

  • You have a destination in mind, and it is somewhere in the bottom of the list.
  • The most dangerous encounters, and/or big bosses, are located at the bottom of the list.
  • You have cool loot in the table and objects that are relevant to the story and party.

Progression Rules

The first Location Crafter roll should apply default rules. With Progress Points (PP) starting at 0. For all subsequent location rolls, this should be the process:

  1. Apply Navigation Focus rules (coming next)
  2. Increase all PP Tracks by +1, except for those which do not circumstantially increase
  3. Roll for next Location Crafter’s location (roll on all lists) after PP was adjusted

In the Location Crafter we have 3 element types: Location, Encounter and Objects. Your characters can choose a Focus on their exploration, this works best when your party has an objective, or is under pressure. You don’t have to focus if your party is wandering about, just looking for random trouble.

FocusConceptMechanics
LOCATION
Scout Ahead
The party prioritizes reaching destination as fast as possible. Party leader should do a SCOUT equivalent test.Critical Failure: Locations PP does not increase this time.
Failure: Progress normally.
Success: Increase Locations PP by an additional +1
Critical Success: Increase locations PP by an additional +1, AND Optionally choose either of the adjacent locations in the list on your next roll
ENCOUNTERS
Avoid Threats
The party prioritizes making progress in the safest route. Party leader should do a STEALTH equivalent test.Critical Failure: Increase Encounters PP by an additional +1.
Failure: Progress normally.
Success: Encounters PP does not increase this time.
Critical Success: Encounters PP does not increase this time, AND Optionally choose either of the adjacent encounters in the list on your next roll
OBJECTS
Search Mode
The party prioritizes finding value, loot and important objects. Party leader should do a SEARCH equivalent test.Critical Failure: Objects PP does not increase this time.
Failure: Progress normally.
Success: Increase objects PP by an additional +1
Critical Success: Increase objects PP by an additional +1, AND Optionally choose either of the adjacent objects in the list on your next roll

Considerations

Keep in mind that by default, after each location, all Progress Point tracks increase by +1. But as you have seen in the Focus table, some tracks will increase by an additional +1, that means some of them will make a +2 jump! On the other hand, some results, indicate that the Progress Points track won’t advance this time. That means a total of +0 advance in the track, since it prevents that track from progressing normally. The Encounters track works in the opposite way, since it is about avoiding danger.

Difficulty for Tests

This will depend on your RPG. But a baseline, is to keep in mind the “danger” level of your Region. And if you feel you are succeeding often, try to increase the difficulty. Outstanding progress should be valuable Each track can have a different difficulty. For example, if the Region is a dense jungle, the difficulty for focusing to Avoid Threats should be lower than the difficulty to Scout Ahead, because it is easy to hide in the jungle, but it is really hard to find the right way.

Circumstantial Alteration of Progress Points

As your party talks with people, do some research or discover new clues, it is likely that their exploration can be positively or negatively impacted. This relies a bit on your creativity, but you can use the mechanics described above. The idea is not to make large adjustments, but occasional +1 or -1 in the Progress Points because of new information or bad circumstances, as well as having the option of selecting only once, one of the adjacent to the rolled values in the list.

This can have an impact in the random table outcomes. Here are some examples:

  • After interrogating one of the bandits, they revealed the location of a secret treasure: +1 PP on the Objects Track
  • There was a strong Winter Storm, and we failed some resistance checks. We were forced to find a different route: -1 PP on the Locations Track
  • Some farmers revealed the location of some bandits towards North. This can be helpful to avoid them. If the Bandits show up in the Encounters list, choose an adjacent value on the list for Encounters.

Outcomes and Design

The idea for this Focused Exploration mode, is to give the party a say in the exploration. With pure Location Crafter, what comes next is based on randomness and progress. But good scouts and risk taking from the party should be considered. And this is what we do here. Focusing the travel, allows the players to choose a safer route or to look for objects, with a small chance of not making progress at all (Critical Failure). On top of this, LC’s SPECIAL result can also hinder the progress.

On failure, things just go on as normally, as without Focus mode. This is to not halt the game or slow progress critically. On the other hand, the successes will increase the asymmetry of the Progress Point tracks, so they will look more often, different from each other.

The party has now a tool to advance Location or Objects track rapidly, while being able to delay the most dangerous enemies in the Encounters. You may have noticed I have not included a positive progression towards Encounters. This is intended, as, to keep Encounters an imminent danger.

I hope you liked this! And looking forward to see how it works. JV.

JeansenVaars

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