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Some wilderness rules

posted Mar 19, 2013 15:56:32 by Skoll
In my campaign - well, I guess in most campaigns - the heroes need to travel long distances every once in a while. How have you handled the following topics?
1. How long does it take to wear armor?
2. What kind of armor can be slept in and with what kind of penalties?
3. How does armor affect marching long distances? How to handle march-fatigue?
4. How to check if the hero at watch in the night stays awake?

Here's how we have played:
1. It takes 1 round / ENC to wear armor.
2. You can sleep in 2 AP armor with no penalties. Sleeping in heavier armor calls for an Endurance roll. Failure results in one level of fatigue, which doesn't go away before the character can rest properly. The rolls start with 3 AP armor and Easy, and get one grade harder as the armor gets heavier.
3. I generally improvise. I tell the players how fast they can march in these conditions without getting tired, or if they want to press harder I tell them how often they need to make an Endurance roll to see if they get fatigue. This fatigue is recovered only with proper night's sleep.
4. If they have had a full day on their feet I require a Very Easy Endurance roll so see if they fall asleep during their watch. Any fatigue acquired during the day obviously makes the roll harder.
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6 replies
jjwdrake said Mar 19, 2013 16:24:40
1) This doesn't come up much, generally if surprised there's no time to don armour as combat is so quick anyway

2) I do it much as you suggest - points perhaps, but also how much of it overall, and the RQ rules do distinguish types between flexible and rigid. I might be more forgiving if the character is wearing flexible armour! The main point of this is to make the player take a decision on whether his character is armoured up or not, rather than to enjoy the penalty

In general I start with the assumption people sleep without their armour on unless the players tell me otherwise. In any circumstances where a player insists his character is going to do something uncomfortable - for example wearing full armour or sleeping rough with no fire on a cold night because they are afraid of attracting attention - I might resort to requiring an Endurance roll to show they have not gained a fatigue level as a result of not getting the rest they need.

3) Same as you - since the conditions will play a factor - as GM I am within my rights to decide when a penalty or check should be made on the fly, as weather and conditions dictate. Travelling across a bone dry desert in armour and carrying your hoplie shield because you have no pack animal? force a choice - carry the shield and make a roll, or abandon it...

4) Hmm - sometimes. This is a difficult one, I would probably only ask for a roll at all if there is a reason the character is dog tired because of the day's events. e.g. the party has downed a skin full of untempered wine before settling down - that's asking for a check to stay awake. The party has pushed on into the evening instead of setting camp at the usual time so they are sure to be in reach of their objective next day - maybe thhat's a check too. Generally speaking, who is on which watch, which one falls alseep? - I would not bother.

DanTrue said Mar 20, 2013 08:51:28
I think the legions made better time before Marius' reformation of the Roman legion. Don't you agree?

They didn't, because even though soldiers with sore feet and lots of kit are slow - civilians with wagons, oxes, mules etc. are even slower.

The system of marching is in effect today in the Danish (and most other I guess) armies still. You take 5 minutes rest every 55 minutes of marching - when marching you march ~6km/h, so with the rest you keep a steady pace total of 5 km/h. Most professional soldiers I know can keep this up with full kit (20-25 kg) for 8+ hours. Don't underestimate the benefit of physical training ;)

I actually feel that my full mail (~40 kg) is significantly easier to wear, than the same weight applied only to my backpack, since it's spread all over the body. However, if I were to march 20-30 km in it, other than being completely busted from the weight, I would be sore all over from straps, locks, half-open rings etc. biting me and gnaving at me.

... but an infantryman would next to never march in full mail - if marching armoured, he would march in his shirt and helmet only, perhaps with hardened leather on the legs. This would significantly ease the burden. The longest period I've walked continually with a mail shirt, shield and helmet on have been around 6 hours, and I was only as tired as could be translates to 1 level of fatigue... and I'm not a professional soldier.

The point being, that I would simply use the normal encumbrance rules on p. 116. If the armour is heavy enough to encumber you, the otherwise light activity of walking becomes medium or possibly hard - and you will risk fatigue during marches. Remember that armour worn counts only half ENC.

- Dan
SebastianJansson said Mar 21, 2013 04:10:22
1. It usually doesn't come up, but I tend to go with 1 action to put your helmet on, if you wish to protect your noggin' before running into battle.

2. No armor can be slept in, or you gain a level of fatigue which doesn't go away until the next time you rest (without armour). However, I would never let it increase beyond one level (can't let people go into a coma because they sleep in armour!)

3. I tend to ignore it, but those who wear heavier armour might have to roll an extra athletic role or two every now and again. Those who wear metal will also take greater effect from weather conditions like extreme warmth or cold.

4. My groups tend to space the watch out pretty eavenly amongst themselves, so I usually ignore this one too. Then again, if they are fatigued, and going with a night watch, I would probably have them roll endurance or a passion like "Loyalty (Friends)".
JohnWhite said Mar 23, 2013 13:18:59
Wearing lowerleg armour can be extremely inconvenient when marching. Historically greaves and similar armour was often ditched on campaign or at least removed by mounted warriors attempting manoeuvres on foot. My NPC stats often reflect my prejudice.

If a GM needs to re-inforce penalties for sleeping in armour, give the wearer a limp or a cricked neck that he can't move. (Having once fallen asleep in a gorget I can personally vouch for the discomfort.)
[Last edited Mar 23, 2013 13:21:10]
Skoll said Mar 27, 2013 15:42:20
Thanks for all the answers.

Before I had houseruled the time for donning armor, we had a few discussions when the players wanted to suit up in the middle of an ambush. Now that we have the rule, and they understand that it really takes time, we haven't really used that rule.

What comes to staying awake during watch at night, I'm not asking my players to roll endurance every night. But in some special situations, when they are really tired, it might add some interesting situations. In this particular case the group had been marching on a swamp the whole day, with no animals to carry their equipment, and no food, while being chased by a bunch on angry centaurs (or so they thought).

Jefferiot: Yes, folk magic is well known in our game too as we also are playing in Glorantha. And Vigor is indeed a popular spell among my group. Your idea of adding the SR penalty of armor slept in to the endurance rolls is an interesting one. I think I'll take it into use. I also like the idea on slowing mana regeneration.
JohnWhite said Mar 27, 2013 17:04:17
Donning armour is often easier if another person aids you. In any military/outdoor activity 'buddy' systems where a pair check each other is recommended.

If people are going to stay awake then they will probably have lots of false alarms or worries. Sounds can be strange and magnified and in poor light and danger inanimate objects often resemble hostiles.

Acclimatising vision to dark is quickly lost from flares of light mundane, or magical. You can end up with a spot of light dancing before your eyes as well.
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