Monday, July 29, 2013

Fragments: Into the Whispering Desert

Fragments: Ideas that I began to develop, but will not likely finish.

It has become necessary for the intrepid PCs to go out into the Whispering Desert. Below is a table listing various flight motivations. The PCs are encouraged to elaborate upon any entry they roll.

Table 1; Desert Flight Motivations; Roll 1d6
The party call roll once as group or individually to determine individual motivations.
1. Flight from arrest and prosecution after a misunderstanding turned regrettably violent. 
2. Curiosity, always a powerful motivator. What's out there, anyway?
3. Cultural differences between PCs and town residents no longer made life comfortable.
4. Anguish and despair over a failed relationship.
5. Economic necessity after a sudden downturn in finances. Perhaps there's gold in them thar hills?
6. Spiritual yearning. The wide open expanses can be soothing to a troubled soul. 

     Before the journey begins, it is important to determine the time of year as it will have an impact on the party's survival.

Table 2; Season; Roll 1d4
Roll once at the start of play.
1. Spring; Wildflowers will be in bloom. The desert will teem with activity and for several weeks the Whispering Desert is quite pleasant. Temperatures are mild, with little swing from night to day. Light rain will fall on a roll of 1 on a 1d20.
2. Summer; Blistering, unholy heat during the day. Hit Points can be lost (1d4) for those who travel and labor during the hottest part of the day. At night it will cool rapidly, but only a light blanket is needed. Bright moonlight makes travelling possible. Slow, but possible nonetheless. Thunderstorms that create dangerous flash floods occur on a roll of 1 on a 1d20.
3. Fall; Still quite warm, but travel, combat and work can be performed with no adverse health effects. A small fire or warm blanket will be needed at night. Light rain will fall on a roll of 1 on a 1d20.
4. Winter: Very cool temperatures during the day and near freezing temperatures at night. Thick blankets and/or a fire are required during the evening. A light dusting of snow will fall on a roll of 1 on a 1d20.

Map, Scale and Rates of Travel
      A simple map (see above) of a small portion of the Whispering Desert can be provided to the players. Each small hex is 3 miles across, so the large hex measures 30 miles from top to bottom.

     Established game trails and paths are shown as dotted lines. Some players enjoy having a map to provide context, which enhances their role-play experience hence the inclusion of a simple, stripped down map. As the PCs explore, they can fill in the blanks as needed. There are a few keyed areas on the map that denote well-known (or vaguely known) landmarks that might appear on a map the PCs may have purchased before leaving town. 

     On foot and using the 2nd edition AD&D rules, an unencumbered man or elf can travel 24 miles per day on foot. Due to the rocky, hilly terrain and winding paths of the desert, this value is reduced by half to 12 miles. Therefore, an unencumbered man or elf can cross four small hexes per day.

Random Encounters
     Unexpected hazards and surprise meetings are a staple of exploration. Consult the tables below to determine if an encounter has occurred during the day or night. An encounter will have occurred on a roll of 1 on a 1d4. Roll just once during the day and again at night.

Table 3; Day Encounter; Roll 1d6
Roll 2d10 to determine the distance in yards between the party and the encounter.
1. Desert Viper;
2. Wind Spirit; 
3. Galeb Duhr; 
4. Giant Trapdoor Spider;
5-6. Wild Game; 

Table 4; Night Encounter; Roll 1d6
Roll 2d10 to determine the distance in yards between the party and the encounter.
1. Gambado; 
2. Wind Spirit; 
3. Galeb Duhr; 
4. Giant Trapdoor Spider: 
5-6. Wild Game; 

Keyed Entries

Sandstrom's Lair
Abandoned Mines
Abandoned Homesteads

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