20 Uneventful Days on the Road

Not every day of an adventurer’s life is full of life and death struggles against evil cults, terrifying monsters or unseen enemies. Sometimes, the party just needs to get from A to B.

By Marc Radle

By Marc Radle

 

Sometimes, the GM hand waves such journeys while other times he wants to add a little bit of detail into proceedings, but doesn’t want to bog play down with details. Use the table below, to generate the details of a trouble-free day’s journey along a well-used road:

  1. An incessant wind blows into your faces for much of the day, and you pass little traffic. As dusk falls, a sheltered dell complete with stream appears from the gloom; it seems to be the perfect place to camp.
  2. The road is busy, but few travellers seem in the mood to stop and share news.
  3. Bright sun and a clear sky make the day’s travel pleasant and peaceful. Twice, the road fords shallow, sluggish rivers whose shaded banks are choked with reeds.
  4. Heavy rain makes travel wet and miserable today. You see practically no-one on the road and make lousy time as the road quickly turns into a muddy quagmire.
  5. Trees grow up close to the road and deep shadows cloak the ground beneath their boughs. Birds nest in these trees and seem to call out to you as you pass. As the gloom of dusk gathers, the birds fall silent.
  6. Smoke up ahead betrays the presence of a camp close to the road. Here the crew of three wagons gather about a large campfire and roast the corpse of some large animal—perhaps a wild pig—one of their number shot. They call out in greeting as you pass.
  7. A fallen tree blocks the road. Clearly, it has rested here for some time; travellers have worn a new muddy trail around its fallen trunk.
  8. In the afternoon, the road passes by the ivy-clad ruins of some fort or other small fortification. A brief investigation of the ruin wastes several hours and reveals nothing of interest. Night falls.
  9. Light rain and blinding sun assail you in equal measure. For much of the day, a rainbow glitters on the horizon and several of you remember the legends of pixie gold said to lie at its end.
  10. Deep gouges worn by innumerable wagon wheels have rendered this muddy stretch of road all but impassable. Consequently, travellers have simply widened the road resulting in a great ribbon of churned earth.
  11. Partway through the day, sounds of something large moving through the undergrowth assail you. Moments later, a large wild boar, followed by two young, emerges from the brush. At sight of you, they charge away into the undergrowth.
  12. Just after you break camp, something large flies far overhead. While the creature is far up in the sky, it is undoubtably large. It takes no notice of you.
  13. Your morning’s travel is uneventful. After lunch, you come across an overturned wagon—one wheel splintered—on its side in a ditch running alongside the road. Two men—Argor and Heral—argue about who is to blame for the accident.
  14. The barking of dogs—and the blare of hunting horns—reaches your ears during the midmorning. You don’t see any hunters, or their prey, though.
  15. Heavy, glowering clouds obscure the sun, and it threatens to rain. Travellers pass hurriedly by, bundled in their cloaks.
  16. The only “exciting” thing to happen to you today was a small cavalry patrol galloping passed your group, splattering you with mud. They continued on, heedless.
  17. Birds sing in the trees and countless small things snuffle about in the undergrowth near the road. The sun beats down on you and you make good time.
  18. The road climbs steeply up a high bluff in the late afternoon. It’s hard work getting to the top, but the view is worth it; you can see for miles around and can make out several groups of travellers on the road ahead.
  19. The road is busy, and several times merchants stop you to try and sell you food, drink and other goods. None of them have any exciting or important news to relay.
  20. Just before noon, you reach the point where the road once crossed a river, but the bridge has been partially washed away. Instead of petering out, the road curves away to the left and rambles along the river bank until it reaches a natural ford. The diversion costs you several hours lost.

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This article will appear in GM’s Miscellany: 20 Things II, available in March 2017.

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