December 17, 2011

Gods of Gondwane: Travel in Gondwane

dino-howdah

Here’s something for GM’s running Gods of Gondwane: how to get your adventurers from one place to another, with an obstacle course of dinosaurs!  Not only are the allosaurs and other carnivores extremely dangerous, even the herbivores can wreak a lot of havoc with their great size and strength.  The inhabitants of Gondwane have thus evolved the following methods for travel:

Sauropod Howdahs
The Thunderfoot Nomads enjoy one of the safest and best modes of transport in Gondwane: howdahs affixed to the backs of titanic sauropods.  Hardly anything dares to mess with a full-grown brontosaurus, and anything that tries it with the Thunderfoot Nomads will have to face their spears and lances in addition to the powerful lashing tails of their mounts.  Travel by thunderfoot is slow, however, as the thunderfoot’s pace is never very fast, and it has to be allowed to graze for one full day out of every three or four.

Drum and Torch Caravans
Merchants and military expeditions use noise from big kettledrums and the smoke of noisome herbs, bundled onto long torches, to keep dinosaurs away.  The processions are led by torchbearers, with drummers at one or more points in the middle of the column, and more torchbearers at the rear. 

Whenever a dangerous dinosaur is spotted the drummers begin pounding on their kettledrums, and the torchbearers touch coals they have kept ready to their torches.  This works well enough that regular caravan trade can occur between cities, but it’s expensive.  The caravans’ guards also often use pennoned lances, using the pennons to confuse and intimidate approaching dinosaurs.  (Sometimes it works, and sometimes the dinosaur just eats the pennon!)

The noise and smoke also make such processions detectable from miles away!  Armies marching using this technique lose all possibility of achieving surprise, unless they chance a last-stage stealth movement without the drums and torches. 

1-neanderthal-man-granger

Highland Routes
One of the best ways to avoid encounters with the largest dinosaurs is to take the steep highland routes.  This is of course very slow going, requiring travel on foot, and there’s only so many places you can reach.  This is also the reason the mountains are haunted by savages like the Hargath – they’re the only places they can lair safely.

drq_dinorider

Stealth and Speed
A measure only for the desperate, it is possible to cross distances of dinosaur-infested wilderness by using all one’s craft and bursts of speed to get across vulnerable open areas.  When player characters do this, have them roll contests of stealth vs. varying difficulties; failure means a dinosaur encounter. 

Being mounted gives a bonus die to the players for  crossing open areas; give yourself a bonus die however if the PCs are mounted and crossing thick jungle!  Travel on foot is unmodified.

jurassic-voyage drq

Boats
Travel by boat or ship is a good and reasonably safe option along Gondwane’s large rivers and lakes, though less so by sea; with all of Earth’s landmasses on one side of the planet, storms are frequent and more severe at sea.  Voyagers should take care not to attract too many predators by throwing waste overboard, specially meats and animal parts, and it’s common for the crew to always have pikes and other weapons ready to hand at all times in case of monster attack.

7 comments:

  1. Gondwane does deserve more attention, Dariel. Will download it and do a read through.

    Good to see you working on it!

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  2. Am thinking of doing a 'deluxe' edition with more adventures and locations that I can sell. Let me know your reactions after you've read it!

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  3. Just wanted to say you did a great job combining those public domain pics. I always thought Gondwana would be a cool setting too, had it as a time travel destination with huge casinos/ resorts in a game I played with my brother.

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  4. Thanks! Now that you mentioned casinos ... I'm getting ideas for another Remnant location!

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  5. hi im from italy, i was looking for a map of Pangea where i had the idea to set up an alternative fantasy campaign of D&D 3.5, while i casually found your blog.
    i have to say you this is probably one of the best environment/ambientation ever written, seriously.
    i will use it for my campaign as it is written, setting up the races u created as playable characters and adding rolemaster critical hits and all D&D fantasy races and also some mitologic races as the ones described by Plinio il Vecchio, an ancient roman writer.
    it will be a pretty terrible place..
    i yet told to my players to avoid to be fond of their characters..

    many thx for your work, i repeat, one of the better ambientations ever written man, congratulations..

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  6. Grazie! (and that's all the Italian I know!) The setting is described in more detail in the PDF (http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=95352&filters=100_0_0_0)

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