Thursday, December 22, 2016


Whew! That last post was a doozy. Let's go with something easier. It needs to get done anyway.

As part of a previous post about real-life adventurers, I mentioned that they practically always go on caravans. How can we encourage that in gaming?

One thing about dungeon- and hex-crawling is that it's all about the management of resources.

Caravans are an abstraction of resources. Here's how it works.

You pay an up-front cost for your caravan in some place with a caravanserai. (It becomes the DM's responsibility to figure out where a caravanserai might be. I suggest any city unless it's completely isolated, and to a limited extent any town.) That up-front cost probably costs a bit more than it would if you just went through the equipment list putting together stuff for an expedition. (Note also that caravan costs assume you buy mounts at the starting point, but sell them again when the expedition's over. If you decide to keep them or lose them, pay full price.)

However, if you do buy a caravan, you're completely covered for all normal, common items as long as you're with the caravan for some period of time. Rope, food, water, lights, arrows, mapping supplies - they're all part of the caravan. Gifts for the natives, too. If you need something specific that's not an extremely common item, but you nevertheless might have (like a white horse or a five-man tent) you roll to see if you have it.

All this comes with a number of servants and animals appropriate to the size. If the animals can't graze where you're going, it halves your number of supplies.

Caravans travel slowly; assume the speed of a heavily laden walking man for a standard pace. Follow roads.

Also, caravans can generally resupply on some stocks (not gifts, but yes to food and water, other stuff at the DM's discretion) in any villages/settlements/tribal homelands they come across. Prices are at the DM's discretion as well, but stuff is cheap out in the bush. I recommend starting at around 1/10th the caravan price for resupply.

Caravans can also set up base camps. A base camp is a 'safe place' - not that it can't get attacked if the DM decides that's reasonable, but it's a lightly-fortified location with guards (mostly just caravan servants) and food and supplies. If you go into the dungeon, when you come out again you can rest and resupply at the base camp, as well as dumping off your excess loot. (You can't spend it, though.)

Guards cost extra. Paying for guards you get standard men-at-arms, with variations appropriate to the area.

That's enough talking. Let's give some examples

Small Caravan
Cost: 500gp
Unusual item roll: 5 or less (on 2d6)
Five pack animals and ten servants, plus riding animals for the party. Supplies for one month. Gifts for four introductions. Pay 100gp extra for guards.

Medium Caravan
Cost: 1000gp
Unusual item roll: 7 or less (on 2d6)
Ten pack animals and fifteen servants, plus riding animals for the party. Supplies for three months. Gifts for eight introductions. Pay 200gp extra for guards.

Large Caravan
Cost: 2000gp
Unusual item roll: 9 or less (on 2d6)
Twenty pack animals and  thirty servants, plus riding animals for the party. Supplies for six months. Gifts for sixteen introductions. Pay 400gp extra for guards.

Meeting the natives

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