DM of the Rings Remaster XLVI: The Hunt Begins!

By Peter T Parker Posted Sunday Nov 19, 2023

Filed under: DM of the Rings Remaster 12 comments

Players complain so much about having to walk long distances. You would think they were actually, you know, walking there.

-Shamus, Wednesday Jan 3, 2007

Bay is sick this week, so I’ve strong-armed them into letting me do this one.

I’ll admit as both a player and a DM I still don’t get the walking thing. But he was right, nothing will entice a group more than the promise of a horse-powered time skip. Or the more modern alternative, some big magic teleporter that sends you from important city to important city a-la fast-travel. Or trains, those show up a lot these days.

It’s funny to think how even D&d ‘technology’ changes as time goes on.


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12 thoughts on “DM of the Rings Remaster XLVI: The Hunt Begins!

  1. saligor says:

    Maybe because walking means a risk of random encounters? As a player I consider moving from a point A to a point B the meat of the session as often as the true objective is. Because I can use the time to do whatever plan I wish to do to make the objective easier. But that means loosing time going to different places buying and constructing whatever I may need. So finding the Bad guy can get a few seessions as I am doing all the secondary objectives(given by the QM or self decided) that I can.

    1. Soylent Dave says:

      No matter how quickly or how far you travel, you will have exactly one random encounter per session.

      It’s far too much effort for everyone involved to do keep doing them after the first one (and everyone just wants to crack on with the plot anyway).

  2. BlueHorus says:

    “But we stole those boats for a reason!”

    It’s a fact of life for most casters in D&D that once they hit a certain level, they are forced to become the party’s transport. Teleportation Circle, Tree Stride, Mark of Recall; once you can do it, you almost always have to.

  3. LizTheWhiz says:

    Part of it probably has to do with the lineage of D&D initially being tracked in real-time, or at least the insistence of being kept to some sort of calendar. Idk how prevalent that still *is*, but I know in my Pathfinder game getting horses doubled the speed of exploration on the world map.

    1. Peter T Parker says:

      Wow, I never even knew that was a thing! I can see it being a good way to get back into it if you’ve been away a while. Skip the weird dissonance of learning a big plot point and the coming back weeks later and having to pretend to still be surprised. Lord knows Id’ve made my world map bigger if I’d thought of that. ‘Sorry it’s been six months since last session everyone, your journey took longer than anticipated. You know how traffic gets on plot relevant roads’

      1. LizTheWhiz says:

        My game had a brief moment (because I *am* keeping track of the calendar) where we got lapped (with our campaign starting in January real world time but February In Fiction), and now the campaign is in December (and almost Christmas) while we in the real world are in November, despite the game sometimes skipping a month of time.

    2. Manlobbi the shopkeeper says:

      I always found some of those bits of RPGs the most infuriating. Like tracking food spoilage (how old is that rabbit we killed with your ranger foraging skill? 2 days? 3?) water consumption (how much water are we using in this forest when its 50 degrees? How about in the desert when its 100?) and of course…..carry weight. Yea sure….travel speed is doubled and blah blah blah.

      IMO its role playing game. not logistics management job.

      1. Peter T Parker says:

        Haha yeah I feel that. Usually I ditch all of that unless it’s really relevant or someone’s trying to walk off with a couch. Though recently I actually ran into a video by Zee Bashaw that’s made me consider using carry weight. He gives everyone a paper grid and all the items are a square per pound, like resident evil inventory management. There’s more to it but that’s the general idea. It looks like a lot of fun if you do it right and a good way to make sure everyone remembers what they have on them.

  4. ehlijen says:

    My first intro to DnD was the 3.5 Living Greyhawk semi-worldwide campaign. It was made up of a bunch of pre-written adventures you could play in any order, with a rotating cast of whoever happened to be at that day’s meeting who hadn’t played that adventure yet.
    It…was a decent, somewhat popular idea that worked to a degree. I’ll mostly credit it with drawing me into roleplaying.

    One of the silly rules was that you would not get XP for any encounter written in the module that you skipped due to special travel means (and XP per adventure was capped, with the cap assuming you’d find every encounter). And because the writers couldn’t assume everyone had access to teleport, they rarely assumed anyone did. And as a result, players quickly learned to actively avoid travel spells.

    So, having had the opposite experience of this comic, I’m not sure where the aversion to walking in game comes from (though I’m happy to believe that it exists).

  5. MarcoSnow says:

    I suspect the aversion to walking long distances comes from the lower stakes of encounters while on the road (generally speaking). That’s not inherently a bad thing, in and of itself, it can be a nice release valve following more intense character moments and story beats. That said, adding unexpected connective tissue between the road trip and the player characters’ storylines or the narrative writ large can help raise the stakes in unexpected ways and create memorable moments.

  6. Linneris says:

    This was covered in comments for the original comic, but I feel obliged to point out that there’s a geography mistake. The orcs actually took Merry and Pippin west, not south. The river Anduin does flow south, but it’s west that the characters need to go.

    1. Mr. Wolf says:

      … and if they do take the boats, CRASH SMASH at the bottom of the waterfall.

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