It was not close this month. Asked which random encounter table ought to inspire our next big arc, our Quest Givers were definitive. So for the next several weeks, all our finest pirates, buccaneers, and assorted scallywags will be exploring “Ruined City Risen from the Sea.” (Better luck next time, “Jungle City” and “Scorched Land!”)

I must say though, that is certainly an ominous color for a subaquatic metropolis. It’s almost… sanguine in hue. Who knows what ancient empire of blood once called the lost city of Aqua Vitae home? Good thing Handbook-World’s perkiest dhampir happened to luck into the place! But then again, Swash/Buckle were always going to find Aqua Vitae, no matter how poopy their rolls or empty their heads.

You see, if the plot calls for you to discover the location of the secret catacombs or whatever, you’re going to discover them. The adventure (and the cool dungeon your GM prepared) can’t happen if you fail to do so. That’s means you’re free to dump your Survival type skills, ignore all the plot points and clues, and just wait passively for the plot to come to you.

Careful readers may notice a hint of sarcasm in that last bit.

Exploration is SUPPOSED to come with consequences. Making it to your destination before your supplies run out, exhaustion sets in, or the other team beats you to the punch are a few examples. In other words, if the style of game you’re running dictates that the party MUST get where they’re going eventually, then there MUST be something beyond raw navigation to ratchet up the tension. The question is what

So for today’s discussion, why don’t we talk shop about wayfinding on the world map. How do you like to spice up long-distance travel? What bad stuff happens if the PCs take too long, and how do you communicate that bad stuff to the players? Whether we’re talking about the classics (random encounters!) or the narrative (clocks!), let’s hear about your go-to techniques for epic voyages down in the comments!


ARE YOU THE KIND OF DRAGON THAT HOARDS ART? Then you’ll want to check out the “Epic Hero” reward level on our Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Like the proper fire-breathing tyrant you are, you’ll get to demand a monthly offerings suited to your tastes! Submit a request, and you’ll have a personalized original art card to add to your hoard. Trust us. This is the sort of one-of-a-kind treasure suitable to a wyrm of your magnificence.