Travel & Exploration


Equipment & Encumbrance

Any­thing you might need should be pur­chased and writ­ten down. Food, light sources, pro­tec­tive clothing/bedding, bags and back­packs, etc. will all be impor­tant. This includes fod­der for mounts: a horse can­not live on grass alone.

Keep track of your resources, includ­ing how those resources are car­ried: do you have a back­pack? A sack? Pouch­es?

A char­ac­ter that car­ries more than five times their strength in equip­ment (includ­ing equip­ment worn, except back­packs) is encum­bered, drop­ping their speed by 10’.

 A char­ac­ter that car­ries more than ten times their strength in equip­ment is heav­i­ly encum­bered, drop­ping their speed by 20’ and impos­ing dis­ad­van­tage to all abil­i­ty checks, saves, and attack rolls that use strength, dex­ter­i­ty, or con­sti­tu­tion.

Back­packs can store 50 pounds of gear and, unlike a sack, effec­tive­ly reduces that weight by half for pur­pos­es of encum­brance. Also, the weight of a worn back­pack can be ignored for pur­pos­es of encum­brance. Thus, a ful­ly loaded back­pack weighs 55 pounds but only con­tributes 25 pounds toward encum­brance.

Light & Vision

Torch­es burn for one hour and a flask of oil will keep a lantern burn­ing for six hours. 

Torch­es pro­vide bright light for 20’ and dim light for 20’ beyond that. Lanterns pro­vide bright light for 30’ and dim light for 30’ beyond that, but hood­ed lanterns can be made to pro­vide dim light for 5’. All light sources great­ly increase one’s vis­i­bil­i­ty, though hood­ed lanterns dimin­ish that great­ly.

All rolls to see things in dim light are made with dis­ad­van­tage, includ­ing ranged attacks.

Max­i­mum vision on a clear, dry day is around 150 miles for large land forms.

Overland Movement

Char­ac­ters on foot can trav­el 24 miles per day (eight hours) and those mount­ed on a rid­ing horse can trav­el 48 miles per day.

Char­ac­ters who trav­el by foot or mount (but not cart or sim­i­lar) for eight hours gain a lev­el of exhaus­tion.  

Trav­el­ing encum­bered for eight hours adds an addi­tion­al lev­el of exhaus­tion. Trav­el­ing heav­i­ly encum­bered for eight hours adds two lev­els of exhaus­tion. Mounts that trav­el for eight hours also gain a lev­el of exhaus­tion. Trav­el­ing encum­bered while mount­ed does gain the char­ac­ter an addi­tion­al lev­el of exhaus­tion.

Those trav­el­ing in medi­um armor must make a con­sti­tu­tion save (DC 15 on foot/DC 10 mount­ed) or gain a lev­el of exhaus­tion at the end of eight hours of trav­el. Trav­el­ing in heavy armor requires the same, but rolled with dis­ad­van­tage.

Char­ac­ters can make a forced-march, increas­ing their dis­tance cov­ered by 50%, but must make a con­sti­tu­tion save (DC 15) or gain a lev­el of exhaus­tion. Attempt­ing a forced-march mount­ed requires a con­sti­tu­tion save (DC 15) for both rid­er and mount.

Nor­malRoads in any ter­rain save moun­tains. Trails in fields, plains, and deserts.x1
HardRoads in moun­tains. Trails in forests and hills.x.75
Dif­fi­cultTrails in moun­tains and swamps. Track­less plains and deserts.x.5
Very Dif­fi­cultTrack­less hills, forests, and moun­tains.x.25
Impas­si­bleTrack­less swamps. Rivers with­out fords or bridges.x0

Storm con­di­tions increase the dif­fi­cul­ty of any ter­rain by one step. Night increas­es the dif­fi­cul­ty of any ter­rain by one step. Trav­el in the win­ter, once snow has fall­en, increas­es the dif­fi­cul­ty of all ter­rain by one step.



Small (1–2 per­son) 40 gp, Medi­um (3–4 peo­ple) 60 gp, Large (5–6 peo­ple) 80 gp, War (7–10 peo­ple) 100 gp

Canoes are ide­al for wilder­ness trav­el as they have a very shal­low draft, allow­ing trav­el up rel­a­tive­ly small streams, they are rea­son­ably light, allow­ing easy portag­ing over­land, and they allow two or more peo­ple to pad­dle at the same time, eas­ing the bur­den on each indi­vid­ual.

Use of canoes requires a strength check every four hours to deter­mine trav­el mod­i­fi­er, but those with pro­fi­cien­cy (water­borne craft) can add their pro­fi­cien­cy mod­i­fi­er. One per­son in the boat makes the check, but if two or more peo­ple are pad­dling, the check is made with advan­tage. If desired, the pad­dler can take 10+modifiers.

Roll Trav­el Mod­i­fi­er
5 No head­way. x0 (0 mi. in 4 hours)
5–9 Slow progress. x.5 (6 mi. in 4 hours)
10–14 Nor­mal progress. x1 (12 mi. in 4 hours)
15–19 Good time. x1.5 (18 mi. in 4 hours)
20–24 Excel­lent time. x2 (24 mi. in 4 hours)
25–29 Dan­ger­ous speeds. x2.5 (30 mi. in 4 hours)
>29 Reck­less speeds. x3 (36 mi. in 4 hours)

The base speed of a canoe is 12 miles per four hour peri­od. Trav­el upstream increas­es the DC of each cat­e­go­ry by 5, e.g., nor­mal trav­el is now 15–19. Trav­el upstream through hills requires a roll (no tak­ing 10) and impos­es dis­ad­van­tage. Trav­el upstream through moun­tains is typ­i­cal­ly impos­si­ble.

Trav­el down­stream decreas­es the DC of each cat­e­go­ry by 5. Trav­el down­stream through hills decreas­es the DC of each cat­e­go­ry by 10 but requires a pro­fi­cien­cy (water­borne vehi­cle) check DC 10 x trav­el mod­i­fi­er to avoid cap­siz­ing (tak­ing 10 is per­mit­ted). Trav­el down­stream through moun­tains is pos­si­ble, but decreas­es the DC by 15 and requires a pro­fi­cien­cy (water­borne vehi­cle) check DC 10 x trav­el mod­i­fi­er at dis­ad­van­tage (no tak­ing 10).

Eight hours of trav­el by canoe impos­es exhaus­tion on all those who pad­dle, but exhaus­tion due to encum­brance is avoid­ed.

Random Encounters

Dur­ing over­land trav­el, ran­dom encounter rolls are made every four hours. Thus, six ran­dom encounter rolls are made each 24 hour peri­od.

In ordi­nary areas, the chance of encounter is 1:6. In heav­i­ly pop­u­lat­ed or dan­ger­ous areas, it can increase to 1:3 or even 1:2.

Encoun­ters can con­sist of:

  • Visu­al con­tact, near — Pas­sive Per­cep­tion DC 5
  • Visu­al con­tact, far — Pas­sive Per­cep­tion DC 15
  • Audi­to­ry con­tact, near — Pas­sive Per­cep­tion DC 5
  • Audi­to­ry con­tact, far — Pas­sive Per­cep­tion DC 15
  • Tracks or signs — Pas­sive Per­cep­tion DC 5–20, depen­dent

Any con­tact allows the encoun­tered crea­ture a chance of notic­ing the par­ty. These DCs can be changed based on cir­cum­stances, e.g., a lion roar­ing five miles away does not have a chance of notic­ing the PCs nor do the PCs have any chance of not notic­ing the roar.

Food & Water

Char­ac­ters who go eight hours with­out food or water gain a lev­el of exhaus­tion.

Hunt­ing or for­ag­ing for food/water in ordi­nary set­tings requires a sur­vival skill check, pro­vid­ing dai­ly food/water for a num­ber of peo­ple equal to the result divid­ed by five. Thus, a result of 13 would pro­vide food/water for two peo­ple (or two days worth for one per­son). In more dif­fi­cult or unfa­mil­iar set­tings, e.g., a desert, the skill check must be made with dis­ad­van­tage. Reduc­ing the trav­el time by half allows the result to be divid­ed by two. Mul­ti­ple peo­ple (with pos­i­tive Sur­vival mod­i­fiers) for­ag­ing grants advan­tage on the roll. For­ag­ing with­out trav­el­ling for eight hours also pro­vides advan­tage.


Char­ac­ters who face adverse con­di­tions, e.g., extreme heat or cold, rain, etc., for eight hours with­out prop­er pro­tec­tion must make a con­sti­tu­tion save (DC 10 or greater, depend­ing on the con­di­tions) or gain a lev­el of exhaus­tion. Note the impor­tance of fire in staving off cold.

Getting Lost

When fol­low­ing well-trav­elled paths, there is lit­tle dan­ger of get­ting lost. But rarely trav­eled paths pose a risk, requir­ing a (hid­den) sur­vival skill check (DC 5) every four hours from whomev­er in the par­ty has the high­est mod­i­fi­er.

Trav­el­ing in adverse con­di­tions, e.g., in the wilder­ness with no trails or in reduced vis­i­bil­i­ty, increase the DC by 5. Pos­sess­ing a map decreas­es the DC by 5 (if it’s accu­rate). If the par­ty becomes lost, it is the Judge’s dis­cre­tion what becomes of them.


As should be clear by now, adven­tur­ers trav­el­ling over­land con­stant­ly face the pos­si­bil­i­ty of exhaus­tion. The effects of exhaus­tion are as fol­lows:

  1. Dis­ad­van­tage on abil­i­ty checks
  2. Speed halved
  3. Dis­ad­van­tage on attack rolls
  4. Hit point max­i­mum halved
  5. Speed reduced to 0
  6. Inca­pac­i­tat­ed

Note that once one reach­es lev­el 3 of exhaus­tion, they had bet­ter rest because they will rapid­ly gain exhaus­tion if mak­ing sav­ing throws with dis­ad­van­tage. Dur­ing a rest (short or long), one lev­el of exhaus­tion can be removed per HD expend­ed. One lev­el of exhaus­tion is auto­mat­i­cal­ly removed dur­ing a long rest. Going with­out a long rest dur­ing a giv­en 24 hour peri­od results in an addi­tion­al lev­el of exhaus­tion.

An Exam­ple of Exhaus­tion: Loom spends his day trav­el­ling for eight hours along a road. He is not par­tic­u­lar­ly strong, so his heavy pack results in encum­brance. By the end of the day, should not else hap­pen, he’d gain two lev­els of exhaus­tion. Loom is also wear­ing a chain shirt, so he must make a DC 15 Con­sti­tu­tion save or gain anoth­er lev­el of exhaus­tion. Luck­i­ly, he pass­es that save. That evening, Loom cooks him­self din­ner (using a ration to pre­vent anoth­er lev­el of exhaus­tion) and writes in his jour­nal. Loom only has one HD, but since he didn’t need to use it to stave off injury that day, he expends it at the end of the day to remove one lev­el of exhaus­tion, leav­ing him with only one lev­el of exhaus­tion. He also man­ages to get five hours of sleep or so and doesn’t get on the road until after the sun ris­es. This con­sti­tutes a long rest (eight hours), so Loom los­es one lev­el of exhaus­tion and regains his spent HD, allow­ing him to hit the road com­plete­ly refreshed.

Dur­ing the next day of trav­el, Loom is way­laid by two gob­lins at a bridge, demand­ing he “pay the toll.” When he refus­es indig­nant­ly, they attack. Dur­ing the fight, Loom is pushed to his lim­it (reach­es 0 hit points), but sol­diers on. While he is tri­umphant, putting the gob­lins to flight, he gains one lev­el of exhaus­tion. He uses his HD to regain some of his lost hit points, leav­ing him unable to remove any exhaus­tion at the end of the day. Thus, he ends the day with three lev­els of exhaus­tion: one for trav­el, one for encum­brance, and one for sol­dier­ing on. He also has to make a DC 15 Con save or gain anoth­er lev­el due to his chain shirt and, since he’s rolling with dis­ad­van­tage due to hav­ing three lev­els of exhaus­tion, he fails, gain­ing yet anoth­er lev­el of exhaus­tion for a total of four lev­els of exhaus­tion. Know­ing that it will mean his life if the gob­lins return while he is asleep, Loom main­tains vig­il all night, deny­ing him a long rest and earn­ing him yet anoth­er lev­el of exhaus­tion.

Loom spends the next day rest­ing, los­ing two lev­els of exhaus­tion (one of rest and one from his spent HD) and regain­ing all his lost hit points. This puts him at three lev­els of exhaus­tion. Since he doesn’t trav­el that day, he gains no exhaus­tion. That night, he invites anoth­er trav­eller to share his fire and, by tak­ing watch­es, both are able to sleep. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, Loom can­not have two long rests in one 24 hour peri­od, so he awakes still with three lev­els of exhaus­tion. Know­ing that there is a town not too far away and want­i­ng to share the road with his new com­pan­ion, Loom decides to risk push­ing on. How­ev­er, being no fool, Loom does not wear his chain shirt since he knows he will gain two lev­els of exhaus­tion just from trav­el­ling encum­bered, putting him at five lev­els of encum­brance. That push­es him to the brink of total col­lapse; if he gained anoth­er lev­el from wear­ing the shirt and fail­ing his save (which he like­ly would, since he would roll with dis­ad­van­tage), he would be inca­pac­i­tat­ed. Thank­ful­ly, the day’s trav­el is unevent­ful and, upon reach­ing the town, Loom rents a room at the inn and col­laps­es, spend­ing the next three nights recov­er­ing from his har­row­ing jour­ney (he will be able to take three long rests in that peri­od, allow­ing him to los­es two lev­els of exhaus­tion per night and, after the third night, regain his HD, to boot). Loom has now com­plete­ly recov­ered from his trav­els.

Notice that even for a 1st lev­el char­ac­ter, trav­el­ing encum­bered is not a prob­lem in and of itself, since a short rest fol­lowed by a long rest will remove that exhaus­tion and replace the lost HD. How­ev­er, if that HD is need­ed for some­thing else, like recov­er­ing hit points, things can get a bit hairy.

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