I got to run Manuel Sambs Distant Journeys rules in my Savage Rifts game for the first time today. I made some minor changes to better suit my GM'ing style and it ran very smooth. One of the issues I've had with travel in the past was that long trips either felt like a slow crawl across the map or that everything was being glossed over to get from Point A to Point B but with this travel option, it kept everyone at the table engaged and helped all of us tell a more collaborative story.
So how did I change it? Well I will tell you. My group is traveling on foot through ~1500 miles of the Mexican rainforest. It is a densely populated stretch of uncharted wilderness and I started by determining a base movement speed of 20 miles per day. Everyone then chooses a role and makes their rolls for the day. The Guide and Lookout remained pretty much the same but the Hunter and Scout rolls and effects were changed. If the Hunter gets a Success, she finds enough food to feed the group for the day but if she gets a Raise, she not only finds food but also creates a random encounter and draws a new card. Based on the new cards suit, the ranom encounter can be enemies, loot, NPCs or a landmark. This took some additional planning on my part as I created a few random scenes for the Hunter to encounter.
The Hunter rolled 2 Raises over the course of 4 days travel and here is one of the "loot" items that she discovered:
"You find what remains of a hunting party’s campsite. Judging by the silver weapons and holy symbols, they were well prepared for vampires but it wasn’t that particular brand of parasite that killed them. There are no signs of a struggle, just the bodies laid out around a burnt out campfire that was probably extinguished by the heavy rains. Each of the severely bloated bodies are covered in thousands of tiny puncture wounds no bigger than a pin prick but despite their obviously being dead for some time, the bodies still glow with a rosy pink complexion."
This opens the door for the entire group to begin investigating the campsite and the bodies. And to further enhance the game, my players also filled in the blanks with their own narration as the session progressed. The Scout rolled a Critical Failure so the group lost 25% of its travel speed for the day and took a wound. The Scout explained how he critically failed the group and I awarded him a Benny for adding to the story. Then later, the Lookout (A winged warrior woman) decided to fly above the canopy of trees trying to get a better viewpoint. She was attacked by a vampire in its true form and opposed Grapple checks were made 60 ft. above the ground with everyone below watching the scene unfold. Despite being severely overpowered, the Lookout managed to hold the vampires head at a distance while it repeatedly snapped its elongated jaws in front of her face. (This was the player's Acrobatic check vs. the vampire's Strength. I burned through 4 Bennies trying to land the bite but the dice just weren't working for me.)
Now I know this is a hella long post so I will just finish up by saying that everyone at the table had a great time with the new travel rules. After the game wrapped, my players were still talking about the things they had come across and the actions they performed. For the low price of $1,00 (and maybe a few modifications to suit your needs), I cannot recommend this rules supplement enough especially if your group gets into the storytelling aspects of the game and players are able to create detailed scenarios around the simple rolls they make.
[5 of 5 Stars!]