Janakota: Map and Overland Travel Rules

Janakota, Maps, Mechanics, Player Maps

Janakota is an island covered in oppressive jungle and teaming with dangerous wildlife. The legions of the Yellow City were recently withdrawn leaving the people of the island to, once again, govern themselves. For those brave enough to venture outside Janakota’s few settlements the jungle may hide unmatched wealth.

Travel Rules

These rules are intended to be the foundation of a travel-focused campaign. If you consider travel something that has to happen between the interesting bits, these rules are not for you. If the idea of mechanics to support the logistics of an expedition excites you, these rules may be for you.

A few notes: these rules are designed to work with my GLOG hack. Resilience is essentially HP. Fatigue is a lower bound to all checks – you must roll under your target number but over your Fatigue for a standard success. If you roll under your target number and under your Fatigue, you may succeed at the cost of 1 Resilience. I will likely change the Fatigue rules as I playtest more.

The primary goals of these travel rules are as follows:

Take advantage of the information afforded by topographic maps. Primarily distance and elevation.

Encourage realistic routes through simple mechanics. Players should, for example, organically choose a longer but easier route around a mountain instead of a shorter but steeper route over the mountain.

Require an absolute minimum of reference during play. All the detail provided by the map should not, in the end, lead to slow play.

And, honestly, by far the most important goal:

Have an excuse to print out a big-ass map. I just really like maps.

Watches

Each day is divided into six Watches of roughly four hours each. The party must decide on one course of action for each Watch. Possibilities include delving into a dungeon, a trip to the local market to pick up gear, traveling through the jungle, or resting.

The procedure for a Watch is as follows:

  1. Determine weather. I’ll be using my Janakota Weather Generator.
  2. Determine activity. The party chooses their activity for the current watch.
  3. Determine encounter. Some activities may effect encounter probabilities. This will be detailed in a later post.
  4. Resolve activity and encounter.

Watch Activities

Travel: The party traverses the landscape. Every 5 km traveled, every contour line crossed, and every river forded incur 1 Fatigue. Traveling at night incurs an extra 1 Fatigue per 5 km and requires a light source. Traveling on a road negates 1 Fatigue. A maximum of 5 Fatigue can be incurred due to travel in a single watch. Designate a navigator to make a Bushcraft roll. On a success, the journey occurs as planned. On a failure there is a complication.

1d6Travel Complication
1Rough route. Gain an extra Fatigue.
2Weather shifts. Reroll weather halfway through the Watch.
3Impassable. A section of the planned route is impassable. Choose a new route.
4Active area. Roll an additional encounter.
5Temporarily lost. The party has to spend a few hours to get back on track. Only complete half the Watch’s planned travel.
6Totally lost. Only the GM knows the party’s location. During subsequent Watches the party may navigate based on the GM’s descriptions or spend a watch fixing their position.

Set Camp: The party finds a suitable campsite. Draw the layout. Consume a ration to regain 1d8 Resilience, plus one for every subsequent Rest.

Rest: The party regains their strength. If you’ve consumed a ration today, regain 1d4 Fatigue. If you also have a bedroll, regain 1d8 Fatigue.

Forage: The party searches for sustenance. Everyone makes a Bushcraft roll. For each success, gain 1d4 Rations.

This list of activities need not be exhaustive. If the players come up with something, find a way to make it work.

Play Example

First Watch: Morning

  1. Determine weather. It’s a beautiful, clear morning. No effects.
  2. Determine activity. Our intrepid adventurer Patra determines to set out southwest on the road from Merakatam. His planned route is 25km (+5 Fatigue), crosses one contour line (+1 Fatigue), and is on a road (-1 Fatigue); for a total of 5 Fatigue, the maximum possible in a single watch.
  3. Determine encounter. Megacroc tracks.
  4. Resolve activity and encounter. Patra makes a Bushcraft check and succeeds. There are no complications. The GM places the megacroc tracks near the river 10km south of Merakatam. Patra examines them but presses onward.

Second Watch: Midday

  1. Determine weather. No change – still clear.
  2. Determine activity. Patra continues on the road towards Mutalai. His planned route is about 20km (+4 Fatigue), crosses two contour lines (+2 Fatigue), and is on a road (-1 Fatigue); for a total of 5 Fatigue, bringing his total to 10.
  3. Determine encounter. 1d4 Raptors.
  4. Resolve activity and encounter. Patra makes a Bushcraft check and fails. A roll on the Complication table reveals the route is impassable. The GM determines that the river has washed out the road about halfway through the planned route. Patra diverts west to higher ground but encounters 2 Raptors. After a brief but bloody fight he scares the Raptors off but is left wounded and exhausted.

Third Watch: Evening

  1. Determine weather. Still no change – clear skies.
  2. Determine activity. Patra had planned to reach Mutalai in the evening but the washed-out road and Raptor attack have put that in question. He’s exhausted and wounded, likely to fail his next Bushcraft check due to all the Fatigue he’s accrued. Spending the night in the jungle is risky, but so is pressing on to Mutalai. He decides to press on. His planned route is about 20km (+4 Fatigue) and crosses one contour line (+1 Fatigue); for a total of 5 Fatigue, bringing his total to 15.
  3. Determine encounter. Megabird sighting.
  4. Resolve activity and encounter. Patra makes a Bushcraft check and fails. A complication roll reveals he is temporarily lost and only completes half the planned route. He sights a megabird returning to it’s roost on Paranta, the nearby peak.

Fourth Watch: Dusk

  1. Determine weather. Rain rolls across the mountains. +1 Fatigue this watch.
  2. Determine activity. Patra is committed to reaching Mutalai tonight. A night in the jungle is too risky – he can’t survive another attack. His planned route is 10km (+2 Fatigue) and it’s raining (+1 Fatigue), bringing him to a total of 18 Fatigue.
  3. Determine encounter. Tracks from a group of pilgrims.
  4. Resolve activity and encounter. Patra makes a Bushcraft check and succeeds, but rolls under his Fatigue. He chooses to lose 1 Resilience to treat the result as a success. On his way to Mutalai he comes across tracks left by humans heading towards Paranta. He reaches Mutalai without issue.

Fifth Watch: Midnight

  1. Determine weather. Mutalai is blanketed in thick fog. +1 Fatigue per 5km traveled.
  2. Determine activity. Patra plans to head to the local bunkhouse immediately.
  3. Determine encounter. The GM decides to waive encounters while in town.
  4. Resolve activity and encounter. Patra consumes a ration before bunking down. He recovers 1d8 Resilience and 1d8 Fatigue – rolling 6 and 4, respectively. His Resilience is back at full but he still has 14 Fatigue.

Sixth Watch: Dawn

  1. Determine weather. The fog rolls off – it’s clear for now.
  2. Determine activity. Patra continues resting at the bunkhouse.
  3. Determine encounter. The GM decides to waive encounters while in town.
  4. Resolve activity and encounter. Patra recovers another 1d8 Fatigue, getting lucky and rolling an 8. He still has 6 Fatigue and will need to spend at least the following morning resting if he wants to get a totally fresh start.

Janakota: Weather

Janakota

This is my take on Daniel Sell’s Six Dimensional Weather for my jungle island setting of Janakota. I’ve made a few tweaks of my own, but the idea is the same: you pick a spot and begin rolling to generate weather. Travel across Janakota is supposed to be difficult, not least because of the chaotic weather. This generator reflects that.

I break down each day into six 4-hour Watches. This generator is intended to generate distinct weather for every Watch, not each day.

The default die is a d8. A result of 1 moves the weather a single hex upwards and subsequent results continue on clockwise. Results of 7 or greater keep you in the same hex. Some hexes specify a different die – larger dice make the hex stickier, the weather more persistent. Smaller dice make the weather more fleeting.

Some hexes are split. The top-left result applies during the day and the bottom-right result applies at night.

Some hexes have walls. If a result leads you into a wall, “slide” to the nearest hex. Some walls are marked by an X. Treat these the same as a roll of 7+. Some walls are marked by arrows – these can be traversed only in the direction indicated by the arrow.

All these rules contribute to the chaos – but some patterns do emerge. Sporestorms and Spiderblooms are rare but when they happen they’re likely to stick around for a while. Superblooms are rare and fleeting. Typhoons are uncommon and always in the midst of a deluge of rain.

Here’s a closer look at the types of weather on Janakota. A little context: you must roll equal to or less than a target number but above your Fatigue to succeed any given check. Resilience is essentially HP.

WeatherDescriptionEffects
RainA light rain pelts down. It’s a bit tiring to deal with.+1 Fatigue
DownpourRain pours down. Rivers swell and most creatures seek shelter.+2 Fatigue, rivers impassable, resting impossible
TyphoonWind and rain assault the island. All but the most desperate shelter until it passes.+2 Fatigue, rivers impassable, resting impossible, tents useless
WindHeavy wind scours the landscape.+1 Fatigue
FogA thick fog hangs to the ground. Navigation is difficult.+1 Fatigue per 5 km traveled
AshA cloud of choking volcanic ash descends on the area.+1 Fatigue and -1 Resilience per 5 km traveled
ClearClear skies – a beautiful sight!None
Burning SunThe sun scorches your skin.+1 Fatigue
Dead AirThe air is hot, still, and muggy. Bugs swarm everywhere.+1 Fatigue, -1 Resilience
SuperbloomEverything in the area sprouts blooms. Plants, tree stumps, creatures.???
SporestormA storm of fungal spores overtakes the area.???
SpiderbloomA mass of floating spiders rides the wind.???

Superblooms, Sporestorms and Spiderblooms require a bit more thought. I want them to have a much more significant impact on the world than the other types of weather.

And here’s a week’s worth of random generation. The weather soon turns to torrential rain and gets dangerously close to a typhoon before settling into an extended Sporestorm.

Day0-44-88-1212-1616-2020-0
MondayFogRainClearClear SkiesDead AirDead Air
TuesdayDead AirRainDownpourDownpourRainRain
WednesdayRainFogRainRainDownpourDownpour
ThursdayRainRainRainRainDownpourDownpour
FridayDownpourRainRainRainRainRain
SaturdayFogRainDownpourWindWindSporestorm
SundaySporestormSporestormWindSporestormSporestormSporestorm

The last critical piece of this system is gear. Gear to protect yourself from all this nasty weather. Here are a few examples.

ItemDescriptionEffect
CloakA simple waterproofed cloak.Prevents 1 Fatigue from rain unless resting.
Feather-CoatA coat of giant feathers. Very waterproof.Prevents 2 Fatigue from rain unless resting.
TentA small, burly shelter.Prevents all Fatigue from rain while resting.
SunjellyA pouch of sweet-smelling jelly to be smeared on the skin.Prevents all Fatigue from sunburn.
BugjellyA pouch of sharp-smelling jelly to be smeared on the skin.Prevents all Fatigue and Resilience loss from bug bites.
AshmaskA face covering of finely woven fibers.Prevents all Resilience loss from ash.

GLOG Class: Soldier

Class, GLOG, Janakota

This class is intended to be another alternative to the Fighter, like the hireling-focused Veteran. The Soldier is straightforward and excels at damage output and survivability. The starting equipment will need to be changed for your setting: the equipment here is for an upcoming game set on Janakota, an island off the coast of Yoon-Suin. Each set of gear here includes an item specific to a location in Yoon-Suin and is intended to hint at the character’s history.


Starting Equipment:

1. Yellow Legion leather armor, sword, bow, 20 arrows
2. Lamarakhi crocodile skin armor, dagger, 5 javelins
3. Tribal woven fibre armor, spear, bow, 20 arrows

Templates

A: Coordination, Deadly
B: Parry
C: Tough
D: Spree

A: Coordination, Deadly

Coordination: Once per round when an ally within reach attacks an enemy, gain a free attack.

Deadly: You’re at your best when things go according to plan. While at full Resilience, deal 1 extra damage on a successful attack per Soldier template you possess.

B: Parry

Parry: Once per day you can reduce incoming damage by 1d12 points. If you also choose to sunder your shield, you can reduce incoming damage by 12 points.

C: Tough

Tough: Once per day after making an injury roll you may delay the effects a single round.

D: Spree

Spree: Whenever you reduce an enemy to 0 Resilience with an attack, you can make another attack with the same weapon against a target within reach.

GLOG Class: Veteran

Class, GLOG, Janakota

The Veteran is intended to be a variation on the Fighter focused on support and hirelings while still being an able combatant. The starting equipment will need to be changed for your setting: the equipment here is for an upcoming game set on Janakota, an island off the coast of Yoon-Suin. Each set of gear here includes an item specific to a polity in Yoon-Suin and is intended to hint at the character’s history. The War Stories and Old Contacts abilities will also give the player and referee many opportunities to discover the character’s past.


Starting Equipment (1d3):

1. Yellow Legion officer’s sash, leather armor, spear, 3 javelins
2. Ajmer zealot’s robe (as leather), sword, bow, 20 arrows
3. Chandrakot guard captain’s helm, leather armor, spear, bow, 20 arrow

Templates

A: Mentor, Retaliation
B: War Stories, Parry
C: Old Contacts
D: Fearless Leader

A: Mentor, Retaliation

Mentor: Gain one Apprentice* per Veteran template you possess. Apprentices are eager hirelings that will follow you free of charge, provided they receive rations, training, and any other necessities.

Retaliation: Once per round when an enemy within reach attacks an ally, gain a free attack on that enemy.

B: War Stories, Parry

War Stories: Once per day entertain one ally with a war story from your soldiering days. They may remove 1d4 Fatigue** as they are inspired by your story. If the player actually tells a story, they may remove 1d6 Fatigue.

Parry: Once per day you can reduce incoming damage by 1d12 points. If you also choose to sunder your shield, you can reduce incoming damage by 12 points.

C: Old Contacts

Old Contacts: Your life as a soldier left you with numerous friends, enemies, and acquaintances across the region. Once per settlement you visit, you may roll 1d6 to determine if someone here owes you a favor. Odds are set by the Referee, but as a general rule they are 1-in-6 for villages, 2-in-6 for towns, and 3-in-6 for cities.

D: Fearless Leader

Fearless Leader: As long as you are on the battlefield, none of your Apprentices will flee.


*Apprentices are stolen from Five Torches Deep, in which any character may obtain a certain number of free hirelings called Hench.

**Fatigue is accrued through travel in my GLOG hack, and adds a lower bound to every die roll – you must roll equal to or under your ability score, but above your Fatigue. This ability will need to be changed to work with other GLOG hacks. Perhaps regenerate HP or aid in the healing of an injury. Fatigue is stolen from GLOG Rat-Kebab edition by Rise Up Comus.