My weird west campaign has my players spending a lot of time in the saddle. Quite a few of the PCs opted to get survival and tracking as skills. It’s something they thought would be helpful and envisioned their characters as more hearty, pioneer folk rather than a bunch of gunhands wanting to stick around the saloons all the time. Because of this, I wanted to try and incorporate some type of events for overland travel which might use these skills, rather than just handwaving it all the time.
I was sort of stumped though. I wanted to try adding some structure to travel, but also have the opportunity for random encounters. I wanted players to be able to use skills to impact how efficiently they conducted their expedition. I also wanted provisions and keeping on course another factor.
Digging around, I found this wonderful set of random encounters for a fantasy SW setting. I really liked how these were laid out. However, it was still a bit clunky for me. So I opted to work on it a little more and make up my own version.
I kept everything related to using cards and had no dice rolling. I also tweaked it some related to expanded events in particular terrain. Really hazardous lands might incur more usage of provisions (which would relate back to fatigue). I wanted to keep this open ended and not get down to too many specifics, in order to allow the rules to be used for a variety of settings. You can draw a single card every day, or instead decide to draw only for each important milestone.
Likewise some of the events are sketched out. Inclement weather could mean the players might suffer exposure and need to make vigor rolls to avoid fatigue. Possibly another check might need to be made to avoid a wound. Say some heavy rains have made riding along a mountainous path dangerous. So failed riding skill checks could have the player’s mount be injured (or themselves taking damage from a fall).
One big change is the number of provisions needed. If you are planning an expedition, you’re going to take enough food to get you there and back again. At key points you’ll be going through food, water, and other items needed during your journey. I wanted to reduce the overhead of excessive bookkeeping and avoid the need to keep track of various ‘legs’ of a journey. So I opted to just have set points where players exhaust a level of provisions. Be mindful that if you are drawing a card every day, but a trip might take 10 days to complete, players will likely quickly run out of provision markers early. It might be better to draw a card every 3 days or so instead.
So here are my travel rules for Savage Worlds. They allow for a variety of events where player abilities can help in reducing misfortune. I think they are also relatively generic enough to work in a variety of settings. Hope people get some use out of them around the game table.