>From: "Jane Williams" <janewilliams20_at_...>
>Against what skill? "Predict average travel times"? No, knowing that
>sort of information comes under "no self-respecting hero...". Sure,
>there'll be variables. But in the RW, I can tell you that I can make it
>to work in 15 minutes in perfect conditions, a few minutes longer if
>it's raining, and ten minutes longer if I get stuck behind a tractor.
>Heavy snow, add an hour or two. So today I'll be allowing 20 minutes.
>Now, where was the roll? I might make a roll *after* I set out, but
>that's nothing to do with the decision about when to stop reading email
>and leave the house.
I'm sure the characters do know the travel times. The question is whether or not it matters to the players. The characters also know the complete myth of how Kroomdoodle Slew the Green Raven, but I'm not going to come up with the details of the myth either just because it came up in play. The real question is whether they can accomplish some goal using that knowledge.
The players know the system. I tell them the resistance to accomplish the task in question, and they know what abilities their character has. So they can estimate if they'll make it in time. This is both dramatic, and a realistic simulation of the events (perhaps not precise, but quite accurate). If it's something as known as travel time to work, then it's an automatic success. You're not telling me that players in your game actually say, "Ragnar gets up, and looks at his sundial. Does he have enough time to get to work?"
If a player did say that, it would be a clear signal to me that he wanted a contest to see if he made it through his early day without problem, perhaps because today is initiation day. I'd immediately ask what his character's goal was. If he fails, using my hypothetical, the penalty will be applied to the ritual. If there are no stakes, there is no roll, and the character succeeds automatically, and the details can be glossed over or created as need be. In all cases, the character either has a dramatic goal, or he does not. If the former then "a few days" always suffices. If the latter, 17 resistance does.
Travel is no different than purchasing something this way. HQ handles them both by having the character roll against some ability when it's dramatic to do so. It's a brilliant shift from the mode of play where you'd calculate the cost of the sword and deduct Klacks. The amount of money a character has could be a source of concern when planning, no? Does the player know how much he has? Yes, Weath 13. Against the fine sword's resistance of 5W. Better save up first or this purchase is likely to break the bank.
What you'll find is that after playing a while like this, players stop asking "How long to Whitewall?" and instead ask "Can I make it to Whitewall in time to warn them? What's the resistance? I want to plan on whether or not I can get there, and have enough time for the Kroomdoodle ritual."
Nothing wrong with the other play style either (played that way for 25 years with other systems), it's just not what I personally want out of HQ. If you do, then you've been given plenty of suggestions on calculating travel distances. I'm just giving you another option that works well. If you don't see how it applies, then the only thing I can suggest is that maybe you check out my IRC game to see it in action. Because I'm not sure that any amount of my fallible attempts to make it clear here can ever really convey what I'm getting at.
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