Thursday, September 1, 2016

Neighborhood travel Time, Familiarity, and getting Lost

In my first post about creating neighborhoods for Orleans I said that I needed to do some work for each neighborhood. My guidelines here were the following.

  • Determine an average time to traverse the neighborhood.
  • Travel or traversal time should be modified by local knowledge (even city residentes will not be familiar with every neighborhood), mode of travel, social rank so determine a table of modifiers.
  • Determine chance for becoming lost. Same modifiers apply as above.
  • For each Neighborhood list the important locations, include focal points and geographical boundaries.
  • Determine presence of any major Factions.
  • List secondary locations, include any named NPC residents, any known taverns, inns, shops, mansions, etc.
  • Create a unique encounter table(s) that includes typical inhabitants or travelers as well as typical events for the Neighborhood. Many neighborhoods should have different tables for Daytime and Nighttime. On the encounter tables include a special result that ties to a table for named NPCs who live or work in that Neighborhood.
I decided to do the last bullet first and I've posted the encounter tables for the various neighborhoods. Now I'll cover the first three bullets.

For average travel times I don't need to be precise. I also want the time to include the ordinary delays like stepping aside for a group of pedestrians or a cart, dodging chamber pots, pausing to look at something in a shop window or to ask directions. First I wanted an estimate of distance. The city map I'm using doesn't include a scale so I used a modern map that had a scale. This gave me an approximate straightline distance for each neighborhood. I compared these distances to a normal walking speed of 3 miles per hour. That gave me travel times for the various neighborhoods of between 2.2 and 8.7 minutes. I played around with the numbers a bit to get even numbers and to increase the times for neighborhoods that looked like they would be more difficult to negotiate due to heavy traffic or crooked streets.

I decided to include several speeds besides my 3 mph normal pace. I added a slower speed for a cautious walk or for searching that would be half that speed or 1.5 mph and I added a fast walk of 4 mph. To allow for characters willing to jog or run I added a jogging speed of 6 mph.

I wanted local knowledge or familiarity with the city and in particular a given neighborhood to matter when navigating in town so I decided to use a Savvy roll modified by familiarity with the neighborhood. I selected activities that would trigger or require a roll: crossing the neighborhood, finding an address in the neighborhood, finding a shortcut, and getting unlost. (I'll mention getting lost in a bit.) By making "Find an Address" an activity I could also apply a modifier to the time required since finding a new address tends to take longer than just crossing the neighborhood. That gave me this table.

Note that the modifier affects how easy it is to succeed in a neighborhood navigation roll.

Lost would be the outcome of particularly low navigation rolls. I liked this since it meant that walking across a neighborhood might get you lost, but so would searching for an address. I decided to vary the chance for Lost by the neighborhood. Combining the average time for a neighborhood and the chance to get lost gave me this table.
Note that you can't get lost in Les Tournelles, the bridge over the Loire. 

I added in modifiers for navigation and for getting lost based on the movement rate, which gave me this table.
And lastly I created a table with modifiers to the navigation roll based on familiarity.
 Note that a native of a Neighborhood can't get lost in their own neighborhood. 

Example: Gaston enters the city at the B Gate at the northern most point of the North Side neighborhood. He uses a normal walking pace to cross North Side to the Place du Martroy. He rolls for crossing the neighborhood. He is a stranger, but he is a native Frenchman so he has a +0 to his roll. Note that a foreigner would have a penalty and if Gatson was a native of the city he would have a bonus. He rolls a 10 on 2d6 and succeeds (a 9+ succeeds) in crossing the neighborhood, which takes him 5 minutes at a normal walking pace.

He continues on rolling again for the Place du Martroy. This time he rolls 8 and with a +1 for simply crossing a neighborhood he again succeeds which takes another 5 minutes. Gaston is feeling confident about finding his way around this new city.

At the Place L'Estape he needs to the address. This takes more time and another roll. He rolls an 8, but finding an address is more difficult than just crossing the neighborhood so he has no bonus this time and fails, spending 10 minutes wandering around trying to find the right address. He tries again, keeping the same normal pace as he wanders about for another 10 minutes. He rolls a 5. This is not only a failure, but it also means that now he is lost. He rolls to get unlost, which is more difficult, so he decides to move more cautiously and search carefully to try to get his bearings. This takes 10 minutes (the time to get unlost is doubled for cautious movement). He rolls a 7 even with the +1 for cautious movement he is still lost. He tries once more again rolling a 7, with the bonus for spending a prior turn trying to get unlost he finally succeeds.  This takes another 10 minutes.  Gaston still has to find the house of M. Beauharnais. So he cautiously searches which requires two attempts (and 20 more minutes) before he finally succeeds. Gaston decides that next time he will hire a local guide.

This isn't supposed to devolve into long and tedious die rolling. The GM might have decided that after Gaston had already spent 40 minutes searching and wandering the neighborhood that getting unlost also includes finding the right address. Alternately, the player might ask a local for directions which could provide a bonus and might prevent getting lost at all.

Here is the entire section for Orleans neighborhoods.

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