Travel within the Great Wall is profoundly different from travelling the empty wastes of the Interior. This is an attempt to codify the differences, and make them apparent to Referees and players alike.
The Wall is a vertical structure. Directions given will differ from the standard four compass points. When giving directions, a denizen of the Wall will use the following terms:
- Cragways. North. The Wall’s northern limits bleed into the blue crags of the Lazul Mountains.
- Quagways. South. The southern end of the Wall terminates in the toxic
mangrove-labyrinth of Ikor Quag.
- Sandside. The Wall’s eastern face, which looks out over the blue deserts of the Vaarnish Interior.
- Saltside. The Wall’s western face, which looks out over the Sea of Songs.
- Clamberwise. You must climb to reach this location
- Dropwise. You must descend to reach this location.
Example: To reach the village you seek you must travel ‘One day cragways, three days clamberwise. The village perches sandside.’ (Travel one day north, then climb for three days. The village is on the eastern face of the Wall.)
To aid the Referee in visualising the Wall, they should imagine their page as a 2D plane. When mapping the structure, designate the bottom third of your page as the Low Wall, the middle third as the Mid-Wall, and the top third as the Upper Wall.
These strata have differing atmospheres and encounter tables. The Low Wall is the base of the structure, where everything that leaks has come to rest. Travellers will find stagnant pools of ikor, great drifts of refuse, and creatures from Vaarn’s deserts or oceans that have crept into the Wall’s foundations.
The Mid-Wall is the most verdant and prosperous strata. Here the traveller will find many settlements, as well as hanging jungles and flowing weeps of ikor. Wild beetles and apes are seen in abundance.
The Upper Wall is wind-swept and cold, the territory of harpies, stratosfolk, and other flying creatures. Great spires rise high above the Wall’s parapet, some breaching the void beyond Urth’s atmosphere.
Travel Between Locations
If travelling the Wall on foot, the same procedure outlined in VoV #3 should be observed. The PCs make a half day’s worth of progress in the morning, and a half day’s worth of progress in the evening. At night they must camp, eat a meal, and rest.
However, note must be taken of the relative height difference between the two locations. As a general rule, climbing from a lower location to a higher location takes double the base travel time. A descent from a higher location to a lower one takes half the base travel time.
Passing through the Wall on foot (travelling from Saltside to Sandside or vice versa) takes one day. If the PCs wish to press themselves, they can travel at double the usual pace, but must fill one item slot with Exhaustion. This penalty is increased to two slots of Exhaustion in the Upper Wall, due to the thinner atmosphere.
Flying characters who travel as part of a group that is climbing are considered to be travelling at the same rate, unless they specifically wish to fly ahead and separate themselves from the rest of the PCs. Groups comprised of all-flying PCs can travel between any two points on the Wall at a rate of triple the usual travel time.
Roll 1d6 for Encounters each half-day the PCs travel. A 1 indicates an Active Encounter that involves the PCs, a 2 indicates a Passing Encounter that does not actively seek the PCs, and a 3 gives a Hint of a nearby creature or settlement.
If the PCs are travelling with a flying character or pack beetles, add one extra Encounter die for each flyer or beetle during Encounter rolls, and take the lowest result (flying scouts attract attention, and pack beetles are a favoured food of many Wall-dwelling monsters).
If desired, roll 1d6 to determine the distance and relative heights of both parties.
|d6||The Encounter Is|
|1||Immediately Above the PCs|
|2||Distant, Above the PCs|
|3||Immediately Level with the PCs|
|4||Distant, Level with the PCs|
|5||Immediately Below the PCs|
|6||Distant, Below the PCs|
At the start of each travel day, as the Referee rolls for Encounters, the players may collectively roll a Vigilance Die. This is a single d6, without modifiers. If the players roll a six, they have a guarantee of spotting their next Encounter before the opposing entity or group spots them. If they roll a one, the next Encounter will always see them before they see it. This vigilance effect resets at the end of each day, whether the PCs made use of it or not.
If the party travels with flying scouts, they may add one extra Vigilance Die per scout to the daily roll, and take the highest result.
Combat follows the standard procedures, but the Referee should be aware of the height differentials between combatants, and reiterate these as frequently as possible.
Combatants attacking targets higher than they are make their attack rolls with disadvantage. Combatants attacking targets below them make their attack rolls with advantage. Combatants who are roughly level with one another gain no advantage or disadvantage.
Ascending to a position above one’s opponent during a combat round requires a successful DEX save; if failed the climb takes both combat actions.
Combatants who are higher than their targets can declare a Plummeting Attack before they attempt a regular melee attack. If they hit, they deal double their regular damage roll, and are now level with their target. If they miss, they have fallen to a position below their intended target, and may be in serious danger.
Falling off the Wall
Generally a bad thing. In the event that it happens, allow PCs who are falling at least one DEX save to grab onto a vine or hanging cable, necessitating a daring rescue by their comrades. An unmitigated fall from the Wall will always be lethal.
The Wall ‘weeps’ daily, leaking streams of sea water and ikor, but every so often the Wall enters an enhanced flushing phase known as a Lament. During a Lament, vast quantities of ikor and salt-water are flushed from the Wall’s veins and pour through the passageways and chasms in raging torrents. These Laments occur on an irregular cycle, which the Wall’s inhabitants work hard to predict.
A Lament occurs every 3d6 travel days. The lowest of the three dice also indicates the number of days the Lament will last. It is recommended the Referee roll up a schedule for Laments ahead of time, so that these events can be telegraphed to players.
Travel within the Wall during a Lament is inadvisable. One might imagine the experience of a rat inside a derelict subway station during a monsoon, and something of the terror and danger can be visualised. It is imperative that the PCs find shelter before the Lament begins in earnest, else they will be swept from the Wall or drowned. Shelters are well-marked along established trails, but may be more difficult to find in the uncharted regions of the Wall.
The Wall’s ecosystem reacts to an imminent Lament, creatures seeking their own sanctums and nests away from the surging waters. Assume any creatures or NPCs encountered in the day before a Lament are seeking a shelter or have already found it (if the PCs are desperately seeking shelter, they may have to share it with something unsavory). Only airborne creatures and vehicles are unaffected.
1 thought on “WALL-CRAWLING PROCEDURES”
Awesome! I’ll make use of this with my dedicated solo player and see how it handles!