Pale Mountains Shadow travel time - what am I missing?


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It is an 80 mile journey to get to B1. The game indicates the average group will take 5 days. They also give you camels with a speed of 35' - I'm assuming that the average group will accept them.

35', according to page 316, is a daily travel rate of 28 miles. A critical failure on the survival check reduces your progress by 8 miles. 28-8 = 20 miles per day. By my maths that is an absolute maximum of 4 days if you crit fail every survival check.

How does the average group complete that section in 5 days?

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Some groups do not take camels and go with speed of 25 or even 20.

The very first group I was playing with just didn't take camels because we did not want hassle with animals (companion-minion rules are repulsive), when it comes to manage them during exploration and combat. Makes for a longer travel, predictably.


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A few Things.
1. Even failing reduces your Speed by 4 miles, critfailing it reduces it by 8.
2. The Riding rules/Exploration rules interaction are very unclear. RAW, if you do not have the ride feat, you Need to take two actions per turn to get that camel to move. That means you move half Speed and are fatigued after 10 minutes. Even with the Ride feat, you still Need to take an Action per turn to command your animal, making it a tactic that makes you move at half Speed.

Long Story short - as is, riding does not increase your Speed, only your bulk Limit. There may be other interpretations possible, but with currently written rules, it's all down to GM Fiat.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I don't think I agree, DerNils. The travel times on page 316 of the rulebook state that "the distances in the table assume traveling at a determined pace, but one that's not exhausting or dangerous." If a small gnome with a speed of 20 can travel 16 miles in a day without being exhausted, a party on camels can definitely get to that mountain in 3 or 4 days with no trouble whatsoever.


I also noticed this. Party got there in 3 days effortlessly, and it destroyed any tension related to time.

Lantern Lodge

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Per the Rulebook page 331: "To be absolutely certain of having a chance to detect any hazard or secret before walking into it requires an overland Speed no more than 100 feet per minute (1 mile per hour)".

So if you want to see the treasure hidden under the bush, or the partly covered ditch that may break a camel's leg, you will be moving at speed 10!

"If the group moves faster than that, a searching character should get a chance to attempt a Perception check to detect any secret that’s in a place that stands out (such as near a door or a turn in a corridor), but not one that’s in a more inconspicuous place (like a random point in a long hallway)"


Yeah, I see the RAW. I feel that the intent here is that this is for animals that the party is trying to tame or are unfamiliar with. In the case of being given animals by the contact, one would presume that the party gets animals that are at least docile or predisposed to riders, making these checks ridiculously easy and frankly a waste of time.

Or the party could ask for a cart instead of extra camels. Riding in a cart doesn't have the associated problem of a ride feat. Even if you knock off 5' of travel for the cart, the party still arrives at the foot of the mountain with a huge excess of time.

One thing I could not discover was whether the party was explicitly told how many days they had to reach the mountain and return to beat the night heralds. I told my group to expect the night heralds to arrive sometime between 7-10 days.


If you keep the searching tactic while riding, you move half speed


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As I said, there may be other interpretations, and quite certain there is another intent.
By RAW, even your animal companion, who is beyond docile, needs and Action per turn to move his behind. This being the playtest, I bring this up so we can improve the wording and avoid misinterpretation in the final product.
As for a cart, I cannot imagine this working in the described terrain - the very first map is all difficult terrain with nor roads in sight.


DerNils wrote:


As for a cart, I cannot imagine this working in the described terrain - the very first map is all difficult terrain with nor roads in sight.

By the time you reach the first encounter (B1) you have travelled 70 of the required 80 miles to get to the tomb. At that point, you are on foot, leading animals. When you get to the cliffs, you have to leave the animals behind.

The cart works well enough (IMHO) to get you 87% of the way there and that's where most of the time is lost.

However, I completely agree. The animal handling mechanic is waay overdone. I expect that by 4th level most adventurers have been around animals in some way or another and know enough about riding to ride an animal at a brisk pace for several hours. Much as today most people know how to drive a car.


Yeah, with the camels, my party made it to area B1 at the very beginning of Day 4, and made it into the tomb about halfway through Day 5. They never even saw the Night Heralds.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I haven't run this chapter yet, but do appreciate these comments. This data is something Paizo is specifically looking for in this chapter.


I suspect that driving a cart would still require the animal pulling it to be Handled and Commanded every turn, a fatiguing tactic, but at least everyone can switch off to travel continuously.

Just goes to show how broken the animal handling rules are.


sherlock1701 wrote:

I suspect that driving a cart would still require the animal pulling it to be Handled and Commanded every turn, a fatiguing tactic, but at least everyone can switch off to travel continuously.

Just goes to show how broken the animal handling rules are.

Lol. yeah that would be insane and completely invalidate the entire point of domesticating animals.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Why is Handling and Commanding an animal a fatiguing tactic? I cannot find anywhere un the rules where it says this.


Should the camels be encumbered by carrying the Bulk of their rider?

It doesn't make much difference, since they still end up with a Speed of 25, but it means my PCs got to B1 after 5 days, rather than 4.


My group just finished part 1 of chapter 2. We had and elf and a half elf with a speed of 35, one of which was a druid who cast longstrider on the other two party members upping them to a speed of 35. The party got to the start of the encounter section with 8 miles left on the third day. They got to the top of the mountain and the door of the temple by end of day 4. No camels needed.

The way they are going, they are going to completely miss the Night Heralds.


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@Baron Zibeck

Because Using Handle Animal and Command Animal every turn translates to 20 Actions per Minute, as per the Guidelines for Exploration Tactics.

CRB page 329, Exploration Tactics wrote:


A fatiguing tactic, such as hustling, causes fatigue after
10 minutes. A fatiguing tactic is typically composed of
actions at a quicker pace, such that the character takes
roughly 20 actions per Minute.

@Schadenfreude

Camels are Large, meaning they have double the bulk capacity of medium creatures and treat medium bulk as L bulk. At their Strength +3 this translates into 160 Bulk a Camel can Transport without breaking a sweat.
As a Medium creature weighs 4 bulk (according to the paralysed condition, of all places), one camel can Transport 40 People, so no worries there.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
DerNils wrote:

@Baron Zibeck

Because Using Handle Animal and Command Animal every turn translates to 20 Actions per Minute, as per the Guidelines for Exploration Tactics.

CRB page 329, Exploration Tactics wrote:


A fatiguing tactic, such as hustling, causes fatigue after
10 minutes. A fatiguing tactic is typically composed of
actions at a quicker pace, such that the character takes
roughly 20 actions per Minute.

Thanks for the clarification.

This seems inconsistent with almost all the of the non-fatiguing actions. To Seek, for instance, would require a Move action and a Seek action each round. I guess you could argue that moving half-speed is part of the Seek action, or that the PCs are not Seeking every round, or something like that....


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I did not get that from the Exploration mode chapter at all. For one thing, it would make no sense to use the round-by-round actions during Exploration Mode; Wandering, which is an exploration mode action, is not fatiguing, and it says to "move at your travel speed" - which is the speed of the camel you are travelling on. I completely understand using handle/command in an encounter, but it does not logically follow to me that the implication is to have Wandering be at half speed because you are riding a trained riding animal, the primary purpose of which is to move faster.

We used the base speed of the camels, and they go to the vicinity in about 4 days (they had a couple of terrible rolls). It took them all of the next day to get to the secret door.

Liberty's Edge

My impression was that the five days was if they went on foot. Heck, the adventure even mentions that camels will speed it up. It only really saves you two days, which is great, but getting to the tomb probably takes another two, leaving only four for the tomb. Which is much more doable than two...but not enough so that they can dilly dally.

Also, the PCs don't know they have 9 days specifically. They just know they're on the clock. That should keep tension high all by itself.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

My impression was that the five days was if they went on foot. Heck, the adventure even mentions that camels will speed it up. It only really saves you two days, which is great, but getting to the tomb probably takes another two, leaving only four for the tomb. Which is much more doable than two...but not enough so that they can dilly dally.

Also, the PCs don't know they have 9 days specifically. They just know they're on the clock. That should keep tension high all by itself.

Yep, I made sure not to tell them, so they really have been taking no frills, and even avoided both gnoll encounters that they could (first by sneaking around, and the second by talking). They’ve mentioned several times being worried they won’t get there in time — which is fine with me... ;)


@EnHenry. I am sure that is not the intention, but this is the Playtest. We need to analyze the RAW, and that is explicitly how the gamemaster section of exploration mode tells you to come up with tactics. Nowhere in the book does it tell you that riding animals replace your speed. The only rule how mounts work come from the skill section, companions and mounted combat.
I am actually sure that your way is intended, but during a play test that is irrelevant. We are foolproofing this document for future users. I am pretty sure we will get clarification once the data from this chapter is analysed, but in order for Paizo to get relevant data, we need to keep to RAW, because that is the only thing they can adapt.

TL;DR Discussion shows intent is unclear, please clarify text.

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