Caravan and Relationship system questions

Jade Regent

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I'm running JR for the first time. We're still in Book 1, with the L 2 party en route to Brinewall (I'm using the "Road to Destiny" plug-in). One of the players is completely new to the Pathfinder system but the other three have been through RotR together (also run by me). Due to not wanting to overwhelm the new player, I haven't been pushing all the sub-systems in JR straight from the start.

Caravans: I first introduced the Caravan rule set when the L 2 party returned to Sandpoint from the Brinestump Marsh and gave the letter to Ameiko. Am I correct in ruling that the caravan "starts" as a L 2 caravan, basically jumping immediately from L 1 to 2 due to the party being L 2 at that point?

Relationships: I'm about to introduce the Relationship rule set today. Am I correct in thinking that a PC can try to improve a Relationship score once each level (by means of gifts/insults) with as many different allied NPCs as he/she wants?

These are probably no-brainer questions, but I wanted to make sure that I haven't misunderstood or overlooked anything important. :)

Yes, both those things sound right.

...but I dislike both subsystems and I'm not using either. Caravan combat is wildly unfair on the party - getting the rules right won't save them.

Thank you for your answers! :)

Matthew Downie wrote:


Caravan combat is wildly unfair on the party - getting the rules right won't save them.

I got that impression about the Caravan rules when I was preparing the Legendary Games' "Road to Destiny" plug-in and read their side-bar on the Caravan combat system.

But I've got questions about RtD's suggested changes and am still figuring out where I can ask those questions and expect a (timely) reply. For example, with LG's adjusted rules, it looks like a CR 3 ogre encounter will pit 5 hp's worth of ogres against 110 hp's worth of a caravan (5 wagons, etc.). That doesn't look right - or I misunderstood something.

And then there's the question about paying the background NPCs as per the JR Player's Guide. A driver makes 10 gp/month and a guard makes 100 gp/month. What happens when a driver is asked to take on a guard job while the caravan is stationary/camped in town? Does the driver then get 100 gp/month instead for that month or do I have to start working with fractions?

And it looks like the JR PG wants us to stack the same type of bonuses - when, IIRC, only untyped and dodge bonuses should be stackable.

While I understand that a portion of the JR GMs have ditched caravan combat, I think that the rest of the caravan rules serve the purpose of making sure that the PCs have made the necessary preparations both to survive such their journey and to keep a "travelling village" as their home base (and make sure that the whole operation at least breaks even without constantly needing a huge financial injection into the caravan budget).

My interpretation of the Legendary Games plugin is that the 'CR3 ogre encounter' with 5HP is trying to simulate having a single CR3 ogre attacking a caravan guarded by multiple NPCs, when Ameiko on her own could solo that ogre. It's reasonable that this ogre would be unlikely to do any real damage to the caravan. For an encounter where two or three ogres attack the caravan, you can resolve it as a CR5 or CR6 caravan encounter, which is a little more challenging.

I'd guess the driver working as a guard in town would get paid the higher wage in exchange for the annoyance of not getting to enjoy their leisure time in town because they're too busy guarding. But you could also work in fractions if you want. (0.33gp a day when driver, 3.33gp a day when a guard.)

There are other exceptions to the 'stackable bonus' rule.
"Most jobs provide bonuses on a caravan’s Attack, Security, or Resolve checks. These bonuses are considered circumstance bonuses—they stack with each other, but never to a total value higher than +5 per statistic. Any circumstance bonuses provided by travelers in excess of +5 on a particular statistic’s checks are effectively wasted unless the caravan has the Expert Travelers feat."

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