Author Topic: Need help making an Oregon trail D&D game  (Read 8122 times)

Omanyte_Jackson

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Need help making an Oregon trail D&D game
« on: May 10, 2011, 05:24:43 PM »
I got this crazy idea of running a game of the Oregon Trail using D&D rules. basically, every player can bring a family of a few npcs and gold to buy a wagon  with supplies and after that, alot of bad sh*t will happen. I think i have pretty much everything down but i still need to figure out a couple things:

  • Wagon Fording/Caulking, what skills apply, what are the modifiers
  • A far way to decide who gets sick
  • Moral of the party, if everyone is tired and hungry how will that effect travel distance, resistance to disease, etc.

I also haven't decided on the system yet, either 4ed or pathfinder, any advice on anything is welcome.
also i'm new btw, hi every body!  ;D

clockworkjoe

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Re: Need help making an Oregon trail D&D game
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2011, 05:35:43 PM »
y hallo thar

Well game mechanic questions can't be answered until you pick a system - i can think of possible solutions for either version.

The big thing about the original Oregon Trail is that it's game of logistics - you have to balance various types of supplies vs the time wasted in gathering more supplies so you would have to develop a new mini system to keep track of various supplies and how long they last. Thus bookkeeping would be an important background element for the game.

Then for the game, you present a series of unusual encounters/dilemmas for the PCs - trading outpost that secretly sponsors bandits. Outpost informs bandits of rich caravans to hit and splits spoils with them. PCs are warned ahead of time but need supplies from outpost - how do they deal with it?

Random encounter tables are good too - make a custom one with good and bad encounters.

Joven

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Re: Need help making an Oregon trail D&D game
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2011, 05:37:37 PM »
Probably not helping, but the first thing i thought of was Call of Cthulhu + Oregon Trail.

Drive skill becomes wagoneering or something, just make skills related to preparing the wagon for fording and a wagoneering skill to get it across successfully, modifiers related to if they're rushing/being chased/fail the prep checks.

'You're out hunting for food, you see a deer, uh oh, it got eaten by its own shadow, which is now heading towards you...make a sanity check, and try to run'

Don't have to worry about a fair way to decide who gets sick, just randomly point at people and inform them they contracted dragon syphilis. etc

Shallazar

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Re: Need help making an Oregon trail D&D game
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2011, 06:01:34 PM »
Look at the rules for dark sun concerning dehydration and survival. 3.5 and 4e would be applicable since its in both, officially and unofficially.

The advice I give will be in terms of 4E but feel free to adapt it.
Also, when caulking the wagon, balance would be a factor, so acrobatics or those type of skills,
and for fording the river, maybe athletics if a PC is assisting the wagon across.

Insight or nature for knowing the speed and depth of a river, also wind is a factor as leaving the canvas on when it is windy may be ill advised. Not only that but leaving too early or too late in the year can change how the campaign might progress as the weather changes across the nation and food becomes scarce. I'm sure there will be some wagon fires, wagon circles, broken tongues and clothing that gets lost in the river so be sure to keep accurate records of A) item weight and B) carrying capacity of animals and PCs.

If there is some sort of food/miles based on the three paces, slow, fair, and grueling. and party health based on rations and the number of sets of clothing and days spent resting. In Oregon trail you can usually rest away any sickness or disease as long as you have plenty of clothes and food.

As far as determining who gets sick keep it simple. yeah women may get sick, but if the men let the women have a larger share of the rations then it might be the men, especially if they are doing all the work. Typically little children are sick the most but parents sacrifice to make sure they pull through. I'd stick with a random chance, sure you could figure in the clothes/food/rest equation but you also don't want prevention to be the crux of the game, i would imagine it would be more fun if a random member gets sick but there is a quest that can be undertaken to procure some salve or antidote to save the persons life.

Snakes kill pretty instantly, you have to rest immediately!

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I've played way too much Oregon trail but the mechanics are pretty simple to figure out if you just keep fiddling with different settings. To achieve a higher score in the game you must end with all members surviving and more money than you started with. Points are given or taken away based on your starting profession, which you might use as a character background. I'm sure you've thought of most of this stuff but I'm on a roll.

As for modifiers, I would base this on the current supplies. if they made sure to get plenty of caulk then they should get a +2, +5 for expert supplies and whatnot. Skills would be (in the 4E vein) Insight/perception to assess the situation (where to caulk, how much to use) and perhaps a dex/con check for the action of caulking. Just stick with simple modifiers like this.

Use the rules for diseases to decide who gets sick. Target defense = fort, but endurance checks can shrug it off.

Party moral, the pace of the oxen(or other draft animal) is what determines how fast the wagon will go, but if the animals are in poor condition then if pushed too hard they will break things, the wagon or themselves.

*side note, check http://www.gamefaqs.com/pc/577345-the-oregon-trail/faqs/30964

Obviously players with better relations with animals will have an easier time pushing their animals. It is fine to go quickly when there is plenty of grass and water for the oxen, in less desirable conditions they can still move quickly but it is ill advised.

The computer game is pretty much a balancing of supplies and exertion and so the DnD game should reflect that. However a good amount of random things are thrown in to challenge the players, in a DnD game instead of a wagon fire it could be a flyby attack by a dragon. Instead of an ox breaking a leg it could get ripped off by a gremlin.

The trail is hardcore, so you will want to keep things hardcore in your game by not allowing the players certain things. Obviously they cannot carry all the buffalo meet, it expires and there is a load limit. Magic that alters the terrain, such as creating bridges, has to be as difficult to use as caulking the wagon, other wise you would obviously be a wizard and just teleport your family across the trail. Another vote for darksun.

I hope you find this advice helpful and I wish you good luck.
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Omanyte_Jackson

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Re: Need help making an Oregon trail D&D game
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2011, 06:17:29 PM »
thanks Ross

I,m leaning towards Pathfinder, cause were already playing 2 4e games as it is.

I thought of simplifying the supplies they need into 4 categories, food, oxen, medicine, and spare wagon parts. each player will keep tally of there supplies and if they run out... they done goofed.

I made a random event table i divided into encounters and mishaps, sorted by rarity, this is just a wip version though
https://docs.google.com/document/d/16Y1MZXUnjZ2GMLzbgk9RLjM36ztk4IQC5q6K8-dziAk/edit?hl=en

definitely taking that Outpost idea, i also thought of a tribe of owlbear worshiping orcs causing trouble preventing the party from advancing past the first fort. hopefully some more ideas will plop into my head once i hear from every one.

Jovan, that sounds AMAZING, unfortunately i know next to 0 on call of Cthulhu. :(

i'm definitely saving that bandit idea,

clockworkjoe

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Re: Need help making an Oregon trail D&D game
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2011, 07:27:12 PM »
the supplies should be used up on a semi-random basis - i.e. PCs have to make skill checks and their roll determines how quickly they are spent.

Roll a DC 30 check? You only use 1 wagon wheel! Roll a DC 5? All the parts are gone!

Omanyte_Jackson

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Re: Need help making an Oregon trail D&D game
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2011, 07:56:14 PM »
the supplies should be used up on a semi-random basis - i.e. PCs have to make skill checks and their roll determines how quickly they are spent.

Roll a DC 30 check? You only use 1 wagon wheel! Roll a DC 5? All the parts are gone!

well hopefully the random event table will account for when they need medicine or spare parts. food is depleted by the pound per day( i'm thinking 5 pounds for 3 filling meals) and the less they eat the more vulnerable to diseases they are.