Dungeon Master’s Tips for Making DND Travel Interesting

Travel and exploration are an integral part of most Dungeons & Dragons games. They have the potential to become one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game for your players, or they can turn into long and boring sessions if not carefully crafted.

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There are tools and techniques that Dungeon Masters uses to enhance these parts of their games, and by knowing some of them you can elevate the player experience at your own table. Traveling in real life is an opportunity for adventure, bonding, and discovery, so let our D&D games reflect that.


8 Encourage role play

Time spent traveling in the game is a great opportunity for characters to role-play, share their stories, and bond. Especially if the game is new and the characters haven’t spent a lot of time together, the downtime between important events can bring them closer together.

While more experienced players will take advantage of these opportunities themselves, the Dungeon Master can also encourage role-playing at such times. Traveling takes time and it is very unlikely that a group will spend days together without talking to each other. So just reminding players of the passing time and asking them if there’s anything they want to do or say can easily get your players in the mood for roleplaying.

seven Environmental challenges

Your player can traverse multiple environments while on the move, and facing the extreme aspects of each environment can create memorable and challenging encounters. Surviving a sandstorm, crossing narrow cliffs, getting lost in a thick forest, or other similar occurrences are tropes of the fantasy genre for a reason; they are exciting.

Extreme weather conditions, dangerous hazards, and difficult trails are great options to include in your game. You’ll also find great tips in the Dungeon Master’s Guide and other resources that can help you turn these events into challenges. of interesting skills for your players.

6 Random Encounter Tables

Random encounters are a great tool to make long journeys exciting and immersive. Depending on the environment and method of travel, your players may encounter monsters, events, and social encounters that make the world vibrant and introduce a refreshing change of pace to the game.

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There are many tables available online for different environments and for certain levels of players that you can use, but you can always arrange the encounters yourself or take inspiration from the resources available and modify them to suit your world.

There are also several ways to decide which encounter your players will face for each part of the journey. Some DMs will ask their player to roll, making it feel like players are responsible for their own fate. Other DMs might choose to roll in secret and arrange encounters in a more unexpected and surprising way.

5 Use of different vehicles and travel methods

When talking about travel in D&D, most will imagine a group of adventurers traveling long distances on foot, on horseback, or sometimes by boat. These are the most common means of travel in fantasy settings, but there’s nothing wrong with shaking things up once in a while.

Traveling alongside caravans, using flying mounts, jumping through teleportation circles or, if your surroundings allow it, airships and trains can provide a different course of adventure for your players. You can also consider multiple travel methods for different parts of the trip to make a long trip more interesting.

4 Discover monuments

An often missed opportunity for new DMs is to establish a more realistic world through landmarks and points of interest. When traveling between two major cities on your world, it is unrealistic for the entire journey to be through uninhabited wilderness or empty roads.

Including small and subtle landmarks along the way can help your players immerse themselves in your game, interact with more aspects of the world, and experience various little adventures. Small towns and villages, abandoned ruins, secret hideouts and isolated societies can be some examples of interesting discoveries during the journey.

3 Meet other adventurers

It’s easy for players to think they’re the only heroes and saviors, and while that’s not necessarily a problem in a D&D game, it might not be the sentiment you want to convey in as a Dungeon Master, especially in the first, lower levels. In a living fantasy world, many adventurers travel the world to help those in need or earn extra money.

RELATED: Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeon Master Tips for Creating Memorable NPCsThe best way to communicate this aspect of the world to your players is to meet other adventurers. Voyages are a great opportunity for these encounters, and you can create small side adventures where your players help other adventurers and share victory, or even battle them for valuable treasure.

2 Monitoring of supplies and rations

There are many D&D groups that focus on the survival aspect and mechanics of the game. But for those who don’t find this style of gameplay interesting on its own, survival can still be an interesting challenge while traveling long distances.

Tracking the exact amount of rations and supplies is a nuisance for players and DMs, but you can always estimate how many days of travel characters will start to run out of food and water. Without spells such as Goodberry or Create Food and Water, your players might need to hunt and forage, trade with passing caravans, or try to pick up their pace and reach a town before they run out of supplies.

1 Prepare hidden treasures

Traveling and exploring go hand in hand in a D&D game, and the DM should be prepared to reward their players’ curiosity with little treasures. If your players ask for details or search for interesting places during the journey, and they always end up empty-handed, they will be discouraged from exploring in the future.

Preparing a list of small hidden treasures, such as buried coin chests, lost weapons and items, or unique and interesting magic items can help you both improvise when your players start exploring and reward their attention and their good perception or investigation rolls.

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