These Boots Were Made… (Simple Immersion Exercise: Road Warriors!)

©2015 Lost Spheres Publishing, Swiftblood - Art: Dio Mahesa,

©2015 Lost Spheres Publishing, Swiftblood – Artist: Dio Mahesa,

Whether it’s at an Organized Play Event or the precious four hours at a friend’s house, sometimes in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game we want to get into character fast. Rapid immersion helps get a game moving, improves verisimilitude, and helps characters (and their players) get to know one another… And it can be really easy to do with a quick exercise. Today we present – Road Warriors!….

Simple Immersion Exercise: Road Warriors!

Often when we launch off on adventures, we tend to “skip to point of interest” and everyone knows if the GM breaks out a map of a forested trail or craggy path on the way you are looking at an encounter. But if the game is bogging down or not even getting started yet, it might be time set down your feet and launch into some role-playing for your character! If you are anywhere at all, there is mostly like a path to get to or leave where you are, and often its a road. But what about that road? Finding out about where the road leads  can also lead to great role-playing:

  • What roads or paths are nearby? Whether its walking outside the Inn to Copper Street or heading home from Malsion’s Dungeon of Woe, your feet will find a path or road to walk. Asking the GM questions about it will help get in the character mindset. It is also is a cue for the GM to call for Knowledge checks relevant to the area. This helps get the other party members cued into the exercise.
  • What is the road made of? Mud? Cobbles? Masonry? Are all the materials present local or did some come from somewhere else? .The physical reality of the road is a story in and of itself. Whether worn by years of wagons or horses, beaten down by careful hunters or paved  with bricks cored from the living rock of the Elemental Planes.
  • Who made the road? This may be as simple as a work gang that is visible to the party as they leave or the answer may be more complicated and steeping in the campaigns history.
  • Where else does the road lead? Digging into local geography, history and lore are excellent ways to have in-character dialogue (and maybe come up the next strategy the party’s next steps) with other party members. This gives them a chance to discuss motivations and recap their current places with the story. Additionally it allows the GM to render other nearby details of the world the PCs may not be noting or concerned with.
  • Is another party member familiar with the road? As a character asks about the road it may well be that another party member has traveling it before. This can be an awesome opportunity to dig into each others backstories and discover more about the shared origins of the party.
  • Does the party intend to use the road more than once? If, in discussion, it becomes clear the party will be traveling the same stretch of road more than once, does it make sense for them to make preparations for the next time? Camp sites can be improved, bolt holes location, meeting spots noted… The wisdom of preparing the next trip can be tactically important as well as rewarding role-playing.

Putting boots on the ground and discovering what the roads hold for a character can be exactly what you need to shrug of reality for a few hours. The metaphoric hero’s journey can always benefit from a brief exploration of the world and ways they walk it. Take the time to count a few steps, you won’t regret it.

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