Dungeon Masters, Dungeons & Dragons

Fixing the Exploration Phase in D&D 5E with the Journey System

towers in clouds dungeons dragons

The Forgotten Pillar: Exploration

It’s often said that Dungeons & Dragons can be divided into three ‘pillars’: combat, social/roleplay, and exploration.

The toolbox for combat is obviously the largest and most comprehensive, with entire systems built to ensure dynamic, exciting combats.

While roleplay is less well-defined, it also benefits from being a part of the game that is largely improvised. You can make Persuasion or Deception checks to get what you want, but it is often more fun to act these conversations out.

Exploration in D&D 5E has always felt like the red-headed stepchild. There are pages discussing environmental effects and providing random encounters, but it has never felt especially well-defined.

DMs often hand-wave exploration with a couple of random encounter rolls and a “…after several days/weeks/months, you reach your destination’.

This hobbles an exploration-focused class like the ranger. With so many of its skills built around the exploration phase, they miss out on the combat or social buffs other classes get.

It also trivializes the perils of travel. The world feels smaller when you can just skip between cities. That terrifying wilderness you’ve described loses its teeth if it is just three random encounters and a long rest.

I didn’t want that to happen in my current game. I wanted the world to feel large and wild and terrifying.

With the current D&D exploration rules being a little uninspiring, I went further afield to find solutions.

forest exploration dungeons dragons

Even something as mundane as a forest can be terrifying if you don’t skip the exploration phase. Image courtesy of Free Photos by Pixabay.

The Sorry State of Exploration in D&D 5E

At its core, the exploration phase tends to be a Survival check to find food and/or the route. This is followed by a few rolls on random encounter tables.

Combat or roleplay may ensure. You’ll likely play out a single long rest between combats, pretending any others happened ‘off screen’.

When Wizards of the Coast released Tomb of Annihilation, a big selling point for the module was that it featured a sizable hex-crawl that harkened back to old-school D&D.

To survive this hex crawl, players needed to manage both water and food. They had to contend with diseases, swollen rivers, impenetrable jungle, and fearsome foes.

It was all very promising, except for the fact that it just wasn’t fun to run. The resource management element proved more clunky than challenging and the distances players needed to travel meant countless, often repetitive encounters.

Worse, for those DMs who did put the effort into ensuring the hex-crawl was fun, there are multiple in-game elements that invalidated it:

  • The Outlander background’s ability to always find enough food and water for a party rendered the resource management element moot;
  • The Keen Mind feat’s ability to always find true north meant getting lost was no longer an issue;
  • Spells like Tiny Hut and Create Food & Water removed the need to forage.

Now, none of these are insurmountable obstacles for a savvy DM, but it’s this kind of hand waving that makes an exploration based class like the ranger feel so useless.

While Volo’s Guide to Everything did a good job of at least making ranger’s competitive (and Unearthed Arcana has some useful suggestions), Tomb of Annihilation’s hex crawl still felt like a mixed message.

On one hand, we’re presented with a challenging, fleshed out setting to explore, and on the other, we’re given a bunch of features that immediately invalidate it.

Can you imagine if there was a feat that just allowed players to skip combats? Or a background that promised automatic success in a roleplay situation?

moonlight alien mountain range dungeons dragons

The art of the hex crawl isn’t what it once was. Image courtesy of JAK05D from Pixabay

The Old d100 System of Exploration

I usually hate it when an article says it is fixing something in D&D when it really means improving it. You aren’t fixing True Strike by making it a bonus action – you’re improving upon something that already works.

I’ll make an exception for Exploration. It is broken and it does need fixing. You only need to read this post on reddit to see what a joyless, crunchy system it is RAW.

Now, a good DM will make the effort to pre-roll all of this and weave it into some kind of coherent series of encounters and obstacles. My Tomb of Annihilation games improved immeasurably when I learned from the Tomb of Annihilation Companion and prepared 30-45 days of travel ahead of time.

No more frantic rolling as the party discusses their plans. No more hectic pasting of tokens onto hastily uploaded battlemaps.

If you’re looking for the quickest possible fix for exploration – this is it. Figure out how long your party is likely to be traveling, pre-roll their travel days, tweak for flavour, and voila!

This doesn’t address the underlying issue, however. No matter how meticulously planned your series of encounters may be, it still boils down to random rolls, combats, and a lot of hand-waving of the details in between.

No matter how well-planned these sessions are, you’ll eventually have players (or yourself) wanting to hand wave it and just ‘get to the good stuff’.

ruined temple post apocalyptic dungeons dragons

What mysterious ruins lie along the way? Exploration lets you stumble upon sites not keyed to your adventure. Image courtesy of DarkWorkX.

Getting to the Good Stuff in Style

Looking for a solution to my exploration woes, I turned to Adventures in Middle Earth.

Even if you aren’t familiar with the now defunct game, you’ve likely read J.R.R Tolkien’s seminal work of fantasy or, failing that, seen the critically acclaimed Lord of the Rings movies.

You’ll remember there was quite a lot of walking. Like, a lot of walking.

The Adventures in Middle Earth system understands that the journey is very much a part of the action. It is not some tiresome bore that happens between the best parts – it is a crucial part of the story you’re telling. To this end, its Journeys system is a core part of the game.

A Journey is broken down into three parts:

  • Embarkation: The mood of the party as it sets out;
  • Journey: The events that occur along the way;
  • Arrival: The state in which the party reaches their destination.

During the course of these three phases, four party members have specialized roles to help their party reach their destination safely. Those without an assigned role can assist:

  • Guide: The one responsible for getting the party safely to their destination (Survival);
  • Scout: The one ranging ahead checking for perils in their path (Stealth);
  • Hunter: The one gathering additional food & water (Survival);
  • Look Out: The one keeping an eye peeled for wandering monsters (Perception).

As written, these four roles almost entirely upon Wisdom skills. While this is most realistic, it’s a rare party that has four PCs with decent stats in these two particular skills. While your Ranger might be in their element being adept at all of the above, they’re only able to do one o them.

With that in mind, I’d suggest a minor tweak to the above.

My suggestion would be to also make Persuasion a requirement for your guide, as so much of their role affects the spirits of the company. For your Scout, why not make use of the oft-overlooked Investigation check? Hell, if your hunter doesn’t have the best Survival, I’d go so far as to suggest letting them instead use Nature.

The point is – you want the four roles to differ, but you also want the four roles to loosely match up with members of your party.

Across the course of the journey, the various tables involved (one for Embarkation, one for Journey, and one for Arrival) come into play, with each result requiring a roll from one or more of the above. Several even require the entire party to make checks to overcome obstacles.

Failures can lend points of Shadow (an Adventures in Middle Earth specific trait not unlike D&D’s optional Sanity score) or levels of Exhaustion, while successes remove one or both of the above. Success can also grant Inspiration to be used on future skill checks.

But Chris – these are all still just random tables!

You’re not wrong. This system does still boil down to rolling on a series of tables. However, these tables are not just arbitrary monster encounters or natural perils. The ability to gain levels of Exhaustion coupled with the fact there are no long or short rests during the Journey phase means that a series of bad results can have a party reaching their destination in an absolutely sorry state.

The Journey system turns a system that is essentially random rolls that lead into one of the other two pillars of Dungeons & Dragons into a challenging mini-game that has an impact on the other pillars, but is not just some lame duck delivery system.

Adapting the Journey System for D&D 5E

So, you want to fix your exploration phase by implementing the Journey system from Adventures in Middle Earth?

You could take the lazy route and transplant it wholesale into your games, ignoring the rules that don’t apply and adapting on the fly.

Or, you could use the modified system as presented below. I’m nice like that.

Step 1: Embarkation

The first step in the Journey phase has a huge impact on the phases that follow. A party leaving in high spirits will be better equipped to handle the rigors of travel, while one leaving on an empty-stomach is in for a bad time.

Determining Difficulty

The first step to designing a journey is determining its difficulty. This impacts on rolls made on each table, with a perilous journey more likely to generate an unfavourable result.

  1. Easy: Familiar terrain that is well-mapped. Travel on established roads.
  2. Moderate: The ‘standard’ for wilderness travel in relatively well-known environments;
  3. Hard: Unfamiliar areas of wilderness such as deep forests. I use this for Chult’s mapped areas.
  4. Severe: Mountainous regions or trackless swamps. I use this for Chult’s unmapped areas.
  5. Daunting: Areas held by dangerous foes or filled with peril. I use this for journeys in Chult’s more far-flung corners.

Take a note of the number next to each of the above options as well, as this will influence rolls on future tables.

Assigning Roles

As a group, the party needs to decide on who will fill the key roles required by the journey. I’ve tweaked them as below:

  • Guide: The Aragorn of the party. Key abilities include Survival and Persuasion.
  • Scout: Roves ahead looking for potential pitfalls in the path. Key abilities include Stealth and Investigation.
  • Hunter: Hunts and catches food for the party. Key abilities include Survival and Nature.
  • Look-Out: Watches the party’s path for ambushes. Key ability is Perception.

It’s worth noting that the journey system does not require players to keep track of rations and water consumption. It is assumed they’re bringing enough to cover the bare essentials, with the Hunter’s role instead landing additional food.

Time to Depart!

With the above decided, it is time to hit the road!

The Guide will roll a d12 and add their Persuasion bonus to the result. The DM will then deduct the Difficulty rating from the result and check the Embarkation table for the result.

As an example, our ranger, Mitsu rolls a 4 on the d12. He adds his Persuasion bonus of +3 for a total of 7, and the DM then deducts 4 from the result, as this is a journey through dangerous territory. The end result is a 3.

Consulting the Embarkation table, he sees that the party has chosen a path that is more likely to be observed by their enemies. Unfortunately for them, they’ll have a harder time avoiding encounters on the road ahead.

Sample Embarkation Table

I’ve adapted the below Embarkation table from the one presented in Adventures in Middle Earth, which is obviously specific to that particular game.

  1. An Ill Feeling. The party departs under a cloud of doubt. When rolling on the Journey table, add an additional +2 to all results rolled. All checks made to determine the initial outcome of encounters are made at disadvantage.
  2. Dampened Spirits. The party’s departure is marred by foul moods and restlessness. During the Journey, each player makes ability at Disadvantage until they succeed, at which point their spirits lift and the gloom departs.
  3. A Perilous Path. The party’s path takes them through territory where they are more likely to encounter enemies. When rolling on the Journey table, add an additional +1 to all results rolled. The first check made during encounters on the journey is made at disadvantage.
  4. Inaccurate Maps. The party’s maps or information are out of date, forcing them to travel through more difficult terrain than they had anticipated. For the course of this journey, consider the terrain one point more difficult than it is.
  5. Foul Weather. The party leaves in less than ideal conditions, drenched by sheets of icy rain or sweltering in intense heat. Each player must make a Constitution saving throw against a DC of 10 + the journey’s difficulty rating or begin the journey with a level of exhaustion.
  6. Poorly Provisioned. The party departs without adequate provisions (or their provisions spoil). During the journey, they are constantly battling hunger and illness. When rolling ability checks during the journey, each player must then deduct 1d4 from the result rolled.
  7. Well Provisioned. The party departs with full bellies and superb provisions for the road ahead. For the duration of the journey, each player made add 1d4 to any ability check they are required to make.
  8. Fine Weather. The party departs under auspicious skies, with fine weather and ideal traveling conditions ahead of them. Each member of the party may ignore the first point of exhaustion gained during the journey.
  9. Paths Swift and True. The guide has selected the best possible path for the road ahead, selecting terrain that is as easy to travel as possible. For the course of the journey, consider terrain one point less difficult than it is.
  10. A Cautious Departure. The party departs keenly aware of the dangers that lie ahead of them. While you will need to add +1 to results rolled on the Journey table, the characters’ extra preparedness translates into their having advantage on their first roll in each encounter.
  11. High Spirits. The party departs with a clear sense of purpose and camaraderie. During the Journey, each player makes ability at advantage until they fail, at which point self-doubt reins in their enthusiasm.
  12. An Auspicious Start. All signs point to a safe journey for the party, who departs in ideal conditions. When rolling on the Journey table, add an additional +2 to all results rolled. All checks made to determine the initial outcome of encounters are made at advantage.

There you have it! Your party is on the road!

cobblestone path through fields dungeons dragons journey exploration

A path stretches out before you, leading into lands unknown. Image courtesy of Free Photos by Pixabay.

Step 2: Journey

The meat of the journey system is (unsurprisingly) the journey table.

Depending on the length of the journey ahead, you’ll roll on the below table as shown here:

  • Short Journey: 1d2 times;
  • Medium Journey: 1d2+1 times;
  • Long Journey: 1d3+2 times.

What constitutes a short, medium, or long journey is at your discretion. For Tomb of Annihilation, I’ve said 1-6 days is a short journey, 6-15 is a medium journey, and anything else is a long journey.

Rolling on the Journey Table

When it comes time to roll for events on the journey table, you’ll need to factor in the difficulty you decided at the journey’s outset. Remember to factor in the result rolled during Embarkation, as this will impact the result.

You’ll also need to refer back to the difficult you assigned, as this will impact the roll as follows:

  • Easy: -1 to the result rolled;
  • Hard/Severe: +1 to the result rolled;
  • Daunting: +2 to the result rolled.

You’ll then roll 1d12 + the difficulty modifier + any modifiers stipulated by the Embarkation result.

Determining DC

When it comes time for the party to make an ability check, the DC for this check is always 12 + the difficult rating selected. For ease of use, this is shown below:

  • Easy: DC 13;
  • Moderate: DC 14;
  • Hard: DC 15;
  • Severe: DC 16;
  • Daunting: DC 17.
ice giant winterscape dungeons dragons

Spice up your exploration with strange monuments and otherworldly vistas. Image courtesy of Stefan Keller.

Sample Journey Table

The below table is kept intentionally generic, but you are encouraged to tailor the descriptions and content to suit your game’s setting.

  1. A Chance Encounter. The party encounters a traveler or group of travelers. These may be merchants, fellow adventurers, pilgrims, or whatever else you decide.The Scout may attempt a Stealth check to lead the party around this encounter, or any member of your party may instead freely approach to interact with them, making a Persuasion check to establish their initial mood.Depending on how roleplay works out, the party may gain an important snippet of information about the road ahead (granting them advantage on the first roll of their next encounter) or bad information (granting disadvantage).
  2. Good Hunting. Conditions for hunting and foraging are especially good today. The Hunter must make a Survival check in order to capitalize on this.If they are successful, they are able to prepare a meal that lifts the spirits of the party and restores some of their vitality, removing a level of Exhaustion.If they fail, they have wasted valuable time for the party, who must deduct 1 from their eventual Arrival roll as a result.
  3. An Obstacle. Something blocks the party’s path. It may be a fallen tree, a fast-flowing river, or a ravine. The Guide must make a Survival check and all other party members must make an Athletics or Acrobatics check to successfully negotiate their way around this blockage.If the party is traveling with mounts, one party member must also make an Animal Handling check.If all of the checks are successful, the group is buoyed by their teamwork and will add +1 to their eventual Arrival roll.If half or more of the checks are successful, the group manages to negotiate the obstacle with no loss of time.

    If half or more fail, the company expends vital energy and all members gain a level of Exhaustion.

    If all of the party members fail, the party is bone-tired. They not only gain a level of exhaustion, but will have to deduct 1 from their eventual Arrival roll.

  4. In Need of Help. The party comes across travelers in need of their aid. This may be an injured explorer, a village beset by foes, or a group of mercenaries under attack.The party may choose to ignore their pleas and gain +1 to their eventual Arrival roll, but doing so casts a pall over the party as they are left to contemplate the sorry fates of those they left behind. Each player must succeed at a Wisdom saving throw or gain disadvantage on ability checks and attack rolls until they succeed at one, at which point the pall lifts.If the players choose to remain and help, the exact content of the encounter is left up to you. As written, it is recommended to run something akin to a Skill Challenge, but you could also play this out through roleplay, combat, or a combination thereof.

    If the party succeeds, they should gain +1 to their Arrival roll, with Inspiration for those who acquit themselves particularly well.If they fail in their task, they will instead deduct -1 from their eventual Arrival roll, as their spirits are dimmed by their failure.

  5. Enemies! This is where you as the DM get to throw a combat at your party! Select an appropriate enemy (or enemies) for your setting and set the scene.The Look-Out for your company must make a Perception check. If they succeed, the party has the intiative and can choose to avoid the combat (making a Stealth check) or attack the enemy unawares, gaining surprise.If the Look-Out fails, however, it is the enemy that has got the jump on them, and the party finds themselves under attack and surprised.
  6. An Inspiring Sight. The party has come across a site, scene, or location of particular beauty. Each member of the party must attempt either a Perception or Investigation check to fully comprehend and appreciate the sight they have encountered. If they are successful, they may remove a level of Exhaustion.In addition, if all members of the party succeed, their collective spirit urges them on with greater speed, granting +1 to their eventual Arrival roll.If they fail, they instead see the ugliness in the vista, gaining a level of exhaustion as they grumble about the long journey and difficult conditions.

    If all members fail, however, they drag their feet, penalizing them with a -1 to their Arrival roll.

  7. A Hunt. The hunter has come across particularly promising game, if only he can run it down. The Hunter must make a Survival check to attempt to bring down this elusive game (the exact nature of which is up to you).On a success by 5 or more, they are able to prepare a great feast for the party, removing a level of exhaustion and granting the party a +1 to their Arrival roll.On a success, the party enjoys a hearty meal and may remove one level of exhaustion.On a failure, the hunter’s hubris results in the party going to bed with empty stomachs. They gain a level of Exhaustion.

    On a failure by 5 or more, the hunter fails spectacularly. The party is pulled well off course, several of them are injured in the process, and no food is found. Not only does everybody gain a level of Exhaustion, but the party must also deduct 1 from their Arrival roll.

  8. A Comfortable Camp. The party’s Scout has spotted a particularly promising location to set up camp. The exact nature of this is up to you, although it may be an abandoned home, a well-sheltered cave, or a comfortable spot by a stream.The Scout must make an Investigation check to approach the camp and judge its quality. On a success by 5 or more, the camp is perfect! Everybody may remove a level of Exhaustion and the party will add +1 to their Arrival roll.On a success, the camp proves a comfortable place to sleep, allowing the party to remove a level of exhaustion.

    On a failure, the camp is not as it seems. Perhaps biting insects harass the players or the distant howling of wolves keeps them up. Regardless of the reason, it makes for a poor night’s sleep, and everybody will gain a level of exhaustion.

    On a failure by 5 or more, the camp is not as empty as it first appeared! The group have inadvertently stumbled upon a dangerous foe! Combat is likely to ensue, although the exact nature of the combat is left up to you.

  9. A Remnant of the Past. The party stumbles across an item or site from a bygone era, reminding them of the age of the world and the transient nature of their own lives.Each member of the party must make a Perception check. On a success, their spirits are lifted by this relic of old, granting them Inspiration. On a success by 5 or more, they are also able to remove a level of Exhaustion. Additionally, if the entire party succeeds at their roll, their collective good spirits translate into a +1 to the Arrival roll.With a failed roll, the player is instead made keenly aware of their own mortality and the fleeting nature of life. They must succeed at a Wisdom saving throw or be afflicted with a malaise that imposes disadvantage on ability checks. This effect persist until the character succeeds at an ability check.

    On a failure by 5 or more, the character is despondent. They not only must make a Wisdom saving throw to avoid the aforementioned disadvantage, but they also gain a level of exhaustion as they wallow in their ill-mood.

    If the entire party fails at their Perception checks, their collective foul mood translates into a -1 to the Arrival roll.

  10. A Dangerous Place. The party has come across a place most foul. This might be an evil temple, a cursed location, or the site of a particularly brutal battle.The Scout must make an Investigation check to spot the danger before the party blunders into it. If they succeed by 5 or more, they have succesfully pulled the party up short, and the party can observe the scene from afar, gaining resilience from their outrage or the comforting presence of their companions. Everybody in the party gains Inspiration. In addition, the party may add +1 to their Arrival roll.On a success, the party is still able to avoid the perilous situation, and doing so grants them a +1 to their Arrival roll.

    On a failure, the scout has inadvertantly led his party into a place both grim and dangerous. Each party member must make a Wisdom saving through or be afflicted with dread, translating into either disadvantage on all ability checks (until a success) or a Long-Term Madness.

    On a failure by 5 or more, the company has blundered into a site that is very much still inhabited. They not only get the penalties indicated above, but something dangerous lurks nearby and the party has walked right into its trap…

  11. Enemies! This is where you as the DM get to throw a combat at your party! Select an appropriate enemy (or enemies) for your setting and set the scene.The Look-Out for your company must make a Perception check. If they succeed, the party has the intiative and can choose to avoid the combat (making a Stealth check) or attack the enemy unawares, gaining surprise.If the Look-Out fails, however, it is the enemy that has got the jump on them, and the party finds themselves under attack and surprised.
  12. An Auspicious Meeting. The party has encountered a particularly powerful or important traveler on the road. This may be Elminster or Artus Cimber, or it may be a powerful foe.If the Embarkation roll was a 1, this is automatically a foe, while an Embarkation roll of 12 means that the party has met a powerful potential ally.If neither a 1 nor a 12 was rolled for Embarkation, the Look-Out must instead make a Perception check. On a roll of 5 or more, the party has met somebody of great importance. They may immediately remove a level of Exhaustion and, should they interact with the person in a successful roleplay, gain +1 to their Arrival roll.

    If the look-out succeeds, they have instead met somebody of importance without realising it, and the encounter should play out as if they had rolled a 1 on this table.

    If the look-out’s roll fails, they have instead come upon enemies. Treat this as if they had rolled a 5 or 11 on this table, with a combat the likely outcome.

    If the look-out fails by 5 or more, they have come upon a singularly powerful foe. If they do not wish to tangle with this foe, they must flee, resulting in a level of Exhaustion and a -1 to to their Arrival roll.The exact nature of these encounters is left entirely up to you. In my Tomb of Annihilation game I might treat a success by 5 or more as Artus Cimber, a success as a Flaming Fist patrol, a failure as a band of Yuan-Ti or undead, and a failure by 5 or more as a band of Red Wizards.

towers in clouds dungeons dragons

Make sure your destination is a fitting reward for your players. Image courtesy of Donna Kirby.

Step 3: Arrival

With the journey behind them, all that remains is to figure out the manner of the party’s arrival.

There are a few factors to take into account when rolling for Arrival. Firstly, the terrain traveled through impacts the result as follows:

  • Easy: +1 to Arrival roll;
  • Moderate: No modifier;
  • Hard/Severe: -1 to Arrival roll;
  • Daunting: -2 to Arrival roll.

You’ll also want to factor in any modifiers gained during the journey before rolling a d8 and consulting the below table.

Sample Arrival Table

  1. Weary to the Bones. The party has arrived both physically and emotionally exhausted. Each player must succeed at a Wisdom saving throw or gain a Long Term Madness.If the party’s journey took them through a particularly disturbing place that they were unable to avoid (a 10 on the journey table), the DC is increased by 2.
  2. Empty Bellies. The party limps into town having exhausted their supplies a few days earlier. They are starving, tired, and dehydrated. Each party member gains a level of Exhaustion.
  3. Poor Spirits. The arduous journey has left the party in poor spirits and an ill-mood. Each player has disadvantage on Charisma-based ability checks until they are able to succeed at one.The good side to being in a foul mood is that the party is likely spoiling for a fight, which translates into advantage on the first initiative roll each is require to make.
  4. Uncertainty. The party arrives in ill weather, after dark, or just unsure if they’ve arrived where they intended to be.How exactly this plays out is at the DM’s discretion.Perhaps the group has stumbled upon a den of bandits close to their destination, perhaps the gates are barred and they must negotiate to be allowed in, or perhaps it is as simple as requiring your Guide to make a Persuasion or Survival check to get them the last distance to their destination.The penalty for failure should be Exhaustion, with success simply being an end to their arduous journey.
  5. Weary but Glad. The trip may have been long and exhausting, but the sight of their destination instills the party with much needed energy. Each player may remove a level of Exhaustion.
  6. Determined. The events of their journey have instilled the group with greater zeal for their future travels. Perhaps they are motivated by a desire to get to grips with their foes or perhaps this is simply a desire to be better prepared.Regardless of the reason, the party will have +1 to their next Embarkation roll.
  7. Tall Tales. The party arrives at their destination with plenty of stories to tell. They have bonded through their shared toil and their gregarious spirit is infectious.Each party member has advantage on Charisma ability checks until such a time as they fail one.
  8. Full of Hope. The journey may have been hard, but the party has emerged from it with renewed hope for the road ahead. Each player gains a level of Inspiration and may remove a level of Exhaustion.

The Journey system has revitalized the Exploration pillar at my table.

After my players begged me to do away with the hex-crawl in Tomb of Annihilation, the transition to the Journey system has meant players actually looking forward to one of the three core tiers of gameplay. It’s no longer combat and roleplay standing out on their own, but the third tier getting some much needed love as well.

There are still some tweaks to be made (I’ve suggested Outlander and Keen Mind granting advantage to their respective skills), but your ranger ought to love their abilities feeling more necessary to the party.

While I’ll leave the exact mechanics of favored terrains and the like up to you, I’ve found simply granting advantage on relevant rolls has meant the ranger finally has an area to excel in that isn’t brooding.

Your Say

How do you run exploration at your table?

If you are still running it as written, how have you managed the abundance of random tables?

Or are you a hand-waver like I used to be?