How does your adventuring party get from Town A to Dungeon B? How about from Earth to Planet X, or from Remote Secret Hideout D to Rampaging Villain K? Whatever your genre (or letter of the alphabet) your heroes will always need a means to get from one location to another.
If your game of choice happens to revolve around pseudo-medieval fantasy then your travel plans tend to be pretty level-dependent; your heroes walk until they can afford horses, then before you know it they’re teleporting hither and yon. In more esoteric campaigns (I’m looking at you, Eberron) we have the awesome Lightning Rail but unless your players enjoy messing about on the high seas or want to crew a Spelljammer the method of travel is scarcely mentioned at all. Most published adventures just assume that you’ve recently arrived at the tavern/town/cave entrance/island and take it from there. How you got there doesn’t matter – what counts is that you’ve arrived and are ready to bash the monsters.
My own group has wised up and prefers to pool resources and buy a wagon and four horses at the earliest opportunity. This gives them a ready-made base of operations when they’re on a delve – just add suitable magical protections (or at least, some fake magic runes painted on the surrounding trees to scare away the natives) and they’re all set.
Over in the realms of science-fiction gaming it’s a different matter entirely. The ship is as much a part of the adventure as any crewmember, and is just as likely to have its own quirks, mannerisms and personality. It’s a poor sci-fi RPG indeed that doesn’t include some form of starship generation (or at least a table of stock builds), and in many cases ship generation is even more complex and time-consuming than character generation. If the ship is large enough entire adventures could be set entirely within its confines. I must have run dozens of Classic Traveller adventures in my time where 90-100% of the action is aboard a Free Trader of one kind or another; it’s like a ready-made dungeon the adventurers bring with them. How cool is that? Just add Tribbles, borg, acid-blooded aliens or invading space pirates (yaaar!) to taste, and you’re ready to play.
Incidentally, Tribbles + Borg = Triblorg, and the biggest threat to known space since William Shatner started releasing albums. I’m banned from using them in my games again. Ever.
Then there’s Superhero gaming where Anything Goes. You can have heroes able to fly three times around the Earth in a single combat round mashing it up with Arcane Teleporters, web-slingers and guys who are basically really, really strong but have to walk everywhere or hitch a lift.
Very often getting the heroes from A to B isn’t the problem – the challenge is getting them there at the same time. There’s always one hero who can get on-site ahead of everyone else, and another who wishes that he’d spent some points to buy a pair of jet boots.
In the case of my own Seven Champions (a British-based NPC superhero group for our ongoing campaign) there’s an Iron Man clone (with a sword!) who can fly up to 500mph, a female Ghost Rider type (with a sword!) who can fly up to 250mph, one Earth-moving guy (no sword) who can fly on a mound of rock up to 500mph, and burrow up to 100mph and a Superhero Necromancer (I never get tired of typing that) who can take on a ghost-form and float at a sedate 10mph. The rest are decidedly stuck on the ground.
My solution is to give them all Jet Bikes that look just like this one (not my render – this is one vehicle firmly on my wishlist!). As we’re using Mutants & Masterminds building a vehicle is much like creating a character or HQ. The cost is in Equipment Points, and vehicles generally only have a Strength stat unless they’re Artificially Intelligent which these bikes ain’t. Taking the standard Motorcycle as a base, replacing Speed with Flight and adding a Communications feature so the riders can chatter whilst travelling at 250mph, we get this:
Jet Bike, 15ep
Tough +8, Defense +0, Size Medium
Flight 5 (250mph)
That’s a mere 15ep which translates to a cost of 3 Character Points if a PC wants one too. There’s no armour or weaponry – its sole purpose is to get the superhero team to where they’re needed, more or less at the same time.
Here’s a quick extra bonus – meet Johnny Jet, star of the prime-time Holovid show “Johnny Jet Does Dangerous Things” and occasional low-powered hi-tech superhero investigator.
Johnny Jet, PL4 60pp
Str 13, Dex 16, Con 15, Int 14, Wis 11, Cha 17
Tough +2/+6 (Armoured Jumpsuit), Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +3
Attack +3, Defense +2, Init +3
Acrobatics +5, Computers +4, Craft:Electronics +5, Craft:Mechanical +5, Drive +9, Gather Information +5, Investigate +4, KS:Technology +6, Pilot +5, Profession:Performer +4, Sense Motive +2
Defensive Roll 1, Equipment 6
Blaster Pistol (+3 DC20, 50’)
Anyhow. That’s my superhero travel problems solved.
How do your PCs get around? Enquiring minds want to know.