Ability Tuesday-Tracking

The tracking table was one of my favorite things to look at in the first edition AD&D Player’s Handbook my dad had (after the spells).  Though I’ve never seen it used much in game, I always dreamed it would be really cool.

Mind Weave tracking is in part intended to satisfy that childhood interest of mine.  In Mind Weave, the tracker’s ability to follow a quarries trail depends on 1) The distance and terrain he tracks over in a given hour 2) The time and weather that have passed since the quarry’s passage 3) The number of quarries and the tracker’s resources and 4) The Tracker’s level in Tracking.

A quarry standing right next to the tracker (or within sight) has a 100% chance of being tracked successfully (duh).  Additional distance, time, precipitation, and rough terrain reduces this chance.  Additional quarries on the same path, camps made by the quarries, and animals used by the tracker increase the chance of successful tracking.  Higher levels in Tracking reduce the penalty for adverse conditions and increase the bonus for advantageous conditions.

Lost tracks can be picked up again by searching for signs.  A trail is automatically lost (read “ceases to exist”) if a quarry teleports or flies.  The tracker can only pick up the trail again by finding signs where the quarry next began to leave them.

Now for an example of tracking:

Gwydth—a ranger with Tracking V and See Sign III, but no animal—is tracking a group of 3 raiders.  They are a day ahead of him when he picks up the trail, but there has been no rain.  In the coming hour the Master Weaver determines Gwydth will traverse five miles, crossing one river 10′ wide.  This gives Gwydth over a 100% chance of keeping the trail.  However, it begins to rain, and in the next hour, the trail will lead Gwydth over five miles, a 20′ wide river, and a cliff about 15′ high.  The raiders also made camp at the cliff bottom the night before scaling it.  This gives Gwydth -0% for distance, -16% for the river, -25% for the rain, -8% for being a day behind, and finally -9% for the cliff, for a total of -58%. However, he gets bonuses, +14% for the camp and +36% for three people, giving him a total chance of following the track of 92%.  By bad luck he fails the roll, getting only 1% away, and the Master Weaver decides he reached the cliff and could tell they ascended, but could not see where they entered the woods at the top.  At the top of the cliff, he makes a perception check, rolling 8 (+10 for his See Sign III).  This is high enough to see a pair of foot prints going into the woods.  Realizing that the rain will further reduce his chances in the coming hour, Gwydth decides to follow the two, who are easier than the one to track.  He feels by natural empathy that the rain will stop soon anyway.  In the next hour, the Master Weaver knows there are five miles, two rivers each 10′ across(but the raiders had seen him from the cliff and waded 20′ up river in one), and a small 5′ gully the raiders climbed down and up.  That gives him -0% for distance, -32% for the rivers, -6% for the gully, -50% for the now two hours of rain, -8% for being a day behind, and +18% for the extra man.  This gives a total of -78%, or a 22% chance of keeping the trail.  He again fails the roll, finding himself at the bank of the first river where they had waded up stream.  He looks again for signs, rolling a 12+10=22, but it isn’t high enough to notice the sign of them moving upstream in the rain swollen river.  Searching on the far bank, there are no signs to see, and though the rain stops, he is unable to pick up the trail.  If he were to move up river and find the tracks there, he would still sustain a perpetual -58% for two hours of rain and being a day behind until he reached where the raiders were when the rain stopped.

Would you use tracking in game play?  When do you think it would come in handy?  Comment below to let us know.

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3 Responses to Ability Tuesday-Tracking

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