Unwanted Additional Complexity
Adding caravan rules to your game adds an additional layer of complexity—a layer that some parties might not want to deal with. Fortunately, the matter of tracking a party caravan’s statistics is a task that can be delegated to one player to track during the game—this should be the same player who tracks things like party treasure, since caravans exist to facilitate an in-game explanation as to where that party treasure is being kept in the first place.
That said, if your group and your GM would rather hand-wave the caravan element of travel, that’s fine as well. In this case, your GM can just ignore the caravan encounters and awards in your module and focus instead on the adventures themselves; you can simply assume that as long as your player characters are alive, your caravan is fit and capable of continuing onward.
When you first gain access to a caravan, you and the other players can determine the caravan’s initial build by selecting the caravan’s primary statistics.
Primary Statistics: You initially have 3 points to spend among your primary statistics. Each primary statistic begins with a score of 1, and you can split these 3 points up in any combination you want between your caravan’s Offense, Defense, Mobility, and Morale scores.
Beginning Wagons: A standard sample caravan begins with 1 covered wagon, 1 fortune-teller’s wagon, and 1 supply wagon. See the Wagon Statistics section below for the abilities of these three wagons.
A standard sample caravan starts with six NPC travelers, 3 of whom can serve as drivers.
The responsibility for purchasing additional wagons and equipment and for hiring any needed specialists falls to the players. While you’ll be unlikely to be able to afford many additional resources for the caravan when you first join it, you’ll have numerous opportunities to buy or even find more upgrades as the campaign goes along.
While you, as player characters, won’t have much control over the type and number of encounters your caravan is destined to have, you do need to know the rules for how to play out these encounters when they occur.
A caravan’s speed determines how many miles it can travel in a day—the speed doesn’t really affect much on a tactical scale, since caravan combat utilizes very simple rules to resolve conflicts. A caravan’s base speed is 32 miles per day, but this can be increased by taking the Faster caravan feat, by purchasing horse trains, or by purchasing enhanced undercarriages for every wagon in your caravan. This speed assumes travel on a road over clear terrain—use Table: Terrain and Overland Movement to adjust the number of miles you can cover in a day if you drift into other types of terrain.
A day of travel for a caravan assumes 12 hours of travel and 12 hours of rest. Caravans typically travel during daylight hours—if they travel after dark, their speed is halved. A caravan that pushes itself to travel more than 12 hours in a day becomes fatigued, taking a –2 penalty on all rolls, and halves its base speed. Every hour that a caravan continues to push beyond the 12 hour mark, it must make a DC 15 Security check to avoid becoming exhausted—the DC of this check increases by +1 with each successive check. An exhausted caravan takes a –6 penalty on all rolls and cannot move at all. A full 12 hours of rest is enough to make an exhausted caravan fatigued, and to make a fatigued caravan normal.
As a caravan travels, it will eventually encounter some form of peril. The less dangerous forms of peril include bad weather, poor road conditions, and local disasters such as landslides, forest fires, the threat of mutiny, and the like. More dangerous forms of peril include monsters like dragon, and large-scale disasters like tsunamis. When your caravan encounters peril, it must make a Security check or a Resolve check—the GM has information on which check you’ll need to make, as well as what the check DC is and what happens to your caravan if it fails the check. Normally, a failed check simply deals damage to your caravan, but some failed checks can result in the loss (temporarily or permanently) of traveler jobs, provisions, repair materials, or other pieces of equipment.
One particularly complex example of peril is combat—rules for caravan combat are detailed below.
A caravan must rest for 12 hours after 12 hours of travel to avoid becoming fatigued. In order to gain the restorative effects of resting, the caravan must consume a total number of provisions equal to the caravan’s consumption score; otherwise, no benefits are gained from rest. A caravan that doesn’t have enough provisions to pay its consumption uses up all of the remaining provisions, takes 1d6 points of damage, and becomes fatigued. A caravan that lacks provisions cannot be repaired or recover from fatigue until it uses a number of provisions equal to its consumption score, and it continues to take 1d6 points of damage twice per day until its hit points reach zero, at which point the caravan is effectively destroyed.
Individual characters in the caravan might survive if they remain with the caravan at the GM’s discretion—if those travelers haven’t already abandoned the caravan. Provisions can be purchased in any settlement by buying stores—a single cargo unit of stores grants 10 units of provisions. Units of provisions can also be gathered by scouts at the rate of 2 per day. They can also be supplied by the spells goodberry, create food and water, or heroes’ feast. A single casting of goodberry creates 1 unit of provisions. A single casting of create food and water generates 3 units of provisions. A single casting of heroes’ feast is enough to generate 1 unit of provisions per caster level. All provisions magically created in this manner must be consumed on the same day they are created.
On long and arduous journeys such as those faced by the PCs and their caravan, disputes between a caravan’s travelers are unavoidable. As unrest grows, members of the caravan may turn on one another, question leadership decisions, want to turn back or take a different path, or otherwise disrupt the caravan. As a result, caravans also have a fifth statistic: Unrest.
A mutiny can occur whenever a caravan’s Unrest score exceeds its Morale score. Whenever this is the case, the caravan takes a –1 penalty to its AC and on Attack, Security, and Resolve checks for every point by which Unrest exceeds Morale. In addition, a caravan in mutiny must make a Resolve check (DC = 20 + the caravan’s current Unrest score) each day. If it fails this check, the caravan moves at half its base speed that day. If the caravan fails this check by 5 or more, the caravan either refuses to move or moves at half its base speed in a random direction (other than the direction desired by the PCs) that day. A caravan can offset its Unrest score by increasing its Morale statistic when it gains a level. Unrest has no upper limit, but it cannot be reduced below 0.
Gaining Unrest: When any of the following events occurs, a caravan must succeed at a Resolve check (DC = 20 + the caravan’s current Unrest score) or gain 1 point of Unrest: a wagon or horse train is lost (whether it is abandoned or destroyed), a traveler is killed (even if subsequently brought back to life), the caravan is reduced to 25% of its hit points or fewer, or the caravan makes no progress during a 12-hour travel day because of an adverse event.
Reducing Unrest: A caravan’s Unrest score is reduced by 1 whenever the caravan gains a level. In addition, a caravan can attempt a DC 20 Resolve check with a penalty equal to its current Unrest score whenever the caravan performs one of the following actions: adding a wagon to the caravan, adding a wagon improvement, spending a day resting (this does not include days spent making repairs or otherwise working, nor days spent unable to move because of adverse events or conditions), or consuming double the caravan’s consumption for 1 day.
If any of these actions are performed while camped at a settlement, the caravan gains a +5 bonus on its Resolve check. A success on this check reduces the caravan’s Unrest score by 1 point. A failure results in no change. In addition, certain situations throughout the Adventure Path may increase or decrease a caravan’s Unrest score. Giving away 1 cargo unit of trade goods to the caravan crew also reduces Unrest by 1, and giving away 1 cargo unit of party treasure decreases Unrest by 3. However, buying loyalty in this way has diminishing returns, requiring 1 additional cargo unit to provide the same reduction in Unrest each time it is done. Cargo units used in this way are effectively expended, and no longer count toward a caravan’s total cargo capacity.
Not only can caravans be used to transport large amounts of gear (including treasure the PCs may have found in the course of play), but some equipment can actually enhance a caravan’s statistics, making it easier to defend or repair or enhancing its speed. Both types of equipment are detailed below. Each of these items takes up a certain number of cargo units, as indicated.
Ballista: The only siege weapon capable of being mounted and used from a caravan, a ballista grants a +1 bonus on a caravan’s Attack checks.
Campsite Traps: This collection of portable traps consists of items such as bear traps, noisemakers, tripline-activated light crossbows, and the like. Setting up campsite traps around a caravan grants a +4 bonus on Security checks made to avoid being surprised if a caravan combat occurs while the caravan is camped, and grants a +4 bonus on Attack checks during the first round of combat that takes place while camped.
Cold-Weather Gear: Cold-weather gear consists of furs and various tools that aid in de-icing caravans, helping them move through snow, and otherwise providing comfort to their travelers. A caravan that is equipped with cold-weather gear does not take any additional penalties on Security and Resolve checks when traveling through extremely frigid environments.
Enhanced Undercarriage: These improvements consist of a combination of reinforced wheels, masterfully engineered axles, and other enhancements meant to increase a wagon’s speed. As long as a caravan possesses one enhanced undercarriage for every wagon in the caravan (not including horse trains), the caravan’s speed increases by 8 miles per day.
Repair Materials: Repair materials are to repair a caravan after it’s been damaged. A wainwright uses up one cargo unit of repair materials each time she makes a special Security check to repair damage (see the entry for the wainwright job).
Stores: A single cargo unit of stores equates to 10 units of provisions. See the Resting section under Caravan Encounters for an explanation of how consumption and provisions work.
Trade Goods: A single cargo unit of trade goods consists of a combination of metals, spices, cloth, wood, salt, and such. Depending on a trader’s special Resolve check (see the entry for the trader job), significant profit can be made selling trade goods to new cities the caravan visits along its route.
Treasure: This unusual form of cargo can’t be purchased. Treasure consists of all manner of loot, gear, treasure, and clutter that you collect during your adventures, but that no one in your party wants to use or even carry on their own. Things like looted armor, weapons, coins, gems, and other valuable objects can be combined into one big pool of treasure. You’ll need to track the total value yourself. Whenever the caravan reaches civilization, you can assume that the unwanted treasure is sold off so that the profit can be split among the PCs. As a general rule, 50 pounds of treasure takes up 1 cargo unit, although in some cases, treasure might take up even more room at the GM’s discretion.
Wagon Reinforcements: These additional wooden struts, metal plates, and extra supports use up some of a wagon’s cargo space, but in return they increase that wagon’s hit points (and thus the caravan’s overall hit points) by +10.
Once you have the cash, you might want to consider buying bags of holding or even a portable hole to increase your caravan’s cargo storage. Anything smaller than a bag of holding, such as a handy haversack, isn’t large enough to hold a significant amount of cargo.
The amount of cargo space each of these items can provide is listed below. (Note that anything stored in an extradimensional space is tough to get to, and can’t provide bonuses to your caravan—you can’t mount a ballista or wagon reinforcements in a portable hole!)
Just as each character has her own statistics, so does your party’s caravan. Descriptions of all caravan statistics follow. Use the following notes to fill in a caravan’s initial values.
Name: This is the caravan’s name, which can be decided by the player characters.
Level: When you first gain access to a caravan, it is normally a 1st-level caravan. The caravan’s level increases as you travel with it. Each time a caravan’s level increases, it gains a new caravan feat that helps to increase its statistics. A caravan’s level can never exceed the level of its highest-level full-time PC traveler.
Primary Statistics: A caravan’s primary statistics are each represented by a single number ranging from 1 to 10, with a value of 1 indicating the baseline, standard, no-frills value for a caravan and a 10 indicating the maximum extent of perfection a caravan can achieve in a primary statistic. All caravans have four primary statistics: Offense (ability to inflict damage), Defense (ability to withstand damage and speed at which repairs can be effected), Mobility (ability to navigate terrain and to react to sudden dangers), and Morale (the overall attitude and loyalty of the caravan’s travelers). See the Caravan Construction section for how to set your caravan’s starting statistics.
Derived Statistics: Each of a caravan’s primary statistics influences its derived statistics. Derived statistics have no intrinsic maximum value. These statistics include Attack (the total modifier to a d20 roll when your caravan attacks), Armor Class (the target number needed by a creature to successfully hit your caravan), Security (the total modifier to a d20 roll for your caravan to avoid a physical danger, such as a landslide, a muddy section of road, or a forest fire), and Resolve (the total modifier to a d20 roll for your caravan to avoid a mental or spiritual danger, such as mutiny or a mass fear effect).
Attack check: 1d20 + Offense + bonuses granted by travelers, equipment, feats, wagons, and other sources
In addition to the four primary statistics and four derived statistics, an independent statistic exists: Unrest. This statistic is detailed in the Unrest and Mutiny section.
Speed: This value is the caravan’s base speed when traveling over open ground on a road. The base speed for all caravans is 32 miles per day—this speed can be increased by horse trains, the Faster caravan feat, and by enhanced undercarriages.
Hit Points: A caravan’s number of hit points indicates how much damage it can withstand and still remain mobile. A caravan reduced to 0 hit points becomes immobile—further damage that is inflicted on a caravan at this point hurts its travelers instead. A caravan’s hit points are equal to the sum total of the hit points possessed by its wagons, modified further by any appropriate modifiers.
Traveler and Cargo Capacity: These values indicate the maximum number of travelers and cargo units your caravan can carry. If either of these values is exceeded by your total number of travelers or cargo units, your caravan cannot move. Your caravan’s total traveler and cargo unit capacities are determined by the sum of its wagons’ values, modified further by any appropriate bonuses or penalties.
Consumption: This value indicates the amount of provisions that your caravan consumes every day. Your caravan’s consumption equals the total number of travelers in your caravan plus the total of all the wagons’ consumption values, modified further by any appropriate bonuses or penalties.
Wagons: Your caravan starts with three wagons and initially has enough room in it for five total. Each wagon must have a driver, and a driver must be a traveler in your caravan—while filling the role of driver, that NPC cannot fill any other role in the caravan.
Feats: Feats grant your caravan bonuses to its derived statistics or to its traveler or cargo capacity, as well as other benefits. A caravan starts with one feat, and gains an additional feat at every level.
Travelers: Travelers are all creatures who belong to the caravan with the exception of any draft animals used to pull the wagons. Player characters, NPCs, animal companions, mounts, and cohorts are all considered travelers for this purpose. Familiars are covered by their master as far as traveler count is concerned. Every traveler (save for passengers) provides a benefit to a caravan in some way. Use this space on the caravan sheet to list the names of all travelers, their roles in the caravan, and any bonuses that they may provide to the caravan. Use the box in the upper corner to list the total number of travelers in the caravan.
Cargo: Use this area to list any cargo and equipment the caravan is carrying. All cargo takes up a certain amount of space—see the section on cargo under Caravan Equipment for details on how many units of space various pieces of cargo and equipment take up.
Caravan combat is not intended to be nearly as complex or detailed as the normal combat rules—this is by design, so that the actual game play can focus more on the player characters than anything else.
When a caravan combat occurs, it either takes place while the caravan is active and on the move, or when it is camped and stationary. If an encounter takes place while the caravan is active, then the battle plays out with no adjustments. If it takes place while the caravan is camped, though, the caravan must make a DC 20 Security check to avoid being surprised by the attack—if the caravan fails this check, it takes a –2 penalty on Attack checks and a –2 penalty to its AC for the first round of combat. A caravan is too large and unwieldy to ever effectively be able to surprise a foe.
Caravan combat plays out over the course of a number of combat rounds, just like normal combat. Most caravan battles will be between your caravan and groups of bandits, humanoids, or other relatively low-level threats, although periodically a fight might occur between your caravan and a single larger foe. Significant encounters with actual level-appropriate challenges for your party will generally not be presented in the format of a caravan combat. In such cases, it’s more likely that the player characters will face off against the significant foes while the caravan plays out a parallel battle against that foe’s minions.
When a caravan combat begins, there’s no need to lay out positions on a battlemat, since caravan combat resolves with a number of simple rolls. Each round of caravan combat, both sides of the battle make a single Attack check. If a combatant’s Attack check equals or exceeds the target’s AC, it deals an amount of damage to that foe equal to its level (for a caravan) plus 1d6. Most weak enemies deal similar damage, but more powerful foes can deal multiple dice of damage if they hit your caravan. If the Attack check was a natural 20, then an additional 1d6 points of damage are dealt, regardless of the number or type of damage dice the original attack dealt. Combat continues until either the caravan or its foe is reduced to 0 hit points.
An enemy that is reduced to 0 hit points either flees or disbands—it’s generally not completely wiped out.
Defeating an enemy in this manner gives you XP and allows your caravan to continue on its journey—successful combats do not reduce the total miles a caravan can travel in a day. Some foes defeated in this manner may even have treasure or supplies your caravan can take.
If your caravan is reduced to 0 hit points, it is destroyed. This doesn’t mean the end of your campaign, of course, but it does mean things are going to be more difficult for you since you won’t have a safe place to shelter or store gear along the way. If your caravan is destroyed, all significant NPCs in the caravan (this is generally the player characters and any unique NPCs you’ve allied with) are reduced to 1d20–5 hit points (not to exceed a character’s maximum number of hit points). Characters reduced to negative hit points are dying and need swift attention. As a general rule, both you and the significant NPCs are assumed to have fled the destruction of your caravan and to have momentarily eluded the foe that destroyed it—the GM will determine what happens next in this tragic situation. All non-significant NPCs are slain if your caravan is destroyed, as are all horses used to draw the wagons (with the exception of special PC mounts or animal companions). All equipment purchased for the caravan is either destroyed or looted by the victors.
If any surviving characters can serve as wainwrights, you might be able to repair your wagons enough to be serviceable, but you’ll still need to find additional animals to draw your caravan’s wagons—in such a disaster, it’s generally a better option to press on without your caravan or, more likely, retreat to the nearest settlement to buy new wagons and hire new help to try again. If all of this sounds kind of scary, remember that your caravan will, on average, be tougher than most of the enemies it encounters. If you take care of your caravan, keep it in good repair, and know when to retreat or avoid combat, you should be able to avoid meeting such a devastating fate as total caravan destruction.
If your caravan is already relatively damaged, avoiding or escaping combat is often a better choice than battle. If you wish to try to evade a foe, you can’t make an Attack check in that round of combat—instead, you must make a Security check to outmaneuver your foe. Your enemy still gets to make an attack against your caravan when you’re attempting to make a Security check to escape. A successful Security check allows you to escape your foe. The DC for this check is equal to 10 + the foe’s CR. At the GM’s option, more powerful or mobile foes could require two or more checks. If you escape from a foe, your caravan is considered to have backtracked a certain amount, and you can make no further progress traveling for the rest of the day.
You don’t need to track experience points for your caravan—its level increases as the PCs’ levels’ do. Whenever a player character in your group gains an experience level, compare that PC’s new experience level to the caravan’s current level. If the character’s new level is higher than the caravan’s current level, the caravan’s level rises to match that character’s experience level. Essentially, your caravan’s level is always equal to the level of the highest-level PC in the group.
If the highest-level PC dies or leaves the party, the caravan’s level does not decrease—it simply takes a bit longer for the next highest-level PC to rise in level enough to exceed the caravan’s current level and thus trigger the caravan’s level increase.
A caravan gains a new caravan feat when it gains a level, but apart from the advantages granted by that feat, a caravan gains no other benefit from gaining a level.
Every person associated with a caravan who accompanies it on its journey is known as a traveler, and every traveler on a caravan fills a different job during the caravan’s journey—even if that job is simply being a passenger. Individual characters can only perform one job at a time. Characters who meet the prerequisites for more than one job must pick which job they’re performing at the start of a day—they can switch to a different job after 24 hours have passed.
Most jobs provide bonuses on a caravan’s Attack, Security, or Resolve checks. These bonuses are considered circumstance bonuses—they stack with each other, but never to a total value higher than +5 per statistic. Any circumstance bonuses provided by travelers in excess of +5 on a particular statistic’s checks are effectively wasted unless the caravan has the Expert Travelers feat. Jobs can be performed by PCs, allied NPCs, or NPCs hired for the position.
Note that not all job positions can be hired for—some, like fortune-teller or spellcaster, must be filled by PCs or allied NPCs they meet during the course of the campaign. All higher-level travelers must be allied with on a case-by-case basis as they are encountered during the course of play; allies need not be paid for their services. A hired NPC is a 1st-level expert or a 1st-level warrior. All hired NPCs require a specific wage—this wage must be paid in full when the NPC is first hired, and then again on a monthly basis. A hired NPC who is not paid his wage leaves the caravan at the first opportunity, and until he leaves, he functions only as a passenger.
During the course of the Adventure Path you will have many opportunities to venture away from the caravan (such as in towns or when you want to go exploring), and you can choose to leave NPCs back at the caravan site to ensure that they don’t come to any harm.
Cook: As long as a caravan has at least 1 cargo unit of stores (10 units of provisions) in storage in the caravan’s cargo, a cook reduces the caravan’s consumption score by 2 (to a minimum consumption equal to your total number of wagons). A single caravan can benefit in this manner up to five times—additional cooks beyond five provide no additional benefit. Each time you take the Expert Travelers feat for your caravan, increase the limit on the number of cooks by +1.
Requirement: Any character with at least one rank in Profession (baker, brewer, cook, fisherman, gardener, innkeeper, or tavern keeper) can serve as a cook.
Driver: A driver is required for every wagon in the caravan—a wagon without a driver cannot move. Drivers provide no additional benefit to a caravan.
Entertainer: An entertainer keeps the rest of the travelers distracted and amused during the journey, and grants a +1 circumstance bonus on the caravan’s Resolve checks.
Requirement: Any character with at least one rank in Perform can serve as an entertainer.
Fortune-teller: Fortune-tellers play a unique role caravan—they serve as advisors, inspirations, and proxy mothers to everyone in the caravan. Fortune-tellers are traditionally elderly women, although this isn’t always the case. A caravan without a fortune-teller takes a –2 penalty on all Attack, Security, and Resolve checks. Once per week, a fortune-teller can give advice on how best to handle the coming week’s perils. In addition, once per week after the fortune-teller has given this advice, when the caravan has to make an Attack, Security, or Resolve check, you may roll twice and take the better result.
Requirement: Any PC or NPC capable of casting divination spells can serve as a fortune-teller.
Guard: A guard helps to defend a caravan against aggressors. Each guard in a caravan grants a +1 circumstance bonus to the caravan’s Offense score, and a +1 circumstance bonus on Security checks made to avoid being surprised (such as in an ambush or in an attack that takes place while the caravan is camped).
Requirement: Any character with a base attack bonus of at least +1 can serve as a guard.
Guide: A guide keeps the caravan safe from regional dangers, and grants a +1 circumstance bonus on Security checks.
Requirement: Any character with at least one rank in Knowledge (geography) can serve as a guide.
Healer: A healer helps the wounded and the sick to recover more quickly. Each healer in a caravan can provide long-term care to up to six travelers—these travelers automatically gain the benefits of long-term care when they spend the night in a wagon.
Requirement: Any character with at least one rank in Heal can serve as a healer.
Hero: A hero is a highly-trained character capable of performing a variety of roles, from offense to defense. Each hero grants a caravan a +1 morale bonus on Attack, Security, and Resolve checks, to a maximum of +4. The morale bonuses granted by heroes do not count toward the maximum +5 circumstance bonus on each derived statistic’s checks granted by other travelers performing jobs.
Requirement: Only PCs can serve a caravan as a hero, but doing so does not count as a job role—a PC can effectively serve as a hero and any one other job.
Passenger: Passengers provide no benefit to the caravan’s statistics, although many passengers provide payments to the caravan upon being delivered safely to the caravan’s destination. You’ll have opportunities to take on passengers for payments several times during the Jade Regent Adventure Path—your GM will inform you when such opportunities arise.
Requirement: Any character can serve as a passenger.
Scout: A scout spends her days traveling not with the caravan but in the surrounding wilderness, looking out for possible trouble on the route ahead and seeking out stores in the form of water and game. A scout can provide 2 units of provisions in a day’s work if she focuses on hunting for the day, or a +1 circumstance bonus on the caravan’s Security checks if she focuses on scouting for the day. Scouts provide their own food, and do not count against the caravan’s total consumption. A caravan can have up to three scouts working for it at any one time.
Requirement: Any character with at least one rank in Survival can serve as a scout.
Spellcaster: Spellcasters are versatile characters who can fill one of several job roles in a caravan, choosing from entertainer, guard, guide, healer, or scout, regardless of whether they meet the job’s requirement. Bonuses granted by spellcasters stack with those granted by any other job, but as with all jobs, any spellcasters in excess of five do not provide additional bonuses.
Requirement: Any PC or NPC capable of casting spells can serve as a spellcaster. Spellcasters must be recruited during the course of the adventure; they cannot simply be hired.
Trader: A trader enables a caravan to conduct business transactions whenever the caravan is stationed at a settlement. Upon arriving at a city, a trader allows a caravan to spend 1 cargo unit of trade goods (which must have been purchased in a different settlement than the current one) in order to make a special Resolve check. This Resolve check earns the caravan a number of gold pieces equal to the result of the check. Up to five traders may attempt these Resolve checks (spending 1 cargo unit of trade goods per check) each time a caravan visits a new settlement.
Wainwright: A wainwright is required for field repairs to a caravan. So long as the caravans spending the day without moving, a wainwright can make a special Security check by spending 1 cargo unit of repair materials. This check repairs an amount of hit points to the caravan equal to the result of the Security check. Up to five wainwrights may attempt these Security checks (spending 1 cargo unit per check) each time a caravan spends a day not moving.
Jade Regent Player’s Guide © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: James Jacobs and Patrick Renie.