While encounters use rounds for combat, exploration is more free form. The GM determines the flow of time, as you could be traveling by horseback across craggy highlands, negotiating with merchants, or delving in a dungeon in search of danger and treasure. Exploration lacks the immediate danger of encounter mode, but it offers its own challenges.
Much of exploration mode involves movement and roleplaying. You might be traveling from one town to another, chatting with a couple of merchants an outpost along the way, or maybe having a terse conversation with the watchful city guards at your destination. Instead of measuring your rate of movement in 5-foot squares every round, you measure it in feet or miles per minute, hour, or day, using your travel speed. Rather than deciding on each action every turn, you’ll engage in an exploration activity, and you’ll typically spend some time every day resting and making your daily preparations.
Depending on how the GM tracks movement, you move in feet or miles based on your character’s Speed with the relevant movement type. Typical rates are on the table below.
The rates in Table 9–2 assume traveling over flat and clear terrain at a determined pace, but one that’s not exhausting. Moving through difficult terrain halves the listed movement rate. Greater difficult terrain reduces the distance traveled to one-third the listed amount. If the travel requires a skill check to accomplish, such as mountain climbing or swimming, the GM might call for a check once per hour using the result and the table above to determine your progress.
While you’re traveling and exploring, tell the GM what you’d generally like to do along the way. If you to do nothing more than make steady progress toward your goal, you move at the full travel speeds given in Table 9–2.
When you want to do something other than simply travel, you describe what you are attempting to do. It isn’t necessary to go into extreme detail, such as “Using my dagger, I nudge the door so I can check for devious traps.” Instead, “I’m searching the area for hazards” is sufficient. The GM finds the best exploration activity to match your description and describes the effects of that activity. Some exploration activities limit how fast you can travel and be effective.
Rest and Daily Preparation
You perform at your best when you take enough time to rest and prepare. Once every 24 hours, you can take a period of rest (typically 8 hours), after which you regain Hit Points equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum 1) times your level, and you might recover from or improve certain conditions (page 453). Sleeping in armor results in poor rest that leaves you fatigued. If you go more than 16 hours without resting, you become fatigued (you cannot recover from this until you rest at least 6 continuous hours).
After you rest, you make your daily preparations, which takes around 1 hour. You can prepare only if you’ve rested, and only once per day. Preparing includes the following:
- Spellcasters regain spell slots, and prepared spellcasters choose spells to have available that day.
- Focus Points, other abilities that refresh during your preparations, and abilities that can be used only a certain number of times per day, including magic item uses, are reset.
- You don armor and equip weapons and other gear.
- You invest up to 10 worn magic items to gain their benefits for the day.