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New D&D 5E book lets you go on Lord of the Rings-style journeys with expanded travel and exploration rules

Uncharted Journeys builds on the rules seen in Adventures in Middle-earth.

Image credit: Cubicle 7

A new RPG book for Dungeons & Dragons 5E wants to make players’ journeys just as important as their destinations - and Dicebreaker has some exclusive images of the upcoming release.

Uncharted Journeys brings expanded rules for travel and exploration to D&D 5E, encouraging DMs and players to actually play out their party’s travel between places rather than simply jump to the next town or dungeon crawl.

The book includes rules on assigning specific roles to characters during travel. These roles work like an additional character class that comes into play during journeys, with the relevant role able to use a unique ability and make dice rolls to help the group successfully make it to their destination.

Image credit: Cubicle 7

The four roles are Leader, Outrider, Quartermaster and Sentry, respectively focused on inspiring and supporting companions, scouting for paths and threats, providing supplies and food - which can be consumed to gain roll bonuses - and avoiding being ambushed by enemies.

Uncharted Journeys also includes tools to help DMs generate people that the party may encounter during their travels, whether it’s a lone wanderer or a group. As well as the people themselves, the book includes ways to help describe the circumstances of the meeting - such as weather or the state of the surrounding environment - and the motivations that may drive how each encounter plays out.

Players might also stumble over ancient ruins, which can be generated by DMs using rules in the book. The rules include guidance on describing the age and purpose of ruins found by the party, including hints at who might have built the structures, the state of them when discovered - and any creatures that might have made them their home.

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Uncharted Journeys will include more than 1,000 possible encounters divided into regions spanning everything from densely populated cities and underground caves to desolate frozen wastes or overgrown jungles.

If the idea of an epic journey there and back again all sounds very Lord of the Rings, there’s a good reason for that. The travel and exploration rules seen in Uncharted Journeys are an evolution of the travel rules used in Lord of the Rings 5E RPG Adventures in Middle-earth, also created by publisher Cubicle 7 before Tales from the Loop and Alien RPG studio Free League took over the game in 2020.

Uncharted Journeys makes a number of major changes to Adventures in Middle-earth’s rules in order to account for Dungeons & Dragons’ more magic-heavy gameplay, requiring a safe place to take a Short or Long Rest. Players can also make use of their characters’ tool proficiencies from D&D 5E to aid them on their way, using commonly overlooked equipment to make maps, brew tonics, plan a route and prepare for the journey ahead of time.

Image credit: Cubicle 7

Other improvements to the older ruleset include an expansion of roles, with everyone in the party contributing a different kind of expertise to the group. Rather than relying on a single die roll to judge a journey’s success, the outcome of journeys now comes down to how many in the group succeeded in their rolls - with the chance to have a multitude of encounter and danger levels depending on the result.

The ruleset seen in the upcoming RPG is described as being a new take on many parts of the system, completely rebuilding some elements and building upon others.

Image credit: Cubicle 7

Uncharted Journeys is one of the first releases in Cubicle 7’s new Vault 5E series, a planned collection of supplements, adventures and other material for use with D&D 5E.

The Uncharted Journeys book is currently on Kickstarter, ahead of a planned digital release next month and a physical book in April 2023.

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