How do you include exploration into your games in fun and interactive ways?

Hey Mike, thanks for doing this. Long time follower of your twitter feed.

My question is in regards to the pillars of D&D. Exploration is said to be one of the three core pillars of D&D alongside Combat and Social Encounters. However, my observation both here and at the table is that Exploration rules, mechanics, and concepts get ignored, forgotten, or heavily homebrewed at every table, possibly even more so than the other two pillars. Many people claim that they ignore the “bookwork” of rations, weather, terrain, etc. that would normally provide complications to exploration because they deem it to be unfun and tedious.

Over on the Critical Role discord it’s not uncommon for people to ask how others impliment fun and engaging exploration challenges into D&D because they struggle with it. I think it’s also safe to say that while people may debate over combat or social interaction they are both much easier to implement into any campaign.

How do you as a designer, a DM, and a player include exploration into your games in fun and interactive ways? On a related note, as someone who loves Rangers and considers them the iconic Adventurer and Explorer class, I find that lack of Exploration in games leads to the perception of the ranger as a sometimes shaky class. Do you agree with this?

mikemearls250 points19 days ago
In my own thinking, I have started to replace exploration with discovery. Exploration itself is a little too nebulous and specific for my tastes these days.

Discovery to me means finding or uncovering things considered lost, walking at the very edge of the known and pushing onward. It would be things like discovering a forgotten ruin or reclaiming a lost relic.Comment from discussion AMA: Mike Mearls, D&D Creative Director.

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