Results 1 to 20 of 20
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Germany

    Default Plausible Travel Times

    The distances that characters can travel in a day always seem a bit fishy to me in most RPGs. Since the maps and their distances are all made up anyway, it's not a huge issue, but I wonder what kind of system would be reasonably plausible based on the travel speeds on foot, by horse, or on water.

    For the sake of keeping things simple, I think it's enough to just have the terrain types of "dirt road", "offroad easy", and "offroad hard", and just "downstream" and "upstream" for river travel (at say 3 miles per hour).

    The first piece of information I can contribute is that for long journeys over several days, horses are no faster than humans. Horses can run much faster, but humans have much higher endurance (compared to almost all land animals). The advantage of horses on long journey is their ability to carry much heavier loads of gear while still maintaining a good walking pace.
    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery in the eldritch wilds

    Beggar's Canyon - A New Home for 90's Star Wars

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Slovakia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    There is no easy answer to this question. I have a book where a historian compiled travel times from medieval journals, exclusively those on horseback, and boy was there some variation. One city to another varied from 8 hours to 10 days, 500 km, or across a kingdom, varied from four days to two months.

    Probably the largest difference to travel on horseback in modern times are the rivers - these days, they are heavily regulated and rarely cause floods and keep to one nice place. Medieval rivers could turn a strip of land 20 km wide into a maze of streams, reeds and islands that kept changing. While this won't affect the roads overmuch (they keep to places that do not change or use bridges and boats to get across), once you're off of them, your journey can vary depending on the river's mood.

    Another problem is that there's a lot of difference between how and why you travel - a quick messenger that can switch horses and therefore go full speed all the time can make just under 200 km a day, and keep it up for about two or three days. If you can't change the horse it still depends on how much you care about the horse's condition and how long the journey will be, overall. If you need to go for just one day, 100 km is doable, and the horse will need some significant rest after that.

    These are both significantly faster than travel on foot, the trouble starts when you're travelling for a long time (explorers, diplomats) or have to carry cargo (merchants), or need to arrive with reasonably fresh horses (armies). When walking at normal pace, horses and humans are just about equal, they can both travel effectively indefinitely (provided there are supplies) at a walking pace of 5 km/h or lower. How far a day that gets you depends on how long your stops are - armies like to fortify their camps, so take about 1-4 hours from daylight (deconstruct and reconstruct), if a merchant travels, he will stay in villages, cities or waystations - on one hand, that means more travel time, on the other hand, they may well decide to stop earlier than they could go.

    Travel at night is not really done, except in dire circumstances - if you are willing to take a risk of death, you can go as fast as during the day, if not, you'll be walking at best. Since you are in an emergency, you'll probably pick something in between, depending on how well you know the road.

    As for speed on and off the road, off road speed is the same for lone horsemen, and for wagons if you have flat terrain. Once you get hilly and have forests, horsemen can't go full speed, but it really depends on the specifics. Reduction in speed isn't what gets you, though, it's that you have to 1) walk around things a lot, and 2) not get lost, and this is a time without good maps or a compass.

    And lastly, there are weather conditions. Even a light snow can slow you down significantly if it manages to cover the road and make it hard to make out, let alone heavy rain or storm - you're far better off waiting those out.
    That which does not kill you made a tactical error.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    There already are RPGs that have such detailed travel times, accounting for terrain (in up to 9 steps), weather, if you can change horses etc. But how accurate that is, is always debatable.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Germany

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    A number that is frequently thrown around on the internet is 30 miles per day for marching military units making good time. That would be on road, I would assume, right?
    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery in the eldritch wilds

    Beggar's Canyon - A New Home for 90's Star Wars

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Brother Oni's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Cippa's River Meadow
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    A number that is frequently thrown around on the internet is 30 miles per day for marching military units making good time. That would be on road, I would assume, right?
    Key question here is what period and how many soldiers are involved.

    Roman legionaries were expected to do ~22 miles in 5 summer hours (which range from 5 - 7.5 modern hours, depending on the time of year). This was on good roads and there are records of them achieving 30 mile forced marches for a few days on critical campaigns.

    Adjusting for conversion into modern units, modern light infantry are expected to meet about the same standard, although over rougher terrain, with elite units (parachutists, commandos, etc) having even higher standards. During the Falklands War, the Royal Marines and Paras covered 56 miles in 3 days while carrying 36kg loads.

    Looking into it some more, the US Army FM 21-18 has standards as follows:

    2.5 MPH Day on road
    2. MPH Night on road
    1.5 MPH day cross country
    1 MPH night cross country

    with the following caveats:a 10-minute break every hour; eight hours or 20-miles a day was the norm; the marcher carried about 1/3 of his body weight. Anything more strenuous than this is considered a forced march, plus the weights carried are only theoretical and not actual (especially when the leadership start getting involved).

    Note that at 30 miles a day, those soldiers will outrun their baggage train. This is not an issue if they have access to water and food along the way (or in the case of modern infantry, carry a couple days' supplies with them), but hungry, thirsty and injured soldiers are more likely to desert or be simply unable to keep up. During the Peninsular campaign during the Napoleonic Wars, one of the primary duties of the British Provost Marshal and his men were to sweep up straggling soldiers on forced marches, to ensure they didn't desert.
    For a medieval army, 15-18 miles a day is about typical simply because organising several thousand men and all their supplies to start walking in the right direction is a major logistical and communication feat.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    One thing to consider is also the most characters are going to want to rest at pre-established stops whenever possible. This might be inns, villages, or just known campsites with shelter (and perhaps pre-stacked firewood they are expected to replenish or other amenities). These are likely to be at a distance significantly less than what a determined group pushing hard could achieve, since the intervals are geared to accommodate traveling families or slow merchant trains. As a result attempting to push at a faster pace may involve increasing the hardship and danger considerably.

    This is an important consideration because travel times matter most when there is significant time pressure involved - meaning when the party is trying to get somewhere faster than someone else or before something will happen. Since it's not really fair to make it impossible for the party to get there in time, it's more a matter of what they'll have to sacrifice to make it there.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Germany

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    So I take from this that for a group of six healthy adults with a supply mule, 30 miles per day on road, 20 miles through easy country, and 10 miles through difficult country is a reasonable approximation for sustained travel speed?

    Maybe halve that for slow groups with lots of wagons, and +50% when in a hurry for a day or three?
    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery in the eldritch wilds

    Beggar's Canyon - A New Home for 90's Star Wars

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Bristol, UK
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    The first piece of information I can contribute is that for long journeys over several days, horses are no faster than humans. Horses can run much faster, but humans have much higher endurance (compared to almost all land animals). The advantage of horses on long journey is their ability to carry much heavier loads of gear while still maintaining a good walking pace.
    Quite simply untrue. Look at the movements of steppe and nomadic peoples, who could cover a hundred miles in a day, day after day, for weeks or even months.

    Their secret is remounts - every man has at least four mounts, not just one.
    Wushu Open Reloaded
    Actual Play: The Shadow of the Sun (Acrozatarim's WFRP campaign) as Pawel Hals and Mass: the Effecting - Transcendence as Russell Ortiz.
    Now running: Tyche's Favourites, a historical ACKS campaign set around Massalia 300BC.
    In Sanity We Trust Productions - our podcasting site where you can hear our dulcet tones, updated almost every week.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Altair_the_Vexed's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Northamptonshire, UK

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    Personally speaking, as a long distance cross-country walker and runner, I can say that 30 miles in one day is fairly extreme for ordinary folk without some serious conditioning. I'm no Iron Man contender, I'm a guy whose run most of his life for a hobby - I probably have about a 12 CON and the Endurance Feat if you want to make me as a D&D 3.5 character, for example.
    So yes, your Roman legions could manage 30 miles over roads, but this is not the norm.

    10 miles in one day is very light going - I can walk that in 3-4 hours, run it in 1.5 hours. 20 miles is quite normal - I can walk that in about 7-9 hours, run it in 3 hours. 30 miles plus is getting hard to sustain, but can be managed if you're willing to be very tired afterwards - and is going to reduce your distance the following day, unless you're trained for it. I can walk 30 miles in 12 hours or so, and jog it in 6 hours.

    These distances are considering off road, in relatively easy terrain - the British countryside, over hills, through woods, and so on - following trails (mud tracks) for about half the time, and just overland (grass or un-tracked mud) the rest of the time. I've personally done 42 miles in a day while self-navigating at a steady jog - taking 8.5 hours. The following day, I could walk about just about okay, but there was no chance I'd be able to do another 10 miles, let alone 30 or so.

    I'm a little faster than this on trails and roads, but the biggest difference is the gradient of hills, or how tangled the path is. Overgrown paths are much slower - about 50% or more. Hills or mountains of any significant gradient slow me down by about 25% or more, and that's for both up hill and down. Downhill is hard, especially when you're tired. When I climbed Snowdon, taking a 10 mile circular route back to where I'd parked, it took about 8 hours!

    On the other hand, my best time for the Snowdonia Marathon (follows the roads and trails around the mountain, pretty steep, but nothing you need to go on hands and knees for) is only 15 minutes different to my time for the Milton Keynes Marathon (very flat).

    Running in the snow slows me down by about 25% - a 10 mile run takes 2 hours instead of 1.5. (I don't tend to do more than that distance in snow.) Note this is British snow: a couple of feet deep at most. Call it Light snow by intercontinental standards. I tried hiking without snowshoes in the (winter) Alps once - I just couldn't do it.
    Slippery mud after lots of rain is similar, but you only tend to find that on badly maintained paths - get off road onto the grass and you'll be okay again.

    TL:DR? - 20 miles per day is normal. Maybe call it 24 miles for roads, 18 miles for trail. Halve that for steep terrain, and for overgrown trackless wilderness (like forest). Light snow and mud - if they are a serious factor - slow you down by about 25%. Deep drifted snow? Forget it.
    If you want to push yourself harder, then add 50% to the distance and take penalties for being fatigued.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    Quite simply untrue. Look at the movements of steppe and nomadic peoples, who could cover a hundred miles in a day, day after day, for weeks or even months.

    Their secret is remounts - every man has at least four mounts, not just one.
    Of course using remounts mean you can go at a faster pace continuously - but a single person on a single horse is slower over ultra marathon distances than a foot runner. The Indian Well Man V Horse Ultra (30 mile) race is regular won by foot runners.
    Last edited by Altair_the_Vexed; 2018-01-01 at 08:59 AM.
    Running the Game - the loneliness of the long distance blogger
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    It is overly convoluted. It adds complexity without clarity. Its effects are not clearly understood. It is intended to solve a problem that is not well defined.
    Gygax would have loved it
    .
    Quote Originally Posted by MrStabby View Post
    1) Do some DMing.
    2) Make mistakes
    3) Learn from those mistakes
    4) Repeat.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Germany

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    I am pretty sure that none of the horses covered the entire distance as well. The Mongols did have their own pony express system throughout the territory under their control and when you switch your horse for a fully rested one every few hours you can indeed go crazy fast.
    From what I was able to find out, Mongolian horses generally can cover 40km per day, which is a similar ballpark as the 30 miles.
    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery in the eldritch wilds

    Beggar's Canyon - A New Home for 90's Star Wars

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Lord Torath's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Sharangar's Revenge
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    These distances are pretty similar to what 2E AD&D specified. 24 miles per day, 30 if you force marched, over clear terrain. Paths or dirt roads didn't affect that, although paved roads increased your speed slightly. The DMG also had rules for forests (1/2x), hills, (1/4-1/2x), mountains (1/8-1/4x), jungles, and swamps.
    Thri-Kreen Ranger/Psionicist by me, based off of Rich's A Monster for Every Season

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Bristol, UK
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    Quote Originally Posted by Altair_the_Vexed View Post
    Of course using remounts mean you can go at a faster pace continuously - but a single person on a single horse is slower over ultra marathon distances than a foot runner. The Indian Well Man V Horse Ultra (30 mile) race is regular won by foot runners.
    A single person on a single horse is one mishap away from walking. That's why I was explicit about 4 or more remounts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I am pretty sure that none of the horses covered the entire distance as well. The Mongols did have their own pony express system throughout the territory under their control and when you switch your horse for a fully rested one every few hours you can indeed go crazy fast.
    From what I was able to find out, Mongolian horses generally can cover 40km per day, which is a similar ballpark as the 30 miles.
    You can't "pony express" an entire army. That only works for single riders who need to cover a long distance in a short period of time. That isn't what I'm talking about.

    They did cover the entire distance. The whole point was that no single horse carried the rider the whole distance, the stress was carrying a man, not running the distance. Thus with four mounts and regular stops to switch, none of them are particularly burdened.

    Source:

    Horses were integral part of Mongolian tribal cultures long before Genghis Khan. The people residing in steppes of Mongolia were chiefly hunter gatherers and relied heavily on small and sturdy Mongolian horses for hunting. Mongols were raised to be good horsemen. Hence, their exploits with horses, which enabled them to travel long distances quickly, are hardly surprising.

    Genghis Khan identified their unique advantage and exploited it to the fullest. Horses were, in a way, chief instruments of the indefatigable Mongol conquest.

    Mongols traveled light, with bare essentials. There are many fascinating accounts of how they designed their saddles to fit all the essentials like cooking pot, water bottle and dry meat/curd. They could survive only with that paraphernalia for months. Mares were preferred so that soldiers could get milk on the go (Mongolian booze made from Mare milk i.e. Airaq was another added benefit). In desperate situations Mongols used to cut a non-fatal vein of their Horse and drink the blood along with curd (because drinking the blood of the horse you are riding without curd was so passe`).

    Mongolian horses are known to be short and stocky. They are always kept outside and forage for food by themselves. Therefore, horses are used to quite extreme weather conditions of Mongolia. As a result, Mongolian horses are very low maintenance. This further enabled Mongols to travel faster. They never had to worry about feeding their horses in vast expanses. They just had to let the horses loose while they slept and horses helped themselves.

    After such intensive usage Mongolian horses needed rest and Mongols couldn't risk loosing their agility due to worn down horses. Hence they carried 3-4 horses per warrior. A warrior would switch saddle from time to time to let the remaining horses run free. This helped them stay fresh and battle ready all the time.

    All these factors made Mongol army very effective and agile. Their speed was their biggest asset. Mongols have known to have traveled 100 miles in a day, which I am sure would have been a world record in those times.
    Emphasis mine. This was a "feat" millenia old, Skythians were doing the same to cross the Sea of Grass before Alexander the Great. One other thing not mentioned above is that the steppe pony could subsist on grass alone, indefinitely. Whereas most European breeds of horse require some form of grain as well as grass.
    Last edited by Kiero; 2018-01-01 at 12:14 PM.
    Wushu Open Reloaded
    Actual Play: The Shadow of the Sun (Acrozatarim's WFRP campaign) as Pawel Hals and Mass: the Effecting - Transcendence as Russell Ortiz.
    Now running: Tyche's Favourites, a historical ACKS campaign set around Massalia 300BC.
    In Sanity We Trust Productions - our podcasting site where you can hear our dulcet tones, updated almost every week.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Germany

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    Alright, digging deeper I admit that there are specially trained horses from certain breeds that can run 100 miles in a day. But so can humans. Admitedly, the world records for horses are only half the time of human runners, but how quickly and how often they can repeat that feat is also a relevant factor.

    However, here we're dealing with world records or are comparing humans and horses who have been training for these things their whole life. There are some parts of the world where people are used to fast long distance running as well. If you are running a campaign that is about fantasy Mongols in a great hurry, then I grant that 100 miles a day is a number you can work with.

    But I think in the average fantasy campaign, we're dealing with riders and horses who are riding on much fewer days than they don't and usually only deal with average distances. And a party is always only as fast as its slowest member. When dealing with common medieval fantasy characters, I think working with 20 to 30 miles per day is much more appropriate and they won't be able to do the 60 or 100 miles.

    Semi-related, runners also have the advantage of having access to shortcuts that riders can't take. In a pursuit situation this can become another major factor, along with weather.
    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery in the eldritch wilds

    Beggar's Canyon - A New Home for 90's Star Wars

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Bristol, UK
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    Shortcuts are irrelevant if the terrain is rolling grassland as far as the eye can see. You can always contrive terrain that is more advantageous to the human, but equally broad, flat, open spaces are advantageous to the mounted group.

    You're putting the arbitrary limitation that they're "common medieval fantasy" characters, but in that same medieval era in the real world, the Mongols existed. The point is their culture was mobile and horse-oriented, where most Europeans were sedentary and crop-oriented.
    Wushu Open Reloaded
    Actual Play: The Shadow of the Sun (Acrozatarim's WFRP campaign) as Pawel Hals and Mass: the Effecting - Transcendence as Russell Ortiz.
    Now running: Tyche's Favourites, a historical ACKS campaign set around Massalia 300BC.
    In Sanity We Trust Productions - our podcasting site where you can hear our dulcet tones, updated almost every week.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Brother Oni's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Cippa's River Meadow
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    Quote Originally Posted by Altair_the_Vexed View Post
    10 miles in one day is very light going - I can walk that in 3-4 hours, run it in 1.5 hours. 20 miles is quite normal - I can walk that in about 7-9 hours, run it in 3 hours. 30 miles plus is getting hard to sustain, but can be managed if you're willing to be very tired afterwards - and is going to reduce your distance the following day, unless you're trained for it. I can walk 30 miles in 12 hours or so, and jog it in 6 hours.
    Presumably this is with a light or minimal load? Up to about WW1, the average soldier was expected to march with no more than 40lbs worth of total gear (Roman legionaries could carry up to 60lbs including their rations, but exactly how much of that 60lb load they carried themselves and how much was left on the baggage train is under some debate).

    Quote Originally Posted by Altair_the_Vexed View Post
    Of course using remounts mean you can go at a faster pace continuously - but a single person on a single horse is slower over ultra marathon distances than a foot runner. The Indian Well Man V Horse Ultra (30 mile) race is regular won by foot runners.
    Bear in mind that particular race has limitations on the riders - according to the website, there's a 20 minute enforced rest period at the 16 mile mark and the horses' resting heart rate must drop to 60bpm within half an hour after they cross the finish line before the clock stops. The hot and dry climate where the race is held also significantly favours humans.

    There's a Man Versus Horse Marathon run in Wales, where the climate is much more suitable for horses and even with the enforced vet checks, runners have only won twice since the race's inception.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    Shortcuts are irrelevant if the terrain is rolling grassland as far as the eye can see. You can always contrive terrain that is more advantageous to the human, but equally broad, flat, open spaces are advantageous to the mounted group.
    While I generally agree with you, the Tevis Cup is a 100 mile, 24 hour horse endurance race over some very rough terrain, so unless your route requires climbing up some vertical cliff faces, it's rare that you find terrain that you can't dismount and lead a horse over.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2018-01-01 at 02:33 PM.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Altair_the_Vexed's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Northamptonshire, UK

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    Presumably this is with a light or minimal load? Up to about WW1, the average soldier was expected to march with no more than 40lbs worth of total gear (Roman legionaries could carry up to 60lbs including their rations, but exactly how much of that 60lb load they carried themselves and how much was left on the baggage train is under some debate).
    Yes, I carry only a few kilos of gear - mandatory first aid kit, weather proof clothing, map, compass, compact food, drink, etc. About 5-10kg, depending on distance (about 10-25 pounds).


    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    Bear in mind that particular race has limitations on the riders - according to the website, there's a 20 minute enforced rest period at the 16 mile mark and the horses' resting heart rate must drop to 60bpm within half an hour after they cross the finish line before the clock stops. The hot and dry climate where the race is held also significantly favours humans.

    There's a Man Versus Horse Marathon run in Wales, where the climate is much more suitable for horses and even with the enforced vet checks, runners have only won twice since the race's inception.
    The Welsh race isn't an ultra marathon - hell, it's not even a full marathon (just 22 miles). It's on longer distances that horses start to flag behind runners.
    The vet checks are there to stop people killing their horses: if a runner kills themselves through running, that was their choice, but a horse has less ability to consent, so we must stop competitive humans from exploiting and harming their horses.

    My point was that there are conditions under which a runner is better than a horse - but more generally, human vs horse will usually favour the horse, except when both are at the extremes of their endurance limits.
    Last edited by Altair_the_Vexed; 2018-01-02 at 07:14 AM.
    Running the Game - the loneliness of the long distance blogger
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    It is overly convoluted. It adds complexity without clarity. Its effects are not clearly understood. It is intended to solve a problem that is not well defined.
    Gygax would have loved it
    .
    Quote Originally Posted by MrStabby View Post
    1) Do some DMing.
    2) Make mistakes
    3) Learn from those mistakes
    4) Repeat.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    Are you talking about normal travel over a long time, or a dire race situation in a shorter time?

    The first one is easy to calibrate, based on common sense. When I go for a week hiking in the mountains, a normal daily distance is roughly 20 km (up to 30 km). This is on small paths, carrying 20-30 kg, with maybe 500-1000 m elevation per day. In the winter, we carry more equipment (pulling snow sledges) and can walk greater distances if the weather conditions are good. This is with the same group I play D&D with :)

    The second situation is definitely more challenging to assess, especially for fantasy superhumans...

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Germany

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    I was thinking about normal sustainable speeds for long term travel. Which I think is often more of an average than an actual movement speed in most situations.

    But if you are in a hurry, what factor would be appropriate? +50% Double?
    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery in the eldritch wilds

    Beggar's Canyon - A New Home for 90's Star Wars

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GreataxeFighterGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I was thinking about normal sustainable speeds for long term travel. Which I think is often more of an average than an actual movement speed in most situations.

    But if you are in a hurry, what factor would be appropriate? +50% Double?
    For sustained, long-term travel, the 30 miles a day on roads (assuming a decent or even good road by medieval standards) would probably be incredibly optimistic. You could do that, or maybe even a bit more, on good roads under ideal travel conditions, for a single day, but it would be difficult to sustain it long-term, even if road and weather conditions didn't deteriorate. 20 miles a day would probably be more appropriate as the an average over the long-term, even continuing to assume good roads and good weather.

    If you're in a hurry to the point of recklessness, you might be able to double your travel times, but that would only be for a day or so at most. Probably a 50% increase would be sustainable for a few days, maybe up to a week. After about that, though, you'd be getting exhausted and wouldn't even be able to make 20 miles a day until you rested up.

    Keep in mind that 3.5 mph is a pretty fast walking pace, and doing that for 8 hours only gets you 28 miles per day. Trying to push that past 8 hours, you're going to start getting fatigued; plus, once you allow for breaks for meals and other necessities, if you go much past 8 hours, you're going to lose your daylight--and as someone pointed out, in medieval times, travel at night was generally only do in dire emergencies, and at any rate, you'd have to go slower in the dark.

    And, again, 3.5 mph is pretty fast for a walking pace. I don't think that you could get the supply mule to walk that fast, and even among generally healthy people, I'm not sure everyone could go that fast. Even if every individual can, the group might not be able to. If someone has to stop off the road to go potty, the whole party has to wait, even if the rest of them don't have to go right then. Even if everyone has the same level of conditioning, a single person, over the long run, can outdistance even a small party; a small party can outdistance a large party; and a large party can outdistance an army (though probably not the army's scouts).

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Germany

    Default Re: Plausible Travel Times

    So thinking in RPG terms where nice even numbers are very desirable, instead of the 10/20/30 mpd as standard speed, perhaps make 6/12/18 standard and 9/18/27 mpd the accelerated speed, and 12/24/36 the one-day-emergency speed?

    (When split into 6 mile segments, that would be 1/2/3; 1.5/3/4.5; and 2/4/6 segments per day.)

    This also makes me think of another question: How much could one expect steps taken to be matching the straight line distance between two points? When you break things down into 6 mile segments you're pretty much completely ignoring the contours of the terrain. Is this something we can simply asume to be already covered in "easy country" and "difficult country" terrain? Or is this another factor that should be taken into consideration?

    I don't think there would be much need to differentiaty between the walking surface and the the windieness of the quickest paths. You don't usually find smooth firm ground in places with lots of huge obstacles you have to walk around. And neither do you often see flat open plains that are covered in large jagged rocks.
    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery in the eldritch wilds

    Beggar's Canyon - A New Home for 90's Star Wars

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •