I’d like if there was some variation of speed between characters. Like one character is definitively faster than another. I’m not sure why this was never modeled into d&d. I suppose different members of a unit were marching together… and that’s why we get racial and armor penalties as modifiers to speed – and that is it.
Dexterity is usually the fall-back to measure for speed tests, but mechanically it doesn’t have any impact on how far you can move. If you’re a human, you move 30 ft with your move action – no matter what. You can double move, or jog, or run, or what have you – but you’re basically able to only travel the same speed as any other human. You’re ONLY slower if you’re heavily armored, heavily encumbered (if using encumbrance rules), or you happen to have chosen a race that has very short legs.
I’d like to have a stat that directly models to speed. I’d also like for speed in Lost Worlds to be a somewhat realistic model.
Although walking speeds can vary greatly depending on factors such as height, weight, age, terrain, surface, load, culture, effort, and fitness, the average human walking speed is about 5.0 kilometres per hour (km/h), or about 3.1 miles per hour (mph). Specific studies have found pedestrian walking speeds ranging from 4.51 km/h to 4.75 km/h for older individuals to 5.32 km/h to 5.43 km/h for younger individuals, although a brisk walking speed can be around 6.5 km/h and champion racewalkers can average more than 14 km/h over a distance of 20 km.
Based on these numbers, if you’re average round is modeled after approximately 6 seconds (for example), you should be able to walk approximately 27.28 ft. Since you can move twice per round, it looks like d&d assumes that your combat speed is about twice your walking speed, which seems reasonable.
So what’s the fastest running speed for a human (max speed stat)? Usain Bolt clocked 27.79 mph, which comes out to: 244.55 ft per round (a little over 8x the average person’s walking speed). I think allowing the run action to give you something closer to 15mph (or 5x your walking speed as a full round action) is pretty reasonable for a simulated world considering you may be wearing armor, carrying a bag of coins, and waving around a battle axe. One more check on this. The fastest 40-yard dash times in the NFL are around 4.3 seconds. This comes out to 167 ft per round. That comes out to about 19 mph which means my 15 mph for the “average” person is probably a little generous. All of this is to say that the numbers used in 3e and Pathfinder are pretty close – close enough for me if you make every human average speed.
One direct impact of how far you can move in a round is how to describe ranges for things like ranged attacks, spells, and vision. I’d like Lost Wolds to be able to handle both tactical and “theater of the mind” style play. To accomplish this, I think we need to have some standard terminology related to distance and range. Melee range would be somewhere within reach of each other, classically 5 ft. Close range would be somewhere within your immediate walking movement, in this case we could round up to 30 ft. Medium range might be tactical movement or jog: 60 ft. Long range would require a full out run, so that would be 150 ft. The only range increment we’re missing then is something for missile weapons, so let’s call that distant range for now.
According to wikipedia on the English Longbow:
The range of the medieval weapon is not accurately known, with estimates from 165 to 228 m (180 to 249 yds). Modern longbows have a useful range up to 180 m (200 yd). A 667 N (150 lbf) Mary Rose replica longbow was able to shoot a 53.6 g (1.9 oz) arrow 328 m (360 yd) and a 95.9 g (3.3 oz) a distance of 249.9 m (272 yd).A flight arrow of a professional archer of Edward III’s time would reach 400 yds. It is also well known that no practice range was allowed to be less than 220 yds by order of Henry VIII.
The longbow was capable of long range, and was highly accurate at short range. Most of the longer-range shooting mentioned in stories was not marksmanship, but rather thousands of archers launching volleys of arrows at an entire army. Longbowmen armies would shoot a rain of arrows landing indiscriminately in the target area. An archer could hit a person at 165 m (180 yards) “part of the time” and could always hit an army.
I think we can apply a practical limit for the longbow at about 500 to 600 ft for our game model. Now, let’s reexamine range categories with a little more granularity:
- Melee: 0-5 ft
- Close: 6-30 ft
- Short: 31-60 ft
- Medium: 61 – 150 ft
- Long: 151-300 ft
- Distant: 300-600 ft
My next post will focus more on tactical movement and scale.