Friday, June 8, 2018

Travel & Movement

As characters move from place to place, they will travel by various means and through a wide variety of environments.  Conditions affecting travel are many, as are the forms of travel.  On foot is most common.  The use of animals can speed movement where roads are available, and hamper movement in areas of dense wilderness.  Boats and ships can make use of oceans, seas, lakes and navigable rivers, but come with their own problems, such as currents and storms.  These things affect flight, as well ~ though this last is the most effective means of covering large distances in the shortest time.


Land travel is most efficient where roads are available.  Paved roads with a hard surface of stone or cement, featuring drainage and a smooth, firm purchase, provide the best ease of movement.  Dirt roads made of loose materials are even and almost as convenient, but they can be muddy and uneven, or worn away to a layer of roots, or ingrown with plants, or suffused with loose stones.  Cart tracks are little more than two ruts, often with a center mound, and often overgrown if the surrounding wilderness is not cut back.  Finally, paths, or trails, wind and follow the landscape, with the worst elements of routes already named.  Even so, all of these are better than pure wilderness.

"Wilderness" is divided into four levels of vegetation.  Steppe, including hard surface deserts lacking in stone, offers little effort to cross, as the ground is firm and dry ~ either because the short vegetation will drain or soak up rainfall, or because rainfall is absent or too scant to affect the surface.

Path & Woodland describes a variety of conditions, where some obstacles challenge movement (stony deserts and tundra, subterranean passages, soft-ground surfaces), or possessing of vegetation that is marked by trees and deep grass, yet with pathways, trails and grassy areas that enable characters to bypass dense areas.  This sort of vegetation includes savannas, veldts, wooded steppelands and open forests, as well as places where creatures have thinned out woodlands by logging.

Closed woodlands lack paths or trails, being strewn with deadfall, underbrush, briars and deep grass.  These dense forests are hard to pass through, particularly with animals, as climbing is necessary to pass though without having to physically cut trails.

Finally, jungles are rainforests so dense with undergrowth that virtually all travel can be thwarted.

Lastly, terrain can be further blocked by landforms, which are described as hills, scattered peaks and dense peaks.  Hills describe all slopes with firm purchase that can be climbed without use of hands, or circumvented if necessary.  Scattered peaks are loose mountainous areas featuring areas of gravel, scree or low ridges, which can be crossed only by scrambling (using hands) or through easy gaps that can nevertheless take hours off a day's journey to locate and pass through.  Dense peaks describe mountain ranges that must be physically climbed ~ which usually includes passes that, although lower in altitude, are little better regarding access.  Dense peaks often feature areas of permanent snow.


The table below gives the total number of hours that may be travelled in a 10-hour period (a typical day's effort).  To use the table, the characters should calculate their normal movement rate according to encumbrance.  This gives the number of action points (AP) that can be applied to movement.  This then gives the base distance travelled, as shown:

The base distance is then adjusted according to the columns under "fewer miles travelled each day due to conditions."  If a paved or dirt road, or cart track, is followed, then the columns under vegetation should be ignored.  If no road exists, then use the vegetation columns.  Elevation change for hills, scattered peaks or dense peaks is then used in conjunction with other penalties.

For example, Party A, walking with 4 action points and a base distance per day of 25 miles, loses 3 of those miles if they are walking on a dirt road, and 4 more miles if moving through a hilly area.  They would not lose any distance if the road passed through a forest.  Party A would travel 17 miles per day.

Party B, however, walking with the same action points and moving through a closed woodland, would minus 14 miles from their progress.  If they, too, were moving through a hilly area, they would also minus another 4 miles from that progress.  Party B would travel 7 miles per day.

It can be seen that there are several possibilities on the table that would produce a negative result.  For example, Party C is walking with 2 action points through a jungle, which removes 13 miles from their base 14-mile progress per day.  If Party C is also moving through hills, the table indicates that they lose another 4 from that number, resulting in a movement of -3 overall.  How is this possible?

Negative results should be viewed as fractions of a mile, indicating that the terrain is so onerous that it must be physically cut through with machetes and loads dragged over and through endless obstacles.  The minus number should be treated as a fraction's denominator, with a "1" as the numerator.  Thus, a movement of -3 is treated as one third of a mile per day.  For an historical example, I suggest this video.

This is a placeholder for further content regarding animals, water craft, movement under water and flight.

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