Movement In Adventures

Very few adventures allow characters to sit in a chair and wait for everything to come to them. Sooner or later characters will need to travel from A to B. Depending on the style and setting of the game being played, there are different ways to handle movement.

The simplest form of movement is covered by narrative without concern for the distance travelled or the time taken. The Game Leader describes the journey in as much or as little detail as necessary, from “you get to the house” to “after many long days crossing treacherous passes and enduring terrible weather, you spy the towers of Castle Frankenfurter ahead.” This is the quickest and simplest way of handling movement.

When the party's travels are important to the narrative, such as being in a race to the South Pole, more accuracy is required. This is covered by strategic movement which is largely a case of knowing how far the group needs to travel and how fast they can go in their vehicles or on foot.

Strategic movement is useful when the group wishes to know in detail how long a journey takes. To calculate this the Game Leader needs to know the distance and the speed of the party's transportation. For modern day settings players may use their own knowledge of how long it take to get from New York to Los Angeles or may simply Google for it. In science fiction or advanced magical settings the Game Leader will have to decide how many light years a spaceship can jump or how fast a dragon-drawn chariot moves.

On Foot (or Paw or Wing)

Conditions / Speed Good Poor Bad
Normal Pace 3mph 2.25mph 1.5mph
Forced March 4mph 3mph 2mph
Cautious 2mph 1.5mph 1mph

Most adventurers find themselves travelling under their own power sooner or later. For normal human characters walking speed can be based on real life but how fast can a superhero move or a giant walk? In tactical combat, all creatures have the same ability to mosey and run. For simplicity, this is extrapolated for strategic movement. This prevents players wasting half an hour working out the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.

The table outlines the movement rates for strategic movement. Good, Poor and Bad Conditions refer to both the road or terrain and the weather.

Working It Out

If the group does wish to work out their exact movement rate, this is how it is done.

Using dynamic potential a character can keep up a steady pace by taking two run movements per turn, each worth 1d6+0. The average roll for 1d6 is 3.5 so the character will have a total movement score of 7 on an average round - enough to move seven 5' squares of flat, level terrain. Each round is approximately six seconds and there are ten rounds per minute. Therefore a character can have a movement score of 70 per minute which means 70 x 5' squares per minute. That equals 350' per minute and over an hour that equals 21,000 feet - i.e. 3.97mph. Let's call it 4mph for good terrain.

However, this assumes the character is using all their potential for movement and does not pay attention to where they are going or what is happening around them. It also doesn't allow for rest breaks or other interruptions. So 4mph is the speed of a forced march over good terrain.

Under normal conditions a character is making an effort to be aware of their situation and also needs times for navigating and resting. This might constitute using one dynamic potential in every four recouped for activities other than movement. Over one minute (ten rounds) with two potential per round, fifteen potential will be spent on movement and five on other activities. That is a movement score of 52.5 (15 x 3.5) which over good terrain equals 262.5' (5' x 52.5) per minute. Per hour that is 15,750 feet (262.5' x 60) or 2.98 miles, which can be rounded to 3mph.

If the character is being cautious, constantly checking for ambushes or traps, more potential will be spent on awareness actions and less on movement. If the character splits their potential equally between detecting danger and moving, they will travel at half the speed of a forced march.


The quality of the terrain has a major impact on travel. Whereas good terrain has a consistent movement resistance (MR) of one, poor terrain is considered to be terrain where half the squares have a movement resistance of two. This is equivalent to an average of 1.5 per square. In bad terrain, all the squares have a movement resistance of two.

When a standard human's movement is calculated over bad terrain their movement rate is halved. A movement score of 70 per minute converts into 35 x 5' squares per minute or 10,500 feet per hour. This is equal to 1.98mph (rounded to 2mph).


This calculation assumes characters are using a run worth 1d6+0, but some characters may be using advantages with the Movement keyword and can move faster. In most cases the difference this makes to strategic movement is small and can be ignored but if players really think it is important, they can work it out as follows:

Using only the number of potential that can be recouped each round and the character's advantages, work out how many dice of movement a character can consistently achieve per round. Take the dice average of 3.5 and add any dice modifiers for the advantages to calculate a movement score per round. Multiply it by ten for the score per minute. Convert the score into the number of 5' squares travelled based on the squares' average movement resistance. Convert the squares to feet by multiplying by five and then multiply the result by 60 to get the feet per hour. Divide that result by 5,280 to give the miles per hour score.

If a character is particularly fast and regularly makes strategic movements then it is worth calculating their movement rates and noting them down. Otherwise, use the standard values.

Party Movement

The movement rate for a group of people is dictated by the slowest person in the group. As with individuals, groups may be able to move faster than normal through use of advantages, especially magic or technological items. By assisting slower members of the party it may be possible for a group to boost their overall speed. This can be calculated using the process described above.


DT, 2013/08/03 17:22

Chris - table layout issues.

Chris Tregenza, 2013/08/11 11:17


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open/mechanics/core/movement.txt · Last modified: 2014/03/15 18:03 by darth_tigger
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