Travel in Gaming (Part 2)

One of the oft-discussed and frequently derided rules of thumb is the GURPS rule for travel: Move x 10 miles per day.

Now, that CAN be done, but it’s rather unlikely. But . . . if you take the slowest party Member’s Move, and roll (roughly) half-again that many dice, that accomplishes the same thing.

So a bunch of guys with encumbered Move from 4-6 are travelling together. On a given day they”ll roll 6d6 (1.5x the Move 4 for the slowest person). Upper end, they do 35 miles, low end only 5 miles, more typically about 20 miles.

Thanks to +Charles Clemens for inspiring this thought over in the G+ Tabletop Roleplaying Community

5 thoughts on “Travel in Gaming (Part 2)

  1. That's fairly cool, if you have your campaign map set out as vectors rather than hexes. Still leaves the question of travel with vehicles or beasts out of the question, though (shameless allusion!).

    Of course, this gives me an awesome idea for treating campaign maps as vectors and having a 'vector-crawl' instead of a hex-crawl…

  2. Well, beasty travel would probably look at the beasts' encumbered Move and do the same thing as above. For vehicles that move under their own power, you might still be able to pull something like this off for overland traval. If you've a car with a cruise speed of Move 30-40 (60-80mph), you'd be rolling (ugh) call it 50d6. With that many d6, you're looking at . . . no, that doesn't work. That'd be at best 300 miles. On a "pushing it" day I once moved 1000 miles in 13.5 hours. That would be a "best-case" roll, but there'd need to be some modifiers. Maybe x4 for "prepared surfaces, known, predictable waypoints, and short replenishment stops."

  3. Hmm…. Sounds like the "declare speeds, resolve encounters, conduct pit stop, check for rumors" system in those old Car Wars adventures is just fine without any generic rules mucking it up. (Though I admit I am not shy about stealing the speed/range system from GURPS and adapting it to Car Wars….) Traveller starship travel requires its own custom set of procedures as well.

  4. Certainly the "how long do you think it should take? OK, double it!" seems to work a bit better than more complicated notions. I suppose another way to go would be to randomize only the delays.

    So my car trip would notionally take 1000 miles divided by about 60-70mph (my assumed cruise speed). Call it 15.5 hours. Of course, I once made it in 13. 🙂 But then a variability portion which maybe can be negative as well.

    All in all, though, Charles' point from the linked comment just makes me say "hey, we have randomization tools all over the place in gaming; this is as good a place to use them as any."

  5. So as I sit here looking at the multiple page outline of a set of rules that I've started laughingly referring to as "GURPS: Overland Travel" I say to such a simple, useful mechanic: die die die! 🙂

    Seriously though – The 10xMove thing was always an abstraction I hated (along with the horrible hand-wave done with Fatigue in Basic), which was why I started expanding out to make rules for regular travel (see previous joke about said rules turning into "GURPS: Overland Travel".

    I've been playing with a mechanic that's sort of a mix between a flat travel number for the party's overall speed and a "Reaction Roll" for travel, with a low result ending up with reduced distance due to hazards/encounters/mishaps/roll on various tables. That way I get something that fits in with the existing GURPS mechanics, but still lets me have a single roll for daily travel, if you want to abstract it. Also, I'm thinking that I can have it encompass encounters, but I'm still tweaking. 🙂

    For low-tech games, I tend to want to have detail for the daily travel, unless plot demands really "hand waving" it, but I like the idea of having a simplified roll.

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