Monday, December 9, 2019

The Movement Game

In AD&D, movement is not real clear. On page 39, of the PHB distance is covered. 1" is 10 yards outside or 10 feet inside. Ah, easy. Next it says: "Your referee will have information which will enable him or her to adjust the movement rate to the applicable time scale for any situation".

Actually, that's not true. The information is on 101 and 102 of the PHB. Characters move 12" per round or 120 feet per minute. Outside, the rate changes to 12" = 12 miles per half day of travel, where "day" is defined as "daylight hours". Encumbered characters move less.

It is all very reasonable, so long as one doesn't ask "how fast can I move?". If you can run an 8 and half minute mile, you're moving at 62" in game terms or 621 feet per minute. An Olympic runner would be much faster. That is totally nuts.

But why break the math like this? This is AD&D, not a running simulator.

Last session, my players got in a dice heavy combat that came dangerously close to killing several of them and as the DM, I didn't realize how bad it was. 8 NPCs were actually killed, in some cases over-killed.

In this session, I wanted that fun without the element of danger and without railroading the characters with imaginary danger. The players realized the scenario was good fun without too much danger.

Here are the rules:

  1. A character can move 12" per segment, or 6 seconds. Encumbered characters move less fast.   
  2. At these speeds, no weapons can be used. 
  3. Turning 45 degrees costs 1" of forward movement. 
    1. Diagonal movement on the ground has no penalty as the character moving parkour style. 
    2. Diagonal movement for flying creatures is doubled. One unit at a 45 degree angle counts double as they need to avoid things to stay airborne. 
    3. Turning 90 degrees costs 3" of forward movement.
    4. To stop, one must roll a 1d4 to see how many inches they will travel before stopping. 
  4. You can hit people with things in the environment, such as tree limbs, baskets, boxes, etc. 
  5. Everyone is AC 10 to these attacks, less Dex bonus and magical item bonus.
  6. These attacks don't do damage, they change the target's facing. 
  7. Roll to hit vs. AC 10, then roll a 6 sided die for effect. Consult the following table: 
    1. Turned 90 degrees to the left for free, but returning to your previous course costs 3".
    2.  As above, but to the right. 
    3. Turned 45 degrees to the right for free, but returning to your previous course costs 1". 
    4. As above, except to the left. 
    5. You hurtled the object and moved one 1" forward for free. 
    6. You are knocked down. You are motionless for the remainder of the segment. 
  8. Repeat as long as the fun allows. 
What is great about this system, is everyone can participate with little danger of death. Of course, wiley characters will invent ways to kill each other like this.

As near as I can tell, there is no good way to implement normal combat with this set of mini rules. Some rules of thumb. Bow fire could come once every 5 segments, twice per round and always comes last in the order above. Crossbows can fire immediately on segment 1, but then have to reload over the next ten segments. The interesting effect of bow fire and crossbow fire, is the environment itself. In a crowded city street, even a slow character can step around a corner preventing a shot from landing or even being fired.

As far as melee weapons go, even a lowly magic user or urchin should be able to stay one jump ahead...

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