Unless stated otherwise, a character is assumed to have a normal (average, unimpeded) walking speed of 1 league per hour. From this we can derive standard distances traveled in other lengths of time:

  • 9 lengths per round
  • 900 lengths per segment
  • 4 leagues per watch

However, there are quite a few factors that influence the speed at which a character moves. First and most importantly, a party moving together as a group will automatically default to the speed of the slowest element — a weighted-down member, a laden oxcart, etc. Here are other common elements that will affect movement speeds in play:


Terrain Type Open Clear Moderate X1 Tricky X1 Dense Impassable
Speed Modifier Full speed Full speed 3/4 speed 2/3 speed 1/2 speed 1/3 speed 1/4 speed cannot travel
  • Open terrain includes firm ground that is ideal for travel.
  • Clear terrain includes easy-to-traverse areas such as open fields or calm, open water.
  • Moderate terrain includes grasslands, mild hills, sparse woods, and other types that present only minor impediments to passage.
  • Tricky terrain includes rough landscapes, woods, tall-grass prairie, corn and similar dense crops, shallow wetlands, choppy waters or strong currents, and other types that present significant challenges to passage.
  • Dense terrain includes ravines, mountains, heavy forest, stormy waters, bayou, and other types that demand effort to pass through.
  • Impassable terrain is magma seas, Everest-style mountains without breathable air, whirlpools and waterfalls, enchanted thickets of impossibly dense foliage, and other fantastical terrains that require extraordinary means to penetrate.

Note that most low-tech vehicles, such as carts and chariots, cannot cross anything more difficult than moderate terrain. Tricky and dense landscapes require sleds, amphibious vehicles, or other specialized equipment. Some may not even allow passage on horseback. On the other hand, suitable equipment may decrease the speed penalty: snowshoes or skis in deep snow, for example.

1 The two Xes are place-holders for calculating factors that change party speeds by one or more “steps.” Alternately, the YAM may assign a terrain to one of these intermediate values as desired.


The base described above is for humans, elves, and other bipedal species of similar size. Some species move at different “normal” rates:

  • Dwarves move at 3/4 the standard human speed; about 7 lengths per round, 675 lengths per segment, or 3 leagues per watch.
  • Halflings move at half the standard human speed; about 5 lengths per round, 450 lengths per segment, or 2 leagues per watch.


Caution and Speed

Parties that are taking care in their movements sacrifice some speed in exchange for safety or discovery. Conversely, a character or party can throw caution to the winds in favor of rapid movement. Here are various alternate rates of motion besides the standard “normal walking pace.” If the party is also slowed by encumbrance or species, do not doubly penalize for search or exploration speeds; only use the lower of the two. (I.e. exploring (1/2 speed) a terrain that halves speed results in 1/2 normal speed, not 1/4.) Do multiply for increased speeds; rushing (3/2 speed) through a terrain that reduces speed to 2/3 results in the party traveling as quickly as they would unimpeded, albeit at a cost to their stamina, wariness, and stealth.

  • Search speed is at 1/4 the party’s normal rate. It allows both mapping and stealth (as applicable), and grants a +1 bonus to Wariness and similar rolls to find traps and other hidden features.
  • Exploration speed halves a party’s normal rate. Mapping is possible at this speed.
  • Standard speed is for simple travel. It is not especially tiring, although it generates a point of fatigue every watch and does not allow fatigue or damage to be recovered.
  • Rushing adds 50% to a party’s normal rate. This generates a point of fatigue every hour (round fractions to the nearest hour). In addition, it imposes a -2 penalty on Wariness and -4 on Sneak.
  • By running, characters may move at up to three times their normal rate. This generates a point of fatigue every segment, and imposes penalties of -4 on Wariness and -8 on Sneak.
  • Unencumbered, unimpeded characters may even indulge in sprinting, moving at up to six times their normal rate. However, it is impossible for a sprinter to defend, use Wariness, or Sneak, and they gain 2d4 points of fatigue every round.


YAOSC (Yet Another Old School Clone) Confanity Confanity