Closely related to time is movement. Clearly your character is able to move; otherwise, adventures would be rather static and boring. But how fast can he move? If a large, green carrion crawler is scuttling after Rath, is the redoubtable dwarf fast enough to escape? Could Rath outrun an irritated but heavily loaded elf? Sooner or later these considerations become important to player characters.
All characters have movement rates that are based on their race. Table 64 lists the movement rates for unencumbered characters of different races.
A character can normally walk his movement rate in tens of yards in a single round. An unencumbered human can walk 120 yards (360 feet), slightly more than a football field, in one minute. A dwarf, similarly equipped, can walk 60 yards in the same time. This walk is at a fairly brisk, though not strenuous, pace that can be kept up for long periods of time.
However, a character may have to move slower than this pace. If the character is carrying equipment, he may move slower because of the encumbrance, if this optional rule is used (see “Encumbrance” in Chapter 6: Money and Equipment). As the character carries more gear, he gradually slows down until he reaches the point where he can barely move at all.
When a character is moving through a dungeon or similar setting, his movement rate corresponds to tens of feet per round (rather than the tens of yards per round of outside movement). It is assumed that the character is moving more cautiously, paying attention to what he sees and hears while avoiding traps and pitfalls. Again, this rate can be lowered if the optional encumbrance system is used.
Characters can also move faster than the normal walking pace. In the dungeon (or anytime the character is using his dungeon movement rate), the character can automatically increase his movement to that of his normal walking pace. In doing so, however, he suffers a -1 penalty to his chance of being surprised and gives a +1 bonus to others on their chance of being surprised by him (the rapidly moving character is not taking care to conceal the noise of his passage in the echoing confines of the underground). Furthermore, the character does not notice traps, secret doors, or other unusual features.
It is also certainly possible for a character to jog or run—an especially useful thing when being chased by creatures tougher than he cares to meet. The simplest method for handling these cases is to roll an initiative die. If the fleeing character wins, he increases the distance between himself and his pursuers by 10 times the difference in the two dice (in feet or yards, whichever the DM feels is most appropriate). This is repeated each turn until the character escapes or is captured. (If this seems unrealistic, remember that fear and adrenaline can do amazing things!)
Jogging and Running (Optional Rule)
If your DM wants greater precision in a chase, the speeds of those involved in the chase can be calculated exactly. (But this is time-consuming and can slow down an exciting chase.) Using this optional rule, a character can always double his normal movement rate (in yards) to a jog. Thus, a character with a movement rate of 12 can jog 240 yards in a round. While jogging, a character can automatically keep going for the number of rounds equal to his Constitution. After this limit has been reached, the player must roll a successful Constitution check at the end of each additional round spent jogging. There are no modifiers to this check. Once a Constitution check is failed, the character must stop and rest for as many rounds as he spent jogging. After this, he can resume his jogging pace with no penalties (although the same limitations on duration apply).
If a jogging pace isn't fast enough, a character can also run. If he rolls a successful Strength check, he can move at three times his normal rate; if he rolls a Strength check with a -4 penalty, he can quadruple his normal rate; if he rolls a Strength check with a -8 penalty, he can quintuple his normal rate. Failing a Strength check means only that the character cannot increase his speed to the level he was trying to reach, but he can keep running at the pace he was at before the failed Strength check. Once a character fails a Strength check to reach a level of running, he cannot try to reach that level again in the same run.
Continued running requires a Constitution check every round, with penalties that depend on how long and how fast the character has been running. There is a -1 penalty for each round of running at triple speed, a -2 penalty for each round of running at quadruple speed, and a -3 penalty for each round of running at quintuple speed (these penalties are cumulative). If the check is passed, the character can continue at that speed for the next round. If the check is failed, the character has exhausted himself and must stop running. The character must rest for at least one turn.
For example, Ragnar the thief has a Strength of 14, a Constitution of 14, and a movement rate of 12. Being pursued by the city guard, he starts jogging at 240 yards a round. Unfortunately, so do they. His Constitution is a 14, so he can keep going for at least 14 rounds. He decides to speed up. The player makes a Strength check, rolling a 7. Ragnar pours on the speed, increasing to 360 yards per round (triple speed). Some of the guardsmen drop out of the race, but a few hold in there. Ragnar now has a -1 penalty to his Constitution check. A 13 is rolled, so he just barely passes.
But one of the blasted guardsmen is still on his tail! In desperation, Ragnar tries to go faster (trying for four times walking speed). The Strength check is an 18: Ragnar just doesn't have any more oomph in him; he can't run any faster, but he is still running three times faster than his walking speed. The player now must roll a Constitution check with a -2 penalty (for two rounds of running at triple speed). The player rolls the die and gets a 4--no problem! And just then the last guardsman drops out of the race. Ragnar takes no chances and keeps running. Next round another Constitution check is necessary, with a -3 penalty. The player rolls an 18. Exhausted, Ragnar collapses in a shadowy alley, taking care to get out of sight.
A normal day's marching lasts for 10 hours, including reasonable stops for rest and meals. Under normal conditions, a character can walk twice his movement rate in miles in those 10 hours. Thus, an unencumbered man can walk 24 miles across clear terrain.
Characters can also force march, intentionally hurrying along, at the risk of exhaustion. Force marching enables a character to travel 2 ½ times his movement rate in miles (thus, a normal man could force march 30 miles in a day). At the end of each day of the march, the character or creature must roll a Constitution check. Large parties (such as army units) make the check at the average Constitution of the group (weaker members are supported, encouraged, and goaded by their peers). Creatures must roll a saving throw vs. death at the end of each day's force marching (since they lack Constitution scores). A -1 penalty is applied to the check for each consecutive day spent force marching. If the check is passed, the force marching pace can be continued the next day. If the check fails, no more force marching attempts can be made until the characters have completely recovered from the ordeal. Recovery requires half a day per day of force marching.
Even if the Constitution check fails, the character can continue overland movement at his normal rate.
One drawback of force marching is that each day of force marching results in a -1 penalty to all attack rolls. This modifier is cumulative. Half a day's rest is required to remove one day's worth of force marching penalty. Characters who have managed to force march for eight straight days suffer a -8 penalty to their attack rolls; it takes four days of rest to return to no attack roll penalty.
Overland movement rates can be increased or decreased by many factors. Terrain can speed or slow movement. Well-tended roads allow faster marching, while trackless mountains slow marches to a snail's pace. Lack of food, water, and sleep weaken characters. Poor weather slows their pace. All these factors are detailed in the DMG.
Table 64: Base Movement Rates