Age of Heroes
This chapter deals with the basics of moving around in the ancient world.
Encumbrance rules are based largely on a character’s Strength score and determine how much a character’s armor and equipment slow him down. Encumbrance comes in two parts: encumbrance by armor and encumbrance by total weight. The former is not truly affected by Strength as it deals largely with the limits of mobility imposed by the armor itself. The latter is entirely based on Strength, as the stronger a character is, the greater the load he she can handle without succumbing to the slowing effects of heavy and unwieldy burdens.
Encumbrance by Armor
A character’s body armor defines his maximum Dexterity bonus to Active Defense, armor check penalty, speed and running speed. Unless your character is weak or carrying a lot of gear, this is all you need to know. The extra gear your character carries will not slow him down any more than the armor already does. If your character is weak or carrying a lot of gear, however, then you will need to calculate encumbrance by weight. Doing so is most important when your character is trying to carry some heavy object.
If you want to determine whether your character’s gear is heavy enough to slow him down more than the armor already does, total the weight of all the character’s items, including armor, weapons and gear. Compare this total to the character’s Carrying Capacity as determined by Strength; see the table below. Depending on how the weight compares to the character’s carrying capacity, he may be carrying a light, medium or heavy load. Like armor, a character’s load affects his maximum Dexterity bonus to Active Defense, carries a check penalty (which works like an armor check penalty), reduces the character’s speed and affects how fast the character can run, as shown on the table entitled Carrying Loads. A medium or heavy load counts as medium or heavy armor for the purpose of abilities or skills that are restricted by armor. Carrying a light load does not encumber a character. If a character is wearing armor, use the worse figure (from armor or from load) for each category. Do not stack the penalties, as a character can only suffer from one set of encumbrance penalties at a given time.
Lifting and Dragging
A character can lift as much as his maximum load over his head. A character can lift as much as double his maximum load off the ground, but he can only stagger around with it. While overloaded in this way, the character loses any Dexterity bonus to Active Defense and can move only five feet per round (as a full-round action). A character can generally push or drag along the ground as much as five times his maximum load. Favorable conditions can double these numbers and bad circumstances can reduce them to one-half or less.
Bigger and Smaller Creatures
The figures on the Carrying Capacity table are for Medium bipedal creatures. A larger bipedal creature can carry more weight depending on its size category, as follows:
- Large x2
- Huge x4
- Gargantuan x8
- Colossal x16
A smaller creature can carry less weight depending on its size category, as follows:
- Small x3/4
- Tiny x1/2
- Diminutive x1/4
- Fine x1/8
Quadrupeds can carry heavier loads than characters can. Instead of the multipliers given above, multiply the value corresponding to the creature’s Strength score from the Carrying Capacity table by the appropriate modifier, as follows:
- Fine x1/4
- Diminutive x1/2
- Tiny x3/4
- Small x1
- Medium x1-1/2
- Large x3
- Huge x6
- Gargantuan x12
- Colossal x24
Some mythical monsters and heroes have Strength scores beyond even that tabulated here. For Strength scores not shown on the Carrying Capacity table, find the Strength score between 20 and 29 that has the same number in the ‘ones’ digit as the creature’s Strength score does and multiply the numbers in that for by 4 for every ten points the creature’s strength is above the score for that row.
Armor and Encumbrance for Other Base Speeds
The table below provides reduced speed figures for all base speeds from 20 feet to 100 feet (in 10 foot increments).
There are three movement scales, as follows.
- Tactical: for combat, measured in feet (or squares) per round.
- Local: for exploring an area, measured in feet per minute.
- Overland: for getting from place to place, measured in miles per hour or miles per day.
Modes of Movement:
While moving at the different movement scales, creatures generally walk, hustle or run. Each type of movement affects the speed of the character and the types of action that can be performed at the same time. The Combat chapter will explain simultaneous actions in greater detail.
- Walk: A walk represents unhurried but purposeful movement at 3 miles per hour for an unencumbered person.
- Hustle: A hustle is a jog at about 6 miles per hour for an unencumbered human. A character moving his speed twice in a single round or moving that speed in the same round that he performs a standard action or another move action is hustling when he moves.
- Run (x3): Moving three times speed is a running pace for a character in heavy armor. It represents about 9 miles per hour for a human in a bronze cuirass or other heavy combat armor.
- Run (x4): Moving four times speed is a running pace for a character in light, medium or no armor. It represents about 12 miles per hour for an unencumbered human or 8 miles per hour for a human in scale armor or a leather harness.
Use tactical movement for combat. Characters generally do not walk during combat—they hustle or run. A character who moves his speed and takes some action is hustling for about half the round and doing something else the other half.
Difficult terrain, obstacles or poor visibility can hamper movement. When movement is hampered, each square moved into usually counts as two squares, effectively reducing the distance that a character can cover in a move. If more than one condition applies, multiply together all additional costs that apply. (This is a specific exception to the normal rule for doubling.) In some situations, your movement may be so hampered that you do not have sufficient speed even to move five feet (1 square). In such a case, you may use a full-round action to move five feet (1 square) in any direction, even diagonally. Even though this looks like a five foot step, it is not and thus it provokes attacks of opportunity normally. (You cannot take advantage of this rule to move through impassable terrain or to move when all movement is prohibited to you.) You cannot run or charge through any square that would hamper your movement.
Characters exploring an area use local movement, measured in feet per minute.
Walk: A character can walk without a problem on the local scale.
Hustle: A character can hustle without a problem on the local scale. See Overland Movement, below, for movement measured in miles per hour.
Run: A character with a Constitution score of 9 or higher can run for a minute without a problem. Generally, a character can run for a minute or two before having to rest for a minute
Characters covering long distances cross-country use overland movement. Overland movement is measured in miles per hour or miles per day. A day represents 8 hours of actual travel time. For rowed watercraft, a day represents 10 hours of rowing. For a sailing ship, it represents 24 hours.
A character can walk 8 hours in a day of travel without a problem. Walking for longer than that can wear him out (see Forced March, below).
A character can hustle for 1 hour without a problem. Hustling for a second hour in between sleep cycles deals 1 point of nonlethal damage and each additional hour deals twice the damage taken during the previous hour of hustling. A character who takes any non-lethal damage from hustling becomes fatigued. A fatigued character cannot run or charge and takes a penalty of –2 to Strength and Dexterity. Eliminating the non-lethal damage also eliminates the fatigue.
A character cannot run for an extended period of time. Attempting to run and rest in cycles, which is the preferred method for long distance overland travel when time is not an important factor or in short supply, effectively works out to a hustle.
The terrain through which a character travels affects how much distance he can cover in an hour or a day (see Terrain and Overland Movement). A highway is a straight, major, paved road. A road is typically a dirt track. A trail is like a road, except that it allows only single-file travel and does not benefit a party travelling with vehicles. Trackless terrain is a wild area with no paths.
In a day of normal walking, a character walks for 8 hours. The rest of the daylight time is spent making and breaking camp, resting and eating. A character can walk for more than 8 hours in a day by making a forced march. For each hour of marching beyond 8 hours, a Constitution check (DC 10, +2 per extra hour) is required. If the check fails, the character takes 1d6 points of non-lethal damage. A character who takes any non-lethal damage from a forced march becomes fatigued. Eliminating the non-lethal damage also eliminates the fatigue. It is very possible for a character to march into unconsciousness by pushing himself too hard on a forced march.
A mount bearing a rider can move at a hustle. The damage it takes when doing so, however, is lethal damage, not non-lethal damage. The creature can also be ridden in a forced march, but its Constitution checks automatically fail and, again, the damage it takes is lethal damage. Mounts also become fatigued when they take any damage from hustling or forced marches.
Three Dimensional Movement
Once movement becomes three-dimensional and involves turning in midair and maintaining a minimum velocity to stay aloft, it gets more complicated. Most flying creatures have to slow down at least a little to make a turn and many are limited to fairly wide turns and must maintain a minimum forward speed. Each flying creature has maneuverability, as shown on Table: Maneuverability. The entries on the table are defined below.
Minimum Forward Speed:
If a flying creature fails to maintain its minimum forward speed, it must land at the end of its movement. If it is too high above the ground to land, it falls straight down, descending 150 feet in the first round of falling. If this distance brings it to the ground, it takes falling damage. If the fall doesn’t bring the creature to the ground, it must spend its next turn recovering from the stall. It must succeed on a DC 20 Reflex save to recover. Otherwise it falls another 300 feet. If it hits the ground, it takes falling damage. Otherwise, it has another chance to recover on its next turn.
- Hover: The ability to stay in one place while airborne.
- Move Backward: The ability to move backward without turning around.
- Reverse: A creature with good maneuverability uses up five feet of its speed to start flying backward.
- Turn: How much the creature can turn after covering the stated distance.
- Turn in Place: A creature with good or average maneuverability can use some of its speed to turn in place.
- Maximum Turn: How much the creature can turn in any one space.
- Up Angle: The angle at which the creature can climb.
- Up Speed: How fast the creature can climb.
- Down Angle: The angle at which the creature can descend.
- Down Speed: A flying creature can fly down at twice its normal flying speed.
- Between Down and Up: An average, poor or clumsy flier must fly level for a minimum distance after descending and before climbing. Any flier can begin descending after a climb without an intervening distance of level flight.
Evasion and Pursuit
In round-by-round movement, simply counting off squares, it is impossible for a slow character to get away from a determined fast character without mitigating circumstances. Likewise, it is no problem for a fast character to get away from a slower one. When the speeds of the two concerned characters are equal, there is a simple way to resolve a chase: If one creature is pursuing another, both are moving at the same speed and the chase continues for at least a few rounds, have them make opposed Dexterity checks to see who is the faster over those rounds. If the creature being chased wins, it escapes. If the pursuer wins, it catches the fleeing creature. Sometimes a chase occurs overland and could last all day, with the two sides only occasionally getting glimpses of each other at a distance. In the case of a long chase, an opposed Constitution check made by all parties determines which can keep pace the longest. If the creature being chased rolls the highest, it gets away. If not, the chaser runs down its prey, outlasting it with stamina.
Moving Within a Single Square
In general, when the characters are not engaged in round-by-round combat, they should be able to move anywhere and in any manner that you can imagine real people could. A five foot square, for instance, can hold several characters; they just cannot all fight effectively in that small space. The rules for movement are important for combat, but outside combat they can impose unnecessary hindrances on character activities.
Vision and Lighting Conditions
Some monstrous entities, such as gorgons, can see in the dark, but ordinary humans need light to see by. See the table below for the radius that a light source illuminates and how long it lasts. In an area of bright light, all characters can see clearly. A creature cannot hide in an area of bright light unless it is invisible or has cover. In an area of shadowy illumination, a character can see dimly. Creatures within this area have concealment relative to that character. A creature in an area of shadowy illumination can make a Hide check to conceal itself. In areas of darkness, creatures are effectively blinded. In addition to the obvious effects, a blinded creature has a 50% miss chance in combat (all opponents have total concealment), loses any Dexterity bonus to Active Defense and any bonus to Shield Defense, takes a –2 penalty to Active Defense, moves at half speed and takes a –4 penalty on Search checks and most Strength and Dexterity based skill checks.
When attempting to break an object, you have two choices: smash it with a weapon or break it with sheer strength. Breaking objects can also be accomplished through the application of energy other than kinetic, but the basic rules for doing so are largely unchanged. Exceptions to this principle are noted below when appropriate.
Smashing an Object
To smash an object, make an attack roll against the object’s Passive Defense. Generally, you can smash an object only with a bludgeoning or slashing weapon.
Defense For Objects
Objects are easier to hit than creatures because they usually do not move. An object cannot make Active Defense or Shield Defense checks; it also has an additional –2 penalty to its Passive Defense if it is completely immobile. Furthermore, if you take a full-round action to line up a shot, you get an automatic hit with a melee weapon and a +5 bonus on attack rolls with a ranged weapon.
Each object has damage reduction, a number that represents how well it resists damage. Whenever an object takes damage, subtract its damage reduction rating from the damage. Only damage in excess of the damage reduction rating is deducted from the object’s hit points.
An object’s hit point total depends on what it is made of and how big it is. When an object’s hit points reach 0, it is ruined. Very large objects, such as wagons or ships, may have separate hit point totals for different sections or locations.
- Energy Attacks: Acid attacks deal damage to most objects just as they do to creatures; roll damage and apply it normally after a successful hit. Fire attacks deal half damage to most objects; divide the damage dealt by 2 before applying the damage reduction. Cold attacks deal one-quarter damage to most objects; divide the damage dealt by 4 before applying the damage reduction.
- Ranged Weapon Damage: Objects take half damage from ranged weapons. Divide the damage dealt by 2 before applying the object’s damage reduction.
- Ineffective Weapons: Certain weapons just cannot effectively deal damage to certain objects.
- Immunities: Objects are immune to non-lethal damage and to critical hits.
- Vulnerability to Certain Attacks: Certain attacks are especially successful against some objects. In such cases, attacks deal double their normal damage and may ignore the object’s hardness.
- Damaged Objects: A damaged object, other than armor and shields, remains fully functional until the item’s hit points are reduced to 0, at which point it is destroyed. Damaged (but not destroyed) objects can be repaired with the Craft skill.
Unattended items never make saving throws. They are considered to have failed their saving throws, so they always are affected by spells. An item attended by a character (being grasped, touched or worn) makes saving throws as the character, that is, using the character’s saving throw bonus.
When a character tries to break something with sudden force rather than by dealing damage, use a Strength check (rather than an attack roll and damage roll) to see whether he succeeds. The DC depends more on the construction of the item than on the material. If an item has lost half or more of its hit points, the DC to break it drops by 2. Larger and smaller creatures get size bonuses and size penalties on Strength checks to break open doors as follows:
- Fine –16
- Diminutive –12
- Tiny –8
- Small –4
- Large +4
- Huge +8
- Gargantuan +12
- Colossal +16