Wilderness Movement Costs

Earlier this month, Delta wrote a post about wilderness movement rules in AD&D. I like the idea of modelling wilderness movements in terms of a budget (based on mode of locomotion) that can be “spent” to enter adjacent hexes. (This is also the way Fourth Edition does tactical movement.) The important conceptual work is all in Delta’s post, but I want an easily gameable set of rules that I can apply to my 6 mile hex maps based on the B/X wilderness movement rules (the relevant references are Labyrinth Lord page 45, the Expert rulebook page X19, and the Rules Cyclopedia page 88).

The base budget is calculated by doubling the normal “inches per turn” movement rate. So a standard human movement rate of 12 translates to 120 feet per turn and 24 miles (or 4 hexes) per day of clear ground. Each movement point ends up being worth one mile of travel on clear ground, which is nice.

Locomotion Mode Movement Budget
Human, unencumbered 24
Human, lightly encumbered 18
Human, heavily encumbered 12
Riding horse, unencumbered 48
Riding horse, lightly encumbered 36
Riding horse, heavily encumbered 24

(See the LotFP encumbrance rules for what it means to be encumbered.)

Terrain Examples Movement Cost Becoming Lost
Easy road
0 in 6
Average clear, city, grasslands, trail *
1 in 6
Moderate forest, hills, desert, badlands
2 in 6
Difficult mountains, jungle, swamp
3 in 6

* There is no chance of getting lost when following a trail if the trail is well-known.

Delta suggests that for added realism different modes of transport might have modifiers when moving over some terrain types (he gave the example of cavalry over mountains). I agree, but I’m not going to systematize that. I think individual rulings for specific situations will be good enough. These calculations are all behind the screen, so players will not be thinking in terms of movement budgets. At least, that’s how I foresee this. We’ll see how it works in practice.

8 thoughts on “Wilderness Movement Costs

    1. Brendan


      Thanks! I’ve actually moved to a slightly simpler procedure myself recently, but if I was going to count exact distances, this would definitely be the method I would use, still.


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