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Author Topic: Travel Times and Distances  (Read 886 times)

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Offline Mourngrymn

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Travel Times and Distances
« on: July 12, 2005, 10:36:36 PM »
Ok, I've been off here for a minute due to family emergencies so I am sorry for not posting anything in a while.

I am in need of a way to figure out the actual time it takes to travel from one place to another by foot, by horseback, by cart or wagon, and by ship. Is there anything like that listed on some site out there? (hint Moonhunter) I tried googling for it but found odd links to wikipedia that had little to do with what I was looking for.

I am trying to come up with... ok it will take the group this many days to travel from this point to this point on foot... this long by horse, this long by wagon, etc...

Anyone know where I can find anything like this?
« Last Edit: December 23, 2005, 12:00:05 PM by MoonHunter »
Acolyte Ysuron the Undying Grymn – Necromancer Cult – Level 1
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Offline Dragon Lord

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Some guesstimates
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2005, 09:52:51 AM »
OK – I’ve given this subject some thought myself so, for what it’s worth, here goes

Note: The following assumes a medieval / dark age type tech level – you may have to adjust if you game world is either more or less advanced than this

Over relatively short distances (a few miles of so) you can start with normal human walking speed – approximately 3 miles per hour, but that assumes ideal conditions (reasonably flat and solid ground, good weather conditions, lightly encumbered, etc) – reduce this rate if any factors are imperfect (carrying a heavy pack up a steep, rock strewn mountainside in a rain storm is going to be a slow process at best – if it can be done at all)

Over longer distance (e.g. travelling between two large towns) it’s easier to think in terms of a daily travel rate – about 10-20 miles per day is about right, depending on travelling conditions (type is ground, quality of roads, prevailing weather conditions, etc)

Horses can make a big difference over short distances but have remarkably little effect on longer journeys since they need to spend a lot of time feeding, although this can be reduced by providing high quality feed (like oats). As a (very) rough rule of thumb I tend to assume about twice walking rate on short trips and about a 10% speed increase on longer journeys (again this assumes ideal conditions). Note also that in some circumstances or over some terrains riding is actually SLOWER than walking (trying to take a horse through a swamp or over a rugged mountain pass simply doesn’t work).

Most wheeled vehicles (carts, wagons, etc) tend to be slower than walking (if a wagon train or merchant caravan is making 10 miles a day it’s doing VERY well, between 5 and 7 is closer to the mark)

Stage coaches can usually average about walking rate (10-20 miles per day), but this assumes there are coaching inns and stables at regular intervals (every 10 miles or so) where fresh horses can be obtained, otherwise reduce to wagon speeds

A pony express type postal service might also by possible, making maybe 20-25 miles per day, but this would also require stageing posts (not sure how close they would have to be to maintain this travel rate though)
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Offline MoonHunter

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Distances
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2005, 11:21:21 AM »
This is an awful problem. It is one of those things that I have never been able to find on the net. The best way to do it is to find a historical record for a trip over a similar type of terrain, divide by the number of days to get an "average" number.

So a really long term travel without support over a variety of terrain... we could use Lewis and Clark's 8,000 miles in 28 months. Which approximates to 10 miles per day.

Oregon Trail was 2,000 miles and made in an average of five months, using cart and oxen, covered 13-15 miles average per day. They knew the trail.

Legionaries, professional travellers on a road with supplies, can make 30 miles a day. But if they are out of civilized areas, they make about 10. Of course SOP was to travel 10 miles, cut down some wood for a palisade, make a fort, and camp.

Of course, you could do it in relays, like the Pony Express. The Pony Express advertised that they would deliver the mail in 10 days or less.  The trip took 1,840 miles. Each rider would go about 75 miles per day, with fresh horses approximately every 15 miles. The mail pouch would travel an average of 200 miles per day. The Pony express shows you the extremes you can do.

Now more serious travellers, who is crossing a given cross country might make 20 miles a day, average. They might push it to 30 per day, if they were good and there was a road and ready supplies. Of course, you can break this down, for the distance traveled over a given terrain type... but you get the idea.
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Offline Mourngrymn

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Distances
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2005, 12:48:16 PM »
That is all more than perfect help. I knew I could find someone here who had previously had the question posed to them.
Acolyte Ysuron the Undying Grymn – Necromancer Cult – Level 1
STR: 1 | END: 3 | CON: 4 | DEX: 2 | CHA: 6 | INT: 5
Authentic Semi-Retired Strolenite©®

Current completed guild quest.
Necromancer's Cult Quest - Acolyte
Current guild quest.
Necromancer's Cult Quest - Deathpriest
Hewdamia