Monday, July 11, 2022

Monstrous Mondays: Basic Bestiary Movement (& updates)

Basic Bestiary
It has not only been a while (nearly a year) since I last talked about the Basic Bestiary, it has been a while since I have actually worked on it.  That is too bad really because while I have been sitting on my thumbs and doing whatever the hell else I have been doing others (at least three I can think of) have gotten their monster books out or into Kickstarter. And there is a lot of overlap in monsters here.  

Frankly, I could not be happier!

I love monster books. I have said this here a thousand times. And more monster books are always welcome. I'll spend some time with these other books later this week.

But I still want to get my own book out.

I am NOT going to do a Kickstarter for it. Nothing against it, but I don't want want to go there yet. So that means the art will be what I can buy when I can buy it with money from my other books. So that means it will be a bit longer.

I also believe that my monster book will be a value add to all the other monster books out there.  There are a lot of great monsters and monster books out there. Mine will be influenced by what I have read and played over the last decades. 

Also, instead of saying mine is "Labyrinth Lord" or "Swords & Wizardry" compatible or even the very popular "Old-School Essentials" compatible, I am sticking with my own "Basic-Era Compatible."  That might end up costing me some sales or promotions, but my stat block here is not something that is pure for any one system. In truth, I could very well put "Advanced-Era Compatible" on these books as well since I am designing the stat block to cover both systems, even if the style esthetic is going to be Basic-era.  I talked a bit about this in my "Detailing a 'Universal' Stat-block" post and that is where I want to go today.  All based on the question "how many miles per hour is that?"


One of the things that always tripped me up moving from Holmes Basic to Moldvay Basic and then to AD&D was movement rates.  Let's go back to my universal stat block breakdown and look at the movement rates for the Orc.

Holmes: 90 feet
Moldvay: 120' (40')
Mentzer/BECMI/RC: 120' (40')
AD&D 1st ed: 9"
AD&D 2nd ed: 9 (12)
D&D 3: 30 feet (6 squares)
D&D 4: 6 (8 while charging)
D&D 5: 30 feet

These speeds all are "per round" though what a round is can differ.  Holmes' speed is more in line with AD&D. D&D 3 to 5 are all the same despite different notation.

In my Basic Bestiary I note it like this:

Movement: 120' (40') [12"]  

With "AD&D" notation in the brackets. Note that my orcs then look faster. Rounds in Basic are 10 seconds and rounds in AD&D/D&D3-5 are all 6 seconds.  This means that my 120' movement rate orc in Basic has a different "Real-time" speed in AD&D.  My converted orc moves at 12" and not the 9" listed.  Is this a problem?  Actually, no. I don't feel that it is.

According to the Labyrinth Lord RPG book, 120' is the exploring speed per turn and 40' is the combat speed per round and 120' is the full running speed per round. So my question. How fast is this in MPH?

120' per round is 120 feet per 10 seconds or 720 per minute or 43,200 per hour or 8.18 repeating.  I opt to make the miles an easier 5400* feet to get 8 miles per hour.  So an orc can run full-on at 8 miles per hour. 
(*5400 is divisible by 2 and 3 so it gives me better numbers to work with.)

This brings up an interesting notion.  How fast can a particular monster move?

I looked at my entry for Archangel and see they fly at 360', which translates into 24 MPH. Not very fast from our point of view, but fast when compared to a mundane horse.  Maybe they have a Haste at-will spell and can fly at 48 MPH?  If it is a "Greater Haste" say at x3 then 72 MPH feels a little more respectable. Fantasy creatures don't always translate well into the real world.

Ideas like this have been helping drive my design philosophy.  When working on a monster I often ask "how do they relate to the PCs?" or "what sort of situations will this monster be in with the PCs?" since the Player Characters are the focus of all adventures.  Now I do also ask "How does this monster relate to Normal Humans?" and this has shifted my view on many creatures, in particular the undead.  There are consequences to both of these.

On the PC-centric side, we get the Succubus/Whispering Demon issue I mentioned a while back when I covered the BECMI Immortal Rules.  To quote:

A Succubus in AD&D is a 6+6 HD creature (average hp 33), her physical attacks are not great, but her kiss drains 2 life energy levels. In BECMI a Whispering Demon has 15* HD and 70 hp! Oh and her AC is -6.

A 6 HD creature is more than enough of a challenge for normal humans, it is also a pretty good (and scary) challenge for low-level characters. But a 15 HD succubus? That is a challenge for many!  But I do notice that in nearly every movie or tale about a succubus the demon is defeated in the end.

6 HD is what you get when you aim for Normal Humans.  15 HD is what you get when you aim for PCs.

The Basic Bestiaries will take on the point of view of Normal Humans for the most part. So my succubi (I have a couple) will be more along the lines of 6 HD.  My Archangels however will likely be flying at 72 MPH.

1 comment:

Lance Duncan said...

I calculated speed per round (10 seconds) in mph many years ago, though it's on an old piece of binder paper.

As far as my revision to dnd speeds, I wrote a blog post about what I use a few months ago