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footprint How a Unit Travels

map Example Map

To determine how far a unit (in Mysticora this almost always means a "group") can move per day I did research on that subject. For example, I checked historic records, e.g. the speed of Roman armies is well known, or how long Crusader armies took to reach the Holy Lands, or how far the English and French armies moved per day during the various campaigns during the Hundred Years war. Also, I considered that individuals can move faster (there are also records on this). On a theoretical basis of course the speed of army is determined by the speed of its slowest unit.

For movement through more adverse types of terrain I simply use a factor (e.g. movement through hills might take twice as long, as compared to grasslands which is used as a basis). Additionally, seasonal factors would also slow down movement.

In total the following parameters determine the speed of a unit:

  • the size of a map square (i.e. for Mysticora it will be 20km x 20km)
  • the terrain type (e.g. grasslands, hills, mountains, etc.)
  • the current temperature level (as determined by season and climate zone)
  • the movement modus selected (walk, fly, swim, sail, etc.)
  • the size of the moving group
  • the movement capabilities of the moving individuals as determined by their race
  • the condition of the moving individuals (above/below average constitution attribute and current health)
  • the abilities of the leader of the group
  • the abilities of any scouts/guides (without such you incur a penalty factor of 1.5)
  • if the group is overloaded
  • if the group is moving especially cautiously, or is force marching
  • if the travelers are sufficiently supplied. Each character/soldier needs 1 food per day.

A player will give a group a command to move along the grid of squares by giving a series of single step directions (see below) which the group is supposed to take. The Mysticora program then during each day, if nothing interferes, relocates the group to its new intermediate or final coordinates, keeping track of any fractional movements. This can all be done automatically. Specific weather on a day is not considered, except for extreme weather forms such as violent storms (for which there exists a certain small probability).

These are the 8 basic movement directions:

8 Movement Directions

What happens when players unexpectedly meet each other (or actually any NPC too) during their moves depends on the behavioural parameters each players has set for his units (e.g. "attack all orcs", or "flee from all combat", etc.). Players should be aware of this though, and set their parameters according to their priorities (i.e. do you want to fight a lot?, or do you want to reach your destination point by the end of the month?).

Units will not be able to completely reroute their movement automatically should they run into obstacles, as this would be too complex, and the units might behave in ways the players wouldn't want them to. If a unit is avoiding combat and wants to move through a square containing a hostile unit it will instead try to sneak through. Remember that in Mysticora squares are quite large representing 20km x 20km thus allowing plenty of opportunity (especially if the terrain provides cover and the groups involved aren't extremely large, e.g. many thousands of men) to do so.

The travel speeds of the various races should be taken from the module description (e.g. Perditia). The travel speed while mounted on a horse is about 3 areas per day. For areas other than grassland (or sea) a factor will be applied reducing the speed. Traveling on roads increases the effective speed by a factor of 1.5. It is also important to note that the travel speed fluctates somewhat randomly. Players should therefore take this into consideration when calculating the travel times to their destinations.

terrain factors to travel speed:

terrain name

speed factor

grassland 1
sea 1
forest 0.5
hills 0.5
mountains 0.125
marsh 0.125
wasteland 1
forest hills 0.35
dense forest 0.35
reefs 0.7

Movement calculation can be done by adding up the time it takes to traverse each area along the travel route. For this purpose take the inverse travel speed and divide that with the above factor for terrain to get the time needed to traverse a certain area. If moving through that area diagonally then multiply that result with 1.5.
An example calculation:
The order shall be to move a train of horses: move("Horse Transport","132")
The route passes through the following areas: grassland, forest, forest hills with road (moving diagonally here).
The (approximate) calculation is as follows:

  0.33 (inverse speed of horses) / 1 (terrain factor grassland)
+ 0.33 (inverse speed of horses) / 0.5 (terrain factor forest)
+ 0.33 (inverse speed of horses) / 0.35 (terrain factor forest-hills) 
                                 / 1.5 (factor for roads) 
* 1.5 (because of diagonal movement) = 1.93 days
The player calculates two days for the horse transport to reach its destination. Although, this might be a bit too close, since a bit of bad luck would bring the needed time above two days. To be one the safe side therefore, the cautionary player would figure in an additional day (for a total of 3 days) before giving any subsequent orders.

Please note that the above calculation is not the precise algorithim used to calculate travel times. We do not consider it necessary that players know to the last digit how long their travels will take, since that would not be "realistic". Therefore, players should not rely heavily on such calculations.

Also note that to use a mount you must equip (equip-order) your character's travel equipment with the mount of your choice (e.g. horse, id #6). If all travelers of a group want to use mounts, but this would slow down the group as a whole (e.g. because the horses would be overloaded), then nobody gets to use a mount.

Scouts/Guides: A scout or guide is usually necessary to find the way especially in a wilderness. Therefore if you are *not* using a scout or guide in a wilderness then you will need about 50% more time (use * 1.5 in above calculation).