Dungeon movement - already explored?

How fast does a party move through a part of a dungeon they have already explored?

Time and movement, p 92, defines 3 types of movement in a dungeon:
Exploration movement: 120’ per turn.
Combat movement: 40’ per round, (40 * 60 = 2400’ per turn, 20x exploration movement)
Running movement: 3x combat movement.

It seems that if you just want to rush through a dungeon, you should use combat movement. But what are the rules/consequences of not using exploration movement? If there are any consequences, is there a reasonable speed between combat move and exploration move when you are no longer exploring, but moving through explored sections on a later visit to the dungeon, that doesn’t have consequences?

Combat movement would be appropriate, yes.

The consequences would be that you give up the opportunity to (a) detect traps on 18+ and (b) spot secret doors (if an elf or Alertness-proficient character), or (c) detect sloping corridors and stonework (if a dwarf).

I would think it would impact chances of being Surprised, too.

Good point.

Last night we had some characters chased off by a fear effect while others stayed to fight. It did cause some consternation trying to figure out things like how often wandering encounters should be checked for and other penalties.

The same question arised recently in my group. I think that ever dynamic enviroment such as dungeon (regularly restocked with monsters, new lairs appearing) cannot be 'fully' explored, especially considering the fact, that there still might be secret doors and traps and even hiding monsters the adventurers passed by several times without notice (although players think that they explored everything).

The problem with the gap between extra fast combat movement and extra slow exploration movement still remains. This difference suggests that players can rush through the dungeon moving at combat running speed x60 times faster (dungeon parkour), which renders counting torches, resting every 6th turn and random encounters obsolete. Of course you can get into a trap, which might exist right in the middle of some long corridor, but it also almost negates possible random encounters which are a lot more dangerous and eminent threat if you actually 'explore' the dungeon and not just parkour through.

In order to make rushing a viable option, the frequency of random encounter checks should probably change to 'per round' basis. My initial thought was 'every 2 rounds' instead of 'every 2 turns'. That would also mean checking every 2 rounds of combat for a wandering monster encounter, which is probably not a good idea.

Another thought was to leave the default frequency intact, and to raise the chance to 100%, which results in 1 guaranteed wandering monster encounter happening 'every 120 rounds' of parkouring through the dungeon. If players decide to combat walk instead of running (40' a round instead of 120'), then an encounter will happen on roll of 3+ every 120 rounds. In both cases players would be unable to a) spot any traps b) secret doors c) notice slope d) draw map. The chances of being surprised by wandering monsters would become 'automatic' in case of combat speed running and -2 penalty while combat walking. The monsters are never surprised, as in both cases adventurers are not being caucious and produce lots of noise. The downside of that option is keeping track of both rounds and turns, as players may decide to switch between modes back and forth, which I personally don't like - it creates too much of unneeded granularity in my log. We should probably count all those rounds of combat walking and running as 1 turn prior to switching to exploration mode, the same as after the combat.

Yet another option is eliminating the gap between combat and exploration speeds in the dungeon, as both happen in the same environment and space scale. In this option 1 round lasts 1 minute, and there are no turns at all - exploration and combat moving both happen at the same speed of 120' per 1 minute round, which is very close to traveling through the jungle (1/2 base speed) in wilderness travel. Encounter checks are made every 2 rounds, as I believe what really mattered in the initial design was encounter frequency per dungeon distance travelled (one encounter check per 240'), and not actual time expended. Light sources and rations expenditure are more trickier, as those clearly depend on time, and not the distance travelled - players would spend a lot less of those while in the dungeon.

I don't really understand why wandering monster encounters are checked every 20 minutes. Why not every hour? Or every 5 minutes?

I think you should assume a check every 20 minutes is the default for your typically populated dungeon and scale that up or down depending on how populous it is.

As for parkouring through the dungeon, I would be inclined to take the rules from chases and apply them, including a chance to fall on tight turns.  Beyond that, I would not describe direction of the exits and neglect less conspicuous exits.  Running down a wide hall is probably fine.

As for random encounters while running, I'd recommend not rolling randomly but instead assessing the state of the map.  I would assume running that fast in armor and weapons is going to make some loud clanging that is going to alert everyone to their presence.  I would say everywhere in "open air" to where the party is running would become immediately alerted to their presence, and I would allow everyone on the other side of any doors touching the affected area to make hear noise checks as well.  Players will quickly learn the consequences of tromping around in crowded areas of dungeons, but perhaps face fewer consequences for choosing to hustle through already explored and cleared areas.

[quote="Jard"]

I think you should assume a check every 20 minutes is the default for your typically populated dungeon and scale that up or down depending on how populous it is.

[/quote]

Yes, I know that. What I really want to find out is _why_ is it 20 minutes and not some other figure.

As for quick movement those are excellent advice, thank you. According to your logic, any combat in the dungeon should also alert everyone in it and urge them to investigate, as combat produces a lot more noise than simply running around dungeon in armor. 

That's reasonable depending on how the combat goes, but you'd probably have to eyeball it so as not to drown in specifics.  Stabbing someone before they get to hit back probably doesn't make too much noise, but a sword landing on plate or a shield is noisy, but those represent only a small portion of "reasons you don't take damage", especially at low levels.

Now, the thing about a random-ass random dungeon, is that there's no guarantee that the other denizens CARE.  Maybe that single troll DOES hear a fight break out with troglodytes, but the two have clashed before and so the troll has no interest in checking it out, but that might be a different story for the sound of new people clattering loudly down the corridor.

On the other hand, if we're talking a lair within a dungeon, where you've got 1dX gangs of YdZ beastmen, sure they should hear and come and help if a fight goes on long enough.  Now, of course you can be a mercifel DM and imagine they do the old "did you hear something?" back and forth before finally moving over, and perhaps don't realize it's an emergency so they walk over slowly, but just like there's a penalty for loudly running through the dungeon, there's a bonus for quickly and quietly dispatching enemies.

But again, I think injecting any kind of rules is going to end up becoming a book keeping nightmare for any would be DM, so rather than offer concrete rules, DMs should take it onto themselves to say "boy, it seems odd that they can just run full bore through this populated dungeon" or "it doesn't seem right that these kobolds one room over just sit and wait for the players to kick open the door and fight them" and make something up that satisfies everyone at the table.

Going back to the every 20 minutes.  If there is any reasoning with regards to "realistic" dungeons, I haven't seen it, but it's worth noting you'll average about 1 random encounter per 2 hours if you're looking for 1 in 6 every 2 turns.  That to me seems like the kind of reasonable risk that will discourage things like taking the slowest, safest route or meticulously checking every room for secrets while still allowing some degree of use of time as a resource.  This is all to say I think that 1 check every 2 turns, from a purely gamist perspective, produces a reasonable number of encounters and feels like a good default, but I have seen some adventures offer different rates of rolling in order to fit their aesthetic. Maze of the blue medusa recommends rolling every 10 minutes + once per new room entered and has a 75% chance of an encounter, but it's a very large and elaborate encounter table with mostly empty rooms, with the intent that room + encounter = interesting.  By contrast, in ACKs (and, I assume, B/X), you have fairly spacious dungeons with ~1/3 empty space, so only running into someone else on the move every 2 hours sounds about right.

I have come to think that combat movement is too fast to keep up indefinitely, and that there is a limit to how much you can combat move (or run) that is much more strict than what is defined in the core rules. I have not found what the limit should be yet.

Consider wilderness movement at base 120 speed:
Exploration: 120 yards per turn, 720 yards / hour, 0,4 mph
Overland: 24 miles per 8 hours, 3 mph
Overland on road: 36 miles per 8 hours, 4,5 mph
Combat: 40 yards per round, 2400 yards / turn, 14400 yards / hour, 8,2 mph
Running: 120 yards per round, 24,6 mph

If you could combat move indefinitely, overland movement should be 8,2 mph, so you can’t. If you could combat move every other turn and rest the others, overland movement would be 4,1 mph, still too fast unless combat is happening on a road-like surface. Yet by the rules you can actually run every other turn if you rest for the other turn. (You can’t run for the whole turn, but it’s still too fast.)

I actually think movement is too fast, period, but is like this for scaling and grid/hex-map convenience:
ACKS human with running proficiency and up to 5 stone of gear: 30.75 mph

Present-day comparisons (from wikipedia):
Preferred walking speed: 3.1 mph
World record 100m sprinting speed: 23.35 mph
World record 1000m sprinting: 16.95 mph

Another thing I’m thinking about related to this, is:
How fast are wandering monsters moving? If you have wandering monsters moving at combat movement through the dungeon, you’d encounter them pretty fast. So it’s reasonable to think that “normal” movement is not combat movement, but most monsters in the dungeon are usually quite familiar with the dungeon and are probably moving from location A to B, not at exploration speed.

It’s usually at this time my head starts telling me to not think too much about these things and just go with the rolls :slight_smile:

Combat movement in ACK is roughly equal to overland movement - it is 240' per minute (overland movement 24 miles per 8 hours of travel is (5280'x24)/480 minutes = 264'/1minute, so its not very fast at all. Combat running/charging is three times faster than that, and yes, I also believe one cannot keep this speed up indefinitely.

To me moving while exploring with the speed of 12' a minute seems unbelievably slow, one can actually crawl on the floor a lot faster than that. Of course I understand that exploration involves not only moving as quiet as possible, but also drawing a map in the process and a chance to spot secret doors on the move. It does not involve actively searching for traps and secret doors or listening, as those actions are not automatic and require a separate action which also takes 1 turn. So it's mostly mapping and moving quietly which takes so long, and it is reasonable to move faster through the area you already mapped, at least x5 times faster I suppose. That is 600' feet per turn, which is 60' per minute - 4 times slower than overland movement.

Per page 93, Time and wilderness movement, all wilderness movement is 3 times as fast as indoor movement. That is why I write “consider wilderness movement” above. Or have I done something wrong in my math?

No, your math is right. The problem is the difference between overland movement and combat movement, and existence of some kind of exploration movement, which I didn't even use, because my players simply bought a map. And I would probably allow them to map wilderness at overland speed, because it is not a detailed topographic map, but a schematic one. I don't even know what a detailed topographic map is used for in ACK.

Maybe combat walking speed in the wilderness could be the same as in dungeon - measured in feet, this way you walk with overland speed and sprint/charge at 9 miles/hour - the same amount of hexes anyway.

I think it is important to point out that it is simply not reasonable to move at top (combat) speed through the dungeon even at the best of times. The dungeon environment is a terrible place - it is littered with all manner of detritus and scattered debris to trip over, any pile of which may contain a mean hazard that could end your life, dully lit only by whatever sputtering torches you have with you. Most dungeons are dank, with uneven stonework slick with all manners of slime and crawling things, and heavy unflushed air fetid with the stink of earth, decay, and whatever distant cistern the denizens choose to use. The slow speed of exploring takes into account also that the characters are doing their best to move quietly, carefully avoid any suspicious piles of debris, not get too separated from their scant light while spreading enough to not be in each others way, all while trying to make an accurate map of where they have been and forcing themselves to push on into the hostile unknown.
 
So, an explored area would allow for some faster movement; the characters already have a map and have been safely through once before. They still must try not to slip or trip on inadequately lit flooring, dodge around garbage hiding potential dangers, and not outrun their light sources. All in all, I have guesstimated moving at about five times exploration speed is reasonable.
 

[quote="BigFatStupidHead"]

I think it is important to point out that it is simply not reasonable to move at top (combat) speed through the dungeon even at the best of times. The dungeon environment is a terrible place - it is littered with all manner of detritus and scattered debris to trip over, any pile of which may contain a mean hazard that could end your life, dully lit only by whatever sputtering torches you have with you.
[/quote]
 
It's not that unreasonable, until there are determined consequencies of moving faster. So, if there are no actual rules that describe damage from tripping over, all that "you could trip over" is just empty fluff. Right now moving faster is a lot more safer than actual crawling - you get less encounter checks per distance travelled.
 
[quote="BigFatStupidHead"]
The slow speed of exploring takes into account also that the characters are doing their best to move quietly
[/quote]
 
 
 
So it means they are automatically surprised when encounter occurs. If it occurs. And if monsters actually decide to ambush them. I still think moving faster is a lot safer than crawling quietly.

The dungeon environment is a terrible place - it is littered with all manner of detritus and scattered debris to trip over, any pile of which may contain a mean hazard that could end your life…

Basically, http://terminallance.com/2011/02/25/terminal-lance-108-disturbing-revelations/ . As I mentioned at http://wanderinggamist.blogspot.com/2016/10/d-vietnam-and-dungeon.html , I really think that the default exploration movement speed follows from the American experience of tunnel fighting during Vietnam, under the assumption that everything is trapped.

…and not outrun their light sources.

This is a very good point - it might be reasonable to shorten the encounter distance for a party moving quickly, because they’re likely to not detect monsters until they’re right on top of them with momentum.

Reality is infinitely complex - no set of rules can possibly cover every case; they can make the characters aware of more optimal solutions. They can also make the GM ask why this is the assumed optimal solution. Running at top speed down a dark, slippery, littered hallway with uneven footing should obviously be only rarely an optimal strategy... maybe you are running from something bigger and meaner than you? So, if I were to make an off-the-cuff ruling on how often a character slips and falls in this sort of condition... maybe 1 in 6 chance every few rounds dealing fall damage based on their movement rate? This fall also gives any curious monsters a chance to catch up to our prostrate persona.

 

Of course, be fair and don't just spring something like this on a player, make sure you let them know it is a REAL BAD IDEA beforehand. If they choose to go through with it anyway, well; it's on them now. 

jedavis: yes indeed!

 

I meant to quote Ulfhrafn there. I am still learning this forum.

 

[quote="BigFatStupidHead"]  Reality is infinitely complex - no set of rules can possibly cover every case [/quote]

I HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT

 

 

 

 

1 Like

[quote="Alex"]

 

 Reality is infinitely complex - no set of rules can possibly cover every case


-BigFatStupidHead

 

I HAVE NOT YET BEGUN TO FIGHT

 

 

 

 

[/quote]

Coming soon in ACKs core rulebook second print; everything ever!