Hiking, Running and Daily Travels

How fast can a character walk in an hour? You would think such a simple question would have a simple answer. GURPS provides rules for Hiking, but the daily milage seems much too high. For example, a character with Move 5 can hike 50 miles in a day. Really? Yep, that’s what GURPS Basic Set Campaign, page 351, says. However, that answer leaves out some important details, such as how long the PC is hiking, or how fast.

GURPS Basic Set Characters, page 17, defines Move as a character’s “ground speed in yards per second” while running. That seems pretty straightforward. But how does that translate to Hiking? In our example, a character with Move 5 could run 18,000 yards, or 9 miles, in one hour (GURPS uses a simplified 2000 yards per mile). To cover 50 miles in a day, that character would need to run for just over 5 1/2 hours… non-stop. In reviewing the rules for lost fatigue, we find that GURPS differentiates between Hiking and Running. So that 50 mile hike must not be at an all out run.

To find the answer to this mystery, we must dig into GURPS Hi-Tech. We find on page 55 a sidebar/box containing rules pertaining to Marching cross country. The Hiking rules from the Basic Set are clarified, stating that they assume “fine weather, ideal terrain, and a grueling 16-hour day.” Below that we find our answer: “[Hiking] speed in miles per hour equals Move/2.”

Finally! The simplicity we’ve been looking for. Want to walk for 4 hours? Ok, you’ve traveled 10 miles. How about an 8-10 hour full day march? You’ve just covered 20-25 miles. Need to know how long it will take to hike to the next town 6 miles away? Just under 2 1/2 hours.

Of course, all these results assume ideal traveling conditions. Should you be hiking in the mountains during a thunderstorm, don’t expect to get more than 2 miles during an 8 hour day (B351).

Happy travels!

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