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    Default Hi everyone

    Hi, I'm Shayna. I came here for advice about creating fantasy maps. What I have most trouble with is scale. (Including how big forests, lakes, etc. should be and travel times.)

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    Guild Expert Jalyha's Avatar
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    Hi Shayna. I'm not very good with maps (or even scale) yet, but I might be able to help with travel times. It's actually a very complicated subject.

    A few factors that affect travel times when discussing *walking* are: Health, general fitness, experience with walking, the terrain, the weather, what they're carrying, and the size of the group that's walking. It also depends on how long they've already been walking.

    Nearly the same factors account (in a different way) for persons on horseback.

    For driving, you need to estimate fuel, the terrain, the weather, how well the person knows the terrain and the weather, how often they will need to stop (those minutes getting in and out of a vehicle tend to add up), and the age/condition/type of transport.


    The average walking speed of an average, reasonably healthy adult male, on perfectly flat terrain, unhindered, in perfect weather, is 2-3 mph / 4-5 kmph. Actually, it's neither.. it's a "league" which was originally *about* 3 miles, in one hour.

    It's *possible* for the same man, under the same conditions, to walk 50 miles in one day. He would be less able to do it again the next day, unless he *always* walks all day.

    There are exceptions, which only really matter for a single day - there are monks who walk all day, every day, who have reached the point where they can travel nearly 100 miles, on prepared terrain, in a day.

    There's a 100 mile race, in Utah, which VERY fit/healthy individuals, carrying nothing, run 100 miles in rocky/mountainous terrain in a single day. They can't go very far the next day (maybe from bedroom to kitchen), and this is something they train for.

    The average day's march for the Roman Army was about 14 - 20 miles per day, usually stopping when there was no more daylight. A single legion might be over half a mile long, so those in the front (Soldiers, officers, unencumbered personell) would usually start to pull ahead. The soldiers would generally carry 17 day's rations each, in case they were separated from the carts and baggage. Supplies weighed in at about 1.6 Lbs per day. That's 27.2 Lbs, starting out on a week long trip. Carrying things (especially heavy things, like water or weaponry) will decrease your walking speed, but these guys train for this, so even with the weight, they could go 20 miles in a day.

    Other things, besides burdens, can also decrease your walking speed. Obviously health and physical fitness is a factor. Not knowing where you're going can lead you to wander. Larger parties (untrained) will amble along and chat, and pause during conversation. If it's a journey of any considerable distance, there will be breaks (potty breaks, food breaks, rest breaks) and you'd need to stop when there was still enough daylight to make camp (or stop at some form of shelter shortly before/after dark).

    You'd think that having pack animals would help - YOU aren't carrying their burden, but it actually slows things down considerably. Animals can be obstinate, get spooked, whatever, and at EACH stop, you have to add time caring for the animals to your travel-free time.

    People start out either really fast or really slow close to the origin of their journey. Then they tend to go at a slow-ish pace mid-journey (unless events cause them to move) then they move fast when their goal is in sight.

    They go slow in the middle because they need to eat, their muscles ache, they're bored, they are hungry/tired/lost in thought/sick of walking/confused/lost, possibilities are endless.


    A really strong horse can cover 100-120 miles in a day but then, if it lived, it would take weeks for it to recover from that one day. For a long journey, 18 miles a day is reasonable for a horse. 25 miles max before your horse is blown. Horses can go *FASTER* than people, but they tire after a shorter distance.

    Driving... it depends on your means of transport

    What does this mean for your writing?

    Well, personally, I start with the average. 2-3 miles in an hour. DAYLIGHT tends to be, on average, between 9 (winter) - 14 (summer) hours *IN THE US* ... this also depends on where, on your world, you are.

    Say it's high Summer. 14 possible walking hours. My guy/gal/critter is going to wash up, eat, gather his/her/its' things, etc. Unless he or she rises before dawn, that's about an hour (or more) off your time. Down to 13 hours. Does he/she stop for lunch/tea/whatever? He probably doesn't need to hunt for food at this point, so figure a half hour to get settled in, eat, etc. If he doesn't eat, or eats while walking, you won't worry about it. But he will need to eat dinner, and find a place to make camp/find shelter, actually make the camp or shelter arrangements, heed the call of nature, eat, etc... so you take another hour and a half, or 2 hours off time.

    Now you have anywhere from 10.5 - 11.5 hours.

    IF your traveler is in good health and high spirits, he'll start out at the high end, if not, the low end, and he might make 31.5 - 34.4 miles on the first day.

    The LAST day of the journey, he'll be moving fast, anxious, and might make the same distance.

    In the middle part of the journey, he'll go slower, use the 2 mph low average. That's 21 - 23 miles.
    If he's alone, and not carrying anything, and he knows the area, and he's healthy, and the weather is good.

    If he's in a group, take off 2 miles per day per person, UNLESS it's an army, in which case you'll take off a few miles per day, total. If there's bad weather, he'll either go slower, or have to take shelter. If he's still traveling, halve the travel time for that day. If he takes shelter, take off a couple hours worth of travel. For weaker travelers, 5 Lbs of carried supplies is about 5 miles off your day. For the strongest travelers 10 Lbs is about 4 miles off.

    Take off a couple of miles if there are young children, elderly, wounded, or disabled parties.

    Add a few miles if you have an experienced military leader.

    Take off time on days they need to hunt/gather food.

    You should get a 10-15 mile per day average, unless you have a military (could go 20+) or large mixed group of civilians (could be as little as 5... less if everything is against them).

    Subtract the time spent on any events that happen along the road, too.

    Keep in mind that they may travel faster or slower on different days.

    So if my average is 10 miles per day, then 7 days would be AROUND 70 miles... I might make it as low as 65, or as high as 75, or anywhere in between, depending on the events on the journey. If the nearest village is 100 miles away, then he probably has to make camp every night.

    If you just want a GENERAL idea of travel time "A week later they reached the village of Mediocity", then you don't have to do all the math. For strong, single individuals, you can use 20 miles a day, militaries 15, and large groups or weaklings, 5-10.

    WOW this is a long post...

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