Behind the Screen –
Magic vs Technology – Transportation
Here are some of the terms I will be using, their abbreviations, and some examples.
- Low Tech (LT) – Technology is at its most basic
- Horse, Walking, Cart, basic Sea Vessels
- Medium Tech (MT) – Pre Industrial Area Tech to Modern Technology
- Car, Air Plane, Advanced Sea Vessels, Early Space Flight
- High Tech (HT) – Postmodern Tech saw in Science fiction
- Advanced Land Transportation, Advanced Air Transportation, Advanced Space Transportation
- Low Magic (LM) – Magic is almost non-existant except by the faithful
- Cure Light Wounds
- Medium Magic (MM) – Magic is Uncommon but can be obtained through vast studying or genetics
- High Magic (HM) – Magic is common, classes are taught almost everywhere to study it.
- Teleport, Time Stop
I will be using primarily Dungeons and Dragons for this one, the movement base is easy to understand and easily transferable.
First, we need to understand the time in D&D. A combat round is about 6 seconds. Yes, that means your combat really only lasts for about a few minutes. Those of us who did improvised fighting or live-action roleplaying using foam padded props and real armor can tell you 6 Seconds is a long time. Minutes fighting in heavy armor is very tiring.
A movement rating of 30 means a PC can move 30 Feet means they can move 30′ (Feet) in 6 Seconds or 5′ per second [A1]. (for my math geeks out there check my math below to the corresponding Alphanumeric and everything is rounded up to the nearest 100th) This is not counting running, jogging, or anything else just basic walking or movement.
We know that a mile is 5,280′ which means a PC moves at a steady pace of 5 feet/second will make a mile in 1,056 seconds [A2] or about 17.6 Minutes [A3] which is moving at 5 miles per hour [A4]! So, that fits in with normal physics since an average human move at about 4 Miles/Hour.
The reason for all this math is because when you get into some of the other technologies and magic you need to know the basics. So we know now, that 30′ per Round is about 5 Miles per Hour. So let’s get on with the technology and magic comparison.
Movement – Low magic or technology
- Horse-drawn Vehicle
- Haste, Long Strider, Expeditious Retreat, Gaseous Form, Misty Step, Fly, and Phantom Steed Spells
Base Speed: 60 (According to Players Handbook)
So that is about 6.82 miles per hour [B1]. Good movement speed and you get to ride.
Horses with a cart
Base Speed: 40 (According to Players Handbook )
That is about 4.55 Miles per hour [B2]. Faster than walking and you are carrying multiple items and things.
- Long Strider – +10′ to Movement – Same as Horse with Cart but you are moving not the horse and cart.
- Expeditious Retreat – Gain Dash as an Action (Double your movement for Action) the same as a Horse, but then you are the one moving.
- Gaseous Form – Flight 10′, About 1.14 miles per hour [B3], but you are flying if there is no wind.
- Misty Step – Teleport 30′ Instantly. Technically 30 per 1 second, which is about 20.45 Miles per hour. [B4]
- Phantom Steed – Steed that Moves at 100 Feet or 10 Miles per Hour. A little faster than a normal horse.
- Fly – Movement 60′ Flying gained. Same as a Horse flying.
- Haste – Movement Speed Doubled.
- On Foot – Same a Horse
- Horse – 120′ Movement which is 13.64 Miles per Hour [B5]
- Horse and Cart – 80′ Movement, Which is 9.09 Miles per hour [B6]
Magic Definitely wins out here. Combining both technology and magic means faster movement.
Movement – Medium magic or technology
- Space Travel (Rockets)
- Dimension Door, Teleportation Circle, and Tree Stride spells
Base Speed: 210 Miles/Hour (According to D20 Modern)
This converts into 1,848 Feet Per Round [C1]. Amazing how technology has advanced in movement and transportation. This is like having 15.4 Horses Hasted [C2]!
Base speed: 1100 Miles/Hour(According to D20 Modern)
This converts into 9680 Feet Per Round [C3]. Much, Much faster than a car, you can really get places in one of these if you have the runway for it.
Rocket Space Travel
Base Speed: 2500 Miles/Hour(According to D20 Future)
This converts into 22000 Feet Per Round[C4]. Wow, no wonder those rascally Goblins in WoW want to build rockets. You are talking a real need for speed.
- Dimension Door – Move 500 Feet in 6 Seconds any direction in the line of sight or visualized.
- That is approximately moving at 83.33 Feet per Second[C5] or 56.82 Miles/Hour [C6]
- Teleportation Circle – Move to another Circle instantly
- Tree Stride – Move 500 feet through trees instantly
At this level technology really starts to give magic a run for its money in the movement department. With instantaneous spells, magic still wins out though.
Movement – High magic or technology
- Hover Based Vehicles
- Advanced Air flight
- Advanced Space Flight
- Dimenional Travel
- Teleport, Etherealness, Plane Shift, Transport via Plants, Wind Walk, Time Stop, and Wish Spells
Base speed: 250 Miles/Hour (According to D20 Future)
This converts into 2200 Feet Per Round [D1]. Really Booking it, and that is just with futuristic cars.
Advanced Planes and other Flying Machines
Base speed: 2500 Miles/Hour(According to D20 Future)
This converts into 22000 Feet Per Round [D2]. Rockets have no match for these planes!
Advanced Space Flight
Base speed: 4500 Miles/Hour (According to D20 Future)
This converts into 39600 Feet Per Round [D3]. This is not counting faster than light travel just conventional travel. FTL travel would put this number completely wonky as we approached the speed of light. I really do not want to end up with a headache trying to explain what happens in the round with it. For simplicity, we are just going to assume that would happen in a second which would keep the number the same.
Stepping into another dimension in this time frame is both an option for technology and magic. It is moving through the planes but not on a single plane. So this is just a footnote, noting it 🙂
- Teleport – Move to a place instantly
- Etherealness – Movement Unimpeded by Obstacles. Meaning while you are ethereal you can move your movement speed without becoming exhausted for the duration of the spell.
- Plane Shift – Travel to a different plan instantly
- Transport via Plants – Teleport via Plants
- Wind Walk – Turn into a cloud and move 300 feet/round for spell duration which is 34.09 Miles/Hour[D4]
- Time Stop – Stop Time, move a 1000 Feet. So basically 1000 Feet/Second which is 113.64 Miles/Hour.[D5]
- Wish – Instantly Transported anywhere, any place, any time
Though technology does one last-ditch effort here, magic comes up with instantaneous travel. The only kicker is that most of it you have had to see it before you could cast the spell.
Summoning it all up
Whether or not you are trying to judge how fast or far something can travel. Remember some basic conversions to miles per hour or feet per second. When converting from one system to another just figure out a base way for converting the items you are doing.
This portion of the series was more about converting one item to another based on speed. Which really like a PC is what we are looking at first. As a DM we will have to also convert cargo weight. This is where technology really shines. Combining Magic and Technology can create some interesting worlds. I look forward to hearing how you converting things over.
As always if you have questions, suggestions, or concerns leave a comment below.
-Archon Del Noche
- Wizards RPG Team (2014) Player’s Handbook. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast LLC
- Wizards RPG Team (2014) Dungeon Master’s Guide. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast LLC
- Perkins, C., Thompson, R., Wilker, J.D. (2004) D20 Future: A d20 Modern Rules Supplement, Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast LLC
- Slavicsek, B., Grubb, J., Redman, R., Ryan, C. (2004) D20 Modern Role Playing Game: Core Rulebook, Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast LLC
- 30 Feet / 6 Seconds = 5 Feet/Second
- 5280 Feet/ 5 Feet/Second = 1,056 Seconds
- 1,056 Seconds / 60 Seconds (1 Minute) = 17.6 Minutes
- 5280 Feet / 17.6 Minutes = 300 Miles Per Minute
- 300 Miles/Minute / 60 Minutes (1Hour) = 5 Miles / Hour
- 60 Feet / 6 Seconds = 10 Feet/Second
- 10 * 60 * 60 = 36000 Feet / Hour
- 3600 / 5280 Feet = 6.82 Miles/Hour
- 40 Feet / 6 Seconds = ~6.67 Feet/Second
- 6.67 * 60 *60 = 24012 Feet/Hour
- 24012 / 5280 Feet = 4.55 Miles/Hour
- 10 Feet / 6 Seconds = ~1.67 Feet / Second
- 1.67 * 60 * 60 = 6012 Feet/Hour
- 6012/ 5280 Feet = 1.14 Miles / Hour
- 30 Feet/Second
- 30 * 60 * 60 = 108000 Feet/Hour
- 108000/ 5280 = 20.45 Miles/ Hour
- 120 Feet / 6 Seconds = 20 Feet/Second
- 20 * 60 * 60 = 72000 Feet/Hour
- 72000/ 5280 = 13.64 Miles/Hour
- 80 Feet / 6 Seconds = 13.33 Feet/Second
- 13.33 * 60 * 60 = 47988 Feet/Hour
- 47988 / 5280 = 9.09 Miles/Hour
- 210 Miles / Hour
- 210 Miles / Hour * 5280 ( 1 Mile) = 1108800 Feet/Hour
- 1108800 Feet/Hour / 60 = 18480 Feet/ Minute
- 18480 / 10 = 1848 Movement Speed
- 1848 / 120 = 15.4
- 1100 Miles/ Hour
- 1100 * 5280 = 5808000 Feet/Hour
- 5808000/ 60 = 96800 Feet/Minute
- 96800/10 = 9680 Movement Speed
- 2500 Miles / Hour
- 2500 * 5280 = 13200000 Feet/Hour
- 13200000 /60 = 220000 Feet / Minute
- 220000 /10 = 22000 Movement Speed
- 500 / 6 = 83.33 Feet/Second
- 83.33 Feet / Second
- 83.33 * 60 * 60 = 299988 Feet/Hour
- 299988/ 5820 = 56.82 Miles/Hour
- 250 Miles/Hour
- 250 / 5280 = 1320000 Feet/Hour
- (1320000 /60)/10 = 2200 Movement Speed
- 2500 Miles/ Hour
- [D1] * 10 = 22000 Movement Speed
- 4500 Miles/Hour
- 4500 * 5280 = 23760000 Feet/Hour
- ( 23760000 /60) /10 = 39600 Movement Speed
- 300 Feet/Round
- 300 / 6 = 50 Feet/Second
- 50 * 60 * 60 = 180000 Feet/Hour
- 180000/5280 = 34.09 Miles/Hour
- 1000 Feet/Round
- 1000/6 = 166.67 Feet/Second
- 166.67 * 60 * 60 = 600,000 Feet/Hour
- 600000 / 5280 = 113.64 Miles/Hour