Jetboots Redux

JCab747's picture
JCab747
December 30, 2017 - 6:10pm

A few months ago, Jedion posted a treasure trove of old Dragon magazine articles in one PDF on this site.

One of them was a story called “Jetboots don’t fail me now!” by Charles A. Venelli that was in the November 1988 issue of Dragon Magazine. You can see a separate PDF of this original story here: http://www.starfrontiers.us/node/9954

Vanelli offers an alternative way to calculate a character’s movement rate and his story begins with this vignette:

Player (whose character; a space-station security guard, has unexpectedly discovered an intruder in a storage area): “I back away, drawing my nightstick.”

Referee: “Great, because the guy takes off the moment he sees you. He’s carrying a box from the storeroom.”

Player: “I chase after him! When I catch up, I’ll smack him with my nightstick! I move at 30 meters per turn.”

Referee: “Being a human, the intruder also runs at 30 meters per turn.”

Player: “Well, then, how am I gonna catch him?”

Good question. Unless the intruder happens to slip on a convenient banana peel or other unforeseen obstacle, the poor security guard may never get his man. Here we see evidence of a flaw in the STAR FRONTIERS® game, in that all beings of the same race run at the same rate of speed.

The problem, however, is not just limited to running or walking; it also applies to swimming, climbing, and just about every other movement task that a character might attempt.

In the STAR FRONTIERS game, all creatures are given a set of movement rates which are dependent only upon the races of the creatures involved. Thus, every Human in the Frontier runs just as fast as every other Human. The same can be said for Yazirians, Dralasites, and every other known race.

Obviously, this just isn’t the case. Any decent member of an Olympic track team could beat the socks off the average person on Earth in a foot race, yet the current movement system would not allow this.

Since all characters are not created equal in the STAR FRONTIERS game system, all speeds should not be equal. Speed should be based upon the basic attribute scores of a character and the character.s race. (Obviously, a Dralasite cannot run as fast as a Vrusk.)

Vanelli then proceeds to offer a diversified movement rate system based on the average of a character’s strength and reaction speed.

“The Strength score is used in the MRM because a character’s speed and quickness are based upon the strength of the muscles within that character’s limbs,” Vanelli wrote. “The Reaction Speed score is used because, by definition, it is a measure of a person’s quickness.”

By taking the average of Strength and Reaction Speed, you create a Movement Rate Modifier, then use a series of somewhat complicated charts (of which I think there are some typos in the statistics) to calculate a character’s speed.

Joe Cabadas
Comments:

JCab747's picture
JCab747
December 30, 2017 - 6:13pm

I think there is an easier way, though it would still be based on a combination of a character’s Strength and Reaction Speed, which becomes their race’s Average Movement Value (AMV) – this number is simply arrived at by adding the STR and RS scores.

 

Table 1: Average STR, RS and Movement Values by Race

Race

Average Strength

Average Reaction Speed

Average Movement Value

Base Walking Speed*

Base Running Speed*

Base Hiking Speed**

Dralasite

50

40

90

5 m/t

20 m/t

3 kph

Human

45

45

90

10 m/t

30 m/t

 5 kph

Humma1

55

45

100

10/25 m/t

35/50 m/t

6 kph

Ifshnit

40

45

85

4 m/t

15 m/t

2 kph

Osakar

50

50

100

25 m/t

60 m/t

10 kph

Vrusk

40

50

90

15 m/t

35 m/t

6 kph

Yazarian

35

50

85

10 m/t

30 m/t

4 kph

Satheroid2

45

40

85

10 m/t

20 m/t

3 kph

*Walking and running speeds are the distance that a character can travel in meters per turn (m/t).

**Hiking speed represents the rate a character can walk, with appropriate rest periods, over long periods of time, represented in kilometers per hour (kph).

(1) Humma can conduct leaping and spring charge attacks, which is why there is a second number for their walking and running speeds. Leaping can only be done for 10 turns, followed by 30 minutes of rest.

(2) Includes Sathar and the optional S’sessu races.

 

So, if a character’s Strength and Reaction Speed equals or is about the same as their racial average, then their walking, running and hiking speeds remains unchanged.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
December 30, 2017 - 6:16pm

So, if a character’s Strength and Reaction Speed equals or is about the same as their racial average, then their walking, running and hiking speeds remains unchanged.

I propose that for every 5 points that a character has above their race’s Average Movement Value (the combination of the STR and RS scores), their walking speed increases by 0.5 m/t and running speed increases by 1 m/t.

Likewise, for every 5 points that a character has below their race’s Average Movement Value (the combination of the STR and RS scores), their walking speed is trimmed by 0.5 m/t and running speed decreases by 1 m/t.

Now, for Dralasite and Ifshnit characters, this could make them more turtle-like than ever. So, should there be a minimum “floor” where say an Ifshnit character with a STR of 35 and an RS of 35, giving them an AMV of 70 or 15 points below their racial average, wouldn’t be walking at  2.5 m/t and “running” at 12 m/t? Or does this sound right?

A Human with a STR of 35 and RS of 35 would be 20 points below average, giving them a walking speed of 8 m/t and a running speed of 26 m/t. So, does that work?

Now, some Olympic runners can do a 100 meter dash in under 10 seconds – running at 10 meters per second, so in a Star Frontiers’ speak that’s running at a rate of 60 meters per turn… So, what scores would such a Human character need, under this system, to accomplish that feat?

Hmm,  since that is about double the average speed, such a character would need an average STR and RS score of 90, right? Maybe I need to give this a bit more thought, but does anyone have any other ideas.

I’ll have to figure out something for the hiking rate.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
December 30, 2017 - 6:17pm

I have not yet put in statistics for the following charts, but they are based on Vanelli’s article.

 

Table 2: Other Average Movement Speeds by Race

 

Race

Base Climbing Speed

Base Crawling Speed

Base Swimming Speed

Base Swimming per Hour

Base Flying Speed

Dralasite

m/t

m/t

m

m

N/A

Human

m/t

m/t

m

m

N/A

Humma

m/t

m/t

m

m

N/A

Ifshnit

m/t

m/t

m

m

N/A

Osakar

m/t

m/t

m

m

N/A

Vrusk

m/t

m/t

m

m

N/A

Yazarian

m/t

m/t

m

m

N/A

Satheroid*

m/t

m/t

m

m

N/A

*Includes Sathar and S’sessu.

 

Table 3: Average Leaping Distance by Race

Race

Base Climbing Speed

Base Crawling Speed

Base Running Leap

Base Standing Leap

Base Running Vertical Leap

Base Standing Leap

Dralasite

m/t

m/t

m

m

m

m

Human

m/t

m/t

m

m

m

m

Humma

m/t

m/t

m

m

m

m

Ifshnit

m/t

m/t

m

m

m

m

Osakar

m/t

m/t

m

m

m

m

Vrusk

m/t

m/t

m

m

m

m

Yazarian

m/t

m/t

m

m

m

m

Satheroid*

m/t

m/t

m

m

m

m

*Includes Sathar and S’sessu.

 

Yes, Vanelli included a flying column for all the races listed even though no character race can naturally fly.

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
December 30, 2017 - 6:19pm
Oh, and sorry I haven't been posting much lately or responding to other's posts. I have a bit of catching up to do, but I've been tied down with real life projects.
Joe Cabadas

sevanwint's picture
sevanwint
December 30, 2017 - 7:28pm
I have the characters roll their RS if they want try to move more than normal. If they succeed I let them move one more square. In a chase, the character with a higher RS will usually run farther over time. I suppose you could average STR and RS to get a movement score.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
December 30, 2017 - 8:05pm
The irony of this article is the exact same problem exists in D&D --- the very game that Dragon magazine was intended for --- with the exception in that game being EVERYONE moves the same speed regardless of race or class. The movement rates are only affected by encumbrance and/or type of armor depending on the rule set.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

JCab747's picture
JCab747
December 31, 2017 - 1:14pm
sevanwint wrote:
I have the characters roll their RS if they want try to move more than normal. If they succeed I let them move one more square. In a chase, the character with a higher RS will usually run farther over time. I suppose you could average STR and RS to get a movement score.


This seems like a good house rule.
Joe Cabadas

iggy's picture
iggy
December 31, 2017 - 1:47pm
You could make the movement modifiers race dependent and not just +/-5 for all races.  A dral or ifshnit could be +/-3 and a vrusk +/-6.  Just throwing numbers out in the dark to help show my concept.  Also, wouldn't height or leg length to be more exact have an effect. People with really long legs can walk faster and/or longer than  short leg people.  So, same strength and reastion speed as another but longer or shorter legs will tweak the movement rate.

I do like Sevenwint's RS check idea for keeping the movement simple but allowing two matched movement rate beings to have a race.
-iggy

sevanwint's picture
sevanwint
December 31, 2017 - 2:04pm
How about an RS roll for a bonus of one square movement for dralasites, two for humans and yazirians, and three for vrusk? Just mess around with the amout of bonus for a successful roll. 

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 31, 2017 - 8:41pm
iggy wrote:
You could make the movement modifiers race dependent and not just +/-5 for all races.  A dral or ifshnit could be +/-3 and a vrusk +/-6.  Also, wouldn't height or leg length to be more exact have an effect. People with really long legs can walk faster and/or longer than  short leg people.  So, same strength and reastion speed as another but longer or shorter legs will tweak the movement rate.

This can get complicated real fast.
Humans are the basis for movement but the racial characteristics of the other races were not really considered.

Yazirians are terrible runners. Jed sit down a minute and listen. They are aerborial and designed to glide not to run. Ever try running with big flaps attached to your arms and legs? While they are good at keeping up with Humans at short distance they quickly tire and go slower. (4km long distance compared to Human 5km)

Dralasites are not built for speed at all. They could make longer legs but there is no longer muscles to propel them. Although never stated the lack of knees also slows them down a bit too.

Vrusk have the shortest legs. They only stand 1.5 m or about 4' 11" tall. This is further broken down by legs that do not work like Human legs. They have a sideways scuttle not a flat out run.

Best to keep it to straight numbers and/or maybe the RS roll unless you want to give them Running Skill to give a bonus. 
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

KRingway's picture
KRingway
January 2, 2018 - 6:47am
sevanwint wrote:
I have the characters roll their RS if they want try to move more than normal. If they succeed I let them move one more square. In a chase, the character with a higher RS will usually run farther over time. I suppose you could average STR and RS to get a movement score.


I think this is similar to what I used to house rule. RS comes into play because there's a chase involved between parties who are ostensibly evenly matched in terms of movement rate. I think that I had a check being made by both each round, and if either party were rolling lower than the other it would mean that they were either creating distance or catching up. All this worked within a given time and distance when this is happening, i.e. running some distance to a door, etc.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 2, 2018 - 9:33am
The answer should be obvious: rather than roll against RS or whatever to speed up, you should roll against RS to maintain current speed. Failure means you slipped/tripped/stumbled and lost a few m/turn for that round.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

KRingway's picture
KRingway
January 2, 2018 - 3:11pm
Failing an RS roll means that usually happens in some way or another - you lose ground. If you both keep passing your rolls, the player with the lower roll gets the upper hand in that 30m stretch. It creates some nice tension, but the trick is not to get too bogged down in the minutae otherwise a nice chase scene gets stuck in the mud of maths Wink You just have to keep a picture on paper/in your head just were everyone is, and that's usually not too tricky. It's only really a problem if a player starts quibbling about the exact distances involved Laughing

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 2, 2018 - 4:55pm
There's an even easier solution: stop running, take careful aim, and shoot. Kiss
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

JCab747's picture
JCab747
January 2, 2018 - 9:01pm
rattraveller wrote:
iggy wrote:
You could make the movement modifiers race dependent and not just +/-5 for all races.  A dral or ifshnit could be +/-3 and a vrusk +/-6.  Also, wouldn't height or leg length to be more exact have an effect. People with really long legs can walk faster and/or longer than  short leg people.  So, same strength and reastion speed as another but longer or shorter legs will tweak the movement rate.

This can get complicated real fast.


Exactly, which is why I don't want it to be complicated.

As for movement modifiers (and other ability score modifiers for that matter) based on height, weight, age, gender, etc. were covered in stories in Star Frontiersman magazine... issue 4 for most of them, though I think there was a story in a later issue.

I just want to take a complicated formula from the "Jetboots" Dragon magazine article and simplify it.

So, I just want to concentrate on the STR and RS scores and how that might impact how fast a character can walk, run, crawl, climb, swim, etc. without destroying SF's simplicity. You know, some optional rules.

I like the idea of an RS roll to allow a character to get an extra burst of speed, though a going an "extra square" would depend on the scale. Can a Dralasite move an extra square if it is only 2 meters? Sure.

But what if that square is 5 meters? Or 10? Or is it a 25 meter square?

Hmm, maybe an Olympian Dralasite could run faster.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
January 2, 2018 - 9:04pm
KRingway wrote:
sevanwint wrote:
I have the characters roll their RS if they want try to move more than normal. If they succeed I let them move one more square. In a chase, the character with a higher RS will usually run farther over time. I suppose you could average STR and RS to get a movement score.


I think this is similar to what I used to house rule. RS comes into play because there's a chase involved between parties who are ostensibly evenly matched in terms of movement rate. I think that I had a check being made by both each round, and if either party were rolling lower than the other it would mean that they were either creating distance or catching up. All this worked within a given time and distance when this is happening, i.e. running some distance to a door, etc.


There's also the character's endurance that comes into play. Isn't a character can run at top speed for the number of minutes equal to their STR score divided by 10? (If you use the Zeb's Running skill, then you can run twice as long, I think).
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
January 2, 2018 - 9:04pm
Shadow Shack wrote:
The answer should be obvious: rather than roll against RS or whatever to speed up, you should roll against RS to maintain current speed. Failure means you slipped/tripped/stumbled and lost a few m/turn for that round.


An interesting idea!
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
January 2, 2018 - 9:05pm
Shadow Shack wrote:
There's an even easier solution: stop running, take careful aim, and shoot. Kiss


Even a better idea.
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
January 2, 2018 - 9:09pm
KRingway wrote:
Failing an RS roll means that usually happens in some way or another - you lose ground. If you both keep passing your rolls, the player with the lower roll gets the upper hand in that 30m stretch. It creates some nice tension, but the trick is not to get too bogged down in the minutae otherwise a nice chase scene gets stuck in the mud of maths Wink You just have to keep a picture on paper/in your head just were everyone is, and that's usually not too tricky. It's only really a problem if a player starts quibbling about the exact distances involved Laughing


Yes, I don't want to bog things down with math equations. I think the idea of "Jetboots" is you figure out your character's speed during character creation... but then the referee... or starbitrator, as I think either jedion or shadowshack coined... would have to worry about NPC's running speeds... but if you use any of the fan-created rules from SFman magazine, then that's what you're getting too.
Joe Cabadas

jedion357's picture
jedion357
January 4, 2018 - 9:16am
JCab747 wrote:
but then the referee... or starbitrator, as I think either jedion or shadowshack coined...


Not me, I'm a traditionalist and stick with the official Star Frontiers referee or GM if I'm feeling to lazy to write referee.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
January 4, 2018 - 10:15am
Yep, "starbitrator" was one I coined back in the day.


Mostly from the fact that I never owned any zebra shirts...
Related image
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website