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Monday, May 3, 2021

Climb, Jump and Swim

There’s been a discussion on the OD&D forums for around two weeks about climbing, jumping, and swimming. Everyone’s got their own way of handling them. I’ve had some basic ideas about those for a while, but might use a bit or two of other people’s ideas if it helps (1) get rid of a few rolls, (2) shift the focus away from success/failure to time spent, and (3) make things easier to remember.

All three actions are basically about movement, so here’s the first step:

The character’s current Move score is their climbing
and swimming speed, in paces. Base jump distance
is one third of that, or two thirds for a running start.

(A (U.S.) pace is officially two and a half feet, but I see no problem with using pace, yard, and meter interchangeably in an RPG. It’s not rocket science.)

Unencumbered characters are Move 12, which would mean a jump distance of 4 paces, yards, or meters, or anywhere from 10 to 12 feet. Standing broad jump record is 12 feet 2 1/2 inches, so that seems reasonable. The climbing and swimming speeds are just wild guesses, but seem pretty common in RPGs.

Next step is how long climbing and swimming can be maintained, and when to roll:

Characters must rest ten minutes out of every hour
(or double, if overburdened.) If in the middle of a climb
or swim and unable to rest, the character must roll 5+
on 1d6 to continue another ten minutes.

This is just an adaptation of the standard rules for resting. This doesn’t apply to jumping, of course (can’t rest in the middle of
a jump,) but any jump that exceeds the base distance, up to a max of (Move Score x Paces,) requires a roll.

If the roll fails, the character slips or sinks. Falling does
the usual damage. Sinking means the character must
hold their breath until rescued.

Holding breath is something I talked about before, but the shortest, easiest rule is to roll 1d6 in secret for the number of minutes they can hold their breath. For High/Low Con, either add +/-1 or allow a 5+ on 1d6 roll for Average Con to squeeze in an extra minute, two extra minutes for High Con.

If desired, Fighters can substitute Level x 2 for their Move score when performing athletic feats like this. Thieves, of course, use the same rules, but can climb without equipment, climb silently, and climb faster.

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