A Path to Steam
This skill represents training for endurance walking, hiking, and marching. It includes knowledge of how to pace yourself in different conditions, and how best to carry a pack.
Make a Hiking roll before each day’s march; on a success, increase the distance traveled by 20%. The GM may allow bonuses for good maps and good walking shoes, but not for
terrain. If a party is traveling together, all must make the Hiking roll in order to
get the increased distance. See Hiking (p. 351).
Sustainable cross-country speed on foot depends on ground Move. Start with Basic Move and reduce it for encumbrance (see Encumbrance and Move, p. 17), injury (see General
Injury, p. 419), and exhaustion (see Lost Fatigue Points, p. 426), as applicable. The distance in miles you can march in one day, under ideal conditions, equals 10 x Move.
If you have the Enhanced Move (Ground) advantage, you may apply your movement multiple to this distance. For instance, Enhanced Move 1 (Ground) multiplies Move by two,
doubling daily marching distance. See Enhanced Move (p. 52).
A successful roll against Hiking skill (p. 200) increases marching distance by 20%. Roll daily. A group led by someone with Leadership skill at 12+ may make a single roll against the group’s average Hiking skill. (Hiking defaults to HT-5 for those who have
not studied it.) Success lets the entire group march 20% farther; failure means the whole group must forgo the bonus.
When these rules result in different speeds for different members of a party, the party must either move at the speed of its slowest member or split up. Note that a party that has opted to make a single Hiking roll for the entire group has already chosen not to split up!
Once you know your ideal daily mileage, modify it for terrain as follows:
Very Bad: Deep snow, dense forest, jungle, mountains, soft sand, or swamp. x0.20.
Bad: Broken ground (including streams), forest, or steep hills. x0.50.
Average: Light forest or rolling hills x1.00.
Good: Hard-packed desert or level plains. x1.25.
Weather conditions can further modify distance traveled:
Rain: Rain halves off-road speed in any terrain. See Roads (below) for the effects of rain on roads.
Snow: Ankle-deep snow halves speed in any terrain. Anything deeper divides speed by 4 or more. Exception: Skis allow travelers to treat any depth of snow as Average terrain. Replace Hiking skill with Skiing skill (p. 221) when traveling on skis.
Ice: Cold combined with moisture – due to rain, sleet, snowmelt, etc. – results in ice. A coating of ice halves speed in any terrain. Solid ice, such as a frozen lake or river, is effectively its own terrain type; treat it as Bad terrain. Exception: Treat solid ice as Good terrain for those with skates. Skating skill (p. 220) replaces Hiking skill when traveling on skates.
In fine weather, most roads count as Average terrain, regardless of the surrounding terrain. The best roads might even count as Good terrain, giving a bonus.
In rain, low-quality roads – unsurfaced dirt or gravel – turn to mud. Treat them as Very Bad terrain. Better roads behave as Average (but never Good) terrain in the rain.
In snow or ice, treat roads as Average terrain, but apply the movement penalties given under Weather (above) unless the road is cleared.
Time Required and Fatigue Cost
These rules assume you spend the entire day preparing for your hike, hiking, or resting, leaving no time for study or other activities. This is true however small your daily mileage – the heavier your load and the worse the traveling conditions, the more slowly you walk and the more frequently you stop to rest.
Should you interrupt your travels for adventuring matters, you will be missing FP when you stop. See Fatigue Costs (p. 426) for details.