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(TFT) A Problem of Time and Distance in Melee/TFT
This has probably been touched on before, but I recently did a little
digging and came up with some profound disconnects between movement and time
in Melee/TFT and the real world. Which is all right, to an extent, but
perhaps this ought to be looked at a bit more closely.
Let us consider that the "average" human has an MA of 10, which means that
he can run 10 hexes in a single 5 second turn per canon. How does this
compare with reality? Not well - an average person can generally run about
~15mph or thereabouts, which works out to about 5 hexes ***per second***, or
an actual MA of 25! It gets worse when one considers a trained runner. In
TFT they have an MA of 12, but the fastest human on record (Tim Montgomory
in the 100m dash) averaged about 23mph, with an instantaneous speed of
26.5mph, which would be 9.75 hexes per second, or an instantaneous MA of
close to 50(!).
Once one considers the animal kingdom, everything goes out the window. A
Cheetah can attain a top speed of roughly 67-68mph, with a corresponding MA
of 125 (!!!). Plainly, TFT is way off with a lot of its math, here. As an
aside, this is probably one reason why SJ went to one second rounds - a
person can rapidly run off the map on any larger time scale!
Worse, some of the apparent scaling is way off, as well. In TFT a brown or
grizzly bear has an MA of 8. However, in the real world these critters have
been clocked at around 35 mph, or more than double the average running speed
of a human. Thus, a "scale" MA of 20 would be a lot closer to reality.
As a point of fact, there are few large land animals that humans can outrun.
We're pretty darn slow, all things considered.
There are two underlying problems here:
1. Semantics - the definition of MA as one's "top speed" is a misnomer. At
best it represents something of a "jogging" speed that can be sustained over
a fairly long distance. Which, BTW, is quite reasonable for combat.
2. The time scale might be too long. A lot can happen in 5 seconds, to say
nothing of ground covered.
The first problem can be solved by defining MA as a top jogging speed, and
creating a new "sprint" option that allows you to run at double MA at a cost
of 1 fatigue per turn. This technically understates MA somewhat (in the
average example, you'd only make 20 vs. 25 hexes per round) but it is easier
to calculate at a glance and I think it fits the "close enough for
government work" criteria to be eminently usable. We only need reflect
reality, not slavishly adhere to it.
Of course, animals are still a problem. For the cheetah, half of 125 is
67.5, which is hardly helpful. However, it may be that with animals their
"jogging" or "combat" speed is not so high and does not follow the same
proportions as a human type, and may only represent, say, < (as opposed to
=) or less of their top speed. Anybody have any insight into this? DMG II?
(don't know if you know or not, but you're so chock full of esoteric
knowledge I thought I'd ask.). If there is a basis in truth here, it would
solve a number of problems. In the bear example, their "combat" MA would
come down to about 14-15 or so (perhaps less), which would be manageable,
but clearly make them faster than humans. And of course they could still
sprint at high MAs to catch the unwary. Cheetahs would probably just need to
be scaled down a lot, period.
Something else to consider with animals is that in most cases they attain
their top speeds for only very short runs and tire quickly - even moreso
than we do. I do not know enough on this to fit it in to the mix here, but I
am aware of it in outline. I think it would be very helpful if this were
One could also consider reducing the combat turn from 5 to 3 seconds, which
would further allow things to be "scaled down" to a more manageable level.
Going beyond movement, it would also help when contemplating things like
rates of fire out of modern semi and full auto firearms, for example, since
it would help "scale down" that as well. Not really in favour of this, but
it is a legitimate point, and thought it should be brought up.
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