Chapter 12: Time and Movement

Not everything happens at once, and to keep matters that way, EXP uses the concept of time. Every action in the game occurs at a particular time, and all events happening at the same time happen at once. Moreover, time flows — that is, it runs in a smooth progression from any given time to any other, passing through every time in between, and it can’t be stopped. The concept is tricky, but fairly intuitive for anyone brought up on the inside of a universe.

Slightly more subtle is the idea of game time. It might take a player five minutes to calculate all the ProficiencyTable adjustments for a particularly complex manoeuvre, but her persona, blithely detaching the boomerang from her left shoe as she dives through the fog into her waiting space vehicle, will finish the entire episode for better or worse in only a few seconds. On the other hand, a comment like, “I’ll unlock the big door with the gargoyles on it,” might imply several minutes:of frenzied work for the persona, while, “Are you talking to me, batface?” would drawl at exactly, the same speed both in the game and out of it.

Time for the personas in EXP, simply put, flows at a rate which bears little or no resemblance to time in the real world. To help distinguish, EXP measures game time by the unit. A unit lasts for two seconds of game time, or for one round of combat, regardless of how long in real time it takes to play out. Its passing indicates how far a persona can move at a stretch, how many to hit rolls she can make before her opponent strikes back, or how much time she has left to use her mutation. Naturally, two seconds isn’t very long — but to pose a shorter duration would keep personas from finishing the simplest tasks in one go. Likewise, a longer interval would leave too much time unaccounted for: a unit is about the smallest measure of time in which personas can accomplish a reasonable amount of activity.

Unlike personas, however — especially combat-prone personas — civilizations rarely operate on a two-second scale EXP thus has many longer divisions of game time by which numerous other important activities, from sleeping to mapping the fall of a galactic civilization, can be measured. These are listed in Table 12.1, Time Components, below, along with their equivalents in units and their real time analogues.

Table 12.1 Time Components

Seconds are just not good enough for Expgame.
TitleGame TimeReal Time
TitleGame Time Real Time (almost)
Unit1 unit2 sec.
Melee5 units10 sec.
Turn30 units1 min.
60 sec.
Decaturn300 units10 min.
600 sec.
Hour1800 units1 hour
60 min.
3600 sec.
Day43200 units1 day
24 hours
1440 min.
86400 sec.
Week302400 units1 week
7 days
168 hours
10080 min.
604800 sec.
Month1296 K units1 month
30 days
720 hours
43200 min
2592 K sec.
Year15552 K units1 year
12 months
360 days
8640 hours
518400 min.
31104 K sec.

Doing Things

An active persona can do a surprisingly amount in two seconds. Players will often push their personas to the limit of time and space. They will often be attempting compilations of actions that will make the referee’s head spin.  If only they would stick to straightforward moving and attacking! There are two basic types of things that can happen: activities and actions. There are tables listing examples of both, and the impact on the persona. Success of such manoeuvres  are governed by performance tables. These charts drawn up based on particular attributes and skills — a topic which will be addressed more completely in Chapter 14: Performance Tables

Activities: Activities preclude the persona’s ability to move or attack. They have a specific duration can take place during combat, but the persona cannot move or attack while carrying out these activities.  For example counting 100 eps would take 10 units and that would be all that the persona could do for 10 units. This would only be necessary to calculate if the persona needs to count money while the rest of the expedition is engaging in combat. Examples are listed on Table 12.2: Duration of Activities.  

Table-12.2 Example Activities

How long typical day to day things take we never ever time or keep track of.
ActivityDuration In Units
ActivityDuration In Units
Apply a derm0-2 (1d2-1)
Apply a lotion2-20 (2d10)
Apply a suppository10-100 (10d10)
Arm a bomb1-4 (d4)
Armour, apply90 per level restrict.
Armour, remove3-30 (3d10)
Change battery0-1 (1d2-1)
Change channel1
Count money1 per 10 eps
Imibe liquid0-3 (1d4-1)
Injection1-10 (1d10)
Key in number2 units
Search drawer10-60 (1d6 times 10)
Start space vehicleMany many many
Start vehicle1-4 (d4)
Unlock aperture0-3 (1d4-1)

Actions: Actions are bonus undertakings that have an effect on movement rate, but do not prevent combat. Most have a movement penalty, and the most complex stop movement, but allow to hit rolls to still be made.. Typical actions are listed on Table 12.3 Typical Actions.  Actions are particularly simple manoeuvres that Do need not replace movement as the sole activity in a unit (like an activity does). A moving persona can push open an unlocked door with only a small movement penalty, but unlocking the door would stop the persona cold.  Where the effect is “Choose” the persona may choose to either move and do the action or attack and do the action but not both. 

Table 12.3 Example Actions

Actions are things done while moving and their attention slows the persona down.
ActionEffect
ActionsEffect
Attack targetNone
Catch object-2 h/u
Change weaponChoose
Chew gum-1 h/u
Discharge aerosolNone
Door, close-1 h/u
Door, pull open-2 h/u
Door, push openNone
Find spare change-2 h/u
Flip table/couch-2 h/u
Inhale aerator-1 h/u
Light switchNone
Push any buttonNone
Push the right buttonNo movement
ReloadChoose
Sing Loudly+1 h/u
Swallow pill-1 h/u
Swallow jagged pill-3 h/u
Throw rock/grenadeNone
Window, break-1 h/u
Window, open-2 h/u

Movement

Just as time is scaled in EXP, so are speed and distance. The fundamental unit of distance is called the hex, and is equal to two metres. The name “hex” corresponds to one space on a sheet of hex paper, a commonly available graph paper printed with a honeycomb of hexagons, which becomes particularly useful during tactical combat. The two-metre scale length is constant to avoid confusion, regardless of the size of the hexagons themselves; likewise, the two-metre definition of a hex is constant whether the players use hex paper or not.

Continuing the pattern of measuring distance in hexes and time in units, speed and movement are measured in the hex per unit, or h/u —which upon translation into mundane language equals two metres per two seconds, or 1 m/s. Multiplying a measurement in h/u by 3.6 gives the same value in kilometres per hour. Now, inquiring minds will already be asking why movement rates aren’t simply given in metres per second, if the hex per unit measurement is identical? As explained above, in the section on time, meters are simply too short to measure play efficiently.

Each persona has a different movement rate, decided by her DEX attribute during persona generation; this acts as a maximum speed for the persona under normal circumstances, although slowing down is always possible. (See Figure 12.1, Sample Movement Rates on Hex Paper, below.) The means of locomotion, be it flippers, tentacles, or rocket-powered servomechanisms, has nothing to do with the rate, except as environment dictates — a wheeled robot, for instance, would float helplessly in free-fall, while a giant catfish on land, even one with lungs, could only flop about pathetically until the tide came back in.

Circumstances such as these— or others, like over-encumbrance, mental distraction, or general pigheadedness–may force personas to slow down or even stop fora while. These movement penalties are described below and in Chapters 18 and 19, Encumbrance and Special Terrain.

Figure 12.1 Movement in hexes per unit (h/u)

Because meters per second is so 1986.

Basic Movement Penalties

No movement penalty is mandatory. If the game is more fun without the inconvenience of calculating penalties for encumbrance, restrictiveness, terrain, and position the referee should simply ignore them. On the other hand, in the real world encumbrance, restrictiveness, terrain, and direction changes do affect speed, and their inclusion makes for a more rigorous game. The simplest movement penalty, for changing direction, is illustrated in Figure 12.2, Hex Per Unit Penalties for Direction Changes, below; the next most direct, for armour restrictiveness, is detailed in Table 12.4, Armour Restrictiveness Movement Penalties, (Armour restrictiveness is defined in Chapter 29: Armour Rating.) Encumbrance, described more fully in Chapter 18, affects movement rate a good deal. Table 18.3 compiles these effects for the five degrees of encumbrance: Free,Unencumbered, Encumbered, Overencumbered and Lift.

Changing Direction

Figure 12.2 Change of Direction Movement Penalty

When every hex counts changing direction counts too.

Speeding Up

A persona’s movement rate defines the fastest she can move while engaged in another activity, such as combat or conversation. If for some reason she wants to move more slowly, she has but to inform the referee. Movement penalties apply only to movement-rate, however — a persona travelling 2 h/u slower than she has to may ignore all movement penalties under -2 to maintain a constant speed.

In certain situations, however, usually terror on her part, a persona might want to travel faster than her movement rate. This is a much more difficult proposition. Either her speed or her other activity has to suffer, and when speed becomes important enough, all the persona’s attention focusses on running: no other actions can take place at the same time.

Speeding up also depends on encumbrance. Just as a persona carrying so much that she can barely move is incapable even of approaching her full movement rate, one dressed in a track suit and carrying only a headband can jog much faster than normal.

Robots and aliens can never exceed their movement rates, except through being hurled off a cliff by a raging pachyderm or other mitigating circumstance. Unlike scatterbrained anthropomorphs, they do not allow cerebral activity to interfere with their maximum speed in the first place, so their movement rates already correspond to the anthropomorphic bolt.

Running: Running is a type of rapid motion which allows personas to exceed their movement rates by up to 50% — a persona with a movement rate of 4 h/u, for instance, could run at up to 6 h/u. A persona may only run when she is either “Unencumbered” or “Free” of encumbrance. Movement penalties apply only to a persona’s maximum speed. 

Bolting: A slightly more effective method of escape is bolting, by which personas can travel at up to double their movement rate. However, bolting takes up a great deal of energy and concentration. A persona may not be wearing any armour, nor carrying any equipment, while bolting — any at all. She cannot perform any other activity, including changing direction — to turn a corner, she must come out of her bolt,t slow down to her normal movement rate minus – any appropriate penalties, change direction, and start bolting again. The restrictions on bolting make it almost useless to personas, unless by chance they habitually enter in sporting competitions. Referees, however, might find it helpful to allow a persona to dump all of her equipment and bolt to safety from an otherwise certain death, especially if no other technique seems likely to eliminate that troublesome Very Powerful Toy from the campaign.

Movement Alternatives 

Most bipedal forms find the upright posture least painful to move in; accordingly, most personas walk upright if at all. Yet at times, unless they suffer from hay fever, they will desire to wriggle invisibly through tall grass, or jump across a twenty metre deep pit filled with blooming poppies. Such alternate forms of locomotion generally involve slowing down, unless by chance the persona’s body is ideally suited to them in particular — as for instance an Aquarian while swimming, or a limbless alien while slithering. They also frequently involve combat adjustments, both for the clambering persona and for her attackers, and attribute rolls. Part III, Combat Rules, contains explanations and definitions for all combat terms; attribute rolls, in which a player must roll at or below an attribute, are detailed in Chapter 16, Special Rolls.

Climbing: Vertical movement on contraptions such as slides, ropes, and ladders, or climbing, generally depends on the-judgment or whim of the referee. Too many factors enter the equation — is the slide greased? does the persona know how to test pitons? is the rope slowly being severed by a diabolical candle flame? — to encapsulate the experience in a few short paragraphs. The most important detail to remember is that personas engaged in climbing make far more predictable targets than otherwise, giving attackers a bonus of +125 (in general) on their to hit rolls. Personas who attack while climbing receive a to hit penalty of-180.

Climbing, Free: Climbing without pitons or other mechanical aids, involves three steps each unit: finding a foothold, reaching it, and moving up. Respectively, these stages are accomplished with an AWE roll, a DEX roll, and d3 –1 hexes of vertical movement (Rolling 0 hexes means the persona was forced to move laterally that unit.) If the player fails either attribute roll, her persona has slipped, and spends that unit regaining a paw hold; if she fails both for two consecutive units, her persona has fallen. A persona involved in free climbing is considered immobile for combat purposes, giving attackers a +666 to hit bonus; and she herself may not attack.

Climbing, Equipped:  Regular climbing is much like its free climbing counterpart, but involves the use of pitons, ropes and carabiners. Personas may attack while climbing (with a –180 to hit penalty) if they succeed at a DEX roll and otherwise remain immobile that unit. With the aid of ropes and equipment personas being attacked while climbing have a bonus to be hit of +125 on the attacker’s to hit roll (as opposed to the +666 to be hit when free climbing). 

Climbing, Rope: Climbing by rope requires a DEX roll each unit. If the player is successful, her persona can move 1d3 hexes that unit, although not more than half her movement rate. Referees can give stronger personas a movement bonus. A persona may not climb a rope and attack at the same time, although if she wishes she may hang on for a unit and attack with a –180 to hit. Anyone attacking a rope climber gets a +125 bonus on her to hit roll.

Climbing, Ladder: Climbing by ladder require s no attribute rolls. Each unit, a person a may move up to 1d6 hexes, not exceeding her movement rate. Again, climbing personas receive –180 to hit, and their attackers +125; ladder climbers, however, can move and attack simultaneously.

Crawling: A persona can crawl— struggle along the ground on all fours — at one quarter her movement rate. Although a persona cannot attack while crawling, her position gives her 50% cover from all Type B and Type C attacks, and an additional +125 bonus to her armour rating while crawling for cover. Type A attacks, however, gain a +125 to hit because of the crawler’s decreased manoeuvrability.

Crouching: A persona can crouch scuttle along the ground with extremely bent knees — at three quarters her movement rate. Crouching personas can carry out actions including attacking. A crouching attacker cannot use a Type A weapons, they receive a -200 to hit penalty with Type B weapons, and they receive a -75 to hit penalty using Type C weapons. Crouching offers 35% cover against Type B and Type C weapons, which converts to a +80 armour rating bonus.

Diving: A dive is a headfirst horizontal torpedo jump which can propel the persona beyond her movement allowance. Upon finishing her movement for the unit, a persona can dive an additional 1 hex for every 6 points of PsTR she has, through windows, into doorways, across tables, off cliffs, etc. Diving renders a persona inactive for the next unit.

Jumping Horizontal : jump is a brief, self-propelled aerial excursion governed mainly by gravity after the point of liftoff. A horizontal jump from a running start, whether across a crevasse, mine field, detection device, or roommate, spans 1 hex for ever 7 points of PsrR the persona has; from a standing start, it will propel her 1 hex for every 15 PSTR. Generally, a persona will come to a stop after jumping, but if she makes an Improbable (d100) DEX roll upon landing, she may continue at her full movement rate. A persona may jump only once per unit. Being horizontal, this type of jump will clear only the lowest of obstacles.

Jumping Vertical: jump is a brief, self-propelled aerial excursion governed mainly by gravity after the point of liftoff. A vertical jump, as over a desk, a fence, a log, or a crocodile, will not exceed three quarters the persona’s hite — any obstacle taller than that must be climbed over. All good chase scenes involve personas jumping over barriers. To clear a barrier between half and three quarters her hite, a persona must make a Difficult (d20) DEX roll; to clear a lower one, her DEX roll must be Easy (d10). If she successfully clears a barrier, she may continue moving in the same unit.

Righting: Righting oneself; or getting up after a fall, takes a DEX roll, of difficulty to be determined by the referee. If the player makes the roll, the persona may both move and act during the next unit; if not, she may only act, her move for the unit being taken up by standing. Either way, unless knocked down again, she may both move and act the unit after righting herself.

Rolling: Personas can roll — lie on their sides and make like a wheel at 1 h/u, regardless of terrain and previous speed. It is worth noting that some substances, like molasses and concrete, cannot be rolled through; attempts to do so will result in immobility. An encumbered persona can only roll by completing a Difficult (d20) PSTR roll, and cannot act while rolling. An unencumbered persona, while unable to use a Type A or a Type B weapon, can fire a Type C weapon with a -210 to hit roll penalty.

alienspaceship180
Alien carrying object through multiple terrain penalties.

Terrain

The shape of the land also influences speed. A persona running downhill can move faster than one running uphill, ororie wading through knee-high swamp water. Basic terrain — the sort most often experienced in day-to-day life —is covered in this section; for more exotic environmental effects on personas, see Chapter 19, Special Terrain.

Doors: Personas travelling at high speeds can move through unlatched push doors with only a 2 h/u penalty — so, for instance, a persona moving at 5 h/u, passing through such a door, would move only 3 hexes that unit. Any latched or pull doors will stop the persona completely, and force her to make a DEX roll at a difficulty level determined by the referee. If the DEX roll is successful, she will arrive safely on the other side of the door in the same unit. This can be a very important result if the player has won initiative, and her persona is trying to escape an attack.

Foliage: The degree to which grass and plants act as an obstacle to movement depends both on the depth of the foliage and the size of the persona crossing it. Table 12.2: Foliage Movement Penalties, shows the various penalties accrued by, Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, and Gigantic personas when travelling through different foliage depths. Remember that all anthropomorphic personas are Medium-sized. “Normal” thickness for grass, too, means normal for a wilderness — we are not talking about walking across a finely manicured suburban lawn or golf courseThe table can also used for movement through denser foliage like shrubs or plants. For example dense shrub would increase the movement penalty by one level. So a “high” grass terrain would act as a would act as “tall” depth if it were shrubs. If the shrubs had thorns or were sticky the penalty may be increased to “Mess”. Climb  indicates that the foliage is a complete barrier and climbing rules apply: i.e., the foliage is so thick that simple horizontal motion is impossible. Shrubs: Table 12.5, Grass Movement Penalties, also governs motion through low bushes, but bush height acts as grass one level higher —short shrubs as normal grass, e.g., and a mess of shrubs as a barrier.

Table 12.4 Foliage Movement Penalties

Penalty in hexes per unit for pushing through foliage is dependent on persona size.
DepthTinySmallMediumLargeGigantic
DepthTinySmallMediumLargGigantic
Low-1 h/u0000
Short-1 h/u-1 h/u000
Normal-2 h/u-1 h/u-1 h/u00
High-2 h/u-2 h/u-1 h/u-1 h/u0
Tall-3 h/u-2 h/u-2 h/u-1 h/u-1 h/u
MessClimb-3 h/u-2 h/u-2 h/u-1 h/u
BarrierClimbClimbClimbClimbClimb

Hills: Personas moving uphill encounter a penalty equal to –5 h/u times the slope of the hill—that is, times the number of hexes upward they travel each unit, and divided by the number of hexes across they travel to rise that much. A hill on which five horizontal hexes imply one vertical hex of rise would give a penalty of-5 x (1 + 5) h/u, or –1 h/u. Fractions are rounded to the nearest h/u.

Personas travelling downhill get a movement bonus calculated the same way — if four horizontal hexes imply a two vertical hex drop, the bonus is –5 x (-2 + 4) h/u, or +3 h/u (rounded off). A persona’s downhill travel rate may never exceed her bolting speed unless she is actually falling with no surface immediately beneath her; for every unit she spends moving at her bolting speed, she must make a difficult (d20) DEx roll or crash. Personas travelling faster than their movement rates may not engage in combat.

Ice: All sizes and shapes of persona, assuming always that they are not so heavy as to break the ice, receive a –1 h/u penalty while travelling atop it. Sphincter dice can frequently be consulted to check for falls or the comedic perils of inertia.

Liquids: Typically this will be water or some alien equivalent. The table below nicely covers how water affects movement. The Liquid Movement Penalty Table is also used for: mud, snow, and sand. If “Swim” appears on the table, the persona must swim, sink or stick 

Table 12.5 Liquids Movement Penalties

Whether a persona can splash through a puddle or swim through it depends on the persona's size.
DepthTinySmallMediumLargeGigantic
DepthTinySmallMediumLargGigantic
Ankles-3 h/u-2 h/u-1 h/u00
Knees-4 h/u-3 h/u-2 h/u-1 h/u0
LegsSwim-4 h/u-3 h/u-2 h/u-1 h/u
WaistSwimSwim-4 h/u-3 h/u-2 h/u
ShoulderSwimSwimSwim-4 h/u-3 h/u
DeepSwimSwimSwimSwim-4 h/u
Way DeepSwimSwimSwimSwimSwim

Mud: Personas travelling through mud should use Table 12.6, Water Movement Penalties, but add two levels — i.e., shallow mud acts as waist-deep water, and deep mud as very deep water.

Sand: Similarly, personas travelling through sand should use Table 12.5, Grass Movement Penalties but add two levels i.e., short sand acts as high grass, and high sand as a mess of grass. (“High” and “low” refer here to the amount of loosely packed surface sand the persona must wade through. A beach at low tide has low sand, whereas a wind-swept desert might have sand much higher.)

Snow: Personas on snow should use Table 12.6, Water Movement Penalties, adding one level — shallow snow acts as 50cm water, and 3.0m snow as very deep water. An “S” here indicates “Stuck.”

Swim or Sink: If the fluid is swimmable, and the persona cannot swim  in turn, is not something the personas are expected to know how to do. If she drops all of her equipment, a persona can flail 0-3 hexes per unit in the direction she desires, but will simultaneously be carried along by the current, possible in exactly the opposite direction. The referee may force the player at any time to make a MSTR roll or panic in the water; panicked swimmers become drowners, and must make a CON roll each unit to keep from drowning. Another  MSTR roll each unit until they regain control calm down. Personas who can swim should refer to the general performance table.

Stick in the Mud: Getting stuck in snow sand, or mud stops the persona’s movement completely. Usually a PSTR check will allow the persona to become unstuck. If the liquid is of the right consistency like mud, or quicksand, the player may panic and be at risk of drowning. See Swim or Sink for a loose interpretation of drowning rules.

Water: Fluid Movement Penalties, gives movement penalties for Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, and Gigantic personas in various depths of water. (Remember, as always, that all anthropomorph personas are Medium-sized.) This table is also used for motion through snow and mud, with one and two levels, respectively added to the depth.