Individual Speed (5e Variant Rule)
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All short people are just a little bit slower than everyone else, except for wood elves, who are invariably just a little bit faster than everyone else. No Dwarf will ever outrun a Human, no matter how much stronger or healthier he may be.
The citizens of Waterdeep cheered as the annual summer footrace ended, yet again, with a resounding tie between all 15 contestants, thereby reinforcing that old maxim, "we all run the same" and proving the laws of physics still hold true.
- Fans of tactical combat games like FFT or Front Mission, where individual mobility plays an important role.
- People who think it's boring for everyone to move about the same speed.
- People who would like their attributes to have some bearing on speed.
- People who have an interest in playing out races or chases mechanically without using the cinematic system described in the DMG.
If this rule isn't quite what you were expecting, perhaps you were looking for the other speed rule?
Reason and Scope
In the vanilla rules, a character's speed is defined by their race and nothing else. There are a number of implications that DEX has some bearing on speed, but this is not explored beyond its initiative impact. This variant rule explores the idea of adjusting a character's base speed using their abilities.
There are two versions of this rule. The first simply has DEX adjust your base move speed. The second subdivides DEX such that mobility is handled by a new, separate ability.
Dexterity is Speed
Your DEX modifier is used to generate an adjustment for your base speed. Simply multiply your modifier by five, and add the result to your base speed.
- Example: Bruenor is a Mountain Dwarf with a base speed of 25 and a DEX modifier of -1. -1×5=-5, and 25-5=20. Bruenor's final speed is 20.
DEX becomes the most influential ability in combat, affecting defense and mobility, acting as your initiative modifier, being a common save ability, and being a potential damage stat. The slowest starting character moves 5ft/turn, while the fastest starting character moves 60ft/turn. This substantially impacts player priorities in chargen, as using DEX as a dump stat is basically nolonger an option.
Note: A lvl20 wood elf monk with +5 DEX moves at 90ft/turn. This is an alarming rate of movement for normal walking speed, considering one turn is only 6 seconds.
The second version of this optional rule is to introduce a new ability to control mobility independent of DEX. Call it what you will, agility (AGI), evasion (EVA), mobility (MOB), or speed (SPD), it does the following things:
- Takes over from DEX to determine init.
- Determines your speed adjustment.
- Can be used in checks, contests, and saves, where speed is more important than coordination, flexibility, or reaction time, such as races/chases, or evasion of large effects like dragon breath.
Although it comes at the expense of the "classic" feel of your game, it adds the intended effect, and also straightens out DEX a little, spreading its multiple effects across more abilities, and further clarifying its exact purpose and realm of effect. If you want to keep an even number of abilities, try adding one of the optional abilities from the DMG. Further dividing DEX makes the multiple attributes seem trivial.
Ability Prerequisite Variant
This variant reduces the impact of this rule somewhat by reducing the number of characters who will get really high speed bonuses. They are still possible, just less probable. Basically, you have a strength prerequisite for the speed bonus. You only get +5ft speed for each matching +1 in STR and DEX. Speed penalties, ostensibly, still work the same. So, the only way to get that +25 speed is to have +5 in both STR and DEX.
- "When your playing with figures the Map space is limited; you could apply the same rules to monsters.
- Since your Also carrying Gear; For Every MATCHING Strength Modifier AND Dexterity Modifier Point will equivalent to 5ft. of Movement Speed. Having Strength to exert yourself to match your Dexterity modifier" ~5.5e
- Ability Modifiers of...
- Str Mod +1
- Dex Mod +3
- = +5ft. Speed cause of +1 in STR matches a +1 in DEX。
- For every excess +2 to Dex Modifier, not matched with a Strength Modifier, is equivalent to another +5ft. of Movement speed.
- Like the example above will give it a total of +10 ft. in Speed.
- You could also include a Constitution Modifier requirement; So the Character must have three Ability Modifiers Prerequisites.
- and instead have a Three more points of Dex Modifier in order to gain +5ft. of Movement Speed.
Extending To Include Monsters
To apply this rule to monsters, without impacting balance too much, follow these steps:
1. Determine the speed modifier for the monster's DEX mod.
2. Remove that modifier from the monster's speed. This is now the monster's base speed.
3. For each instance of a monster in an encounter, you must roll a new DEX score for that individual creature. You will need to do a bit of guess work to figure out the score adjustment that should be applied to this roll.
4. Determine its unique DEX modifier, and then use that to determine its new speed modifier.
During combat, you will need to remember the individual speed stats for each separate creature. Note also that these rules assume that the creature is a terrestrial organism. This rule should not be applied to constructs, beings who move via magical effects, or creatures which typically fly or swim.