Thursday, April 25, 2013

One day of travel

One day of travel in GURPS

In a multi-world / multi-TL GURPS game one could encounter so many different modes of travel. I was pondering the changes in humanity imposed by the difference of distance someone can travel in one day.

I am going to look at this two ways: First, someone with full resources available at the time, striving to go as far in one day as they can. I will use the rules for long distance to determine this where I can. ((B.463) 60-70% of top speed X 24 hours) Second, from the viewpoint of the average person traveling with 1 months income. (Excluding serving on a faster craft as crew.)

TL -1 Pre-Stone Age - $0 income

Foot power only. No boots, no walking stick. No single tech for aid, not even health tech. Most would be sickly and weak even in their prime. A very fit Ogg might run 20 mile in fear for his life, but chances are he would be lost and soon dead unless very lucky or skilled, or both.

Zero income and no storage, would put limits on how far someone can truly explore to around 10 miles max range in a day. Even dried meat is beyond them.Chances are they would stay much closer to home or to the herd they are following. They would need to either: A) keep their home with them, a heavy load, or B) They need a home base and will need to leave time in the day to return to it. The only difference in the resource uses is in how healthy they might be, but travels would be just as limited for both the powerful and the ordinary.

TL 0 Stone Age, $625 income

This TL is the age of water. Canoes enter the picture. Max speed 4 MPH (62 miles in a day)Per The basic book. They competes with such speedy brethren as dog sleds, skis, and well fed runners with foot protection (or not in some places.) But the ability to travel down river in a canoe, or over long flat calm waters, will get the edge.

The average person is still plodding along on foot, always looking to improve boot tech. All income is spent on surviving day to day, max range still right around 10 miles in a day.

TL 1 Bronze Age, $650  income

Age of the horse. At the top end a horse can go 60 miles in a day max, with nothing but a rider. No saddles yet and horses are only for the rich.

The average person is moving along just a bit further thanks to the newly invented roads, so his range could get to just over 20 miles in a day. That one month of income is not going to get them a horse.

TL 2 Iron Age, $675 income

The use of a penteconter, an early sailing ship with rowing ability, would move you fast, 10 mph top speed. But I think that was with rowers not sail. If your relief rowers are all from Sparta you could make up to 170 miles in a day.

The age of the horse is fading for the rich, but for the average man it is just starting. A man may rase his own or buy a low quality horse for one months income. Saddles and the numbers of horses in use can push the average persons range out to that 60 mile range, but most stay with in a 20 mile range.

TL3 Medieval Age (Most fantasy games), $700 income.

At sea sailing gets a bit faster and you can make that 170 miles in a day without killing banks of rowers. The big advances are in load capacity, navigation and control.

Land based traffic for the average person is still limited to about 60 miles in a day on a horse. For a months income one could buy short passage at sea and travel with the rich, just not as nicely.

TL4 Age of Sail, $800 income.

The rich and powerful travel on sleek 3 masted ships at top speed of 23 MPH covering up to 360 miles in a day.

The age of the horse tops out with the stagecoach reaching a max of 70 miles a day for the average person on the land. Their income could also buy one day passage on the fastest of ships, traveling deep in the hold I would expect.

TL5 – Industrial Revolution, $1,100 income.

Steam is king, and it rides on rails at a top speed of around 70 MPH and can make 1100 miles in one full day. The travel method of both the rich and the average, the distinction being the comfort of the travel. But with max resources you might top out early air travel close to or just over this range.

An average person would also make their best range on the rails for their one months income. They could not expend the resources to push out to anywhere close to the maxim range, closer to 100-200 mile range.

If you want to travel away from the rails then you are still going to make your best time still with horses,  a max of 70 miles a day.

TL6 – Mechanized Age, $1,600 income.

The Age of Air travel begins, and the ability to travel gets a big kick in the pants. A twin prop transport tops out at 128MPH or almost 2000 miles in one day, and are the travel choice of the rich.

The average person is discovering the capabilities of the early Sedans and speeds up to 60 MPH and just over a 900 mile a day range. If we don't count the train, this makes for the single most radical jump in range for the average person.

TL7 – Nuclear Age, $2,100 income.

Once we enter the age of space flight, for someone with a nations resources behind them, no place on earth is out of reach with a full days travel.  Apollo 10 set the record for the highest speed attained by a manned vehicle at 39,897 km/h (11.08 km/s or 24,791 mph) during the return from the Moon on May 26, 1969. That makes it 594,984 miles in one day.

The average person is going further and faster in improved autos, with speeds running about 100-110 MPH max. pushing the range out to just over 1700 miles in a day. But the real kick is cheep air travel. For a mounths income they can cover a flight on a 747 taking them over 5,000 miles.

TL8 – Digital Age, $2,600, income.

From this point it is all conjecture but I will try and use GURPS books and a bit of thought to keep going.

The space age is reaching out, in 1976( TL6) the Helios 2 solar probe, became the fastest man-made object at 157,100 MPH or 3,770,400 miles in one day. Given that this was done one TL lower then TL8, it would be possible to make a manned craft to go this fast. Nation level or mega-corporation resources would be required. At this speed you could reach the moon in less then 2 hours, but with the time and distance needed to get up to speed you would have to bypass it entirely.

Average man is still earthbound, but one months pay will get you most anywhere civilized, any place on the planet, in one day. Baring flight delays.

TL9 – Microtech Age, $3,600 income.

From this point on we turn to GURPS Space and start to look at reaction mass and looking at ship speeds in  two numbers, acceleration in G (Earth gravities) followed by delta-V in miles per second (mps).

A military Heavy cruiser running at 4G/28 mps pushes the limit of the human philology without any way to counter the G force.  Running at 4G/28 mps will move you at least one AU in a day, 93,000,000 miles.

 You only need 12 mps of delta-V to travel from Earth orbit to the Moon in about 11 hours, with this we can make a round trip to the Moon and back in one day. With no reason a person cold not buy a ticket on such transport.

TL10 – Robotic Age, $5,600 income.

The age of FTL begins. The robotic AIs and raw computing power needed to deal with FTL navigation mesh and the speed of light is no longer the limit.

The fastest craft are military or other mega-power controlled. Parsecs now count the path a man can travel in a day. FTL-1 gives us one parsec a day.

 FTL might be an option even for the masses. In system still limited to about 4G/30mps or 93,000,000 miles in a day.

TL11 – Age of Exotic Matter, $8,100 income.

The rich and powerfull travel between worlds in luxurious vessels covering up to 2 Parsecs in a day.

Gravity is mastered, and near c travel in-system happens.With in system craft reaching 100G/c average people can book passage on in system transport using high G/c drives putting mars in one day range.

TL12 - Age of Miracle Sciance, $10,600 income.

Where would you like to be and when would you like to be there? POOF... it happens.