Discussion of a Pace in Ars Magica

It's not just the Welsh pace. The Byzantine pace was also about 2.5 feet. Their double pace was roughly a Roman pace. So we have multiple old paces (at very least Byzantine and Welsh) and new paces (US) around 2.25 or 2.5 feet. We also have multiple old paces closer to 5 feet, such as the Roman one just shy of 5 feet. So rather than invariably being around 5 feet, they've actually varied between roughly 2.25 feet and 5 feet. That's a variation by a factor greater than 2, which is a wildly large variation compared to things like historical feet. So anyone who's claiming 3 feet is way off from a historical pace is just a little confused about historical paces.

Meanwhile, ArM5 has defined what "pace" means in its context as 3 feet. So there should be no confusion there, except that it's a hard-to-find rule.

It could be cool to use Roman units. For those of us quite comfortable with units, used to them changing (e.g. all those redefinitions in 2019), and used to inventing our own (e.g. using theoretical units) adopting Roman units wouldn't be an issue. But that might tend to confuse a lot of modern players, which would be a problem. This is why I really like "pace." It gives this historical feel while being very similar to both the yard and the meter, the two of which cover units most of the world is comfortable with.


Perhaps in some theoretical future version of ArM, a pace will be defined on natural terms, as a diameter is.

What makes you say that it isn't? Nobody has so far been able to quote ArM's definition of foot. Maybe all spell stats should be seen in terms of the length of the caster's own foot.

All right; clearly defined as a natural unit.

That depends on what you mean by "pace": the "full" or "double" pace, between the corresponding position of two imprints of the same foot, that's five feet for the Byzantines too (which were the last Romans from their point of view), and for the US.
Half of that is the "single" or "half" pace, i.e. roughly the distance between two consecutive footprints (of two different feet). "Roughly" because while the path of "same foot" paces on a straight road is straight, that of "alternating foot" paces zigzags a little so to speak -- which is the reason why the former is slightly better for a standard.

So, after you clarify whether your "pace" is a double (i.e. "same foot") or half (i.e. "alternating foot") pace, the pace in terms of feet is exactly the same for romans, byzantines, ancient greeks, and US folks: 5 feet to the "same foot" pace, 2.5 to the "alternating foot" pace. It's only the Welsh who did it differently, apparently because their length measures grew mostly in multiples of three (three inches to a palm, three palms to a foot, three feet to a pace, three paces to a leap etc.).

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If the pace is the Welsh pace, 3 feet in length, then the foot is probably the Welsh foot, 3 palms in length, each palm 3 inches! But ... wait, what's the ArM5 definition of inch? Well, the Welsh one in case of disputes was ... the judge's inch :smiley:

But that's simple. Whether you are used to Imperial and SI units, you can just refer to the SG's thumb, which is readily available at the table. Listen to Occam.

I'm feeling love at first sight with that: there is a lovecraftian, fractal, non-euclidean stuff in there that I think I'm going to use.

Also lovely.


I am loving this :slight_smile: