Flight and Speed

This came up in a saga I am in, and I thought I'd share my reflexions about it with people, since it may be of interest to some troupes.
And yesterday, while writing about it at home, some further thoughts crept up, so I wrote it a big pile of text, and here it is :smiley:

For long, the only way for magi to fly was "Wings of the Soaring Wind". But with the advent of ReCo guidelines, some people have used it to create flight spell, which, IMO, not only makes sense, but is supported both by the guidelines (Base 5: move the target slowly in any direction, even if the target is unspported") and, to some extand, by the spells (Lifting the Dangling Puppet, for exemple).
For the record, I see Wings of the Soaring Wind as a clever work around for the corpus-impaired, but some troupes may disagree and see it as the ultimate flight spell.

Not unlike it, some troupes consider that ReCo "transport instantly" guidelines (like in Wizard's Leap) actually move you at very fast speeds, which implies that, if you use them to cross a chasm, they "fly" you over it.

Conversely, ReCo base 4 and 15 allow to move a target "move a target slowly in any direction you please", but since you've got both ReCo 04 stating "straight up or in one direction over surfaces that cannot support it" (this is what Lifting the dangling Puppet does) and ReCo 05 stating the same thing, plus "even if unsupported", it seems to me that these move a target, but that she needs to be supported, and that these guidelines thus can't be used in a true Flight spell.

It thus seems that one must use the Base 05 to fly.
Now, at what speed does he move, and can he move faster?
The first is easy, we've got exemple spells: "As fast as smoke rises". Nonetheless, some troupes may think this is too imprecise.
The later depends on troupes, but it seems sensible that you can add magnitudes using the standard rules. What does it give?

We’ve got 2 ways of doing this : The crunchy one, and the fluffy one.

The crunchy one needs to define what’s “slowly”, or what’s the speed of smoke rising.
I’ve seen it at about 1 feet per second, although this varies greatly. Let’s say 1 pace per turn. This seems slow enough, and is consistent with other ranges given in Ars.
What would magnitudes add? Based both on the standard 1 mag = *10 rule, and on the exemple of ReCo teleport spells (remember, for some troupes, this sometimes implies veeeeery fast flight), we would have this:
Base 05: 1 pace per turn
Base 10: 10 paces per turn
Base 15: 100 paces per turn. If using 1 pace = 1 meter, this means about 37 mph, comparable to Wings of the Soaring Wind
Base 20 would have it at 1000 paces per turn, which surely would require some kind of protection.
ReCo “teleport” spells are one magnitude higher, but allow instant travel.

Now, the fluffy method just gives descriptions. It is used both for actual ReCo effects and in tC&: On p148, you've got a design for a flying carpet, that flies... "as fast as a horse can run" (base 1, +2 very unnatural movement, +1 for speed).
Having always used this, here’s my speed chart, should people like it. I’ll include conversions, for those interested. It happens to be slower than the above, although this wasn’t the goal. Each magnitude takes you up one step on it.

  • As fast as smoke rises. Say, 0,37 mph if this is really important for you.
  • As fast as a man can walk. This is, say, 4mph
  • As fast as a man can run. Say, 14 mph
  • As fast as a horse can run. That’s… about 30 mph
  • As fast as an eagle can fly. About 80 mph. This shouldn’t be very comfortable without protection, of at all possible.
  • Faster (never happened, would really need protection).

Here it is. I’m sure people will have variants, but, well, this is for those who never thought about it and may like one or the other :wink:

1 Like

I think this all comes from a note in earlier editions, that true flight was possible only through the use of Auram magics.
A note conspicuously absent in 5th edition.

1 Like

I have a problem with the ReCo base 15 Guideline because it says you can move a target quickly in any direction you please.
What does quickly mean? Is it within the scope of being a human, as Corpus would tend to suggest (to me)? A quick human, I just pegged at 15 mph for the period. How I came up with that is basing it on a fast runner. And for the period, 15 mph is really darn fast. There is no tiring, either.

We could also examine the other guideline at the similar base: Move a target instantly up to 50 paces, we will stay metric for simplicity and since The Fixer is from a metric country, call it 50 meters per round or 50 meters per 6 seconds. Converting that to miles per hour yields 18.63368 miles per hour. So, if we compare the guidelines for the same level, and peg the quick to be equal to 15 mph, they are consistent with each other, in that you move about the same speed whether it is ReCo instant transport or ReCo flight.

1 Like

The best way I've been able to interpret speeds for this is by looking at the ReAn equivalent, looking at the magical horse with a Personal Power to run fast (RoP:M - don't know the page off-hand, but it's with the magical animals), and then looking at the teleportation magnitudes to gauge what a change in magnitude will do to the speed.


1 Like

A quick horse and a quick man have vastly different speeds, though.

1 Like

Yes. Of course, in the case of those two which is quicker? That all depends on what scale it is examined, which really comes down to endurance over innate speed. But that horse's power is for distance anyway. Certainly, the difference is much more severe when comparing to other animals. But at least in this case there is a canon example of a non-teleportation movement speed using spell guidelines.


As far as I can tell, the record speed for a running horse is less than twice that for a running man.
Whether that's a vast difference depends, I guess, on your definition of "vast difference".

1 Like

Just like the definition of quickly, I suppose. :smiley:

In the context of a person, though, what does quick mean? I think it's entirely reasonable for Corpus guidelines to have quickness be relative to the perfect human form. While it's certainly true that the "perfect" human runner now can achieve speeds of 24+ mph in short bursts, marathon runners typically have speeds around that aren't more than 13 mph (IIRC, world record marathon speed is 2:03:xx). On top of all that with ReCo, there is no tiring.

We have to realize we're talking about an average speed here. Over what distance is this being measured? For example, the 200-m has greater average speeds than the 100-m for a human due to acceleration issues. After that the average speed drops due to endurance issues. If we're talking about marathon distances, the top human speed is roughly 12mph. If we look at the same for horse speeds we see they accelerate faster and reach a higher speed initially. So over short distances they are much faster than humans. But if we measure over much longer distances, they are slower than humans (at least those used to running, though the same could be said for horses) but not by a large margin. As the speed being given for the horse in RoP:M is over a medium to large distance, I don't think it's unreasonable to use that for an estimate for what happens to a human.


1 Like

Usain Bolt set the record for the 100m dash, completing it in 9.58s, which is 37.6km/h.
Usain Bolt also set the world record for the 200m dash, completing it in 19.19, which is 37.5km/h.
So as far as the records go, the human speed for the 200 is very nearly the same as for 100.

The top 20 records for the 200 have times ranging from 19-20s, and the top 10 for the 100 have times ranging from 9-10, suggesting that, at world competition level anyway, endurance starts factoring in somewhere between 100 and 200m.

As far as endurance goes... Remember, Pheidippides died when he arrived in Athens :slight_smile: But horse couriers in most cultures have had systems of switching out to fresh horses every so often, as you'd ride the horse to death otherwise. Four-legged mammals do not have as efficient of cooling systems as we twoleggers do.

1 Like

Pheidippides is no Yuki Kawauchi...

For what it's worth:

  1. From the Second Printing errata:
    Rego Corpus Guidelines (p. 134): Expand the second Level 15 guideline to read "Move a target quickly in any direction you please, even if it is unsupported."

  2. TME p111 shows that the base speed imparted by that guideline to be "as fast as a running horse - about 40 miles per hour", slightly more than my first proposal.

So this settles both my problem with using that guideline for flight, and my contention with JL

1 Like

Doesn't seem very "Mythic" to me...

It's a silly note. Flying is moving through air, not using air to move.

1 Like

Of course, he'd run seven "marathons" in three days. That's quite a lot.

IMS, using what little I know of Roman measurment; I figure a Pace is about five feet and a Mile is 1000 paces.
ReCo15 moves you 50 paces in six seconds (one round). That equals 500 paces per minute, 5k in ten' and 30000 in an hour. Divided by 1000 paces, that equals about 30 miles per hour.
30 is twice the base level, so I use that as a good rule of thumb.
That puts ReCo at pretty equal to Auram flight. Increase to 40mph is base 20, +1 Touch, +1 Conc, equals level 30.
The disadvantage is that a strict SG may demand casting requisites for everything carried.

1 Like

Welcome to the 'paces' discussion Marko! :slight_smile:
Do you perhaps remember this?

or this or even this?
The length is fairly well defined in ArM-context to be 3 feet.
Sorry. I really wish someone would have done a search-and-replace of pace/yard in these books.

1 Like

Meh. Close enough.
And no, I do not recal any of those conversations. Even if I was part of them.
But I do remember in scouts we were taught a pace is two steps and was roughly five feet. So YSMV. This is the rule of thumb that I use and so far it works.
Which is not to say I am consistent in applying it. I am not consistent about anything. :mrgreen:

I had a similar issue in my saga. My takes was since all parameters are somehow linked to some natural phenomena (voice, sun, diam...), I tried to find some "natural" reference for speed and I ended up with:
Man walking < horse running < falcon diving, each speed being one magnitude increment from the previous one.

In Legend of Hermes, the speed flight for the flying castle is one of a running horse. The base spell is ReTe 3, without increment for higher speed.
However, the spell proposed in Hermetic Project for the flying ship is a ReHe 10 as base level for only a "leisurely, as though from a calm and stead breeze" (direct quote, p73). The spell says that the high magnitude allows the ship to remain on course.
In both case, I only took the base spell - it does not take in consideration range, area of effect or modifier for stone/metal in case of terram spell.
So it is obvious that there is some discrepancy within RAW.
Finally, in Magi of Hermes (p78), there is a ReAq(Au) base 4 which fills the sail with a stiff breeze, giving the ship a speed and agility unknown to other boat of this type... But it does not make the ship flies.

So for a ReCo to fly somebody, the base level 5 (as per guideline) is enough to fly the target slowly, which for me is slower than a walking man.
10: man walking (about 4-5 km/h, a bit faster than 1m/s)
15: running horse (lets say 30-40 km/h)
20: diving bird of prey (about 200 km/h), but will require some protection even if only mundane like thick clothes.

1 Like