Author Topic: The Speed Handbook  (Read 5701 times)

Online Prime32

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The Speed Handbook
« Topic Start: November 05, 2011, 03:19:45 PM »
The Speed Handbook

Introduction

Strategic Speed vs Tactical Speed
Strategic speed refers to overland movement, and how fast you can move by devoting all your actions to doing so; abilities which let you run for longer periods without rest assist this. Tactical speed refers to how far you can move in a single action; abilities which let you move in crooked paths or combine movement with combat actions assist this.
For instance, take two characters. One has 40ft speed and the Run feat, the other has 50ft speed. The former has superior strategic speed, since he can move 160ft by running, the latter has superior tactical speed.
This handbook has advice on both.

Forms of Speed
Climb Speed:
Land Speed: Since most PCs are land-based, this is where the majority of speed boosters apply, assuming they aren't generic to all movement modes.
Fly Speed: While you can get decent fixed fly speeds from a number of sources, the best options grant speeds equal to double your land speed. Unlike other movement modes, flight has maneuverability to take into account - while any form of permanent flight is useful strategically, decent maneuverability is essential for tactical use. Oh, and Flyby Attack is superior to all similar feats like Spring Attack.
Swim Speed:
Burrow Speed: A useful movement mode to have, both strategically and tactically - as long as you have some way of detecting your opponents you can pop underground between attacks and be practically untouchable. However, burrow speeds are normally limited to soil and not very fast, and incorporeal creatures can do something similar.

Mounts

Teleportation
The sad truth of D&D is that for most things, there's a spell that can do it better or make the whole thing irrelevant. For grapplers this is freedom of movement, for speedsters this is teleport. However, these spells require knowledge of the target and may arrive some distance away; you also have the advantage in an antimagic field or dead magic zone, as rare as those are.

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Re: The Speed Handbook
« Reply #1: November 05, 2011, 03:20:10 PM »
Races
Rules exist in Player's Guide to Faerun to convert planetouched races to lesser planetouched, which turns them from Outsider to Humanoid (planetouched) with a vulnerability to anti-outsider spells, and reduces their LA to +0. For a more in-depth look at this, see the Planetouched Handbook.

LA +0
  • DragonbornRotD (template): Can gradually unlock a 30ft fly speed; not too impressive, but it's practically free and gets you the feeling of wings from lv1 without scaring your DM. The web article is missing a sidebar - becoming a dragonborn doesn't change your type, it just gives you the dragonblood subtype (it does make you give up a lot of racial traits though).
  • DusklingMoI: Medium Fey with a racial speed boost ability that grants +5ft per essentia invested. If you're not familiar with Magic of Incarnum, you start with the ability to invest 1 essentia and by lv20 you can invest 4; a duskling has 1 point of essentia and you can pick up more through feats or incarnum classes. Dusklings also get a Racial Substitution Level for barbarian which doubles the power of this ability at the cost of the barbarian's normal Fast Movement.
  • Halfling, waterUA: Free +2 Con and swim speed (equal to land speed, or existing swim speed +10ft). Especially good if you can combine it with another halfling subrace.
  • Half-orc, desertUA: A more dramatic change than with Desert Orcs. +2 Con/-2 Int, low-light vision instead of darkvision, Run as a bonus feat and +4 on Fort saves vs hot weather.
  • HengeyokaiOA: Humanoid (shapechanger). Hares have a base land speed of 40ft in both animal and hybrid form, while dogs and foxes have this only in animal form. Cranes have a fly speed of 60ft in animal form; sparrows have only 50ft, but enormous bonuses in other areas. Note that Oriental Adventures is a 3.0 book, in which hengeyokai are LA +1 and have the defunct "Shapechanger" type. The 3.5 update turns this into LA +0 Humanoid (shapechanger).
  • Kobold: Humanoid (dragonblood, reptilian). One of the few Small races with 30ft speed, they can take the DragonwroughtRotD feat to change type to Dragon, qualifying them for things like Improved Speed. Plus, whenever a kobold would gain the Endurance feat he can gain Kobold EnduranceRotD instead, which is more powerful but counts as Endurance for all purposes. Synergises well with White Dragonspawn for a sorcerer build.
  • NecropolitanLM (template): The easiest way to get a PC without a Con score, meaning they can run for long periods without stopping for rest. Not needing to eat or breathe helps too.
  • NezumiOA: Humanoid with 40ft land speed.
  • Orc, desertUA: Like orcs, but with low-light vision instead of darkvision, Endurance as a bonus feat and +4 on Fort saves against hot weather.
  • Orc, waterUA: While this subrace is famous primarily for having good ability score modifiers, water races also have swim speeds equal to their base land speeds, or increase an existing swim speed by +10ft. You may be able to combine this subrace with Desert Orc (oasis orc?), which provides a good marathon runner/swimmer.
  • RaptoranRotW: Scaling flight with the same mechanics as dragonborn, but slightly faster and accessible one level sooner. They also have access to the stormtalon PrC, and can use footbows, which are neat weapons.
  • Shadowswyft, lesserPlH(+PGtF): Humanoid (planetouched) with a base land speed of 40ft.
  • ShifterECS/MM3: The longstride shifter trait grants +10ft speed while shifting, which can be improved to +20ft with a feat. Other traits (some of which are in Races of Eberron) offer limited climb, swim and fly speeds. Since shifting has a limited duration, this is strictly a tactical ability.
  • Unseelie FeyDrComp (template): Gain wings, granting a flight speed equal to double your land speed. Note that there is no level adjustment in the template itself, but the statblock for an unseelie fey gnome has an LA of +0. I maintain that the writers simply forgot to remove this from the gnome statblock, but others disagree. Talk to your DM before using this template.
  • WarforgedECS/MM3: Use if you can't use necropolitan. While they still have a Con score, its at +2. Like necropolitans they're immune to fatigue and don't need to eat or breathe.
LA +1
  • CatfolkRotW: 40ft land speed.
  • Dark creatureToM (template): +10ft speed. However, while it's pretty good for its LA it can be replicated by the collar of umbral metamorphosis item, so it's a waste to take it normally.
  • Fey'ri, lesserRoF(+PGtF): Fly 40ft, but more useful is their ability to change shape.
  • Feral creatureSS (template): +10ft speed, plus Pounce (so a barbarian can keep his fast movement).
  • White dragonspawnDLCS (template): White dragonspawn is a very powerful template, especially if you're using LA buyoff. The sorcerer casting can be helpful, but the main attraction here is the wings which grant a fly speed equal to double your land speed.
  • SivMoF: Humanoid (aquatic) with 40ft land speed, 20ft swim speed and water walk.
  • BauriarPlH: Outsider with 40ft land speed, 20ft swim speed and water walk.
  • ShadowswyftPlH: Outsider. See "shadowswyft, lesser" in LA +0 races.
  • Worghest, lesserDr350(+PGtF): Land speed 50ft in wolf form. Depending on interpretation you can also use Wild feats at-will.
LA +2
  • PetalMM3: Tiny Fey with Fly 60ft (good) and good abilities. There are faster choices, but this is a solid race for spellcasters and warlocks.
  • AarakocraMoF: Monstrous Humanoid with Fly 90ft (average). Woot!
  • Mercury dragon, wyrmlingDoF: Tiny Dragon. For 3HD and LA +2 you get Fly 200ft (perfect). Let me repeat that, Fly 200ft (perfect).
  • VaragMM4: Humanoid (goblinoid) with 60ft land speed. With 3HD on top of its LA it's questionably viable as a base race, but it makes a good Alter Self form.
  • WorghestDr350: Outsider. See "worghest, lesser" in LA +1 races.
LA +3
  • Half-dragon (template): Grants a doubled fly speed (average maneuverability), but for some reason it's capped at 120ft and requires you to be Large. The +3 LA of this template isn't as bad as half-celestial, but it's still a lot to swallow unless you have a ton of racial HD... in which case you have bigger problems.
  • Shadow creatureLoM (template): Increases your speed by 50%. Assuming you can apply it after other modifiers, this can be enormous.
Other
  • Half-celestial (template): Grants a doubled fly speed with good maneuverability, but LA +4 is huge. Don't use this.
  • Half-fiend (template): The same as half-celestial, except your fly speed has worse maneuverability and isn't doubled. Avoid like the plague.
  • Paragon creatureELH (template): Worth a mention, even if it doesn't have an LA. Among other effects this epic template triples your speed.
  • Pseudonatural creatureELH (template): Same as paragon creature, except your speed is doubled rather than tripled. No, not the one in Complete Arcane, that's unrelated and has no speed-related effects.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 05:12:21 PM by Prime32 »

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Re: The Speed Handbook
« Reply #2: November 05, 2011, 03:20:44 PM »
Classes
Base Classes
  • ArdentCP: Good dip material - choosing the Freedom mantle grants +10ft speed. Plus you qualify for psionic feats like Speed of Thought.
  • Barbarian: Gains fast movement +10ft at 1st level. However, most barbarians use Lion TotemCC to trade this for Pounce, which is much more useful.
    • Barbarian (Horse totem)UA: Granting Run (lv2) and Endurance (lv5) as bonus feats, this is the most useful of Unearthed Arcana's totems for strategic movement, particularly since you don't have to sacrifice Complete Champion's Lion Totem to get it.
    • Duskling Barbarian RSLMoI: Instead of fast movement, your racial speed boost is doubled to +10ft per point of essentia invested.
  • Cleric: A single level of cleric gets you two domains, most notably Travel and Celerity; either one can be traded in to get Travel Devotion as a bonus feat. Plus, clerics have access to the legendary footsteps of the divineCC among their buffing options.
  • Druid: Besides spell-based buffs druids can attract an animal companion suitable for use as a mount, and can use wild shape to take on some extremely fast forms. In addition, they have access to two ACFs which further increase their speed.
    • Druid (deadly hunter)UA: Gains fast movement as a monk, but loses wild shape. Can be combined with druidic avenger.
    • Druid (druidic avenger)UA:Gains fast movement +10ft as a barbarian. Can be combined with deadly hunter.
  • IncarnateMoI: If you're chaotic neutral then your Incarnum Radiance boosts your speed. Apart from that you can pick up speed boosts through soulmelds, and your essentia can be used to power the duskling's fast movement ability.
  • Monk: The fastest class in the PHB, gaining +60ft speed over the course of 20 levels. 1-2 levels in monk also provide useful prereqs for feats and PrCs.
  • Ranger (wild shape)UA:Gains fast movement +10ft as a barbarian and limited wildshape, allowing it to copy some of the druid's tricks.
  • SoheiOA: The rage-like Ki Frenzy ability, gained at lv1, increases your speed by +10ft while active.
Prestige Classes
  • Blade DancerOA: Over the course of 10 levels, your base speed is tripled. That is just awesome, even if by the time you get it you'll be lv19. The ability to air walk is a nice bonus, but probably redundant if you have a fly speed. Cobra StrikeUA monk can be used to pick up prerequisites.
  • StormtalonRotW: Raptoran only, but the only other prereq is BAB +5, making this easy to pick up. Grants +10ft fly speed for 3 levels, +20ft for 5 levels and +40ft for 9 levels. You also get some natural weapons (which can be used in a dive in addition to claws), and a bonus aerial feat at every even level.
  • SwiftbladeWeb: While it gets +20ft speed, this class is less about travelling fast and more about fighting fast. And fight it can - it's one of the best gish PrCs around, with extra actions, miss chances and the ability to stop time.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2011, 06:10:59 PM by Prime32 »

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Re: The Speed Handbook
« Reply #3: November 05, 2011, 03:21:04 PM »
Feats
  • Air HeritagePlH: +30ft fly speed? Yes please! Only works for racial flight though (including Feathered Wings).
  • Cheetah's SpeedCD: Expend a use of wildshape to gain the following for 1 hour: Your base land speed becomes 50ft and you can move 10x your speed as part of one charge in this time. Worghests can use their at-will-but-counts-as-wild-shape wolf form to abuse this, but... their wolf form already has a base speed of 50ft, so it's only useful for the charge effect.
  • DashCW/MiniHB: +5ft speed as long as you don't wear medium/heavy armor or carry a medium/heavy load.
  • Eagle's WingsCD: Expend a use of wildshape to gain a fly speed of 60ft for 1 hour with average maneuverability. Might be useful for a worghest, but otherwise meh.
  • Expeditious DodgeRotW: +2 AC in any round you move at least 40ft. More interestingly, it counts as Dodge for the purposes of prerequisites, meaning that you can use it to qualify for Blade Dancer and Swiftblade.
  • Fleet of FootPGtF: Not to be confused with the feat of the same name from Complete Warrior, this 1st-level-only feat is basically a double-power version of Dash that only applies to land speed. However, it's a regional feat so some DMs may have problems with it.
  • Flyby Attack: Since it lets you use any standard action this is better than Spring Attack and Shot on the Run combined, while also having fewer prerequisites. However, you may still need Spring Attack to qualify for PrCs.
  • Flyby BreathDLCS: In any round where you spend all your actions flying, you can use your breath weapon as a free action at any point in the movement. Neat.
  • Great Flyby AttackSS: As a full-round action, fly your speed in a straight line and attack everything within reach at any point. Plus it's a single attack/damage roll, allowing it to benefit from things like true strike.
  • Improved FlightCAdv/RoF/RotW: Increase your maneuverability while flying by one step.
  • Improved SpeedDrac: +20ft fly speed and +10ft everything else. If your fly speed is based on your land speed you effectively get a bonus twice. Must be a dragon though.
  • QuickUA (trait): Grants +10ft speed in exchange for -1hp per level, without costing a feat slot.
  • Sapphire SprintMoI: For every point of essentia invested your speed increases by +5ft while running and you gain a +1 bonus on Constitution checks made to continue running. If you're an incarnum user there are probably better places to put your essentia than this feat, but a full meldshaper might have enough spare to use it in combination with something else.
  • Speed of ThoughtXPH: Gain +10ft speed while psionically focused, as long you don't wear heavy armor. A psionic feat, so ardent is likely the best way to qualify.
  • Strafing BreathDLCS: The upgrade to Flyby Breath, allows you to cover an insanely large area with a cone-shaped breath weapon dependent on your speed.
  • Swiftness of OrienPGtE: Gain an enhancement bonus to your speed or that of your mount for 1 round, depending on the strength of your dragonmark. While this bonus can be as high as +90ft for a Siberys mark, you'll almost certainly have an enhancement bonus to speed already (which it doesn't stack with).
  • WaterspawnLoM: An Aberrant feat, meaning it requires Aberration BloodLoM or Mourning MutateDr359 to qualify (non-Humanoids must use the latter). You gain a Swim speed equal to your land speed, the ability to breathe both water and air, and resistance to cold 5.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2011, 08:39:02 PM by Prime32 »

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Re: The Speed Handbook
« Reply #4: November 05, 2011, 03:21:26 PM »
Spells
  • Air Walk (Air 4, Clr 4, Drd 4):
  • Alter Self (Brd 2, Sor/Wiz 2): Polymorph spells are way more powerful than they should be. Alter self lets a humanoid take the form of a varag or something with wings, while creatures of other types get more unusual options. There are entire handbooks on good forms to take with this spell, so look there.
  • Expeditious Retreat (Brd 1, Sor/Wiz 1): At +30ft, this is probably the strongest lv1 speed buff you'll find.
  • Fly (Sor/Wiz 3, Travel 3):
  • Footsteps of the DivineCC ():
  • Freedom of Movement (Brd 4, Clr 4, Drd 4, Luck 4, Rgr 4): As mentioned above, this is an "I win" button against any enemies who rely on grappling or slowing you down.
  • Haste (Brd 3, Sor/Wiz 3): 3.0 haste was crazy, and 3.5 haste is still a great party buff. Oh and it forms the basis of the swiftblade PrC (see classes section).
  • Longstrider (Drd 1, Rgr 1, Travel 1): Only +10ft speed compared to expeditious retreat's +30ft, but lasts for hours rather than minutes.
  • Overland Flight (Sor/Wiz 5):
  • Polymorph (Sor/Wiz 4): See alter self.
  • Water Walk (Clr 3, Rgr 3): The benefits of this spell should be obvious. It affects your whole party, but is probably situational.
  • Wind Walk (Clr 6, Drd 7): Lets a group of people fly at a speed of up to 600ft per round. That's fast. Not as fast as a shadow mercury dragon, but still. As a bonus you're gaseous and hard to spot.
Psionic Powers
  • Body Equilibrium (Psion 2, PsyWar 2): The psionic version of water walk. Comes earlier than the spell and includes a bonus effect of reducing fall damage, but self-only and doesn't let you run.
  • Burst (Nomad 1, PsyWar 1): The "swift" line of spells can be cast as a swift action, and give you the benefit of another spell for 1 round. Burst is basically swift expeditious retreat, except it's +10ft speed rather than +30ft. Could still be useful at low levels, but otherwise meh.
  • Inconstant LocationCP (Chaos 6, Psion 6, PsyWar 6):Gives you the ability to teleport 1/round as a swift action while it's in effect. The range of the teleport is equal to your move speed, but your destination has to be within line of sight.
Maneuvers
  • Ring of Fire (Desert Wind 6): You move double your speed and leave a trail. If the trail forms a closed area, that area bursts into flames. Naturally being fast is an advantage here.
  • Tornado Throw (Setting Sun 9): The ultimate Setting Sun maneuver effectively converts speed into damage. As a full-round action you move double your speed, and can grab and throw an opponent once every 10ft.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 07:27:57 AM by Prime32 »

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Re: The Speed Handbook
« Reply #5: November 05, 2011, 03:21:49 PM »
Magic Items
  • Belt of BattleMIC: Grants extra actions. An item no adventurer should be without.
  • Collar of Umbral MetamorphosisToM: Comes in two versions which let you assume the Dark Creature template temporarily or at all times, granting +10ft speed.
  • Feathered WingsFF (fiendish graft): An at-will fly speed equal to double your land speed (average maneuverability) for 10,000gp. Plus it's nonmagical, can't be removed, and counts as racial flight so you can take Air Heritage. Awesome. But make sure you're evil or have good Will saves, because fusing part of a demon with your own body has side-effects. Also you take a -6 penalty to Diplomacy, and you can't use the wings while wildshaped since they're part of your original form.
  • Panther MaskMIC: Gain Run as a bonus feat while wearing light/no armor. Part of an item set.
  • Pectoral of ManeuverabilityDrac: Improves flight maneuverability by one step, or two steps for the greater version (which is less cost-efficient).
  • Phoenix CloakMIC: Grants a fly speed equal to your land speed with perfect maneuverability. Five times the cost of Feathered Wings, but with fewer drawbacks. Part of an item set.
  • Rapid WrathGhostwalkCS: A +1 shortspear of mighty cleaving which doubles the speed of any creature that carries it. Not just wields it, carries it. 11,702gp, so reverse-engineering the price formula makes this a +3,400gp enchantment for any weapon. The source is obscure, however.
  • Tempo BloodspikeMoE: Inject one and you can take one extra move action in the next hour.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 05:20:07 PM by Prime32 »

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Re: The Speed Handbook
« Reply #6: November 05, 2011, 03:22:23 PM »
Builds
  • Chuck E. Cheese: The fastest character build ever made, at least until footsteps of the divine was errata'd. But while its main trick doesn't work any more, it still has some usable concepts.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 06:42:27 AM by Prime32 »