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I'm playing a (modified) Serpent's Skull campaign. We're L4, and about to start off through the jungle. We know there are others trying to beat us to our destination, so speed matters. I'm looking for (affordable) strategies to improve our net overland speed. Here's what I've considered so far:

  • Wear light (or no) armor so we don't slow our base speed below 30'
  • Oxen to carry our gear - they have a 40' base speed, and will keep us at a light load.
  • Trekking poles add +10% to our overland speed (cost 15 GP)
  • Walking >8 hours / day covers more ground...but at the risk of fatigue and nonlethal damage if they fail a DC 12 CON check. Going at least 9 hours seems safe, as folks can hopefully sleep off the nonlethal, and we do have a healer with us too. Or...
  • Marching coffee lets you go 9 hours without risking nonlethal (cost: 1 GP / day)
  • Hustle 1 hour / day this doubles our walking speed for 1 hour.
  • Hustle a 2nd hour / day this will give everyone 1 nonlethal, and fatigue us...but if we're willing to go to bed fatigued (and risking an evening encounter fatigued) we can get an extra 3.33 miles / day (assuming we have our trekking poles).
  • Hire a L3+ skald an L3 Skald with 12 CHA will have 8 rounds of raging song, which can be 8 hours of marching song, which DOUBLES our speed for 8 hours (and we can hustle the 9th without penalty) (no idea what the cost or availability of this is, but it might be pricey or impossible)

At this stage, my thought is that we plan for 9 hours, with poles + coffee. If we can't get a Skald, we only hustle for one of them. If we get a Skald, we hustle all nine!

What've I missed? (We don't expect to be able to ride mounts because of the difficult jungle terrain. We have 100s of GP to spend on this, but not 1000s.)

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Teleport

A scroll of teleport typically costs 1000 gp and can teleport you and 3 other creatures and all your gear to wherever, with a small but potentially significant chance of failure. A scroll of teleport crafted by an Arcane Savant who added the Summoner's teleport spell to a full-caster list costs only 700 gp, but can teleport only 3 creatures.

This is probably the best option, because it is by far the fastest, but below are some other options:

  • Buy horses. A horse has a land speed of 50 ft, which is better than pretty much any other cheap mount. A horse, having 2 HD, gets a feat. That feat can be Additional Traits, with which it can purchase the Adopted social trait to gain access to the Wild Stride race trait which lets it ignore natural difficult terrain in one sort of terrain, for example jungle. This also leaves it with a trait free. Alternatively, if you prefer a mount like a giant chameleon or similar which the GM may not arbitrarily hamper in forests, you can have it take the Wanderlust trait which increases its speed for the purpose of overland movement by 10 feet (which would make it tied with the horse's base speed). We can't put wanderlust on a horse because it is also a social trait so you have to pick between that and adopted. The horse also gets an extra 5' of movement speed if it was ever an animal companion for a character with the Thoroughbred race trait. That's potentially 55 ft of difficult-terrain-ignoring base movement, which lets us travel 6.875 mph with trekking poles. A horse with its Endurance feat retrained to Additional Traits costs either the same price as a regular horse or 50-150 gp more than that, depending on how your GM is feeling, and thus should be available in any settlement the size of a hamlet and is definitely available in anything larget than that (e.g. a village).

  • summoned creatures don't need not to die. Undead creatures don't need to rest. A Skeleton Horse gets no non-bonus feats, and a mount is unlikely to have Additional Traits with the right traits, but they can both run instead of walking-- the skeleton horses forever and the summoned horses until they poof or die. That said, you can't run through difficult terrain. If there's a way around said terrain, a skeleton horse can let you go 22 mph, 24 hours a day, non-stop (the trekking poles only give 10% in this case). That's 528 miles per day!

  • Tree Stride costs the same as teleport (with the same options for more or less expensive versions) and is only slightly less fast-- ~172 thousand miles per hour in a jungle for the cheapest version-- but requires you to purchase one scroll per character rather than just one scroll. This means that every character in the party who's going needs to be able to use DC 27 UMD scrolls, which may be difficult if you have some really weak party members-- full casters are only going to be able to grant sufficient bonuses to themselves at 4th level to accomplish such a DC cross-class, though a 4th level Bard with gallant inspiration can probably make up the difference. If you have people who can't make the DC reliably, you may need to spend an additional few hundred gold on scrolls for the personal spells the full casters can't share with weaker characters, like fallback strategy and hermean potential and embrace destiny. The (only) advantage of using tree stride over teleport is that there's no chance of failure, both because you don't roll a d100 to see if there's a mishap and because if the destination is warded against teleportation you can get right up to the edge of such wards and then walk in rather than just failing entirely.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ 1. How can you choose traits for the mounts you are buying? 2. How do skeletal horses use trekking poles? \$\endgroup\$ – Tommi Sep 27 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Thanuir You just buy one that has those traits. If for some reason there isn't one (there will probably be in any settlement that has access to horses, since the price isn't any different, but if your GM considers the retraining cost part of such a horse's value then there should be in any settlement that has items worth more than 225 gp for sale, at the most, i.e. any village or larger settlement), you can retrain a light horse with 5 days and 50-150 gp if you have at least one character with Additional Traits. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Sep 27 at 18:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Thanuir As for trekking poles, I'm not sure what you mean. If you have trekking poles you go 10% faster using overland travel? There's no requirement to be living. Do you mean the regular horses? The trekking poles add 25% there even though we ignore the effects of difficult terrain because the terrain is still difficult. The skeletal horses are affected by difficult terrain normally so they would need to avoid it, presumably taking a longer route, and that means they only get the 10% bonus. I included them because the speed is so much higher it might be worth it (depending on path). \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Sep 27 at 18:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ 1. That might be part of your answer. Not obvious that horses have traits or that they can be retrained. 2. Trekking poles are held in your hands. Horses, skeletal or not, lack the anatomy to benefit from them. Your address would be improved by addressing this. \$\endgroup\$ – Tommi Sep 27 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Thanuir I added the bit about horse pricing. Trekking poles don't require any equipment slots so I'm not sure how to address that in my answer-- it seems weird to argue that a slotless non-magic item that gives you a +10% overland speed doesn't take your hand slots, out of the blue. I'll address it in footnotes if I add any for other reasons, but it being the only footnote is also weird. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Sep 27 at 20:47

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