# How does character movement translate to real-world speed?

If a Human is in desperate need to run away from a monster and he decides to use three Move actions (Standard, Move, Action Point) on his turn to run, how fast is he running?

Assuming speed 6:

A square is 5'. Running gives him two extra squares of movement per move action, so he'll move 8 squares per action. He gets three actions in your scenario; thus, he's moved 24 squares. 24 squares is 120 feet.

A round is six seconds. Therefore, the human is moving 120 feet in six seconds, or 20 feet per second. That's 72,000 feet per hour, or about 13.6 miles per hour, although he can't sustain that speed for more than one round.

• Which is actually kind of slow. Average human running speed is apparently about 15 miles per hour. Commented Aug 28, 2010 at 16:47
• Yeah, it seems a bit slow. Um, lesse... for sustained speed you'd be getting 13.3 feet per second, which is around 9 MPH. Average marathon time in the US in 2005 was 4.5 hours, according to Wikipedia. So the sustained speed is a bit faster than you'd expect, I think. Commented Aug 28, 2010 at 16:53
• Wow! I wasn't sure anyone else would be interested in this. Thanks for the supporting answer, Bryant!
– Iszi
Commented Aug 28, 2010 at 17:02
• The United States Navy thinks a "Satisfactory" 20-24YO male can run 1.5 miles at a 7mph pace; a "Outstanding-High" 20-24YO male runs 1.5 miles at a 10.5mph pace. The FBI PFT requires a 300m sprint (180 squares, roughly) and the minimum passing time is a 13mph pace; their point scale for 300m tops out at 16mph. And, of course, the first time someone was recorded sustaining a 15mph pace for 4 minutes was in 1954.
– kodi
Commented Aug 28, 2010 at 20:05
• Yeah, the whole gear thing puts it in a different light. Then again, it's the same in 4e whether you're carrying nothing or 100 pounds. It doesn't stand up to simulation-oriented scrutiny. Commented Aug 28, 2010 at 20:41

I've already done the math for this, so I just posted it in case anyone else was interested.

A few things need to be factored in, here. First, we need to establish the presumption that the Human in question is not using any equipment or feats that enhance or restrict his speed. Then, we have our first important value:

Human's Speed = 6 squares (PHB, p. 46)

Next, how many squares does the Human move in total? First, add two squares to his speed for Running (PHB, p.291), then multiply by the number of actions he's used to run.

Human's Running Speed = 6+2 = 8; Actions Used = 3; 3*8 = 24

Now that we know how far in squares he's run, we need to translate that to real-world metrics.

1 Square = 5 feet (PHB, p. 266); Squares Traveled = 24; 24*5 = 120 feet

The next question is, how long did it take the Human in question to travel that far? This will eventually lead to a measure of his real-world speed.

1 Round = 6 seconds (PHB, p. 26); 120 ft./6 s. = 20 ft./s.

Now, let's extrapolate that to a more common measure to give us something more easily recognized.

1 ft./s. = approx. 0.6818181818 MPH; 20 ft./s. = approx. 13.63636364 MPH

So, without any feat or equipment bonuses, a Human's top speed in D&D 4.0 is a little over 13 MPH.

Also, for those interested, here's a conversion rate I came up with that can be used for other calculations.

1 square per round = approx. 0.5681818182 MPH

• I don't know why someone -1'ed you. Your answer is useful and correct. Just not as succinct as Bryant's. So +1. Commented Aug 29, 2010 at 0:29
• Perhaps they didn't realise it's ok to answer your own question Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 10:12

I don't think you can count the AP speed boost outside of sprints.

World class sprinters are hitting 100m in under 10s

Using an AP ... running for 1.5 rounds (9s) so getting 3 actions in round 1 and 1 action in round 2, gives 32 squares = 160 ft = ~50m .... so pretty poor for a sprint

Middle distance runners are doing 1500m in 4 min

So 40 rounds x 2 actions / round + 1 AP = 81 actions x 8 sq / actions = 648 sq = 3240 ft = ~1000m .... again pretty slow.

• Remember, adventurers aren't usually world-class sprinters, and they aren't usually running on a track. They have to deal with sub-optimal (read: uneven) running surfaces, while carrying their adventuring gear (typically in the 20-40 lb range, not including armor). While well-fitted armor doesn't actually impact top speed very much, it does drastically alter the acceleration curve. Conceptually, trained sprinters or cross-country runners could have a feat that further increases their base speed when running. (I don't know if any such feat exists off hand.) Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 16:18