Roads and Trails

The main purpose of roads and trails is to provide a clear route for wagons, carts, and other forms of heavy transport. It is impossible for such vehicles to cross any terrain that has a movement point cost greater than 1 unless they are following a road or trail. In addition, roads and trails normally go somewhere, so it is hard (but not impossible) for characters to get lost while following them.

Trails are by far the most common cleared track found in AD&D game worlds. Often little more than narrow game trails, they are the natural result of traffic moving from one point to another. Though not roads (in that they are not maintained), they tend to be fairly open pathways. Still, characters may have to see to the removal of fallen trees and stones or the clearing of brush—all things that can be accomplished by the occasional traveler.

Trails normally follow the path of least resistance, avoiding difficult obstacles such as chasms, cliffs, and unfordable rivers. While this may increase the distance characters must travel, it usually results in an overall saving of time and effort.

When traveling along a trail, the movement point cost is half normal for the terrain type traversed by the trail. Following a trail through the heavy forest, for example (movement cost of four), costs only 2 movement points per mile. An unencumbered man on foot would be able to march 12 miles through such terrain without exerting himself. Trails through settled farmland offer no improvement, since these areas are easy to travel through already.

Roads are costly to build and maintain, so they were very rare in the Middle Ages (the general time period of the AD&D game). Only the largest and best organized empires can undertake such ambitious construction programs.

In areas of level or rolling ground, such as forests and plains, roads reduce the movement cost to one-half point per mile. In areas of mountainous ground, roads are no better than trails and reduce movement costs accordingly. A road traveling through high mountains is only four movement points per mile.

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