# Thread: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

1. ## D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Is anyone else really puzzled about why horses are so insanely fast and every other animal is so much slower than a horse??

In real life, the average horse can run at between 30 and 35 miles per hour. (fastest horse ever recorded 45 mph, specialized racing breed Quarterhorse) The D&D in game movement for a horse = 60/120
In real life, the average wolf can run between 36 and 38 miles per hour. (fastest canid ever recorded 45 mph, greyhound) D&D in game movement for a wolf or a dog = 40/80
In real life, the average tiger can run between 35 and 40 miles per hour. D&D in game movement for a tiger = 40/80
In real life, the cheetah can run 65 to 75 mph burst speed, and sustained speeds are about 40 mph. Cheetah in game speed = 50/100 (3.5 rules)

I'm not trying to convert real life movement to in-game movement. That's a lost cause at this point. What I'm pointing out is that here on planet Earth, wolves, tigers, dogs and cheetahs are all faster than horses. In D&D, horses are so much faster than just about every other common animal, it boggles the mind.

Total amount of research the the writers did prior to assigning speeds to animals = 0
Total amount of sense that their wild guesses make = 0

Are we to assume that D&D horses are just way way faster than actual real life horses?

2. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by GodofThunder555
Is anyone else really puzzled about why horses are so insanely fast and every other animal is so much slower than a horse??

The average horse can run at between 30 and 35 miles per hour. D&D ingame movement for a horse = 60/120 (fastest horse ever recorded 45 mph, specialized racing breed Quarterhorse)
The average wolf can run between 36 and 38 miles per hour. D&D ingame movement for a wolf = 40/80 (fastest canid ever recorded 45 mph, greyhound)
The average tiger can run between 35 and 40 miles per hour. D&D ingame movement for a tiger = 40/80
The cheetah (3.5) can run 65 to 75 mph burst speed, and sustained speeds are about 40 mph. Cheetah ingame speed = 50/100 (3.5 rules)
Total amount of research the the writers did prior to assigning speeds to animals = 0
Total amount of sense that their wild guesses make = 0

Are we to assume that D&D horses are just way way faster than actual real life horses?
So, 1 MPH is 5,280 Feet Per Hour.
That's 88 Feet Per Minute.
Which is 8.8 Feet Per Round.

So 30 MPH is 264 feet per round.

I think you messed up the math somewhere along the line.

3. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

No, I wasn't doing any math at all. I was pointing out that horses are not particularly fast relative to dogs, wolves, tigers, and definitely way slower than a cheetah.

D&D horses can easily outrun all of those and every other common land animal. Just pointing out that this makes absolutely no sense.

Trying to get all of the D&D movement math to fit real life? That's just one of those things you just give up on entirely because it does not compute. But I would kind of expect a tiger, wolf or cheetah to be able to outrun a horse. In real life, they can. That's all I'm saying.

4. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by GodofThunder555
Is anyone else really puzzled about why horses are so insanely fast and every other animal is so much slower than a horse??

The average horse can run at between 30 and 35 miles per hour. D&D ingame movement for a horse = 60/120 (fastest horse ever recorded 45 mph, specialized racing breed Quarterhorse)
The average wolf can run between 36 and 38 miles per hour. D&D ingame movement for a wolf = 40/80 (fastest canid ever recorded 45 mph, greyhound)
The average tiger can run between 35 and 40 miles per hour. D&D ingame movement for a tiger = 40/80
The cheetah (3.5) can run 65 to 75 mph burst speed, and sustained speeds are about 40 mph. Cheetah ingame speed = 50/100 (3.5 rules)
Total amount of research the the writers did prior to assigning speeds to animals = 0
Total amount of sense that their wild guesses make = 0

Are we to assume that D&D horses are just way way faster than actual real life horses?
The math is wrong, they are way slower in game than in RL. A round is 6 seconds, so they go 72,000 feet an hour. 13.636364MPH is comically slow.

The Cheetah also has a special ability to show off how fast they are before they go take a nap. Most animals also don't run at all; they walk, jog or sprint. Dogs and Horses are useful because they do actually run for longer distances.

5. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

I think I found the source of the confusion in this thread: it seems that in the original post when he is referencing the animals speed in D&D, he is talking about their feet per round speed, but because of how he phrased it, it looks to you like he means that it's their miles per hour.

6. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by akma
I think I found the source of the confusion in this thread: it seems that in the original post when he is referencing the animals speed in D&D, he is talking about their feet per round speed, but because of how he phrased it, it looks to you like he means that it's their miles per hour.
I haven't verified with the source material due to laziness and the assumption that he'll just say I'm right.
No, the confusion was that the OP is talking relative speeds between animals.

I thought they were talking about RL Horse speed compared to D&D Horse speed, not the relative speeds between dogs and horses.

7. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

I tried to clean it up. Let me know if it's still confusing.

8. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by JNAProductions
No, the confusion was that the OP is talking relative speeds between animals.

I thought they were talking about RL Horse speed compared to D&D Horse speed, not the relative speeds between dogs and horses.
Yes that is exactly right. Sorry if it was unclear.

9. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by GodofThunder555
Yes that is exactly right. Sorry if it was unclear.
You're fine. It's easy to miss the point, though hopefully not as easy now that you've added that little blurb of clarity.

10. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by JNAProductions
You're fine. It's easy to miss the point, though hopefully not as easy now that you've added that little blurb of clarity.
A lesson I live every time I'm DM. You think you're being clear enough for everyone to understand. Then reality comes and smacks you in the face, telling you how wrong you are.

11. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

I think the game designers wanted players to use horses to escape from monsters, so they are faster than animals that IRL would catch them. Even a war horse, which is basically a Percheron, can outrun most anything by the MM. It can keep pace with a hawk on the wing.

Maybe they didn't want gnome druids riding cheetahs? (although cheetahs are not in my MM).

12. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

One thing to keep in mind--in real life there is much more subtlety in terms of top speed versus endurance. Both predator and prey animals can focus on one or the other as a means of success. For example, cheetahs have terrible endurance, but they try to use surprise and superior speed to catch prey before they go on a run. In contrast, wolves are endurance hunters: They're fast compared to us, but not compared to their prey, instead using pack tactics to keep their prey from getting too far away before tiring out. Prey animals can also fall into these extremes: Some are relatively slow, but rely on superior awareness or agility to avoid getting caught when their predators are still running on that initial burst of energy, and then keep running until the predators give up. Other prey animals rely on speed and quick reflexes (usually these are the ones who only need to outrun a predator briefly in order to reach safety, such as water or a burrow.)

For the sake of abstracting into a game, all this nuance is much too complicated to be accessible, so creatures basted on real animals are probably just given speeds that vaguely rank them by how fast the real animals feel, with possible further tweaks for gameplay. I don't know how they actually rank in real life, but I think that horses have a decent combination of both speed and endurance, so it makes sense that writers would give them a speed that would let them escape from most dangers. (Although in real life, their primary defense mechanism is that they tamed a symbiotic species to protect them.)

13. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by GodofThunder555
Yes that is exactly right. Sorry if it was unclear.
It doesn't help that the title of the thread is "D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses" which isn't the case and isn't what you're actually arguing. It should have been "D&D Horses are the fastest animal in D&D" or something to that effect.

14. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by Scarlet Knight
Maybe they didn't want gnome druids riding cheetahs?
I suspect this is roughly it, if they thought about it at all. They can't have the real drawbacks of a creature that should be trying to eat you become relevant, so they artificially lower that creature's speed relative to a horse's so that the horse at least has some benefit.

15. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by GodofThunder555
Total amount of research the the writers did prior to assigning speeds to animals = 0
Total amount of sense that their wild guesses make = 0
Considering the notorious problems with the weapons and armour lists, are you really surprised.

Are we to assume that D&D horses are just way way faster than actual real life horses?
Because D&D is based on tropes more than reality (WotC even admits this for the Cavalier and Samurai subclasses), and tropes say that horses are fast.

People think horses are fast, therefore horses are given a high speed. That's about it.

16. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard
Considering the notorious problems with the weapons and armour lists, are you really surprised.
Too true. This is just one more reality defying thing. It just always catches me by surprise. I grew up riding horses a lot and we had dogs too. At a dead run or over distance, our fastest horse couldn't hope to match our plain ole German Sheppard + unknown other breeds mutt. We would race our Appaloosas and Quarter Horses for fun and that goofy dog had to show off and prove he was the fastest every single time. He always was.

I'm running a campaign that's pretty much straight out of Munchkin Land from the Wizard of Oz. Everyone rolled a dwarf, halfling or gnome. So your gnome PC hops on his trusty mastiff mount and the thing is barely faster than a human for movement. Knowing what I know, that just seems awfully silly to me.

A cheetah should be able to go twice as fast as a horse for 60 seconds, but they don't. A D&D wolf or dog would never catch up to a D&D horse in a million years. I'll probably just drop a house rule on it and call it a day. Was mostly curious if this inconsistency seemed strange to anyone but me.

Because D&D is based on tropes more than reality (WotC even admits this for the Cavalier and Samurai subclasses), and tropes say that horses are fast.

People think horses are fast, therefore horses are given a high speed. That's about it.
There's a lot of truth to that, but can you find anyone that actually believes that a horse can easily outrun a cheetah?? There's such a thing as tropes, but even that doesn't make sense out of this one.

17. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Imean, we're talking about a world where multi-ton lizards fly and spit fire/ice/lightning/acid. A human can get impaled and keep on fighting. Even if you discount that it's not intended to be realistic, you can chalk it up to different worlds. In our world, cheetahs are faster than horses. In D&D worlds, cheetahs are slower than horses. Sucks for the cheetahs, but that's how it is.

18. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by Scarlet Knight
I think the game designers wanted players to use horses to escape from monsters, so they are faster than animals that IRL would catch them. Even a war horse, which is basically a Percheron, can outrun most anything by the MM. It can keep pace with a hawk on the wing.

Maybe they didn't want gnome druids riding cheetahs? (although cheetahs are not in my MM).
I'm sure this has a lot to do with it. Still, what's the benefit of having a mastiff or dire wolf mount? They're too damn slow, so why would anyone use them? This creates problems that shouldn't exist. Most of your run of the mill monsters move at speeds comparable to humans, so having a horse outrun a band of orcs or ogres makes perfect sense. It's just that they slowed down the rest of the animal kingdom for no good reason.

Relative to human speeds it's ... kinda right. A horse generally walks slightly faster than a human. At a run, there's absolutely no contest. A world class athlete can run a mile in 4 minutes. A horse will cover the same distance in about half that time and keep on running at that same speed for several more miles. Saying that a running horse is twice as fast as a running human is accurate enough. They don't need to slow D&D horses down. They need speed up certain animals instead.

PS: Not sure why but I don't think the cheetah has made it into 5e yet. Not sure why.

19. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

This may also be a legacy code thing, given that D&D started as a wargame. Wargames tend to have rules for cavalry. Other animals, not so much.

Lesson for those in the cheap seats: always check what was done earlier. It makes consistency much easier to pull off.

20. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

It's only no contest at a run in relatively short distances. Over a marathon length, the humans have a shot. There is an annual race of horse vs human, over 22 miles of rough terrain. Been going for 40 years now, and humans have won a handful of times.

21. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by GodofThunder555
There's a lot of truth to that, but can you find anyone that actually believes that a horse can easily outrun a cheetah?? There's such a thing as tropes, but even that doesn't make sense out of this one.
Not in the short term, but I know many who'd believe it would have a higher sustained speed.

Like, I'm sure cheetahs have some sort of special rule that lets them run at 120ft per round for three rounds or something. That would fit with people's perceptions.

Originally Posted by GodofThunder555
I'm sure this has a lot to do with it. Still, what's the benefit of having a mastiff or dire wolf mount? They're too damn slow, so why would anyone use them? This creates problems that shouldn't exist.
Modern D&D considers cool to be more important than balance, with the exception of the TO community. It's why 3.X didn't kill off the Monk (which, IMO, is a really bad thing as it limits 'cool martial arts things' to one class).

Why do you ride a dire wolf? Because shut up wolves are cool. And to most groups that's the end of it, they might not even check the wolf's speed.

This isn't Burning Wheel, people who play D&D don't want to know their mount's backstory. In 60% of cases they want to look cool riding it, and in another 30% of cases want to look absolutely ridiculous.

22. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Maybe in the next edition, they do something similar to missile weapons only with speeds, short range & long range speeds.

23. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard
Not in the short term, but I know many who'd believe it would have a higher sustained speed.
A cheetah can sprint from a rest and chase prey for a few hundred meters--however, it generally does so at well below the top speeds of 60-80 mph. I don't have a good source on how on the range limits if they do sustain top speed, but according to this source,

https://animals.mom.com/far-can-chee...rest-2587.html

San Diego Zoo has a cheetah run that is 330 feet long. The zoo claims this is the perfect distance for the cheetah to hit top speed. Over longer distances, a cheetah will struggle to maintain her top speed without risking total exhaustion.
The fastest recorded cheetah in the world did this run at 61 mph. While higher peak speeds have been recorded, they have all been shorter sprints, either from rest or in short bursts during hunting behavior. While it's possible that these speeds are sustainable for longer than 100 meters, the San Diego Zoo generally know what they're doing, and if it were possible to run 200 or 300 meters without substantially reducing the average speed, they probably would have shown that off already.

In contrast, the quarter horse is the fastest horse, specifically bred to be the best sprinters over a quarter mile (1320 feet.) They've recorded top speeds of 55 mph, and good individuals can sustain 50 mph over that quarter of a mile. We can say for sure that the cheetah can outrun any horse in those first 330 feet. I don't have any data points as to how quickly the cheetah can run if it paces itself (relatively speaking) in order to run the full 1000-1500 feet it can cover before falling to exhaustion.

Edit:

Quarter horses, which are bred to be sprinters, can hit higher top speeds than any other breed, but the other breeds still have very respectable top speeds that can be sustained for much greater distances. The fastest recorded thoroughbred could run over 40 mph. Again, I don't have any precise figures for cheetah hunting runs, only a few articles about GPS tagged cheetahs that vaguely state they spend "most of the chase running about about half of their top speed," interspersed with brief sprints. So even for a more well-rounded racing horse, their pace speed is on par with a cheetahs (for lack of a better term) "paced sprint" speed. In a real hunting scenario, presumably the cheetah would try to keep just close enough while trying to get into a position where he could sprint and catch up, so the horse getting away would be far from a sure thing. However, after a thousand feet or so, when the cheetah would pretty much have to give up the chase completely and rest, the horses would still be running at the same pace.

24. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by Xyril
We can say for sure that the cheetah can outrun any horse in those first 330 feet. I don't have any data points as to how quickly the cheetah can run if it paces itself (relatively speaking) in order to run the full 1000-1500 feet it can cover before falling to exhaustion.
As a side note, the American pronghorn can reach 55 mph, and can run at half that speed for twenty miles. This is generally believed to be the result of selection pressure from the now-extinct American cheetah.

Originally Posted by Xyril
Quarter horses, which are bred to be sprinters, can hit
I feel like you had more to say here.

25. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by Palanan
I feel like you had more to say here.
They get a +2 to hit.

26. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by Tvtyrant
The math is wrong, they are way slower in game than in RL. A round is 6 seconds, so they go 72,000 feet an hour. 13.636364MPH is comically slow.
Base speed is walking speed and walking speeds for creatures in D&D have typically been calibrated for movement in cramped corridors of a dungeon.

Whatever version of D&D these numbers came from, there's likely a rule in the extended movement ruleset telling you to double, quadruple or quintuple the base speed in the right circumstances.

(That's also how a creature with smaller base speed can sometimes catch a creature with higher base speed.)

27. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by Palanan
As a side note, the American pronghorn can reach 55 mph, and can run at half that speed for twenty miles. This is generally believed to be the result of selection pressure from the now-extinct American cheetah.
That's fun. I knew they were great endurance runners, but I always assumed they were just pushed to outlast American endurance predators.

I feel like you had more to say here.
Thanks, edited to include what I accidentally deleted.

28. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by Xyril
A cheetah can sprint from a rest and chase prey for a few hundred meters--however, it generally does so at well below the top speeds of 60-80 mph. I don't have a good source on how on the range limits if they do sustain top speed, but according to this source,...[Good stuff, but irrelevant to my point]
While that might be true, is it what people think? Most people I know don't know much about animals beyond 'kitties be cute and make cute noises', if I asked them whether a cheatah or a horse had a higher sustained running speed a good number would probably guess the horse did.

On the other hand I'm also the person who took one look at Starfinder's spaceship mechanics and went 'no, this is all wrong, if I were to run this I'd have to throw half of this stuff out even if I kept the reactionless drives'. So I completely get the annoyance.

29. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard
While that might be true, is it what people think? Most people I know don't know much about animals beyond 'kitties be cute and make cute noises', if I asked them whether a cheatah or a horse had a higher sustained running speed a good number would probably guess the horse did.
Umm, you realize that my sources generally support the conclusion that your friends all pulled out of their asses, right? Also, we're talking about your friends, who hopefully aren't representative of people in general, but with respect to them I've already answered your question right there in your quoted texts--horses are, in general, as fast as or faster than cheetahs at sustained speeds.

Like I pointed out, it all depends on how you set things up or draw the line at what is "sustained" speeds. If, for example, you set up circumstances where a cheetah would try to chase down a horse, it seems like the cheetah might naturally run at about the same speed as the horse, if not slower, waiting for the moments where its sprint is most likely to achieve a kill, while conserving its energy to maximize the distance over which it can wait for these opportunities. However, if you have a cheetah who's apparently just trained to run at full speed for its own sake (such as the zoo cheetah) and put him in a foot race against a horse, there's some distance over which the cheetah easily wins.

As for your broader question, what people think, I guess that depends on how you define "people." In terms of game designers, or gamers who care enough about these rules to look deeply into them, one would hope that they have greater baseline knowledge than how you characterized your friends, or would at least put in a little bit of effort into educating themselves before spouting off on how the rules do or do not reflect reality.

As for more general audiences or populations, I couldn't begin to guess. I gave you what the facts are, in terms of research available that isn't hidden behind academic paywalls. Your uninformed friends stumbled upon an answer that is much closer to right than wrong, just based on gut feelings, or "common sense," or whatever, so it's possible that a general, equally uninformed audience might have reached the same conclusion. However, the general population isn't equally uninformed--there are segments of the population who are educated in fields that touch on biology or zoology, or just interested in animals for their own sake. For that matter, I grew up around horses, so a disproportionate number of my friends probably knew much of the information on the horse end that I had to look up. In terms of gaming audiences, though, I think it's worth noting that we probably have a disproportionate number of folks who are obsessively interested in something or another (like obscure archaic weapons, or space, like you mentioned.) The very fact that this thread exists testifies to the fact that in a geeky gaming group, there's a good chance you'll find someone who knows enough about animals to start raising questions.

Since gamers probably also have a disproportionate number of folks who like learning about new things and/or obsessing over how disparate aspects of systems do or do not make sense, it's pretty likely that a decent number of the folks questioning the animal speed rules will find a receptive audience willing to pull that thread with them. In that respect, it doesn't actually matter what the typical gamer would guess if asked whether a horse could outrun a cheetah: If the collective knowledge of the group is enough to recognize an inconsistency, then than inconsistency becomes a problem.

30. ## Re: D&D Horses Are Way Faster Than Real Horses

I'll go with the idea that movement speed is considered sustained. Looking at your initial figures, the base movement (in feet) isn't far off the creatures actual real-life movement (in mph). I'd say that shows that someone was considering real-life speeds.

In your original post, the base speed you gave for a (Light) Horse is 60'. A Warhorse (heavy) is 50'. While a Cheetah is listed with 50', you have missed the fact that in 3.5 it gets 'Sprint', giving it x10 speed once/day on a charge. I'll ignore that a horse gets 'Run' as many other animals also have it.

There's also the point that most in-game horses will be encumbered - as soon as you have a saddle and typical rider a light horse is medium encumbrance and back to 40'. They now can't outrun most of the animals you mentioned.

#### Posting Permissions

• You may not post new threads
• You may not post replies
• You may not post attachments
• You may not edit your posts
•