There is something inherently hilarious about ludicrous speed. From the 100,000 mph speedsters of Mutants & Masterminds to the celestial pizza delivery boys (cross Creation in 10 minutes or less!) of Exalted, optimizing for a Flash impersonation can yield some obscene results. However, I find that it’s the unexpected speed bursts that are my favorite. Ima tell two stories today, both from real games, and both delving a bit into the mechanics. The first hails from 1e Pathfinder, and the second from 5e D&D.

PATHFINDER: Appropriately enough for a Horsepower strip, it was Laurel’s vigilante PC that discovered these shenanigans. She was a cabalist, meaning she had access to a limited number of spells. The two that matter for our purposes were cheetah’s sprint and urban grace. Relying on the clause in the Acrobatics skill which reads, “Creatures with a base land speed above 30 feet receive a +4 racial bonus on Acrobatics checks made to jump for every 10 feet of their speed above 30 feet,” we arrived at the following scenario.

Defender of the city Blackbird needed to catch a fleeing criminal. It was a rooftop chase, so the full power of urban grace applied. After climbing up to a belfry, lining up the trajectory, and giving it his best Spider-Man leap, Blackbird wound up applying the following logic. Since cheetah’s sprint explicitly says that it affects your jumping distance, and since speed affects jumping distance through the Acrobatics rule we quoted above, we had to do a little math. With a base movement speed of 40 ft. (thanks urban grace!), Blackbird could usually charge 80 ft. That becomes 400 ft. under the effects of cheetah’s sprint. Since a charge is effectively two move actions strung together, we figured that his effective base speed for the purposes of jump calculation was 200 ft. That works out to +68 to Acrobatics checks made to jump. Dude sailed 1d20 + Acrobatics + 68 ft. through the air to land on the back of his opponent. We had to pause the game for a giggle break.

5E: This is admittedly a pretty common scenario, but it was the first time my group had encountered it. We found ourselves in the tomb of a dead god. The BBEG caster stood on a raised platform at the far end of the chamber, while a veritable army of enemy mooks stood between us. Happily, I happened to be a rogue. Even better, since an allied NPC had cast haste on me, my movement speed was doubled. And since I was wearing my handy-dandy boots of striding and springing, skele-bro there in the picture proved to be a useful springboard. Dash action brought me to 120 ft., cunning action dash action brought me to 240 ft., and hasted dash action brought me all the way up to 480 ft. (Note that this isn’t how it actually works. It is however the ruling we used at the table.) I was all up in that BBEG’s business on round 1, and once again we had to pause the game for a giggle break over 55 mph rogues.

So what about the rest of you guys? Going from “move speed 30 ft.” to “move speed ROFL” is one of my favorite things, and I’m hoping that you guys have some good stories to share. So let’s hear your tales of ludicrous speed down in the comments!


WANT TO SEE TOMORROW’S STRIP TODAY? If so, you should check out the “Henchman” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. For just one buck a month, you can get each and every Handbook of Heroes comic a full day earlier than the rest of your party members. That’s bragging rights right there!