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rgrove0172

Range Bands

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Im sure this has been asked a hundred times but Im surfing from my phone and having trouble finding anything.

 

I know, I know, the range bands in EoE are abstract. I get it, but...the following happened constantly in my first couple of sessions.

 

GM: You see what looks like a trail of dust following a speeder at medium range headed north at high speed.

Player: Hmm, about how far away?

GM: Its medium range

Player: Yeah, ok, but about how far is that?

 

Im not going to tell a player "Its medium range, get used to it!"

 

he has a right to know and frankly Id like to know beyond "Well its within 50 kilometers and more than several dozen kilometers away."

Surely there are some general equivalent ranges figured up somewhere. Something like

 

Medium Range = roughly 36 to 50 kilometers

 

Or should we just come up with some ourselves?

 

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The range band descriptions actually give you the distance in meters/kilometers.

 

Personal/Planetary

 

Engaged: Right next to each other.

 

Short: 1-3 meters/1 meter-3 kilometers

 

Medium: 3.1-36 meters/3.1-3,600 kilometers

 

Long: 36.1-72 meters/3,600.1-7,200 kilometers

 

Extreme: 72.1- 144 meters/7,200.1-14,400 kilometers

 

For the planetary scale convert to kilometers and multiply the numbers by 100. The only exception to this would be Engaged and the lowest range 1 meter on Short. Everything else is as listed above.

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Well, first off, planetary curvature would put objects that are 36 to 50 kilometers away well past the horizon, even if you could see them with the naked eye; unless, that is, you were up high enough (say like over 100 meters). So unless you're on a tall tower or something and using electrobinoculars, you're not going to be able to see that far.

 

But, for the sake of argument (this works better at personal scale), assuming the PC in question is good at estimating distances (or has a rangefinder somewhere around) you as the GM should be able to just rattle off a number that falls somewhere within the range band. Just make it up.

 

What's cool about this is that you can use questions like this to give some narrative movement to the tactical situation. Treat him as being "at medium range," but tell the player "He's about 30 meters away from you and closing." Or "He's about 40 meters from you right now, and running away." Or, "He's taken cover behind this vehicle about 3 dozen meters from your current position." (Or, in the case of planetary range, "The sensors/your rangefinder/your com-scan interface show(s) your target at 46.3 kilometers away, and he has currently stopped for some reason.")

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Hand them the EotE core book before the next session with page 239 and 208-9 marked. it gives a great description of each range band, especially the personal scale stuff which uses ease of verbal and visual communication as descriptors.

 

awayputurwpn gave great ways to put random but relevant numbers into the narrative. Another technique to use is describing distance without an actual measurement (I know how meters confuse you Americans anyway :P ). This is something to do when no accurate measurement device is immediately at hand;

  • "you yell loudly to the fleeing individual, but they are too far away to hear you" Extreme personal range
  • "you just manage to detect the swoop gang moving quickly towards you on the scanners, but only faintly and no accurate distance can be made. with that speed you estimate they are just a couple of minutes away" Speed 3 Medium range Close range scanners on a planet.
  • "how close are they? dude they are racing out of that gas cloud and shooting at you! you don't have time to calculate a distance, you barely have time to decide if your fighting or fleeing" Short range in space.

 

Im not saying do this every time, but it can be a way to hint that the actual distance doesn't matter, the time pressure and danger are the things to worry about.

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The range band descriptions actually give you the distance in meters/kilometers.

 

Personal/Planetary

 

Engaged: Right next to each other.

 

Short: 1-3 meters/1 meter-3 kilometers

 

Medium: 3.1-36 meters/3.1-3,600 kilometers

 

Long: 36.1-72 meters/3,600.1-7,200 kilometers

 

Extreme: 72.1- 144 meters/7,200.1-14,400 kilometers

 

For the planetary scale convert to kilometers and multiply the numbers by 100. The only exception to this would be Engaged and the lowest range 1 meter on Short. Everything else is as listed above.

Ok, looks good but dang, the ranges seem short. Sniper rifle maximum range is 144 meters?

 

Also, what about space ranges the books give little help there at all. You cant do the multiplier trick on them, youd have Tie Fighters engaging targets at kilometers away.

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Considering that Close Planetary range is described as "slightly farther than extreme range in personal scale" and "from a few dozen meters up to several kilometres" then saying that Extreme Personal range ends at 144m is not the intention.

 

this is all vague, and intended to be that way so you as the GM can describe whatever you want, then put whatever number you want to it. the ranges overlap!

 

so in one scenario you could describe "Its going to take you a while to get there, its about a football pitch away, Long range." while another time you could say "the target is a couple of pool lengths away, Medium"

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The range band descriptions actually give you the distance in meters/kilometers.

 

Personal/Planetary

 

Engaged: Right next to each other.

 

Short: 1-3 meters/1 meter-3 kilometers

 

Medium: 3.1-36 meters/3.1-3,600 kilometers

 

Long: 36.1-72 meters/3,600.1-7,200 kilometers

 

Extreme: 72.1- 144 meters/7,200.1-14,400 kilometers

 

For the planetary scale convert to kilometers and multiply the numbers by 100. The only exception to this would be Engaged and the lowest range 1 meter on Short. Everything else is as listed above.

Ok, looks good but dang, the ranges seem short. Sniper rifle maximum range is 144 meters?

 

Also, what about space ranges the books give little help there at all. You cant do the multiplier trick on them, youd have Tie Fighters engaging targets at kilometers away.

 

The ranges aren't spelled out in terms of maximum.  Long is farther than a few dozen meters in Personal scale and Extreme is farther than that.  Use the book descriptions as a guideline.

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the book descriptions are of little help. Yes, I understand the narrative aspect of the system, the theatrical rather than tactical intent in combat. However, it may just be me but there is something very odd going on the way of the whole ranges mechanic.

 

Weapon ranges, sensor ranges, comms ranges etc. seem all out of sorts defying any logic at all.

The post above lists Medium range at the planetary scale as 3,600 km. The book describes it on page 239 as "up to a few hundred kilometers."

36 is a few? I realize its purposefully vague but wow, a few points more toward 4 or maybe 7 but 36?

 

But even if you accept that, the description of Communications and Sensors put this factor in place as their range of function. Really? Space born scanners with a range from L.A. to New York only? In Space? And their communications have the same range? The moon is 384,000 km away. A hundred times too far for my freighter to communicate. Even if it had Long Range sensors the book says it can reach "Several Thousand Km away", hard to imagine "Several" meaning 384 in any dictionary and yet scanning a planet's moon from orbit doesn't seem that daunting for a typical scanner.

 

Whats going on here. We have short range sensors that cant see past their missile locks. We have transmitters that cant send a message past their ability to "see" the space around them.

 

Something is seriously screwed up here. Weve only played 2 sessions and my players are baulking. My Investment of over $200 in books is being threatened by what appears to be a serious lack of play-testing or even proofreading.

Edited by rgrove0172

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The sensors are poorly thought out IMHO, so I agree there.  One solution is to take the base range band listed as an "Easy" Computers check, and each band further out is +1 difficulty.  Then factor in terrain, size, etc.

 

But the rest, I'm not sure what the big deal is, just use whatever numbers you like.  The game trades speed of action for detail.  There are plenty of simulationist games that get into far greater detail, but they're usually a chore to play, and hardly give that "edge of the seat" feeling.

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Sensor scans in game terms provide a pretty high degree of specific information.  'Looking' at that fighter flying over LA from NY you'd be able to tell what it is, what kinds of weapons it is carrying, what modifications have been made to them, and the current status of its hull/strain.  

 

For more narrative types of scans like, "what's the atmospheric composition?", who friggin cares?  Just make something up.

 

The comms are short range comms.  Like radio broadcast and reception.  I always just figure the long range stuff is what we see in the movies and since you can have in person real time conversations across the galaxy it isn't like the movies themselves are falling over the details, I'm not sure why the game needs to.

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Im not ready to throw the baby out yet but it seems like such an easy thing to just strap some measurements on the mechanics and let it ride. Being vague just to be, well vague is unnecessary. How bad could it have been to just let Short Range = X at personal range, XX at Planetary and XXX at Space  and then XXXX for sensors and XXXXX for communications or whatever

a couple of charts and its done

 

Im very tempted and am being hounded by my players to do this very thing but as mentioned, Im brand new to the system and hate to jump in when Im still green.

 

Its amazing nobody has complained about this heavily before and a fix drafted somewhere. I would think it would be obviously and area ... perhaps not REQUIRING a house rule but certainly due a good look.

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Or should we just come up with some ourselves?

 

This. Sorry if you are unhappy with that, but it is okay to say to the players "okay guys, this is left vague intentinally, because for the story it isn't important if its 45 or 55 meters." Yes, everybody who ever held a gun will disagree with me, but if you watch a movie it does not matter, and the system was built more for cinematics and less for simulation. UNLESS you make it so. It's your game, do what you want (and what works for you, and the players)  In this game system more than most it only works if the players make it work as well, meaning compromise or be accepting. If it bugs you, make the measurement fixed. I have seen people remake the combat system into hex on this forum.

 

Sorry if I can't actually be of more help. I just visualize the size of the ship if you look at it through the cockpit window and seeing that short is the engagement range I go from that. I take the sensor range only literally if you are in a combat scene. Any other scene I take it by meaning, as difficult as it is to work with "short sensor range", it doesnt have to mean that the sensors only work up to that distance: if a ship is jumping in the system I imagine most ships will notice if they put their ears on it, but where, how far away, what type of ship, thats the information you get depending on distance and sensor range.

 

And lastly, please feel free to ignore some things of you don't like. Your players HAVE to accept that. If you can't make it work (like its written in the book) it will not work in the game, no matter the players opinion, as tough as it sounds and as unpopular as it may be, the GM is the worldbuilder, and nobody can ask you to work with tools you feel uncomfortable with

 

ed: after rereading your posts I am unsure if you or your players are unhappy with the rules, so...I still hope I helped a little.

Edited by derroehre

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How bad could it have been to just let Short Range = X at personal range, XX at Planetary and XXX at Space  and then XXXX for sensors and XXXXX for communications or whatever

a couple of charts and its done

 

If it's that easy, go for it.  I'm sure someone somewhere will thank you for it.

 

Its amazing nobody has complained about this heavily before and a fix drafted somewhere.

 

 

You know, quite a few of your threads have this kind of "it's amazing" comment directed at the people who play this game.  Have you considered that maybe it's amazing you need that much detail?  That there are different ways to tell a story?

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Sensor scans in game terms provide a pretty high degree of specific information.  'Looking' at that fighter flying over LA from NY you'd be able to tell what it is, what kinds of weapons it is carrying, what modifications have been made to them, and the current status of its hull/strain.  

 

For more narrative types of scans like, "what's the atmospheric composition?", who friggin cares?  Just make something up.

 

The comms are short range comms.  Like radio broadcast and reception.  I always just figure the long range stuff is what we see in the movies and since you can have in person real time conversations across the galaxy it isn't like the movies themselves are falling over the details, I'm not sure why the game needs to.

Ok, point taken but..

 

What if the scan is of a more general nature? "Ensign, scan region four please, long range, we have reports the enemy fleet will be coming out of hyperspace somewhere in that region."

 

Can he do this across an entire star system, only out a few hundred-thousand km or what? Sure I can make it up but the game is about a space-faring society for goodness sakes, at war no less, this sort of thing should have been up there with light-sabers.

 

The system to system communications in the movies are either incredibly advanced and rare in their time or are the norm. If they are the norm, why even have these short range transcievers that cant talk from one continent to another? If they are advanced, then well some ships aren't going to have them, hence the comms described in the ship descriptions. If they are there, we have to know how they work and as they work now, they are nearly useless.

 

I find it hard to digest that a system that brags continually about being narratively driven doesn't give the information needed, at times, to supply a narrative. As a descriptive GM you need "color" in your descriptions. Color requires information to maintain consistency. When you leave big gaping holes in the rules like how far out a typical fighter's lasers can shoot, it forces the GM to take notes by the book load to keep his story straight. Making things up is fun but trying to remember made up details that should simply be part of the universe's reality is needlessly burdensome.

 

GM: You find a good ambush spot and set up, you have about an hour before the convoy should arrive.

Player: Good, Ill sight out my sniper rifle along the trail they are coming on. How far out can I get a clean shot?

GM: Well the view is good, Extreme range.

Player: About how far is that? Couple thousand meters? A Barrett.50 could make that shot pretty easy.

GM: Well, its hard to say. Looking at the distances moved and such between range bands, maybe 150 or so I guess.

Player: 150 what? Meters!

GM: yeah, that's about right.

Player: That's about ridiculous! Its a sniper rifle for Gods sake! I can almost make a pistol shot at that range.

GM: Well the technology is different, energy weapons must be less accurate in general.

Player: Then Ill get a slug thrower! I mean, cmon. You sure your reading that right?

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The game tells you it's not interested in specific range numbers because it doesn't want gameplay bogged down in needless detail.

 

I just chose to ignore the fluff section on sensors and comms in the ship section as being borked and ultimately a narrative issue regardless.  I read the long range comm description in the gear section and it talks about being able to communicate "well out into a solar system" and just decided the only mechanical issue that needs addressing is jamming and/or encryption, neither or which needs any specificity in regards to range.

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Being specific to just be specific is just as unnecessary imo.

And I would have to argue with you there. If its specific, I can accept it, modify it or ignore it at my pleasure. When it is vague (or in some cases non existent) I have no choice whatsoever but to make it up myself. A $40 rulebook and I have to guess what the intent was.

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You don't have to guess the intent, they tell you right in the beginning of the section and it wasn't to provide unnecessary specifics.  No guessing needed, just reading.

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derroehre  Thanks for your kind post. I appreciate your input. You are correct that Im having as much trouble with the rules as my players, perhaps more so as I feel they hinder my ability to provide a detailed and consistent narrative. Simple and expected questions posed by the players are extremely difficult to answer and require me to pull answers out of nowhere.

 

I realize that this is Space Fantasy, but it is still a technological genre and as such requires some detail to adequately describe the environment, interactions between ships and vehicles, and the like. I suppose I could convince my players to simply accept my BS when it comes to such things and go with the flow of the story but its obviously a cop out when it happens. They are afterall, intelligent and somewhat experienced players. They don't expect a hex grid to fight on or a break down of sensory signal fatigue at range but they do want to know the range of their concussion missile launcher or perhaps if their sensors can detect the incoming ships before they reach the asteroid field etc.

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You're placing too much mechanical emphasis on Sensors.  The book tells you if a target is within range of your weapons you can engage it.  There is no scanning the target to engage it.  Sensors play no part in targeting and ship weapons.

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If that's what sensors are used for then what mechanism is responsible for detection? Are we missing a technology that detects and ranges objects in space, locates energy sources and the like. I woukd assume sensors do just that but to listen to you I'm wrong. I'm not trying to debate anyone here, I'm just looking for help. The answer I'm hearing is...there's no problem, which I have a hard time believing.

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There is good work being done in this space. I believe that it resolves most or all of the issues that it sounds like you’re having with sensors.

Of course, this would be “house rules”, but I think they work well, and they are specifically designed to add minimal additional legwork/bookkeeping, while also tying things together in a way that makes a hell of a lot more sense.

If you can just hold out for a little while longer, I believe that you are likely to be pleasantly surprised.

Or not. I’m sure that the work being done won’t be for everyone. But if nothing else, it should at least give us another set of concepts to work from, and then folks can decide for themselves what they want to do.

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