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rgrove0172

Range Bands

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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.

Your assumptions are just that, assumptions.  The rules tell you if a weapon has range, the weapon can engage the target. There is no "mechanism" included for the rolling to detect targets, if you have range, you can shoot at it.  Sensors used to scan a target provide an incredibly detailed amount of information beyond just targeting. If you need an explanation, it's alot easier to target a man at 100m with a scope than it is to read the tag on his T-shirt.

 

The reason there is no rolling or mechanics involved, or any specifics, is exactly the core principle of the game, it doesn't bog itself down in details for the sake of details.  Combat is not meant to be simulationist, it's designed to be narrative.  You say you get the basic core principle of this aspect of the game, but your persistent insistence there is something missing says otherwise.

Edited by 2P51

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No, I think your missing my point on narration.

 

Lets take an example. The players have just lifted off from a planet and I know as GM there is a bad guy waiting in orbit.

 

How do I know if the bad guy sees them? How do I know if they realize he is there? How do I know how far away he will be IF he spots them and visa-versa?

 

If you tell me computer or perception rolls or what have you I will ask "by what mechanism"? Does he simply see them out his cockpit window?

 

Reason would seem to indicate that the narration should go something like this.

 

"Suddenly a flashing light on your dash reveals a sensor contact, several thousand kilometers westward along the planet's spin. Its a ship but your not sure what kind and its moving, toward you."

 

But Im hearing sensors don't work like that and according to the rules their sensor couldn't reach him if they did, nor could his reach them so... no engagement. Unless we just hand-wavy some cool technobabble to make sure they get into the fight? Surely not.

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You're stuck on needing linear distances specified.  That is not narration, that is simulation.  The rules tell you very clearly range bands are handled in an abstract fashion, which means they aren't to be viewed as concrete measurements. 

 

If the weapon has range, you can engage the target, which means you know they are there.  There is no roll. There is no check.  If you are in range, you can engage the target.

 

Sensor range is to make that very detailed scan using the mechanical rules.  Narratively the bad guy sees them and they see the bad guy when you want them to.  

 

We are talking Star Wars.  The whole thing is hand wavey technobabble.

Edited by 2P51

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Agreed but apparently you, or maybe even most fans of the game, don't narrate in much detail

 

if I were to simply inform my players that...

 

"Ok, you are in orbit and now theres a ship firing at you at short range. Get your dice out."

 

I wouldn't keep them long. Game mechanics are to determine WHAT happens, not to describe it. Perhaps that's the problem, Im looking for tools to aid in my narrative that aren't considered necessary. If so, then I have a difficult choice to make. Choose another game that better fits my style of GMing or making some serious house rules to elevate this system to a point where it will work for me.

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If by narrative you mean making things up without any player affect then we really do game differently. My players wouldn't tolerate that very long, throwing things into the mix that in reality they would have some control over but due to my own laziness or perhaps the rule's short comings I elect to just use "filler" instead.

That's as bad as the folks on the forum that comment about "at the speed of plot" and other nonsense when addressing travel speeds and the like. There are areas of a game that are open to some artistic license and then there are rules that need to be followed otherwise the players have no direct control and the gaming world has no substance and it becomes an exercise in mutual story telling instead of a game.

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Narrative gaming means be concerned with the story, not the specifics.  So in your previous example simply ask what everyone is doing.  

 

If someone is on the weapons and/or sensors then they can detect targets potentially.  If you want the target to be sneaky and want a roll, call for a roll.  If you aren't concerned with that, then you just say a target is closing on them from X distance and ask what do they do?  

 

The exact numerical distance is an irrelevant detail that lends nothing to the story.

 

The PCs have choices.  Turn to engage.  Step on the gas and flee.  Use combat.  Use Chase rules.

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Agreed but apparently you, or maybe even most fans of the game, don't narrate in much detail

 

if I were to simply inform my players that...

 

"Ok, you are in orbit and now theres a ship firing at you at short range. Get your dice out."

 

I wouldn't keep them long. Game mechanics are to determine WHAT happens, not to describe it. Perhaps that's the problem, Im looking for tools to aid in my narrative that aren't considered necessary. If so, then I have a difficult choice to make. Choose another game that better fits my style of GMing or making some serious house rules to elevate this system to a point where it will work for me.

We never see in the movies anyone saying anything about what range anything is...Why do you need a specific number? in the games i play the gm says the target is at medium range...done. does everyone in your game have laser range finders? What I know moving through the world is something is about 100 meters away. And likely unless you are a trained sniper you are likely going to be off by a fair bit. 

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If by narrative you mean making things up without any player affect then we really do game differently. My players wouldn't tolerate that very long, throwing things into the mix that in reality they would have some control over but due to my own laziness or perhaps the rule's short comings I elect to just use "filler" instead.

That's as bad as the folks on the forum that comment about "at the speed of plot" and other nonsense when addressing travel speeds and the like. There are areas of a game that are open to some artistic license and then there are rules that need to be followed otherwise the players have no direct control and the gaming world has no substance and it becomes an exercise in mutual story telling instead of a game.

Stop getting bogged down in details that do not matter AT ALL. You manage to operate in real life with out having specific numbers. You do not look across the room and go that couch is 3.56 meters a way. You say I think it is about 3 meters away and you may be close or not depending on your skill at estimating distances. 

What matters is what range band something is is and you can have a rough idea what those range bands are. You have been spending way too long playing in games like D&D which are fixated on a grid. 

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Example on how we handle it:

 

GM: "As you enter orbit, your pilot picks up a few ships on the sensors that is closing in on you at high speed. It is too far out to make out any details on the scanner, but it seems to be several smaller crafts"

Player: "how far out away are they" (1)

GM: "They'll be withing firing range in a little over a minute."

Player: "we jump to hyperspace"

GM: "first, where do you jump, and secondly you'll have to calculate coordinates, which will take a few minutes"

Player 1: "okay, I'll calculate coordinates, just, the next place out of the system, I don't care <in character: guys, we're getting company! Would someone be kind enough to come up here and give me a hand with the guns?> "

Player 2: "I run into the cockpit and I want to scan them"

GM: "They are still out of range"

Player 2: "How far out of range?" (1)

GM: "Still some ways out. Since we are entering structured play, if you don't move. in about two rounds"

Player 3: "I hop behind the dorsal turret, when are they in range?"

GM: "if you don't move 3 rounds"

Player 1 Rolls astrogation, hard roll + 1 setback (since this imaginary scene is in the middle of nowhere in the outer rim) and succeeds with one success and two disadvantages. GM rules that it takes the computer 6 rounds (because that is what fits the plot) and generates two system strain for the ship.

 

I think this is how you handle range in this system the way it is meant, and honestly the way I love it. If somebody doesn't like it like that there are two options:

- houserule it, or rather, give as much details as you want. or

- try it, give it a chance and see if it works for you, it works for a lot of us on this forum, so believe me/us it can work.

 

I don't mean to put the blame on you since there is no blame to be handed out, if you don't like it the way it is intended, tweak it, or rather use the rules/descriptions. Define what is meant by "short" sensor range. If you've read my other post, handle the descriptions as guidelines.

 

This system is strong on narrative but weaker on simulation. That is a truth. It's the way it's intended, and for many people this is the strength of it, others find it lacking.

 

PS: (1) are examples of where you could've also answered in kilometers, but what the hell is the advantage of that? Then you would have to calculate exact traveling speed for the ship at speed one, two, three and four in the structured format and exaclty track that. It simply doesn't matter.

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I think there is something that can help you:

 

Yes, there are inconsistensies at first look, a ship can scan further than they can shoot.

BUT, scanning is an action that reveals a lot about the incoming ship, like armament, shields, actual hull trauma and system strain.  THAT are things you only get at close range for most ships.

 

Silhuette for example is something that can be detected at quite some range imo. (at least in brackets. 1, 2/3, 4/5, 6/7, 8/9 and 10) 10 is deathstar size. It would be stupid to asume that it is meant that you can only detect that at close range.

Edited by derroehre

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Lets take an example. The players have just lifted off from a planet and I know as GM there is a bad guy waiting in orbit.

 

How do I know if the bad guy sees them? How do I know if they realize he is there? How do I know how far away he will be IF he spots them and visa-versa?

 

If you tell me computer or perception rolls or what have you I will ask "by what mechanism"? Does he simply see them out his cockpit window?

 

I'm sort of baffled by this question.  If you have a bad guy out there, are you tracking his movements at all times relative to the PCs in case they decide to take off and they're in his sector?  And if the PCs take off and they're not in his sector, that's it, they get away?  What is the point?

 

If it's going to be an encounter, then the bad guy will intercept because PLOT.  However, you can still use the scanners to determine how much of an advantage either side has over the situation.  You can let the PCs roll Computers (with difficulty modified by range as suggested above), or have the NPC roll their Computers to find out how far away they are before picking up the PC's signal...and by now you should know:  no there's no established mechanic for that, you have to learn to wing it.  Every situation is going to be different, so learning to tailor the mechanic to the situation is essential.

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Agreed but apparently you, or maybe even most fans of the game, don't narrate in much detail

 

if I were to simply inform my players that...

 

"Ok, you are in orbit and now theres a ship firing at you at short range. Get your dice out."

 

I wouldn't keep them long. Game mechanics are to determine WHAT happens, not to describe it. Perhaps that's the problem, Im looking for tools to aid in my narrative that aren't considered necessary. If so, then I have a difficult choice to make. Choose another game that better fits my style of GMing or making some serious house rules to elevate this system to a point where it will work for me.

We never see in the movies anyone saying anything about what range anything is...Why do you need a specific number? in the games i play the gm says the target is at medium range...done. does everyone in your game have laser range finders? What I know moving through the world is something is about 100 meters away. And likely unless you are a trained sniper you are likely going to be off by a fair bit. 

 

Laugh, you just proved my point. When moving through the world we interpret ranges as part of our perception. We guess certainly but we do. If I ask you how far away the grocery store is you don't answer "medium range", you may say "oh its a ways" but if I press you will respond "I don't know, maybe half a mile?"

 

That's what Im trying to do in the game. My players need a reference to visualize these distances that the book leaves so vague.

 

"You pull out of the loop and slip in behind the Tie, lazers raining fire on him!"

"Easy, I don't want to over shoot, trying to stay on his tail."

"No problem, your at close range but still a couple hundred or so meters back"

"Gotcha"

 

You have to have equivalents in real terms at hand to paint the picture. Continuing to use Medium Range and such is as bad as telling a player who asks how bad their partner is hurt that they have 3 left on their Wound Threshold. It works for game purposes but as you all needlessly keep reminding me, its a narrative based game.

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If by narrative you mean making things up without any player affect then we really do game differently. My players wouldn't tolerate that very long, throwing things into the mix that in reality they would have some control over but due to my own laziness or perhaps the rule's short comings I elect to just use "filler" instead.

That's as bad as the folks on the forum that comment about "at the speed of plot" and other nonsense when addressing travel speeds and the like. There are areas of a game that are open to some artistic license and then there are rules that need to be followed otherwise the players have no direct control and the gaming world has no substance and it becomes an exercise in mutual story telling instead of a game.

Stop getting bogged down in details that do not matter AT ALL. You manage to operate in real life with out having specific numbers. You do not look across the room and go that couch is 3.56 meters a way. You say I think it is about 3 meters away and you may be close or not depending on your skill at estimating distances. 

What matters is what range band something is is and you can have a rough idea what those range bands are. You have been spending way too long playing in games like D&D which are fixated on a grid. 

 

ok but in the case of our beloved rules your couch is from 3 to 40 meters away and you cant tell the difference. Its either in your living room or on the next block.

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Example on how we handle it:

 

GM: "As you enter orbit, your pilot picks up a few ships on the sensors that is closing in on you at high speed. It is too far out to make out any details on the scanner, but it seems to be several smaller crafts"

Player: "how far out away are they" (1)

GM: "They'll be withing firing range in a little over a minute."

Player: "we jump to hyperspace"

GM: "first, where do you jump, and secondly you'll have to calculate coordinates, which will take a few minutes"

Player 1: "okay, I'll calculate coordinates, just, the next place out of the system, I don't care <in character: guys, we're getting company! Would someone be kind enough to come up here and give me a hand with the guns?> "

Player 2: "I run into the cockpit and I want to scan them"

GM: "They are still out of range"

Player 2: "How far out of range?" (1)

GM: "Still some ways out. Since we are entering structured play, if you don't move. in about two rounds"

Player 3: "I hop behind the dorsal turret, when are they in range?"

GM: "if you don't move 3 rounds"

Player 1 Rolls astrogation, hard roll + 1 setback (since this imaginary scene is in the middle of nowhere in the outer rim) and succeeds with one success and two disadvantages. GM rules that it takes the computer 6 rounds (because that is what fits the plot) and generates two system strain for the ship.

 

I think this is how you handle range in this system the way it is meant, and honestly the way I love it. If somebody doesn't like it like that there are two options:

- houserule it, or rather, give as much details as you want. or

- try it, give it a chance and see if it works for you, it works for a lot of us on this forum, so believe me/us it can work.

 

I don't mean to put the blame on you since there is no blame to be handed out, if you don't like it the way it is intended, tweak it, or rather use the rules/descriptions. Define what is meant by "short" sensor range. If you've read my other post, handle the descriptions as guidelines.

 

This system is strong on narrative but weaker on simulation. That is a truth. It's the way it's intended, and for many people this is the strength of it, others find it lacking.

 

PS: (1) are examples of where you could've also answered in kilometers, but what the hell is the advantage of that? Then you would have to calculate exact traveling speed for the ship at speed one, two, three and four in the structured format and exaclty track that. It simply doesn't matter.

Thanks for the response I appreciate your time.

 

Sounds like the ships began out of the player's sensor range, so to begin with how did they know they were coming?

 

Then with no other frames of reference your description of the ships approach is fine, just a matter of time. But what if they launched from a station on the other side of the planet, once listed as a good 12,000km in diameter. The players purposely made orbit on the opposite side to avoid it. This provides a frame or reference to the players and highlights the crazy speed the rules seem to indicate. In under 3 minutes the enemy orbits the planet and closes. Yes real life space craft are fast too I know, the shuttle orbited around 17,000kph but these ships of yours are moving at 4000km per MINUTE. Surely that's not intended as is.... as Ive been alluding to, an aberration of the rules.

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"You pull out of the loop and slip in behind the Tie, lazers raining fire on him!"

"Easy, I don't want to over shoot, trying to stay on his tail."

"No problem, your at close range but still a couple hundred or so meters back"

"Gotcha"

 

You're conflating the "knowing of a specific distance" with a mechanical advantage.  Of course you can use "real distances" to convey the scene, I do that all the time.  But it's irrelevant to the mechanics.  In terms of building a dice pool, all that matters is the range band, and you can make that whatever you want for the situation at hand.

 

Then with no other frames of reference your description of the ships approach is fine, just a matter of time. But what if they launched from a station on the other side of the planet, once listed as a good 12,000km in diameter. The players purposely made orbit on the opposite side to avoid it. This provides a frame or reference to the players and highlights the crazy speed the rules seem to indicate. In under 3 minutes the enemy orbits the planet and closes. Yes real life space craft are fast too I know, the shuttle orbited around 17,000kph but these ships of yours are moving at 4000km per MINUTE. Surely that's not intended as is.... as Ive been alluding to, an aberration of the rules.

 

 

You do realize this is Star Wars, right?  That this kind of thing, the collapsing of distance to make the story work, happens *all the time* in the media.  It's never explained.

Star Wars works with artificial time slices.  If you want to impose realistic time slices on everything, then the game becomes a "space travel simulator" and a total chore to run.  And not Star Wars.

 

Just look at the escape from Tatooine in E4:  what is the likelihood that *two* Star Destroyers were hovering just above where the heroes emerged from atmo?  Either the entire backwater planet is blanketed by thousands of SDs, or...or, you have to play fast and loose with time.  Even though they just blasted off, it took "a while" to get into space, the SDs have to have enough speed to intercept, it takes "a while" to get the hyperspace coordinates, etc.  Not a single space scene in Star Wars works if you try to impose the kinds of mechanical expectations you seem to think are necessary.

Edited by whafrog

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That's fine for a movie but players don't pass put as the screen fades on your gaming table

This should be explained in the rules of its supposed to handled that way by the gm.

 

Why?  Why isn't it fine at the game table?  I presume you don't describe how players eat or go to the fresher either, I know I screenwipe those moments away.  

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That's fine for a movie but players don't pass put as the screen fades on your gaming table

 

No, but the situation is over, and I can sum up the rest in a couple of sentences.  The PCs either escape to hyperspace within a few turns, or they're caught in a tractor beam.  If the latter, it's back to narrative time until the boarding party arrives.  I don't need to micro-manage every millisecond.

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I don't understand why one wouldn't just be able to "pick a number" and run with it. We've got the general idea of how far each of these range bands go; if the PC in question has the ability to determine the distance in-game, why can one not just be the GM, pick a number, and tell the player?

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I'll make a final plea and let it go.

If a given range band has a lower and upper end, and it's possible for a vehicle to cross that band in a given amount of time. (Like a turn or two or three) then you have a mathematical situation regardless if you pay attention to it or not. Many if not most involved are going to do that math and come up with a correlation, and when it's not consistent but rather varies on the whim of the gm, some will rightfully complain. Their equipment, skills, abilities, die rolls and choices become secondary to the apparently inconsistent laws of the universe.

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