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rgrove0172

Range Bands

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Range bands are an abstraction representing more than just "distance from me at this precise second in time."  They are used to measure how much effort is needed to move from point A to point B, just as they are used to determine how far a ranged attack can reach or how loud someone might need to speak to be heard. 

 

If I could be allowed an explanation by way of a couple illustrations...

 

Combat rounds are an abstraction. Combat rounds, and turns, vary in length of time. They can last as long as a minute or more, but they have no set duration. One person's combat round might be cinematically much shorter than another's. They're gonna look different. 

 

Wounds and damage are an abstraction. Just because someone has received "wounds" does not necessarily mean that he is bleeding or that he was even actually "hit" in the narrative. 10 wounds on one PC is could well look much different than 10 wounds on another PC. 

 

...range bands, like combat rounds and "damage taken," vary in definite narrative measurements, because they are not drawn with hard lines. Here's the deal: in no combat ever are characters going to make their shot and just stand there like a lemon waiting for their enemies to take their turn. It's all fluid, back and forth. I'll do my best to narrate blaster bolts flying back and forth during each of my PC's turns, for example, just to highlight the abstract nature of the combat turn. The world doesn't stand still while you make your combat check. The game mechanics are there to give you a sense of all kinds of possible factors that could influence the outcome of the action you're taking. 

 

I'll point you towards the beginning of the Range Bands description in the CRB, and highlight words such as "broad terms," "abstract," "action," "general," "dynamically." They even go so far as to call out Rule 0, and that "exact distances in meters do not matter," and that the important things are vivid images in the player's heads and that the GM can quickly provide mechanical information they need. 

 

TL;DR:

This ain't grid-of-squares, tactical-miniatures-gaming. This is cinematic gaming. This is Star Wars. And Star Wars is nothing if not inconsistent and abstract ;)

Edited by awayputurwpn

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then you have a mathematical situation regardless if you pay attention to it or not.

 

True, but the math is significantly minimized.  No longer do you need to compare Kph against meters to determine where an object is.  It's sufficient to ballpark it.  A GM can remain consistent and of course if players object then it can be discussed.  Rule Zero applies in my mind.  However, the social contract generally exists that states "The GM will make some calls.  Some of them may not be 100% right, but we're not going to stop the game to argue about minutiæ."  

 

I have read your posts on the subject and I get what you're after and I understand your frustration.  I am hoping to convey that in most cases it doesn't matter if something is 100m or 300m away and arguing over it at the table isn't most people's idea of fun so that's why it is the way it is.  Far be it for me to tell anyone how to run their own game at their table with their friends!  If you and your friends enjoy running the numbers then there's been a number of good posts offering guidelines.  Personally, I eschew any math I can't do in my head while I run or play this system because it doesn't increase my enjoyment.  Your milage may vary - which is not only acceptable but encouraged!

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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.

How many times do you need to be told to just let it go. It is really simple, if you are doing that math, you are getting stuck into irrelevant particulars. The actual numbers are completely irrelevant. Dividing those numbers is also completely irrelevant. Doing the correlation is completely irrelevant. 

 

The inconsistency is completely irrelevant.

 

The inconsistency you are worrying about is an illusion. The laws of the Star Wars universe you play in are what the GM says they are, not the laws of the universe you live in. 

 

You need to stop worrying about the numbers and just have fun. 

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when it's not consistent but rather varies on the whim of the gm, some will rightfully complain.

 

To paint a picture, yes I often use real distances.

Player:  "How far away are the stormtroopers?"  

Me, pointing out the window:  "About as far as that house, it's medium range."

 

At this point, that's all the verisimilitude that is needed.  None my players, even the die-hard fractional-inch-measuring tactical players, have a problem.  It's medium range, it tells them all they need to know about how hard it is to shoot, how long it takes to get there, how much space they have to work with, etc.

 

Also, it's not "whimsical".  Neither you nor the players can take advantage of a you deciding something is "medium range" vs "long range".  All the equipment and stats are geared to these range bands, so this:

 

Their equipment, skills, abilities, die rolls and choices become secondary to the apparently inconsistent laws of the universe.

 

 

...is just wrong.  If you say the NPCs are at medium range, that's in both directions.  Whether you decide medium range is 3 meters or 30, it doesn't matter because it's still PP for the PCs to shoot, and PP to get shot.  The dynamic doesn't change just because you put a number on it, none of the player's skill or equipment choices are invalidated or become secondary at all.

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As I asked in another thread. Are the members who have a hard time using the range bands used to much more crunchy and less narrative systems? It would be interesting to know if there was a correlation.

Edited by RodianClone

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When my players ask what the distance to something is I give the measurement in jawas. Sometimes wookies or Star Destroyers.

It usually gets a laugh and allows them to use their imagination to define the distance between objects. 

In my experience, the only time in a roleplaying game that descriptively defining a distance with a narrative wasn't accepted was when my players were trying to play a miniatures battles game. (Like 4th edition D&D)

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When my players ask what the distance to something is I give the measurement in jawas. Sometimes wookies or Star Destroyers.

It usually gets a laugh and allows them to use their imagination to define the distance between objects. 

In my experience, the only time in a roleplaying game that descriptively defining a distance with a narrative wasn't accepted was when my players were trying to play a miniatures battles game. (Like 4th edition D&D)

 

Except with skill challenges in 4e, those were some of the most narrative and freeform encounters I have ever done:)

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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.

Obviously you are in a minority when it comes to this issue. Maybe just change to using actual range increments for your group since these things are so important to them.

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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.

Obviously you are in a minority when it comes to this issue. Maybe just change to using actual range increments for your group since these things are so important to them.

 

 

May I suggest testing other, more crunchy systems? There are lots to choose from out there! Try out a few and find out what works for you:)

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So, to ask very provocatively (sorry for that, but I don't know how else to get the point across):

 

  • You honestly believe that the system means to tell you that the sensors will not pick up the Executor until you are at close/short range from it? Or the Death Star?

Do you really belive that the writers meant it to be read like that? Because that is the logical conclusion if you take your interpretation and follow it to the end. The Sensor range is for the action of scanning. Everything else is simply plot. And plot is almost completely up to the GM.

 

And for your answer, if the players know there is someone in orbit waiting for them and they take measures to evade them, it is your job if it works or how, not the rulebooks - at least in this system. (Generally, if the players put in good effort to do something, don't handwave it away, but I think you've been a GM before, so that should be nothing new) I think you need to give the system an optimistic chance, because like I said, it does work.

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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.

giphy.gif

This is a storytelling game....

Edit: The rules are not the laws of the universe, they are tools to help you tell the story in a fun and interesting way when and if you need them. Use them or ignore them depending on how they would benefit the story. Enjoy the game:)

Edited by RodianClone

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When my players ask what the distance to something is I give the measurement in jawas. Sometimes wookies or Star Destroyers.

It usually gets a laugh and allows them to use their imagination to define the distance between objects. 

In my experience, the only time in a roleplaying game that descriptively defining a distance with a narrative wasn't accepted was when my players were trying to play a miniatures battles game. (Like 4th edition D&D)

I'm sorry but this sounds rediculous. In real life if anyone asks for a distance they get, well a distance measurement as an answer.

"How far away do you think that water tower is?"

"I don't know, maybe a mile?"

Why the heck is it taboo in this game for some of you guys?

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I guess I will have to respond that in the absence of anything instructing me one way or the other I'm within my rights to interpret any function of the system any way I like. But I don't find that to be a strong point. When the lack if info can lead you off in any number of ways, it's a problem. Maybe not a big one but I feel a mistake. When players debate for months over the cost of ship operations, hyperspace travel times and the range of communications then the designers let a few thing slip, in my opinion.

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Ranges vary greatly. It depends entirely on the scene being set.

 

Space Combat:
Extreme: Half a Solar system away and beyond to the planet's atmosphere from ground surface to escaping the gravitational pull; close enough to see the ships if on a captial ship scale otherwise the distance is incredible. Anything beyond that isn't worth factoring into the equation; basically entirely powered by plot and local response.

Long: Probably about 10000km/100kms. Very few weapons and fewer gunners can reasonably operate at this range. 

Medium: 100km-1km. At this point you could probably eyeball smaller craft shapes, but mostly still relying on sensor to detect them.

Short: less then 1km, but not engaged.

Close: Probably no more then 200 meters. It's not so much a distance as in the craft are directly engaging eachother and are close enough to one another to potentially exchange blaster fire/crash.

 

 

Personal distance depends entirely on the scene being set. I would never conduct a journey in range bands but would probably treat extreme as 0.5km, with anything beyond that being effectively unengageable.. Long is less then 75m, 37m for medium, 15m short and engaged is not so much a distance as in your actually close enough to enter an opponents threat radius physically. 

 

Car cases range bands don't matter. The distance really is relative to one another and dependant on traffic, with the chase ending when one loses the other. If the person is chasing a speeder on foot then he simply won't catch it unless they hindered to not be able to speed. I would probably use a similar formula to above to calculate distance travelled, just assuming that a car turn is much less then a personal turn.

Edited by Lordbiscuit

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Ok, I have to admit, I found a lot of the FFG system off putting at first. I cut my teeth in RPGs with the he WEG system, there you had all kinds of numbers for range bands. I liked it. A Heavy Blaster Pistol could fire at short/med/long range and so could a rifle, but those ranges were way different! Even different make and models of guns had varying ranges. Not all HBP had the same numbers for their range bands. I loved all that detail. With WotC, a lot of that got lost. It felt to me that a lot of that great detail got lost. I enjoyed CR/RCR for a long time but felt that Saga Edition was too combat driven. Everything for every character was about combat, and how to maximize your character to get the best synergy from the classes and cross classes. I felt that system really upped the GM versus Player mentality/feel.

Now with FFG, I think they took a lot of lessons from WEG and improved upon their ideas. My favorite thing, there are no Levels!!! I'm not a huge fan of Classes, but they made it work. This system flys fast and loose, and a ton of stuff is "around". A Round is "around" this long, short range is "around" this long, your ship can haul "around" this much cargo.

I'm fine with the "around" parts of the game. I'm here to tell a fun story where my players are the Big **** Heros and are larger than life, and it's about them. I try to make them feel important, and we don't get bogged down in the minutia of lot of this stuff. When I run a chase, the exact distances don't matter, I try to go for that crazy '70's San Fransisco ca chase feel plowing through food vendors, careening around corners and having the action fast and some dice rolling to make the player feel engaged but not bogged down in mindless rolling that means little. I don't keep track of every kilometer, I have them roll, and I roll, if they roll better, they pull further ahead, and can spend advantages on stuff life red lights, traffic jams, construction zones, cops, old lady drivers, the butthole driver who thinks they need to regulate traffic... And the same for me. Those add in Setback dice or Boost dice. Threats work pretty much the same way. For a speeder chase, I just say they to to win three rolls to move up a range band.

I run ground comabt or even social combat a lot like that too. I even ask my players, who none are trained actors, if they want to role play out social combat scenes. I know they are not con men, or can really use Scathing Tirade in real life to any real effect, nor are any us suave super persuasive aristocrats. But I ask them to role play it out, if, in my humble opinion they do good, with very few umma, aahs, and little stuttering or backtracking, and don't say anything super crazy or stupid, I will award them a Boost die or two, or even a free upgrade. I don't "punish" bad acting, but if people say dumb stuff in character, it does reflect in the game world! If a player can't as cool or as suave as their character should be able to, then it's just a naked die roll.

The main thing for me is this game isn't about me vs. them. It's about a story I want to tell where my Players are the stars of the show. If I want them to get captured, well, more than likely they will get captured, and their is very little they can do about it. If I want to put them into a chase and have them loose, well, they will loose. If I want them to win, they will win. I'm not saying I'm going to cheat, I open roll 99.999% of the time, but I build the NPCs. So if I want an NPC to win a race or a chase scene, I will build them that way. Not that I do very often though. It's about the story. Not about measuring out the distance between player A and the NPC to make sure the line of sight of sight is good, and to see if they are at short range or medium.

If the players don't like this sort of style, and some don't, then they shouldn't play this system. Some GMs don't like this sort of style, and shouldn't run this system. If you find yourself getting too bogged into the rules, which it seems you have not read, then perhaps you really need to ask if this is the system for you. I'm sorry you have spent so much money on it and don't enjoy it. Perhaps if you read the books, or tired being a player, you would understand the system better. But coming on the forum and complaining about how broke it is, then admitting you didn't know about a particular rule is not very encouraging for your case that the range bands or anything else is broke.

In short, if you don't like it, don't run it. It seems to me you are looking for Saga Edition. There everything was counted out, even how many times you got to breath in a round...

Sorry for the typos, typing on my iPad...

Edited by R2builder

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I suppose I should apologize, I reacted to some aggressive posts and came off far more opinionated than I actually felt. I should have more questing than defensive or accusatory. Obviously I am in the extreme minority so it's my place to resolve these issues not FFG.

I hope you will welcome further threads on my part and not write me off as a forum troublemaker.

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shun-nonbeliever-2.jpg?w=529

 

Obviously I am in the extreme minority so it's my place to resolve these issues not FFG.

 

For what it's worth, this is a very hard game to get into. It took me a great many sessions to unlearn my habits from other games - rolling for every little thing, thinking creatively with the rolls, putting mechanics over story and so on. These are all really hard habits to break, and even now I still fall into the "Nothing creative done with the roll of the dice" occasionally.

Edited by Desslok

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It took me a great many sessions to unlearn my habits from other games - rolling for every little thing, thinking creatively with the rolls, putting mechanics over story and so on. These are all really hard habits to break, and even now I still fall into the "Nothing creative done with the roll of the dice" occasionally.

 

This. A lot of unlearning the 400lb gorilla is required for this system to truely shine.

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You honestly believe that the system means to tell you that the sensors will not pick up the Executor until you are at close/short range from it? Or the Death Star?

I believe that there is good work being done by a member of these forums that will address this problem pretty cleanly, without adding too much additional crunchiness, or too many house rules.

But I won’t say anything more than that, because I feel that the author should speak up for themselves on this matter.

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For what it's worth, this is a very hard game to get into. It took me a great many sessions to unlearn my habits from other games - rolling for every little thing, thinking creatively with the rolls, putting mechanics over story and so on. These are all really hard habits to break, and even now I still fall into the "Nothing creative done with the roll of the dice" occasionally.

I’ve been playing this game for almost two years now, and I’m still trying to warp my brain around this problem.

But I do feel like I am finally getting a little bit better at this narrative thing.

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When my players ask what the distance to something is I give the measurement in jawas. Sometimes wookies or Star Destroyers.

It usually gets a laugh and allows them to use their imagination to define the distance between objects. 

In my experience, the only time in a roleplaying game that descriptively defining a distance with a narrative wasn't accepted was when my players were trying to play a miniatures battles game. (Like 4th edition D&D)

I'm sorry but this sounds rediculous. In real life if anyone asks for a distance they get, well a distance measurement as an answer.

"How far away do you think that water tower is?"

"I don't know, maybe a mile?"

Why the heck is it taboo in this game for some of you guys?

 

Do you ever see anyone in the movies use exact measurements in the heat of combat? Did they use something like a macrobinocular or Electrobinocular? No? Then the best they are going to get is their characters best guess. And again does it matter? AT ALL? I am going to go with no it don't. Stop obsessing about exact numbers. You do not really use them in real life. So why would your characters in a game do so? 

And no one here is saying not to use numbers. They are saying be fuzzy about what those numbers are and add the range band. So 

"How far away do you think that water tower is?"

"I don't know, maybe a mile?" which is extreme range. 

There done. You gave them a rough idea and what range band they are in. everything the player needs. If someone has a really good ranged heavy skill be more accurate for them than you are for the smuggler.

If they use something that would give them an exact measurement give them an exact measurement. But otherwise lean towards fuzzy. 

 

Edited by Daeglan

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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.

 

This reminds me of that scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the ka-***-it (knight) is charging the castle for several scenes off in the distance then is suddenly at the door stabbing people.  I think they did a great job parodying this particular concept of story telling.

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When my players ask what the distance to something is I give the measurement in jawas. Sometimes wookies or Star Destroyers.

It usually gets a laugh and allows them to use their imagination to define the distance between objects. 

In my experience, the only time in a roleplaying game that descriptively defining a distance with a narrative wasn't accepted was when my players were trying to play a miniatures battles game. (Like 4th edition D&D)

I'm sorry but this sounds rediculous. In real life if anyone asks for a distance they get, well a distance measurement as an answer.

"How far away do you think that water tower is?"

"I don't know, maybe a mile?"

Why the heck is it taboo in this game for some of you guys?

Do you ever see anyone in the movies use exact measurements in the heat of combat? Did they use something like a macrobinocular or Electrobinocular? No? Then the best they are going to get is their characters best guess. And again does it matter? AT ALL? I am going to go with no it don't. Stop obsessing about exact numbers. You do not really use them in real life. So why would your characters in a game do so? 

And no one here is saying not to use numbers. They are saying be fuzzy about what those numbers are and add the range band. So 

"How far away do you think that water tower is?"

"I don't know, maybe a mile?" which is extreme range. 

There done. You gave them a rough idea and what range band they are in. everything the player needs. If someone has a really good ranged heavy skill be more accurate for them than you are for the smuggler.

If they use something that would give them an exact measurement give them an exact measurement. But otherwise lean towards fuzzy.

I've never complained about fuzzy guesses, it was the magnitude of the guesses that bothered me. Looking at the water tower and not knowing if it were a few dozen meters or several kilometers away seemed odd, as did the fact that some could travel there in a couple minutes in a slow vehicle, that's all. But I get it, really, if anything the rules should not have given distance equivalents at all and it would be less confusing.

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Guy, when the majority of people posting in this thread are saying they haven't found an issue in the slightest with what you're saying is an issue... shouldn't that tell you something?

 

It tells me that there are a lot of people on this forum that can be less than helpful. Someone is having trouble getting the system and is asking a lot of questions and all he's getting back is "it's simple", "stop worrying about the details", "why are you having trouble with this", etc.

 

From what I've read he's trying to understand, but almost no one is really helping with an explanation outside of vague quit worrying about details answers or attacking him for not understanding their vague answers.  There have been very few posters who have actually tried to help by explaining things.  Absol197 did a great job here at breaking things down and explaining them and for that I commend him/her.

 

Perhaps some of us should back off and quit attacking him for not understanding and instead really try to help.

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