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KillingGoblinBabiesIsDishonorable

Nothing Personell Kid: A look into "why can I teleport?" aka "What's the deal with range bands"

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When range bands are left as abstract distances "This is the distance you shoot a bow, or whatever", I didn't really mind it. However, when you look at the actual ranges given the range bands some..really weird issues start to arrise.

(Page 166.)
Range 1 = 1-2 Meters
Range 2 = 3-4 Meters
Range 3 = 5-10 Meters
Range 4 = 12-100 Meters
Range 5 = 100-Hundred(s) of Meters
Range 6 = Hundred(s) to Thousand(s) of Meters

The exponential nature of the range bands disturbs me because(correct me if i'm wrong) there doesn't appear to be an exponential difficulty in travelling that number of range bands in a single turn. A man is at my range 5, lobbing arrows at me, the maximum effective range of his bow. I see this, and I say, "I can't let this stand."

Entering water stance, with a water 4 and fitness 1, I can immediately move one range band, I have traveled 1-2 meters, then take the movement action and immediately move another range band, I have traveled 4-6 meters, but i'll roll for this test aswell.

Assuming on 5k4, across any exploding or not, I can get 2 successes and 2 opportunities, thats +1 movement range from the successes, I have now traveled 9-16 meters, and then +2 movement range from the 2 opportunities (Table 3-19 Page 98) I have now ran hundreds of meters, potentially a thousand feet depending on how many hundreds, all before this guy could notch another arrow and take another shot?

Not to mention, if I then use my water stance bonus action to take another standard move and move an additional range band, putting me into 6, I have become swift wind and blow past this archer, traveled miles in the span of a single turn...But would still be within range 1 of the guy I just ran kilometers away from, even though range band 1 is supposed to be only 1-2 meters?

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Starting characters are going to be able to reliably (even after the week 4 nerf) move 3 bands in a round if they choose, and 4, sometimes 5.

I've been screaming about the issue in FFG's other games. FFG's design staff seem utterly blind to the issue.

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In fifteen years of tabletop roleplaying, I believe I've actually applied range rules (or seen them applied) about half a dozen times, total.

I don't know if this is universally true, but I suspect that unless you're playing with a Very Crunchy Crew, it just doesn't matter that much.

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There needs to be better clarification on movement and how movement stacks.
A character is in water stance and moves 1 range band, maneuvers for 2 range bands, and  then maneuvers for 1 range band during their turn. Did they move 6 meters (1 meter, then 4 meters, then 1 meter) or did they move 100 meters? It all depends on how bands stack/when movement resets.

 

10 hours ago, KillingGoblinBabiesIsDishonorable said:

But would still be within range 1 of the guy I just ran kilometers away from, even though range band 1 is supposed to be only 1-2 meters?

No. Think of range bands as re-centering on the character after each move with range zero centered on the character taking action. There needs to be a lot more clarification in the final book and a few illustrations to show how this all works. Basically when you go to take an action, you remeasure the distance.

The section on range bands mentions that going into range 6+ is typically for narrative time only. Plus, you don't always go to the furthest edge of the band, likely only just passing into the last range band.

 

However range bands are poor mechanics that simply don't work at most tables. In every FFG Star Wars game I've been in, the GM has always ignored the range bands. Different groups, different play styles, different house rules (if any), yet ignoring range bands is always a constant.

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3 hours ago, Doji Meshou said:

In fifteen years of tabletop roleplaying, I believe I've actually applied range rules (or seen them applied) about half a dozen times, total.

I don't know if this is universally true, but I suspect that unless you're playing with a Very Crunchy Crew, it just doesn't matter that much.

You're weird. As in an outlier.

Most groups I've seen playing almost anything are using maps and minis, maps and counters, or maps and markings for at least some scenes.

In 37 years of gaming, less than 1/6 of games I've seen played have not, at least occasionally, made use of ranges. More than half used some form of marking on maps - either minis, tokens, counters, or just writing on it.

I've always (and I do mean ALWAYS) used range rules. I might not be using a map, but I always use the ranges. I dislike uneven range bands; I have no issue at all with one-dimensional grids, al´á Classic Traveller. 

For combats, I usually break out mini-meeples (for PC's and NPC leader types), 8mm cubes (for generic badguys) and 1/150 scale maps.

 

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6 hours ago, Daeglan said:

How much time is a round?

They never explicitly say something about the length of a round... But you are making 1 attack per round, so a few seconds is a good guess.

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46 minutes ago, Yandia said:

 

They never explicitly say something about the length of a round... But you are making 1 attack per round, so a few seconds is a good guess.

One strike action can result in at least 3 discrete injuries in certain cases... it's not "one swing" per attack. (excepting the Iaijutsu strikes.) 

1 from Technique, 1 from opportunity spend, 1 from over-resilience.

I expect more likely somewhere on the order of 10-15 seconds for skirmish.

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7 hours ago, Doji Meshou said:

In fifteen years of tabletop roleplaying, I believe I've actually applied range rules (or seen them applied) about half a dozen times, total.

I don't know if this is universally true, but I suspect that unless you're playing with a Very Crunchy Crew, it just doesn't matter that much.

Have you played more than half a dozen times in those 15 years? Most rules systems explicitly bring up ranges, it seems strange those would consistently get ignored.

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In his defense, usually games has bad range rules and even worse reach rules.

You can use the range bands and everything on this beta as an example. Does it really matter? nope, Its just a small complication to be ignored with one action or another.

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15 minutes ago, Mobiusllls said:

In his defense, usually games has bad range rules and even worse reach rules.

You can use the range bands and everything on this beta as an example. Does it really matter? nope, Its just a small complication to be ignored with one action or another.

That’s because the concept of range bands is more trouble than it’s worth, certainly in this case. I’m not saying being exact with ranges is always super important, but if it’s kept simple it’s not really a hassle and can allow for an additional tactical layer to conflict. I just find it strange that people would consistently throw it out. But to each their own.

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8 hours ago, Doji Meshou said:

In fifteen years of tabletop roleplaying, I believe I've actually applied range rules (or seen them applied) about half a dozen times, total.

I don't know if this is universally true, but I suspect that unless you're playing with a Very Crunchy Crew, it just doesn't matter that much.

Same here. I think the only game I've actually applied them in is D&D 3.5. Our general rule is that if it makes sense for you to be able to attack a target or move to an area, you can. Sometimes certain rules can be 'worded' to death or phrased in such a way that a literal reading actually makes it murkier.

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1 hour ago, nameless ronin said:

That’s because the concept of range bands is more trouble than it’s worth, certainly in this case. I’m not saying being exact with ranges is always super important, but if it’s kept simple it’s not really a hassle and can allow for an additional tactical layer to conflict. I just find it strange that people would consistently throw it out. But to each their own.

I'd actually much rather see 5m or 10m even spaced range bands. One dimensional grid as the default readily allows 2-dimensional grids

with 5m, all close melee is range 0, spears/nagis get range 1.  Yumi get about 10 bands. Shuriken get 3. Daikyū get 15 or 20... 

We don't need detailed ranges, but the range band method provided only makes sense if its done as a "move this far on the map" and not tracked as "this many range bands to/from each target" ... and that's exactly how some are using it. But that's a hack, not what's written.

For those who don't care, range bands are no worse than grids (be they 1D, 2D, or 3D)... and while I know a few people who claim it's no big issue, I've watched them cringe when I've used the Star Wars range bands as written...

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7 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

One strike action can result in at least 3 discrete injuries in certain cases... it's not "one swing" per attack. (excepting the Iaijutsu strikes.) 

1 from Technique, 1 from opportunity spend, 1 from over-resilience.

I expect more likely somewhere on the order of 10-15 seconds for skirmish.

Given the interplay of effects, i'd agree - there's enough time for a decent exchange of swordplay.

Looking at moving, there's enough time to cover the width of a room and land a couple of blows, and given that an opportunity could narratively represent flanking, or a feint, or similar, it definitely has the potential to be a couple of swings or a bit of footwork by itself. I don't think the Edge of the Empire 'one round is a minute or so' seems right - that's a bit too long - but it's closer to that than the one-roll-for-every-twitch-of-a-sword that I've seen implied.

 

Whilst we do use ranges, I can probably count on both hands the number of times I've used a map rather than narrative description, and it's not been a problem.

 

 

I will wholeheartedly agree that exponential range bands is a system which doesn't work well with maps. The moment you try to use it as a continuously updated three-body-problem it has issues (just like in traveller space combat, which is why you always end up defining a single reference point and moving all the 'bad guys' around it - not so bad when all the good guys are in one ship, awkward as [censored] when they're in something like a fighter group)

Traveller - and for that matter Edge of the Empire - do something similar with exponentially increasing range bands, but it should be noted that they do at least compensate for it in some ways; the thrust/number of fly actions required to move from long to medium range is different to the number to move from short to close. Here, a range band is a range band despite their size varying, which isn't ideal.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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8 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

One strike action can result in at least 3 discrete injuries in certain cases... it's not "one swing" per attack. (excepting the Iaijutsu strikes.) 

1 from Technique, 1 from opportunity spend, 1 from over-resilience.

I expect more likely somewhere on the order of 10-15 seconds for skirmish.

Fair enough... Moving from range band 6 to 4 in 15 seconds is still amazing.

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16 hours ago, jmoschner said:

There needs to be better clarification on movement and how movement stacks.
A character is in water stance and moves 1 range band, maneuvers for 2 range bands, and  then maneuvers for 1 range band during their turn. Did they move 6 meters (1 meter, then 4 meters, then 1 meter) or did they move 100 meters? It all depends on how bands stack/when movement resets.

You don't move in meters. You move in abstract range bands.
Each time you move 1 band, you increase/decrease by 1 the number of bands between you and your target.

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On 10/31/2017 at 8:26 AM, KillingGoblinBabiesIsDishonorable said:

The exponential nature of the range bands disturbs me because there doesn't appear to be an exponential difficulty in travelling that number of range bands in a single turn.

This is the entire problem in a nutshell.  The range bands themselves are fine since they're relatively easy to imagine in a broad sense.  Could you punch them? Could you hit them with a stick? A pole? Throw a stone at them? Etc.

The issue is movement, and this problem applies equally to the maps'n'minis crowd and the theatre of the mind crowd.

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FWIW: I think the distinction is between tabletop games that are heavily mechanical and wargaming-inspired (e.g. Dungeons and Dragons) and tabletop games that are less mechanical and more narrative (e.g. anything White Wolf). And I'm strongly disinclined toward mechanical/wargame-inspired systems. :)

My perspective: I would say L5R-as-written has always been more narrative than mechanical. It would not make a good wargame.

Edited by Doji Meshou

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36 minutes ago, Doji Meshou said:

FWIW: I think the distinction is between tabletop games that are heavily mechanical and wargaming-inspired (e.g. Dungeons and Dragons) and tabletop games that are less mechanical and more narrative (e.g. anything White Wolf). And I'm strongly disinclined toward mechanical/wargame-inspired systems. :)

My perspective: I would say L5R-as-written has always been more narrative than mechanical. It would not make a good wargame.

Agreed. But that is a matter of taste - and others may not agree with my taste.

More importantly, whilst I'm a big fan of more narrative systems, and I don't really care whether you need a 15.5m charge or a 16.1m charge, moving from 'the edge of accurate arrow range' to 'effective spear range' is clearly not going to take the same time as moving 'from spear range to knife range' - even if we allow that the latter movement is much more careful (because if you're bothered about these range bands, there's probably a spear/knife involved!); the former feels like it should take a round or two more than the latter.

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56 minutes ago, Doji Meshou said:

FWIW: I think the distinction is between tabletop games that are heavily mechanical and wargaming-inspired (e.g. Dungeons and Dragons) and tabletop games that are less mechanical and more narrative (e.g. anything White Wolf). And I'm strongly disinclined toward mechanical/wargame-inspired systems. :)

My perspective: I would say L5R-as-written has always been more narrative than mechanical. It would not make a good wargame.

Unfortunately it also fails on a narrative level.

Being able to run 1000 kilometers (or miles it really doesn't matter) in 15 seconds as a normal human being without magic power is immersion breaking.

That is a speed of roughly 66 km/s. For comparision the speed of sound is 343 m/s. We are taking speeds close to mach 200!

That is just plain weird.

 

Think about it...

We a fighting on the Wall to defend Rokugan from the Shadowlands Horde. But we are loosing and it becomes clear that that without reinforcement the Wall will fall! Our Shugenja asks the fire kami to produce a giant beacon of fire which can be seen up to the horizon.

Across Rokugan the Champions see the beacon of fire. They know what to do! The wall is in danger and all 7 armies of the empire march towards the Wall to join the fight... where they arrive in under a minute.

 

This is not compelling story telling but this is exactly what the rules allow.

Bad simulation can cause bad narrative. Because the only way this isn't happing is a GM saying: "Let's ignore the rules", which is honestly not something I am willing to pay for.

Edited by Yandia

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7 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Traveller - and for that matter Edge of the Empire - do something similar with exponentially increasing range bands, but it should be noted that they do at least compensate for it in some ways; the thrust/number of fly actions required to move from long to medium range is different to the number to move from short to close. Here, a range band is a range band despite their size varying, which isn't ideal.

FYI Mongoose Traveller is a whole pile of issues - and exponential range bands are ONLY in MGT2, not any other edition of Traveller. If MGT is your only exposure to Traveller, you haven't really been exposed to Traveller at all.

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1 hour ago, Doji Meshou said:

FWIW: I think the distinction is between tabletop games that are heavily mechanical and wargaming-inspired (e.g. Dungeons and Dragons) and tabletop games that are less mechanical and more narrative (e.g. anything White Wolf). And I'm strongly disinclined toward mechanical/wargame-inspired systems. :)

My perspective: I would say L5R-as-written has always been more narrative than mechanical. It would not make a good wargame.

Works just fine in wargame mode in prior editions, We have a movement range, and concrete range bands. Becomes a bit cumbersome with more than about 15 total involved, due to initiative issues.

But that's where Clan War shone... once you wanted/needed to game out more than a guntai on a side, Clan War provided a genuine option that was easily converted to, and which reduced the rolling to manageable levels.

For all John's claims to narrativism, fundamentally, L5R was still in wargame descendant mode. Had movement speeds per round, and distances in the same units, and a tactical initiative system with teeth...

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9 minutes ago, AK_Aramis said:

But that's where Clan War shone... once you wanted/needed to game out more than a guntai on a side, Clan War provided a genuine option that was easily converted to, and which reduced the rolling to manageable levels.

This is my point. If you want L5R to function well as a wargame, you need to use a different structure. That's not a knock on L5R; it's just not designed to be a wargame, regardless of whether it has (bad) rules for movement. I'm not mad at a cheeseburger for not being a salad, and I'm not mad at L5R for not being a wargame.

I'm glad you find (found?) it usable in the way you want! It's just not particularly well supported as-written, IMO, and narrativist range bands in 5E are just the latest example.

Edited by Doji Meshou

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