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SladeWeston

Grid Based Combat and Non-Relative Distance

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Good morning Everyone,

I've been working on a grid based combat conversion for my fantasy setting and after some internal playtesting, I think it's ready to release to the while for 3rd party feedback.  I will be attaching a dropbox link to the actual rules document at the bottom of this post but I will also be summarizing the system so I don't waste anyones time.

The Problem

While relative distance and minds eye combat works great for many settings (I love it in SWRPG), I have been less than satisfied with how it works in my fantasy setting.  I believe this is because that the system was originally designed for the Star Wars setting where combat is less frequent and is more often about ranged blaster fights than melee.  Regardless of the reason, my group has asked me to come up with a grid combat system that works for Genesys.  While making the grid combat system I also had to update the distance measurement system and a few other smaller rules.

The System

  • All Creatures have a speed.  For player characters, I have balanced things around the idea of a 20ft to 30ft speed.  I assume most species will have 20ft but some might have 25ft if they are particularly fast and there will almost certianly be a talent that improves movement speed.
  • The action economy works the same except the Move maneuver has been changed.  A player may now spend a maneuver to gain movement equal to their speed.  Disengage and Prone have also been changed to now cost half their speed in movement (as costing a full maneuver proved too brutal in testing).
  • Range bands have been removed and distance is now represented by 5ft squares.  My personal prefrence is a hex grid but I know that is more a personal prefrence and a square grid seems more common so I went with that.
  • Ranged difficulty has been replaced by "Distance divided by 25 round up".  So 60ft would be a Hard check, for example.  I tested this at  divided by 20 and 30 but 25 felt about right for a fantasy setting.

So that about sums it up.  Once I am happy with the core system I will proceed to updating things like Talents (ex. Nimble), Weapons Traits (ex. Blast) and other minor rules (ex. jump distance).

Any feedback or testing people could do would be greatly appreciated.  Particularly with regards to character mobility (Is 20ft of movement enough?), Ranged Difficulty factor (Does 25/50/75... feel okay at the table?) and the Engage/Disengage rule (Does no cost to engage and "2 Strain or half movement" to disengage well?).

As always, thank you for your time and feedback.

- Cody

Dropbox Link

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First thing that strikes me while reading this is that you'd have to change the Tumble talent (RoT p. 87) as that allows you to suffer 2 strain to disengage as an incidental, also some balancing of the grapple talent (RoT p. 88) which requires oppontents to use 2 manuevers to dissengage.

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4 minutes ago, PurpleKittenofDeath said:

First thing that strikes me while reading this is that you'd have to change the Tumble talent (RoT p. 87) as that allows you to suffer 2 strain to disengage as an incidental, also some balancing of the grapple talent (RoT p. 88) which requires oppontents to use 2 manuevers to dissengage.

And, in case it matters, it's been confirmed that Grapple takes precedence over Tumble. Grapple says they must use two manoeuvres while Tumble says you can do it as an incidental.

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Thank you for the feedback guys.  Yes, likely there are a myriad of talents that will need updating.  At the moment I haven't updated them because I want to be sure the core system is solid first.  I am keeping a list of rules and talents that will need to be addressed however so please, keep em coming.

That being said, if I was to take a shot at converting them now under the current system, I'd say that Grapple would cause the cost of disengaging to increase to a manuever.  For Tumble, I'd have it decrease the strain cost of disengaging by 2, or something like that (likely limited to a certian number of times a turn).  That way, it is clear how the two talents interact.  The strain cost of disengage may be 0 (if they have tumble) but Grapple removes the option of paying strain and instead makes it cost a manuever.

Something like that anyway.  It would require some testing.

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5 minutes ago, Swordbreaker said:

I thought this conversion up, for comparison.

Hmm... You basic action economy is pretty interesting.  One of the main issues I've been struggling with is giving the players enough movement for them to feel mobile but not granting them so much that when they take a maneuver to gain another move that it isn't too much.  Your system of working for a single total pool of movement and charging manuvers to access that pool of movement is pretty ingenious.

One thing that isn't covered in your document is how you are handling Engaging and Disengaging.  Did you have it cost extra movement or did you just continue having it cost a full maneuver to engage?  How did you handle things like Prone?

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I've been thinking about implementing something that made a grid map work as well. Did you considered just making each range band a set number of grid spaces and calling it good there? That's what I'm thinking about doing and would love to know if you tried something similar and how it worked out.

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4 minutes ago, SladeWeston said:

Hmm... You basic action economy is pretty interesting.  One of the main issues I've been struggling with is giving the players enough movement for them to feel mobile but not granting them so much that when they take a maneuver to gain another move that it isn't too much.  Your system of working for a single total pool of movement and charging manuvers to access that pool of movement is pretty ingenious.

One thing that isn't covered in your document is how you are handling Engaging and Disengaging.  Did you have it cost extra movement or did you just continue having it cost a full maneuver to engage?  How did you handle things like Prone?

I was partway thinking that, because I totally dispensed with the mounting maneuver cost for changing ranges, I kind of ignored engage/disengage, but I can see a justifiable reason for including the extra maneuver to engage or disengage; possibly represented by turning the miniature to face their opponent or turning away, which would treat engaging as less of moving closer to an opponent to turning towards them and slipping into a fighting stance. Or something. I also know that that extra maneuver is often a balancing factor, so YMMV.

Prone could work about the same as it already does, and can maybe be used to deny direct line-of-sight.

You brought up crawling, which I kind of didn't think about. I figure that could work either by doubling the cost (so crawling through difficult terrain would be 4 per square) or increasing the cost by 1 (crawling through difficult would be 3 per square.

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18 minutes ago, Tesoe said:

I've been thinking about implementing something that made a grid map work as well. Did you considered just making each range band a set number of grid spaces and calling it good there? That's what I'm thinking about doing and would love to know if you tried something similar and how it worked out.

I considered that but "Plus 1 difficutly every 25ft" seemed easier to remember than 25/50/75/100.  I guess its six in one and half a dozen in the other really.  The main reason I went with divide by 25 is that it expands indefinately without me having to name the bands.

9 minutes ago, Swordbreaker said:

I was partway thinking that, because I totally dispensed with the mounting maneuver cost for changing ranges, I kind of ignored engage/disengage, but I can see a justifiable reason for including the extra maneuver to engage or disengage; possibly represented by turning the miniature to face their opponent or turning away, which would treat engaging as less of moving closer to an opponent to turning towards them and slipping into a fighting stance. Or something. I also know that that extra maneuver is often a balancing factor, so YMMV.

Prone could work about the same as it already does, and can maybe be used to deny direct line-of-sight.

You brought up crawling, which I kind of didn't think about. I figure that could work either by doubling the cost (so crawling through difficult terrain would be 4 per square) or increasing the cost by 1 (crawling through difficult would be 3 per square.

I'm thinking about converting to your standard but I definately want a disengage rule.  I just don't want a highly mobile character juking in and out of a group of enemies at no cost.  A maneuver doesn't seem too out of line however.  Maybe 2 strain or a maneuver, that way someone always has the option of getting away even if an effect is denying them an extra maneuver.  I guess the strain could represent glancing blows or what not.  Regarding difficult terrain, crawling or other movement modifiiers.  I like additive increases rather than division and it's always much simplier to stack additives and you don't run into situation where people have to divide by 4.

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50 minutes ago, Richardbuxton said:

Wouldn’t the “Disengage Manoeuvre” provide a small amount of movement as well, say 5ft, perhaps a talent can increase it to 10?

I tested that exact thing last night and overall I liked it.  We were testing a Disengage maneuver that let the player access 10ft of movement during which he could leave any number of threatened squars.  The one issue I found was that he kept sending his wimpy, couldn't really hurt me, minions to engage me while his main force attacked at range.  It was a bit infuriating.  Spaced with 10ft in between them it became an unpassable mire.  I assume this is why games like D&D have the Attack of Opportunity rule.  If that had been in place I would have been able to run through, taking the hits (which would have been pretty minor) to get to the other side.  I don't think I want AoO in the game, but I think it definately needs an alternative to Disengaging.

A couple options come to mind:

  • Leaving a monsters reach deals a flat amout of strain (maybe 2 or 3)
  • Leaving a monsters reach deals strain equal to the monsters Advasary type (Minions = 1, Rival = 3, Nemesis = 5)
  • Leaving a monsters reach deals strain equal to the monsters Brawn score

All of these could be avoided by taking the Disengage maneuver of course.

I also had a different, perhaps easier to remember version of disengage that might work if I went with one of these system.

Disengage - When you take the Disengage maneuver, all movement costs one additional movement (same as difficult terrain) but you do not suffer strain from leaving an opponents reach.

I suppose you could make it so all terrain counted as difficult terrain but you might have some strange interactions with other future talents.

What do you guys think?

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You want a tactical movement system, yet don’t want the other team to be able to slow you down with tactics? That’s called wanting to have your cake and eat it too ??

But seriously, what if disengaging then allowed you to remain disengaged until the end of your turn or you decide to engage. So in your example you would Disengage with one manoeuvre, then spend a second manoeuvre moving right past the other enemies and up to your full movement distance.

It forces you to use all your manoeuvres  moving if you want to do it, and prevents the “perfect 10ft placement” problem.

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It is all about balance.  If it's frustrating in a pretend testing situtation, how much more frustrating will it be when lovingly crafted character lives are on the line.  In Genesys a group of minions spaces 10ft apart are still engaged with each other and thus require only a reasonably small effort to bypass by engaging the group one turn and disengaging the group the next turn, coming out the other side.  In D&D, such a group wouldn't be an issue because you could just suck up the AoO's of some whimpy goblins so you could get to the important targets.  This rule set doesn't allow either option which I'd like to remidy.  (BTW, I know it was a joke, this is more just as a general commentary)

I tested disengaged until the end of turn previously and that worked fine with 20ft movement per maneuver.  Now that I'm testing the movement pool idea of @Swordbreaker, a character can get 30ft of movement with one maneuver.  My gut says that would be over correcting in the other direction.

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2 minutes ago, SladeWeston said:

It is all about balance.  If it's frustrating in a pretend testing situtation, how much more frustrating will it be when lovingly crafted character lives are on the line.  In Genesys a group of minions spaces 10ft apart are still engaged with each other and thus require only a reasonably small effort to bypass by engaging the group one turn and disengaging the group the next turn, coming out the other side.  In D&D, such a group wouldn't be an issue because you could just suck up the AoO's of some whimpy goblins so you could get to the important targets.  This rule set doesn't allow either option which I'd like to remidy.  (BTW, I know it was a joke, this is more just as a general commentary)

I tested disengaged until the end of turn previously and that worked fine with 20ft movement per maneuver.  Now that I'm testing the movement pool idea of @Swordbreaker, a character can get 30ft of movement with one maneuver.  My gut says that would be over correcting in the other direction.

I mean, if that's a conceptual problem, maybe adjust how much a movement per square equals. You have about 5' per square, so try cutting it down. According to what I found through a quick Google search, average stride distance of an adult male human is 30" when walking. Try 3' per square instead.

Another possibility for my system, that I considered briefly, is to limit how many movement points a character can spend in a single maneuver, such as no more than half of their total movement value or something.

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Ok, so, provoking many AoO in DnD can certainly be deadly, but there are usually ways to get around it, and you could implement ways to get around disengagement. For instance, in DnD there is a spell that let's you move without provoking AoO, you could use the same kind of idea in Genesys with either an enhance spell or a talent. 

For instance
Tumble (Improved)
Tier: 
3
Activation: Active (Incidental)
Ranked: No
Your character must have purchased the Tumble talent to benefit from this talent. Once per round on your character's turn, they may suffer 3 strain to ignore any engagements from adversaries until the end of your characters turn.

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1 hour ago, PurpleKittenofDeath said:

Ok, so, provoking many AoO in DnD can certainly be deadly, but there are usually ways to get around it, and you could implement ways to get around disengagement. For instance, in DnD there is a spell that let's you move without provoking AoO, you could use the same kind of idea in Genesys with either an enhance spell or a talent. 

For instance
Tumble (Improved)
Tier: 
3
Activation: Active (Incidental)
Ranked: No
Your character must have purchased the Tumble talent to benefit from this talent. Once per round on your character's turn, they may suffer 3 strain to ignore any engagements from adversaries until the end of your characters turn.

This is true of course.  There lots of talents that need converting and plenty of design space to create options for people to move through groups of enemies.  The question then becomes, should that be an option for all players or does it need to be restricted to some?  On the flip side, is this an ability we want all monsters to have or just a select few?  Or am I going throught too much effort to avoid adding AoO and just should I just go ahead and add them?

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1 hour ago, SladeWeston said:

On the flip side, is this an ability we want all monsters to have or just a select few?

Personally, I'd give it only to a select few that it fit thematically. If you're going to use a tactic against players, it's only fair game that they can turn it around and protect THEIR backline. As an example: in Descent the boardgame no creatures can pass through an enemy square EXCEPT if they have an ability that specifically lets them do just that, like Goblins do. 

 

1 hour ago, SladeWeston said:

The question then becomes, should that be an option for all players or does it need to be restricted to some?

Some sort of cost is needed I believe, and probably a hefty one at that, as free movement and thusly positioning is basicly the most valuable thing to have in tactical combat. As a talent, Tier 4 might even be more apropriate as the diffrence between a 50xp investment and a 100xp investment might be enough to push it towards a "nice thing to have" instead of a "must pick for any melee combatant"

 

1 hour ago, SladeWeston said:

Or am I going throught too much effort to avoid adding AoO and just should I just go ahead and add them?

The lack of AoO puts a significant limiter on the action economy as it forces you to use actions or manuevers to disengage, not only that, but a single attack in this system can be far more severe due to the way crits work. If you add them, your players need to understand that provokiong AoO can end REALLY badly for them, and fast.

But all that said, nothing is stopping you from trying it if you think it'll make your game more fun :)

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18 minutes ago, PurpleKittenofDeath said:

The lack of AoO puts a significant limiter on the action economy as it forces you to use actions or manuevers to disengage, not only that, but a single attack in this system can be far more severe due to the way crits work. If you add them, your players need to understand that provokiong AoO can end REALLY badly for them, and fast.

But all that said, nothing is stopping you from trying it if you think it'll make your game more fun :)

 

See, this was my thoughts exactly.  Which was why I was leaning towards a Strain cost that functioned almost like an AoO.  Thematically, I figured it could represent the effort to avoid hits plus glancing blows and what not.  I was thinking one of these might work:

  • Leaving a monsters reach deals a flat amout of strain (maybe 2 or 3)
  • Leaving a monsters reach deals strain equal to the monsters Advasary type (Minions = 1, Rival = 3, Nemesis = 5)
  • Leaving a monsters reach deals strain equal to the monsters Brawn score

I like the stain amount by advasary type but that seems a little hard to remember.  Thoughts?

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I'd go with the last one, partly because it reinforces the impression of glancing blows, basing that on the brawn rating of the opponent makes more sense and it also let's you decide easily how much strain (wounds on minions and rivals) you should deal against NPC's who disengage without using a manuever. The other part is because using a fixed low amount of strain devalues the use of minions as tactical meat shields. Them being unalbe to pose a threat while defending a leader type NPC diminishes them, in my opinion at least, both in the narrative and in the game.

As I mentioned earlier, free movement should come at a cost, one that the players really need to consider if it's worth it.

You also have to balance it against other options, say for instance that you allow a spell to ignore engagement, then that costs 2 strain AND an action AND a successfull check; if the players have access to cheaper options than that, they'll always use those first.

 

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25 minutes ago, PurpleKittenofDeath said:

You also have to balance it against other options, say for instance that you allow a spell to ignore engagement, then that costs 2 strain AND an action AND a successfull check; if the players have access to cheaper options than that, they'll always use those first.

 

True.  Once I have a system I'm happy with there will undoubtly be a slew of updates to minor rules, traits and talents that will have to be considered, updated, created or removed.

So at the moment it's looking like:

  • Creatures have a movement pool (speed) each turn they can access (most races will have 25-30).
  • Spending a maneuver allows them spend that pool of movement.
  • They can spend a second maneuver each to to access any remaining movement balance.
  • Moving out of an enemies reach deals strain equal to the creatures brawn
  • A creature or player may avoid this damage by taking the Disengage maneuver but movement taken while disengaging is treated as moving through difficult terrain (+1ft per foot traveled or basically double)

That seems like a good rule set to test.  It make leaving a threatened square painful but not too punishing at first and allows for the every popular, eat several attacks to get to the caster, strategy.  At the same time, it makes kiting hard and punishes in and out stragegies for people without the proper talents.

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in the core rules for genesys you have to take care both going into range with a foe and leaving range of a foe.

what if you just make moving in an area where foes can melee attack count as difficult terrain.. ( or cost strain per foe that you are in range of. )  that simplify things while keeping the rules mostly the same.

 

also, I would think about making the move points per maneuver not per turn. to encourage the use of two moves (for running) like the base game. 

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25 minutes ago, adairhammer said:

also, I would think about making the move points per maneuver not per turn. to encourage the use of two moves (for running) like the base game. 

 

This was my original plan.  The issue I was running into was that movement per maneuvers made mobility very feast for famine depending on if the player was using two maneuvers for movement that round or not.  I also ran into an issue with effects that changed movement getting amplified in both directions.  For example, if you give someone +5 movement, sometimes that's +10 movement.  That can have a dramatic effect on mobility.  I would love to get more people doing some actual testing though.  At the moment my speculation about the "Movement Pool" system is mostly theoretical as I have done only a little testing.  The Maneuver = 20ft of moment system I tested a good bit.  It wasn't bad but I suspect this new one will be easy to design and play with.

31 minutes ago, adairhammer said:

in the core rules for genesys you have to take care both going into range with a foe and leaving range of a foe.

what if you just make moving in an area where foes can melee attack count as difficult terrain.. ( or cost strain per foe that you are in range of. )  that simplify things while keeping the rules mostly the same.

5

I've considered this too and I don't think its a bad idea but the issue is how do you define "moving in an area".  Ideally, you'd want a rule like this to cost extra movement when they enter or when they leave, but that isn't how difficult terrain works.  Since you can't use difficult terrain to cover coming and going, I figured I'd not worry about an engagement cost and focus on the disengagement cost.  Since really, that generally is the more problematic of the two when it comes to balance.  It's still on the table though, particularly, if this most recent idea flops.

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15 minutes ago, Richardbuxton said:

What if Disengage uses 20ft of movement but you only actually get to move 10ft

That is what the difficult terrain does, except you have the option of also doing 5 for 10 or 15 for 30. Plus I suspect it will be a bit easier to remember.  I could be wrong though.

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I wish I could contribute, but tumble and grapple are all jumbled in my brain at the moment. Cody's original post seems pretty solid, however, and replacing vague distances with more specific numbers seems like it could work pretty well on a grid. One issue that I've had with Genesys (and Star Wars before it) is that I tried to play on a grid but had vague ranges in the rules. Takes a little time to reconcile the two in my head.

Also, why is this a "Your Settings" topic? Seems like a general rules discussion and not a setting-specific one. :(

Edited by finarvyn

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