# Range bands--any worked example from FFG?

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1 hour ago, AtoMaki said:

Exactly! Or, to better say, moving 2 Range Bands towards the closest enemy is not the same as moving 2 Range Bands towards the further enemy.

I hadn't thought of that in this way, but I think this absolutely nails it. Range bands don't scale linearly.

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You have to track everyone's relative position to everyone else, then.
Or rely on Gm's fiat (Which means there is no point having techniques that require precise positioning.)

So it's a tool that can't be used, in the end.

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3 hours ago, Exarkfr said:

So, if you move 2 range bands towards the closer enemy, you are still 2-3 range bands to the further enemy.
But if you move 2 range bands towards the further enemy, you end up within range 1.

So, moving 2 range bands is not the same as moving 2 range bands ?
Of course, those bands don't represent the same distance. (*)
But that's the tool we have to adjudicate distances. At some point, it needs to make sense.

(*) Though, bands 0, 1, 2, and 3 represent very short distances (touch to a dozen meters over 4 bands), and common math should do the trick.
Problems start with range band 4 (12m to 100m is a huge gap; too much of a jump from the previous ones)

Range bands aren't squares on a grid. They're a very rough measure of how far away a something or someone is in a structured encounter. I can touch, I can hit it with a sword/spear, etc. Moving a range band toward one person doesn't necessitate any change in range bands toward anything else.

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Question is not "What are range bands ?".

Question is "How do you use them ?"

On the 2 threads from Beta linked before, no one could explain that.
One of the first questions after the Beginner Box's release is about range bands.
Every release of a Star Wars game had this question.
And no one ever manages to explain how they work in game.
And it's worse in L5R than in SW, because range matters more here.

FFG never bothered to explain.

Edited by Exarkfr

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23 minutes ago, Exarkfr said:

Question is "How do you use them ?"

I use them as they were meant to be used, narratively. This was a big one for many people to wrap their heads around back in the beginning for Star Wars. Many people came in with a more tactical mindset. It should be more about the story rather than exact measurements. Many have switched to using more tactical range bands and I believe there are a few threads over in the EotE forum. I don't know how successful they were but if that suits anyone they should maybe check them out.

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32 minutes ago, Exarkfr said:

Question is "How do you use them ?"

It is actually fairly simple: you determine Range Bands only when they are needed and strictly for what they are needed. Once it is done, all Range Bands are forgotten and re-calculated the next time they are needed. Anything unrelated to the 'when' and 'what' is ignored, including any characters that are not specifically targeted in that instance.

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So, it's all GM fiat telling you if you can or not  do what you want ?
Fine thing with this way of doing, is that you don't need range band rules at all.

Edited by Exarkfr

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1 minute ago, Exarkfr said:

So, it's all GM fiat telling you if you can or not  do what you want ?

2

No, because character positioning remains constant despite the Range Bands disappearing.

It works, it just has a tendency to be a really tiresome mechanic when you have to recalculate your Range Bands for the ninth time in two turns. Personally, I'm more of a fan of the Combat Zones mentioned above, but that mechanic would drive the tactical-minded players insane  !

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1 minute ago, AtoMaki said:

No, because character positioning remains constant despite the Range Bands disappearing.

It works, it just has a tendency to be a really tiresome mechanic when you have to recalculate your Range Bands for the ninth time in two turns. Personally, I'm more of a fan of the Combat Zones mentioned above, but that mechanic would drive the tactical-minded players insane  !

So you are tracking actual position on a map and then working out range bands whenever someone actually does something?

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OK, if the answer is "It works", I'm out.

Seriously, it's not helping at all.

Edit:

It's not a ruler.
It's not a grid.
It's not zone.
It's abstract (so abstract no one who understands can explain), yet it's used to track fine positioning (movement is limited and weapon ranges are very tight).
It's only for use when needed, but when need arises, it's tiresome to use.
?

Edited by Exarkfr

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Maybe give an example of something you're concerned about? That way we can better address your concerns. What ability are you worried about not being able to use properly?

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I finally had some time to write out why I think range bands don't work, even if you use minis and string (or some other technique) to keep the bands consistent. Honestly, they make sense to me when trying to attack someone, but break down when you try to use them for movement. Here's my thinking:

1. Basic principle of range bands: We know that if you are range bands away from your target, and you move two range bands closer, you are now n-2 range bands away. Ex: you start 4 range bands away from your target. You move 2 range bands closer. You are 2 range bands away from your opponent.
2. Nonlinear bands: We know that the larger rand bands represent larger areas; range band 4 is a LOT bigger than 3, and 3 is bigger than 2.
3. Target is a reference for movement: Given 1 & 2,  your target must serve as a reference for movement--If your initial position was the reference, moving two range bands away from your initial position would not move you two range bands closer to your target. (Which defies the basic principle of range bands)
4. Strange "landing" areas: If we stop at #3, and say you can arrive anywhere in your target's range band, you could arrive in positions that defy common sense, like arriving behind them; arriving in front of them would require additional range bands of movement, even though it's technically less distance. This isn't a problem in itself; the rules say that range bands represent the difficulty of moving around people who are fighting. So maybe it's okay that running around behind someone is easier than approaching them directly. But that doesn't really make sense when you approach an ally, or someone who isn't actively trying to fight you off. And it means you can move way more distance than you can hit, which make ranged weapons seem a bit silly.
5. Moving with no target character, a.k.a. teleporting samurai: what if you just want to run, and you're not approaching anyone in particular? Since, so far, range bands have required a target, the logical thing to choose a spot on the ground over a kilometer away (so that is is range band 6 from you), and then move 1 range band closer (range 5), so that you're a few hundred meters away.
6. Move anywhere in the skirmish with free move: given # 5, if you pick your spot well, you can "land" anywhere in the range band of that spot on the ground, including Range 0 of other characters. Congratulations, you broke the game.
7. Teleporting samurai is ridiculous, and seems to go against the apparent intention of the rules: TRUE. So can we use common sense to limit your movement? Maybe, I dunno. Haven't gotten there yet. Maybe you throw #1 (basic principle of range bands) out the window, take out some minis and string, and base all movement on your own range bands. Which might work... I guess. But that means you can't really have narrative representation of combat space (which defeats the purpose of range bands) and contradicts what is stated in the rules (that range bands are smaller as they get closer to characters because it's harder to move around them). If you use your own range bands as a reference for movement, smaller distances are relatively more difficult than larger distances (because the required successes to distance ratio in the Maneuver action gets smaller as you move more range bands).
Edited by sidescroller
GM fiat

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2 minutes ago, HamHamJ2 said:

So you are tracking actual position on a map and then working out range bands whenever someone actually does something?

Exactly!

3 minutes ago, Exarkfr said:

OK, if the answer is "It works", I'm out.

No, the answer is "Range Bands are not Hexes" - they are more like a slightly spun-up reach mechanic. You shouldn't use Range Bands to determine positioning or distance, Range Bands are strictly for action resolution and represent a specific "reach limit" for the acting character. Do not use them for anything else, they can't do those!

@sidescroller I think the basic assumption is that you must "land" as close to the target of your movement as possible. Also, I'm fairly sure that none of the writers thought about players targeting random points with their movement

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The more you post, the less I understand.
Sincerely. ?

19 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Exactly!

Why use range bands at all, then ?
And not distance ?
Why use a map for position, and then abstract distances ?

19 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

You shouldn't use Range Bands to determine positioning or distance, Range Bands are strictly for action resolution and represent a specific "reach limit" for the acting character. Do not use them for anything else, they can't do those!

Range bands are presented as a way to "handles the concept of distance between two people or objects abstractly [...]. Range bands are a set of numbered, approximate distances that can be used to define spatial relationships between two points when that information is needed."

It all rings like it is used to determine positions and distances.

Concrete situation:
Shugenja (S) and spear-wielding Yojimbo (Y) are walking along a road, side by side.
Bandit (B) with a bow, some 50 meters away, asks for their koku.

Do you use range bands ?
Like S and Y are range 0 from each other, and range 4 from B ?

Yojimbo decides to move closer to Bandit and maneuvers for extra move .

Do you use range bands ?
Like distance between Y and B is reduced to 2 ? 3 ?
What's the distance now between Y and S ?

Shugenja wants to cast Power of the Earth Dragon (range 0-2) on Yojimbo. Can they ?

If I take a piece of paper and write some distances on it, changing them as people move, it works perfectly.
If I use range bands, it doesn't work at all. Something doesn't click.
I don't see the point of those rules.
They are neither tactical, nor abstract. Just some weird in-between design concept thrown around.

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20 minutes ago, Exarkfr said:

Why use range bands at all, then?
And not distance?
Why use a map for position, and then abstract distances?

1

Technically, as far as I can understand, the intention behind Range Bands is that they make the game faster because you can just abstract and not get bogged down with exact measurements. Problem is, that as you said, the mechanic does not do the abstraction too well and instead goes with the "weird in-between design concept" route.

23 minutes ago, Exarkfr said:

Concrete situation:
Shugenja (S) and spear-wielding Yojimbo (Y) are walking along a road, side by side.
Bandit (B) with a bow, some 50 meters away, asks for their koku.

Do you use range bands ?
Like S and Y are range 0 from each other, and range 4 from B ?

Yojimbo decides to move closer to Bandit and maneuvers for extra move .

Do you use range bands ?
Like distance between Y and B is reduced to 2 ? 3 ?
What's the distance now between Y and S ?

Shugenja wants to cast Power of the Earth Dragon (range 0-2) on Yojimbo. Can they ?

11

You are only using Range Bands when the Yojimbo moves and when the Shugenja cast the spell, and only to resolve the actions. So the Yojimbo moves to Range 2 to his Bandit, and thus when the Bandit comes and nothing else changes, then the GM can use Range 2 when the Bandit attacks the Yojimbo instead of actually recalculating the Range Bands. However, the Shugenja is a different matter, because the Yojimbo moving around might have put him outside of Range 2, so the GM must determine whether the Yojimbo is in Range 2 or not - he is most likely not because the Bandit is at Range 4 and the Yojimbo is pretty close to him (Range 2) so he must be pretty far from the Shugenja (Range 3-4). Again, you should recalculate Range bands each time they are needed, but sometimes this can be handwaved away if the situation is clear (this mostly happens in close quarters or between few characters).

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@AtoMaki yeah I’m sure they weren’t thinking of random spots either ? but they also don’t define what are and aren’t valid targets for movement, and I don’t see any reason you shouldn't be able to run wherever you want. An answer might be "the only valid targets for movement are common sense targets given the situation", but then we're back to GM fiat.

Ato, I'm pretty sure you're the only one on this thread claiming that A) range bands work, and B) they don't require GM fiat.... What the heck do you actually do??? How do you handle them?

Edit: like, at the table, including materials and procedures.

Edited by sidescroller

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6 minutes ago, sidescroller said:

Ato, I'm pretty sure you're the only one on this thread claiming that A) range bands work, and B) they don't require GM fiat.... What the heck do you actually do??? How do you handle them?

Edit: like, at the table, including materials and procedures.

2

We just simply recalculated Range Bands each time they came up. No maps (we hate tactical maps btw), extra materials, or anything, just common sense and a solid demi-transparent lampshade.

Tho, I must say this, while I do claim that Range Bands work, what I don't claim is that it is a good mechanic. We actually ditched it for the third-and-half campaign and never looked back.

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@AtoMaki, by "common sense", do you mean GM fiat or group consensus?

When you ditched it, did you use that zones system you mentioned that required you to rewrite the conflict system?

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I'm actually okay with the rules saying it's all down to GM fiat (though it probably won't work with my gaming group),

But... That isn't what the rules actually say.

The problem is in great part that the rules imply a structure (but don't give enough information about how that structure actually works in practice, a view supported by how many people are confused about how to implement them), and those supporting it are saying that no structure is intended, it's all down to GM fiat.

I still have no idea at all what the game designers intended here, and no-one seems any the wiser about that point?

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16 hours ago, deraforia said:

You've got a lot going on here, which is interesting,

You say that, but...

No - there isn't much going on here, that's part of my problem - I consider this a pretty bare-bones situation.

There are a couple of groups of bad guys and a basic scene description - any less than that and you risk combat being little more that a die-rolling competition between two mobs of characters on a featureless plain...

If the rules can't handle a simple scene description and only two units of bad guys then we have a serious problem.

Quote

but you also seem hung up on precision which isn't going to do anything but bog down the action. Why is the goblin group splitting up? Are they trying to flank the PCs?

As it happens it was to prevent the PCs from bypassing the goblins and heading straight towards the situation at the village,

But you know what, it doesn't really matter, sooner or later I am going to want more than one mob of bad guys.

If having two units of bad guys on the field of battle is a big enough deal that the GM has to think about whether it's worth the extra mental overhead then we have a serious problem, because as I said earlier - this is a bare-bones situation combat-wise, it should be easy.

Quote

Are they already considered within bow range? That's more important to me than numbers. Don't use meters. It's one more thing to track that's only going to make you more miserable. There are no meters in Rokugan.

There are also no skill and ring dice in Rokugan, but they are a useful tool for playing the game.

Can you visualize how far away a foe "within bowshot" is, because I sure as **** can't (and I doubt many other players can either), but I can visualize a foe "a hundred meters or so away".

Meters are a tool, and if they make it easier to transfer information to the players then they will get used - telling players that the foe is a hundred meters away is a lot more descriptive than saying "at range three" - the players just end up asking you how far that is... I may as well just cut the middle man and give them a rough distance in meters in the first place.

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8 hours ago, sidescroller said:

@AtoMaki, by "common sense", do you mean GM fiat or group consensus?

When you ditched it, did you use that zones system you mentioned that required you to rewrite the conflict system?

I'm actually starting to think that a grid system might be easier to utilize than zones,

The more I read about it the more complex it seems... It's frustrating because if there had been a little more written about it in the rule book then it might be a lot easier to handle.

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OK. First, thank Ato for taking part in the discussion.
Posts can often seem dry, cold and rude, and I want to say that I don't intend to offend you.
Those just just frustrate me to no end...

I notice that you often say "re/calculate" range band.
I take it it doesn't involve maths at all. And just mean "eyeball / estimate", right ?

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11 hours ago, sidescroller said:

@AtoMaki, by "common sense", do you mean GM fiat or group consensus?

When you ditched it, did you use that zones system you mentioned that required you to rewrite the conflict system?

Group conesnsus, kinda. Essentially nobody really bothered with what the acting player/GM calculated as the actual Range Band as long as it looked fine. And I can count on one hand how many times it was not fine during the 20+ sessions we played.

Yes, it was the zone system I mentioned earlier.

3 hours ago, Exarkfr said:

OK. First, thank Ato for taking part in the discussion.
Posts can often seem dry, cold and rude, and I want to say that I don't intend to offend you.
Those just just frustrate me to no end...

I notice that you often say "re/calculate" range band.
I take it it doesn't involve maths at all. And just mean "eyeball / estimate", right ?

5

Hey, no problem, truth to be told english is not my first language, and I do have my problems with the glorious language of misty Avalon, so sorry if things are a bit off sometimes  !

Yes, you have to eyeball it, but you can use a map too if you are not very confident with visualizing the battlefield without any help.

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1 hour ago, AtoMaki said:

Hey, no problem, truth to be told english is not my first language, and I do have my problems with the glorious language of misty Avalon, so sorry if things are a bit off sometimes  !

No need to apologise about that.
I'm not a native english speaker myself. ?

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On 8/15/2018 at 3:24 AM, gareth_lazelle said:

3: An encounter I ran during the playtest period - the players (a unicorn and a dragon in this case) are on a road (open terrain) which emerges from some woods (concealing terrain) into paddy fields (entangling terrain, though the road continues to cut through the fields towards a village). A group of a dozen goblins are harassing peasants a little way off the road in the fields, say 30 meters off the road and a hundred meters or so away, but upon seeing the players they split up - one group moves straight towards the players through the field whilst the other heads straight for the road and then turns towards the players. The players, being players, also split up - the unicorn hangs back on the treeline and uses his bow whilst the dragon advances towards the group in the fields - how do you assess who is in what terrain, and relative positioning between all four "units" (that's potentially six distance measurements to track - and all can be important depending upon which talents the players have access to, abilities with areas of effect, etc).

This is an encounter so there are some things that need to be known.

• What is the initiative of each character?
• Were the goblins surprised by the two characters emerging from the forest?
• What is the intention of the dragon character? Just to get by or something else?
• How far into the field are the goblins? Are they a sword length from the road (range 1) or bow shot (range 4)? This is important information as it will help determine certain actions such as shooting bows or moving to the road.

As to accessing who is in what terrain you have already stated what terrain each group is in. The two characters are on the open road (open terrain) and the goblins are in the field (entangling terrain). As to their distances from each other, as GM, you decide such matters at the beginning of the encounter. Just like any other game. But, instead of actual distances you use range bands.

How does the encounter play out? Depends on the initiative and actions. Let's say the goblins are a bow shot (range 4) from the road. The two characters gain the upper hand with initiative and act first.

• The unicorn stays back and shoots his bow at the goblins, so he is firing at range 4.
• The dragon moves down the road. He makes a fitness roll successfully and is able to move 3 range bands away from the unicorn. He is still 4 bands from the goblins in the field, as was determined at the beginning of the encounter.
• One group of  goblins pull their bows and fire back at the unicorn at range 4.
• Another group moves toward the dragon on the road. They too must make a fitness roll, but only succeed in moving two range bands. Luckily for them entangling terrain does not affect them. Now they are at range 2 from the dragon. They can move again next round to spear range if the dragon stays close enough or shoot their bows.
• And so on.

Now the dragon could keep moving away from the goblins or stop to confront them. Ranges will change as the narrative changes.

Hope this helps.

Edited by mouthymerc

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