# How do you use grids and range bands?

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I'm looking for some advice on the use of grids and range bands for skirmishes. What's your advice? How do you do it?

I'm thinking:

Range 1 - 1 space apart
Range 2 - 2 spaces apart
Range 3 - 6 spaces
Range 4 - 12 spaces
Range 5 - 18 spaces

To move into range 0 of an enemy you must first spend a move getting to range 1, and before that, spend a move getting to range 2. That way it simulates having to navigate the ranges of enemy melee weapons, and the timing of attacks. It's easier to move further when no one is nearby, but if you want to get into someone's danger zone, you have to move with purpose to get there.

Thoughts?

(Using 28mm models, with a 1 inch grid.)

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How many spaces do you move per turn, or do you move range bands and only use the spaces for tracking?

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Posted (edited)

The book already suggests that Range 0 is occupying the same spot on a grid.

That's another of the rulings that I think there were two different visions colliding during design and this was the compromise.

Range Bands can be gamed. I'll tell you that. And of course the GM can smack the player in the head for that, but by the rules, they are right.

Edited by Diogo Salazar

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36 minutes ago, Chilitoke said:

How many spaces do you move per turn, or do you move range bands and only use the spaces for tracking?

Most likely it will be 6.

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12 hours ago, lologrelol said:

Most likely it will be 6.

Then the simple conversion would be

R1 = 1-6
R2 = 7-13

and so on.

With the free move being six and the move action being six or the check in an attempt to gain 6+2x extra sucess.

However as swords are range 1 and spears range 2 we're almost down to a 1' square wich might be an overkill

This will however seem really large on any play board, so maybe cut the numbers down to 2 or 4 per move, and shrink range accordingly.

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Can't really say I'm a huge fan of range bands.

The idea looks elegant, but IME it becomes rather clunky in practice.

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4 hours ago, Tenebrae said:

Can't really say I'm a huge fan of range bands.

The idea looks elegant, but IME it becomes rather clunky in practice.

Tim "I move to Range 5."

GM "Bad Guy Ninja 1 Closes to Range 1 of you Tim"

Steve "Im at Range 2 with my spear of Ninja 2, so what Range am I to Ninja 1. If he is Range 5 from me, does that mean Ninja 1 is Range 4. Okay I'll move to Range 2 of each with my Naginata"

Eustace "I return to the combat after rescuing the old man. I enter at Range 6, does that mean I am Range 0 or Range 2 of the Ninja 1 guy, the one attacking Tim ?"

*the rpg table explodes*

Maybe I'm just being hyperbolic, but that is always the situation I see, for L5R and Star Wars

I haven't seen a system it really works in.

if someone does, please share !

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2 minutes ago, NathaninVic said:

Tim "I move to Range 5."

GM "Bad Guy Ninja 1 Closes to Range 1 of you Tim"

Steve "Im at Range 2 with my spear of Ninja 2, so what Range am I to Ninja 1. If he is Range 5 from me, does that mean Ninja 1 is Range 4. Okay I'll move to Range 2 of each with my Naginata"

Eustace "I return to the combat after rescuing the old man. I enter at Range 6, does that mean I am Range 0 or Range 2 of the Ninja 1 guy, the one attacking Tim ?"

*the rpg table explodes*

Maybe I'm just being hyperbolic, but that is always the situation I see, for L5R and Star Wars

I haven't seen a system it really works in.

if someone does, please share !

Exactly, range bands only work in duels and hey, per rules, duels ignore range bands...

But you are totally correct, I prefer to ignore range bands completely and accept that people can move two grid spaces per move action (or more if more successes in the maneuver action)

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19 minutes ago, NathaninVic said:

Tim "I move to Range 5."

GM "Bad Guy Ninja 1 Closes to Range 1 of you Tim"

Steve "Im at Range 2 with my spear of Ninja 2, so what Range am I to Ninja 1. If he is Range 5 from me, does that mean Ninja 1 is Range 4. Okay I'll move to Range 2 of each with my Naginata"

Eustace "I return to the combat after rescuing the old man. I enter at Range 6, does that mean I am Range 0 or Range 2 of the Ninja 1 guy, the one attacking Tim ?"

*the rpg table explodes*

Maybe I'm just being hyperbolic, but that is always the situation I see, for L5R and Star Wars

I haven't seen a system it really works in.

This has generally been my experience as well. Also with Exalted 3 and a few other, older, games.

Now, I hesitate to write this, but I've seen it working in Ars Magica. Sort of.

Range bands per se do not exist in Ars Magica - but distances obviously do. Magic has range categories of

• Personal - meaning the caster and the caster's clothes, and little else. Eg. a sword will usually not be considered part of personal, since it sticks out too far.
• Touch - meaning that the caster should be able to touch the target without moving (much) first. Most melee could be considered the extreme end of touch range.
• Voice - meaning as far as the caster's voice carries. Obviously longer if you shout than if you whisper.
• Sight - meaning Line of Sight really. The caster must be able to see and identify the target. This can be fairly far if you're on a tower and/or casting at something big.
• Arcane - meaning that the caster uses a piece of the target. Think Voodoo doll.

There's also a range called 'eye', which requires the caster and target to look eachother in the eyes. We almost never use that.

It work - pretty well even - but I suspect it's mostly because Ars Magica is not a very tactical game (in that sense anyway), nor ever was intended to be. it doesn't have rules for how far you can move, to give an example.

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Yeah, Ars Magica is definitely a narrative system that would be more fitting for what 5th edition tried to be.

My suggestion would be to disregard Range Bands entirely for moving purposes (they still work fine for weapon range) and just decide how far a character can move per turn/action with the rest of the group.

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Just now, Diogo Salazar said:

Yeah, Ars Magica is definitely a narrative system that would be more fitting for what 5th edition tried to be.

My suggestion would be to disregard Range Bands entirely for moving purposes (they still work fine for weapon range) and just decide how far a character can move per turn/action with the rest of the group.

Pretty how how I've done things so far.

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20 hours ago, Chilitoke said:

Then the simple conversion would be

R1 = 1-6
R2 = 7-13

and so on.

With the free move being six and the move action being six or the check in an attempt to gain 6+2x extra sucess.

However as swords are range 1 and spears range 2 we're almost down to a 1' square wich might be an overkill

This will however seem really large on any play board, so maybe cut the numbers down to 2 or 4 per move, and shrink range accordingly.

Each 1 inch square equals approximately 5 feet in the real world.

I think I agree with the idea of trimming it to a smaller number. But Range 0/1/2/3 will still be the smaller amount.

But yeah, going to have to adjust range vs move speed accordingly. I just don't understand how the designers thought people would deal with complex combat situations when they wrote this game.

Not to worry though. We have the ability to house rule.

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20 hours ago, lologrelol said:

I just don't understand how the designers thought people would deal with complex combat situations when they wrote this game.

I love FFG's games, but I really think they're designed for the designers. I don't think they really remember how to think like players.

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On 4/3/2020 at 11:53 PM, Tenebrae said:
On 4/3/2020 at 10:41 PM, Diogo Salazar said:

Yeah, Ars Magica is definitely a narrative system that would be more fitting for what 5th edition tried to be.

My suggestion would be to disregard Range Bands entirely for moving purposes (they still work fine for weapon range) and just decide how far a character can move per turn/action with the rest of the group.

Pretty how how I've done things so far.

Count me in.

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So maybe just have defined movement bands of 3 squares, and give different weapons different ranges, to simplify things?

Touch = 0

Sword = 1 space

Spear =  2 spaces

Bow = 15 spaces

Looks neet.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/3/2020 at 11:59 AM, NathaninVic said:

Tim "I move to Range 5."

GM "Bad Guy Ninja 1 Closes to Range 1 of you Tim"

Steve "Im at Range 2 with my spear of Ninja 2, so what Range am I to Ninja 1. If he is Range 5 from me, does that mean Ninja 1 is Range 4. Okay I'll move to Range 2 of each with my Naginata"

Eustace "I return to the combat after rescuing the old man. I enter at Range 6, does that mean I am Range 0 or Range 2 of the Ninja 1 guy, the one attacking Tim ?"

*the rpg table explodes*

Maybe I'm just being hyperbolic, but that is always the situation I see, for L5R and Star Wars

I haven't seen a system it really works in.

if someone does, please share !

You can move the bands as a unit to the active character, then move the character to the spot on the appropriate band for movement, then move the bands back to that character and you have everyone else's relevant distances.

You can reproduce this on the tabletop by drawing on paper and placing that over the miniature, or using a thick string that you put marks on to denote where each ring is. String goes to the model and then in the direction they want to move like a ray. You then use the string to measure respective distances.

If you're just theater-of-the-mind-ing it, then may Lord Bayushi have mercy on your soul. But I can't imagine that using squares helps in the mind either.

Edit to add: is there a reason you don't like the suggested "Range Bands in Squares" on page 266? If so, then adjust your string/ring measurements according to your preference. I used the default and a 30x30 mat to create my rings template.

Edited by Hida Jitenno

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19 hours ago, lologrelol said:

So maybe just have defined movement bands of 3 squares, and give different weapons different ranges, to simplify things?

Touch = 0

Sword = 1 space

Spear =  2 spaces

Bow = 15 spaces

Look nice, what would you use for spells ?

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3 hours ago, Hida Jitenno said:

You can move the bands as a unit to the active character, then move the character to the spot on the appropriate band for movement, then move the bands back to that character and you have everyone else's relevant distances.

You can reproduce this on the tabletop by drawing on paper and placing that over the miniature, or using a thick string that you put marks on to denote where each ring is. String goes to the model and then in the direction they want to move like a ray. You then use the string to measure respective distances.

If you're just theater-of-the-mind-ing it, then may Lord Bayushi have mercy on your soul. But I can't imagine that using squares helps in the mind either.

Edit to add: is there a reason you don't like the suggested "Range Bands in Squares" on page 266? If so, then adjust your string/ring measurements according to your preference. I used the default and a 30x30 mat to create my rings template.

I applaud the effort you went to in coming up with that manner of handling it. Thanks for sharing.

However it goes to my original point of being so much of a hassle and effort to enable the Range band system. With the perfect group of fast thinking like minded individuals it could work.

a beautiful elegant and cinematic system that works in the abstract is what I think most want, with enough slight rules to help implement and explain in very quickly and very easily.

The issue with using a grid is the same, a break from the narrative if the game and more mechanical tactics being used, constraining the imagination and the creativity of the players because everything has been reduced to a battlemat with figures and tokens.

Enough people get bogged down by the micromanaging and the analysis paralysis of what to do when using either method.

I will continue to use theatre of the mind, no matter how many issues or slow downs in a game to redescribe, elabourate, and work out a combat scene. The worst thing about a game that is mostly narrative in nature is when it slows down for game mechanics instead of working them into the fold.

One day I hope a beautiful and elegant system is made the reflects the setting and can be used intuitively with no disagreement and very little anal retentive "best tactical plays" considerations, counting of squares to determine distances, or the constant need to use templates.

it's a pipe dream really, but I definitely want to hear it when someone gets close or has a good idea to work towards it.

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58 minutes ago, NathaninVic said:

I applaud the effort you went to in coming up with that manner of handling it. Thanks for sharing.

However it goes to my original point of being so much of a hassle and effort to enable the Range band system. With the perfect group of fast thinking like minded individuals it could work.

a beautiful elegant and cinematic system that works in the abstract is what I think most want, with enough slight rules to help implement and explain in very quickly and very easily.

The issue with using a grid is the same, a break from the narrative if the game and more mechanical tactics being used, constraining the imagination and the creativity of the players because everything has been reduced to a battlemat with figures and tokens.

Enough people get bogged down by the micromanaging and the analysis paralysis of what to do when using either method.

I will continue to use theatre of the mind, no matter how many issues or slow downs in a game to redescribe, elabourate, and work out a combat scene. The worst thing about a game that is mostly narrative in nature is when it slows down for game mechanics instead of working them into the fold.

One day I hope a beautiful and elegant system is made the reflects the setting and can be used intuitively with no disagreement and very little anal retentive "best tactical plays" considerations, counting of squares to determine distances, or the constant need to use templates.

it's a pipe dream really, but I definitely want to hear it when someone gets close or has a good idea to work towards it.

I think grid fights have a strong appeal to those who love miniatures. I like that I can turn an RPG into a board game. But yeah, miniatures and grids do hinder theater of the mind somewhat.

BUT they are best when trying to resolve complex combat situations involving lots of combatants in a skirmish format.

I as a GM will tend to auto-resolve a lot of NPC attacks to help speed things up in an RPG. Or if my players outmatch an enemy sooo much that they would most likely kill them in a single strike, I will just let them remove the target without rolling. I don't do this for higher tier enemies or boss creatures though.

Some players I've encountered also respond really well to grids. If its done right it can be a pretty fun tactical experience.

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1 hour ago, lologrelol said:

I think grid fights have a strong appeal to those who love miniatures. I like that I can turn an RPG into a board game. But yeah, miniatures and grids do hinder theater of the mind somewhat.

BUT they are best when trying to resolve complex combat situations involving lots of combatants in a skirmish format.

I as a GM will tend to auto-resolve a lot of NPC attacks to help speed things up in an RPG. Or if my players outmatch an enemy sooo much that they would most likely kill them in a single strike, I will just let them remove the target without rolling. I don't do this for higher tier enemies or boss creatures though.

Some players I've encountered also respond really well to grids. If its done right it can be a pretty fun tactical experience.

Undoubtedly.

Its mostly just a theme hangup for me.

For fast off the cuff basic D&D style games I use something like the UDT as shown by Professor Dungeon Master on Dungeoncraft.

When we played it battle map tactics where fairly fun in 3.0/3.5/PF where that facet of the game was at the forefront.

Same with Iron Kingdoms/Hordes rpg line for Warmachine which is built with the miniatures in mind, resolution of actions was very fast in it, though the system wasn't robust in other areas.

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Grids are (extremely) useful for very tactical games (eg Pathfinder et al, with their attacks of opportunity etc). But they also tend to turn games into these types of games. And since L5R5 clearly isn't trying to be that, what are these range bands doing here, really?

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1 hour ago, Tenebrae said:

Grids are (extremely) useful for very tactical games (eg Pathfinder et al, with their attacks of opportunity etc). But they also tend to turn games into these types of games. And since L5R5 clearly isn't trying to be that, what are these range bands doing here, really?

The million dollar question.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Tenebrae said:

Grids are (extremely) useful for very tactical games (eg Pathfinder et al, with their attacks of opportunity etc). But they also tend to turn games into these types of games. And since L5R5 clearly isn't trying to be that, what are these range bands doing here, really?

"And since L5R5 clearly isn't trying to be that"

Hmm.. hard to say... Feels like it is trying to be everything at once.

Edited by Avatar111

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On 4/6/2020 at 8:48 PM, Tenebrae said:

Grids are (extremely) useful for very tactical games (eg Pathfinder et al, with their attacks of opportunity etc). But they also tend to turn games into these types of games. And since L5R5 clearly isn't trying to be that, what are these range bands doing here, really?

L5R is being whatever my friends and I want it to be.

It has skirmish rules. I'm going to use them. It can have miniatures involved on a grid, heck yeah I'm gonna use them! lol

Doesn't mean I'll only use grids and will only have combat, but the ability to do so doesn't detract from the experience. Clear, easy to use, and concise rules would only help it.

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