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barrataria

Encounter Distance and Spotting (d6 Fantasy/misc)

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So, I've been thinking about a way to randomize encounter distances (for when the GM doesn't set them as part of a scenario). I didn't see anything similar in d6 books or SW (but I'm willing to be corrected) so I just started doodling.

 

At first I thought about figuring based on result points from an opposed check. So, 0 = right next to each other, over 20= really far away (with the high score getting initiative, of course). But when I tried to figure a way to get decent ranges for different environments (underground, wilderness, at sea) the results looked a little wacky.

 

Then I backed up and tried from a wargame angle. Instead of a directly opposed roll, each side (assuming two sides) rolls against a target number at a set distance. If both miss, they approach one range category and try again next turn/round. If both sides make it, they see each other. If only one makes the roll, it spots the other side, and the other tries again the next round (assuming the spotting side doesn't just flee). I'm not sure where all I've seen this kind of mechanic, but it's a common thing for naval games (esp. submarines) with hidden movement. It's tense and frustrating to know there's something somewhere, but not be able to spot it (especially if it starts shooting at you!).

 

After a couple hours of back and forth I'm thinking to use the first way (opposed roll) for dungeon/underground encounters, since it's fairly easy to conceive the range of distances. For wilderness and seaborne (and airborne) encounters, I'll use range bands with target numbers, depending on the terrain and conditions. So, spotting at sea on a clear day would be like a 5, and at night or in dense fog in swamp or woods would be 18 (or whatever). At sea the distances would be in 2 km increments, on land 500m or some such.

 

Has anyone tinkered with anything like this?

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Nope, can't say I have. I like the idea of range bands and a difficulty to beat. I'd also add in a modifier or two for "stealthy" ability of the group. If they're chatting and generally noisy, the modifier makes it more difficult to achieve the number. If they are stealthy, they get a modifier that makes it easier to achieve the number. (Or, as a correlative, more difficult for the OTHER side to achieve the number).

 

I can see this working even more underground, though the range bands would be considerably shrunk in size. One band would be point blank. Another at 3 meters. Another at 10 meters, and so on.

 

Plus, it's probably easier to use the same system regardless of where the encounter is, just vary the range bands based on the terrain (and maybe modifiers if you use them).

 

All in all, not a bad idea!

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Nope, can't say I have. I like the idea of range bands and a difficulty to beat. I'd also add in a modifier or two for "stealthy" ability of the group. If they're chatting and generally noisy, the modifier makes it more difficult to achieve the number. If they are stealthy, they get a modifier that makes it easier to achieve the number. (Or, as a correlative, more difficult for the OTHER side to achieve the number).

 

I can see this working even more underground, though the range bands would be considerably shrunk in size. One band would be point blank. Another at 3 meters. Another at 10 meters, and so on.

 

Plus, it's probably easier to use the same system regardless of where the encounter is, just vary the range bands based on the terrain (and maybe modifiers if you use them).

 

All in all, not a bad idea!

 

Thanks Grim. Yes, there would of course be modifiers for the conditions you mention, although for outdoor/waterborne movement there would be less of them.

 

I don't mind having a separate mechanic for underground encounter distance, because it's really a mechanic for determining surprise. I don't think the range bands are necessary for dungeon play, and worse I think it would be hard to set range bands that work for dungeon rooms, underground caverns, and whatever else. This way the surprise/encounter distance thing can be resolved in one opposed roll (and this only when it's not obvious from the dungeon design where an encounter occurs). A 0 result point total would be simultaneous combat; low totals would indicate a close or moderate distance, and lopsided result point totals would indicate a moderate-long distance and one or more surprise rounds.

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Oh, nice idea! Kind of reminds me of "Dragonlance Fifth Age". In fact, have you considered using more abstract distances? Like, Already in Melee, One Move Away, Thrown Weapon Range and Bow Range?

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In fact, have you considered using more abstract distances? Like, Already in Melee, One Move Away, Thrown Weapon Range and Bow Range?

 

Not exactly, although it would be a logical abstraction for GMs. But even I, half-asser that I am, try to stick to missile/weapon ranges outdoors. Especially for ships, and I really want this to work for seaborne encounters.

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