Area Effect without a Tactical Map

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Area Effect without a Tactical Map

#1 Postby ron blessing » Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:19 pm

Other than "GM Fiat," has anyone worked out a way to handle this topic?

I'm finding that Tactical Maps are really starting to irk me, but I want to come up with a non-subjective way to handle this issue.

I can work out, through description, things like Gang-Up and Sweep, but anything involving a Template seems pretty subjective. I don't want to discourage players from taking these types of abilities, nor do I wish to continue using maps, when avoidable.

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#2 Postby Clint » Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:41 pm

Random number of targets affected?

SBT = 1d4
MBT = 2d6
LBT = 3d8
Cone = 2d6*

*Difference between a cone and a MBT could be lessening the chance of hitting an ally in the area.
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#3 Postby ron blessing » Tue Dec 02, 2008 9:58 pm

Clint wrote:Random number of targets affected?

SBT = 1d4
MBT = 2d6
LBT = 3d8
Cone = 2d6*

*Difference between a cone and a MBT could be lessening the chance of hitting an ally in the area.


Brilliant! So how to "lessen the chance" of hitting an ally is the only sticking point. What about something like:

L/M/SBT is XdX opponents. If these opponents are currently engaged in melee, adjacent allies must make an Agility roll to avoid damage.

Cone is 2d6 opponents, with no regard to melee engagement.

Thoughts?

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#4 Postby Sadric » Wed Dec 03, 2008 3:47 am

I remember where using a skill roll in D&D for testing how much people we get inside a fireball.

For example (exact number depend on the numbers of foes, the area and so on.

SBT get two, plus one for a succes on your knowledge(Tactics or Arcane Knowledge)
MBT get four, plus one for a succes and each raise on your knowledge(Tactics or Arcane Knowledge)
LBT get six, plus two for a succes and each raise on your knowledge(Tactics or Arcane Knowledge)
A one on the knowledge die mean you have catched a ally under the template, snake yeyes mean while giving your allys a warning nearly all enemys could retreat and you hit only 1/2/3 enemys and the same numbers off allys. (SBT/MBT/LBT)

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#5 Postby Clint » Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:40 am

Ron Blessing wrote:Brilliant! So how to "lessen the chance" of hitting an ally is the only sticking point. What about something like:

L/M/SBT is XdX opponents. If these opponents are currently engaged in melee, adjacent allies must make an Agility roll to avoid damage.

Cone is 2d6 opponents, with no regard to melee engagement.

Thoughts?


Sounds like a good baseline. Sadric's idea has merit as well, but I think the roll can be subsumed into the attack roll. Raises on the attack roll don't affect damage for AE attacks, but what if in this case, they affect the Agility roll.

Allies adjacent to affected targets must make an Agility roll to avoid the effects. On a raise on the attack roll, they roll Agility+2 (for more accurate placement).

If using a Cone attack, allies start with an Agility+2 roll to avoid the effect, and on a raise on the attack roll (versus the standard TN4), the attack will not affect allies at all. [The Cone of course having more of a limitation in its range and available targets.]
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#6 Postby ron blessing » Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:45 am

Clint wrote:
Ron Blessing wrote:Brilliant! So how to "lessen the chance" of hitting an ally is the only sticking point. What about something like:

L/M/SBT is XdX opponents. If these opponents are currently engaged in melee, adjacent allies must make an Agility roll to avoid damage.

Cone is 2d6 opponents, with no regard to melee engagement.

Thoughts?


Sounds like a good baseline. Sadric's idea has merit as well, but I think the roll can be subsumed into the attack roll. Raises on the attack roll don't affect damage for AE attacks, but what if in this case, they affect the Agility roll.

Allies adjacent to affected targets must make an Agility roll to avoid the effects. On a raise on the attack roll, they roll Agility+2 (for more accurate placement).

If using a Cone attack, allies start with an Agility+2 roll to avoid the effect, and on a raise on the attack roll (versus the standard TN4), the attack will not affect allies at all. [The Cone of course having more of a limitation in its range and available targets.]


This is a nice way to make a raise mean something on an area effect attack.

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#7 Postby ron blessing » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:15 am

How does this look:

Area Effect Attacks Without a Tactical Map

When an attack calls for a Template, the attacker rolls the appropriate dice on the table below to determine how many enemies he can affect.

Small Burst Template - 1d4
Medium Burst Template - 2d6
Large Burst Template - 3d8
Cone Template - 2d6*

Any allies the GM deems are adjacent to chosen affected enemies must make an Agility roll to avoid the effects of the attack. This roll is made at a +2 bonus if the attacker got a Raise.

*In the case of a Cone Template, the Agility roll is at +2, or +4 with a Raise on the attack roll.

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#8 Postby Clint » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:23 am

Ron Blessing wrote:How does this look:


Looks close enough to see how it works in play.
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#9 Postby ron blessing » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:30 am

Sweet. I'll post here when I've tested it, either tonight or this weekend.

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#10 Postby Lord Lance » Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:45 am

Interesting topic. I need to think if could be equilibrated comparated to the standard powers (like simple bolts...)

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#11 Postby Squidfisher » Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:30 pm

Ah, just as I was about to faff around with printing out and measuring the burst templates - for I too suffer from chronic maphate - someone far cleverer than me comes up with a far more elegant solution. Yet another reason I'm glad I migrated to SW when I decided D&D4e was... Less good than it might have been, shall we say.

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#12 Postby Minotaure » Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:38 am

An elegant solution but the numbers are much too high for my taste. 3d8 for an LBT means 24 opponents in the extreme.

A number one could barely get under the template on a tabletop.

What about:
Small Burst Template - 1d4
Medium Burst Template - 1d6 + 2
Large Burst Template - 1d8 + 4
Cone Template - 1d6*

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#13 Postby Lord Lance » Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:02 am

Minotaure wrote:Small Burst Template - 1d4
Medium Burst Template - 1d6 + 2
Large Burst Template - 1d8 + 4
Cone Template - 1d6*

I think everyone is comfortable with different numbers, but those one are much "realistic", even if i think about past rpg combat situations occurred till now.

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#14 Postby poody » Sat Dec 13, 2008 11:15 am

Actually, what Ron has is pretty accurate for the size the of the templates.

Small Burst Template = 2" Diameter
Medium Burst Template = 4" Diameter
Large Burst Template = 6" Diameter
Cone Template = 9" long and 3" at it's widest point

When I placed them on a grid, the sbt covered nearly 4 full squares, the mbt covered nearly 12 full squares with 4 more being less than 50% covered and the lbt covered 32 squares at greater than 50% and 4 were nearly empty.

So, given that, I would probably run with Ron's figures.

BTW = the cone template, could in theory get 16 people, assuming they were positioned appropriately.

EDIT: Those figures are based on all squares being occupied... In a mass battle, this would be more likely than in non-mass battles, of course. I think some amount of common sense would need t come into play for this type of abstract scenario.
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#15 Postby Lord Lance » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:33 am

poody wrote:...So, given that, I would probably run with Ron's figures.

...

EDIT: Those figures are based on all squares being occupied... In a mass battle, this would be more likely than in non-mass battles, of course. I think some amount of common sense would need t come into play for this type of abstract scenario.

Yeah, this is the key. In a normal fight situation it's really unusual to see those numbers of enemies packed together, waiting for an area attack!! I think that if you really want to cover all those targets (Ron's numbers) with an area effect attack, you are FORCED to involve friends fighting near there, without chances of agility rolls (in a normal template placement, it's quite common to cover the area with friends alike... this is war, sad but true... :twisted: )

So, if I have to cast an area spell or throw a granade carefully, I'll use "mine" numbers, with those agility rolls involved. If I have to throw the same spell or granade trying to take over max number of targets, I'll roll the Ron's numbers, and I'll HAVE to choose 1 friend fighting in melee (or really near to action) for every 1 enemy in the area, without agility saving throws.
This last method is especially good when you are making the classic first shot in combat, or throwing the granade to a party of enemies walking near each other, unaware of danger: a lot of targets inside the area effect, and no chances to hit your friends, 'cause they are all far away, not involved yet.

I like this one. I think I'll go with this "double system", letting choose the caster if throw accurately or recklessy.

PS: now we have to think what appen when you miss the TN of the roll, so the area effect "skids aside"... Maybe 1 target (2 targets with Large Template) is automatically safe (Master choose) for every 1" of skid?
Or could the Master choose a nearby friend of the caster / important scenary object for every 4" missed (sorta of "drammatically failed action")?

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#16 Postby Skycast » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:19 pm

I like what's been done here, especially since 100% of my gaming these days is done without a tactical map. However, I don't like that allies get an Agility roll to avoid damage. You either in the area of effect or you aren't, the power shouldn't distinguish between friend or foe unless written that way.
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#17 Postby Moracai » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:10 pm

An interesting subject.

I like the smaller numbers better, because rank & file formations are not very common in normal advunturing.

I tried making some numbers in a situation where the optimal distance between allied combatants is 1-2''. That led me to such a rough estimation that a small burst could be d4 targets, medium d6+1 and large d8+2. Cone could be d4+1. Which are very similar to Minotaure's numbers.

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#18 Postby Clint » Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:23 pm

Lord Lance wrote:
poody wrote:EDIT: Those figures are based on all squares being occupied... In a mass battle, this would be more likely than in non-mass battles, of course. I think some amount of common sense would need t come into play for this type of abstract scenario.

Yeah, this is the key. In a normal fight situation it's really unusual to see those numbers of enemies packed together, waiting for an area attack!!


Hmm, one thing that doesn't seem to be taken into account here. The templates don't have to cover the targets, they only have to touch them.

That's part of the reason for the larger original numbers. It's not just the number of squares covered, but the number that can be potentially contacted.
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#19 Postby Lord Lance » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:42 am

Sorry Clint, but here the big problem is that with a single area attack (using no map), you can easily hit 6 - 7 enemies with a MBT, and 12 - 14 with a LBT, using numbers proposed by you. This is not an "exact template placement" issue, this is a "I can't believe that you, player, could set that template so that you can touch so many enemies on my (virtual) combat map". I think it's difficult, in a classical combat situation to have all that enemies packed up and waiting to be blasted away from a single attack...
Maybe if the enemies are in a single room, taked by surprise, you should fill a template with all those targets!

Maybe, all this Topic is quite useless: if a Master wants to play without a map, he should briefly analize the actual situation, and answer a player asking "can i take down those X enemies in front of me, fighting my buddies, with a single Large blast attack?" with a simple: "no, you can hit only those 2, or those 4 in this other part of the map" or "yes, you can, but in the area you also have to hit those 2 friends". :razz: :razz: Fast, Furious, Fun, Thrust in your Master.

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#20 Postby Clint » Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:10 pm

Lord Lance wrote:Sorry Clint, but here the big problem is that with a single area attack (using no map), you can easily hit 6 - 7 enemies with a MBT, and 12 - 14 with a LBT, using numbers proposed by you. This is not an "exact template placement" issue, this is a "I can't believe that you, player, could set that template so that you can touch so many enemies on my (virtual) combat map". I think it's difficult, in a classical combat situation to have all that enemies packed up and waiting to be blasted away from a single attack...
Maybe if the enemies are in a single room, taked by surprise, you should fill a template with all those targets!


Ah, I think I see the issue as I have been discussing things more in terms of the "combat map" instead of the basic system which is specifically designed not to use one.

In the game on a map, it is possible to hit that many opponents, but for two things really...

1. There have to be that many opponents.
2. You most likely have to put allies in the area of effect to affect that many foes as well.

The second is really the "combat map" limitation. Characters could affect many more opponents if they were willing to drop an AE attack on allies.

This system kind of reverses that limitation. Instead of affecting less foes to avoid affecting allies as well, rolling too many foes is actually a drawback because it increases the chance that those foes are in combat with an ally who would then be affected.

It may seem weird, but decreasing the number of foes affected makes area of effect attacks more powerful with this rule not less.

Lord Lance wrote:Maybe, all this Topic is quite useless...


Well, not "useless" since the first post specifically started with <italics mine>...

Other than "GM Fiat," has anyone worked out a way to handle this topic?


If someone wants to use "GM Fiat," that's fine, but this thread was specifically for any ideas other than that. If someone who doesn't use a tactical map finds anything helpful in it at all, then it has been worthwhile.
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