Meeting In the Middle of the Battlefield

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Myke
Joined: 2015-10-22 00:25
Meeting In the Middle of the Battlefield

One thing that has bugged me a bit about most initiative systems (other than ones that splits-up movement) is movement resulting in the battle taking place on one-side of the battlefield (or room) or the other, instead of the battle taking place in the middle of the battlefield (or room). In the case of rooms, I have also experienced problems with combat stacking up at the doorway. Granted, there are things you can do to mitigate that problem, but I find things run most smoothly when the battle takes place somewhere in the middle. A large battlefield (namely, outdoors) is not so much of a problem, depending on the size of the battlefield (but it still bugs me insofar as versimilitude, or whatever).

My first idea to alleviate my problem is to use a phase approach in order to center things. But I find the phase approach presents a whole new set of problems. Moreover, I don't want to have to mess around adjusting the rest of ACKS RAW. So I'm just trying to think of a way I can split-up movement without having to resort to a phase approach. Unfortunately, I'm not the best at designing such things. Perhaps, I'm just looking for a hybrid-phase approach that only involves movement? Like I say, I don't want to have to revamp the existing rule-set.

Any mechanical tips on what I might be able to do so that combatants meet each other towards the middle of the battlefield/room, instead of on one side or the other? Thanks.

Aryxymaraki
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Joined: 2014-01-04 02:20

Seems like you could just have combatants declare movement before rolling initiative, then calculate where they meet based on relative movement rates.  You could either calculate percentage of distance moved based on the initiative relationship, or say that each 'point' of initiative moves them 1/Xth their movement rate (where X = highest init in the round - lowest init in the round).

Myke
Joined: 2015-10-22 00:25

I think I know what you're saying, a form of movement based on segments within the initiative die so-to-speak, but I'm kind of dense, could you give me a simple example?

Aryxymaraki
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Sure!

Say the highest initiative roll is an 8 and the lowest is a 1.  There were are eight segments in this round, 1-8.  Have everyone declare their movement before they rolled initiative, and then each segment, each combatant moves 1/8 their movement rate in the direction they declared.  If at some point other rules prevent them from moving (such as engagement), they stop.

So if someone with a 40' movement rate wanted to walk in a straight line north, they would move 5' north each segment, and on the last segment they would have moved 40' north.

Say instead that he had an enemy 40' north of him.  The enemy also has a 40' movement rate and wants to move due south to meet him.  Each segment, they would each move 5' in their desired direction.  So on 8, they are 30' apart; on 7, 20'; on 6, 10'; and on 5, they meet in the middle, 20' from their original positions.

Worth noting that this was purely off the top of my head and may not solve the problem or may generate its own problems.

Myke
Joined: 2015-10-22 00:25

Ah, thanks, I get what you're sayng now. I'll have to try it out and see what happens. I'm confused when figures would get to perform their actions though.

I'm curious if fixing any problems that might arise will just end up turning it into a de facto phase system (which might be fine, if I can find a phase system I like, but the only one I know of that splits-up movement so that figures end up facing-off in the middle is the phase system in old school Swords & Spells via using alternating half-moves in the Movement Phase).

Loswaith
Joined: 2017-05-12 02:19

One thing I used to do with other system is have an initiative window for movement.

For ACKs this I would likely make it 2 phases (pending on play, but I would start with 2, because it is about 1/3 of the d6).  So if someone moves on their turn, anyone within 2 later initiative phases gets to do something "while the other is moving".

For example an archer and swordsman roll initiative, the swordsman gets a 6 the archer a 4.  The swordsman going first decides that they are going to close with the archer, the archer being within the 2 phase limit now has a chance to do somethign themselves, be it shoot the swordman or move further away from them (IE attack OR move, not both).  Now if the swordman has enough movement to catch the archer, should the archer not move away enough, then the swordman can still follow them up.  Had the archer rolled a 2 in this case, the swordsman would have been upon the archer before they could do anything.

In your case, if the swordsman went first (with the initiative 6) and the archer decided to close as well (on 4) then you could decide where in the middle they end up.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

This is an issue that bothers me too. In fact, it's held me back on a Mad Max ACKS game because of the issue becomes dramatically worse as soon as you introduce fast-moving vehicles.

The best solution I've seen is Hackmaster, but they rely on second-by-second initiative to resolve it, which is essentially the same solution that Car Wars took.

 

Myke
Joined: 2015-10-22 00:25

Yes, Hackmaster does a good job with that, but trying to implement something like that seems like it would call for a total revamp, unfortunately. Overall, it's quite the conundrum. 

I'm half-tempted to, in abtract fashion, meta-teleport engaged combatants towards the middle after the first round, ha. That is, think of a way to do it in the abtract, as opposed to mechanically. Moreover, my issue doesn't seem to be as much of a problem in theater of mind mode, as opposed to using a battlemat (I still very much dislike crowding in doorways though, even with the ability to overun and knock back).

Loswaith
Joined: 2017-05-12 02:19

Sounds like the simplest method may be that you just have a chat with your group about it.  Personally I would be anoyed if as a group we set up our strategy then got abstractly teleported.

Another mechanical way could be to give bonuses for hitting the mid point of the battle area (essentially a maneuver/s that is just better than other options).  A bonus similare to, 'if the chracters partially move and hold they get a +1 to hit (or damage/AC) on any enemies closing with them that round as they have taken that extra effort to set up the bonus'.  This essentially gives an incentive to move some but not all the distance across the room, thus naturally gravatating the battle more to a mid point than to either extreem.

Myke
Joined: 2015-10-22 00:25

Ha, I wasn't going to teleport them per se, I was just going to re-imagine the battlefield and combatants, then make it an actuality. (I kid, on both accounts). Doing what I want is quite difficult to figure out how to do though. Like Alex stated above, he wanted to do it for his ACKS Mad Max, and if he hasn't figured it out (at least to my knowledge), I'm sure in the heck not going to figure it out. I think my only viable option may be to go with a phase system, granted, I've only see one phase system do what I wanted in this regard (i.e., Swords & Spells, where there was two movement phases each with half-moves). It may not be that diffulcult to port over, I derno (but B/X used a phase system, so it might take a whole lot of revamping). I'm just going to keep my eyes open for more ideas. No pressing need (I'm just doing solo dungeons right now, playtesting of sorts until I form a group). Thanks for your help!

Aryxymaraki
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Ha, I wasn't going to teleport them per se, I was just going to re-imagine the battlefield and combatants, then make it an actuality. (I kid, on both accounts). Doing what I want is quite difficult to figure out how to do though. Like Alex stated above, he wanted to do it for his ACKS Mad Max, and if he hasn't figured it out (at least to my knowledge), I'm sure in the heck not going to figure it out. I think my only viable option may be to go with a phase system, granted, I've only see one phase system do what I wanted in this regard (i.e., Swords & Spells, where there was two movement phases each with half-moves). It may not be that diffulcult to port over, I derno (but B/X used a phase system, so it might take a whole lot of revamping). I'm just going to keep my eyes open for more ideas. No pressing need (I'm just doing solo dungeons right now, playtesting of sorts until I form a group). Thanks for your help!


-Myke

I haven't read Swords and Spells, maybe I should.  The phased initiative system I've been experimenting with also uses two movement phases, though one is for "half move" and the other for "full move" instead of two half-movement phases.  (Two half-movement phases would be more realistic, but for gamist reasons I wanted to try having one for half and one for full.)

jojodogboy
Patreon Supporter
Joined: 2017-09-04 12:05

Ha, I wasn't going to teleport them per se, I was just going to re-imagine the battlefield and combatants, then make it an actuality. (I kid, on both accounts). Doing what I want is quite difficult to figure out how to do though. Like Alex stated above, he wanted to do it for his ACKS Mad Max, and if he hasn't figured it out (at least to my knowledge), I'm sure in the heck not going to figure it out. I think my only viable option may be to go with a phase system, granted, I've only see one phase system do what I wanted in this regard (i.e., Swords & Spells, where there was two movement phases each with half-moves). It may not be that diffulcult to port over, I derno (but B/X used a phase system, so it might take a whole lot of revamping). I'm just going to keep my eyes open for more ideas. No pressing need (I'm just doing solo dungeons right now, playtesting of sorts until I form a group). Thanks for your help!


-Myke

There is actually nothing wrong with 'teleporting' them to an area of the room if both sides rush to fight each other.  This actually fits what the sides are actually doing and models real life.  One of the benefits of BX type combat is that it can be as granular as you want it to be.  It can also change from fight to fight as needed. 

Each round I tell my players what the NPCs are doing, then I go around the table and they tell me what they are going to do.  Then we roll initiative.  If both sides say they are moving to fight each other, I say that they meet somewhere in the middle depending on the relative speeds and initiative.  If one side waits for the other (which is what my players usually do) the NPCs either move to them, or take cover for ranged attacks.  I also let all combatants attack then move (if not engaged) or move and attack and then move (if not engaged). 

I've done the segment by segment system back in the ADD days and 'just eyeballing it'.  Try them both and see which ones lead to more dynamic combats for you.  They key is to figure out which system has the right 'feel' for your style of gameplay.  

Myke
Joined: 2015-10-22 00:25

That's very reassuring. Yes, my playstyle is more so abstract than simulationist (it depends on what it is), yet, a battle taking place on one side of the battle area or the other (unless purposely) is just something that has always bugged me. 

I'll have to run some mock battles trying it (playtest) and see how it goes. Thanks!

James K
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Joined: 2014-06-06 17:22

This is an issue that bothers me too. In fact, it's held me back on a Mad Max ACKS game because of the issue becomes dramatically worse as soon as you introduce fast-moving vehicles.

The miniatures game Gaslands has an interesting system whereby cars have a "gear" that detemrines their speed, a vehicle in gear one move in movement phase one, vehicles in gear two move in phases one and two, and so on up to phase six.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

This is an issue that bothers me too. In fact, it's held me back on a Mad Max ACKS game because of the issue becomes dramatically worse as soon as you introduce fast-moving vehicles.

The miniatures game Gaslands has an interesting system whereby cars have a "gear" that detemrines their speed, a vehicle in gear one move in movement phase one, vehicles in gear two move in phases one and two, and so on up to phase six.


-James K

Thanks! I've grabbed that on DriveThruRPG. It's an elegant solution.