Tuesday, May 31, 2016

My notes in using Zones

Zones (in Fate SRD) is a method of handling the location of a scenario or scene. Instead of working with precise details instead we work with abstract details and we try to maintain internal consistency when we declare the features of the location.

Instead of working out details like:

  • various measurements
  • relative locations of NPCs 
  • special effects of various features
  • Tracking all these elements
Zones works on the principle of simplifying this with a "Yes&" approach found in many more narrative systems. It lets the players make up the other details instead of asking permission from the gm ever time to speed up play and relies on a higher skill level of improvisation and problem making ability of the GM. 

Zones simplifies things to:
  • Scale
  • Abstract Features
Drawbacks to Zones
  • Higher Improv Skill requirement. The GM can be more likely stumped by a player when he does something clever. The GM may not be able to manage the challenge to match the expectations as easily with less control and more unpredictabillity. 
    • Improv Skill can be practised, trained and tools prepared. 
  • Not as Tangibly and Visually Satisfying. It takes more imagination effort to do this and it kinda throws away the hours and dollars spent on minis. Its easier if one has not "sunk cost" in the props. 
Strengths of Zones
  • Portable. It doesn't take a lot of minis or maps to pull it off. 
  • Less to preparation. instead  of having a lot of details to communicate

Scale 

Scale is describing spaces in small, medium and large. Saying it can fit a team, squad, a platoon... army, field armies, etc... Being familiar or proficient in the scales a location can take would be useful.
Typically I use the organizational scale of Armies and use the nomenclature to describe how much people can fit in a given space, how much time it takes to move, and to organize and recon surrounding spaces. Typically most game systems are in the Team scale of describing spaces and only uses the larger scales in narrative.

Features

There are many ways to go about features but I've settled with the Art of War's most used terrain feature terms. Six terrains and Nine Conditions (also known as Nine Grounds).
Features follow the Action, Evasion, and Position principle in more Narratively part 2.

Superiority. 

  • If a Side has up to 50% superiority in an ability as compared to another side they gain an advantage in the form a favourable modification to their TDM of 2 or a penalty to the other side's TDM of 2. 
  • More that 100% better than the TDM is modified by 5.
  • Kinds of Superiority
    • Numbers
    • Movement
    • Position
    • Certain Actions 
  • Some Superiorities Stack.

Various Terrain Features

These various terrains are the most often used. There are more but they have just minor nuances as compared to these basic features described. This should help make the use of zones easier. This has been factored using GURPS. 


  • Open
    • Open terrain is a level and accessible ground. 
    • Movement Superiorities
    • Numbers Superiorities 
  • Broken
    • Broken terrain is have small obstacles that provide cover, and sometimes concealment
    • Movement Superiorities. Half the bonus (round down) what can be gained in superiority.
    • Number Superiorities. Half the bonus (round down) what can be gained in superiority.
    • Other Kinds of Broken Features. 
      • Entangling. Marshland or Bogs or ground that gives bad or worse footing. 
        • Movement Superiority. None. movement is half or quartered. 
        • Numbers Superiority. Half. 
        • Bad footing penalty of  -2 to -4 TDM fighting in this terrain. 
        • Fortifying a Position negates the penalty fighting in the bad footing.
        • Advantage is when one is staying put to fight in entangling ground and the other party has to Move and Attack (action and position).  
      • Concealing. This can be a temporary feature because of weather or a natural feature from the plants and the terrain itself. 
        • -2 or -4 TDM in fighting in this terrain because of poor visibility.  
        • Recon or Coordination action are important to use this ground. Having mastered the concealing terrain allows one to negate the penalty fighting in this ground.   
  • Strategic Features
    • Scale. Determine the size of the force that can hold the strategic ground. 
    • Numbers Superiority. only if the forces are below the scale of the strategic ground. Otherwise in large groups there is no advantage in superior numbers in strategic ground. 
    • Movement Superiority. Movement superiority only matters in taking strategic ground first. In a contest to seize it the movement superior force has an advantage. 
    • Position Superiority. the GM determines how much advantage does holding the superior position in the strategic ground grants.  
    • Narrow.
      • Scale. Determine the size of the force that can hold the Narrow ground. 
      • Numbers Superiority. as strategic ground.
      • Movement Superiority. as strategic ground. 
      • Position Superiority.  typically from 1-2 favorable advantage to TDM. 
    • Fortified
      • Scale. Determine the size of the force that can hold the Narrow ground. 
      • Numbers Superiority. as strategic ground.
      • Movement Superiority. as strategic ground. 
      • Position Superiority.  typically from 3 to 10 favourable advantage to TDM. 
      • Other Superiority. depending on the other features Fortified ground can have more advantages. 
    • High 
      • Scale. Determine the size of the force that can hold the Narrow ground. 
      • Numbers Superiority. as strategic ground.
      • Movement Superiority. as strategic ground. 
      • Position Superiority.  typically from 1-2 favourable advantage to TDM. 
      • Ranged Superiority. higher ground grants a ranged superiority.


Other Terrains not Covered

  • Stand Off Terrain
  • Remote Terrain



Other References




Land Forms

I stumbled on Land forms from my research on zones. I was trying to examine terrains and discovered a lot of them. Here is a list of a lot of Landforms that may be useful to expand and enrich your imagination.

List of Landforms in Wikipedia

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