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Star Vessels Too Dang Fast!
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Jordan Peacock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2007
Posts: 2460
Location: Orlando, Florida

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

warrenss2 wrote:
This is twice I've seen you mention Road Wars and I've seen it on your website. What is it and where can it be found?


Oh, sorry -- somehow I missed this earlier. "Road Wars" is not a reference to a specific game or game supplement. Rather, I mean that I have a history of running several home-brewed games that, for one reason or another, feature a running battle along some stretch of highway between vehicles (possibly armor-plated, possibly equipped with spikes or ram plates, and most CERTAINLY carrying hostile people with guns and explosives) -- whether in "Hell on Earth," "Zombie Run," my "Deadlands Deco" alternate timeline pulp adventures, or my greatly off-the-rails treatment of "War of the Dead."

Roughly speaking, when I run a "running road battle" (or, for that matter, a "running rocketship battle"), I tweak the basic Savage Worlds vehicle rules. Usually, one party is the "fugitive" and another party consists of the "pursuer," and there may more than one vehicle on one side and/or the other. I represent the conflict area with an elongated section of the table with something to represent a stretch of road, and I typically use very small (Micro Machines scale) toys and markers to represent the participant vehicles.

My representation of motion at this point becomes relativistic, with the assumption that everyone is more-or-less heading in the same direction. One vehicle (usually that of the heroes) is for all intents and purposes "stationary," while we can assume that the terrain is scrolling by. (I don't actually MOVE the terrain; I just assume that we're on a straight road -- or else, for the sake of abstraction, I treat it that way in representation.)

Let's say the heroes are in a cargo truck trying to escape raiders. The assumption is that the raiders' vehicles are probably FASTER than the truck, or else it wouldn't be much of a chase. I set up my board so that the raiders' vehicles are on the back end. Each round, they'll move forward on my represented road a distance equal to the DIFFERENCE between the two vehicles per-round speeds.

So, for the sake of argument, let's say that at this scale, the cargo truck would be moving at a speed of 10 spaces, and the raider buggies would be moving at a speed of 12 spaces. Rather than moving the cargo truck 10 spaces and then moving each of the buggies 12 spaces each round (and quickly running out of table to represent this), I would leave the cargo truck right in the middle of my abstract road board, and move the pursuing buggies up 2 spaces (12 - 10 = 2).

Now, if a buggy were to VEER wildly off course (say, he wants to hop off the road and buzz through the dusty underbrush off the side of the road), in an attempt to flank the truck while his buddies attack from the other side), I can figure out his new position fairly easily. Rather than move him forward two spaces, I simply pick the direction he's going to be driving in, and move him the full 12 spaces in that direction (just like you'd normally move a model) ... and then, whatever position it ends up in, I move it back in a straight line 10 spaces along the path of travel (as the terrain "scrolls" by). As a consequence, the further he veers off of a path parallel with the road, the further he's going to fall back in relation to everyone else.

If I had the foresight to plan ahead a little, I could fairly easily just calculate how much it's going to cut into his "2 spaces" of gain to jog left or right a bit, ahead of time ... but since it's an RPG, most of the time I can just wing it. (A lane change is not going to have a very significant effect in the big scheme of things. I probably should draw a diagram to illustrate this, but that'll have to wait for some other time.)

Turn order leads to some weird effects, such as vehicles crossing each others' paths, but for the sake of abstraction I tend to just gloss it over unless it leads to some obvious contradictions (and then, since this is an RPG, I can just spot-rule whatever seems to make the most sense at the moment).

Now, occasionally I might have some obstacles "scripted" to enter the scene (say, Round 4, there's a burning road wreck up ahead!), or I might even do something like rolling randomly each round. This is just represented by placing an obstacle on the "forward edge" of my "scrolling" terrain board. At the bottom of each round, it moves back 10 spaces (the speed of the cargo truck serving as our point of reference). The same happens for any vehicles that come to a complete stop (due to a crash, etc.).

Under normal circumstances, we can assume that anyone would have the sense to NOT run right into a flaming road wreck, but with all the gunfire, explosions all around, smoke pouring from the wreck, etc., drivers are understandably distracted. Hence, any vehicle marker passing through or adjacent to an obstacle prompts a Driving check from the vehicle driver to avoid clipping it (roll for collision damage -- if it's high, it must have been head on, and if it's low, then he must have just run across a bit of debris on the outskirts of the wreck and kept right on going). and losing a bit of speed in the process (raider markers fall back -- or if the hero vehicle slows down, all the raider and other markers move forward, gaining ground).

Somewhat more abstract, I made a bunch of "road condition cards" (which I first used for the crazy mountain chase in "Zombie Run" that is doomed to be very, very short if you play it exactly as written) that are based on rounds rather than having a marker on the table. For the sake abstraction and keeping things "Fun! Fast! Furious!" the cards represent hazards that everyone has to deal with this round (or for the next X rounds, depending) -- such as having to make Driving checks to avoid obstacles, or slow down and lose ground, or thick smoke/fog that limits visibility (ranged attack penalties), or going through a tunnel (everyone forced back onto the road to keep with the chase, and darkness penalties to ranged attacks and to see upcoming obstacles), or an obscured road hazard (Driving check with a hefty penalty for the lead vehicle to avoid; every vehicle down the line gets a bonus to the Driving check to evade, because the driver is warned by the sight of the car in front of him swerving to avoid it!), etc.

Right now, all of this exists as some notes and a couple of custom card decks (done with Photoshop and InDesign) I've been revising each time, and tweaking for the particular scenario. I guess I should try polishing it up sometime.
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warrenss2
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Joined: 12 Oct 2009
Posts: 1074
Location: Augusta, GA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's some pretty neat stuff in there, Jordan.

Instead of preplanning what round a complication (round 4 - the burning wreak on the road) I think coming up with a list of occurrences (a table), in action card order, that happen when the character draws a Club (kinda like an Interlude).

SW's answer seems to be to just increase the speeds of "whatever" as compared to the speed of someone on foot. When you have vehicles that operate vastly out of scale with the speeds/pace of other things I think it should be altered/changed/cutback.

Example of things I would keep in the same scale - as things that could be grouped together on the same gaming table...

Foot mode - Humanoids, Horses, Coaches, Chariots, Bicycle. I would keep the speed normal in this mode.

From here on I would start cutting back on the speeds/moves.

Car mode - Motorcycles, Cars, Tanks, Trucks, etc...

Flying mode - any atmospheric craft.

Space mode - Starships and such.

I would alter things sorta like this...

A WWI Folker is diving and strafing the characters. I would have it do a fly-by and shoot. Then, instead of tracking the plane's speed, I would say that it flies on, turns, straightens, another strafing attack. 3, maybe 4, turns between attacks. This would be greater the faster the vehicle.

However, it the combat was plane vs. plane, and being done with miniatures, I would equally cut back on speeds and weapon ranges involved in the encounter.

SW encourages it's gamers to play the game with miniatures then abstracts chases and maneuvering. Why not do both? Give the gamers the abstract rules. Then come up with a free set of optional rules, like what Showdown does for skirmish gaming, for various vehicle combats or mass battles.

Not too many things are more awesome that to outsmart and/or outmaneuvering your opponent.

Another example - I plan on changing the ship to ship combat in our 50F game. Use the normal chase rules until they come in "contact". Then we switch over to the miniatures. Some things that will be done are speed and weapon ranges being cut back. Wind direction and your ship's facing toward the wind will alter speeds. Tacking across the wind might place your ship "in irons" - all movement stops. Restricting the number of turns a ship can perform. etc...

Now, with the space type combat I'm looking for, I just might used the chase rules (with Daring Tales of the Space Lanes input). I still want to incorporate miniatures somehow. Probably as Jordan does in his above post.
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Jordan Peacock
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Joined: 08 Sep 2007
Posts: 2460
Location: Orlando, Florida

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

warrenss2 wrote:
Instead of preplanning what round a complication (round 4 - the burning wreak on the road) I think coming up with a list of occurrences (a table), in action card order, that happen when the character draws a Club (kinda like an Interlude).


That's what my "hazard deck" is for in my setup.

1) I don't have to keep track of what round number it is.

2) If I want, I can make it random ... or I can deliberately stack the deck if I want to plan a sequence.

3) No cross-referencing to a table is required. I can print the effects right on the card.

4) I can customize it for the conditions. E.g., if it's an icy winter/mountain road, I include the drop-offs, the ice slicks, rock falls, and so forth. If it's a city chase, then I include events appropriate for that. OR ... if I'm the one drawing the cards anyway, I can just stick EVERYTHING in the deck, and reserve the right to skip any cards that make no sense for the current situation, or modify the narrative. (So, we're in a desert chase. Slippery road? Instead of a patch of ice, it's an oil slick from a wrecked tanker.)

5) I like custom cards. =)
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jasales
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Joined: 25 Jul 2008
Posts: 395

PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reef wrote:
For starships, I was really impressed wth TAG's 'Daring Tales of the Spacelanes Starships'. Runs the gamut from small unarmed shuttles, all the way up to huge dreadnaughts. Has rules for shields and 'hyperspace'.

And it's on sale now for $2.79. Add in the free supplement for Fighter Swarms and this is exactly what I'd be using if I ever get around to running a Star Wars-y space combat game.

On a quick glance, it seems Fighters top out at 10, so it pretty much agrees with you. Smile

Not to sound like a shill, but I just love this to death. It solved a personal bugaboo of mine. Designing starships, I always struggled on how to balance Toughness versus weapons, fighters versus cap ships, etc. And this handed it to me on a plate Smile.


Get it! I spent 18 months working on starship rules and kept coming back to scale. TAGs got it. I've run lots and lots of space battles with this.
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warrenss2
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Joined: 12 Oct 2009
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Location: Augusta, GA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jasales wrote:
Get it! I spent 18 months working on starship rules and kept coming back to scale. TAGs got it. I've run lots and lots of space battles with this.
--- Got it for an early Christmas present to myself.

And, thanks to you, I'll be getting the Daring Tales of the Space Lane adventures too.
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