Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Bringing tactical combat back to 13th Age.

So after some time playing 13th Age my friday night group has come to the realisation that were missing using miniatures for more in depth tactical combat. The group definitely enjoys the speed of fights, especially seeing as we've just come off a long stint of 4e (where the combats were excruciatingly long) and the slightly more abstract rules handling placement are great but we like maps and terrain, obstacles and hazards and other fun stuff like that.

So in order to slake the players thirst for tactical combat, and crucially without having to add substantial houserules and hacks - so i've modified the standard 1inch grid to fit in with the Engaged/Nearby/Far away format. It features much bigger squares (roughly 5" x 5") so that anyone in the same square as you is nearby and if they're in any other square they're far away.

I've got an A3 Battlematt for you to download (see the bottom of the post) featuring 6 large squares, each divided up very faintly into the normal 1 inch squares (for mapping corridors and straight stuff) but its worth considering how we use the maps with the rules designed for theatre of the mind play. Currently you can move anywhere that is far away in two moves, but the matt is 3 measures long, so how do we handle maps like this? This is what we do at our table:

A move will let you go anywhere inside your current square, or move into an adjacent square. You cannot however engage an enemy if you move into an adjacent square as you have just moved to be nearby them. In order to engage them you would need to make another move inside that square so you are in base to base contact (basing?) creatures that are more the 1 square away still are treated as 'far-away' - although we like to add a -2 modifier on attacks for the extreme range.

This lets me as a GM do a couple of things, one it keeps the players happy - they have their grid and meaningful movement decisions. Secondly and possibly more importantly it lets me keep track of hazards and scenery elements such as pit traps and the like. By putting them into the squares they are given a proximity and i can track whether a player moves nearby and whether an attack or roll is required. 

We'd tried the standard 1" grid and it was too confusing when a player moved around an obstacle or hazard as its unclear as to how close they would be moving to it (and of course if asked the player would have given it a wide berth, thus removing any risk and as such any point in the obstacle being there, to a degree)

Grab the Battlemat here and you can see what it looks like below before taking the plunge :

EDIT : Since writing this post I've also looked at giving Hazards and Obstacles a more 'tactical' 4e feel, read it here.