Saturday, 25 April 2009

Second Symphony, First... Movement

Tarot for the Day:
Two of Excuteria (Torches) - The Navigator
The path through darkness; the solution to the intractable problem; a passage to a new perspective.

It's nice and easy to start with movement.  For a start, it fits in nicely with the traditional "movement, shooting, combat" trinity of all wargames.  But it's also a good place to start, because it's the area of the rules that, in my opinion, needs the least work.

The division of movement into crawling, sneaking, walking, evading, running and sprinting (and, arguable, swimming and jumping) works well.  These are abstract "types" of movement that have a concrete interpretation both in terms of how far each movement travels, but also in terms of how each movement affects events surrounding the character.  The concrete interpretation, though, is fluid within each category of movement.  For example, in the existing rules, bionic limbs can add distance to movement.

I see this concrete interpretation being given even greater flexibility, dictated by the size and build of the character, his abilities and his equipment.  So a larger-than-man-sized character might well move one or even two yards further when moving at certain speeds.  A smaller character, such as a ratling, might well move a smaller distance.  I'll look at this in more detail in a few posts time when we come to discuss characters in detail.  Suffice to say that the old "run means 6 yards" definition will still apply in the main, but with much greater opportunity to add or subtract from the distance covered at all speeds.

But movement speed also affects things like how easy a character is to hit and how hard it is to do other things at the same time.  This is all good and I have no plans to change this.  One area where the current rules make allowance but in a very non-specific way is in the question of Awareness and that's something the new rules will tackle.

The faster a character moves, the less aware he becomes of what's around him and the more likely another character is to be aware of his existence.  This is already mentioned in the current rules, but without rules to cover the full range of eventualities.  I'll cover this in more detail when I talk about Awareness.

Another area of movement that I've really given a lot of attention to is terrain, and this links in closely with the question of stance and pose.  As they exist, the rules leave most interpretation of terrain and terrain effects to the GM to determine.  This is great, but I want to give the GMs more guidance on where and how to start thinking about the effects of terrain in a logical and consistent way that enhances the realism of the game.  And how a player interacts with terrain is very much dependent on the position his characters are in.  A character who's lying down will find it easier to hide behind low terrain.  A character who's standing up will find it easier to climb over high terrain.  So all of these things are getting robust, specific rules.  There's plenty of room left for GM's to come up with imaginative problems, but the question of how many Actions it will take a character to climb over a six-foot wall will now be answered precisely in the rules.

This was quite a short post.  My next one will be much longer, as I discuss shooting and all the various problems people have had with it over the years and how I hope to tackle that.

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