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Sulaco
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What is a Zone?

Thu 12 Dec 2019, 14:58

I am new to this "abstract" sort of movement, and I have read through the book once, so I am hoping I just missed something. 

But can someone please define what a zone is?  Keeping in mind I have only looked at Hadleys hope and Chariot of the Gods maps.

Is a Zone a room? or is it a whole block (in Hadleys Hope)? 

The book has one little section where it talks about zone borders could be blocked by a wall or door.  but it also could be open.  I see no zone borders on any map.
Only walls.  The way I read it Zone borders and walls are 2 different things.  For Range it also says long range is 4 zones away.  You cannot ever shoot 4 zones if you cannot see through an open doorway.  Unless there are going to be maps with Zone borders and no walls down the road.  

And searching for gear in Hadleys Hope.  If a zone is a single room,  they could find a million things.  the GM will really have to limit this.  It talks about Zone being a location.  so does that mean a zone is a block, or only rooms with a name?  So is Corporate Offices a location, or is each room in Block C2 a location?

Based on distances, I am assuming a room is a zone.  But I cannot imagine it takes 5-10 minutes to move 2 rooms, even for marines being super careful. "check those corners".

What about hallways?  do you just guesstimate (if a room is a zone) how many zones long it is?  then you could shoot long range.  or is the whole hallway a zone?
coming in from the West Lock that one hallway.  is that one zone?  so PC's could move from the West lock to any room in C1 assuming the hallway is one zone?  


I like the idea of these zones, but my brain needs them clearly defined. 

Appreciate any help.
 
sathyr
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Re: What is a Zone?

Thu 12 Dec 2019, 16:58

Page 82 suggests...
A zone is typically a room, a corridor, or an area of ground. How big a zone is varies—from a few steps across up to about 25 meters.
In general? Play it by ear. Does something seem like it should be long range? Then it is! Is one room two big to be a single zone? Make it more than one! Hadley's Hope appears to be designed so that each discrete room is its own zone (take particular note of the 5x5 meter reference in the corner) but if you need to streamline a particular area, go wild. The whole point of a movement system like this is streamlining and abstraction to speed up the plot and not get bogged down in the little details.
 
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Sulaco
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Re: What is a Zone?

Thu 12 Dec 2019, 17:51

yup missed that.  appreciate the response.  

so I suppose if I have a hallway that has 4 rooms down one side, I could break it up into 4 zones,  but I guess a hallway should also be easier to navigate then a cluttered room, and it could still be one. 

My brain has a hard time with these abstract systems.  Our group tried the FFG star wars role playing and we hated it. 
But I read a great article on zones, and I think I'm starting to be ok with it. 

I can also see I will have to bring in the GM rolled skill checks for things like room searches.  There are so many Rooms in Hadleys Hope, I need to control how much they find. 
 
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HyveMynd
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Re: What is a Zone?

Fri 13 Dec 2019, 03:28

Basically, the size of a zone is "whatever makes sense" given the situation. It can be hard to switch over to more abstract systems of maps and measurements, especially if you're used to games that use grids.

When I ran Hope's Last Day, I treated every block as a zone. If there was a longish corridor connecting two areas, that became a zone too. But I did that because my players didn't care about sneaking, weren't looking for gear/supplies, and were only interested in getting from point A to point B. If they had slowed down, cared about looking at things, and were worried about sneaking, I might have made the zones smaller.

I did a similar thing when I ran Chariot of the Gods. The areas of the Cronus are roughly grouped based on the function of the rooms, and I counted each of those as a zone. 

Think of it in terms of a movie. Is the camera "zoomed in" on the scene for some intense action, like a close range fight? Then decrease the size of zones to a single room. Is the camera "zoomed out" for something like a chase? Then increase the size of zones so they include multiple rooms and corridors. Is something about this area different from other nearby areas? Lighting, footing, elevation, flooded with water? Then make that a separate zone too.

As has been said already, the whole point of zones is to keep the game moving and not get bogged down with exact measurements. Another game that uses zones is Fate by Evil Hat Productions. PDF versions are PWYW, and reading the bit about zones and measurement in Fate might help you here.
 
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aramis
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Re: What is a Zone?

Sat 14 Dec 2019, 04:52

having run a bunch of games using zone based movement (all the way back to the 80's), my thought process is...
  • a room more than about 25 m should be multiple zones. 
  • A hall should be 1 zone per 25 m long.
  • A room under 25m  in each dimension is 1 zone
  • A pair of rooms under 25m overall may be one zone, or 2  depending upon visibility, and such. If one has large portions not visible to the other, make it two. if they are open enough to be visible all the way through, one zone. If the opening prevents movement (such as subway or arena turnstyles), make it two.
My first encounter with zones was TSR's Marvel Super Heroes. Back in about 1984. And Axis and Allies, same year. It's common in light wargames to use zones, a zone being smaller in harsher terrain. MSH did likewise. Fate uses zones the same way. So also do most 2d20 games from Modiphius. 
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OrunII
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Re: What is a Zone?

Mon 16 Dec 2019, 14:51

I can also see I will have to bring in the GM rolled skill checks for things like room searches.  There are so many Rooms in Hadleys Hope, I need to control how much they find. 
Observation is normally only used to avoid ambushes/enemies, etc.

Page 61.
DON’T ROLL TOO OFTEN
In the ALIEN roleplaying game, a dice roll is a dramatic moment. Pushing rolls increases
stress and can trigger panic in your character. Rolling dice too often can cause the stress mechanic (see page 103) to spiral out of control too quickly. With that in mind, never roll dice unless it is absolutely necessary. Save the dice for dramatic situations or tough challenges. In any other situation, the GM should simply allow you to perform whatever action you wish.
So no need, you - the GM, already control how much they find! :)
 
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Sulaco
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Re: What is a Zone?

Mon 16 Dec 2019, 22:50

I can also see I will have to bring in the GM rolled skill checks for things like room searches.  There are so many Rooms in Hadleys Hope, I need to control how much they find.
Observation is normally only used to avoid ambushes/enemies, etc.
Ya but...

SEARCHING FOR GEAR
Should the PCs want to search for gear, it
takes them one additional Turn to search one
location (zone). Roll OBSERVATION. Only one PC
can roll, but others can help. If successful, roll
once on the following table. The PCs can only
search each location once:

I probably would have been fine with the 1 room zone until I read Hopes Last Day.  The way it reads a location is a zone.  But in the Location description, with the exception of E2, the whole block is a location which would mean the whole block is a zone.  With the amount of searching, it would seem that a whole block should be a zone.  But this also makes no sense, because an alien would become active as soon as you came into a block, even though it was hiding in a specific room.

Either way there are some inconsistencies that do not need to be there.  It even says that official content will have clearly defined Zones on the maps.  But they do not, otherwise we would not be having this conversation.  It just feels like we have 2 or 3 different writers here and they did not talk to each other.  It even talks about zone borders that could have walls and doors or could be open for line of sight.  Fantastic...but there are no zone borders on any map that I have seen, there are only walls and doors.  

You can have an abstract system, and still have it be precise and consistent.  between the rules and the Hopes last day, I am not seeing that.  Now I have not read Chariots of the Gods, but it looks like there are fewer rooms and they are spread apart more, so looks a lot more manageable.  But there are still no "zone borders" on the map.  Unless an "open border" means there is no border and the walls and doors are actually the zone borders? 

So assuming we all agree a room is a zone up to 25m, then in C1 alone there are 12 zones that could be searched.  If you take out the hallways that is still 7.  On just level 1 there are some 52 rooms (zones?).  Are you going to let your players make 52 observation rolls?  no way!   The reason I would roll observations for searches is because if the PC's happen to get lucky, they could get 7 items just in Block C1.  So when I roll even if I get a success I can say they failed, to limit how much stuff they get.  And you have to roll for every room, even if you are going to have them find nothing.  If you only roll in certain rooms then they know something could be in there.  Just better to roll every room and tell them there is nothing even if your roll is a success. 
Or are the PC's meant to find a lot of stuff for this one?   

They could have easily made the map like this.  Now your players can visualize with figures and can clearly move 2 zones per turn, even in combat.  But I seriously do not want to build one of these every single time.  But the thing that brings me back to the whole block being a zone is time.  It does not take a person 5-10 minutes to walk 50m.  it takes about 40 seconds.  Even when being careful.  so using my map, it takes 10 to 20 minutes just to walk into the first office.  :shock:
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The1TrueFredrix
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Re: What is a Zone?

Mon 16 Dec 2019, 23:01

As a co-author of the Hopes Last Day scenario, I apologise for the confusion. Most rooms are zones in themselves. They are grouped under “blocks” in the description because we were limited on word count. In the original version, many of the rooms were described.
Last edited by The1TrueFredrix on Mon 16 Dec 2019, 23:19, edited 1 time in total.
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The1TrueFredrix
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Re: What is a Zone?

Mon 16 Dec 2019, 23:15

On the items, yes. There are a lot of useful items to be found. And space restrictions did mean we had to combine a number of individual room finds able into one general table. But in play this isn’t a problem. Players don’t trawl the place looking for every single item like a video game, and even if they did they have a limited carrying capacity.
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Gebohq
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Re: What is a Zone?

Mon 16 Dec 2019, 23:30

On the items, yes. There are a lot of useful items to be found. And space restrictions did mean we had to combine a number of individual room finds able into one general table. But in play this isn’t a problem. Players don’t trawl the place looking for every single item like a video game, and even if they did they have a limited carrying capacity.
And even if they didn't, it's clear in the scenario that the GM should have xenos start hunting if the players start milling about and feeling too comfortable.
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