Posts: 11
Joined: Mon 11 Mar 2019, 11:48

Newcomer on 'Zone-based combat'

Wed 24 Apr 2019, 14:00

I am devouring frantically the FL books and I'm planning to run a few sessions soon. I've just tried the combat system in my kitchen table and I found it to work very smooth and exciting, but I have one issue, and not with the rules, but with how to make them work nicely.
As you can deduce from the title, I've never run a zone-based combat system, I've only played with grid systems and with systems that handle distance (you are at 30 meters and you can move 20 meters each round, and so). As far as I understand, the zones are well defined areas in which the action occurs. I have no trouble in imagining how to decide what are each zone in a well enclosed environment. Take for example a Tavern, where you have the common room zone, the zone behind the bar, the stairs' zone... etc. Or in a road crossing the forest, where the road could be a zone and the forest at each side a different zone.
But my trouble comes when I try to imagine a combat in an open area. Let's say in the plains. You don't need to have well defined zones and I have some trouble thinking that everyone in the battlefield is at near range. I can't come up with a way of justifying how to divide the map in zones where you have not any phisical barrier that clearly divides both.
Most likely it is that I'm not being imaginative enough, but that's why I seek advice on how to plan the encounters.
I hope I made myself clear and thank you!
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Posts: 193
Joined: Mon 18 Feb 2019, 22:41

Re: Newcomer on 'Zone-based combat'

Wed 24 Apr 2019, 16:43

If you are used to grid-based tactical combats like in D&D that rely on precise positioning, the narrative type of combat that is based on zones in Forbidden Lands  (and Conan 2d20 for example) needs some time to get used to. Especially for competitive players that take this as some board game where they fight against you and try to exploit the system. You should stop think in meters, feet or inches, but in distance that you as GM define and abstract position between the combatants. :)

To get better understanding on how a zone looks like (and they are not equal btw, zones can be of various size), I suggest to check the Geomorphic tiles (just look at the thumbnails). It is very easy to depict what zone is. I am actually using those in my Conan and Forbidden Land games. Where a tile is not working, I am using other images and draw zones on top, or explain the terrain before combat.

Check my showcase at FG forums, where you can see some combat maps used - theater or mind (the orc camp), open terrain and snow field with zones. ... post433596 ... set-bundle