Star Wars – Rules Update
FFG – Movement – Planetary Scale
The mechanics of moving in the FFG Game are different from other iterations of Star Wars as precise distance movement is dropped for more of a theatre of the minds eye style of play. I am happy to do that in some games, but here I look at an alternative version for use on the tabletop with grids.
- The Range Bands
- Vehicle Type
- Design Notes
- Content Updates
The Range Bands
Edge of the Empire relies on broad terms used to describe ranges and distances. Rather than have a player’s attention focused on a grid, counting squares, Edge of the Empire uses more abstract means to represent position, distances, and ranges, thus allowing the players to focus on the action and the adventure.
The distance between two points – people, objects, or adversaries – is defined by general range categories. These range categories are used to determine how far a ranged attack can reach, how far apart two people are from each other, how much effort is needed to move between two places, and so on. The most common ranges are short, medium, long, and extreme range. Another relative position exists – engaged – to represent characters that are in extremely close proximity to each other.
For ease of play, distance in Edge of the Empire is divided up into five different bands, from engaged to extreme. As always, the GM has final say in determining the range between the attacker and the target.
With the engaged status and the range bands, the GM is free to describe things dynamically and set scenes without having to worry about exact distances. Exact distances in meters do not matter. The details and adventure come first, creating a vivid picture for the players, while allowing the GM to quickly provide the mechanical information players need to use their actions and build strategies.
Like personal combat, starship and vehicle combat utilizes broad and abstract range measurements referred to as planetary scale range bands. Planetary scale range bands follow the same rules as regular range bands found on ee-cr page 208. The only difference is that planetary scale range bands operate on a much larger scale.
As stated on ee-cr page 209, close range on planetary scale picks up where personal scale leaves off. However, the scale is so much bigger that a single person could never use maneuvers to move next to a target that’s “close” to him on a planetary scale – the distance may be up to several kilometers and take an hour of walking to cover. Further range bands on a planetary scale would be even more extreme.
This isn’t to say that ships and vehicles (especially smaller vehicles such as landspeeders), can’t operate in standard range bands. Any ship or vehicle able to move could cover the distance measured by standard range bands quickly, and individuals would measure their range to a vehicle or ship using standard range bands. However, because ships and vehicles can cover those distances so quickly, it makes little sense for them to measure distances in such (relatively) small increments. This goes doubly true for starfighters and airspeeders, which can cover kilometers of distance in seconds.
Therefore, vehicles and starships use a second set of range bands, referred to as planetary scale range bands. As mentioned previously, the shortest range band in planetary scale (“close range”) encapsulates all range bands in personal scale. This means a ship or vehicle able to move to a point within close range is also covering the equivalent of all five range bands worth of distance in personal scale. This also means even the shortest range starship and vehicle weapons have the range of the largest personal scale ranged weapons.
Note: For times when squares are useful I have added some house-rules for using squares to measure by. Each character will be assigned a base modifier.
- Planetary Base Move Modifier – This is determined by Speed.
- Planetary Base Sensor Modifier – This is determined by Silhouette. This means the bigger the ship the further it can detect and shoot.
- Silhouette – Most characters have a silhouette of 1. Some with a larger silhouette takes up twices as much space as the size below. Smallest item on the field sets the scale at one square, next one takes two squares, then eight squares. This gives large ships the space to have multiple smaller ships engaging them.
- Note – Someone with Computers can add their computers to the silhouette for ranged scan, while someone with Gunnery can add to the silhouette for weapons range and lastly some with pilot can add to the move distance. This is still under testing to see how it works out at the base rules of the game do not provide any advantage for skilled character in this way.
Planetary – Close
Close range in planetary scale is slightly further than extreme range in personal scale, and can cover everything from a few dozen meters up to several kilometers in distance between two points. This might seem like a great deal of space, but most vehicles can cover this distance in several minutes at worst, and microseconds at best.
On the surface of a planet, most ground vehicles engage at close range, using their larger heavy blasters and laser cannons to hit targets a regular soldier would have trouble seeing, much less hitting. In the air and in space, close range is the metaphorical “knife fight” range where dogfights between snubfighters or high-performance airspeeders take place. Capital ships endeavor to stay out of close range of each other, as it is essentially point-blank for their weapon batteries. Two large warships slugging it out at close range can tear each other to bits in short order.
Note: For when squares are important, a vehicle or starships at close rating is Base Modifier multiplied by Base Speed Multiplier (BSM) when compared to characters. When using Planetary scale using the base value for distance.
- Example: A airspeeder has silhouette of 2 giving it a Character range of 100 for close. This makes it 2 squares range when using planetary scales.
Planetary – Short Range
Short range in planetary scale is anything up to roughly several dozen kilometers away. On the surface of a planet, this is far enough that vehicles no longer engage each other with line-of-sight weaponry (although artillery weapons can still pound opponents with indirect fire).
In space, short range is just out of dogfighting range, and beyond the range of most starfighter and patrol boat weapons. However, most self-propelled weapons can hit targets within short range, so these smaller vessels often carry concussion missiles and proton torpedoes to extend their reach. Short range is still uncomfortably close for capital ships, though not quite as brutally point-blank as close range.
Note: For when squares are important, a vehicle short rating is Base Modifier multiplied by Base Speed Multiplier (BSM) for character scale which makes it disappear quickly off the table, so the planetary scale of a multiplier of 3 provides a good movement on a table.
- Example – Same airspeeder with a silhouette of 2 would make Short Range at 6 squares and a its movement per manoeuvre with a Speed of 3 giving it 9 squares movement at top speed. From a character perspective add two zeroes after the movement to represent how many squares it can move in a manoeuvre.
Planetary – Medium Range
On the surface of a planet or within a planet’s atmosphere, something is within medium range if it is within roughly fifty kilometers, long enough that only the most powerful artillery weapons can engage it.
In space, something may be within medium range at a somewhat longer distance, up to a few hundred kilometers. This is far beyond the reach of most starfighter weapons, but at the ideal range of most of the big guns mounted on capital ships. Thus, most capital ship engagements happen at medium range, with starfighters dogfighting between them.
Note: For when squares are important, a vehicle medium rating is Base Modifier multiplied by 6.
- Example – Same Airspeeder with Silhouette of 2 they would have a Medium Range of 12 squares.
Planetary – Long Range
Long range on a planet’s surface can be anywhere from a hundred to two hundred kilometers away. Engagements never happen at this distance, with enemies appearing as flickering phantoms on the screens of each sides’ scanner systems.
In space, long range can be up to several thousand kilometers away. At this point, engagements between ships become rare, with only the largest capital ship weapons able to bridge the gulf
Note: For when squares are important, a vehicle long rating is Base Modifier multiplied by 12.
- Example – Same Airspeeder with a Silhouette of 2 they would have a Long Range of 24 squares.
Planetary – Extreme Range
On a planet’s surface, extreme range is the far edge of a vehicle’s scanners, far enough that weapons cannot hope to reach.
In space, extreme range is likewise beyond the range of almost all starship weapons, even those mounted on capital ships. At extreme range, opposing ships are still jockeying for position before engaging each other, and both sides still have the chance to break off and escape.
Note: For when squares are important, a vehicles extreme rating is Base Modifier multiplied by 20.
- Example – Same Airspeeder with a Silhouette of 2 they would have a Extreme Range of 40 squares.
Base Speed Multiplier
BSM or Base Speed Multiplier is a way to put some characteristics back into different types of vehicles on the tabletop. This will eventually pull material from other systems back into it as I work through all my other rulesets.
With the current ruleset, a Walker at speed 1 covers the same distance as an Airspeeder at speed 1. With this I am adjusting the Base Speed Multiplier (BSM) by the following.
- Airspeeder – BSM x100
- Landspeeder – BSM x50
- Wheeled and Tracked – BSM x25
- Walkers – x20
In atmosphere all starships act as Airspeeders (BSM x100).
- Starfighters and Patrol Boats
- Freighters and Transports
- Capital Ships
The idea with these changes is for large battles with more than two opponents, this is more for making characters skill affect the gameplay more. This works within the base banding of the Fly/Drive but caters to more than two starships being involved and while the squares are still abstract, it gives them a easier to follow distance from each other.
- 2021-07-13 – Adding vehicle type to change the distance travelled.
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