4e Gridless, not mapless, but gridless.

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So how would you do it?  I was thinking for movement having strings with inches marked out for movement speeds, probably having .5in being adjecent.  Most other things would remain the same squares = inches.

any other ideas? 

Play whatever the **** you want. Never Point a loaded party at a plot you are not willing to shoot. Arcane Rhetoric. My Blog.

So how would you do it?  I was thinking for movement having strings with inches marked out for movement speeds, probably having .5in being adjecent.  Most other things would remain the same squares = inches.

any other ideas? 

Not to shoot you down, but why?  What advantage does using a gridless map in 4e have over using a gridded map in 4e?

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

If he reason for dropping the grid is to get rid of spheres = cubes, I'd suggest trying a hex map instead. (although spheres will instead become cylinders).  Trying to go completely gridless will just grind the game to a halt as you have to measure every little thing.
Pretty much like this.

That's the 13th Age model applied to 4e. It's how we are playing right now in our campaign.

The good thing with this is that you can go back to grid-mode anytime, on a per encounter basis, since the 4e ruleset underneath is consistent with the grid system.
if you have a good dm they can kind of eyeball it and ref it fairly (but not exactly). there is nothing wrong with experimenting if your group is up for it.

So how would you do it?  I was thinking for movement having strings with inches marked out for movement speeds, probably having .5in being adjecent.  Most other things would remain the same squares = inches.

any other ideas? 

Not to shoot you down, but why?  What advantage does using a gridless map in 4e have over using a gridded map in 4e?



The main reason is because I have a few poster sized maps with no grid on them from other sources and I want to use them but as i said there is no grid.

And another reason is i's like to have a more organic feel for a particular game.  play it a little sloppier then a ridig grid.

Play whatever the **** you want. Never Point a loaded party at a plot you are not willing to shoot. Arcane Rhetoric. My Blog.



And another reason is i's like to have a more organic feel for a particular game.  play it a little sloppier then a ridig grid.



Yep, that's about it. Combat becomes a bit less tactically involved and a bit more fluid. It goes faster overall, both in terms of setup and actual play.

Interestingly with the more free-form approach we are employing it feels like there is less disconnection between the combat narrative and its representation (counting squares doesn't help imagination much).
It's a matter of preferences of course: something you gain, something you lose. So far we are happy with the trade off, but it's nice to have both options available.
Pretty much like this.

That's the 13th Age model applied to 4e. It's how we are playing right now in our campaign.

The good thing with this is that you can go back to grid-mode anytime, on a per encounter basis, since the 4e ruleset underneath is consistent with the grid system.


Wait.  That's what 13th Age is doing?  That's my SARN-FU!!

Wait.  That's what 13th Age is doing?  That's my SARN-FU!!



Please, don't sue them! I want the game released
      The war games people do fine with rulers, tape measure, etc.  Add in a few plastic circles and the grid is not needed.  Now the grid is still useful, but there are substitutes.
So how would you do it?  I was thinking for movement having strings with inches marked out for movement speeds, probably having .5in being adjecent.  Most other things would remain the same squares = inches.

any other ideas? 

I have done exactly this.  For the sake of nostalgia, I ran an old module (the oldest, Temple of the Frog) using 4e (technically, Essentials) and ran it like I did in the olden days - on a bare table top.  No grid, no map, per se, but using dice, pencils or whatever was handy to show the edges of rooms and placement of objects.  

Without squares, it becomes about distance.  I used a pocket tape-measure.  For range attacks and bursts, it's simple, just measure to see if a figure is in range or burst.  For blasts it was trickier.  Blasts are an aproximation for fan or cone shaped effects but there was quite a variety of those back in the day, burning hands was a 120 degree fan, for instance, while the virtex of a cone of cold got more acute the longer it was.  I settled for using a 90-degree cone as being closest to a blast.  That's a simple matter of playing out the right number of inches and rotating it through 90 degrees.

It was all fairly painless, and actually eliminated some oddities, like square fireballs and rapid or 'free' diagonal movement.



Wait.  That's what 13th Age is doing?  That's my SARN-FU!!

 

Please, don't sue them! I want the game released

Lots of games have worked that way (relative positioning instead of hard distance) over the decades.  

 

 

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Lots of games have worked that way (relative positioning instead of hard distance) over the decades.  



Indeed. 13th Age and WHFrpg 3rd ed being the last and among the most accomplished examples of this approach.

Wait.  That's what 13th Age is doing?  That's my SARN-FU!!

 

Please, don't sue them! I want the game released

Lots of games have worked that way (relative positioning instead of hard distance) over the decades.  


I actually haven't seen a game that used narrative labels for abstract distances before SARN-FU. It's why I had to make SARN-FU instead of telling people just to use the rules from game X.
I actually haven't seen a game that used narrative labels for abstract distances before SARN-FU. It's why I had to make SARN-FU instead of telling people just to use the rules from game X.


The thing is, other than being an abstract positioning system SARN-FU and the one in 13th Age really aren't all that similar. At best you could claim the same sort of convergent evolution that led to sharks and dolphins both having fins. Both were attempts to solve a particular problem and share a few base commonalities because of the nature of the problem, but beyond that you can see the very different philosophies that shaped the fairly significant differences between the two.

SARN-FU is an extremely detailed and GM-dependent system. Key points of it include six different range bands for determining relative position of each combantant to every other combatant while relying on GM fiat for who can or cannot be hit by a particular AoE effect. SARN-FU is an odd mix of complex range mechanics mingled with "GM may I?" every time an AoE effect comes up. 

13th Age is much simpler... using only three range bands and relative grouping (ex. anyone engaged with a nearby target is automatically nearby as well)... and less dependent on GM fiat (the number of targets you can hit is based off a die roll) than SARN-FU is. While it can't cover every situation in 4E as precisely as SARN-FU can, it does handle probably 99% of the cases well enough for a narrative-style game.

That there are some similarities at all is pretty much for the same reason that most games use dice as a randomizing element (they're compact, durable, require no special skill to use and can usually be easily replaced if lost). There's only so many ways you can do gridless positioning without it becoming needlessly complex.

So really... I don't see anything more than superficial similarities between SARN-FU and what 13th Age has done.
13th Age is much simpler... using only three range bands and relative grouping (ex. anyone engaged with a nearby target is automatically nearby as well)


That's knots (see article3 in the SARN-FU series).

I don't see anything more than superficial similarities between SARN-FU and what 13th Age has done.


I'll take your word for it.  I haven't looked into 13th Age yet.
I actually haven't seen a game that used narrative labels for abstract distances before SARN-FU. It's why I had to make SARN-FU instead of telling people just to use the rules from game X.

The first one that came to mind, because it was such an outrageously bad exampll, was HOL.  "Range bands" were   


really not far
not far
not far, really 
far
really far,
really, really far
etc... 

The accompanying illustration was hilarious.

But, HOL was really(, really, really) a parody of an RPG, just one that incidentally did some things surprisingly well.  



 

 

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Tony:


I play d&d on wargame terrain, and use tape measures. 1 inch=5 feet.
 It's far supperior to the grid because you can position your mini exactly where you want to.
 If a craracter wants to move at 30 degrees N by NW they can.  
Even in dungeons on grid terrain we use the tape measures because it works.  Characters don't have to line up all perfect in their squares because in real life that would suck.
Just don't use a map, and wing distance.

Seriously, that's all my group did, and we have no use of a grid anymore. No rules conversion, nothing. Adjacent is obvious, distance relative to other objects is obvious most of the time, and easy to figure out/wing an answer to the rest of the time.

If there's a disagreement, we just sort of gauge the general group reaction to something, and if that doesn't immediately work, the DM makes a call and we move on.
You could also look into Old School Hack, or the way FF's Star Wars: Edge of The Empire handles distance. I hate EoTE with...fairly apothetic sort of hatred, but that one thing they did manage to do well.