Battlefield

Overview

The battlefield in FFZ is the location of encounters. Combat, exploration, social, and trap encounters can all be affected by the layout of the location that the encounter occurs in. Battlefields are essentially rules that you can graft onto other encounters to make them more dynamic, interesting, and challenging.

Battlefields are optional. It is entirely possible to play a campaign of FFZ without ever referencing unique rules for these encounters. What battlefield rules do is add variety and strategy to the encounters, increasing complexity in order to make the situation more interesting and challenging.

A battlefield represents that combat you face where your characters must throw a switch to hit the monsters, or that exploration of the ice caverns where you may slide off a cliff, or that great debate in front of an easily-riled crowd, or that trap that cuts off passageways.

The options for a battlefield are essentially limitless: if you want the environment to affect the encounter (and don't mind the added complexity), a battlefield will give you that effect.

The battlefields here are arranged thematically by element — and thus by terrain. The terrain of the location can be a place that you can mine for ideas when looking for a battlefield.

Using Battlefields Wisely

Because battlefields increase the complexity of the encounter, they also increase the time spent on it, and the attention it is given. You should thus probably not use battlefields for every encounter. They are, however, a useful addition to key encounters, and can certainly change around encounters in familiar locations. Use them in every other, or in every third encounter, rather than for all of them, or just save them for boss battles.

Air Battlefields

Combat Encounters

Changing Height

Locations: Anywhere with significant height difference (such as the branches of a tree vs. the forest floor, or high rooftops vs. lower rooftops, or a high-flying creature and a low-flying creature, or steep mountain trails, or high towers)
Mechanics: Every creature gains a Height statistic representing how far away from a "baseline" of 0 Height they are. On your turn, you can gain 1 Height or lose 2 Height as your action. Gaining height takes 5 Speed, and gives you a Delay of 6, and gives you a +2 Accuracy bonus against creatures with less Height than you. Losing 2 Height takes 2 Speed, and has a Delay of 4. Every hit you take causes you to loose 1 Height. If you are KO'd, you revert to 0 Height.
Skills: If you are trained in Endurance, you can avoid losing Height when hit by rolling 1d20. If the roll comes up above 10, you do not loose any Height. If the roll comes up less than 11, you loose 1 Height. If the roll comes up 1, you loose 3 Height.
Complications:

  • You can have a trap affect all the creatures with a given Height value, such as a sheer wind that deals damage and changes the rows of everyone with Height 3 or 4.
  • You can introduce a damaging effect that affects all creature below a certain height, and changes height itself, such as a rising pile of lava that deals fire damage to those below its own height; it gains 1 Height at the end of every other round, forcing people to climb ahead of it.
  • If the combat has no "ground" (such as a battle exclusively in the rooftops, or where all combatants are flying), falling to 0 Height means you fall away from combat, as if Ejected.

Exploration Encounters

Windstorm

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is the location of a combat. In most ways, FFZ abstracts the battlefield. It isn't important to know specific locations and distances of those involved in the combat, any more than it's important to know exactly what kind of attack you perform with your sword. However, depending on the GM and the level of detail desired, a battlefield can become a dramatic and influential member of the combat.

The minimum required for a battlefield is an elemental association, called terrain, though even that can be overlooked in parties with no geomancer. Terrain is useful for the GM to structure creature types, but it is hardly essential, especially for skilled GMs.

Though not much is required for a battlefield, most GMs will want to add features to battlefields. Features can help make battles more engaging and dramatic, changing the combat dramatically by using the things in the battlefield strategically to your advantage.

Rows

Rows are a rough model of distance in FFZ. Creatures in the "front row" are considered within a few feet of each other, able to move and attack with close-range weapons during their turn. Meanwhile, creatures in the "back row" are considered distant from each other, able to take a few seconds to set up an attack, using ranged attacks and magick. Rows are the main strategic feature of FFZ combats.

Ranged attacks launched from or into the Front Row deal half damage, and melee attacks launched from or into the back row likewise deal half damage.

Statuses

These modifiers can apply in various circumstances, representing a broad abstraction of many combat effects. These modifiers may be "turned on" or "turned off" for a given battlefield. By default, they are "turned on," meaning characters can use them freely, though a DM may turn them off.

Vulnerable

"Vulnerable" is a general ailment that applies when a creature is unable to defend themselves fully, such as when they are distracted, wounded, briefly stunned, or otherwise opened up and made vulnerable.

A Vulnerable character cannot apply Stamina or Willpower. A character can use the Full Defense action to remove the Vulnerable status instead of gaining Speed. A character can impose the Vulnerable status on another in the same way.

Cover

"Cover" is a general enhancement that applies when a creature uses the battlefield to help defend themselves, taking refuge behind terrain such as trees, pillars, corners or low walls. Cover may also apply when using "soft cover," such as bushes, curtains, or even people in a crowd.

A character with Cover gains a +2 bonus to Evasion and Nullify. A character can use the Full Defense action to gain the Cover status instead of gaining Speed. A character can remove the Cover status from another in the same way.

The GM may turn on an option for Improved Cover to increase this bonus if there is significant terrain to take cover behind — walls, windows, arrow slits, etc. Improved Cover can add +4, +6, +8, or even +10 to Evasion and Nullify.

Hidden

"Hidden" is a general enhancement that applies when a creature cannot be located by sensory information — the creature may be present, but they may be invisible, or using a stealthy ability, or otherwise obscured.

A character in Hidden status cannot be targeted. Attacks that target "all" creatures still hit such a character. A character can gain the Hidden status by taking Full Defense and gaining no other benefit. A character can remove the Hidden status from another in the same way.

Obstructed

"Obstructed" is a general status that applies when a creature is having trouble moving, such as when they are passing through an uneven or slippery floor, heavy underbrush, or otherwise difficult terrain.

A character in Obstructed status cannot change rows. A character can use the Full Defense action to remove the Obstructed status unstead of gaining Speed, and a character can impose the Obstructed status on others in the same way.

Manuevers

This entry covers some of the basic mechanics for common combat tactics.

Assisting

A character can spend their turn helping another rather than trying themselves. A turn spent in this way can grant another character a +2 bonus to one d20 roll they make during their next turn (such as an Accuracy or Casting roll), or to any defense (such as Nullify or Evade).

Charging

A character can run forward and attack. The character changes rows, and makes a melee attack with +2 on attack and damage rolls, but also gain the Vulnerable status.

Grappling

Normally, you cannot grab other characters in the middle of combat. At the abstract level FFZ works at, you cannot effectively grapple with another combatant. If a character tries, you are encouraged to use the Stunt rules. If you have any abilities that alliow you to grab, wrestle, grapple, swallow, or otherwise entangle yourself with an enemy, that ability will provide the rules.

Disarming

Flanking

Flanking is when a character is surrounded by enemies. Flanking is effectively covered by the rules for Vulnerable, above: flanking is the process of two characters inflicting Vulnerable on another character.

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