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Friday, February 18, 2011

Movement and Maneuvers

Way back in the post on aerial combat, I simplified the maneuverability rules by figuring out the relationship between two numbers: the response time (how far a flier must fly before changing direction) and the number of maneuvers (how many changes of direction the flier can make during one turn of movement.) I wanted to do a little hypothetical extension of those rules.

The two numbers add up to 6 for bipedal or equine fliers and 8 for clumsy fliers. The standard bipedal flier (human with Fly spell) and the standard clumsy flier (manticore) each can make 4 maneuvers in one turn; other creatures adjust this down for larger creatures relative to the standard size, increasing response time by the same amount; small fliers adjust the bipedal standard maneuvers up and lower response time. Equines and air elementals get a +3 bonus to maneuvers without an equivalent adjustment for response time. In the naval combat posts, I applied the same system, giving all ships 1 maneuver per turn and a 10 response time for oared vessels, 12 for sailing ships.

What I'm thinking about now is applying this to other forms of transportation. Most mounts and land vehicles (carts, wagons, rolling barrels) would have 1 maneuver per turn, just like ships, but I'm wondering what the response time should be. For mounts, you could probably ignore response time except in a charge or when jousting; I figure in those circumstances, response time should be half the movement rate. For carts and the like, I'd go with the flat rate of 12, same as sailing ships, but perhaps chariots should be treated as mounts (half the horse's movement rate.)

Should response time be higher for a chariot or coach with a team of horses, instead of a single horse? Maybe a +1 per pair?

For swimmers, I'm guessing using the same rule as fliers will work, but with slightly different categories: fish and clumsy swimmers, with a human as the standard for the latter, and with water elementals and squid/octopuses getting the +3 maneuvers bonus.

Eventually, I'll have to adapt these same rules to other vehicles. I can see two possible ways of handling mechanical vehicles:
  • 1 maneuver, response time = half movement rate; bonus maneuvers based on tech level (somehow) or expense.
  • Maneuvers and response time add up to half movement rate, similar to the way aerial movement works, adjusting base maneuver rate up or down based on size, with a bonus for certain specialty vehicles like helicopters.
The second method might be better because "tech level" can just be subsumed as part of the movement rate, which increases with more modern technology. We could probably set base number of maneuvers to 1/10 the movement rate to make it simple. Specific "arenas of movement" would have special rules, of course, but vehicular combat for a post-apoc supplement or space combat for a rocket patrol supplement is almost halfway finished, just by making a few twists of the existing rules.

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