View Full Version : [4e] Scaling Up and Weapon Ranges

2008-12-27, 12:23 PM
I've been DMing 4e for a while, but with this new game I have an eye towards larger, epic-scaled 'war' battles: think Suikoden's map battles, or Fire Emblem, or Super Robot Wars and you'd have the general gist.

To ease the transition, I plan on trying to make everything as similar as possible (the PC's character represents the PC's unit, movements and melee remain the same, and such; as it were, it is like being in a normal 1-inch-is-5-feet encounter, only with a map representing mountain ranges, castles, bodies of water, forests and other tactical terrain).

The issue I am having comes with range: Even a longbow has range *20*, which in the new map scale wouldn't work (archers would be shooting from one region to another, over entire mountains); I'm not entirely comfortable with dividing ranges by a factor of X because I do not want movement to be reduced as well, but that having so little range would cripple ranged Strikers.

Are there any others here thinking of similar battles in their campaigns and with ideas? I would love to discuss and hear about them.

2008-12-27, 12:31 PM
I had similar musing upon looking over the battle system. However, I've never had a chance to actually use them in this way, so I've never hammered out hard details.

It seems to me that you need to designate a definite "A square is X area in feet" and go from there. You say that you don't want archers shooting over mountain ranges, but the problem is the scale between troops and the size of the mountain range. If a mountain takes up a realistically large area, then you don't have that problem.

2008-12-27, 01:04 PM
At the scales you are talking about, units shouldn't be moving 14+ squares in a round before the other side can react...

Mercenary Pen
2008-12-27, 01:23 PM
Also, your mountain ranges ought to be providing a lot of cover and concealment...

Bear in mind that computerised wargames such as Advance Wars often cut artillery ranges back a lot as part of the larger scale.

However, you seem to have only thought of this in terms of ranged strikers- mostly ranged martial strikers at that... What about the wizard with scorching burst scaled up into an at-will tactical nuke? The dragonborn anything with close blast 3/5 breath? The fact that even a fighter with a Close Burst 1 (available by Level 3) might now be dominating a massive chunk of the surrounding lands?

The powers system inherent to D&D 4e isn't going to be simple to re-scale for anything that is ranged, area or close.

It has been said before, but it bears saying again, you must decide on your scale before any serious and substantive fixes can be achieved, because your scale will determine realistic movement as well as factoring into determining weapon and ability ranges.

2008-12-27, 01:34 PM
Why not try playing DND miniatures? You don't even need the actual miniatures, just download stats you like from the Wizards database. Then you can either buy or print off DDM maps, or make your own on several sheets of grid paper taped together. It's easier that remaking the entire 4e game, which is what your proposal would entail, really.

2008-12-27, 02:26 PM
Shadow_elf: Unfortunately, this is going to be a 'hybrid' campaign where there'll be a lot of dungeon crawling and other more normal types of combat and movement as well, and it will also be an online campaign (although thank you for the suggestion regardless, as the Miniatures game likely can provide some additional insight).

The issue with scale that I am having is that substantial movement, I feel, is important to reserve so as to not make it unfun - no one likes moving 1 or 2 squares per turn, and it would certainly also cut back on the strategic element as well (or at least make it as slow as chess), but long range is at best unrealistic.

A close burst 1 I could still see (the fighter's cadre of warriors performing a heroic exploit under his command), but that example with the dragonborn and magic... yeah, kinda stretches it a bit. A little bit more sellable, however (a flock of wizards channeling a wide blast of fire).

I am aware that most wargames (FE, AW) use a scaled-down range of 2-8 at most, but I am worried I would break the ranged 4e classes by nerfing their ranges so much.

Then again, I could see the 'longbows' of map combat actually turning to heavy duty ballista. That would get the range going.

2008-12-27, 03:30 PM
Why not do a "grand map; minimap" style? You have a large, general battlemap for the entire epic thing, and then you close in on smaller, individual maps where skirmishes occur? It's basically like the Total War series.

The New Bruceski
2008-12-28, 02:34 AM
I would suggest keeping the 4e format, but making new powers and characters. For example, your wizard doesn't take command of a unit and they're all exactly like him, he commands a "mage regiment" which is statted on a different character sheet. Powers would be something like Magic Missile as the basic volley attack, while something like Fireball/Scorching Burst would do more damage (overlapping areas) and splash some into adjacent squares, but be an x/encounter power even though solo it's an at-will.

Different troop types would be based off of different classes, but not have identical powers. Skirmishers could be pretty closely paralleled by rogues -- weaker attacks but devastating if the enemy's guard is down. They could also be a good recipient of the Warlord's Leaf on the Wind ability, get into another group and in the chaos they drive them away from the target.

You'd want to give the players themselves some effect on the unit they fought with, maybe an encounter power of a boot to a stat. Rogues add some damage, Fighters increase the unit's defenses, Warlords add to-hit and Clerics can cure some damage, that kind of thing.

As for ranges, you'll need to figure out what scale you're working on. If you scale up distance but don't scale down movement speed, you're putting rounds on a larger time base than in solo combat. That's fine, just remember that the point of ranged attackers is to whittle down the enemy before they can close, so something needs to be done to reflect that. Maybe when a melee foe moves into range of archers they could choose to take their next turn's standard action immediately? If you get too complex you get off using 4e for a basis and into designing a new system.

2008-12-28, 02:49 AM
On the other hand, if you're interested in more of a Dynasty Warriors feel to it, consider dropping ranges by 1/3 or 2/3 or something for large battles. The real question is, are you more after this being a fun battle or do you want it to be uhh... for lack of an appropriate word "realistic"?