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Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space
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Author:  Mapmaker [ Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

Hi again, folks. Here's another terrain related issue I'd like to get your thoughts on...

A future set of maps that I plan to release will feature an orbital space station and adjacent docked ships. I'm thinking about including some doors on this map that open to the outside of the space station, allowing some tricky maneuvers that involve flying or wall-walking movement outside the station--from airlock to airlock, for example.

However, vacuum and zero-gravity are things that this game has never been made to handle. (I'd still leave the zero-G effect out for the sake of simplicity.)

Sooo...I'm considering adding a purple or aqua limn line to maps like this in addition to the normal pit lines that I would use for open space. This could represents not just the vacuum of space, but any airless environment (underwater, for example), or even an environment of toxic gas. Collectively, I'd call it "hazardous environment".

So how would it work?

I'm thinking that it applies automatic damage to each miniature that activates within that terrain area. Maybe 30 or 40 damage? More? Something like that. This effect, however, would have a list of exemptions: Certain miniatures would be immune to this damage. The list would include pilots, droids, and possibly others, based on the miniature itself. I would suggest that enclosed vehicles be included, along with any miniature that has an enclosed helmet in its original sculpt. Likewise, vehicles whose drivers have enclosed helmets.

I imagine that this will create several 'wonky' situations where specific minis that should be immune to vacuum are affected by it, and some of those who should be affected are not, but those could be handled on a case by case basis. Mynocks come to mind. Needless to say, Mandos and Stormtroopers, and Clone Troopers would get a boost on maps featuring this terrain. (A separate list of minis could be included for its use to simulate an aquatic environment; here I'm thinking specifically of mon cals, quarren, etc...)

Anyway, this terrain feature could be used in another map I tentatively plan to make: a lunar or asteroid colony like Polis Massa that has a facility on the surface, with doors onto a rocky exterior. In this case, the hazard line would be used without the pit line, to facilitate movement outside the outpost.

Now, one other tricky subject: decompression/flooding. I would suggest that a door into hazardous space will not open normally, but will open to a use of override, door gimmick, or satchel charge. (In a scenario game, I'd also let satchel charge blow a hole in a thin wall, but that's just me...)

Once open, the hazardous environment expands to fill the adjacent space, up to all walls and closed doors that surround the adjacent space. These squares are now treated as hazardous terrain (and can subsequently expand through other overridden doors, etc) until the original entry point is closed. When the door to the printed hazard area is closed, all other affected squares revert to normal....

I'd recommend an exception to the decompression rule for energy doors: those shown on a map as a glowing energy beam could double as magnetic shields to keep the atmosphere in even when they "open" to allow movement; those should still open as normal to adjacent miniatures, too.

So, this set of rules creates a potentially deadly imbalance in favor of squads built to handle it. One override, and all of your enemies take massive damage each activation? Ouch. That decompression effect would need to be hampered by a map designer using redundant doors and energy shields to prevent easy abuse...but even so, the whole concept still changes the worth and skirmish balance of many miniatures who were designed without this sort of thing factored into their cost. It would need widespread playtesting before ever becoming a common rule, and I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it will probably never be allowed in sanctioned tournaments, no matter how much testing and refinement we give it.

But, I am planning to make some maps that will have this sort of thing in place for those who care to use it.

What do you folks think?

Author:  dalsiandon [ Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

It's a snazzy idea, and I agree with you there are many complications that would need to be worked out. I do like the idea for scenarios of course, but even in a skirmish it can alter movement paths. But yeah some of the double and triple override squads that already exist are beastly, I would not want to face them on a map like that, especially if I risk losing huge amounts of health each activation. There are some high cost fig's (Cad Bane comes to mind,) that would die in two rounds in such an environment.

And the list of fig's would need to be really expansive to really get the most use out of the terrain feature. Otherwise it would be dangerous gimmick.

Could you image losing Han Solo Rebel Hero in 2 rounds because a pair of R7's overided the airlock doors open? That would prolly make someone upset

Author:  Mapmaker [ Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

Fair point. What if the damage was toned down to, say, 20? Or even 10? (This could even be a variable printed on the map based on the intended type of hazard: poison gas, 10; aquatic pressure, 20; cold vacuum, 30?)

That makes it less of an overwhelming hazard, but still significant enough to be a fun tactic.

Author:  insaniak [ Fri Oct 01, 2010 6:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

How about 20 damage each time a character's activation begins in or movement takes it through a Hazardous Area, with a save of 11 (they can hold their breath...)

Droids, Pilots, models with a helmet, or Force Users reduce this to 10 damage, with a save of 6.


It would be tempting to add movement penalties for certain environments as well (reduced movement under-water, chance of injuring yourself for moving more than 6 squares in space, sort of thing...) but that's possibly getting a little too far beyond the scope of the rules.

Author:  jedispyder [ Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

It would be difficult to word, but how about a cumulative 10 damage each activation to properly show the events getting worse.

Author:  dalsiandon [ Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

Mapmaker wrote:
Fair point. What if the damage was toned down to, say, 20? Or even 10? (This could even be a variable printed on the map based on the intended type of hazard: poison gas, 10; aquatic pressure, 20; cold vacuum, 30?)

That makes it less of an overwhelming hazard, but still significant enough to be a fun tactic.


I could see that as having a more readily acceptable cost, and I like the idea about force users that was posted getting a save to avoid the damage

Author:  insaniak [ Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

Ooh, I like the cumulative damage idea.
How about:
If a character occupies one or more squares marked as Hazardous Terrain during its activation, it will suffer 20 damage. Save of 11 negates. Force Users, Pilots, Droids, Mynocks, or characters with helmets only suffer 10 damage, with a save of 6.

For each successive turn in which the character occupies a square marked as Hazardous Terrain following a failed save, the damage is increased by 10.

Author:  Mapmaker [ Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

I can see how the effects would worsen in vacuum exposure (realistically, a person would pass out in 14 seconds or less and freeze quickly thereafter), but not necessarily the types mentioned; in this case, I'm thinking simpler would be better; one less thing to track.

If we assume the 10/20/30 damage for toxic gas/deep water pressure/vacuum, I think a force user save for -10 damage is reasonable. I hesitate to make force users universally more resilient in this way, but we saw Obi-wan and Qui-Gon walk out of a cloud of toxic gas unharmed, and the EU has other examples of them dealing with these hazards.

I would still recommend letting droids, pilots, and mini in sealed suits, etc avoid the damage altogether. It doesn't make sense, for example, for R2-D2 or a TIE fighter pilot take exposure damage--and it's easier to track "immune or not" than to make a roll for all these minis every round.

I'd also enjoy a rule that causes forced outward movement to any miniature next to an airlock door that gets overrided open, but that's a layer of complexity too far, I think, and increases the potential for abuse.

Thanks for the feedback, folks. Keep it coming!

Author:  insaniak [ Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

Mapmaker wrote:
I can see how the effects would worsen in vacuum exposure (realistically, a person would pass out in 14 seconds or less and freeze quickly thereafter), but not necessarily the types mentioned; in this case, I'm thinking simpler would be better; one less thing to track.

To my mind, in other environments it would reflect that once your initial resistance is overcome, it gets worse faster. After the first mouthful of water, it's harder to keep from taking in more. The longer you're breathing in toxic gas, the more it effects you. That sort of thing. And the longer you go without breathing, the worse you function. (Which would lead to a different possiblity... rather than increasing the damage, the save could get worse each turn...)

It doesn't have to be any harder to track than, say, Force Corruption, or any number of similar effects in CCGs. Drop a counter on the character's card for each consecutive turn that they remain in (or move through) the terrain, and add 10 points of damage for each counter (or increase the save value by, what? 2 points?).


Quote:
If we assume the 10/20/30 damage for toxic gas/deep water pressure/vacuum, I think a force user save for -10 damage is reasonable. I hesitate to make force users universally more resilient in this way, but we saw Obi-wan and Qui-Gon walk out of a cloud of toxic gas unharmed, and the EU has other examples of them dealing with these hazards.

That was my thought as well. In both the movies and the books we see Jedi tackling hazardous environments either with their handy pocket respirator or just by refusing to breath until they're somewhere safe again.


Quote:
I would still recommend letting droids, pilots, and mini in sealed suits, etc avoid the damage altogether. It doesn't make sense, for example, for R2-D2 or a TIE fighter pilot take exposure damage--and it's easier to track "immune or not" than to make a roll for all these minis every round.

I was thinking more that their protection could potentially fail, particularly if you're including toxic gases in the mix. But you're probably right in that it's unnecessary complexity. The main concern here would be that different squads/factions would suffer from wildly differing levels of disadvantage from this sort of map.


Quote:
I'd also enjoy a rule that causes forced outward movement to any miniature next to an airlock door that gets overrided open, but that's a layer of complexity too far, I think, and increases the potential for abuse.

This would also start adding complications if you're trying to lump all of the hazardous terrain into the same category. Opening a door to vacuum would push characters towards the door. Opening it to water would push them away from it. And opening it to gas would probably have no particular effect.

Author:  Disturbed1 [ Sat Oct 02, 2010 1:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

dalsiandon wrote:
There are some high cost fig's (Cad Bane comes to mind,) that would die in two rounds in such an environment.


I saw something that said the tubes on Cad's neck are to allow him to breathe even if a jedi is force choking him. In light of that, though I dont remember exactly what it said, I would think that that would imply they go to an air tank, and if that were the case, id say Cad would be an exception to the rule.

Chris, I love the idea, but I agree that no matter how much tresting would be done, i dont think itd see tournament play.

Author:  Darth_Jim [ Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

Vacuums suck.


Okay, now that I got the obvious pun out of the way, we actually have been thinking of this concept in another way since I brought home your Exodus Class Ship map from GenCon last year. The two doors on either side of the ship in the aft section open to space, and whenever my group plays on that ship, we've tried to repulse or push guys out those doors. It hasn't happened yet, but our houserule has been instant death. I know there are helmets and tubes and spacesuits that could mitigate that, but the 'instant death' has always been easier... and the potential for hilarity is too much to pass up. It was brought up that we could treat it like a pit, but the vacuum of space sucking the life out of a character seemed like so much more fun.

Author:  dalsiandon [ Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

Disturbed1 wrote:
dalsiandon wrote:
There are some high cost fig's (Cad Bane comes to mind,) that would die in two rounds in such an environment.


I saw something that said the tubes on Cad's neck are to allow him to breathe even if a jedi is force choking him. In light of that, though I dont remember exactly what it said, I would think that that would imply they go to an air tank, and if that were the case, id say Cad would be an exception to the rule.



Sorry but I had no desire to hunt down wookipedia for accuracy. Besides the illustration served it's purpose.

Author:  Mapmaker [ Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

I was thinking that as well, but didn't know for sure that the tubes would let him breathe in vacuum. It illustrated the point, though, that we'd need to allow odd exceptions like this to exist, or make a list of additional minis that are immune to the hazard effect.

Author:  Disturbed1 [ Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

dalsiandon wrote:
Disturbed1 wrote:
dalsiandon wrote:
There are some high cost fig's (Cad Bane comes to mind,) that would die in two rounds in such an environment.


I saw something that said the tubes on Cad's neck are to allow him to breathe even if a jedi is force choking him. In light of that, though I dont remember exactly what it said, I would think that that would imply they go to an air tank, and if that were the case, id say Cad would be an exception to the rule.



Sorry but I had no desire to hunt down wookipedia for accuracy. Besides the illustration served it's purpose.


I understand, and wasnt trying to correct you. I was just pointing out that Cad would possibly become one of those figs that are more confusing because of who they are, etc, if he went with 'the ones with helmets and life support gear, etc dont take dmg'. Cad doesnt have a helmet, but may very well be considered immune to the effects, especially since hes got flight too.

Author:  dalsiandon [ Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

Mapmaker wrote:
I was thinking that as well, but didn't know for sure that the tubes would let him breathe in vacuum. It illustrated the point, though, that we'd need to allow odd exceptions like this to exist, or make a list of additional minis that are immune to the hazard effect.


It might be easier to make a list of those who are not immune than the list of those who are.

Author:  Mapmaker [ Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

If the game rules were my plaything and I could errata everything as will, I'd create a stat called "Pressure Sealed" or something, and go back and give it to all minis to which it is appropriate. That seems a bit unlikely, however, so we'd have to settle for a list of exemptions (or inclusions, as you say) to define which minis are or are not subject to hazard damage.

Author:  LoboStele [ Mon Oct 04, 2010 8:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Terrain Feature: The Vacuum of Space

Well, I think as someone else pointed out, something like this would likely never by "top-end" tournament legal (not to say that tournaments couldn't be played with these alternate rules). So, if you would take the time to go back and re-stat every card with "Pressure Sealed" if it needed it, then it would be exceptionally easy to create a list of the pieces that should have it. Then, provide that on your website along with any other scenario type materials.

This sounds like a really neat idea overall, and likely would make for a cool RPG map. The oustide of Ships/Asteroids is not something that is easy to do on any existing maps at the moment, at least not without arbitrarily telling your players "You are in the vacuum of space". LOL But for SMWs scenario play, we've done a bunch of things over the years like hazardous terrain for lava and stuff like that. It's worked out pretty well over time. Most of the time, we found that it was easiest to assess damage because of those environmental factors at the end of each round, or right before you roll initiative. That way it gives people a wee bit of time to maneuver around as necessary.

If you're going to allow things like Override to open doors, then it might be neat to have some other minor terrain features that allow a piece with Override to shut that door, without being in the room with it (like a command console of some sort). Or if something used Satchel Charge, use the Command Console to raise a shield or something. I don't know, that's probably getting complicated, haha. Then again, some of the scenarios that WOTC put out weren't all that simple either.

It's a cool idea Chris, and I'm excited to see what the map ideas you have for these will look like.

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