I’ve read the core book section on it and over and over and I still can’t understand how I’m supposed to run movement in combat encounters.
You move from zone to zone, and the “range” is counted as how far away a zone is, relative to the person moving? So does this mean I have to keep track of where every single character is, relative to each other? Or is it relative to each zone? It seems very abstract and complicated compared to the simple, fairly objective D&D system of - you can move X amount of feet per turn. I can’t understand how it’s supposed to work, or how my players are supposed to communicate their movement to me. “I move from close range to medium range, from this zone to that zone?” I don’t get it.
And when it says the move minor action, that you can go “anywhere up to medium range”. What does that mean? If you can only move up to medium range, how do you move to long or extreme range?
If you have a look at the geomorphic tiles they produce, you get a better idea what they mean about zones.
Zones are more or less arbitrary in size, well, not really, but depending on the scale of your map, you get fewer or more zones.
I define zones relative to the situation and context, but generally I think something like this: A zone could be anything between 15 and 40 feet (perhaps, more or less, terrain and other things can adjust this), it is basically an area (square, hex, custom or terrain determined shape) within which movement is considered a free action. Moving to a bordering zone (a different area of its own shape, but probably similar size), would count as moving to Medium range. So, for a minor action you can move from anywhere in one zone to anywhere in a bordering second zone (and then as a free action enter Reach and attack someone using your left over standard action). For a standard action you can move to a third zone, bordering the second zone. (EDIT: References to Conan rules there, do not consider stroked out text as RAW for Star Trek. Sorry.)
This is at least how I would use the rules for maps and battlemaps. The narrative decides though, so when in my game the players ended up chasing some enemy soldiers through the city, some on horseback others on foot, we narrated the chase more, and didn’t restrict ourselves to a map and the limitation that brings for heroic sword and sorcery mayhem (EDIT: I’d say this rationale also applies to Star Trek, at least DS9 seems to support this type of storytelling from time to time, in my opinion). Having come from the FFG Star Wars system, I play more with relative range and prefer that in my games, and so do my players.
If you want to keep it more strict, and “objective” as you say, then checking out Modphius’ geomorphic tiles would be a good idea. They provide good examples for how zones can be implemented using miniatures.
If you want to consider it in d&d battle map style turns, you could consider something along the lines of:
Engaged = your square, or an adjacent square.
Close = within about 10ft of your character.
Medium = within between 10ft and 30ft of your character (given a 30ft speed as standard).
Long = within between 30ft and 60ft of your character
Extreme = Beyond 60ft of your character.
Now these are specific to if I was taking range bands into a d&d setting, and would change on size depending on the situation, but the important point is that they are relative to your character.
That’s not exactly how they work, but it’s a good starting point at least
OK, so the easiest examples are when you’ve got internal spaces, broken up into rooms and corridors. The room you’re in, that’s one zone, unless the room’s really big (in which case, it might be split into a couple of zones). The corridor outside, that’s the next zone. A room off that corridor, that’s another zone. That’s a simple three-zone map - each zone is a distinct area on that map, and any character involved in that scene will be in one of those three places, and describing position and movement is literally as simple as mentioning the room the character is in and where they’re going.
All you really need to track is which zone everyone is in. Which is, when you think about it, less exacting than having to determine that your Ranger is 30ft from that goblin, 15ft from the group’s Cleric, 60ft from that Troll, etc. Those things are all easy to do if you’ve got miniatures and/or maps, but tend to be abstracted into “eh, close enough” when you’re trying to do them in your head, in my experience.
The zones are fixed places on the map, but range is relative to the person - what counts as close/medium/long range depends on where you are at the time, obviously. Anyone in the same zone as you at that time, is in Close range. Anyone in a zone adjacent to your current zone is in Medium range. Anyone two zones away from you is at Long range. Anyone three or more zones away is at Extreme range.
If you use a Minor Action to move, you can move to anywhere within Medium range, so you can move to anywhere within your current zone or any adjacent zone. Essentially, you’ve got a movement of 1: you can move up to one zone in any direction. Next turn, you’re in a different zone, so what counts as Medium range is different to what it was last turn.
So, back to the example above. You choose to move, and you can move into the corridor outside. Next turn, a minor action move would let you move into either room, because both rooms are adjacent to the corridor.
SPRINT: The character attempts a Difficulty 0 Fitness + Security Task. Success means that the character moves one zone (to any point in Medium range), and one additional zone per Momentum spent (Repeatable). A character may not attempt this Task more than once per Round, and not at all if the character has performed the Movement Minor Action. Terrain and other factors may increase the Difficulty of this Task, and the Task allows Success with Cost (that is, failure means a basic success with no Momentum, but also inflicts a single Complication).
My house rule: Since the Difficulty is determined by terrain, I usually rule that the difficulty is set by the terrain that the character is starting in, or higher if they wish. On a successful test he can move at least to the next Zone (Medium range), plus one more zone per Momentum spent. If they want to leave a zone that has a higher Difficulty than they initially tested for they must pay the difference in Momentum.
E.g., starting in a Difficulty 1 rocky slope, Lt. Gar tests Fit+Sec to Sprint and scores 1 Momentum. He moves into a Difficulty 2 sand dune. He would normally pay 1 Momentum to keep moving, but since he is now in a zone with Difficulty 2 (1 higher than he tested for), moving costs 1 additional Momentum.
At this point Lt. Gar has the option of moving onto a path (Difficulty 0) or attempt to navigate a patch of quick sand (Difficulty 3), either costing 2 Momentum. If he enters the path, further movement along it costs 1 Momentum per zone. If he enters the quick sand, exiting that area costs 3 momentum (1 for moving an additional zone, 2 for the difference in difficulty).
I am not sure this is how the designers intended, but it incorporates a test for taking the Sprint Task, does not require the character to plot a course in advance of making the test (i.e. all Momentum spends are opportunistic), yet takes into account the difficulty of navigating other hazards along the way.
The player can set a higher difficulty for the test if he wishes, e.g. Lt. Gar could have decided to test at Difficulty 3, allowing him to leave Zones with that level of Difficulty (or lower) at the cost of 1 Momentum each.
So, the only part of that which isn’t rules-as-written is the variable cost for zones of different difficulty… and that’s well within the bounds of the system in the first place, so you’ll have no complaint for me (I wouldn’t complain anyway - once you’ve got the game, do with it at you will).