Hack: Use Your Grid-Maps With Fate

So, I love our semi-abstract method of zone maps in Fate, but playing and running (far more run than play) 4e has left me a little bit bitten by the maps-and-minis bug. There are times when I’d like to see Fate happen with  a little more of a rooted, concrete, tactical map-reality.

So that’s been banging around in my head. How to do it?  Pretty easily.

Two rules, up front, then I’ll explain:

  • One zone = 5 squares.
  • Single target = Add 2 more squares.

That’s all it takes. These proceed from the notion that each character stands at the center of a 5 square by 5 square “zone”.

The second rule comes from what that implies: any square within two squares of the character’s position is within that 5×5 zone.

Combine them and you get these effects:

  • If you’re going to move one zone, move up to 5 squares on the map.
  • If you’re going to move more than one zone (e.g., sprint), multiply that by 5 squares and that’s how far you can move.
  • If you’re making a melee attack, you can attack a character within 2 squares of your position.
  • If you’re using a weapon that lets you attack someone in an adjacent zone, you can attack a character up to 7 squares away. (Think about it: the next zone over has a center that’s 5 squares away from yours. Anything within 2 squares of that zone’s center is within that zone, so “one zone away” is anywhere between 3 and 7 squares away from you. Therefore, the range in squares of a single-target weapon with a range of one zone is 7 squares. Two zones is 12, three zones is 17, etc.)
  • If you’re using an attack that “affects all targets in a zone”, then take its range (say, 2 zones), multiply by 5 (so, 10 squares), and that’s how far you can place the center of the 5×5 square effect. (You don’t get the +2 squares for placing the center because the 5×5 square would reach beyond the maximum single target range.)

Once you’ve got something like this going you can start looking at appropriating some of 4e’s map movement notions into stunts, introducing pushes and pulls and attack-of-opportunity rules and whatnot if you really want to get hackin’. At the least, you could add a “zero-zone move” to the vocabulary — since “the same zone” is within 2 squares of your current position, you could introduce a rule that allows the character to move up to 2 squares without taking the -1 penalty for a supplemental move action.

But even without that, the hack lets you make use of all those maps you’ve got stacked up for your maps-and-minis gaming, which for me and that map bug that done bit me is potentially really nice.

I’m also intrigued by the notion that this means the dividing lines between zones are more flexible and are relative to each character in this model. Each character is at the center of his or her own 5sq x 5sq zone, so the dividing lines for that guy who’s three squares away from me don’t fall in the same places.

If anyone gets a chance to try this out at home, let me know how it goes. :)