View Full Version : Original System Squares and Hexes and Rulers, Oh My!

2014-06-21, 10:05 AM
So like many others before me, I am working on my own TTRPG system. I'm pretty happy with the base mechanics, though I need to flesh things out a bit (read: a lot) before I consider it ready to share. One of the things that I'm wrestling with is the kind of grid (or lack thereof) I should use. I've read a fair amount of the relevant literature around the internet and done some calculations of my own, but I keep going back and forth on what I want to use. I'm hoping that you all can help me to determine a suitable way of doing things, and let me know if one of my solutions is too tedious to bother with.

Pros: easier to fit inside conventional floor layouts, easier for many to grasp, Cartesian coordinates
Cons: diagonals are sqrt(2)x as long a step as squares sharing an edge
Sol: treat diagonals as 1.5 (with fractional movement values or alternating between 1 and 2)

Pros: 6 spaces one unit away, easier for "organic" maps, hexagons spreads are naturally more circular than those of squares
Cons: either East-West travel or North-South travel (depending upon layout) will cost 2 spaces instead of sqrt(3)
Sol: ignore the problem, treat these "diagonals" as 1.75 (similar to the way done for squares)

Pros: freedom of movement in any desired direction without distortion
Cons: human error, everything must be to scale, anisotropic penalties to movement (such as different terrain) may be harder to handle, may be slower
Sols: ?
Confession: I've never used a grid-less system to actually move miniatures

Note: I desire well-defined movement rules and the use of maps for my game, so I have omitted the option of simply describing where characters go relative to others.

As of right now, I think either squares or hexagons could be fine so long as suitable solutions for diagonal movement are used. I imagine many of you are comfortable with the alternating approach used in D&D 3.5, treating diagonals as 1.5 spaces effectively. My system allows fractional movement if players desire doing so, so I'd probably just count each as 1.5. However, weapon attack distances might work better with hexagons as I intend to have 3 melee weapon ranges instead of the 2 in D&D, making diagonals kind of weird (Is my opponent in range along the diagonal? Am I?).

With hexagons, implementing a "diagonal" rule is less trivial though. One possibility I'm considering is that each time a character zig-zags between two hexes (in an unobstructed way) they add 0.25 to their movement for the duration of the turn, treating the sqrt(3) movement as 1.75. So every 4 times they did so, they could move an additional hex. If they didn't zig-zag 4 times, then my rules for fractional movement could come into play (if the players desired).

Which do you prefer, squares, hexagons, or something else (offset squares count as hexagons in my mind)? How does the idea of adding 0.25 or subtracting 1.50 from movement values during movement sound to you? Is it needlessly complicated for hexagonal spaces? Do you think anyone would bother?

Thank you for your input! :smallsmile:

2014-06-23, 11:30 AM
I assume this is for tactical movement in combat? If so, is it the case that tactical combat is turn-based?

I would say that for turn-based tactical combat, you are already squeezing a chaotic sequence of more-or-less instantaneous events into a turn-based system, so you don't need to be too realistic about movement or ranges.

However, weapon attack distances might work better with hexagons as I intend to have 3 melee weapon ranges instead of the 2 in D&D, making diagonals kind of weird (Is my opponent in range along the diagonal? Am I?).

I'm not sure what you are trying to say here? There are multiple melee weapon "ranges" in D&D (3.X), depending on the reach of the creature using them. Most PCs are restricted to 5-foot and 10-foot reach if they are using Medium-sized creatures with ordinary weapons.

2014-06-23, 12:55 PM
Note that hexes can allow a (mostly) 1:1 movement along the East-West parallel. You end up doing a strange wiggling movement, although you are still moving in a straight direction. There's also the problem that movement outside the twelve obvious directions requires a strange weavy path to take. It probably won't be noticeable during most characters' movements, but something like 20 hexes in a northeast direction will quickly notice that there isn't really a straight line headed that way.

The biggest problem with hexes is accounting for straight walls. Especially along the East-West direction, you have a strange situation where you can't simply have a wall follow the lines because that bisects half the hexes. It needs to be somewhat staggered, something that most people would not think an obvious way to set up a wall.

Squares also have the bonus of allowing you to build stuff with Legos and place them on the map, assuming the squares are sized properly. :smallsmile:

2014-06-24, 09:54 PM
Thanks for the input! :smallsmile:

The grid is largely for tactical combat, though there may be other situations where it could be of use, such as stealth missions.

The combat isn't turn-based, but in practice different parts of the action might be resolved apart from others that don't affect it (a single duel amidst a large battle for instance). The chaotic nature of combat is a good point though. In practice, such a minor difference in movement distances can probably be ignored.

My point about the ranges is that with multiple melee weapon ranges, there could be preferred angles of attack on a grid. For instance, on a square grid the way you count diagonals is important. In d&d 3.5, moving two diagonals costs 3 spaces of movement, but reach weapons can still hit that far despite only having a 2-space reach. If the second diagonal were inaccessible by reach weapons, then a maceman could saunter up to a glaive-wielder while avoiding an attack of opportunity so long as he approached on a diagonal. While a square zone of attack-able squares solves the attack of opportunity problem, I'd prefer a weapon's reach to be nearly the same in all directions, which hexagons seem to handle quite neatly. I think that were I to go with squares though, I'd probably not allow weapon ranges to utilize diagonal moves (so a diagonal would be 2 spaces away as far as weapons were concerned).

Northeast movement was something I hadn't considered. I suppose using a straight edge to point from the starting hex to the position of the final one would give a pretty good idea of the most direct path through hexes though.

The straight walls thing is my biggest problem with hexagons at this point. Some friends suggested I just have architecture work differently in any settings I include with the game. Though I do love Legos... :smallsmile: