Environmental rules

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Environmental rules

Postby Blorf » Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:51 am

I'm reading the environmental rule as:
  • A frame suffers the penalty only if their turn begins in the hazard area. There is no effect when traveling into or through it.
  • The environment system provides no benefit by itself; it only removes the restriction when starting in the hazard.
  • The environment system counts for PPA calculation and can be taken off as damage.
  • A frame starting in the hazard that is down to one white only rolls the free green and can do no more (SSRs excepted). Notably, this means it has a known defense of zero even before it activates.

Is that right or does anyone interpret it differently?
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Re: Environmental rules

Postby CmdrRook » Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:10 am

Blorf wrote:I'm reading the environmental rule as:
  • A frame suffers the penalty only if their turn begins in the hazard area. There is no effect when traveling into or through it.
  • The environment system provides no benefit by itself; it only removes the restriction when starting in the hazard.
  • The environment system counts for PPA calculation and can be taken off as damage.
  • A frame starting in the hazard that is down to one white only rolls the free green and can do no more (SSRs excepted). Notably, this means it has a known defense of zero even before it activates.

Is that right or does anyone interpret it differently?


I'd say that your assessment is completely accurate. The wording on "rolling one less white die" might be an over-sight, and I would house-rule that you can always roll a MINIMUM of 1 white die if your frame is not destroyed, but from what is written, your interpretation is spot on.
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Re: Environmental rules

Postby Blorf » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:41 am

Great. A follow-on question, then. When attacking the frame with one white in a hazard area, does it activate?

P91 says: When one mobile frame attacks a mobile frame that hasn’t taken its turn yet, switch to combat order. But p101 says: If it doesn't have a defense number, switch to combat order. Those are two distinct conditions. The difference between these never matters without hazardous terrain, (and equally never matters with CmdrRook's house rule,) but in this situation there is a frame that has not yet taken its turn but DOES have a known defense number. The question boils down to the intent of the rule being to primarily find the defense number (and activation is just a necessary result) or primarily to activate the defending frame (allowing the defender to react)?

I'm leaning toward activating the frame. (but I'd house rule it that if the frame has no SSRs then the attacker does not need to wait for the defender to roll. The defender cannot declare a target and rolling will not affect the incoming attack at all. Because it's undefended, it's likely to be destroyed and its rolling can be skipped if it is. If it survives the attack, it activates next and can roll and move.)

On a completely separate line of thought, perhaps it makes sense to penalize a one-white frame in a hazard with losing their free green instead of the white. That drops this whole question, and might be a tiny bit more fair to the poor sod.
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Re: Environmental rules

Postby aurlaent » Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:36 pm

I might be misunderstanding your point, but I don't think you can activate and not get a defense number.
The turn order is:
1. Name target (and range)
2. Roll dice
3. Defend (and allocating 0 to defese counts as a defense number which lasts for the rest of the round.)

So I would guess that the intent of the rule is to find the defense number, because if the frame is completely destroyed by the attack it doesn't get to react anyway.
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Re: Environmental rules

Postby Blorf » Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:44 pm

You're correct that you can't activate without assigning a defense number. But in this very specific case, you can know the defense number of a frame before it activates because there's no capability to assign one. This can't ever happen without environmental hazards, but we're about to play a game that has them. So the question is, if you already know the defense number, do you activate the frame?
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Re: Environmental rules

Postby aurlaent » Wed Apr 15, 2015 6:05 pm

Now I understand.
My take on it would be to activate the frame as even if you know it's defense must become zero, it doesn't actually have a number assigned yet.
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Re: Environmental rules

Postby Red_Robot » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:23 am

Blorf wrote:I'm reading the environmental rule as:
  • A frame suffers the penalty only if their turn begins in the hazard area. There is no effect when traveling into or through it.
  • The environment system provides no benefit by itself; it only removes the restriction when starting in the hazard.
  • The environment system counts for PPA calculation and can be taken off as damage.
  • A frame starting in the hazard that is down to one white only rolls the free green and can do no more (SSRs excepted). Notably, this means it has a known defense of zero even before it activates.

Is that right or does anyone interpret it differently?


Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack page 135 wrote:Exotic Terrain and Environmental Systems
Before you create your companies, you can agree as a group to include hostile terrain -- deep water, tangleweed, the vacuum of orbit -- in your upcoming battlefield.

When you build your mobile frames, you can give them the appropriate environmental system. It counts against your limit of 4 systems per mobile frame.

In order to function effectively in hostile terrain, a mobile frame needs the appropriate environmental system. Without it, when you roll dice, set one of your white dice aside unrolled.


Exotic Terrain starts to get into house rules territory pretty quickly. This isn't necessarily a bad thing since there are all kinds of exotic environments that are up for simulation. The rule needs to be a little fudgy and open for interpretation by your individual gaming group.

1.) I think that is a good interpretation for environments that require some sort of "sealing" or "shielding" -- Deep Water, Hard Vacuum, Heavy Radiation -- and so yes, starting in the exotic terrain would be the trigger for the penalty or not. However, in my group and our own local meta, we often play with exotic terrain where the whole point is you do not want to end your turn in the hazardous area at all.

2.) I agree.

3.) That is my reading of it, too.

4.) That is my interpretation.

Regarding Combat Order, I believe the spirit of the rule is to always let an unactivated frame have its chance at activation even if it can't generate a defense number. However....

Blorf wrote:On a completely separate line of thought, perhaps it makes sense to penalize a one-white frame in a hazard with losing their free green instead of the white. That drops this whole question, and might be a tiny bit more fair to the poor sod.


...I think this would be a pretty fair house rule. But for the sake of disclosure I must confess I'm not the biggest fan of the Sprint Rule in the first place.

Exotic Terrain can cover lots of different effects, though. Combined with campaign rules you can simulate all kinds of environments.

In my group we often play with lava. It's truly hazardous terrain in that if you land in it, your frame burns up. There is no true "environmental system" for it in this interpretation, however. We say frames must have a green system to move over or through it. And yes we say Sprinting is a valid green for this as long as you can completely skirt the lava by the end of your movement. Kitchen Floor rules.

Another example might be... "Hey, next game, let's play in an exotic environment at the magnetic pole of a planet experiencing a gauss storm during a coronal ejection. We have to build our frames with an Environmental System (Radiation and Magnetic Shielding) or...they can't use Spot Dice."
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Re: Environmental rules

Postby Blorf » Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:45 am

Good points as well. I suggest this house-rule to anyone coming to this thread for guidance:

A frame with only a single white die left and beginning its turn in an environmental hazard must choose before rolling to either set aside the white die or the green d8.
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Re: Environmental rules

Postby Mantisking » Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:25 am

Blorf wrote:Good points as well. I suggest this house-rule to anyone coming to this thread for guidance:

A frame with only a single white die left and beginning its turn in an environmental hazard must choose before rolling to either set aside the white die or the green d8.

We're probably going to have to vote on this at the table. I brought my rulebook to work with me today so I can read the relevant parts.
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Re: Environmental rules

Postby Blorf » Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:15 am

Mantisking wrote:I brought my rulebook to work with me today so I can read the relevant parts.

There really isn't any more to it than what's posted above.
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Re: Environmental rules

Postby CmdrRook » Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:23 pm

Blorf wrote:Good points as well. I suggest this house-rule to anyone coming to this thread for guidance:

A frame with only a single white die left and beginning its turn in an environmental hazard must choose before rolling to either set aside the white die or the green d8.


With how often I forget that a white-dice-only frame rolls a d8G , I can't imagine successfully reminding myself to drop it in favor of a white. That is a personal problem, however, and I find the house-rule to be more than fair. "Auxiliary power to shields/engines" and such.
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Re: Environmental rules

Postby Blorf » Thu Apr 16, 2015 1:22 pm

I stopped forgetting the free d8G when I internalized that a frame should never be rolling only whites. (Heh, except in this case...)
Playing a game with no ranged weapons in my loadout probably helped, too.
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Re: Environmental rules

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Mon Jul 06, 2015 1:55 pm

A frame can definitely have a defense number of zero.

But you're right: more precise wording is probably something like, "The special system give you one of the two white dice when in hazardous terrain. If you're not in hazardous terrain, you still roll all available white dice."

That is, when you're in hazardous terrain, you're always at a dice deficit.
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