Position

POSITION

For the most part, Seed only tracks the position of combatants in a loose sense - front row represents "those at the fore of combat", back row represents "those who are slightly shielded from the fray".

In some fights, however, it might be interesting or useful to track the position of characters in a different manner, assigning them to vague "zones" that alter their rules of play, in addition to granting them a front row and a back row.

This is a system known as "Position", and generally won't be applied to every battle.

Position can affect targeting, can apply hazards or statuses, and might prevent the use of melee attacks.

ZONES AND MOVEMENT

Every combatant in a battle has a zone, which is a vague description of where they are in the fight. "On the left-most platform", "in the water", "on the airship", "flying through the sky", and so on. Zones might have special rules applying to them, known as "zone conditions".

Characters move from zone to zone by use of a 20D F0 Quick skill action that, by default, has a CoS of 100. (As in, you do not actually have to roll it.) Depending on the sort of movement it is, the skill is usually Running, for horizontal movement, Swimming, for movement through water, or Climbing & Jumping, for movement over obstacles or gaps. Some zones may be more difficult to reach or escape, however, and might have lower CoSes.

ROWS

Each zone has two rows for each combatant. That is, if there is another combatant in the same zone as them to protect them, a combatant can still occupy the back row, and they'll receive the benefits and drawbacks of being in that back row.

TARGETING

Some monsters might have attacks that only target some areas and not others - For example, a monster might create an explosive glyph on one platform, exploding it after a countdown, and during a duel between an airship and a giant bird, the bird may be incapable of using its laser breath while the airship is far away.

If a monster has a group attack that only targets a single zone of their choice, they receive an additional slot.
If a monster has an attack that is only capable of targeting a single zone, they receive two additional slots, given that this is a zone the player-characters will be capable of leaving during the battle.

By default, Group moves target all enemies no matter what zones they are in, and Row targeting abilities target one row in one zone.

MELEE ATTACKS

By default in the Position system, unless zone conditions say otherwise, characters can perform melee attacks on any zone from any other zone. This might seem strange, but generally it's the intent of the Position system to affect the flow of a typical battle as little as possible - characters lunge out from their position in the ranks to attack, leap over and then back, and so on.

If a character is Berserked or Confused, you might wish to only include the most convenient - the closest - targets in consideration for the random target selection.

TRIGGER ACTIONS

Trigger actions might affect the zone conditions - for example, shouting to the pilot of an airship to draw closer to the enemy would make it possible to hit it with melee attacks, but might expose you to a zone-restricted attack move.

These should work as adjudicated by the gamemaster.

PUSH EFFECTS

Push effects can move combatants from one zone to another, if the bearer states that they wish to do this - on a hit, the monster is knocked along a certain route, generally the most obvious one. The player can express their intent for it, but the gamemaster has the final say.

The Push effect receives a CoS penalty according to the difficulty of travel along that route, both in the departing and in the return direction.

If the travel CoS is 100, no penalty.
If the travel CoS is 70, -10 CoS to the Push effect.
If the travel CoS is 50, -20 CoS to the Push effect.
If the travel CoS is 30, -30 CoS to the Push effect.

This means that it's more difficult to push someone into a zone that will be difficult for them to leave.

MONSTERS

Monsters might not play by the same rules as the characters. For example, if the party is fighting a giant bird on board an airship, only the party might risk being pushed into the "about to fall off the side" zone, while the giant bird happily flaps in the "Flying through the Sky" zone - some zones might be declared as inaccessible to the party, and some zones might be inaccessible to some monsters.

Some monsters are particularly large, and if they're inside a zone, nothing can fit through it. In this fashion, the monster completely prevents travel while in a zone, and cannot move into a zone if there are enemies within it. On the other hand, the monster's enemies can't move into whatever zone it occupies.

If a large monster has the "Make Way" property, which costs 1 slot, the monster can enter zones where the player characters are - it simply pushes them back to do so!

ZONE KNOWLEDGE++

Generally, combatants have a vague idea of how the zones are arranged in a battlefield, and can freely ask the GM "how difficult would it be to get there from here"? The exact conditions don't need to be named, but the situation of the battlefield that creates them should be briefly mentioned. As they're described, the characters might be able to perform skill checks such as with Danger Sense or Insight to get a sense of what condition is in play, without spending a skill action upon it.

Any positions of weakness on the battlefield should always be completely obvious to all involved.

CAN A MONSTER BE A ZONE

A monster can definitely be a zone.
A monster could even be multiple zones.

SUDDENLY, THE POSITION SYSTEM

Even though most battles using the position system would be planned by the GM, it's possible for the party to bring it into play by surprise: by using trigger actions, the party might employ a tactic that makes use of the scenery - for example, if an environment contains a huge fallen statue, a player character might decide to duck behind it to avoid a dragon's fire breath, or a player character might try to knock a huge beast into water.

These things might create a second zone for the battle, which would then have slightly different conditions. A monster's attack might become zone-restricted, too.

However, the skill actions that bring the Position System into a battle are usually slightly more difficult than they would be before. They're usually full-on Trigger actions, and while jumping up to a higher level might be CoS 100 once the zones are declared, doing so in a fight where zones weren't planned might be CoS 50 or 30.

Of course, like all skill actions, the GM has right of refusal - the GM could model the benefit of a changed position with a status effect, or simply declare that the change of position doesn't affect the mechanics of the battle, making it a Quick skill action, or no action at all.

Skill actions might bring combatants to new, unexpected zones in a battle as well - these might be slightly more difficult to reach at first, like when the position system is introduced into a battle. For example, a GM might have prepared for zones on the deck of an airship and in the sky outside, but the GM might not have planned for what the conditions are if a character leaps up onto the monster's back!

In either case, simply decide some conditions for the new zone and continue play.

ZONE CONDITIONS

Below is a brief list of some conditions that might be applied to zones, to model some effects often seen in video games that work well in Seed. As a gamemaster, you are free to invent others as you see fit to represent whatever battlefield the adventure visits.

Enhance Element

The usage of a certain element in this zone is more powerful. Elemental damage targeting combatants in this zone gains the effects of Enhance Element, receiving a +25% situational modifier.

Diffusion

Certain elements become unfocused when affecting this zone. Actions bearing a certain Elemental keyword become Target: All in the Zone when used upon a combatant in this zone, affecting everyone there. For example, using a lightning spell in a flooded hallway of a facility.

Optionally, types of actions that aren't elemental can be affected by Diffusion, too - like if a monster picks up a player character in its grip, you could say that actions targeting the monster or the player character end up hitting both.

You could also state that more than one zone share a Diffusion set - that is, say, any water attack thrown into one of the three zones through which high winds rip will target everyone within.

Volatile

This zone is volatile and susceptible to some damage - full of machinery that might be activated, or full of some reactive substance. Pick a type of damage - if combatants standing in this zone receive damage of that type, remove the "Volatile" condition and add one or more other conditions to this zone.

Fragile

This zone is fragile and susceptible to damage - possibly from a certain element, possibly ground-based damage, or possibly group-targeting damage. Pick a type of damage - if combatants standing in this zone receive a specific total of damage of that type, the zone breaks, moving everyone in it to another, specific zone.

If the damage affects more than one combatant, only count it once.

If, for some reason, the zone is capable of reforming after it's destroyed, count down some amount of ticks after its destruction, as if it had a delay - 60D or 100D, perhaps. After this countdown, the zone reappears.

Condemned
When the battle begins, the zone's about to break! Count down some amount of ticks, as if the zone had a delay - 100D, perhaps. When the zone reaches 0D, the zone breaks, sending everyone in it to another zone.

You could also use this sort of effect much like Volatile, changing the conditions of the zone as it expires. You could even have a zone that continually rotates effects as the battle continues!

Hazardous

This zone is a dangerous place to stay - it inflicts a certain amount of damage to a combatant that begins or ends their turn in it, or even to someone who passes through it during their turn. 50 x Tier is a persistent annoyance, 100 x Tier is considerable. This damage can either be physical or magical, and it is often of an element. Pools of boiling water, the edges of a room filled with flaming debris, or stray gunfire from the battle could all be represented by the Hazardous condition.

The status "Float" might protect you from some varieties of hazards.

Ambient Status

Something in this zone is granting a status effect to everyone in it - dark fog obscures vision, noxious swamps poison those who pass through them, a magical barrier might ward off magic.

Combatants in this zone receive a status whenever they begin or end their turn in this zone. They might even be affected if they pass through it. Select a positive or negative status and a timer. Or an effect, if you'd like, though probably not Death. (That falls under Position of Weakness.)

If the status is simply an effect of being in that place and isn't retained as you leave, simply give it the (1) timer - as soon as a combatant spends a turn outside of the zone, they'll lose it.

Unreachable From

This zone is out of melee range with respect to one, some or all other zones. Combatants in this zone cannot target combatants in others with non-ranged weapon abilities and vice-versa. Some non-weapon techniques might be restricted by Unreachable From as well, according to gamemaster decision.

Sheltered From

This zone is sheltered with respect to one, some, or all other zones. Combatants in this zone receive less damage from combatants in other zones, gaining a -25% situational modifier to all incoming damage.

Completely Blocked From

Targeting from this zone to one or some other zones is completely blocked. Combatants in this zone cannot target or be targeted by combatants in those other zones.

Difficult Travel

Some movement from zone to zone is difficult to perform - the CoS to move along some route of travel is decreased.
For example, if there's a giant chasm in the way, hopping from one side to another might be Jumping, CoS 50.

Failure on this roll might prevent travel - you don't make it in time - or it might move you to another zone, such as "hanging from the side of a cliff".

Also apply difficult travel for routes from one zone to another that pass through intervening zones - thus, success on the CoS would allow you to perform the trip in one action, while failure would place you midway. Running from one side of a chasm across a rope bridge to the other might be CoS 50, and if you fail, you only make it to the zone of the bridge.

Immediate travel along some route might be impossible, too.

These restrictions only apply to player characters - monsters don't make skill checks. Monsters typically only move from adjacent zone to adjacent zone, though.

Position of Weakness

This is a zone that you really can't fight from, and generally is never reached on purpose. Getting sucked up into quicksand, hanging from the side of an airship, and so on. Combatants in zones with "Position of Weakness" can't take combat actions targeting anyone other than themselves, and lose the benefits of their Evasion and M.Evasion. Skill actions, however, are unrestricted.

When a combatant enters a position of weakness, give them a status-like timer of (4) - when this expires, they are Ejected or KOed.

This zone condition essentially serves to create an intermediary zone between "knocked off of something" and "falling to their death", allowing party members to escape. It might also serve as the failure condition for a battle - say, if an enormous, demonic wall is slowly pushing you to your doom. (In this case, you might want to use a much shorter timer!)

Ignore Properties

While in this zone, combatants ignore some specific properties of a monster - for example, if you maneuver behind a giant battle-mech, you might be able to attack a weak-spot in its plating, ignoring its Armor.

Pincer Attack

Two or more zones with the potential for a Pincer Attack surround another zone. If every Pincer Attack zone of a set has allies in it, and no Pincer Attack zone of that set has enemies in it, you inflict +25% physical damage as a situational modifier to enemies in the surrounded zone.

MONSTER TRAITS

Properties

Free Move
Every time the monster takes a turn, before or after acting, it may move into another zone.
Cost: 2 slots.

Large
The monster is very large. The player characters cannot fit into zones that this monster occupies - however, the monster cannot enter zones in which the player characters are standing. This property is sealed by the "Toad" status, as the monster shrinks - when Toad expires, the monster grows to its original size, pushing all other combatants in the zone away to another zone.
Cost: 0 slots.

Make Way
Take this property on monsters that are large. Instead of being stopped from moving about by the player characters, it simply pushes them out of the way. The monster can move into zones occupied by other combatants by pushing them back into another zone, as an automatically successful Push effect.
Cost: 1 slot.

Attack Modifiers

Zone Targeting
Apply this to an action that targets a group or All combatants. Pick a certain zone when using this action - it only targets combatants in that zone.
Cost: +1 slot.

Zone Restricted
Apply this to an action. When combat begins, pick a zone - this action can only target combatants in that zone.
Cost: +2 Slots.

SOME EXAMPLE ZONE MODELS

Airship Duel

Monster Cage

The party fight a monster capable of capturing their allies - either in its grip, or in a literal cage. Create three zones - one in which the party usually sits, one in which the monster sits, and a third which is the "cage".

The monster - which is probably "Large" - uses "Push" effects to pick up party members and place them inside the cage zone, which has some bad effects in it - they might continually take damage, or attacks targeting the monster's zone might diffuse onto the allies in the cage as well. Leaving the cage is definitely Difficult Travel, and might use an unusual skill - like sabotage, if the monster is a construct. Characters could use trigger actions or push effects to free their allies.

The Cage could be Fragile, breaking after a certain amount or type of damage is inflicted, as well. It probably reforms, though.

Deadly Wall

A long hallway consists of many zones in a straight line, with a dangerous hazard at the far end - spikes, a bath of flames, or something worse. The party is attacked by a deadly wall monster that slowly moves forward - it uses vicious, high delay moves, but after each one, it moves forward, pushing the party along with it.

Give the monster Large, Make Way, and Free Move.
When the battle begins, describe the horrendous fate that awaits the party if they're pushed to the very end, and then state - "That's Zone 6. You're in Zone 6 now, the wall's in Zone 7.". The final zone is probably just a zone with many nasty conditions upon it, or it might be a Position of Weakness, sealing the party's fate.

Make sure the monster can be Libra'd, because the party will get desperate and will probably resort to skill actions if they don't think they can make it in time.

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