Zones revisited

Zones

There are three scales of zones: Personal, Location (Scene) and Campaign. Unless there is nothing really remarkable about a zone it should have a Defining Aspect and any other interesting Aspects as necessary. Zones can have three Abilities: Terrain, Resources, and Threat. Additionally, borders between zones can have a Border rating.

Each scale has a rough area that it covers and a default time increment, typically used to determine movement between zones.

Scale Area Time
Personal One room Round
Skirmish Town, large complex, small
geographic area
Scene
Campaign City, large geographic area or feature Hour

Terrain

The Terrain represents the area the zone covers, as well how easy the zone is traverse. Specialty Aspects will typically describe the terrain in some way such as Rubble, Dense Forest, Uphill, or Paved Roads. Personal scale zones are rarely larger than Size 1, instead the area should be broken down into more personal scale zones).

How long it takes to reach the next adjacent Zone is roughly equal to the zone’s Terrain in time increments if there is no conflict or effort taken to travel faster. For example, a Terrain 3 campaign scale zone takes about 3 hours to get to any adjacent zone. If a character wishes to get to the next zone faster, they must roll a contest adding Agility (or Physical for units) versus the Terrain Rating. The time taken to travel to the next zone is reduced by the amount the roll succeeds to a minimum of one time increment. Failure means that it takes the same amount of time to traverse the zone. If the character is running, the amount that the roll succeeded is applied as a bonus to rolling against the Terrain of the next zone. Obviously the Specialty Aspect can be tagged to help or hinder travel, depending on its nature. During a conflict, trying to move unimpeded through a zone with a Terrain Rating may count as a supplemental or simple action, with appropriate penalties.

Resources

Resources represents the Difficulty of finding a specific type of materials within the zone. Any roll for finding materials for repairs, scavenging, etc. is against the Resources Rating, plus any other modifiers. Obviously whether a roll can be made at all that might utilize Resources is dependent on the nature of the zone and GM discretion – it’s hard to find anything in an empty room or a desert. Typically, Resources rolls can be made once per time increment. Specialty Aspects for Resources often reflect the type of resource that can be found or its quality, such as Fresh Water, Plentiful Scrap, or Untouched Convenience Store. Specialty Aspects likewise can be used for declarations, with the Resources rating used as the difficulty. For example, a character searching a zone with Resources 2 (Office Supplies) can make a roll every round to find things that typically might be found in an office. They can also make a Declaration and place the temporary aspect Letter Opener, then tag that aspect to invoke for a bonus or effect.

Threat

Threat is essentially the Intensity of an ongoing Environmental Hazard. There is something about the zone – it is on fire, filled with toxic gas, freezing cold, etc. Every time increment spent in the zone requires all units or characters to defend against a standard roll plus the Threat. Threat Ratings of 0 do not require rolls.Threat is typically defended against using Endurance, but depending on the nature of the Threat a different Ability might be used. Likewise, while armor is useless against most Threats there are occasions where it may be effective.

The nature of the Threat is typically expressed by its Specialty Aspect, and should be scaled accordingly. For example, a room might have Toxic Gas, while a scene might have Severe Air Pollution; and a campaign zone Environmental Damage. In the first and second cases, the characters are in more or less direct or constant contact with the Threat. In the third case, the Threat is something that may affect the characters if they are unlucky enough to come in contact with it. Threat can also represent an abstracted danger, especially for larger zones. For example, a campaign scale zone might have Threat 2 (Wolf Packs) to represent the likelihood that characters will be attacked and injured by wolves. A castle (scene scale) might have Threat 1 (Defenders on the Walls) to represent that anyone near the castle is likely to get shot at.

Borders 

Borders between zones can be assigned a Border Rating and a Specialty Aspect. Outside of a conflict, the Border Rating simply adds to the amount of time it takes to get from zone to zone safely. Not that while crossing a border in this manner the characters are still subject to any Threat from the zone that they are leaving (if applicable).

Within a conflict, or if the the border needs to be crossed without delay, the Border Rating serves as the difficulty that must be rolled against Agility (or Physical for a unit) in order to successfully cross into the next zone. The roll can be made as a simple or supplemental action. Failure means that the character does not cross the border. The Specialty Aspect may be invoked or compelled as appropriate to help or hinder crossing the zone.

For example,
a character is in a burning house. The room that they are in has the Aspect of On Fire!, and there are intense flames blocking the exit with Border Rating 4 (Intense Flames). The character has +2 Agility but wants to make the odds better, so he performs a Maneuver to place the Aspect Wrapped in a Blanket on himself and then tags the Aspect, then spends a Fate Point and tags his Determined Aspect for another +2. He rolls a -1 for a total of 5. He is able to escape the burning building.

A combination of a Border Rating and Threat may make it so prohibitive to cross a zone that it is better to avoid it. For example, a group of Fallen characters need to travel from the Hunting Paths to No Man’s Land. They have the option of trying to move through the fortified Joanite Seven Fingers or to go around. To avoid having to take multiple Threat, they could choose to move quickly through the Seven Fingers zone – this means an Agility roll against the Hunting Path’s Terrain of 2, then another Agility roll against the Seven Fingers Border Rating of 6, then another Agility Roll against a Border Rating of 6. During this time, they would face a Threat 1 attack and a Threat 5 attack, with the possibility of not being able to escape the Seven Fingers and continuing to face Threat 5 attacks. Alternately, they can try to move quickly through The Discard Lands and the Rust Wastes with no Border Ratings – the odds are the journey would take longer, but the risks are a lot more manageable.

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