LOS in DS

DS-logo-badgeAs I mentioned at the end of last week, I’m going to go through some of the DS FAQ this week. Rather than just dump it into the file, I’m going to post these additions up as discussion articles for a few days first. This is partly because I like discussing stuff with you guys, but mostly because I’ve not played a lot of DS from the printed rules, and it’s the printed rules we need to check rather than what I remember or might have written in one of the many pre-production versions.

FYI, I’m using the Adventurer’s Companion version of the rules as reference because that’s what I can find.

So, without further ado, Line of Sight (LOS).

The intent with DS was to make it fairly liberal, and also to avoid needing to decide where the centre of the squares were. The LOS rule could be rephrased as follows:

To find out if there is a clear LOS to your target, answer this question:

Can you can trace an unblocked straight line from any part of the shooter’s square to any part of the target square?

If yes, then you can shoot. If no, then you cannot. 

Note that if you can trace any unblocked line then you answer yes to this question. It doesn’t matter if some lines are blocked and others not, as long as some are not.

I think this is simple enough so far.

What constitutes blocked then? Going through the middle of a square with a model, wall, or piece of furniture in seems obvious. The question really seems to be whether a blocked square blocks its edges and corners as well as its centre, or whether you can skirt around this. Actually, the photo on page 22 shows this must be blocked because Madriga cannot see the Zombie behind the bookcase. This gives us the ruling that:

A square containing a model, wall or other obstacle completely blocks any LOS that touches that square, including those that go exactly along an edge or touch a corner. 

Again, that seems reasonably simple to implement.

The note on page 28 explains that some furniture is short enough to shoot over. The modifier for this only applies if there was no LOS that avoided crossing the obstacle. Always assume that the clearest LOS is the one the shooter is using.

While I think this resolves the queries I’ve seen, there is one related question that does not, strictly, involve LOS (because it’s not about shooting). Can I fight an enemy that is diagonally adjacent to me when both orthogonally adjacent squares to either side of him are blocked? The answer here is yes, you can. A fight is a fast and fluid thing, not like our static models at all. You’re also right up close (whereas shooting is always further back). For this reason I think it reasonable that a combatant can sneak a quick stab in against an opponent that is adjacent to him, regardless of the artificial grid we have imposed for ease of movement. Speaking of movement, this would be blocked, like shooting. Easier to sneak a blade through a gap than a whole Dwarf 🙂

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44 Responses to LOS in DS

  1. Pikaraph says:

    Thanks Jake, I’ll look into it.
    I’m now on DZ 2nd edition which needs some polish too… ^^

  2. mbss says:

    Looks like what we worked our way to in the faq comments combining alpha rules with dkh green menace text. I might suggest ” any point inside ” over ” any part of” phrasing.
    While you are cleaning up the shooting rules you might want to better define behind and how the rear arc works for the defense dice modifers. Rules as written you only get the modifer from an adjacent shooter but I do not think you intended to allow people to shoot adajecent targets by default..

    • mbss says:

      And Thanks for getting back to us on this.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Sure. One thing at a time though. Let’s get this right first 🙂

      You can’t shoot adjacent targets as the second half of fate first sentence says “will not be adjacent”.

      • mbss says:

        “Will not” and “can not” are not always read as the same especially if later in the section you get:

        -1 for the defender if the shooter is completely in his rear arc (which is defined as the 3 squares directly behind him and hence adjacent)

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Fair enough.

          On the whole, if an action is optional it uses the word “may”.

        • Pikaraph says:

          Don’t forget larger models : as some may be in rear and front arc at the same time, this rule is correctly written.

          There’s another thing about large models I was wondering –> lava : do they count as being burnt if they only have a part of their base in the lava ?

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Pika, if you stuck your left leg into some lava, would it burn? Of course it would. Only part of a pika in the lava still makes him crispy 🙂

        • mbss says:

          The rule is not correctly written since if you cannot ever shoot an adjacent model which is what Jake is saying the “will not” means, you can never shoot at him from his rear arc which is strictly defined as the 3 adjacent squares behind the model. I defined a forward and rear “Area” which the the expansions of the arcs out to the board edges for help with ranged attack LOS, rear attack bonus, and large monster arc issues. Would have used “Zone” but that is used in defining the dungeon sections reviled when opening doors.

        • Pikaraph says:

          Jake, I let you try while I’m watching the show 😀

          mbss : I understand your point, this rule needs more explanation about any LOS crossing at least 1 rear arc square to get the bonus. that’s what I put in my rule synthesis.
          https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/126206/dungeon-sage-complete-rules-synthesis-english
          This may contain some mistakes, I count on this FAQ to make it right ^^

  3. Chris Hayes says:

    Got to say not too happy with this. To my simple mind it seems a lot easier to say no los, no move, no fight than to make an exception. And while you can certainly thrust a sword through you definitively can’t fight at full effect. Also makes it far easier to clog up junctions. I had to apply a bit of thought to it as the overlord in the order I move and attack, but now get three guys in and hack away 😦

    Any thoughts on what constitutes the rear arc for shooting and magic?

    • mbss says:

      I think it helps the overlord bring his numbers advantage to bear and maybe hurt the heroes a little better.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      After some initial experiments, all the proper playtest stuff was done with the adjacent fight allowed. I think this works much better.

      As mbss says, it allows the Overlord to gang up on Heroes. Without this the Heroes just chop through the bad guys one at a time, which is inevitable and dull. The main thing the bad guys have going for them is numbers.

  4. Joel May says:

    I dont know why you wasting so much time to discuss this, just fix this god damn broken rules dude! do we really need to wait for it another year? like for Dead Zone? Your suppose to be some kind of rules guru and every time your rules are broken or faulty and theres looooong time waiting for errata or better second ed.. man.. why?

    • It’s your game, if you don’t want to wait just house-rule it to whatever you like.
      The rules are Jake’s and he wants community feedback because we’re the ones playing it and finding out what needs tweaking and what doesn’t.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      @ Joel – why? Time and/or money. A dozen flavours of why, but it boils down to that each time.

      As night haunter says, I’d rather you guys comment as you’re the ones playing it. How many games do I play compared to everyone else added up? Not many. Doing it this way means when something gets added to the FAQ it should be solid.

      • mbss says:

        I think the long time delay is more of the issue than the discussion. If we had one of these a week for the last 7 months, pretty much everything would be sorted.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Granted. I’m a long way from happy with this too. I could give you a whole list of “ifs” that would have improved the end result. Unfortunately I don’t control most of them.

          That being the case, I’ve made some time to look at this now.

        • mbss says:

          Well, currently DS is a “but” game for me. Most of the Core game rules are pretty sort able and have been posted online with the only issue being authority of poster. For example, the line of sight stuff has fully imaged explanations available published months ago with exactly your rule results here.

          Only vexing one is whether Bleed Zombies and Summoned Ghosts count as activated that turn like a raise dead. They are treated like a raise dead for free strikes so for simplicity it seems like they should treated like raise dead for activation rule also but no where does it say this.

          Ofcourse fixing all rules issues from all the stuff does not remove the its from Mantic “but”. After backer this kickstarter and the warpath one, and watching their others, my only conclusion is that Mantic is made up of incompetent liars. They are not the worst company operating in gaming on kickstarter. They are thankfully far from that since most people have the stuff mantic decide to deliver (not everyone still hundred or so backers waiting on the majority of their pledges).

        • Quirkworthy says:

          The general rule is that anything placed on the board in this way (raised, summoned, etc) counts as activated when it does so.

        • mbss says:

          General rule that is not written anywhere as far as I can tell. Raise Dead clearly lists it being considered activated but says nothing about other things monsters appearing on the board being activated while free strike explicitly calls out the bleed zombie and summoned ghost as being free strikable is played into a front arc.

          The general rule makes since as summoning ghosts then attacking with them immediately in a heroes back arc does not seem fair but who said the overlord needs to be fair.

        • mbss says:

          Not trying to be too critical. It is easy for little notes that you have in your mind to not make it into the books as they seem basic to you but not apparent to the players.

      • Joel May says:

        Hi. Well sory Jake im terribly dissapointed an frustrated at this moment, and what you saying does not explain why you give us broken rules for 300$ a pice. And its not fair at all. When i screw up in my job i have to make it right or they let me go and obviously you have another oppinion and trying legitimise poor work and why? Just because time mony and else? Wow! Let me tell you this ive paid for product a good money and what now i have to hous rule it because mr JT give us a loose thoughts of wat he things it would could maybe work for solo and uncharted? If you buy buy carton of milk you expect a milk in a box not a cow in the field, i guess its not too difficult. I also understand you want or that is you claim want to give us a ‘solid’ rules but dude as an author and creator you should have pretty good idea how should it works sooo where is the problem you shouls claryify that dam rules and write that damn faq. But i gues eather you dont care or tou dont care and give a damn, money was paid. And i see its a general practise in your games In workshop times that wouldnt happened. Im so dissapointed, you just made another gw clone thats poor written and you have no desire to make it better just discuss it among players cause we probably find a solution until DS 2.0 or DZ 2.0 and so on. Well done really.

  5. This wording seems fine to me, as I’ve been playing the shooting rules. As with most of DS, if it seems possible, let the heroes do it.
    I also agree with the comment about diagonal squares, movement and shooting is blocked, but combat is possible for the adjacent square.
    As for rear arc, I just imagine a line parallel with the rear of the target’s base. any shot, magic attack (that needs line of sight) or combat from behind that line is into the rear so -1 dice to defend. e.g. flamebolt into the rear arc gets -1 dice, but burn isn’t LOS attack so facing of the attack is irrelevant.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Rear arc: easiest to show with a diagram. There should have been one in the rules.

      Basically, if a model is facing forward, the square directly to their left and right plus the 3 in front are all front arc. Directly behind, left rear and right rear squares are all behind. Continue the dividing lines between those groups of squares to get the full arc.

      Or, another way to describe it. The straight line dividing front and rear arcs lies along the rear edge of the model’s base, perpendicular to the direction of facing.

      • Tyr says:

        Still leaves the issue of large models and LoS to the rear though. Basically, if theyre halfway between the front and rear arcs of their targets, do they get the modifier?

        • mbss says:

          The large monster has to be entirely in the rear area still. This also needs to be cleaned up in fight since the large monster will never be completely in the rear arc 3 squares as it is not physically possible.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          All the adjacent squares occupied by the large model have to be rear ones to count as rear. As I said, diagrams are easier.

        • Tyr says:

          @mbss: What dyou mean? If M is monster, H is hero, X is empty:
          XXX
          XHX
          MMX
          Completely in the heros rear arc… or am I not seeing something?

        • mbss says:

          Arcs are precisely defined:
          SSSSS
          SFFFS
          SFHFS
          SRRRS
          SSSSS

          F is front arc, H is hero, R is rear arc, S is a non arc space by definition. Since the arcs are only one space deep it is impossible for the 2 by 2 monster to ever entirely be in the front or rear arc:

          SSSSS
          SFFFS
          SFHFS
          SMMRS
          SMMSS

          He will always be outside the arc’s as defined. The author is trying to write a rule that says that if the monster has a square in both the front and rear arcs he counts as attacking from the front which is this case:

          SSSSS
          SFFFS
          MMHFS
          MMRRS
          SSSSS

          While you can claim that the author obvious intends the arcs to expand out from just the adjacent square you have to be careful since the rules often with respect to the front arc very much mean in front and adjacent.

      • Danny says:

        I tried to make a comment with an attached diagram…mysteriously, it would not reveal itself…

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Hmmm… not sure what’s happened there. I’ve had a look in the site’s pending and spam folders, and there’s nothing in there with diagrams. The usual reason things get hung up there is including a lot of hyperlinks.

  6. Danny says:

    Hi Jake,

    Thanks for finally getting around to clearing some of this up, much appreciated.

    In regards to the LOS, this is great, and it is exactly how I have been playing it with my group of friends. Using spaces to measure to and from instead of bases, and having any part of that (blocked) space effect LOS is the most straight forward way of doing it, and the quickest to resolve.

    I agree that it is quite clear that you cannot make a shooting attack from an adjacent space.

    I second that the concept around what is shooting from rear or front needs to be made more clear. I’m happy with what we have come up with in our group, but that may be different to what you intended.

    In regard to the Melee attacks through diagonals that are blocked to movement and shooting. I honestly think it would be easier to have these same circumstances also blocked to melee attacks as it keeps it consistent across the board and is quicker to resolve. I can see the reasoning behind making a melee attack if the blocked spaces were blocked by enemies dynamically moving around in those spaces, perhaps offering an occasional opportunity to slip of melee weapon strike through. However, these spaces will not always be blocked by dynamic enemies, but just as often by static items, like pillar/columns, the corners of walls, furniture, barrel/crate stacks etc, etc.

    It would seem easier and more fluid to not allow the melee attack.

    • Pikaraph says:

      It seems it will cause a balance issue if you don’t allow diagonal fight : the Overlord will have hard time winning.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Thanks for your comment Danny. As Pika says, it’s a balance issue. The game is basically mob vs elites, and the diagonal attack rule allows the mob to use its (only) advantage: numbers. Disallowing that advantage means you need to make a lot more changes elsewhere to rebalance things (and then playtest everything again).

      • Danny says:

        It also allows the elites (who have better maneuverability and melee attack capabilities than the mobs in the vast majority of cases) to make the same attacks. It seems not allowing melee attacks in these situations would be more to the advantage of the mobs rather than the Heroes…but ok, no big deal if that is the intention.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          You’re right – the Heroes could fight back. However, the Heroes still have a limited number of attacks, so they can’t attack all the mob at once, whereas all the mob can attack them.

          By all means give it a go and see what happens.

        • Danny says:

          🙂 I have been giving it a go for about 6 months now. Without any clarification early on, I concluded this is how I thought it was likely intended. It has been working perfectly fine for me, however if that is not the intent, then I will change it back to what you have described.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          Well the object is to have fun, so if it works for you then I’d just carry on. I’ve accidentally played a number of games with unintended rules over the years, and had fun doing so. Nothing wrong with that 🙂

  7. Chris says:

    So…

    Targeting across diagonals

    Have played around 3 dozen games, mostly as the overlord. Till date have been playing that a blocked diagonal is blocked for everything. While it would make the overlords life easier, it seems to make it a lot easier, and certainly I can see where the complaints about the overlord being too powerful come from. I (when overlording) have had to put quite a bit of thought on how to mob heroes, generally trying to split them up and then when they enter a wider bit of dungeon hit them from all sides. Being able to block a junction with 3 models corner with two makes it a lot easier.

    Also makes it ‘feel’ more claustrophobic with even the monsters blocking each other as they try and bear down on the heroes in narrow passages.

    It seems one other person above has been playing it like this, anyone else?

  8. Chris says:

    Targeting in the rear…

    I have found it quite straightforward, with one exception.

    If I have say a bow and I am behind the target (so drawing an imaginary line from the rear of the base out to either side – behind that), but the targets rear is say against the wall (we do find it very funny that heroes inch along with their rears pressed to the wall) so I can only draw a los to the side of the model – do I still count as getting a rear shot?

    Is it to be behind the enemy that counts, or being able to draw a LOS to the rear of its square?

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