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We have been running a Dragon Age RPG using battle maps (online) as it is more convenient for playing remotely. The core rulebook gives hints about how such a game could run in the section Using Battle Maps in page 52:

Using miniatures and battle maps in Dragon Age is easy. Two yards in the rules translates into 1 square or hex on the map. Round down if needed. So a character with Speed 9 would move 4 squares or hexes on a battle map with a move action. A short bow with a range of 32 yards can shoot up to 16 squares or hexes on a battle map.

And that is it with the matter of using maps, unless I missed some other rules. But based on the answers on that other RPG.se post, I think there is not: How is the Dragon Age RPG combat supposed to be played?

In our usual experience of battlemap systems like D&D or Pathfinder, that use 5ft squares, you can find clear rules about:

  • Movements: and specifically diagonal movements (odd diagonal = 1 movement, even diagonals = 2)
  • Stacking up: tokens would not usually stack on the map, unless they have a size Tiny or less
  • Zones of threat: enemies have zones of threat, for example 1 or 2 squares arround them, they control that zone and player are subject to opportunity attacks when moving in that zone
  • Moving through occupied squares: it is impossible to move past an occupied square unless the occupant is willing to let you do so and that you do not finish your movement on that square

Dragon Age RPG does not provide for zones of opportunity attacks and threat zones, with the exception of the minor action press the attack which reacts to the movement of your adjacent foe by a movement of your avatar.

In those conditions there is nothing that would stop or threaten the player to go past one or multiple ennemies unharmed, and that seems a little too permissive. That means under certain circonstances that the player may even move through an occupied tile.

For the time being we agreed with the players on the following rules:

  • there are no zones of threat, so the player can leave or go past a tile adjacent to the foe, but cannot move past them (it may allow an ennemy blockade)
  • As tile are slightly bigger than D&D tiles (2yards vs 5ft) we have allowed allies to stack upon certain conditions, like taking cover for example

But as the longer we will use those rule the harder it will be hard to fix them, my question is:

Do you know some rule that I am yet unaware of?

Otherwise in your experience, did you have to deal with the same situation? Did you manage to keep the game balanced and without ruining the gameplay opportunities brought by the stunts system?

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No, the game doesn't have any rules you've missed

As you've observed, Dragon Age RPG doesn't have any concept of an attack of opportunity or a threatened area, and no rules cover attempting to block an enemy's movement.

When it comes to reactionary attacks, the closest the system gets to the traditional D&D-style attack of opportunity is that a character can use the prepare minor action to ready an attack major action and then use it to attack an enemy that wanders within reach; but that means they cannot do anything else during their turn, not even move at all, and it doesn't stop the creature they attack from continuing past them - unless, of course, they're lucky enough to generate some stunt points on the attack roll and can skirmish the foe back where they came from or knock them prone or something like that.

As far as blocking movement goes, it's basically entirely up to the GM's determination whether or not one character is able to move past another based on the terrain involved. If you're playing with a grid, assuming that a normal-sized character can effectively block movement in their own 2y square/hex seems entirely reasonable, and does indeed allow for a line of enemies to actually effectively control a corridor or other such choke point.

House ruling

In all the games I've been in, we've played with the above assumption in effect and it hasn't had any bizarre consequences - though my GM has occasionally had to resolve the situation where one character wants to try and manoeuvre through a hostile's area by having them make Dexterity (Acrobatics) or Strength (Jumping) tests to judge how successful the attempt is. We have also ruled that allies are free to move through and occupy each other's space unless the environment is particularly restrictive for some reason, and that has not had serious gameplay consequences as far as I can tell.

However, my group did find the system's lack of anything resembling an opportunity attack to be a quite frustrating gameplay issue. The standard tactic of having tough frontline warriors who can shield a squishier backline is rendered almost completely moot unless you're fighting in a choke point you can physically block entirely, and in other circumstances no warrior will ever want to threaten an area by standing completely still and preparing to attack an enemy just in case they come close enough to hit, because that's approximately the least fun you can possibly have while playing Dragon Age.

To resolve this, we ended up borrowing the attack of opportunity mechanic from D&D and allowing that, without preparation and only once between each of their turns, a character could make a standard melee attack against an enemy that tried to move through, or out of, their reach. In our game this had the desired effect; it was now actually dangerous to try and run past an enemy, tactical positioning became more important and the warriors could protect the wizards without having to give up their own actions, and everyone had more fun as a result. Since this benefited both us and our enemies equally, we didn't find it to have any serious issues for game balance.

As an aside: another thing you will notice if you read the rules carefully is that combat in Dragon Age RPG is ridiculously slow compared to most other games. The standard combat round is given to be an incredible 15 seconds long, which has the consequence that an average human adult (speed 10y) who tries to sprint as fast as they can in a combat round (using both the run major and move minor actions) will top out at about 4mph - normal humans have an average walking speed of 3-4mph. We also quietly ignored that value and treated rounds as if they were 5-6 seconds long instead. This did have the impact of making certain spells much more useful since they often have durations measured in minutes, but we were okay with that - again, enemy spellcasters benefited from it just as much as we did, and the spells that benefited most were the ones that buffed the party, like telekinetic weapons, so we didn't find it made the mages more powerful at the expense of the fun of the rest of us!

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