View Full Version : Chasing the Dragon

Human Paragon 3
2014-07-30, 12:54 PM
How does the new edition model chases? This is something that I have never ever been happy with in any edition.

There were never rules for chases in 1e and 2e (except maybe opposed dex checks). 3.0 and 3.5 had pretty much no chase rules. Whoever had the higher movement rate just won. Pathfider added in this really abstracted chase mechanic where you are actually told to use index cards and move the minis along them as they pass or fail checks. 4e had skill challenges, i.e. the biggest rules fail in D&D history.

I don't recall seeing rules for chases in Basic, however if I had to make a spot ruling as a DM, I would probably ask for opposed athletics checks and give advantage to the faster participent - or possible advantage to one and disadvantage to the other if the disparity were large enough.

That being said, this still doesn't model chase encounters well. Say my part of adventurers is on horseback and we are trying to catch up to a bunch of ogres riding giant pterodactyls. How should we do this?

Or if the DM wants to run an encounter where the party needs to chase an invisible stalker through a crowded city street? We actually did this in a game I played in recently, and the DM used a skill challenge. It was pretty underwhelming, and involved a bunch of weird, barely related die rolls that really muddied the picture of what was going on.

I hope the DMG includes some good rules for chase-based encounters, but I don't have my hopes up. What do you guys think?

2014-07-30, 01:05 PM
I feel that if you are only on a tactical fight (less than 100 squares or 500 feet) that the faster person wins pretty much. Players and enemies can move across that in less than a minute

If you are running on a larger area (maybe across the city or about 5 miles max) I would use DCs. Differences in Speeds might mean you have different DCs or Advantage/disavantage (yes, a large enough difference in speed would cause one to have adv and one to have dis at the same time). I might change the DCs based on where the people are in an area (rooftops might get Dex, Roads might be pure Con, Dodging down allies might mean Wis DC checks).

If you are talking about an Overland map I think that is very much more challenging to decide. First, how close is the pursuer. Can they easily track the target or do they have to stop a lot to find the trail? do they know where the target is going? (Could they just beat them there and wait?). Does the Target attempt to hide a lot or backtrack or just go straight somewhere? These all would change the outcome. In the most case, I would do a DC based on all these factors. the Players would have to roll the DC every (hour/day/week) depending on how long it is expected and have lots of possible modifies. If PC is chasing, increase DC if target backtracks (ect). If PC is fleeing and backtracks possibly Decrease the DC (if Pursuer would likely be tricked. Note, if the pursuer knows where the PCs are groing, they might ignore any backtracking and the DC might increase for PCs instead of decrease.) In all cases here, I would Not tell the PCs what the DC is, so that they never know how the chase is going. (I might even make some rolls secretly to see if the Pursuer/Target increase the DC due to something They do)

2014-07-30, 01:31 PM
I would look to chase scenes from movies for inspiration.

How does the creature being chased try to get away?

Do they jump large gaps? Do they squeeze through small spaces? Do they throw things and/or creatures in the purserer's path?

Figure that out and do appropriate skill checks/saves as the situation calls for it. Ideally the chase should end when target is dead, unconscious, cornered, immobilized or too hidden/ too far to reach.

Human Paragon 3
2014-07-30, 01:32 PM
Sure. I just want there to be a fun system in the rules for this instead of asking the DM to make something up every time somebody tries to run from someone.

2014-07-30, 01:36 PM
How about a chart that you roll on to see what your NPC does to try to get away with DCs for saves and skills they players need to overcome or lose distance.

Human Paragon 3
2014-07-30, 01:43 PM
How about a chart that you roll on to see what your NPC does to try to get away with DCs for saves and skills they players need to overcome or lose distance.

I'd rather have something richer and more combat-like.

1337 b4k4
2014-07-30, 02:49 PM
Spycraft (a d20 based game) used the following (paraphrased from memory from many years ago, sorry for detail errors):

Chase counter = 10

At the beginning of the round, each side declares what they're doing to get away (running is assumed, so it's something like "knocking down trashcans into the path" or "zig zagging between the vendor booths") or to catch ("leaping over the trash cans", "using a drone to hunt them through the crowds" or "leap on a motorcycle"). Each side rolls their relevant ability check. If the runners win and the chasers lose, the counter is decremented. If the runner lose and the chasers win, the counter is incremented. If both win, the counter is incremented (or it might go to the side with the "faster" speed). If both lose, the counter stays where it is. The chase concludes when the counter reaches 0 (runners get away) or 20 (the chasers catch the runners). Works pretty well, and obviously you can expand or contract the range for longer or shorter chase sequences.

2014-07-30, 06:18 PM
I'd personally be happy with either the PF or 4e chase rules (which aren't all that different, when it comes right down to it), slightly modified to fix some of their flaws.

The way I tend to do it (which sounds somewhat similar to Spycraft's system) is something like this:

It takes base X successful checks to catch up to the target.

For each Y distance, in feet, away from the target that the chaser is, add one successful check needed to catch the target.

The DM provides obstacles that the chaser and target must pass, though they may choose what skill or other ability they want to use to get by it. In the event of a chase through a crowded city, the Barbarian may choose to Intimidate the crowd to try to move through, while the rogue may attempt to acrobatically jump between awnings and ledges. Certain traits may grant bonuses or allow you to automatically succeed at the obstacle. A Halfling may get a circumstance bonus to an acrobatics check, to try and dodge between the legs of the crowd, while a Wizard who cast fly might just be able to fly over the crowd altogether. A success from the chaser counts towards the number of successful checks, while a success from the target counts against.

Additionally, the target may attempt to create obstacles, and the chaser may attempt to make up distance on the target. For example the target may overturn a fruit stand, trying to slow down the chaser, or the chaser may attempt to use her knowledge of the city, to take a shortcut through an alleyway. These work exactly like DM provided obstacles, except generally only one side of the chase (generally the chaser) rolls. They are also generally riskier. A success will always add or subtract to the number of required checks (depending on which is good for the roller) and a failure will always do the opposite.

A chase ends when either the chaser reaches the target, or the chaser is a total of Z (for Z>>X) checks away from reaching the target, at which point the target has gotten away.

(as a sidebar) Additional Rule, for chasers and targets of different speeds: if the the chaser is faster than the target, they will eventually reach the target, after M total checks. Anything which counts towards the total successful checks count double towards this, while anything which counts against the total successful checks does not count towards this total. For each 5 foot difference in speed, subtract 1 from the number of total checks needed. If the target is faster than the chaser, they will eventually get away from the chaser after N total checks. Anything which counts against the total successful checks will count double towards this, and anything which counts toward the total successful checks does not count to this total. For each 5 foot difference in speed, subtract 1 from the number of total checks needed.

(Of note: variables X, Y, Z, M, and N vary based on the system and importance of the chase; Not having run a chase in 5e, I don't have a feel for how it should be, but generally, I've found X=5, Y~ 20-40 ish [this one is largely DM's discretion], Z=10, N~M~10 or so [again, DM discretion])

The wording could probably be cleaned up and simplified, but the concept is pretty easy to get; in practice I see it largely as having a pool of counters which are removed or added as checks succeed and fail, and when you remove the last, you've caught the target, and if you add too many, they get away.

2014-07-30, 06:59 PM
I've always liked how the podcast Critical Hit (http://majorspoilers.com/category/critical-hit/) manages chases using the podcast's GM's modified skill challenge set up. The rules seem pretty simple; the GM sets a skill challenge DC, the players roll initiative. On your turn, you can choose any skill that will move the challenge forward, so long as you a) didn't use that skill yourself last time and b) the player who took the previous turn didn't use that skill. The podcast's GM also starts by expressly showing the number of successes needed to succeed the challenge, as well as the number of failures allowed. And, naturally, 4e's action points serve as reroll attempts.

This always seems to work out well for their table, and I imagine it wouldn't be too hard to set up a modified version of this within 5e. I'll be interested to see how the system itself does it, or how it suggests handling such a common system.

2014-07-31, 12:00 AM
Aaand...this thread answered questions I didn't know I had. These are great ideas!

2014-07-31, 12:52 AM
Aaand...this thread answered questions I didn't know I had. These are great ideas!

I thought the same thing. "Oh chase mechanics might be interesting... Ooo counters, skill challenges, and a tug of war mechanic." Suddenly I working on my own ideas to make chase scenes more fun.

Human Paragon 3
2014-07-31, 07:34 AM
I've been playing with the idea of giving characters HP-like vitality points - possibly even using HP, and then having various actions inflict vitality point damage to the opposing party. When the pursuer's vitality points reach 0, the target escapes. When the target's VP reaches 0, the pursuers catch them.