The solution to running chases.

Mansta_ech“Chase Scenes” in D&D are unsatisfying. For a few years now, I’ve been content with LotFP’s 1d20 + [Mov/10] rule. But that’s a stopgap. It gets the job done, but it doesn’t satisfy. Escaping from combat should be more variable.

Retired Adventurer is a criminally underrated blog. John Bell is a phenomenal world builder,  rules designer, and game referee. He’s good enough that I drag myself out of bed at 5:30 AM every Saturday to play in his game.

This most recent Saturday, the party was leading a rich tourist around some ancient ruins. The dude was a fucking asshole who seemed intent on pissing off every monster he came across, but he was paying us 2500 obols each, so we gritted our teeth and took pictures of him posing with a statue of a sphinx. Then three real sphinx appeared, he made some racist comments. John said he was rolling initiative, and the rest of us said “we run.”

That’s when I encountered John’s rules for routs. Presented here in a modified form, based on some modifications by John, and a discussion about it on google+. I should note that I’ve altered the rule shown here to suit my own needs. It differs significantly from John’s original, so you should check that out as well.

Each round, each group of fugitives and pursuers rolls 2d6.

If the face value of a die in the pursuer’s roll matches the face value of a die in a fugitive’s roll, then the pursuers can make missile attacks at the fugitives.

If the pursuers roll a “7”, then they get close enough to each make a single melee attack at +4 against the fugitives.

If the fugitives roll a “7” then they have evaded sight long enough to make a stealth check. If the stealth check is successful, the fugitives have escaped. If the check is failed, the chase continues next round.

If both dice in a pursuer’s roll show the same value, then they have cornered the fugitives. The chase is ended, and regular combat resumes. The fugitives cannot continue to flee unless they make an opening for themselves, such as by slaying one of their pursuers.

If both dice in a fugitive’s roll show the same value, then they have escaped.

In the event that both the pursuers and fugitives roll one of the options above, only the fugitive’s roll counts.

If one party is faster than the other, then for each 30′ of difference in the two party’s speeds, the faster party gains 1 “Die Bump.” After each chase roll, a die bump can be used to adjust one die up or down by 1. (So a 3 can become a 2, or a 4). Multiple die bumps can easily turn the chase into a trivial thing. Dangerous for over-encumbered characters.

Of course, if the fugitives throw food / treasure, the pursuers should usually make morale checks as in LotFP standard. And the GM should keep track of the character’s random movements through their environment, so that once the chase ends, they have to deal with being lost.

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2 thoughts on “The solution to running chases.”

  1. This is helpful, I like how adaptable it is. Could be used in many systems.

    How do you keep track of multiple pursuers? I fell that giving a party of 3-5 people a roll each turn with the runner having only one turn for his/her roll gives a huge advantage to the players.

    1. Pursuers and fugitives are rolled as groups, using the speed of the slowest member of both parties to determine the group’s total speed.

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