Discussion  - 
 
Anybody have thoughts on simple 'chase' rules that could be implemented in classic D&D games? IE, no skills or feats or such. Most ideas I've come across thus far have been overly complex.
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Jasper Polane's profile photoAlex Schroeder's profile photoRob S's profile photoGene Hendricks's profile photo
27 comments
 
What sort of chase? An Orc chasing a man, or a horde of Orcs trying to run the party to ground?
 
How about DEX checks? Both make it or both fail, chase continues. Leader fails & follower succeeds, distance decreases. Leader succeeds & follower fails, distance increases. It's up to the DM on how many increses/decreases it takes to either get away or catch them.
 
Have Iron Kingdoms' Five Fingers, Port of Deceit handy? 
 
You could pick a saving throw, and have the quarry make a save vs. getting caught once a round.
 
If the two groups have the same speed, if one group wins initiative twice consecutively they have run away (if they spend those two turns running away). If the chasing group is slower, the other group only needs to win initiative once to get away. If the chaser is faster the group running away has to win three consecutive initiatives to get away.

Pretty simple.  
 
The Indiana Jones RPG has nice rules for this sort of thing.
 
I think +Alex Schroeder has the best idea so far, in terms of delivering something that feels right for a chase scene. This isn't the first time I've seen a call out for rules for chase scenes - it usually seems like people don't want anything too complicated, but a quick Attribute check seems to be too simple, and I think this stems from the desire to have the chase scene play out like it does in movies.

In movies, chase scenes tend to be sustained tension, with lots of little events happening here and there that all culminate into a resolution to the chase: either the chaser catches their quarry or the chasee escapes (though a good system would allow for multiple different types of end scenarios beyond win/lose).

So, a single roll feels too quick and dry, depriving the players of that sustained tension feeling they're looking for. At the other end of the spectrum, many solutions take the form of a simulator (play round by round with competitive rolls to see who gains ground and who loses ground), which gives a more sustained feeling, but still very dry since all were looking at is distance gained or lost.

Perhaps a combination of multiple rolls, where each roll was accompanied by a random event table?
 
I hear Vornheim has some great rules for crowded city chases.
 
Also, most early versions of D&D have dungeon & wilderness oriented pursuit rules. Depending on what you are looking for, this may suffice.
 
There's a set of homemade rules a guy made called the 52 pages. It's very compatible with most osr games and has a really nice chase mechanic. If you Google 52 pages RPG you should be able to find the link.
 
Last time I had a foot chase, I just went round by round with each party making a dex check. Failure meant they lost 10' of ground. It worked alright but there was a lot of making tick marks on graph paper. I don't like minis, so it all ended up being a bit fiddly for me
 
No matter the method you choose, always remember that at the end of a chase within a dungeon, the party is always lost afterwards in a part of the dungeon they do not recognize.
 
I like the LotFP chase rule: each character (or group with the same movement rate) rolls 1d20 + movement rate (an unencumbered human would add 12, for example), highest wins.
 
Decisions about where to go, and familiarity with the area would both seem to be very important in an equal-speed chase. If you have a 100-foot lead on somebody, and you intentionally head into an area where several intersections or branches are close together, you can quickly make it impossible for your enemy to see you, and very difficult for the enemy to correctly guess which branches you took.
 
Whichever method you choose, follow the fiction and leave room for PC choices. "You can take a shortcut here, but you'll have to vault this iron fence and risk hurting yourself. Want to make a DEX check and extend your lead?"

The classic D&D method gives the PCs the choice to drop food and/or gold pieces to distract or delay pursuers, so it's not just "compare movement speeds."
 
Perhaps as a basic framework you could make the chase a series of Dex checks with the first side to achieve three successes being the winner. The party with the faster movement rate should get a bonus to the roll. Other abilities can be used to do thing like reduce your opponent's success total, try to gain a bonus on future rolls or impose penalties on your pursuers.
 
I just asked a friend how he handles chases and he said he plays a variation of the card game war. Like a simplified version of it
 
In my dungeon, I plot their position on my map and make them tell me the direction they want to go. They can't look at their map while running. For city or outdoor chases, or for a deep-wilderness-long-term-hunt scenario increase the distances by whatever proportion you want.

If the hunter outspeeds the quarry, they catch up in however many rounds that would normally take, barring outside interference (which the quarry therefore needs to find before the clock runs out). Otherwise, the chaser rolls a morale check (modify it with their con bonus if you feel like it). For every point they suceed by, they can keep chasing through 30' of setback before they have to give up. If the quarry outspeeds the hunter, any distance they gain counts against that limit and the chase will usually be very short. Undead and constructs have infinite morale, but can give up for other reasons and you can also lose them if they can't figure out where to go.

Every time there is an obstacle, it can block or slow either party. If it's a block it's a block and you can't go further till you get around. If it slows you, it just sets you back by 10' x however much you failed the skill check by. If the quarry masks their trail and the hunters have no way to figure out which way to go, they have to pick randomly, or call it off. If they go the wrong way, the quarry gains a lot of distance and probably will escape.

The chase is over when the quarry gets caught or when the hunter loses the momentum from his morale check and gives up. If you want to give the hunters morale bonuses for closing in on their quarry, that's a way to extend the initial chase into a whole session playing The Most Dangerous Game.
 
Missed the no skill checks line, but ability checks or whatever work just as well. If there's no check to judge by, 30 feet is a nice round number.
 
I'm of the opinion that most player decisions should come in the form of stunting. The players should be encouraged to come up with cool ideas for using terrain, scenery, knowledge etc. to narrow or widen the gap between parties and the DM should determine the success of each stratagem using whatever standard rules for stunting and improvisation are already in place. Unfortunately, I don't have a set of stunting rules in place in my own game so I'll have to solicit suggestions in another thread.
Rob S
 
I agree with Mark Struss. The 52 pages document has nice simple chase rules that look very playable at the table.
 
+John Harper has the gist of it, I think. In the days where the dungeon expedition was mostly a question of logistics (rations, torches and oil going down and treasure coming up) it makes sense to make the escape a question of resources spent. Forget about chase rules, so to speak.
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