Chase Rules

Currently preparing for a Kickstarter (Launching April 2019) for a new Variant Rules Supplement to be used with The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and most editions of Dungeons and Dragons.

Pathfinder tries to sum chases down to one of two rolls: Dexterity Check to determine who is faster (among equal speed opponents), or Constitution Check to see who can maintain the best pace over a long period of time. While a nice way to resolve Pursuits quickly, it can be fairly boring and almost hand-wavy.

One of the variant rules I would like to preview is “Chase Sequences”.

Conducting chases in Pathfinder and D&D tends to be… a tad bit drab. So how Can we make it more exciting? Well, The DM Doctor has the prescription!

Half-Rounds

The basis for my variant chase rules is to cut the rounds in half.

By halving the rounds, there is less an individual can do before another gets a chance to act. By giving every character a single action, characters will have to make every action count. Fewer actions = Faster pace = a more action-packed chase scene.

Now, I know, you are saying to yourself, “But how can that possibly help?”

In a normal sense, no it doesn’t help. Alone. If we left the chase rules like this, you would just go around the table at a faster pace and everyone would still do the same thing (mostly double movements). So what can be done?

Run and Sprint

Normally in battle, characters hustling and bustling, but having to move across the battlefield with a purpose. When someone breaks into an all-out run, they often do so without much attention to anything else.

To simulate an all-out run, characters are allowed to use half their x3 speed instead of their base speed. Or to simplify, use 1.5x their current single-movement speed (20ft speed becomes 30ft, 30 ft becomes 45ft per movement).

When using a run (as opposed to a single move for each half-round), a character will need to make an acrobatics check (or dexterity check for non-skill editions) DC: 10 + 1 for every round of running (terrain and obstacles increase the DC) every round. A character who fails he check only moves their base speed (though the round still counts towards the number of rounds ran). If a character fails by 5 or more, the character trips and falls prone.

A character can run for a number of (chase) rounds equal to twice their Constitution score before needing to make a Constitution check (DC: 10 +1 for each previous check).

A character may also choose to sprint instead of run or hustle. A sprinting character uses their x4 speed to determine their speed per chase round (or sprint at twice their base speed each chase round). Characters in heavy armor or carrying a heavy load are not able to sprint. The base acrobatics check during a sprint is a DC 15 and add +2 for each additional round of sprinting.

A character counts each round of sprinting as two rounds of running. The Constitution check is set as DC: 10 but add +2 for each round of sprinting.

A character may alternate between running and sprinting, but each round of running or sprinting count together for determining the number of rounds to run/sprint. The increase to each check or save does not reset, thus a character who ran for 3 rounds (+3 to acrobatics and DC) and started sprinting for 3 rounds (+6 to acrobatics DC) decides to return to a run. The acrobatics checks for this new round of running is DC: 20 (+3 rounds of running, +6 from three rounds of sprinting, and +1 from a new round of running).

A character who fails a Constitution check must immediately stop running and is fatigued (can only move at half-speed during each chase round without requiring a check, -2 Str and -2 Dex per normal fatigue rules). A character may attempt to start running again, but failing another Constitution check results in the character becoming exhausted. An exhausted character must stop all actions so they can recover. If an exhausted character tries to act through the exhaustion, they must make an additional check (+1 to DC every round) or be unable to move.

A character who chooses to hustle recovers one round of running for each round of moving at normal speed in a chase round. A character who makes an attack action or casts a spell (other than a quickened spell) during their chase round does not recover any rounds of running. A character may choose to take no action and rest. A resting character regains two rounds of running for each round spent resting.

A fatigued or exhausted character only regains rounds of running by resting. Once the number of rounds of running minus rounds of resting are equal to or less than the character’s Constitution score, a fatigued character is no longer fatigued. An exhausted character instead becomes fatigued and stays fatigued until the number of rounds of running minus rest is equal to or less than half of their Constitution score (at which case the character is no longer fatigued or exhausted).

Conclusion

Okay, I know it looks long-winded. And no, that is not even all the variant chase (or Pursuit and Evasion) rules.

What? There’s more?!?

Yes, I have to save something for the book!
I mean, we haven’t even covered the attack actions and spells!!!

In the variant rules books, you can look forward to quick hides, evading, feat interactions, new feats, and much, much more. And a variant chase rule is not all you will get! Stay tuned and share this post (make sure you tag @the_dm_dr on twitter and @thedmdr on facebook).

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