[CONAN] Simple, Malleable Foot Chase Rules

I've been wanting some easy-to-use-and-remember foot chase rules for my game. I still can't get through the Hot Pursuit/Hot Pursuit On Foot rules--those are too detailed and crunchy for my tastes. I just want some quick-n-easy chase rules that make sense. I've looked at the Pathfinder Chase Rules, and, again, I think them too fussy. I've seen some other rules, here and there, but nothing has yet to catch my fancy. I've also written a few other sets of Chase Rules myself, but, as you can see here, I'm still tinkering, trying to find that sweet spot House Rule that I want to keep.

Here's what I'm thinking: Using simple Opposed Throws.

Ideas and Reasoning to follow.

Opposed DEX: Some people are quick out of the box but don't have the strength to keep the advantage of the lead they've obtained. Sprinters have high DEX scores, and the 100 Yard Dash (300 feet) can be completed by a Speed 30 character in under three rounds (12-18 seconds), which is about right given that World Record holders have times in the 9-10 second range (World Record holders will have the Run Feat, or the Fleet-Footed Feat, in order to complete the 100 Yard Dash in 2 rounds).

Therefore, the first 3 rounds* of a foot chase consists of Opposed DEX throws. Everybody in the race throws a simple DEX check. The character with the highest toss moves his Speed. The character with the second highest throw moves his Speed minus 1 foot. The third highest score moves that character his Speed minus 2 feet, and so on.

*You might want to make this 4 rounds, depending on the weight you put on Sprinting vs. the energy needed for Long Distance Running.

This continues for 3 rounds. Barring an accident or some hindrance to movement, a character will never move less than his Speed minus 5 feet.

For Example...

A Thief is seen rummaging through the PC's pack by two PCs and six NPC guards. The Thief bolts, and the rest run after him. A chase has begun. Your chases probably won't have this many participants. I used this many to explain the aspects of these rules.

Thief: DEX 12 (+1), Speed 30, Running. Throw is 18. 2nd and Moves 119 feet.

PC 1: DEX 12 (+1), Speed 30, Running. Throw is 17. 3rd and Moves 118 feet.

PC 2: DEX 16 (+3), Speed 30, Running. Throw is 9. 5th and Moves 116 feet.

NPC 1: DEX 9 (-1), Speed 30, Running. Throw is 14. 4th and Moves 117 feet.

NPC 2: DEX 17 (+3), Speed 20, Running. Throw is 17. 3rd and Moves 78 feet.

NPC 3: DEX 11 (+0), Speed 25, Running. Throw is 20. 1st and Moves 100 feet.

NPC 4: DEX 12 (+1), Speed 30, Running. Throw is 8. 6th and Moves 125 feet.

NPC 5: DEX 12 (+1), Speed 25, Running. Throw is 5. 7th and Moves 95 feet.

NPC 6: DEX 12 (+1), Speed 20, Running. Throw is 3. 8th and Moves 75 feet.

So...who won the toss? That would be NPC 3. So, he moves his full Speed. The second highest toss was the Thief, so he moves his full movement minus 1 foot. We've got a tie for third place, so both move their full movement minus 2 feet. Note that NPCs 5 and 6 rolled the worst, but their movement penalties are capped at minus 5.

If keeping track of the chase on a standard grid, don't move a character less than his full movement unless the total is 5 feet or more. Thus, in this example chase, all characters will move into their full movement squares except NPC's 4, 5, and 6 (because their movement was hindered a full five feet and thus lose one five foot square on the grid).

Also remember that, under the game's rules, running characters can only move in a straight line. The Hustle movement mode must be used if a character needs to navigate around obstacles during his move.

Use a six sided die to keep track of lost movement as the rounds pass by. Just have the player put the die out in front of him (The GM, of course, can do the same for NPCs). For example, NPC 3 will have no die at this point because the character hasn't lost any feet to his movement rate. The Thief will have the 1 showing on his die. NPC 2 will have a 2 showing on his die. PC 2 will have a 4 showing on his die, and so forth.

Once the die timer reaches 5, the PC will be held back an additional square that round (for a maximum of 2 squares, or 10 feet, in one round, if the character also is in 6th place or worse in the round's Opposed DEX toss).

For example, PC 1 now has a 2 on his d6 timer. If, next round, the character comes in 9th place on round two, his d6 timer will be kept at 2, but the character will move one square less than maximum. Think of it this way: When the timer gets to 5, the character is held back 5 feet from his maxium move. The timer for this character was 2, and on the second round, he suffered another 5 feet, for a total of 7 feet. The character was held back 1 square, erasing 5 points and leaving 2 on the timer. It's not as complicated as I'm making it sound (I fear).

Remember that starting positions determine the distance between characters when a chase begins. For example, when this chase starts, the Thief could be 30 feet from PC 1 and 60 feet from PC 2 with NPCs 1 and 2 at 100 feet, NPCs 3-5 at 120 feet, and NPC 6 at 210 feet.

If this is the case, only PC 1 has any real chance of catching the Thief, and even then, it's going to take a lot of game rounds to close that 30 foot gap (which can be done more easily than it may seem if the Thief slows his movement mode or fails at an obstacle). If the starting positions I've laid out here are true, then the chase will quickly have particpants drop out, leaving only two or a few.

What if you're not using a grid? Then forget about the d6 timer. Simply figure distance between the chasers and the object of their chase.

For example, this chase starts with the Thief 30 feet from PC 1. On Chase Round 1, the Thief moves 119 feet, while PC 1 moves 118 feet. It's easy to see that the Thief gained a foot on his pursuer. So, at the end of Chase Round 1, the distance between the two characters is 31 feet.

That's what you keep track of each round. Just write it down on a pad and keep it handy to color your descriptions of the chase. For example, as this chase starts, you could say, "You see a man rummaging through your pack. At your approach, he jerks his head up to look at you and bolts." Once the player says that he'll give chase, you say, "30 feet separates you. Roll your DEX! He gained a foot on you this round. Now, separation is 31 feet. Next round."

Keep it simple and easy.

(These Rules Continued)
Opposed STR: The initial bust of energy wears off after 20 seconds or so, and then a character must rely on his personal strength to pour on the power. Truly great runners have both high DEX and STR scores. Starting on Chase Round 4, STR checks are made instead of DEX checks, and STR checks are used until the chase ends.

The procedure for each round is exactly the same as described above for the DEX based checks. Just roll Opposed STR and keep track of distanced moved (if using a grid) or the distance between the chase participants.

TIRED! Running a foot race can be quite tiring. Not every person is built to run. According to the Local Movement rules, a character can Walk or Hustle without measure*, but there is a limitation on Running.

The Local Movement rules say that a character with CON 9+ can run for a minute without problem and maybe continue for another minute before having to rest.

Therefore, under these Chase Rules, a character with CON 9+ can run for 10 combat rounds without issue, but starting on the round after the 10th time the character runs, the character must make a Fort check at DC 2 to continue. Each round thereafter, whether running or not, the character must make this check with the difficulty 2 points higher.


PC 1 runs for 3 Chase Rounds. On round 4, he moves at a Hustle. On rounds 5-8, he runs. Rounds 9-11, he moves at a Hustle. Then, on rounds 12-14, he runs. You may want to use a d10 timer, increasing it by one each time the character runs. Once the character has run 10 times, the character must make the Fortitude check at the beginning of each Chase Round or be fatigued.

As stated in the Local Movement Rules, the fatigue condition can be removed once the character has rested for one minute.

A character with CON 8- must roll the Fortitude check after the first time the character runs, but the difficulty for the throw begins at DC 1, increasing by 1 for every round the character participates, thereafter, in the chase.

Note that this Chase Fatigue option won't be used unless a chase participant with CON 8- runs during the chase or a chase particpant with CON 9+ runs on 10 different rounds during the chase. In other words, characters with CON 8- should watch when they run--they're out of shape! And, even if a chase includes all participants with CON 9+, the chase is likely to end before characters run for 10 rounds. I've written this part of the rules to cover the situation when needed.

*If the chase lasts for an hour or more, there are limits to how long a character can Walk or Hustle. Use the Overland Movement rules to adjust these chase rules.

OBSTACLES! Chases are most fun when there are obstacles to overcome. You can pre-plan some obstacles for your chase before the game. You can keep some obstacle ideas on note cards or in a list to use when impromptu chases pop up in your game. Or, you can just make things up as you go. I like that last idea--picturing the race in my head, describing it to my players, as we play it out.

The Chase Rules above use Opposed Attribute checks. DEX is referenced the first 3 rounds as the character's sprinting ability. STR is then referenced, starting on chase round 4, representing the character's ability to slam on the power and deliver the strength needed to succeed in a long distance run. The character's endurance is referenced through his CON score in the fatigue rules. Together, the three physical aspects of a character determine his ability to run.

When designing obstacles, I suggest that the character's skills be tested rather than his raw attributes. Throw in obstacles that test a character's Balance, Climb, Jump, Swim, and Tumble ability.

Occasionally, other skills may be tested with Obstacles. For example, Spot may be used to see if a character notices boxes stacked for easy climbing to the rooftops. If the character makes the Spot check, then the GM tells the player about the option. If the Spot throw fails, then the character continues in the chase as if nothing happened. A Bluff/Sense Motive Opposed Throw could be used to fake direction and dodge around a guard. Knowledge (Local) might give the chase participant of an alley that could half the distance between the character and his quarry. Hide, Listen, Survival could all be used in creative ways.

These rules are meant to be malleable guidelines to help the GM run foot chases in his game. To keep it simple, I suggest using just one obstacle in any given chase round. This way, the game is kept speedy with just the Opposed Attribute checks and the occasional obstacle.

Sometimes, a skill check will replace the attribute check--such as when the chase happens while characters are climbing. Don't make an Opposed STR check and then a Climb check--just use the Climb check to cover the round and move on.

Chase rounds are combat rounds (6 second long), but if a different unit of time fits your chase situation better, then use it. Don't forget to re-read the Overland Movement rules if you do.

Running A Chase: I've written a lot here, but remember these are simple rules. They're mainly opposed throws and occasional obstacle skill checks. If using a grid, you know exactly how far to move a figure, and if you're just sitting on a couch with all of your players around you, you just describe a vivid scene in your players' heads while you scratch down distances between chase participants.

Forget about initiative. That complicates things. When you run a chase, move the characters being chased first, then have the pursuers follow. Considering the example in the first post above, the Thief would move first (whether a GM character or run by one of the players) with the rest moving after the Thief. If it is important to determine which character moves before the others on the same side, then use inititiative to determine that (not who goes first in the chase round). For example, the Thief is moved first, but then initiative is thrown among the pursuers to determine the order of action among them. Again, though, I wouldn't mess with initiative during a chase unless absolutely necessary. I'd just play it out organically. I think that produces the most fun.
Let me run a few rounds as a chase example to fully explain these rules. Here's the situation. Two PC Barbarians have heard a scream. They know it's their clansmen being attacked. Rushing down the trail, the two round a copse of trees to see an upturned wagon, dead mules, and two humans stabbing the life out of the poor NPC merchant.

The attackers are instantly recognized. Both are clan members, or were clan members as the two of them have been booted from the clan for stealing. They easily see the two PCs running towards them. The bad guys bolt east, running down the side of an incline littered with skree, boulders, fallen logs, and tree stumps. The PCs, of course, run on in pursuit.

The chase has begun.

Bad Guy #1 is Cian McDowd. DEX 15 (+2). STR 16 (+3). CON 9 (-1). Speed 30.

Bad Guy #2 is Silaigne Deepblade. DEX 14 (+2). STR 18 (+4). CON 16 (+3). Speed 30.

Good Guy #1 is Caelis Redbirth. DEX 13 (+1). STR 19 (+4). CON 10 (+0) Speed 30.

Good Guy #2 is Thrallan Stone. DEX 14 (+2). STR 16 (+3). CON 13 (+1). Speed 30.

Remember, we dispense with rolling initiative* and run the chase organically. We want to move those being chased first. Silaigne is the leader among the two bad guys, so let's start with him then move Cian, who would look to Silaigne and follow his lead anyway.

*If combat enuses during the chase, then the GM may have a reason to roll initiative, especially if distance weapons are used.

Once the chased have moved, we'll turn to the PCs to see what they do (follow the bad guys, I'm sure).

Starting Postions:


Both the PCs, Caelis and Thrallan, are moving up the trail and start the chase in the box marked START. Unknown to the players, there are actually THREE bad guys, each marked with a G on the map. Cian starts the chase in the G square farthest south. Silaigne, the bad guy leader, is in the middle G square. In the G square farthest north, closest to the players, is a third character named Morghun Clanson. He is crouched down at the PCs' approach, their sight blocked by the upturned wagon. Morghun will serve as a surprise at the beginning of the encounter. I'll move Silaigne, then Cian, then the two PCs, and finally Morghun last.

Bad Guy #3 is Morghun Clanson. DEX 14 (+1). STR 16 (+3). CON 8 (-1). Speed 30.

The PCs know that both Silaigne and Cian have been booted from the clan and are dangerous. What they don't know is that Silaigne has managed to recruit a second follower from the clan: Morghun.

If playing without a grid, I would sketch out starting positions and note rough estimates of distances for myself but describing the action to the players. I can also show my players this sketch map to give them a better idea of where everyone is located.

Starting distance between Silaigne and the two PCs is 165 feet. Starting distance between Caelis and the two PCs is 140 feet.

"The two murders you know. Silaigne and Cian--both recently kicked out of your clan. Silaigne sees the two of you, and instantly he bolts to the east, running as hard as he can.

"Cian is just an instant behind him, his arms seemingly pumping his legs to follow after the older of the two."

In some cases, a Knowledge (Local) check might be appropriate on this first round, just before the players move, with success indicating knowledge of the terrain: It's fairly flat to the edge of the map above, then there is a swath of trees, followed by a decline to the hill bottom covered by skree, fallen logs, tree stumps, and some large rocks. But, because the PCs' village is close, the GM makes this information automatic: The slope ends in an abrubt drop-off cliff--a rocky ledge towering over the tree tops and mountain river far below.

Now, we dice. Remember, the first three rounds are DEX based followed by STR based checks starting on round 4 plus.

Silaigne: 20.
Cian: 3.

Caelis: 5.
Thrallan: 11.

Morghun: 8.

Silaigne is gone. He moves 120 feet. This takes him to the map's edge, then, off-map, through the copse of trees to the point where the hill starts to decline. Since Silaigne ran, we select a d10 and place it on 1 next to the player.

Cian moves next. He was last in the toss, so he's -4 feet to his movement. This means he moves 116 feet, off the map, following Silaigne. He gets a 1 on his d10 timer and a 4 on his d6 timer.

Caelis now moves, throwing for 4th place, moving 117 feet. Remember, it's straight line movement at this Speed category. If the player wishes to maneuver other than in a straight line, then he cannot run, and his movement is reduced to a Hustle. Put a 1 on the d10 timer and a 3 on the d6 timer.

Thrallan runs, too, getting 2nd place, moving 119 feet. 1 on both d10 and d6.

(Tired. Sleepy. I'll finish this example later.)
Supplement Four said:
(Tired. Sleepy. I'll finish this example later.)

In the light of the next day, I'm not as keen on this idea. Last night, I had the idea, not fully worked out, and started writing. Many times that how I work out ideas. Writing it out exposes flaws.

The basic idea is sound, but I want to go even more simple. What I'd really like is a system that can be used both as a Chase System for both Tactical Combat Chases and Non-Tactical Descriptive Story Type Chases. I'd switch as needed, possibly in the same chase. The above rules do accomplish that, but I also want to just roll Opposed Rolls and have the winner move a bit further than the loser. Something like a standard 5 feet would be great. That way, chases are fairly lengthly (I can adjust if I want shorter chases to bigger units) and action oriented.

But, I don't want to break existing rules. If I do that simple 5 foot thing, then a character would move his Speed except when in a chase, when he would move something more or something less, on average, depending on who is in the chase.

The Speed rating should represent an average movement any time the character moves, in a chase or no.

I'll keep thinking.
Decision points for players?

Sometimes Skill checks will present options (as with a Knowledge-Local check that will let the player know that he can cut off his chase-prey by taking a quick right down an alley or a Spot check that will inform the player that a stack of boxes and a Climb check will put the character on the roof tops, giving the character second chase path option).

If a character has CON 8-, he has to make a decision on whether to run or not, because once he runs, he's got to start making Fort based Fatigue checks.

Characters with CON 9+ have to decide when and where to Run, because they can only run 10 times before they have to start making the Fort based Fatigue Checks. This character could run for 10 straight rounds, starting the checks on round 11, or the character could mix and match Run and Hustle moves (sacrificing distance, of course, but gaining a longer time before getting tired) so that the character runs 3 rounds, hustles a round, runs 3 more rounds, then hustles for 3 rounds, then runs for 4 rounds, starting the fatigue checks on round 14.

Plus, there will be decisons involving obstacles: The prey runs through the market, between two stalls. The chasing character can simply follow the prey's path or crash through the merchant's cart, spreading his goods all over the ground. This requires a Jump check that, if successful, will put the character 20 feet closer to his prey (gaining ground). But, if the Jump check fails, the risk is that the charcter goes down and loses two rounds of distance on his prey (the distance between the character is increased by whatever ground the prey covers in two rounds).

So, you see, there will be lots of exciting player decisions during the chases that I'm envisioning.
Here's a thought.

The game already gives us just about everything we need to run chases. We've got distance moved during a time period using the character's Speed rating. We've got different movement modes which allow us to run a tactical combat chase (Tactical Movement) or a story-based GM descriptive chase (Local Movement, or even Overland Movement). If a character runs too much, the fatigue guidelines in the Local Movement rules give the GM a clue on how long a character can run. There's Terrain rules. Even obstacles are addressed in the Tactical Movement rules.

What's missing is this: Variable Speed Ratings. Humans, unencumbered, run at Speed 30, provided no Feats alter that figure. We all know that, in real life, people actually run at slightly different rates, given their natural ability and physical condition.

See, this is the problem with running chases with the rules as-is: There's many times no way for one chase participant to catch up with the character being chased.

So, what we need is an optional house rule that allows characters to slightly alter their Speed Ratings when in chases.

Here's what I'm thinking--

The usual Speed Rating is an average mark. The Speed rating can be adjusted up by 5 or down by 5 provided a check is made.

For example, a character with Speed 30, on normal terrain, can run 120 feet in 6 seconds. No check needed.

But, let's give the character an opportunity to move faster. If he makes a DC 15 check, his Speed is increased by 5 to a total of 35 for that round. Thus, that round, he can run 140 feet in 6 seconds if he makes the check.

Making the check comes with risk, though. Failing the DC 15 check usually just means the character moves at normal Speed, but if the check is failed by 10+ points, then the character's Speed is reduced by 5 for that round. Thus, the maximum he could run is at Speed 25 for 100 feet that round. In addition, a natural 1 on the check indicates a fall and zero progress during the round.

To Increase Speed by 5 for one round, make a DC 15 check. Failure means Speed is not increased. Failire by 10 or more (a total of 5- ) means the character's Speed rating reduced by 5. A natural 1 on the check indicates a fall.

So, normally, characters move at their average rate (normal Speed rate) and don't worry with any rolls. If the player choses to attempt to move faster than normal, he must make the DC 15 check at the risk of slower movement or falling.


EDIT: Adjusted Movement Check.

Movement Check = DC 15 attribute check (usually DEX or STR)

Success: +5 Speed.

Failure by 4 or less: No adjustment to Speed.

Failure by 5 or more: -5 Speed.

Natural One: Fall.

Or, another way of saying it...

DC 15 Movement Check

Total 15+ = +5 Speed
Total 11-14 = +0 Speed
Total 10- = -5 Speed
Natural 1 = Fall
THOUGHTS, you ask?
Look at each persons base move,
Tally all their encumbrance
Tally both their STR and CON
Make a GM spot-decision (NO roll in my opinion).
Dude who is more heavily encumbered and less CON-oriented is at a disadvantage.
Dude who is Completely unemcumbered always wins over encumbered guy (if move speeds are equal)
Dudes who are enemcumbered and have the same Move should tally Str. and Con. the guy with the higher total wins the footrace.
Spectator said:
Make a GM spot-decision (NO roll in my opinion).

But you are missing the point...I like to have Hollywood style, hair-raising, exciting chases in my game. I'm talking Jason Bourne and James Bond wrapped into the Hyborian Age setting. Sprinting across roof tops. Crashing through market stalls. Jumping over low fences. Tearing-ass through a narrow, crowded, maul corridor.

Early in my campaign, I ran the Ras Croi for my players--a long obstacle course (with natural obstacles) designed to test the endurance and mettle new warriors (not unlike the early scene in the recent Conan movie, but I ran my Ras Croi over a year before that film came out). I had long stretches of full-out running. Climbing. A fork in the path where the player could choose to play it safe and Balance across a ravine over a downed tree log or try to bypass that and grab the lead by making the Jump across the ravine. There was a high dive from a cliff into cold water at the base of a waterfall. Swimming. Then a trudge through the knee deep mud in the bogs before making it to solid ground again and racing to the finish line.

My players quite enjoyed that. It gave them a real sense of physical accomplishment rather than just talk-talk backstory of how their barbarians started training to become warriors for the clan.

Then, a bit later in that first campaign, there was another epic chase we had where the players were chasing the bad guys. It started on the top of a hill with a slight decline. There were large rocks, downed logs, and shrub bushes to avoid. The ground was scary as the runners couldn't quite find solid purchase running on that skree, their feet slipping and sliding. The hill ended in an abrubt cliff looking over the valley below. The PCs were so high up, they were level with the valley tree tops. The bad guy being chased made an incredible jump from the cliff into the limbs of the trees of the valley below. These trees were something I made up called Thicket Trees. They grow in thick copses, and their limbs all grow together, forming a network of branches, all grown together, high up among the leaves.

What happened next? You guessed it. The PCs followed the bad guy with the Jump. One PC nearly fell to his death and had to use a Fate Point to save himself.

Then? Yep, the chase continued among the limbs of these inter-connected trees. It was quite neat. Running along the limbs. Jumping and swinging on vines, Tarzan-style, from one limb to another, with the characters occassionally throwing a spear here, an axe there.

The problem is that I made up ways to handle those chases mechanically, and I didn't do it the same way twice. So...thus....here I am thinking about some standard way to dice these chases when they erupt in my game.
I don't know about your bunch of players but I'm old (39) most of the fellas are near my age. We don't have all the time in the world to throw dice for running. Hell they start to gripe with combat over 5 minutes. These guys were all raised on 1st ed ADnD. They still like the fluidity and storytelling more than the dice throwing.
OK, I've got it. And, what I've "found" is actually already in the rules--it's just hidden a bit.

Here's a Chase method that only uses official rules. I landed upon the idea after thinking about what I really wanted out of a Chase system, a good reading of the game's movement rules, and looking at Pathfinder's Chase system.

The key to the issue is mentioned in the Tactical Movement rules. Obstacles are mentioned. If you think about it, an obstacle can be almost anything. We normally think of an obstacle as a downed log that must be jumped, or something similar. Well, an obstacle for a pursuer chasing his prey is that he's trying to close distance. The prey's obstacle is that he's trying to lengthen the distance between him and whomever is chasing him. Closing or Lengthening distance is an obstacle in a chase that must be overcome.

So, that's it. That's already in the rules. No House Rules needed. No fussy set of extra rules needed (as with the Chase system in d20 Spycraft or in Hot Pursuit/Hot Pursuit on Foot). Just give the players an obstacle throw to close or open distance as you would any other movement obstacle.

Let me explain how I would use the rules, as-is, to run Chases.


First off, when a chase begins (as others have said), it's probably best not to run it on a tactical grid. The distances, even in a foot chase, get vast very quickly. Many times, your characters are off the map, if using a 5' grid, after the first six second chase round, or so.

I think the six second round is a good timeframe for chase rounds, but customize that as needed. For example, if the chase involves participants on horses across flat desert terrain, maybe one minute chase rounds would be more appropriate. Look at the game's movement modes (Tactical, Local, or Overland) and go with what best suits the conditions of your chase.

Speed ratings will be adjusted, per the game rules, for terrain and any aspects of the enviornment that would trigger the hampered movement rules.

Then, to run the chase, simply throw obstacles at the participants each round as needed. If you want, give your players choices, like this: You're running from the town's guards. Your arms are pumping, and your heartbeat is in your ears. You see a fallen tree in front of you, half buried in the dirt. It's about three foot high and about the same wide. You've got a choice. You can Jump the log and keep running, at the risk of falling to the ground if you fail the jump. Or, you can run around the end of the tree, allowing your pursuers to gain 30 feet on you. What do you want to do?


You can just pull stuff out of the air, ad-libbing the race as you go, describing to the players what you see in your mind: The alley is crowded with people. You're shoudering your way past them, trying to not to lose sight of your quarry, the thief that pickpocketed your coin. At the start of each Chase Round, you must roll a Spot check vs. the thief Hide, with failure meaning that you've lost the thief in the crowd. Just now, though, you see three wooden boxes stacked near the side of a building to your left. You can attempt to Climb those boxes, getting to the roof tops. From up there, you'll get a +5 bonus on your Spot check to keep the thief in sight. But, the thief will automatically increase distance by 50 feet for each Climb attempt you make. Thus, if you make the Climb on your first try, the thief automatically increases distance by 50 feet. If you fail your Climb but succeed on your second try next round, the thief will have increased distance by 100 feet, and so on. If the thief increases distance by 150 feet, he will be automatically lost in the crowd having evaded you.

Your other choice is to keep pushing your way through the crowd in pursuit of the thief. You'll make an Opposed DEX check with the thief. If you beat the thief by 5 points, then you decrease distance to him by 25 feet. If he beats you by 5 points, then he incrases distance by 25 feet. Otherwise, the distance between you and the thief stays the same as the chase progresses that round down the narrow, crowded street. Remember, though, that this option does not provide a bonus to your Spot check to keep the thief in sight--a check you make at the beginning of each round.

And, when it feels right to tell the players that the scenery is changed, do it, along with the chase conditions: The narrow street empties into a wide courtyard. Many people mill around, but the area is much more open so that the Spot check is no longer needed. You automatically see the thief at the beginning of each round....

If you're not comfortable with the loose-n-fast, play-it-as-it-comes style, then take a cue from Pathfinder. If you want to pre-plan chase routes or write up a stack of them for use in impromptu chases, take a few index cards and lay them down on the table. Take a marker (a penny, a miniature, a bottled-water cap) and place it on one of the cards. Each card will represent a unit of distance in the chase (say, how about 50 foot each--change as needed to suit conditions). If the thief is 100 feet in front of the PC, then place the PC on the first chase card and the thief on the third one. Counting the cards (representing 50 foot each), the thief is 100 feet in front of the chaser.

On each card, write down an obstacle or choice of obstacles for the participant to overcome on the round a character lands on that card.

Then, just run your race.
Spectator said:
I don't know about your bunch of players but I'm old (39) most of the fellas are near my age.

It's an aging hobby. I'm 47...tomorrow!

My group is in the late 30's to late 40's range.

We don't have all the time in the world to throw dice for running. Hell they start to gripe with combat over 5 minutes. These guys were all raised on 1st ed ADnD.

Yep, my guys are 1E and 2E AD&Ders. We've finished our first campaign, and I'm still teaching them 3.5E/Conan.

They still like the fluidity and storytelling more than the dice throwing.

Picture this--

You're sitting around the kitchen table, playing the game. There's no map because you haven't run any combat. The PC's are spread out, searching through a Nemedian wood. Three days ago, the PCs arrived in Belverus where they took a bounty to find a lord's escaped servant. For what reason the lord has in finding this servant, the PCs do not know, but they suspect the lord held this servant as a confidant and knows things about the noble that the lord would rather be kept quiet.

You've quickly roleplayed over the last three days as the PCs geared up and left town. Nothing notable happened on their trek until this morning, when the PCs found a fresh camping spot. The tracker in the group found a trail but lost it after a bit. Now, the group has been traveling in their best-guess direction, hoping to get lucky.

And, that's just what happens to them. The group crests a ridge that declines down to a stream. Bent over, his tongue lapping at the water, is a man wearing dirty, smudged and torn silks. This must be the PCs' quarry.

The man is skittish, constantly jerking his head in different directions between drinks. He sees the PCs. Even at this distance, the characters see the man's eyes go wide. The servant bolts. He's running north, along the stream. The PCs have entered the area from the east. Distance between the characters and the NPC is 90 feet.

Now, sir, a chase has begun.

You've got 3 PCs. Two will stay here and investigate the area because the group strongly suspects that the servant would not come to the forest alone. They think he's traveling with someone who knows how to survive in the wild. The tracker thinks more than one person ate at the camp site found this morning.

So, one PC will give pursuit, running after the servant.

We'll use 6 second Chase Rounds and the Chase Rules I cite in my last post above. The servant is at Speed 30. The PC, because of gear and armor, are at Speed 25. The rocky, forested terrain is difficult, thus these ratings are reduced to Speed 15 and 13 respectively. Because of the Speed differences, the servant will automatically lengthen distance to the PC by 5 feet each round plus any other movement he can make by overcoming obstacles.

You determine that this is a lightly dense forest. So, according to the rules on page 311 of the 2E Conan RPG, line of sight is 3d6 x 10 feet. We'll call it 120 feet. But, this is dense enough to hamper movement, and, thus neither character can run or charge. Maxium movement will be a Hustle (Usually a double Move, but since I've applied the terrain modifier to reduce base Speed, x4 Speed is possible).

The servant's goal is to run away from the PC so that range between the two exceeds 120 feet. If and when that happens, the servant will get a Hide check opposed by the PC's Spot check. If successful, the servant will succeed in evading the PC. The player character will have lost him in the woods.

The PC's goal is to close distance with the NPC. If and when that happens, the chase will be over, and we'll go into combat rounds as the PC tries to grapple, fight, intimidate, or otherwise influence the servant to return to the stream bank and the other two PCs (and then, presumeably, back on to Belverus where the PCs will collect the bounty).

...We Play Out The Chase...

GM: The servant bolts down along the edge of the stream bed. With the words of your comrade echoing in your ears, "Go! Go after him! We'll look for the other! Move, dammit!", you quickly give chase.

To provide a little visualization and help you keep track, you lay down 4 blank index cards. Each card represents about 30 feet of distance. Thus, if a character runs at x4 Speed, he can move through two cards. Running at x2 Speed is needed to move from one card to the next in one round.

Lay the cards in a line. Place a nickle to represent the PC on an end card. On the opposite end card, place a penny to represent the Servant. Now, the player has a representation (that you're going to bolster through amazing verbal description of the chase to create vivid images in your player's mind) of the general distance to the NPC. The player can see that the NPC is three cards away. That's 30 feet x 3 = 90 feet. Remember that if the NPC can increase that distance by one card, the NPC will be 120 feet away from the player's character, at the limit of sight. The NPC wants to increase distance by two more cards so that the NPC is beyond normal line-of-sight and will have a chance to evade the PC with a Hide check. On the other hand, the PC is trying to get that nickle to move to the same card as the NPC, at which point, the chase will end and, most likely, combat rounds will begin as the PC attempts to subdue the servant.

The cards and coin markers are just an easy way of keeping track of every thing and giving a basic visual representation of the chase. The real key to the chase is the GM's description of the events.

Make this lively and exciting.

OK, so the chase begins. To make it exciting for yourself (I, myself, like discovering the action unfold too, but you can just make things up as you go along if you want to minimize dice rolling), roll a d6 every time a character enters or passes over a card. A "1" on that throw indicates some sort of obstacle that needs to be overcome. Be creative: ravines, gulleys, and rat holes that could cause a fall. Rocks and boulders, bushes and undergrowth, fallen trees, loose ground, and so on. Maybe even a family of deer that scatter in all directions, possibly slowing the individual a bit--You can also have obstacles that limits movement, such as some thick undergrowth that, as the character crashes through it, makes maximum movement at Speed x3 instead of Speed x4 (or even Speed x2 or Speed x1).

When the obstacles appear, you should sometimes give your players an option: "There's a downed tree in front of you. You can attempt to Jump it, or you can go around it allowing the servant to automtically increase distance by 15 feet."

So that things don't get out of hand, try to keep only one obstacles per card (and game round). On the cards where the "1" on the d6 doesn't appear, the obstacle will be to increase or descrease distance between the two chase participants. This also means that, if a "1" does appear on the d6, then the PC or NPC cannot attempt to also increase/decrease distance because the character is managing the other indicated obstacle.

Increasing/Descreasing distance is a simple Opposed throw. For the throw to be successful, one character must throw 5 points higher than the other. For the first 3 rounds, make this an Opposed DEX throw to simulate sprinting. From round 4 on, the throw will be Opposed STR throws, to simulate the physical strength needed to power through long distance running.

How about getting tired? This is covered in the rules. See the Movement section on pages 214-215 of the 2E Conan RPG. Both the PC and NPC have CON ratings higher than 8, so both can run for a minute-to-two-minutes before having to stop and catch their breath. Everytime a character moves faster than x2 Speed, write a hash mark on the character's beginning index card. When you've got 10 hash marks, start making the character make Fortitude Saves each round to stave of Fatigue, as the rules say.

You roll for the servant behind the screen. Keep the action lively in your player's mind. There's no obstacle for him, so he can try to increase the distance between them by 60 feet (he's running, and that means two cards if successful). The opposed roll is made, but the PC rolls 5 points higher than the Servant.

This means that the PC will gain distance on the NPC if there is no other obstacle. But, a "1" does pop up for the PC, meaning that the PC cannot take advantage of his win.

Let's get creative with this first obstacle.

"You tear off after the servant, moving as fast as you can down the slope, slanting towards the running man. You're crashing through brush. Your face gets scratched. The ground is a bit loose, and you slip but catch yourself, here and there.

"Then, up ahead, your path will take you between two close trees. But, between these trees is white, cotton-looking strands...Spider Web! It's like a coccoon between those two trunks. You can crash right through the webbing easily, or you can dodge around the tree by making a DC 10 DEX check. Crashing through the web costs you nothing. If you fail the DEX check, though, the servant will gain 15 feet on you.

"What do you do?!"

Now, the web can be there just to make the chase interesting with no reprercussions if the PC breaks through it. Or, you can have a big eight-legged hairy thing drop on or near the PC...and change the entire encounter, possibly ensuring that the servant gets away. Or...maybe you'll have a swarm of little eight-legged things scurry all over the PC, getting under his armor and clothes, biting him, crawling on his face and neck--not deadly but enough of a hindrance to put a -2 modifier on his obstacle checks for three rounds.

In the end, the distance between the two stays the same. The servant lost the check, and the PC could not benefit from his 5+ point win because he had to deal with the spiderweb obstacle. Remember to put a +5 note on the NPC's card because he automatically gets +5 feet of distance each round because of the Speed difference. When this note reaches 30+ in later rounds, there will be an automatic increase in distance between the two, and a new card will be placed on the table to account for it.

We move on to round two...

I've focused on the rules and rolling dice to make sure I explain the system. But, remember, the heart of the system is just the GM describing the exciting chase scene in the minds of the players.

You don't think your players would dig that?
Chase, shmase.
My guys see the servant they are throwing, slinging, archery-ing, and crossbowing-ing everything they got if they knew how detailed and math-intensive that chase is. Seriously, I TOTALLY COMMEND you on your ability to do that chase sequence, remeber the rules and have a pretty coherent rationale/ rules matrix.

I just can't conprehend all the variables, rules, and sheer amount of time that is involved with throwing dice, using grids (we never use em), and all the other stuff. EVEN if I were able to comprehend it, I can easily see me spending 10 minutes on a chase with 1 PC, while 3-5 others are twiddling thumbs, checking iPhones, calling GFs, looking at porn, chowing pizza, drinking beer, etc...

I think PCs would mutiny on me and throw me in my very cold swimming pool!
Spectator said:
Chase, shmase.
My guys see the servant they are throwing, slinging, archery-ing, and crossbowing-ing everything they got if they knew how detailed and math-intensive that chase is.

It's actually very simple. Look at the other thread I started. I think the wall of text I wrote, though, makes it seem complicated.

Really, all the chase is, is a single throw--to overcome some obstacle, whether it be gaining ground on the prey, spotting something that might give the character an advantage, or jumping over a log in the way--each round. You keep track of distance (easy with cards or simple penciled total), while the GM describes this breath-taking, exciting chase that unveils right before the players' eyes.

Seriously, I TOTALLY COMMEND you on your ability to do that chase sequence, remeber the rules and have a pretty coherent rationale/ rules matrix.

I just can't conprehend all the variables, rules, and sheer amount of time that is involved with throwing dice, using grids (we never use em), and all the other stuff. EVEN if I were able to comprehend it, I can easily see me spending 10 minutes on a chase with 1 PC, while 3-5 others are twiddling thumbs, checking iPhones, calling GFs, looking at porn, chowing pizza, drinking beer, etc...

I think PCs would mutiny on me and throw me in my very cold swimming pool!

Well, you know your players, and you have your tastes. Not everybody likes to play the same way. I get that.