The chase is a cinematic staple. From tense midnight tails to frenetic pursuits through busy city streets, winding mountain roads, cloudy skies, or even the depths of the ocean, Chases are a cornerstone of the modern action experience.
This type of Dramatic Conflict begins when 1 or more characters (the Predator(s)) set out to catch 1 or more fleeing characters (the Prey). These rules can also be used when 2 or more characters are fighting predominantly in vehicles, the participants’ Strategies establishing the backdrop for each combat round.
Predator Skill:Acrobatics/Maneuver (personal vehicle), Athletics/Maneuver (foot), Drive/Maneuver (non-personal vehicle), Survival/Maneuver (animal), Tactics/Maneuver (any vehicle with the crew quality).
Prey Skill:Acrobatics/Maneuver (personal vehicle), Athletics/ Maneuver (foot), Drive/Maneuver (non-personal vehicle), Survival/ Maneuver (animal), Tactics/Maneuver (any vehicle with the crew quality).
ACCElERATION ANd TuRNINg RATINgS
When a participant drives a vehicle, the vehicle determines these statistics; on foot, a participant’s Acceleration Rating is equal to his Strength modifier (minimum 0), and his Turning Rating is equal to his Dexterity modifier (minimum 0).
One of the most important factors during a chase is “Maneuvering Room,” or the amount of space available between obstacles and barriers. The GC determines the Maneuvering Room at the start of each chase, though it may change during the Conflict. The effects of each Maneuvering Room grade are listed on Table: Maneuvering Room.
At any time during a chase, each point of Lead represents an increment of actual distance between the participants, as shown on Table: Chase Lead.
When a chase begins with Open or Close Maneuvering Room, the starting Lead is determined by the participants’ Acceleration Power Ratings. When a chase begins with Crowded or Tight Maneuvering Room, the starting Lead is determined by the participants’ Turning Power Ratings. If the Predator’s Power Rating is 2 or more higher than that of the Prey, the starting Lead is 4. Likewise, if the Prey’s Power Rating is 2 or more higher than that of the Predator, the starting Lead is 6. Otherwise, the starting Lead is 5.
mulTIPlE CHASE PARTICIPANTS
When multiple groups are chasing one another in a “chain” (e.g. the characters chase a foil and are in turn chased by the police), the Lead is tracked separately between each Predator/Prey pair. During each Conflict round, each step is resolved by pair, in order from front to back (all pairs Resolve each step before proceeding to the next step).
When two or more different types of vehicles are involved in a chase, the actual distance represented by each point of Lead is the shortest determined by any involved vehicle. Example: During a chase between a standard ground vehicle and a rotor-wing aircraft, each point of Lead represents 50 ft. of actual distance. When the distance per Lead point of any participant’s vehicle is more than double that of another participant or more, the chase is resolved with a single opposed skill check, allowing the mismatched participants to bring all their Action Dice and abilities to bear.
Example: Kevin is on foot (20 ft. per Lead point) when he’s spotted by a patrol of enemy motorcyclists (50 ft. per Lead point). A full-blown chase is impossible (he can’t outrun them and they can’t outmaneuver him), but it’s essential to know if Kevin can give them the slip. The situation is resolved with a single opposed check (Athletics/Maneuver for Kevin and Acrobatics/Maneuver for the motorcyclists). If Kevin wins this check, he quickly finds terrain where the motorcycles can’t follow; otherwise, the motorcyclists surround him, corralling him between their bikes.
|Table: Chase Lead|
|Vehicle Type||Distance Per Lead Point|
|Aircraft, Heavy||100 ft.|
|Aircraft, Light||200 ft.|
|Aircraft, Performance*||1,000 ft.|
|Aircraft, Personal||40 ft.|
|Aircraft, Rotor-Wing||100 ft.|
|Ground, Commercial||20 ft.|
|Ground, Heavy||30 ft.|
|Ground, Personal||40 ft.|
|Ground, Standard||50 ft.|
|Mounts and Animal-Drawn Vehicles||30 ft.|
|Watercraft, Personal||40 ft.|
|Watercraft, Standard||50 ft.|
|* These vehicles may willingly reduce this distance to a minimum of 200 ft. in order to engage other aircraft.|
|** These gigantic vehicles may only effectively chase or combat each other — any other vehicle runs rings around them. In the rare Ship vs. Ship chase, the time required to Resolve each Conflict round increases to 2 minutes.|
During a chase, each Conflict round takes 6 seconds. Chases may therefore easily be Run alongside a standard combat, permitting all characters to act at the same time. When a chase and combat are Run simultaneously, Step 1 of the chase occurs before the combat’s first Initiative Count, and Steps 2–3 occur at the start of the Predator’s Initiative Count (or the first Predator’s Initiative Count, if multiple chase pairs are being tracked). Step 4 is spread across the entire combat round, with each participant taking action during his Initiative Count.
During Step 4 of each Conflict round, each participant operating a vehicle or on foot may take 1 half action. Each other character in the chase — i.e. each passenger in a vehicle, but not piloting it — may take 1 full action or 2 half actions as standard. Chases submit vehicles to extreme demands. Each chase round consumes 1 minute of fuel (see page 225).
Example: It takes Kevin 15 rounds to knock 4 enemy helicopters out of the sky. While the exchange lasts only a minute and a half, it consumes 15 minutes of fuel.
When 1 or more air vehicles are involved in a chase, altitude becomes critical. A predator above his opponent can convert the advantage into extra speed, running his opponent down, while a prey above his opponent can often build up an unassailable ead as his pursuer tries to climb to his level. The significance of altitude is so important that pilots often call it “Smash.” In these rules, this advantage is represented by a number of “Smash points” possessed by the pilot with superior altitude.
Special Note: Only pilots controlling powered air vehicles gain Smash — skydivers and hot-air balloon pilots do not. Likewise, characters controlling ground, water, and space vehicles never gain Smash.
gAININg ANd lOSINg SmASH POINTS
When a pilot’s powered air vehicle is at least 200 ft. above the nearest opponent engaged in the same chase or combat, and no enemy vehicles are located above him, he gains 1 or more Smash points (thus, only one pilot may possess Smash points at any given time).
At any time, the qualifying pilot possesses 1 Smash point per Lead point between his vehicle and the next highest opponent engaged in the chase or combat. These Smash points are adjusted as this distance shifts, and are lost entirely if at any point the conditions required for the pilot to gain Smash points no longer apply.
The qualifying pilot gains 1 additional Smash point each time he wins an opposed skill check during a chase, and each time he scores a threat with a Maneuver check. He loses 1 Smash point each time another character in the chase wins an opposed skill check or scores a threat with a Maneuver check. If a pilot’s Smash points ever drop to 0 or below, he must once again qualify in order to regain Smash points. Though all changes to Smash points represent changes in altitude, a pilot’s vehicle does not crash if his Smash points drop to 0 or below.
Whenever a Predator possessing 1 or more Smash points wins an opposed skill check during a chase, he may spend 1 Smash point, decreasing his altitude advantage, to reduce the prey’s lead by 1.
Whenever a Prey possessing 1 or more Smash points wins an opposed skill check during a chase, he may spend 1 Smash point, decreasing his altitude advantage, to boost his Defense by +4 until the start of his Initiative Count during the following round.
SmASH ANd RANgE
When a pilot possessing 1 or more Smash points is attacked, the attack’s range is determined by adding the pilot’s current Smash points to the current Lead before distance is calculated.
When a participant on foot crashes, he suffers 1d4 lethal collision damage. When a vehicle crashes, it suffers collision damage determined by its size and speed (see page 334). The assumed speed of every vehicle in a chase is shown on Table 6.1: Maneuvering Room (see page 364). Each occupant must make a Reflex save (DC equal to 1/2 the damage inflicted upon the vehicle, rounded down). Each character who fails this save suffers 1/2 the damage inflicted upon the vehicle (rounded down).
Any participant or vehicle that crashes is out of the chase. If this takes any side entirely out of the chase, the chase ends.
Available Strategies are determined by the current Lead and each participant’s Acceleration and Turning Power Ratings, as shown on Table: Chase Strategies.
|Table: Chase Strategies|
|Clip Lead||1–2||–4||Defense, Impact|
|Eat My Dust||Acceleration 5+ or Turning 5+||–2||Lead, Stress|
|“Go, Go, Go!”||—||–4||Lead, Crisis|
|Parting Shot||Lead 8–9||–2||Attack, Crisis|
|Quick Reverse||Lead 2–6||–8||Lead, Swap|
|Ram Lead||1–4||–2||Attack, Impact|
|Set up||—||–4||Stress, Twist|
|Stunt||Acceleration 6+ or Turning 6+†||–8||Room, Swap|
|Tactical Ploy||Acceleration 8+ or Turning 8+||–6||Attack, Defense, Room|
|“That’s Impossible!”||††||+0||Any except Victory|
|Weave||Lead 6–9||–4||Defense, Crisis|
|Attack Run||Acceleration 5+ and Turning 4+||+0||Attack, Lead|
|Close In||Turning 5+||–2||Pause, Stress|
|Cut Off||Acceleration 7+ or Turning 7+||–12||Attack, Victory|
|Shortcut||Acceleration 4+ and Turning 6+||–4||Lead, Room|
|Stalk||Acceleration 6+ or Turning 3+||–4||Defense, Stress|
|Careful Timing||Acceleration 5+||–2||Lead, Pause|
|Chicken||Acceleration 3+ or Turning 6+||–4||Attack, Stress|
|Detour||Acceleration 6+ and Turning 4+||–4||Lead, Room|
|Double Back||Acceleration 4+ and Turning 5+||+0||Defense, Lead|
|Long Gone||Acceleration 7+ or Turning 7+||–12||Defense, Victory|
|† The character must possess the Daredevil feat (see page 192).|
|†† The character must possess the “That’s Impossible!” class ability (see page 52).|
Redline: The Predator pushes to the limit, hoping to catch up with the Prey in a dangerous Burst of speed.
Stalk: The Predator follows the Prey cautiously, keeping the pressure on from a discreet distance. This keeps the Predator out of harm’s way, and leaves the Prey confused about what his opponent is planning.
Tactical Ploy: The participant uses a strategic move to gain the upper hand (e.g. ducking into a hall of mirrors during a foot chase through a carnival, for instance, or leading a vehicle chase uphill at dawn so the sun shines directly in the opponent’s eyes).
“That’s Impossible!”: Most days, a vehicle expert has a tenuous relationship with physics. When he uses this Strategy, they aren’t even on speaking terms. If a character possessing the “That’s Impossible!” class ability wins an opposed skill check using this Strategy, he may spend 1 use of the ability to choose any 1 Advantage, plus 1 additional Advantage per 4 by which he wins the check. He may not choose the Victory Advantage as part of this package.
Attack: The opposed check winner gains a +4 bonus with attack checks made against other chase participants for 1 full round. Each time this Advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same round, this bonus increases by an additional +2 and the threat range of each affected attack increases by 1. Crisis: Outside vehicles, terrain, bystanders, or other obstacles cross the participants’ path, complicating things. Each participant must make a Maneuver check against the current Crisis DC, as shown on Table 6.1: Maneuvering Room (see page 364). Each time this Advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same round, the opposed check winner’s Crisis DC decreases by 5, minimum 10 (his opponent’s Crisis DC remains unchanged). If either participant fails this check, he or his vehicle crashes (see page 365); otherwise, , the chase continues as standard. Each participant may skip this skill check, but the Lead shifts by 3 in his opponent’s favor as he slows and recoups.
Defense: The opposed check winner gains a +4 bonus to Defense against attacks made by other chase participants for 1 full round. Each time this Advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same round, this bonus increases by an additional +2 and the error range of each attack made against the opposed check winner increases by 1.
Impact: Both the opposed check winner and 1 opponent of his choice suffer collision damage. If either participant is on foot, this damage is determined by the size of the opposing vehicle and its current MPH (see page 334). If both participants are on foot, each suffers 1d4 lethal damage + 1d4 additional lethal damage each time this Advantage is chosen beyond the first. If in a vehicle, this damage is equal to the opponent’s check result. Each time this Advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same round, the damage suffered by the opposed check winner decreases by 4 (while his opponent’s damage remains unchanged).
Also, with GC permission, each character in the opposed check winner’s vehicle may make an Acrobatics/Jump check to leap onto the target vehicle (see page 107). This leap must clear 5 ft. or the jumper falls between the vehicles, suffering appropriate falling damage and 1d6 collision damage per 10 MPH the vehicles are currently traveling.
Lead: The Lead is adjusted by 1 in the opposed check winner’s favor. Every 2 times this Advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same round, the Lead is adjusted by an additional 1 in the opposed check winner’s favor, or an opponent’s Smash points are reduced by 1 (opposed check winner’s choice).
Pause: The chase is “put on hold.” The Lead remains the same and no steps are resolved during the following Conflict round. Each time this Advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same round, the chase is paused for 1 additional round. The action continues during this time (i.e. the participants continue to move, test one another, and take other actions during Step 4 of each Conflict round), but no one — including the opposed check winner — makes any progress.
Room: The Maneuvering Room is adjusted by 1 grade (in a direction of the opposed check winner’s choice). If this Advantage is chosen 3 times during the same round, the opposed check winner may adjust the Maneuvering Room to any grade. Stress: Each participant except the opposed check winner suffers 1d4 stress damage. Each time this Advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same round, this damage increases by +1d4. No character may recover from this damage until the chase ends. Swap: The Predator becomes the Prey, or vice versa, and the Lead is increased by 1.
Twist: The opposed check winner may use any of the following skills when making the next opposed check during the same chase: Blend (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Impress (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Mechanics (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), or Streetwise (Wis). None of these checks possess tags.
If the Predator wins (i.e. the Lead decreases to 0 or less, the Prey crashes, or the chase otherwise ends in the Predator’s favor), the participants come to a halt adjacent to one another, and the Predator and his team benefit from a half-action surprise round (see page 323). In the case of a cooperative or team chase, only the leaders come to a halt adjacent to one another — every other participant ends the chase and enters the surprise round at the appropriate distance listed on Table 5.1: Base Encounter Distance (see page 323). Further, the Prey’s vehicle, if any, cannot move, either because it is broken (if the chase ended with a crash), or because it is trapped by the Predator’s lead vehicle or the terrain (otherwise). Finally, before the surprise round begins, the Predator may apply the effects of 1 Impact Advantage upon the Prey.
If the Prey wins (i.e. the Lead increases to 10 or more, the Predator crashes, or the chase otherwise ends in the Prey’s favor), the Prey and his team escape and cannot be found for the duration of the current scene (unless, of course, they want to be). Also, the Prey may apply the effects of 1 Crisis Advantage upon the Predator as he speeds away.