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D&D 5E How to switch from combat to chase



But if you are in melee, and you are running away from someone who moves at the same speed or faster than you do, you don't get away unless you pull off something fancy.

If everyone is move/OAing, then the fleeing foes are killed. You could eyeball how far they run if it matters. If it really matters (if the foe gets 100' away the world ends!) do the mechanics of each round.

The players are free to let fleeing foes flee. If they don't, well, you can solve "they won't get away" without mechanics, no?
That's what the chase rules are for, with different checks to see who catches up with who, and who manages to run away from who. At least that's the "pulling something fancy" part. You can use the chase rules in the DMG or houseruled ones, but usually chase rules are a subsystem different from combat. Then, the question is when does a combat stop being combat and when does it start to be a chase.

My take is still: as soon as one wishes to escape, at the start of their turn.

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Dungeon Master of Middle-earth (he/him)
But that sounds weird... if it is the pursuer declaring a chase. Why would a pursuer want to switch to chase rules, when the "sticky" combat movement rules make it very difficult for someone to flee?
What do you mean "want"?

I'm saying when the pursuer says they chase someone, it triggers the chase rules. What the pursuer wants is to catch their quarry and not let it get away. That's why they said they were chasing it.

I mean, the foe moves away... you just move back close to it.
Except that while you are trying to move back close to it, it continues to move away!

This is always advantageous to the pursuer because of Opportunity Attacks, whether the quarry tries dash, disengage or dodge. To have a chance the quarry needs a higher base speed, only in that case maybe a pursuer with a higher Constitution might think it has a better chance of catching up in a chase.
Again, this isn't about the pursuer choosing to invoke the chase rules. The chase rules are invoked because the pursuer chooses to pursue!

I rule a chase can happen at the end of a combat round. In combat or not.

If it doesn't then in reality running away doesn't really happen, because coordinated action isn't really possible in combat. Even if the players agree on something, the situation changes.

I'm perhaps a little asymmetrical in that I'd give engaged players an attack of opportuntiy, but don't usually worry about it the other way, but it doesn't really matter.

Li Shenron

I rule a chase can happen at the end of a combat round. In combat or not.

Interesting... I am used to not really give any meaning to the end of a round and just continue to highest initiative in the next, but this could be in fact one of the simplest solutions: the end of a round could be a time to assess the situation OOC and for a group to coordinate an escape.


The PCs hardly flee. Last time they tried nobody wanted to be first and kept trying to use their action to help and then the fighters turn came back around and he was still trying to keep the big bad occupied and still nobody fled thinking to help the fighter.

IME this inability to retreat in individual-init games is a major source of TPK and near-TPK. So many players think in terms of 'not leaving anyone behind' and don't realise that the PC 'behind' them is about to get their turn, whereas if they go back to 'help' the monsters will go for them, and then the other PCs will feel obliged to go back to 'help', and you get this cascade of disaster.


Ok! So basically there is a sort of one round of transition during which everyone who wants to runaway OR pursue takes the Dash action (and I suppose they might also use their bonus action) while the others can take a regular turn but won't be allowed to join the chase. And after this transition round, you stop counting movements on the map and switch to simply tracking the distance as per the chase rules. Did I understand correctly?
Kinda depends on the exact situation, but more or less. You don't get to flee if you can't get off or near the edge of the battlemap, but I'm usually pretty lenient. If someone's staying behind, you have to be outside of their movement after your Dash to pursue, making a rear guard a very valuable retreat strategy.

Overall, I don't use the chase rules often after combat, as my players will often just choose to take pot-shots at them as they flee. They had a Han Solo moment early in my first 5E campaign, and decided not to risk that happening again.


If I understand correctly, this is a small metagamy but effective approach of having a sort of perimeter of the combat area, so that exiting the perimeter triggers the switch from combat to chase?

Yeah, that's what I do. Chase rules are for 'unmapped' areas with imprecise locations. The combat rules work on a different paradigm.


Guide of Modos
I'm not sure what you are going for here.

A typical walking/hiking pace is 3.5 miles per hour. Which is really close to 30 feet per 6 seconds (30.8). A non-athlete can typically run a 10 minute mile, or 52.8 feet per 6 seconds. The world record for a mile is 3:43, resulting in is 140 feet per 6 seconds, and for a 100 meter sprint is 9.76 seconds for 23.35 mph or 205 feet per round . . .
I'm referring to the contrast between fighting and fleeing speeds. If you're moving at a walking/hiking pace in combat, it's not because you're feeling chill. It's because you're fighting as you move. You're doing everything necessary to not instantly die, which is why you're moving at only 3.5 miles per hour.

When you flee in the neighborhood of, well, as fast as you can go, you're not fighting as you move, so the combat rules no longer apply.


So, anyone can take the "flee" action in combat.

Once they do so, they move their speed away from hostile creatures, and ... become immune to being attacked until someone chases them?


So, anyone can take the "flee" action in combat.

Once they do so, they move their speed away from hostile creatures, and ... become immune to being attacked until someone chases them?
That’s pretty much it.

It works best with a house rule where you can « chase » a prey with a spell or a ranged weapon without actually moving.

If one wants to allow retreat in D&D, that’s the best way to do it. Otherwise it becomes an option so inefficient that you’re better off fighting to the death pretty much all the time.

If the monsters flee? The PCs win their fight, they get their XPs, they look bad ass, and the game saved 20 minutes of tedious combat where the outcome was almost certain (otherwise the baddies wouldn’t have fled). Everyone's happy. If they really don’t want the bad guy to get away; that’s what the chase rules are for.

If the PCs flee? The PCs lost their fight, the game avoided a (probable) TPK, the bad guys keep doing their bad guy stuff, and everyone is happy. Well, the bad guys are at any case. If the bad guys really want to kill or capture the PCs; that’s what the chase rules are for.
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