D&D 5E New Chase Rules (First Draft)

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
So I was looking over something and the 5e chase rules caught my eye. But I gotta be honest. The idea of a chase is pretty cool and inspiring. But the rules are a bit lackluster. They aren't very well defined, and seem more like a bunch of skill challenges based on potential chase mishaps. So I was looking to adjust these rules with the following design goals:

1) Reduce ambiguity, DM interpretation, and DM fiat - What do I mean by this? Well basically I want the rules of the chase to be more on par with how well current combat rules are defined. This doesn't remove the need for a DM to be creative or think on the fly. But a DM has access to encounter builders, monster stat blocks, and combat rules to have well-defined parameters in terms of how players and adversaries act and expected outcomes. I would like Chases to resemble that more than a vague set of skill challenges.
2) Standardize Actions and Outcomes - I want players to not only have a good understanding of their options during a chase, but also a relatively good idea of the impact and potential outcomes of those actions.
3) Increase Opportunities for Strategic Play - I want the chase rules to be complex enough to allow for a variety of viable strategies and approaches, but without making the chase too complex or unwieldy.
4) Speed - A chase should end within a few rounds, and at least a few levels of exhaustion. A chase should last about as long as a typical combat, or even a little shorter.
5 ) Balance - I want a reasonable balance between classes in their ability to perform during a chase. I also want a reasonable balance between the pursuers and the quarry.
6) Adjust Impact of Magic - Lots of magic, especially low level magic like sleep or hold person, can end a chase before it even has a chance to begin. I want magic to have an impact, but not so much that it makes a chase obsolete. Especially since classes that do not rely on spellcasting can only end a chase by physically stopping or knocking the quarry out. Magic should support a chase, but not be the defining factor.

I think that defines my design goals. Or at least, its a start, and hopefully as I test these rules and get feedback I can drill down on exactly what I'm trying to achieve (and can effectively communicate it to others). Now of course, if you don't buy into my design goals or what I'm trying to do with chases, that's totally cool. I fully realize this isn't everyone's cup of tea. But I think the most helpful discussion and feedback would be from people that are able to critique my rules, ideas, and balance considerations within the context of my stated design goals. How I want to use chases may not be how you want to use chases. But if you were to engage in a chase at my table, what could we do together to make it fun for everyone and effective within the overall game?

Anyways, here are my proposed chase rules.

Chase

The following terms are useful to know when running a chase.

Square. A square is an ambiguous measure of length and time that does not directly correspond to the usual units of measurement such as feet. When thinking about a square, imagine a creature being chased is at the finish line of a race. A square corresponds both to the distance between the quarry and the pursuer, as well as the amount of time it would take for the pursuer to reach the finish line.

Pursuer. A pursuer is anyone that is chasing a creature and trying to catch them.

Quarry. A quarry is any creature that is being chased by a creature while attempting to flee.

Step1: Establish that a chase has begun. Typically, a chase may begin if a PC or enemy has used the Dash action to get away, and one or more individuals attempt to catch those who are fleeing. Once a chase has begun, determine the number of squares between the purser(s) and the quarry.

Step 2: Determine how long you can maintain a chase. A chase is hard on the body. A creature can sustain a chase for a number of rounds equal to their Constitution modifier (minimum 1). After that number of rounds has passed, if the chase is still going, a creature must succeed a Constitution Saving throw or take a level of exhaustion. The DC for this saving throw is initially 10 and increases by 2 each time the saving throw is made. Any levels of exhaustion taken during a chase can be completely healed over a short rest.

Chases Involving Mounts or Vehicles. If a chase involves a mount, then the mount’s Constitution modifier is used to determine the number of rounds it can maintain a chase. Mounts that are trained to carry riders can sustain a chase for twice as long as normal. After this, the mount risks exhaustion as normal, making Constitution saving throws to avoid taking any levels of exhaustion. If there are multiple mounts (such as a horse drawn carriage being pulled by 2 or more horses), use the strongest mount’s statistics. Constitution saving throws made in such circumstances are made with advantage.

If a chase involves a vehicle or mount that is immune to exhaustion, there is no limit as to how long it can sustain a chase and no risk of exhaustion.

Step 3: If there are multiple quarries to choose from, each pursuer must specify who their quarry is at the start of the chase. Once this choice is made, it cannot usually be changed in the middle of an ongoing chase. If the DM allows you to change your quarry, you will 1d4 (minimum 1) squares behind the new quarry’s closest pursuer. If the new quarry previously had no pursuers, you instead start 1d4+2 squares behind your quarry. If you roll a 6, pursuing the new quarry is not possible.

Step 4: Determine initiative order. If a combat encounter transitions into a chase, you may maintain the same initiative order. Otherwise, roll initiative as if you are beginning a combat encounter.

Step 5: Each participant determines what actions they will take on their turn, resolving their action immediately.

Step 6: Once everyone has gone in the round pursuer then makes a special chase roll opposed by their quarry’s chase roll. A quarry only makes one roll, regardless of the number of creatures pursuing them. This chase roll is either an Athletics (Constitution), Acrobatics (Constitution), or Survival (Constitution) check. Each participant chooses which they prefer to roll for themselves. This check is modified by several factors, listed below. Once the rolls are resolved each pursuer moves based on how well they rolled against their quarry. If the difference between the pursuer’s chase roll and the quarry’s chase roll is less than 5, the pursuer does not advance or recede. The pursuer advances one square towards the quarry for every 5 points they beat their quarry’s chase roll, or recedes one square for every 5 points the quarry beat their pursuer’s roll.

Chases Involving Mounts or Vehicles. If one or more creatures are on a mount or a vehicle, only those controlling the mount or driving the vehicle make a chase roll. A rider controlling a mount will make a Handle Animal check, and a vehicles driver will make a Vehicle check for the type of vehicle they are driving. In either case, the rider or driver can choose to use Dexterity or Wisdom as the ability modifying their check. A rider or driver requires at least one hand devoted to this task fur the duration of the chase.

A chase ends once one of the following outcomes takes place:

1) When one side gives up.
2) When last remaining pursuer or quarry has 5 levels of exhaustion.
3) When a quarry ends their turn with a pursuer occupying the same square, and the quarry has one or more of the following conditions: Grappled, Incapacitated, Paralyzed, Petrified, Restrained, Stunned, or Unconscious
4) After all quarries have been caught or escape.

Below are the various things that can modify a chase roll.

Advantage/Disadvantage
Regardless of the number of sources creating advantage or disadvantage for a particular roll, if there is any number of sources of advantage against any number of sources of disadvantage, they all cancel each other, and the roll is made without either.

Armor
If you are not wearing armor, you get a +2 to your chase roll. If you are wearing light armor, you have no bonus or penalty. If you are wearing medium armor, you have a -2 modifier to your chase roll. If you are wearing heavy armor, you have a -4 modifier.

Conditions
If a pursuer ends their turn while under a condition or effect that reduces their speed to 0, they do not make a chase roll. Instead, they automatically recede one square away from their quarry. If a quarry ends their turn while under a condition or effect that reduces their speed to 0, they do not roll a chase roll. Instead, all pursuers chasing that quarry automatically advance one square towards the quarry.

Cover
A creature behind at least 3/4 cover cannot be targeted by attacks, effects, or spells.

Difficult Terrain
A creature that ends their turn in a square with difficult terrain makes their chase roll at disadvantage.

Obscurement and Visibility
A creature that ends their turn in a square that impairs their vision (such as an area that is heavily obscured by fog, an area of magical darkness, or creatures lacking darkvision in an area of non-magical darkness) makes their chase roll with disadvantage.

A creature that takes the Hide action while in an area of heavy obscurement makes any related checks with advantage.

A creature that takes the Search action while in an area of heavy obscurement makes any related checks with disadvantage.

If a creature is in an area of heavy obscurement, any attacks against them are made with disadvantage, and such creatures have advantage on any saving throws to avoid the attacks, effects, or spells from enemies.

A creature cannot be targeted by attacks, effects, or spells if it is hidden or invisible.

A creature that is pursuing a hidden or invisible quarry makes their chase roll with disadvantage.

Prone
A creature that starts their turn prone can get up and continue the chase. However, their next chase roll is made with disadvantage.

Speed
You get a +1 modifier for every 5ft your current movement rate is greater than 30ft, and a -1 modifier for every 5ft your current movement is less than 30ft.

During your turn while engaged in a chase, you can take actions similar to what you could take in combat. Below are any changes to those actions and additional actions that can be taken during a chase.

Range
During a Chase, the normal range of attacks, effects, and spells are replaced by squares. Use the following conversion to determine the range of attacks, effects, and spells in squares. When determining the range of ranged or thrown weapons, use the weapon’s long range.

Range – Number of Squares
Up to 30ft – Must occupy the same square as the target.
Up to 100ft – 1 square
Up to 300ft – 3 squares
More than 300ft – 5 squares

Attack Action
During a Chase you can use the Attack action but making an attack during a chase is more difficult.

Melee Attacks. In order to make a melee attack during a chase, you must start your turn in the same square as your target. Melee attacks have disadvantage. A creature can choose to make these attacks without disadvantage but doing so causes their next chase roll to be made with disadvantage.

Ranged Attacks. Generally, a creature cannot make attacks that target anything behind them. Exceptions may exist if the creature has some special ability or if they are riding in a vehicle that they are not piloting. Ranged attacks are made with disadvantage due to the difficulty of shooting while running. A creature can decide to make these attacks without disadvantage, but doing so will cause them to make their next chase roll with disadvantage.

Opportunity Attacks. During a chase, creatures never provoke opportunity attacks.

Damage. Any damage dealt by weapons reduces a creature’s hit points as normal.

Casting a Spell
Spellcasting during a Chase is very difficult and many spell effects may not function as well as under normal conditions. Generally, a creature cannot cast spells that target anything behind them. Exceptions may exist if the creature has some special ability or if they are riding in a vehicle that they are not piloting.

Spell Attack Rolls. Spells that require an attack roll are made at disadvantage. A spellcaster can choose to make their spell attack roll without disadvantage, but doing so will cause their next chase roll to be made with disadvantage.

Saving Throws. When a spellcaster casts a spell that requires a saving throw, their target(s) have advantage on those saving throws. A spellcaster can force their target(s) to make that saving throw without advantage, but the spellcaster’s next chase roll is made with disadvantage.

Damage. Spells deal damage as normal.

Non-Damage Effects. Once again, spells are less effective and more difficult to cast during a chase, which may change their impact. If a spell has a primary or secondary effect other than dealing damage, the DM will determine whether the spell has any impact on the chase and to what effect. In general, a cantrip or spell can cause the target to take a penalty or bonus to their next chase roll. This modifier is generally 1 for cantrips, and for spells the modifier is 1 + the level of the spell slot used. These modifiers will generally replace the normal non-damaging effects, though some exceptions may apply. Examples are listed below.

Concentration: Spells that require concentration are particularly difficult to cast and maintain during a chase. If a spellcaster casts a spell with a duration of concentration, they must make a concentration check at the start of each of their turns for the duration of the spell. The DC is 10 + the level of the spell cast. These concentration checks are made with disadvantage. A spellcaster can choose to make the concentration check without disadvantage, but doing so causes their next chase roll to be made with disadvantage.

Area of Effect: Typically, any spells with an area of effect will instead affect one square within range. Any creatures occupying that square are then subject to the spell effects. On initiative count 20, the spell’s area of effect recedes by 1 square.

Cause Distraction / Create Obstacle
If there is enough opportunity, the quarry can use their action to create a distraction or an obstacle. The quarry describes the distraction or the obstacle, and the DM will determine if the action is reasonable and the appropriate skill check to be opposed by their pursuers. Any pursuers that fail this check make their next chase roll at disadvantage.

Dash Action
Whenever you take the dash action, you can make your next chase roll with advantage. You can use the Dash action a number of times equal to your Constitution modifier (minimum 1). If you can use Dash as a bonus action, this limit increases by 3 when doing so.

Hide
If there is sufficient cover, obscurement, or obstacles, the quarry can attempt to hide. They will make a Stealth check against each pursuer’s Perception or Survival check. Each pursuer that fails makes their next chase roll at disadvantage.

A pursuer cannot target a hidden quarry with any attacks, effects, or spells as long as they remain hidden to them. A quarry remains hidden until the start of their next turn.

Search
If a quarry his hidden from a pursuer, the pursuer can use their action to attempt to find them. The pursuer can make either an Investigation, Perception, or Survival check opposed by the quarry’s Stealth check. If the pursuer succeeds, then the quarry is no longer hidden from them.

As described above, the default is that a cantrip will impose a bonus or penalty on chase rolls equal to 1, while spells will impose a bonus or penalty to chase rolls equal to 1 + the level of the spell slot used. However, you may prefer to rule that some spells have more creative impacts on a chase. Below are examples on how you may rule on various spells. Some are in place of their normal effects; others are in addition to their normal effects. However, these only represent examples.

1st Level

Entangle – For the duration one square within range becomes difficult terrain.
Expeditious Retreat – For the duration the target can use Dash as a bonus action. If the target was unable to use Dash as a bonus action before this spell, then its Dash limit is increased by 3.
Faerie Fire – For the duration all affected targets within a square within range have disadvantage on Stealth checks and any visibility is negated.
Fog Cloud – For the duration creates heavy obscurement in one square within range.
Grease - For the duration one square within range becomes difficult terrain.
Jump – Target ignores difficult terrain.
Longstrider – Target gains a +2 bonus to their chase rolls for the duration.

2nd Level

Darkness – For the duration creates heavy obscurement in one square within range.
Invisibility – For duration target cannot be targeted by attacks or spells, and pursuers have disadvantage on chase rolls.
Misty Step – Caster gains a +5 bonus to their next chase roll.
Spike Growth – In addition to the normal spell effects, one square within range becomes difficult terrain for the duration.
Web – In addition to the normal spell effects, one square within range becomes difficult terrain for the duration.

3rd Level

Blink – In addition to the normal spell effects, target ignores difficult terrain
Erupting Earth – In addition to the normal spell effects, one square within range becomes difficult terrain.
Fly – For the Duration the target’s speed modifier becomes +6, and they can avoid most barriers and difficult terrain.
Haste – In addition to the spell’s normal effects, for the duration the target’s speed modifier is now based on its new speed. If the target was unable to use Dash as a bonus action before this spell, then its Dash limit is increased by 3.
Plant Growth – One square within range becomes difficult terrain, and any creatures in that square take a -2 penalty to their chase roll.
Slow – This spell targets in one square within range. In addition to the spell’s normal effects, for the duration the target’s speed modifier is now based on its new speed.
Thunder Step – In addition to the normal spell effects, target gains a +5 bonus to their next chase roll.
Wall of Sand – One square within range becomes difficult terrain and is considered to be under heavy obscurement, and any creatures in that square take a -2 penalty to their chase roll. Creatures that are at least 1 square ahead of or behind the affected square have cover from creatures on the opposite side.
Wall of Water - One square within range becomes difficult terrain and is considered to be under heavy obscurement, and any creatures in that square take a -2 penalty to their chase roll. Creatures that are at least one square ahead of or behind the affected square have cover from creatures on the opposite side.

4th Level

Dimension Door – Target can advance up to 5 squares
Dominate Beast – If the target is the quarry, pursuers automatically succeed their chase rolls by 5 for the duration. If the target is a pursuer, they automatically fail their chase rolls by 5 for the duration.
Freedom of Movement – Target ignores difficult terrain
Greater Invisibility – For duration target cannot be targeted by attacks or spells, and pursuers have disadvantage on chase rolls.
Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere – For the duration the target cannot be targeted by attacks, effects, or spells. For the duration the target also has disadvantage on chase rolls.

5th Level

Bigby’s Hand – If the target is the quarry, pursuers automatically succeed their chase rolls by 5 for the duration. If the target is a pursuer, they automatically fail their chase rolls by 5 for the duration.
Dominate Person – If the target is the quarry, pursuers automatically succeed their chase rolls by 5 for the duration. If the target is a pursuer, they automatically fail their chase rolls by 5 for the duration.
Far Step – Can advance 1 square as a bonus action for duration of the spell.
Hold Monster – If the target is the quarry, pursuers automatically succeed their chase rolls by 5 for the duration. If the target is a pursuer, they automatically fail their chase rolls by 5 for the duration.
Modify Memory – If the target is the quarry, pursuers automatically succeed their chase rolls by 5 for the duration. If the target is a pursuer, they automatically fail their chase rolls by 5 for the duration.
Telekinesis – If the target is the quarry, pursuers automatically succeed their chase rolls by 5 for the duration. If the target is a pursuer, they automatically fail their chase rolls by 5 for the duration.
Tree Stride – For duration target can use an action to advance up to 5 squares as an action, if the terrain allows.
Wall of Force – All targets in one square within range can no longer engage in the chase.
Wall of Stone – Any participants in the square with the wall must use 2 actions to climb over or move around the wall. If participants navigating the wall are quarry, then pursuers automatically succeed their chase rolls by 5 for each of these turns. If the participants navigating the wall are pursuers, they automatically fail their chase rolls by 5 for each of these turns.

6th Level

Move Earth – All targets in one square within range can no longer engage in the chase.
Otto’s Irresistible Dance – If the target is the quarry, pursuers automatically succeed their chase rolls by 10 for the duration. If the target is a pursuer, they automatically fail their chase rolls by 10 for the duration.
Wall of Ice – All targets in one square within range can no longer engage in the chase.
Wall of Thorns – All targets in one square within range can no longer engage in the chase.
Wind Walk – Target ignores difficult terrain. If the target is the quarry, pursuers automatically fail their chase rolls by 10 for the duration. If the target is a pursuer, they automatically succeed their chase rolls by 10 for the duration.

7th Level

Etherealness – Target ignores difficult terrain. If the target is the quarry, pursuers automatically fail their chase rolls by 10 for the duration. If the target is a pursuer, they automatically succeed their chase rolls by 10 for the duration.
Force Cage – All participants in one square within range can no longer engage in the chase for the duration.
Reverse Gravity – All participants in one square within range can no longer engage in the chase for the duration.
Teleport – Target can advance any number of squares.

8th Level

Dominate Monster – Target can no longer participate in the chase.

9th Level

Monstrous Thrall – Target can no longer participate in the chase.
Prismatic Wall – All targets in one square within range can no longer engage in the chase.
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Step 2: Determine how long you can maintain a chase. A chase is hard on the body. A creature can sustain a chase for a number of rounds equal to their Constitution modifier (minimum 1). Once a chase lasts longer than a creature can sustain, at the start of their turn a creature must succeed a Constitution Saving throw or take a level of exhaustion. The DC for this saving through is initially 10, and increases by 2 each time the saving throw is made. Any levels of exhaustion taken during a chase can be completely healed over a short rest.
This seems very short. Using those numbers, at 6 seconds/round, an average person can only run for 6 seconds, and an Olympic long distance runner only for 30 seconds or so.
 


DND_Reborn

Legend
They aren't very well defined
In 5E? Really? What are the odds of that!? ;)

Seriously, though, I've never had a problem with the chase rules in 5E as they are a bunch of rolls and skill checks, it is the narration of the results that makes a chase "exciting". shrug

But, if you want more complex rules and it works for your table, I hope you enjoy it.

This seems very short. Using those numbers, at 6 seconds/round, an average person can only run for 6 seconds, and an Olympic long distance runner only for 30 seconds or so.
I agree, but most people can't run full-out for more than 6-12 seconds before they start lagging. If you are running hard (not quite full-out due to terrain and trying to not kill yourself) then you might last maybe 30 seconds before you start lagging.

There is a HUGE difference between the average person (even in reasonable shape) and an Olympic long distance runner, so making such a comparison isn't very helpful IMO. Also, even with the rule they have, with a +5 CON mod, you would only begin to take exhaustion at that point if they fail their save. Granted, they will fail eventually and this rule would not represent what nearly should be possible--with that I totally and completely 100% agree!

I've found the DMG rules of 3 + CON mod for the number of dash actions works well and is more realistic. The only change I've done in that respect is make it a DC 10 Constitution (Athletics) check, adding Athletics proficiency to it.

Anyway, I think a bigger issue with movement in 5E is there are no rules for moving faster than the default 60 feet/round (move and dash), which frankly is a brisk jog, not at all a dash or sprint. I think 2E had a better system using jog x2, run x3, dash x4, and sprint x5 or whatever it was. But, I understand 5E wanted to keep things simpler, so I just deal with it. shrug
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
@Morrus and @6ENow! - Oops! This is meant to say that a person can maintain a chase for Con # of rounds before needing to make Con saves to avoid exhaustion. Thanks for pointing that out.

And @commandercrud - That's fine. Like I say in the post, this isn't everyone's cup of tea. But I am also fully aware that what I said may not accurately communicated my design intent. I'm still trying to really clarify and put into words my goals. But regardless, happy gaming.
 
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Ambush

Explorer
Unfortunately, I wonder if all the disadvantages are going to make chases feel like wet noodle fights. Where's the epic moment where the ranger makes herself a target by shooting the leading bandit off their horse? Or when the wizard hangs out the carriage door to magic missile (or, you know, fireball) the winged kobold soaring toward the party? You may see more mileage out of granting advantage to be hit (keeping it risky) but allowing hits as normal, or possibly allowing them the choice. You always want these kinds of things to feel exciting and dangerous, not frustrating and ineffectual.

In general though, I like the thought that went into this. I hear you that the rules feel a little flat as they stand now though. Interested to see where this thing goes.
 
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Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
Unfortunately, I wonder if all the disadvantages are going to make chases feel like wet noodle fights. Where's the epic moment where the ranger makes herself a target by shooting the leading bandit off their horse? Or when the wizard hangs out the carriage door to magic missile (or, you know, fireball) the winged kobold soaring toward the party? You may see more mileage out of granting advantage to be hit (keeping it risky) but allowing hits as normal, or possibly allowing them the choice. You always want these kinds of things to feel exciting and dangerous, not frustrating and ineffectual.

In general though, I like the thought that went into this. I hear you that the rules feel a little flat as they stand now though. Interested to see where this thing goes.

Very true. My thought process is that it is much harder to hit a target or attempt to attack while running. There is also the issue that a creature that is fleeing will 1) likely have multiple creatures pursuing them and 2) a creature that is fleeing usually can't attack a pursuer that is behind them. So I try to set up a choice for each pursuer. They can focus on catching their quarry, or they can try to take them out from a distance. So a player can totally make their attacks or cast their spells without penalty, but doing so gives them a penalty to stay in the race.

That's the intent, anyways. Whether the execution matches the intent is another question.

Now the highlighted part of your post makes me realize that I haven't detailed how to engage in a chase when one of more of the participants are in a vehicle. So that is definitely something I will be working on to include! But in regards to magic missile, a caster can use that without any penalties since it lacks a need for attack roll, saving throw, or concentration. But I see your point.
 


Steps in a Chase

Step 3: If there are multiple quarries to choose from, each pursuer must specify who their quarry is at the start of the chase. Once this choice is made, it cannot usually be changed in the middle of an ongoing chase. If the DM allows you to change your quarry, you will 1d4 (minimum 1) squares behind the new quarry’s closest pursuer. If the new quarry previously had no pursuers, you instead start 1d4+2 squares behind your quarry. If you roll a 6, pursuing the new quarry is not possible.


Ending a Chase
A chase ends once one of the following outcomes takes place:

4) After the quarry leads its closest pursuer by more than 5 squares.

This reads like a contradiction, unless I am misunderstanding...?
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
So I don't think so, but maybe it can be written better. The intent is that if a quarry gets enough of a lead (more than 5 squares between itself and it's closest pursuer) then it gets away. The chase then ends for that quarry. If there are multiple quarries, then a chase could still be going.

Maybe I can write it as a chase ends when all quarries are either caught or escape.
 

Horwath

Hero
This seems very short. Using those numbers, at 6 seconds/round, an average person can only run for 6 seconds, and an Olympic long distance runner only for 30 seconds or so.
well, if he is referring to full sprint, he may be on point.

world class sprinters lose max pace around after 200 meters(20 seconds) and can keep it max for 400 m. around 8 rounds.
 

Stalker0

Legend
The spell rules feel a bit overly complicated to me. Instead of making spells crappy, I would just increase the risk of using them. Have it give a big penalty to the chase roll (and no level scaling just a single penalty), but the spell works as normal. Or if you just say that casting a spell delays you a square...so it’s a big slowdown.

The rules seem to be very con heavy. When I think of the classic chase I think of Aladdin, and while he was in good shape it was clearly his dexterity that kept him ahead of the guards. I would just use normal athletics and acrobatics options, and then if you want to add in a con option for the chase check I think that’s fine.

I get the penalty to armor...but that is not the 5e way. 5e is very comfortable with armor, you can sleep in it, it has no endurance penalties, etc. it really should not be a factor in the rules, other than if it slows you down which you already account for.

you may want to note in your exhaustion section when exhaustion slows down your speed to half, as that is a big deal for your chase checks. It’s just a quick reminder for players.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
So FYI, these Chase rules are somewhat inspired by my 10 or so years of playing rugby. I understand why people may want to use regular Athletics (Strength) or Acrobatics (Dexterity). It probably wouldn't break anything doing so. But when you are running as fast as you can while chasing, tackling, dodging, passing, keeping your head on a swivel to keep your situational awareness... it doesn't matter how strong, quick, or agile you are. If you don't have gas in the tank, you can't maintain that kind of action for more than a few seconds. And from my perspective, a good rugby phase is a near perfect real-world equivalent for a chase. I know a lot of people have been comparing the chase to an Olympic sprint, which is fine. But often in a chase you are running through a crowd, jumping a fence, ducking through alleyways, avoiding trees, dealing with the sudden influx of cabbages rolling about after the someone accidentally burst through the cabbage vendor's cart as he shouts "NOT MY CABBAGES!"... you get the point. So if you find my system to be a bit Con heavy, that's why.

The spell rules feel a bit overly complicated to me. Instead of making spells crappy, I would just increase the risk of using them. Have it give a big penalty to the chase roll (and no level scaling just a single penalty), but the spell works as normal. Or if you just say that casting a spell delays you a square...so it’s a big slowdown.

So the reason for the spell changes is to reduce how much of an impact they can have on a chase. It's like the classic trope you see in movies where when a person is being chased by an enemy lobbing ranged attacks at them. The person is never directly hit by any of it, but things are blowing up all around them and may trip them up. Because everything is on the move, accuracy goes way down and offense is just generally less effective. So that's what I'm going for. It may not be perfect, but for me it kills two birds with one stone (reducing the insta-stop capacity of spells, and emulating the trope mentioned above).

I get the penalty to armor...but that is not the 5e way. 5e is very comfortable with armor, you can sleep in it, it has no endurance penalties, etc. it really should not be a factor in the rules, other than if it slows you down which you already account for.

That's not completely true. It's expanded a bit in XGtE, but it is true that generally you get no penalties involving light armor. But for example, if you sleep in medium or heavy armor, you only regain half your normal hit dice and do not reduce any levels of exhaustion you may have. Additionally, several types of medium armor and all heavy armor causes disadvantage on Stealth checks and, if you don't meet the strength requirement, heavy armor reduces your speed by 10ft. Not to mention a chase is not a normal situation. Armor may not impact general activities, but from my perspective, it absolutely impacts any situation in which you are exerting maximum effort over a prolonged period of time (more than a round). If you had two people of roughly equivalent athletic capacity running an obstacle course, but one was in armor, I would always bet on the non-armored person to win. So while they may not be used often, 5e does have rules that make it harder to function in Medium or Heavy armor. And even if those penalties are not as explicit in the 5e design philosophy, I think they fit well with what I'm trying to achieve with these Chase rules.

you may want to note in your exhaustion section when exhaustion slows down your speed to half, as that is a big deal for your chase checks. It’s just a quick reminder for players.

That's a good point. Perhaps just putting up all the exhaustion levels would be good, since even 1 level of exhaustion means you will be rolling your Chase roll with disadvantage.
 
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embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
Chases Involving Mounts or Vehicles. If a chase involves a mount, then the mount’s Constitution modifier is used to determine the number of rounds it can maintain a chase. Mounts that are trained to carry riders can sustain a chase for twice as long as normal. After this, the mount risks exhaustion as normal, making Constitution saving throws to avoid taking any levels of exhaustion. If there are multiple mounts (such as a horse drawn carriage being pulled by 2 or more horses), use the strongest mount’s statistics. Constitution saving throws made in such circumstances are made with advantage.

If a chase involves a vehicle or mount that is immune to exhaustion, there is no limit as to how long it can sustain a chase and no risk of exhaustion.

Difficult Terrain
A creature that ends their turn in a square with difficult terrain makes their chase roll at disadvantage.
You need to develop Terrain a lot better.

Consider the following chase scenario: A carriage chases a mounted rider off-road but not in wooded terrain

Sure, the carriage doesn't get exhausted. But it is not designed to go over rough but not difficult terrain. You need to add in a system to damage or destroy that vehicle or for it to even overturn (and injure mounts, drivers, and occupants)
 


Asisreo

Patron Badass
Its interesting you said combat is more developed than chases considering that chases are exactly combat except with more rules. Actions, Bonus Actions, Movement, Difficult Terrain, Spells, HP, Attack Rolls, Hiding, etc. all carry over from the rules of combat but now there's rules for exhausting yourself, running into random stuff, and escaping.

Anything you can do in combat, and all the choices you can make remain. Obviously, now instead of the Attack and Cast a Spell actions being the default actions someone would take to reduce HP, Dash is the default action to reduce distance.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
Its interesting you said combat is more developed than chases considering that chases are exactly combat except with more rules. Actions, Bonus Actions, Movement, Difficult Terrain, Spells, HP, Attack Rolls, Hiding, etc. all carry over from the rules of combat but now there's rules for exhausting yourself, running into random stuff, and escaping.

Anything you can do in combat, and all the choices you can make remain. Obviously, now instead of the Attack and Cast a Spell actions being the default actions someone would take to reduce HP, Dash is the default action to reduce distance.

Have you ever tried to run a chase using combat rules? Personally, I find it pretty unwieldy and uninteresting. One of the primary reasons for this is because your speed is so well defined. A human monk who can move 120ft in a round is never going to be caught by a dwarf fighter moving 50ft a round. Sure, that fighter can fire their bow (if they aren't devoted to melee combat) to try and reduce the monk's HP, but they are then only limited to moving 25ft and have one, maybe two rounds to get shots off and bring that monk down.

A DM can certainly throw in complications for that monk, but then once again, the chase is being adjusted by DM fiat rather than strategy being used by the participants.

Just as D&D doesn't use combat rules for the social or exploration pillars of D&D, I don't think normal combat rules are completely appropriate for chase scenes. Now those rules may work for you, and certainly more power to you. But normal combat rules just don't work for how I envision a chase in my games.
 

Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
Ok, so this is very rough (just wrote it up), but here is some additional rules/considerations when using mounts or vehicles.

Chases Involving Mounts and/or Vehicles
Mounts and Vehicles have their own special rules when engaged in a chase.

In order to use a mount or vehicle, it must be appropriate to the kind of terrain upon which the chase is taking place. In certain circumstances, engaging in a chase may be impossible due to the terrain. For example, a carriage is not likely to function in a forest or rocky plain, and a horse would be a poor mount to use on a mountain chase. Even if the DM determines that your mount or vehicle can navigate the terrain, it still may not be ideal for your mount or vehicle. Below are the different grades of terrain for your vehicle and the effect.

Perfect. The terrain is ideal for the functioning of you mount or vehicle. While engaging in a chase on this terrain, you have no chance for failure. Examples include a flat prairie for a horse, a smoothly paved road for a carriage, and clear skies for a griffon.

Rough. This terrain is not quite ideal. It’s manageable, but the ride will not be comfortable and is likely to be bumpy. Each time a chase roll is made, the DM will make a secret d10 roll. On a 1, there is a setback that will cause your chase roll to fail. If you suffer 3 setbacks, your mount or vehicle can no longer continue the chase. Examples of this terrain include a rocky desert for a horse, cobblestone road for a carriage, and turbulent winds for a griffon.

Hazardous. Attempting to use your mount or vehicle in this kind of terrain is not only risky, it is dangerous. Each time a chase roll is made, the DM will make a secret d4 roll. On a 1 there is a set that will cause your chase roll to fail. In addition, your mount or vehicle will take damage equal to half their maximum hit points. If this reduces your mount or vehicle to 0 hit points, the driver and any riders are thrown from the mount/vehicle and take appropriate falling damage. Examples of this might include a swamp of sadness for a horse, broken roads full of potholes for a carriage, or a severe thunderstorm for a griffon.

A driver can decide to slow their speed by half. Doing so reduces the terrain grade by one step.

Once a DM has approved that the terrain is reasonable for your mount or vehicle, the driver must be identified. To control a mount or drive a vehicle, the driver must have at least one hand devoted to the task for the entire duration of the chase.

If the driver of a mount has the Mounted Combat feat they can control their mount using only their legs, freeing both hands for other tasks. In order to do this, the mount must be one trained to accept a rider.

If a chase involves a mount, then the mount’s Constitution modifier is used to determine the number of rounds it can maintain a chase. Mounts that are trained to carry riders can sustain a chase for twice as long as normal. After this, the mount risks exhaustion as normal, making Constitution saving throws to avoid taking any levels of exhaustion.

If the chase involves a vehicle being towed by one or more creatures of burden (such as a horse-drawn carriage), then the Constitution modifier of the strongest towing creature is used to determine the number of rounds the vehicle can sustain the chase. If more than creature is towing the vehicle, any Constitution saves to avoid exhaustion are made with advantage.

If a chase involves a vehicle or mount that is immune to exhaustion, then there is no limit to the amount of time it can sustain a chase.

When a mount or vehicle is involved in a chase, only the driver makes a chase roll. If the driver is using a mount, they use a Handle Animal check for their chase roll. A driver of a vehicle makes a check using the appropriate vehicle proficiency. In either case, the driver can choose to use Dexterity or Wisdom to modify their chase roll.

When determining any chase roll modifiers for a mount or vehicle, consider the factors listed below.

Conditions
A driver can continue to make chase rolls even if their speed is reduced to 0. However, they do not make chase rolls if they cannot take actions, or their mount/vehicle’s speed is reduced to 0. If the driver is a pursuer, they automatically recede one square from their quarry each round they cannot make a chase roll. If the driver is a quarry, then all pursuers chasing them automatically advance one square each round they cannot make a chase roll.

If a mount or vehicle has multiple riders and the driver is unable to continue making chase rolls, then a rider can use their action to switch places with the driver. A chase roll cannot be made for that round following such a switch but can resume as normal next round.

Difficult Terrain
Difficult terrain can be particularly difficult on a vehicle if it was not designed for it. Not only does the difficult terrain have the normal effect, but it may also increase the grade of the terrain by one step.

Speed
The speed of the driver is determined by the speed of the mount or vehicle they are using.

In addition, it is also important to consider the mount or vehicle’s carrying capacity. If a mount can only accept one rider, or a vehicle is built for 6 riders, then carrying any more than this is going to negatively impact speed. A mount or vehicle carrying more riders than normal has their speed reduced by 20ft for each additional creature they are carrying beyond their normal limit. For the purposes of this limit 2 small sized creatures count as 1 medium sized creature and 2 medium creatures count as 1 large creature.

Using a mount or vehicle has certain advantages and disadvantages. One of the big advantages is that any riders (except the driver) can now aim behind them, allowing a quarry to attack their pursuers. However, it generally makes actions like attempting to hide nearly impossible. In addition, attackers will generally have a choice regarding whether they would like to target any visible riders or the mount/vehicle. As the DM, you may wish to consider how many hit points a vehicle has, and whether it may suffer any setbacks as it takes damage.
 

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