Running Chases w/ Fixed Movement Speed

Fauchard1520

Explorer
I've got a chase sequence planned for an upcoming session. The only problem is that a dwarf (25 ft. movement speed) can never escape a human (30 ft. movement speed). This is a known problem, and I've seen a couple of different solutions and subsystems to address it. Do you guys have any favorites? Any that worked especially well in your own games? I could use a little direction!

Comic for illustrative purposes.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
Chases don't have to run at full speed. Especially in an urban environment there are lots of potential obstacles and whatnot. If you mix straightaways with obstacles I don't think the 5' difference in speed will be a huge barrier to running the chase.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
I've never used straight movement speed as the mechanic for chase scenes, because that only takes into account straight out speed. And when it comes to chase scenes its never just about speed. Classic chase scenes include checks regarding endurance (CON), knowing the proper/faster directions/places to run (INT), jumping over and around obstacles in the way (DEX), putting things between you and the person chasing you (STR), and even convincing others to help slow people down (CHA).

As a result, I run chase scenes more as skill challenges than anything. I'll use a typical narrative distance line (Close / Near / Medium / Long / Far / Extreme), choose the point where the two are in relation to each other (say the chaser is at Long distance currently), and then as we narrate the chase and the player says what they do as they run, the checks can be used to close or extend the distance between the two. The chaser needs to move up the line to Close, the escapee needs to drop down the line to Extreme, at which point the chase has ended. Direct movement speed usually never comes into it (except in the times when I've narrated an open straightaway and the player says they go into full sprint mode, at which point a STR (Athletics) check will come into play and the player might get Adv or Disadv depending on if their movement speed is higher or lower than the other person in the chase.)
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
There are chase mechanics in the DMG. They aren't perfect, but they work okay. In the particular situation you describe, the dwarf as the quarry gets an attempt to hide (provided that is possible given the environment) at the end of each of the chase rounds. If the check succeeds, the dwarf successfully escapes. Complications that may randomly arise may also slow down his or her pursuers.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Yeah don’t use the speed. Make opposed checks. If you want to give people who are much faster advantage or something, that’s more than enough granularity for D&D.
 
I've got a chase sequence planned for an upcoming session. The only problem is that a dwarf (25 ft. movement speed) can never escape a human (30 ft. movement speed). This is a known problem, and I've seen a couple of different solutions and subsystems to address it. Do you guys have any favorites? Any that worked especially well in your own games? I could use a little direction!
The best chase scenes I've seen in D&D were mid-4e Skill Challenges, that incorporated both individual and group checks. 5e has retained group checks, so you could lift an SC structure directly if you're already familiar.
If not, you could use the DMG system, at least as a starting point.
Or you could just stick to the play loop, the bad guy runs for it, the PCs declare the actions they'll use to try to catch him, you narrate the results, calling for checks where there's uncertainty.
If part of the point is to get the whole party caught up with the quarry so they can capture/kill/defeat it, then group checks could still be a useful tool, in that, based on the terrain and situation. Athletics for a flat-out sprint, Streetwise for following through narrow alleys without much line of sight to the quarry, acrobatics for a precarious environment and/or one with many obstacles like swinging through a jungle canopy or navigating a crowded marketplace or running on rooftops, endurance to exhaust and run down a faster quarry, etc.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
The way I think of it is that the faster you move, the more potential obstacles you hit. Think of obstacles almost as minor traps, cover more distance and you'll have more things get in your way. In addition, the faster you're moving the less time you have to react to potential obstacles and complications.

But in a lot of cases the PCs may not even be moving their full potential distance. They need to stop for a moment, look around. Maybe they need to climb on top of a fountain to see over the crowd or stop at an intersection looking each way. Chase scenes are not foot races on an open track.
 

aco175

Adventurer
You can let the players come up with ideas to use the skills like 4e. A dwarf with a good athletics may come up with knocking over stack of crates to block the street and you can penalize the chaser with disadvantage or make them try to jump over or give a bonus distance to outrun the chaser.
 
I've got a chase sequence planned for an upcoming session. The only problem is that a dwarf (25 ft. movement speed) can never escape a human (30 ft. movement speed). This is a known problem, and I've seen a couple of different solutions and subsystems to address it. Do you guys have any favorites? Any that worked especially well in your own games? I could use a little direction!

Comic for illustrative purposes.
Yes, I dissected this pretty hardcore and devised my own rules based on the ones at the DnD Hackers Guild blog: 5E - Making Chase Rules... that actually do what they're supposed to!
 

Fauchard1520

Explorer
The best chase scenes I've seen in D&D were mid-4e Skill Challenges, that incorporated both individual and group checks. 5e has retained group checks, so you could lift an SC structure directly if you're already familiar.
If not, you could use the DMG system, at least as a starting point.
Or you could just stick to the play loop, the bad guy runs for it, the PCs declare the actions they'll use to try to catch him, you narrate the results, calling for checks where there's uncertainty.
If part of the point is to get the whole party caught up with the quarry so they can capture/kill/defeat it, then group checks could still be a useful tool, in that, based on the terrain and situation. Athletics for a flat-out sprint, Streetwise for following through narrow alleys without much line of sight to the quarry, acrobatics for a precarious environment and/or one with many obstacles like swinging through a jungle canopy or navigating a crowded marketplace or running on rooftops, endurance to exhaust and run down a faster quarry, etc.
Is there any place to check out a 4e Skill Challenge style race done properly? Maybe an especially good module that features 'em?
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
I'm also in the "chases are skill challenges" camp. The one caveat is that there's always a chance that someone will just try to attack the fleeing target. Depending on the type of chase, I might tell them that they can't get a good line of sight on the target, or let them do so but count it as a failure in the skill challenge.
 

Fauchard1520

Explorer
I'm also in the "chases are skill challenges" camp. The one caveat is that there's always a chance that someone will just try to attack the fleeing target. Depending on the type of chase, I might tell them that they can't get a good line of sight on the target, or let them do so but count it as a failure in the skill challenge.
Same question as the guy above: Do you have any examples of a published chase encounter that I could check out for comparison?
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
I do not...I never ran a single module in 4e. That group was only gaming once a month back then, and considering how long combat took, I didn't want to spend a year on a single module that would've taken 2-4 sessions in any other edition.

Same question as the guy above: Do you have any examples of a published chase encounter that I could check out for comparison?
 

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