Fellow Hyborian gamemasters
my players are frantically chasing thieves through the market district of the Nemedian city of Hanumar. The thieves poisoned the King Nimed, who came for the annual wine tasting, and kidnapped his daughter. Above all, the thieves made it look like the player characters poisoned the King (the aftermath allowed them to escape unperceived by the king’s guards, who all tried to catch the players - who in return saw the thieves took the daughter).
Now they are chasing the thieves through the labyrinth of market stalls, close alleys and whatsover, having the guards hot on their heels. As I am running low on prep time, I thought I might ask you for your help:
Which Robert E. Howard’esque chase sceneries set in the city can you think of? Absolutely stunning would be with Momentum and Doom spends included.
1.) The alley of spices
The players stumble in an alley covered in all colors possible and having the most of exotic smell filling their noses. Merchants open their eyes in terror as the armored bunch of “heroes” have their weapons drawn and customers, men and women alike, scream in terror and run away, making it almost impossible for you glimpse the thieves, as you hear the sound of a crossbow bolt, which hammers into the stall next to you. What do you want to do?
Momentum: For tracking thieves / commanding people to open up the main road of the alley / … [I am pretty unsure about the appropriate costs]
Doom: A screaming couple hurls themselves into a market stall, which causes an explosion of spices that fill the alley / Oh no! You smell Khitanese Star Anis and your nostrils start to swell! / … [Same here, costs…]
I would love to see your ideas and maybe we can make this a thread which others can use as either an inspiration or a quick fix for a chase scenery! And advises, hints and so forth are also happily welcome
Infinity has rules for foot chases which could be adapted for Conan. They treat it mechanically similar to normal combat, with Stress, Harm and Soak.
Setup. Each Pursuit consists of three elements:
Pace: Similar to Vigor or Resolve. It reflects the ever-changing ebb and flow of a chase. Pace should be between 8 and 20.
Distance: Similar to Wounds or Trauma. It reflects the distance between the pursued and the pursuer. Should be 5 max and should start at 3.
Obstacle Soak: Similar to normal Soak. If there are obstacles in the way like in a crowded market place, the Obstacle Soak increases as it makes progress harder.
Resolving the chase:
- Persuer and pursued are in a Struggle. They make a skill test with their Pursuit skill (i.e. a skill appropriate to the nature of the chase; see below) with Difficulty 0. The winner (i.e. the one with the highest Momentum generated) may make a Pursuit roll, which is used to change the distance. For a Pursuit roll, roll 2 . Obstacle Soak reduces the amount rolled as normal, and the rest is applied to the Pace track:
- If the pursuer was the winner, then increase the Pace by 1 for each point of the final total. If the final total was five or more, if the Pace increases to the maximum, or if the Pace was already at the maximum before the pursuit roll was made, then reduce the Distance by 1. If multiple of those conditions occur, reduce the Distance by 1 for each. This is similar to how damage works in combat.
- If the pursued was the winner, then reduce the Pace by 1 for each point of the final total. If the final total was five or more, if the Pace reduces to 0, or if the Pace was already at 0 before the pursuit roll was made, then increase the Distance by 1. If multiple of those conditions occur, increase the Distance by 1 for each. The pursued tries to counteract everything the pursuer does.
- If the Distance is at maximum, the pursued was caught. If the Distance is at 0, the pursued escaped.
- Bonus Pace (1 R): Increase the total from the Pursuit roll. Each Momentum spent increases the total of the pursuit roll by +1.
- Evasion (1 R): The Obstacle Soak against this Pursuit roll is reduced by 2 per Momentum spent.
- Reroll Pursuit (1): May re-roll any number of from the current Pursuit roll.
- Create Hindrance (1): Increase the Obstacle Soak of the Pursuit Track by +1 per Momentum Spent. This only affects the opponent’s next Pursuit roll and lasts only for that roll.
Effects on Pursuit rolls:
- If you have an Expertise in your Pursuit skill of 3 or higher, each Effect rolled adds +1 to the total (similar to Vicious 1).
- If you have a Focus in your Pursuit skill of 3 or higher, each Effect rolled reduces the Obstacle Soak by 1 (similar to Piercing 1).
These pursuit rules can actually work with anything, not just chases. You could also use them in social settings, such as a long debate.
What skills to use for a pursuit:
- Acrobatics, Athletics: Foot chase
- Animal Handling: Horseback chase
- Command, Counsel, Society: Social debate
- Stealth vs. Observation: Tailing someone
- Resistance: Drinking contest
- Command vs. Discipline: Provoking someone
- Lore vs. Discipline: Convincing someone
- Athletics: Wrestling match
Since the Pursuit roll is mechanically similar to a damage roll, it should get bonuses from high attributes:
- Coordination increases Pursuit roll for chases or physical contests
- Intelligence increases Pursuit roll for debates or social contests
Talents could also enhance the Pursuit roll:
- The first talent in a tree (e.g. Agile, Strong Back, etc.) adds +1 to Pursuit rolls when that talent’s skill is used as Pursuit skill.