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tendentious

Simple Change to Chase Rules

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Just something I introduced in my game, playing 7th Ed. CoC.

Under the Chase rules, the character(s) with the lowest MOV get 1 action. Other characters get 1 extra action for each point their MOV exceeds the lowest MOV. So if Bill has MOV 7 and Jill has MOV 9, then Bill gets 1 action and Jill gets 3 actions.

Instead, give the character with the lowest MOV 2 actions. So to change the above example, Bill would have 2 actions, Jill 4 actions.

Firstly, 2 actions is more compatible with the combat rules. In a chase, a character with 1 action can attack or move, but not both. Under the combat rules you can both attack and move. It's unclear why.

Secondly, it gives the slowest characters some options while still giving the clear advantage to the swiftest.

Now I just need to come up with a way to fix initiative in chases. A PC ran through the seats of an auditorium, up the aisle, along the back of the theatre, into the lobby and tackled the cultist before said cultist could take a single step, even though they had the same number of actions. Possibly some way to make it simultaneous.

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So there might be a solution in the combat rules - which would further integrate the two systems.

Under the optional movement rules in Combat, a character may move up to MOV in yards and act normally. They may run up to 5xMOV in yards in the round. If they wish to attack, this occurs at the end of the round, which I have taken to mean that this happens after everyone else has gone through initiative.

So translate this same rule to Chases. If a character uses more than one action to move during a chase, then any attack they wish to perform occurs at the end of the round, after everyone has had an opportunity to act.

So in my previous example in the theatre, the PC would not have been able to attack until after the cultist had an opportunity to move, which would have prevented him being tackled in the lobby.

This, however, may create some other problems. For example, a character with 4 actions who spends 2 of those actions to move up to his quarry. He still has 2 actions left, but he can't attack until after the target has gone. He ends his movement, the target has his turn and moves away. So now the first character is left standing there was at least one wasted action that he would have spent pursuing the target.

Solution: you can use all actions by spending any unused move actions at the end of the round, after everyone has had a turn. So the character moves up to the target with 2 actions, the target moves away in his turn, and the character spends his last 2 actions to continue pursuing, or to move and attack, or whatever they want.

In my original example in the theatre, the PC would move into the lobby with one action remaining. They can't attack as they've used more than 1 action to move. They end their turn. In the cultist's initiative, he flees the lobby and runs down the street. After everyone else has gone in their initiative order, the PC can spend their last action to exit the lobby into the street and continue the chase.

Seems simple enough, and incorporates the existing combat rules, which I like.

Edited by tendentious
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Another option, though it would make the chase take much longer, is that everyone involved takes a single action at a time. In your original example, with Bill having two actions and Jill four actions, you would proceed as follows:

Action 1 - Jill and Bill both act
Action 2 - Jill and Bill both act
Action 3 - Jill acts
Action 4 - Jill acts

It would not be too bad with only a few people in the chase but could get very clumsy with large groups. As I have not yet run a chase in CoC 7th Ed I can't give you any first hand experience!

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30 minutes ago, Karl Frost said:

It would not be too bad with only a few people in the chase but could get very clumsy with large groups. As I have not yet run a chase in CoC 7th Ed I can't give you any first hand experience!

Yeah, I really didn't want to do that. We have 8 players plus me (Keeper), and we're playing on-line. Going one action at a time would, as you say, probably slow what should be an exciting and dynamic scene into a plodding grind. And for many chase participants, in a given round they're just going to move and make checks against any hazards or barriers. That doesn't need to be resolved action by action, character by character. It's when there is the option for a character to start interacting directly with another chase participant that something needs to be added to reflect the fact that both characters are in motion at the same time.

Edited by tendentious

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8 players plus Keeper? You're keen! Well I think your solution above is probably the best compromise, it means that players (and/or yourself) need to keep careful track of how many actions they are "holding"

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51 minutes ago, Karl Frost said:

8 players plus Keeper? You're keen!

I started with 6 players. 2 more joined since the lockdown began. One of the newbies  is sharing a house with one of the original 6 players, so they were around when we were playing anyway.

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And to just to clarify: the restriction applies to any action the character wants to perform after making more than one move. Whether that's an attack, kicking open a door, fast talking a guard, casting a spell, or whatever.

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On 4/23/2020 at 2:23 AM, tendentious said:

Instead, give the character with the lowest MOV 2 actions.

Funny, I had been thinking about the exact same change. I haven't playtested it yet, but glad to hear it's working well.

On 4/24/2020 at 12:41 AM, tendentious said:

Solution: you can use all actions by spending any unused move actions at the end of the round, after everyone has had a turn. So the character moves up to the target with 2 actions, the target moves away in his turn, and the character spends his last 2 actions to continue pursuing, or to move and attack, or whatever they want.

I'm not sure about this, but I would love to know how it goes in a playtest!  It really sounds like a slightly improved version of what @Karl Frost was saying... only instead of switching between characters after every action, you switch only when one character catches up to an opponent (i.e. no need to switch when 2 PCs catch up, unless they're fighting each other). But it might get tricky when PC1 is chasing Cultist1 which is in turn chasing PC2 (it happens more often than you think!). You get this accordion thing where you might have to switch back and forth until everybody's out of actions, but that might be OK.

Another possibility might be to resolve actions in farthest-to-closest order... that is, if you organize your characters on a linear track as recommended in the rules, with the chase going left to right, then you go in order from the right-most character to the left-most character. This way, when Character1 catches up to Character2, you know that Character2 has already spent all their actions, and you can never run into the "I got caught be never go to act" problem. It's not totally perfect but it might be a good balance between simplicity and fixing the problem at hand.

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4 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Funny, I had been thinking about the exact same change. I haven't playtested it yet, but glad to hear it's working well.

So far so good, although my chases have been simple affairs so far - players run down fleeing cultist(s).

4 hours ago, lordabdul said:

I'm not sure about this, but I would love to know how it goes in a playtest!  It really sounds like a slightly improved version of what @Karl Frost was saying... only instead of switching between characters after every action, you switch only when one character catches up to an opponent (i.e. no need to switch when 2 PCs catch up, unless they're fighting each other). But it might get tricky when PC1 is chasing Cultist1 which is in turn chasing PC2 (it happens more often than you think!). You get this accordion thing where you might have to switch back and forth until everybody's out of actions, but that might be OK.

As I say, my chases have been very vanilla, and i haven't had a chance to see how this works in practice. But, as far as I can tell it shouldn't take more than 2 passes for every character involved to complete the round. So first pass: PC1 runs up to cultist, PC2 moves away from cultist and ends their round, cultist catches up to PC2; second pass: PC1 runs up to cultist and attacks, cultist decides whether to attack PC2 or deal with PC1; end of round.

5 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Another possibility might be to resolve actions in farthest-to-closest order... that is, if you organize your characters on a linear track as recommended in the rules, with the chase going left to right, then you go in order from the right-most character to the left-most character. This way, when Character1 catches up to Character2, you know that Character2 has already spent all their actions, and you can never run into the "I got caught be never go to act" problem. It's not totally perfect but it might be a good balance between simplicity and fixing the problem at hand.

Okay, that didn't occur to me. I was thinking of changing initiative to MOV order rather than DEX order - in a chase where you are already moving, raw speed seems more relevant then reflexes. In my game, the player with the highest PC DEX keeps complaining (joking) because he has to commit to the chase before anyone else.

One reason I want to keep initiative in DEX order is that it allows for easier transition from combat to chases and back again. They can almost become a single system where you don't need to worry about the chasing part if everyone just stands and fights. And if someone bolts while others keep fighting, then the order doesn't change. So the cultist can't delay in combat and then run, and then go first in the next round because he's at the front of the newly established chase.

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So yesterday I ran a massive chase/running battle with 6 players, 12 cultists, a car and a fleeing belly-dancer! I implemented the two house rules mentioned above: slowest character gets 2 actions instead of 1, and you can't attack after moving more than 1 space until everyone has had a pass in the initiative.

It actually worked really well. I write an outline of each session for my players, and here's an excerpt covering the scene

Quote

 

The cultists approach Gerald, Percival and Yalesha, levelling their weapons and demanding their surrender. Yalesha sprints south down Dean Street with two cultists in pursuit. Percival runs after them, with another two cultists pursuing him. Gerald puts his hands up. The remaining cultists grab Gerald and hustle him north on Dean Street.

Andre, Emily, Mike and Theodore run to the corner of Meard and Dean. Gerald seems to be in the most immediate danger, so they charge after the band of cultists heading north. A running melee breaks out, with two men dragging Gerald up the road and the rest leaping to attack the pursuing characters.

Despite tripping on the rough cobblestones, Yalesha manages to stay ahead of her immediate pursuers. Percy yells at her to ‚ÄúContact Carlton Ramsey in New York,‚Äô‚ÄĚ but if she registers the instruction she gives no sign. Soon she turns down a narrow alley, filled with bins and other obstructions, where her speed and grace gives her the advantage. As she pulls away from the cultists, they turn their attention to Percy.

The other characters have managed to fell three of the cultists and freed Gerald from the two men dragging him. Up ahead, the headlights of a parked car ignite as the car pulls out into the street. The characters scatter, with Emily running back and diving into a doorway. Gerald, Mike and Theodore run towards the car and around it before it can pick up speed. Andre attempts to throw a cultist onto the ground in front of him, hoping to force the driver to swerve away or risk hitting his ally. The cultist resists the attempt and stands his ground, so Andre also goes for cover. The car accelerates at Andre but misses. It continues south along Dean Street.

The remaining cultists are starting to scatter, running north on Dean and west along Meard. Percival runs into the yard of St Anne’s church, using the stone wall of the yard for cover. Behind him the car pulls up, and the four cultists climb in. The car turns around, accelerates north on Dean and turns east on Old Compton Street. The cultists disappear into the night, leaving the characters bleeding and bruised.

 

So this was an action scene involving 20 moving parts. It took about 2 hours to resolve but everything moved briskly. Fortunately all the cultists DEX fell between one PC with 85 DEX and the next PC with 60, so I could just run all the cultists at the same point of the round.

The one part that didn't quite work was the car. The car pulled out into the street and drove towards the PCs. I decided that it would have to accelerate from its standing start, so on its first action it moved 1 space, on the second action it moved 3 spaces etc. Since it had moved for more than one action, it seemed fair that - although running over a character was just a part of its movement and not an "attack" - it couldn't roll to strike a PC until everyone had a chance to act.

When the PCs acted, some of them just moved past the car, reasoning that the safest place to be was behind the car. I accepted that the car couldn't just immediately head back the way it came, so it continued along the road, swerving at one of the PCs who was further away.

This wasn't much of an issue - I just need to remember in future to leave cars at least 5 or 6 spaces away at the end of their first initiative pass if I want to run over an investigator with a car! But I realised that if the car had gone later in the initiative, then any of the PCs that had already acted and made an attack, like a punch or a fighting manoeuvre, would not be able to move at all. The melee combat rules really only allow for movement before an attack - although not for firearms, but put that to one side. The PC would get a Dodge against the driver's Drive check (which is what happened in the session) but leading up to that moment they would have to just stand and watch the car accelerate towards them.

Or in a simple PC vs NPC chase. If the PC is pursuing the NPC and the two characters start in the same space. If the PC acts first and attacks, then the NPC can spend all their actions to move away, and the PC just stands and watches them go.

So now I'm toying with ideas around movement after melee attacks. Something like that you can only move a single space, either before or after your attack or action, in the first initiative pass. And maybe a DEX check to see how many of their remaining actions they can spend for the rest of the round: Extreme success equals all their remaining actions, Hard success equals one less than their remaining actions, Regular equals two less than their remaining actions, Fail equals four less than their remaining actions, and Fumble equals no remaining actions.

Or I may be waaaaaay over thinking this, and should probably just play it be ear and do what makes sense. If the character has already acted in a round and a car is speeding towards them, then let the situation determine their options. If the car is a hundred metres away and the character is well aware of it, then they should have time to go for cover. If the car comes out of no-where, then the investigator should be more like the proverbial deer-in-headlights.

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