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Wild West and Chases

Naed Yar

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I know that there is a thread regarding the chase system in general. However, I am running into issues with the chase system and horses. My main concern is horses (Rated Speed of 2 & MOV of 10 - 12) and steam engines (Rated Speed of 6 & MOV of 67) do not grant themselves, mechanically, to a train robbery.

Has anybody seen or created a mechanical fix for this? I understand that I can GM fiat this . . . I realize that one or two of my players enjoy the chance of the dice as opposed to narrative for narrative's sake.

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The first thing I would probably do is reduce the train''s ACC. The told steam engine trains used to take awhile, typicall several minutes to build up a head of steam. Try diviiding the ACC by 5 for .4 instead of 2, (Maybe roundoff to 0.5). That way, unless the train is aleady moving at a high speed, the horses can overtake it.

The second thing I would do would be to increase the speed of Horses to about Rated Speed 6, Move 60. Horses can make 35mph/56kph/Move 62. Not they can't maintain that speed as long as a train can or without consequences.

If that fails, try waiting on an incline (trains have to slow down), or dynamite the tracks.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Couple of thoughts:

1. Steam engines varied greatly in terms of they speed over their evolution, just like cars. Also, the speed of a train depends a lot on how many cars are attached, how heavy the cargo is, and the grade of the track. A single MOV rating for steam engines isn't realistic (in a global sense), so just set the engine speed for whatever you think is appropriate.

2. The MOV given for horses is a casual pace, not a flat out gallop. I don't have my book to remember the running rules, but I believe you can double or even quadruple the speed of the horse at a canter or gallop.

So, if you want to make train robbery chases more interesting, have the train accelerate such that for a reasonable amount of time a horse can run faster. But the amount of time that this happens is limited because the train is speeding up and the horses are tiring.

I would just rule that if the train is moving at full speed, the characters only have 2 or 3 rounds to successfully jump onto the train before their horses tire and begin to fall back (maybe add one additional round at a more difficult rating to heighten tension). Alternatively, if the players can approach the train when it's going slower, they will get correspondingly more time jump onto the train. This keeps things exciting by limiting the amount of time a player can act (making those jump rolls more crucial and exciting) and allowing players to engage in some tactics to alter the situation in their favour.

Maybe, before hand, you could plan out the train route a little, deciding that it adds a car here or loses one there, where it goes uphill or downhill, and so on. Then from that decide on what it's speed will be through various sections of track (25 climbing through the gulch, 47 on the flat, 35 between Black Rock and Buffalo Jump, where it will also stop for water, etc.) You can reveal some of this to players that have observed the rout before hand, otherwise they take their chances.

"Tell me what you found, not what you lost" Mesopotamian proverb



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Thalaba has the way of things.

The rates for a sample steam engine is an approximate, not a blanket rate. The MOV rates assume top speeds on ideal terrain, something I should have made clearer.

Rarely, too, in the Old West were trains able to go at their uppermost speeds, just as cars rarely drive at their top speeds possible.

The base MOV rates for humans and animals are their normal walking speeds. You can indeed double or quadruple movement rate.

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It is my understanding that train robbers had to pick their locations carefully in order to be able to catch the train.

For car chases I introduced the idea of maximum safe speed – traveling faster then the road allows will have risks even if you are under the maximum speed of the vehicle. A curve in the track or even a rough bridge may force a train to slow down enough that the robbers could catch up on horse back.

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