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Merudo

My problems with the chase rules

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I do enjoy the chases rules of 7th edition CoC. They can be really fun and a good chase can feel like a horror movie.

However, I have issues regarding some aspect of the chase rules,

First, the chase depends too much on the initial Speed roll for movement, especially for the NPCs chasing/get chased by the investigators. Most PCs will have a default move between 7 and 9. Suppose the PCs are chasing a cultist with a Move of 9. If the cultist fails its CON roll, he ends up with a Move of 8, and the chase will probably be quite easy. If he gets an extreme success, the cultist ends up with a Move of 10 and the PCs will likely automatically lose the chase. It's very hard for Keeper to make an enjoyable chase with such high random factor.

Second, the chase behaves totally differently if a slow investigator joins the chase. For example, if two Gnoph-Keh (Move 9) chases four investigators with Move 8, the Gnoph-Kehs will move twice as fast as the investigators - making it hard for the investigators to escape, and potentially resulting in a TPK. However, if the same Gnoph-Keh chases three investigators with Move 8 and one investigator with Move 4, then the Gnoph-Kehs will have 6 actions each round while the Move 8 investigators will have 5 - which means the three Move 8 investigators will likely escape. So adding a slower investigator to the chase can actually be more beneficial for the investigators than adding a fast one, and the balance of each chase will dependent on if slow investigators take part in them or not.

Thirdly, the rules state that a chase is automatically resolved if the speed of the chasers is less than what they are chasing. This is problematic: if the fleeing character is much worse at avoiding obstacles than the chasers, the chasers may well be able to catch their quarry in time. Also, flying monsters are likely able to catch a faster car if the road is windy. It is telling that the cool illustration of two cars chased by a Hunting Horror on a mountain road (page 143) is almost impossible to happen according to the rules because the Haunting Horror has Move of 11 while the slowest car has a Move of 13, so the cars should automatically escape.

My personal recommendations would be to avoid the CON check for NPCs (just assume they win the CON check) & to not chase the PCs if the party has a slow investigator, and to apply judgment on when a chase should be automatically resolved.

Edited by Merudo

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2 hours ago, Merudo said:

My personal recommendations would be to avoid the CON check for NPCs (just assume they win the CON check) & to not chase the PCs if the party has a slow investigator.

I think you solve your own concern.  :)  And I think it is worth noting that the intention of the CON check is to determine if an unplanned chase should happen, in case it has the potential to bog down a game.  The CON mechanic does not prevent a Keeper from saying:  a Chase is part of the natural story-telling of this section and it is happening. Is that railroading? Maybe.  Telling a story is a balance of player agency (very important) and aspects of the narrative that just make sense.

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5 hours ago, klecser said:

I think you solve your own concern.  :)  And I think it is worth noting that the intention of the CON check is to determine if an unplanned chase should happen, in case it has the potential to bog down a game.  The CON mechanic does not prevent a Keeper from saying:  a Chase is part of the natural story-telling of this section and it is happening. Is that railroading? Maybe.  Telling a story is a balance of player agency (very important) and aspects of the narrative that just make sense.

My main concern is that it's almost impossible to have a well-balanced chase with such a swingy Speed Roll (CON roll). For example, if a Move 8 PC chases a Move 8 cultist, you could end up with the cultist having three times as many actions per turn as the PC, or the PC having three times as many actions as the cultist...

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On 11/21/2018 at 5:03 AM, Merudo said:

Thirdly, the rules state that a chase is automatically resolved if the speed of the chasers is less than what they are chasing. This is problematic: if the fleeing character is much worse at avoiding obstacles than the chasers, the chasers may well be able to catch their quarry in time. Also, flying monsters are likely able to catch a faster car if the road is windy. It is telling that the cool illustration of two cars chased by a Hunting Horror on a mountain road (page 143) is almost impossible to happen according to the rules because the Haunting Horror has Move of 11 while the slowest car has a Move of 13, so the cars should automatically escape.

The car speeds provided are for modern cars. I don't know why they did this since the baseline campaign is 1920s, but check the footnote on the table.  A 1920s car should indeed be MOV 11 or so.

As far as the windy road vs. flying, I think this is just a case where the keeper needs to exercise judgment.  You could give flying creatures a MOV boost in such a case, or simply rule that the chase should proceed despite the MOV disadvantage because the chaser will have a much easier time avoiding hazards and barriers. 

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On 11/21/2018 at 7:03 AM, Merudo said:

Second, the chase behaves totally differently if a slow investigator joins the chase. For example, if two Gnoph-Keh (Move 9) chases four investigators with Move 8, the Gnoph-Kehs will move twice as fast as the investigators - making it hard for the investigators to escape, and potentially resulting in a TPK. However, if the same Gnoph-Keh chases three investigators with Move 8 and one investigator with Move 4, then the Gnoph-Kehs will have 6 actions each round while the Move 8 investigators will have 5 - which means the three Move 8 investigators will likely escape. So adding a slower investigator to the chase can actually be more beneficial for the investigators than adding a fast one, and the balance of each chase will dependent on if slow investigators take part in them or not.

It would be a silly group of investigators that allowed themselves to be TPK'd thus. The smart thing would be for them to split up. Sure that will possibly/likely result in two dead investigators but two should get away.

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