What kind of rule mechanics do you use for chases between heroes and villains? You make it as an Action Scene? How do they use their rises?
Actually, I am writing a small article on this that I hope to complete this weekend, examples and all - I hope to share it soon. This was important to me, because I feel a good chase scene is a staple of the genre.
I look forward to seeing what you come up with. I'm secretly hoping it's a new type of "Action Sequence" that specifies how to use Raises, Opportunities, and Consequences specific to a Chase.
Doing it as a type of Action Sequence makes the most sense to me, as well, but I'm not sure what Opportunities or Consequences would help bring the feel of a chase to the Scene. (You could probably file this along with the general need for a toolbox of Consequences and Opportunities in general, since we're all still figuring how to put the new rules into practice.) Looking forward to what you come up with, as well, Wyrd!
Chases were one of my favorite aspects of the original edition. I'm really excited to see what others do with them this time around. Something tells me it's going to be a delicate dance of consequences and opportunities. Personally, I'd randomize the obstacles to keep things interesting, but intersperse them regularly so players can have some expectations of the risks involved. But that still leaves a lot of room for opportunities.
Definitely let us know when your article is ready, Wyrd.
Here's how I imagine it:
Action Sequence: Chase
Step 1: Determine the Distance (Number of Raises between the groups). If you have multiple groups or want to keep track of Raises for Heroes separately you can do that but it's more complicated.
Step 2: Everyone picks their 'Approach' just like normal (e.g., I'm taking to the rooftops, I'm finding a shortcut, I'm canvasing the crowd asking which way he went). Build your Pool (Trait + Skill), Use your Advantages, Assists, etc. and roll your Risk Pool.
Step 2a: GM announces Consequences and Opportunities for this Round. Examples:
Rooftops: Opportunities (You get a good view and can help the person on the ground, You can jump down onto a canopy and join the foot chase), Consequences (One of the rooftops is slippery, There is a clothesline with hanging clothes on it, etc.)
Step 3: Take Actions in order from Highest Raise down
Spend 1 Raise to Succeed at your Action (Successfully getting to the rooftops, find the shortcut, and Convince the crowd to offer info). This does not get you closer to your target if you Succeed but it keeps you at the same distance.
Spend 1 Raise to take advantage of an Opportunity (Then find out what it buys you)
Spend 1 Raise to avoid a Consequence (If you don't avoid them all, the ones you don't will affect you in some way)
Spend 1 Raise to create an Opportunity for another Hero
Spend 1 Raise to create a Consequence for the opponent (There's a cart in his way, someone just threw a bucket of water out a window)
Spend 1 Raise to Close 1 Raise in Distance
Spend 1 Raise to Widen 1 Raise in Distance
Same rules for spending additional Raises for changing Approach, improsiving, etc. apply. Some Opportunities could allow a change in Approach (Going from ground to roof, going from roof to ground, switching from shortcuts to full out running, etc.)
Step 4: If the chase has resolved, end it, otherwise, another Round.
Spending Raises to adjust the Distance is a good idea, in addition to the other suggestions.
Any thoughts on determining when the chase ends, Harliquinn?
Obviously, I'd assume that if the Distance was Closed to 0 (pursuer and target in contact), the chase is over and the quarry is caught. But, how would you determine that the pusued escaped successfully? If, in any Round after the first, no pursuer has as many or more Raises as the current Distance, perhaps? So, for example, if Round 3 starts at 8 Distance, and the pursuing character with the most Raises only has 7 or less, then the fleeing character(s) get away.
The situation when chase ends should vary as it can be either distance, or chased party getting into safety.
Poissible opportunities for chased party:
To end the chase with a successful capture, the Raises between at least one Hero and the "Chasee" must reach 0. This could start another Action Sequence if the one being pursued is going to fight now but no more 'running'.
I would determine the number of Raises that are required for the quarry to get away in the same way. If at any time, the number of Raises between the quarry and a pursuer is X or more, that pursuer has lost the quarry. This is likely determined by the terrain/surroundings. In a city, this might be 10 Raises, in a wide open countryside, this might be 20 Raises. Now, you could do this as a 'group' or individually so that one person might still catch them.
In the current set of chase rules I use (for Witch Hunter), distance is gauged in descriptive terms, which I find to be helpful. 1st edition 7th Sea used 10 spaces as the get away point. This system only uses 5, but that may work better for the new 7th Sea raise economy.
The ranges are Near, Close, Distant, Far, Very Far and Escape.
What I'm getting at is this: shooting a chased target.
In 7th Sea 1st edition, shooting a target in a chase required a number of raises equal to the number of "spaces" between the shooter and the target. So if there were 5 markers between the shooter and the target, the shooter would have needed to score 5 raises on her ranged attack roll.
Given the power of firearms to cause a dramatic wound with each shot, I'd probably keep this, but lower the number of spaces to five as outline above. So a target that is "Distant" would require 3 raises to hit with a firearm on the run. While this plays a bit against the one rule/one action philosophy of the rules, I still think this rule applies nicely.
So, I have the first draft of my write up. And it may not be to everyone's taste, but I find it works for what I am trying to accomplish.
It is not complete, but since I promised it this weekend, I figured I would let you all see and comment on it before I finish my edits (of which a lot are needed), and you can ask any questions if there is clarification needed, or make any comments you wish.
Wyrd’s 7th Sea Chase Rulings
I consider the chase to be one of the most iconic measures of Action/Adventure, and 7th Sea is a game that bleeds both. As such, I feel that chase scenes, in particular, require special treatment.
I want my players to feel the thrill of chasing an assassin across the rooftops, chasing a thief through packed city streets, or riding a carriage through a rainstorm pursued by bandits.
However, the question is, how to handle it.
There are currently three methods to handle risks in 7th Sea:
In all cases, the mechanic is the same: Choose an approach, roll your dice, form raises, and then use your raises to change the scene in some way. Action scenes and Dramatic scenes add in an implicit limit; A time frame of some kind.
Which, honestly, is exactly what we need. A built in end to the chase. One of the biggest challenges of a chase – how to end it – has been built into the mechanics already.
The question then becomes, what method do we use? Action seems like the perfect choice – it tends to be movement by movement, action by action, in a fast paced environment. However, there are plenty of dramatic chases – the most iconic being the trailing of someone while you observe their actions and intend to remain unobserved. However, the primary difference here is two-fold; a timeframe between actions, and in an action sequence there is an order to actions (More Raises goes first, and the scene tends to end with everyone going unless multiple raises are spent) in an Action Sequence, versus the more freeform direction of a Dramatic Sequence.
So, instead of classifying the type of Sequence we will use, we will just use Chase as our own new Sequence.
The Basics of a Chase Scene:
Now that we have the basic structure of a chase, we need to talk about Consequences, Opportunities, and more.
Obstacles, and Consequences:
An Obstacle is an action that the pursued takes that will require an equal number of raises to be spent by a pursuer to keep up with the pursued.
Jumping over a large alley
Wading through a crowd
Throwing a child in the way
Ducking under a wagon
Ducking under a large branch
A Consequence causes harm, or loss, to the pursuer by the pursued, or vice versa. This often occurs due to shooting, throwing, or firing a bow or crossbow, however, other things can occur. Standard raise for raise spending can be used to avoid or mitigate harm.
SPECIAL: In regards to firearms, and because everyone is moving, if enough raises are spent to avoid all regular firearm damage, a dramatic wound is not inflicted.
In addition, often times obstacles can be taken as consequences by a Pursuer to avoid spending raises to keep up.
Two Pursuers watch the Pursued jump over a large alley. The first Pursuer jumps, but instead of spending a raise, he takes a wound, as he jumps and lands roughly on the other side. The second Pursuer jumps, but instead of spending a raise, he chooses to lose his pistol to the alley below.
In both cases, consequences and opportunities, although they are created by the pursuers or pursued, they do not have to be directly related.
A raise can be spent to hand someone knock someone down – damage is caused unless a raise is spent.
Opportunities in a chase are often more informational than physical. That does not preclude the physical, but often times, in a chase, one is too busy to stop for the physical. A lot are not needed, however, it is suggested that one or two be given.
The Pursuer can spend a raise to notice the lapel pin on the Pursued
The Pursued recognizes the fact that the Pursuer is a Duelist by the way he moves.
Examples of possible player created opportunities:
A pursuer notices that the pistol a companion dropped landed on an outcropping, and managed to pick it up.
A pursuer shoots the chain on a sign, and it swings down, knocking an item from the arms of the Pursued. The Pursued can choose to leave it, or spend a raise to retain/recover it.
Example of Play:
Currently, Dan, Matt, Alice, and Renee are playing a game of 7th Sea.
Dan is currently running a scene where Matt, playing Jules, Alice, playing Elise, and Renee, playing Isabella, are chasing after Vincent, a man who stole a very special book from Isabella.
Dan: As the three of you break down the door, you see Vincent half in and half out of the window, and with the book in one hand, he throws you a salute with the other, a grin upon his face, and drops down into the street, running away.
Matt: I am going to dive through the window after him. I am agile as hell, so I am going to roll finesse and athletics.
Renee: That’s my book! I am going after him as well, the dog. However, Jules is more athletic, so I am spending a hero point to give him 3 extra dice. Also, I am determined to get him. I may not be fast, but I am determined. I think Resolve and Athletics should work for me.
Alice: Elisa is still in her dress. She wants to come, but unfortunately, she fails. As she follows Isabella and Vincent, she falls from the window without grace, and sucking in an indrawn breath, she tells them to get the bastard.
Dan: Okay, sounds good. Elise, here is your Hero Point. Your approaches sound good, so you get your 2 extra dice for flair and description.
Dan gets 6 raises. Dan keeps his raises hidden. Matt gets 6 raises. Isabella gets 3 raises.
Dan: Vincent looks back, and sees you pursuing him. He is still smiling wide, and as he approaches the end of the alley, he sees a wagon, and slips past it before it rolls in front of him. *spends one raise*
Matt: I run towards the wagon and slide under it. He’s not getting away! *spends a raise*
Renee: The wagon has rolled past by the time I make it there, so I am not actually impeded. *spends a raise*
Dan: Vincent is still going strong. He starts to jump on a merchant stall, and jumps up onto the roof, hauling himself up. *spends a raise*
Matt: This is not a problem. He can keep running, but I will run him down. I follow up like it is no issue. *spends a raise*
Renee: Screw this. Maybe I can take him down. I am not sure if he is still wounded from that last fight. I draw my pistol and fire. *spends two raises*
Dan: Vincent gasps as the bullet pierces his back. He is bleeding a lot, but he does not stop. He and Jules quickly out distance you. As Vincent runs forward, he jumps over a rooftop, rolling to a stop and then continuing his run. Jules, you do have an opportunity available to you here to see something. *Dan does not spend any raises to mitigate damage, but he spends one to jump the alley*
Matt: Dammit, he has some energy. Well, I am going to take some bumps and bruises, because I am determined to not let him get away. I jump after, and take a wound from the hard landing, but I will take a moment to assess the situation, and see what I can. *marks a wound, but does not spend a raise for the jump. He does spend one for the opportunity*
Dan: Great. You notice that Vincent has a letter stuffed into the back of his breeches. Vincent looks desperate now. His earlier smirk has been replaced by a look of fear, and in a desperate bid, he draws a pistol as he runs, and fires behind him. *spends two raises for firing the pistol, and an extra one for damage*
Matt: Shit, I forgot he carries a gun. Well, I slip behind cover for a second as I see him swing the pistol back, and it shatters on some brickwork on the rooftop. *spends two raises, one to mitigate each point of damage*
Dan: Looks like you have one raise left. Vincent jumps down on the other side of the building, but sprawls as he lands, the book bouncing away from his grasp. You land with ease behind him.
Matt: Great. I draw my sword, and stare him down. “I have some questions for you, Vincent, starting with that letter…”
I like it. Its a pretty simple and intuitive way to handle chases in the mechanics. I'd have to actually try in play to see how it works out, of course. Do you have any personal concerns to worry about in implementing it, Wyrd, either in expectations or experience?
Sorry about the long delay, work has been hectic this week.
There was a concern about people saying "I want to create a shortcut," but I have found that leads to something like:
DM: "You rush ahead of him, cutting him off from xyz. He breaks to the left, and heads down an alley way." It is all extremely narrative, but it ends up working.
I commend you for creating a good chase set of rules. I don't think I will use them as written for 1 reason: Chases only last for 1 roll of the dice if I understand correctly. If at the end of one Round, the Pursuer has 1 Raise left, they catch the pursued and if not, the pursued gets away. (I read this from "the Chase ends when the Pursued is out of Raises)
I will likely take a stab at some modification that still keep the chase fast moving (As yours does) but offers a chance for multiple 'rounds' of the Chase (Similar to an Action Sequence). We did an impromptu carriage/horse chase this weekend and I tried a method that used "Raises" for distance between the two groups and Actions were spent to widen or narrow the gap by a number of Raises. I didn't like exactly how it went but I liked the feel of muttiple 'rounds'.
I love your narrative example, by the way, but I worry in a case where say everyone rolls 1-2 Raises for some reason, the chase would be very short.
And that might be the way it ends up working for you.
A couple points as to why it has never felt that way for me.
1. The entire system is based on one raise changes the scene. You have a raise, you accomplish your goal. The steps are to provide multiple goals. In this case, someone building obstacles. In almost any situation, the person with the most raises wins. Besides, I do not want my players to fail unless they choose to, or unless they make hard decisions that lead there. I want my players to succeed - beat to hell and back - but succeed.
2. You can add in other complications. Those were my primary examples. Have someone tangle up with them and they lose their sword - they can stop and retain it, or they can continue on. You can make other methods of loss.
3. As for the wounds issue, that depends on what happens at the end of the chase. If I roll from a chase into a combat, you can damn well be sure they will not be healing those wounds before hand. If they take a Dramatic Wound, that sure as heck will not heal quickly either. And because I keep the opposing side secret, they do not know what they are working against.
All that being said, it may not be for you, and I respect that. I went for simplistic, narrative, and something that works for me. Most solutions I have seen people make for adding things into 7th Sea add a level of complexity I am not fond of. I think the streamlined version of the rules works very well - for me.
And that´s the beauty of role playing games, every group of gamers can shape the world and rules to their needs and preferences.
By the way, I´m working on another version of the chase rules, when they are ready I really would like to know your opinions.
So, in these situations, I love to go with the narrative, and love the idea.
So, what I might do is require two raises - one to fire and hit, but another to specifically call out the leg during flight. If that is done, I would probably give the dramatic wound - if the person they are chasing is a non-name, I'd probably have him stumble and fall, or run a bit and then get caught. I'd let them question him for a bit, and then unless they had a doctor of some sort, I'd probably have him expire in their arms, or something such as that.
If he is a major villain, then I'd probably give him his wound, make sure he is bloodied a bit, and then say each action of movement is the equivelant of an approach change - i.e. costs an additional raise - until the dramatic wound is healed. So, it then makes as much sense for him to turn and fight as to run, raise wise. What he does, however, would depend on his nature, and the nature of the narrative.