Just before moving, a character may choose to give up its regular movement rate and instead move d6 for every 3 points of movement, plus 1 for every leftover point. A movement rate of 12 becomes 4d6, for example, and a move of 10 becomes 3d6+1. This move is rerolled on every round it is used.
|Cue "Yakety Sax."|
This does a number of things.
1. It makes chases exciting in a simple and traditional way.
2. In normal tactical combat movement, there is seldom going to be a reason to delay the game by rolling movement instead of using the reliable rate. As I noted last time, the normal move rate usually will be enough to do whatever maneuvering is needed once sides have closed. If that's so, then you don't want to take the chance of a low roll ruining it.
3. The dice will normally only be used if speed is of the essence - charging missile weapons, racing an enemy to get to a switch, or just plain chases. Why? Because the average roll of a d6 is 3.5, giving a variable but overall half-point advantage over a plain predictable 3.
4. It represents switching from a more cautious to a more risky mode of movement. Good and bad rolls can be visualized as bursts of speed or accidents.
5. It slots easily into any number of combat rules sequences by offering an option for movement, whenever and however that happens.
6. It reflects the advantage of a large pursuing party; each round, the more figures you have, the more likely someone will roll high and catch up. Outpacing a horde of 6-move kobolds with your 9-move party is no longer such a done deal! At the same time, if this gives too much unrealistic advantage to an unruly mob, you can just say (as my rules do) that you need to spend 3 movement points in order to pass through a slower figure in front.
As simple as it is, this rule is missing a couple of things. One is the possibility for character stats and terrain to regulate such things as dodging obstacles and getting tired. These I'll cover next post.
Another is a protocol for ending the chase. With perfect visibility ahead, a chase can continue until the pursuing side catches up or gives up. If a chase is taking place across terrain already mapped by the DM - for example, a dungeon or a well-developed city - then visibility is easy to determine. Otherwise, visibility can be determined generically - 10' in thick fog, 20' in twisty city streets, 30' in deep woods, and so on.
When the chasers lose sight of their quarry and there is more than one way to go, they need to decide whether to split up, continue along one way at the risk of being entirely wrong, or give up. Those being pursued, once the chasers lose sight of them, also have the well-known cinematic option of finding some place to hide and waiting as the chase goes by.
To guard against this, the more intelligent kind of pursuers, if numerous, will need to leave behind a searcher each round. Somehow, they never seem to do that in the movies ...