When we play TRPGS, it’s only natural to focus on combat. D&D rose out of the wargaming hobby, so pointing most of our rules work towards the question of insert sword A into monster B makes a certain amount of sense. However, the hobby has grown beyond its 1970-something progenitors. We’ve got social encounters now. We’ve got item crafting. We’ve got subsystems for kingdom building, gambling, sanity, and hex-based exploration, and GMs can take them or leave them as they see fit. Regardless of what you think about the added complexity of new rules subsystems, there is one element that seems especially difficult to parse. Given today’s exercise in the 100 meter bear sprint, I think you can guess what I’m getting at.

Chases are hard to run, and that’s true regardless of system. Like I said up top, the bulk of TRPG rules have to do with combat, and that usually includes tactical movement. For examples, “How many squares can I move in a round?” is an important question if you’re gaming on a grid. The second you try to apply that mess to a dwarf (20 ft. movement speed) who happens to be running from a bear (40 ft. movement speed), you get into trouble. Gimli can never get away from Beorn? Really? Not under any circumstance? That is a steaming pile of suck for the vertically challenged folk of the multiverse, and that’s why you’ve got to include some kind of subsystem. And for all the same reasons that underwater combat is difficult to implement, running chase scenes can be a hassle as well. If your chase rules come up just once in fifteen sessions it means that they’re always going to be unfamiliar. Players and GMs alike will have trouble memorizing and applying them correctly, and your exciting dash through the alleyways of Waterdeep comes screeching to a halt as you introduce new movement rules to replace the movement rules that everyone thought they knew.

This is a problem in need of a solution, so what do you say we hash it out in the comments? What are your favorite chase rules? Have you ever run a chase? Was it tense and exciting, or was it an obnoxious rules headache? Let’s hear your stories of desperate escape and dogged pursuit down below!


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