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Chase System - Boo!


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Cheliax

What I had thought was a one-time case of sniffles in God's Market Gamble has apparently broken out into a full on contagion - Chase Rules! Simply put, they are awful.

If you want a sure way to grind a free flowing game to a halt, insert an encounter using these contrived and artificial rules.

I just came back from GenCon and played the Runecarved Key special and Rise of the Goblin Guild. Both have chase scenes. Both chase encounters ruined the game.

The GM's don’t like it and the player hate it.

Look, I get how these things come about. In a vacuum, I am sure it sounded like a good idea. However, when actually playing, it is stultifying and lame. This is already a rule heavy game. There simply is no reason to create a separate set of rules for every conceivable situation.

You have good GM’s and a great set of rules. Let these things get sorted out via role playing – the very point of the game!

In games I run, I will not run the chase system. I will instead use words (imagine that!) to create a realistic chase wherein the PC’s can use whatever skills and abilities to their best to run down their quarry.

Kill the chase rules before they kill season 4!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I use the Gamemaster Chase Cards to add some flavor to the chase scene, but other than that I also am a fan of using words and such to get the scene completed. I remember the Skill Challenges in 4th ed and how they took out the aspect of a character having a purpose and instead replaced that with a round robin toss of the dice to see who could succeed. It bogged down the game and became less fun as a result. The Chase Rules remind me of that.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The idea is somewhat laudable since it gives skilled PCs a chance to use their skills, but I generally prefer positive reinforcement (give skilled PCs bonuses) to negative reinforcement (force unskilled PCs to sit around doing nothing).

Shadow Lodge

I've played with them, too, and I love the concept, though I think that every time I've encountered them, they are poorly done.

First, most important, they really need to incorporate fewer obsticles, but Much more options to bypasse each step. Every single one I've seen is Rogue friendly, and not any one else, so got very tedious and boring quickly as the whole party basically failed checks. They really need to incorporate a broader range of abilities, like Diplomacy, Saves, Intimidate, Survival, or whatever, rather than predominetly Acrobatics, Climb, and Jump, it seems.

I'd also say cap the chase chart to 6 parts at most, and only allow more than 1 movement if you roll a Nat 20 on something (or the equivalent).

Do not use any skills that are basically something only one (or a small handfull) of classes would normally have, specifically looking at Disable Device and I'm pretty sure I saw a Fly skill, too, (even though there are special rules for flying).

What I personally think would be really cool is if instead of having 2 (or 3 or 4 like I would like) possible actions per segment, at the start each person had to pick a path that would essentually warn the character which types of obsticles they would likely face on the way. So one character might go along the roof, and be looking at a lot of Climbing, Jumping, Perception, as they go from building to building, while characters below running throught hte streets might use a lot of Perception, Bluff, Dimplomacy, and Know Local to trail and talk their way through the crowd quickly, and other characters might see a shortcut through a temple or magic shop, and use a lot of (Non Arcana) Knowledge checks, Appraise, Profession, Intimidate, or the like to find a quick way through/around the back. Each of these would have something a little out of the ordinary, just to thrown in some wierdness and fun, and so it doesn't cator too much to one character role, but also offers the option for all the different classes to at least have a chance of succeeding throughout the chase.

In the last one we played, (GMH), it was something like a 9 part scene, and I think everyone got stumped after the first movement. No one was really enjoying it, (I think also because we could see the chart, knew we basically had to roll Nat 20's each time), and it really felt like it was a situation where we where going to fail at critical part of the story just before the end. Then our ranged fighters said screw this, and shot the guy, which was very anticlimactical, but also the only real option we all felt we had, and I don't blame the DM at all.

So the other thing I would like is if the chart, which is also basically the map, did not include either the needed roll or the DC, but rather a very short description of what you seee and need to overcome. Instead of a DC 25 Climb check, it might say "as you turn the corner, you see a high fence, and past it ______ running away" which is probably a climb check, but might surprize players if they actually need to make a Str check to break it, or Perception to see a hidden door or hole, or something else.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have enjoyed the few chases I have been in. I do agree though they are geared for the skill heavy physical players. Casters and low skill players get the shaft with the current chase rules. As for role playing I have had a lot of fun playing them out on both sides of the screen. If you know the rules you can make a chase go by rather quickly. If you dont it can be a pita so I feel y'all there.


I felt the same way about the Haunt mechanic.


I agree that long chases can get tedious.

We usually have them layed out in more of a grid or pyramid shape. A race around a city block, with the option of backtracking through previously cleared areas can help with some of the "hands-in-pockets" problems. More opporunties for players = more fun

But, my entire group loves the whole mechanic.

Shadow Lodge

I think the GM has some control over this, but it probably requires a very flexible and creative GM. I play a gnome...

For a few examples:

At one point someone used me as a step stool, which is a stereotypical use of the gnome,

the rogue actually swung over the crowd on a clothesline...

the barbarian somehow befuddled the guards by pantomiming climbing while he was running full speed,

and then on the final move the barbarian tore off the drain cover and threw the rogue down the hole on top of the goblin.

I got stuck 2 squares back and spent 2 rounds resonating the crack in the wall with ghost sound, discovered a strange phase cancellation effect and a connection to the local infrastructure and dropped out in the sewers 2 blocks ahead of everyone else. This didn't ultimately effect the outcome, but it was fun.

Basically, our GM added a lot of RP flavor and took much liberty in bonuses and penalties to facilitate the process. He rewarded creativity and effective RP heavily and the overall experience, though clunky and drawn out at times, was fun. If you can get in the spirit and even add an egg timer, it may be more effective in achieving the desired result.

It is different, but before writing it off, it may be worth giving it a moment and moving outside your comfort zone. Approached the right way it can be a lot of fun.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

I enjoyed running the chase scene I ran (God's Market Gamble) as did my players. You do need to be aware of the chase's obstacles and whether or not they make sense. For instance, I replaced the initial obstacle of the chase (Bluff Past Guard) because it felt very artificial compared to regular gameplay where the characters wouldn't spend round after round trying to bluff their way past a guard.

That said, I feel it makes perfect sense for the chase mechanic to favor characters who focus on physical skills. And there's nothing wrong with that, in my opinion. It's one of those parts of the game that gives them some spotlight in a way that's very different from their usual antics.


Ravenmantle wrote:
That said, I feel it makes perfect sense for the chase mechanic to favor characters who focus on physical skills. And there's nothing wrong with that, in my opinion.

It depends what you mean by "favor". I don't think it's necessarily the case that having the party rogue face the bad guy alone (instead of with other PCs to assist him) is doing him a favor, for instance!

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Rogues, rangers, monks, barbarians, inquisitors, fighters. Sure, if a rogue goes after a bad guy alone, thing *might* get ugly, but the rogue's not the only character with the option of focusing on physical skills. For instance, when I ran the chase in God's Market Gamble, the ranger won the day with the party's rogue a close second.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Every time this deck comes out, I'm playing my cleric.

Every time this deck comes out, my cleric is the last to complete it and he's usually dragging a dwarven fighter or two along with him.

This thing is nice in theory, but blatantly slanted towards some types of characters and against others.

Cheliax

1 person marked this as a favorite.

We too did the Gods Market Garden, the DM had us all jumping. We were very into the game and then the chase started. He explained the rules but characters like my Int 8 Samurai didn't have a chance to do anything. I stopped at the baths and took turns chasing the bathers around and falling down from guards. The Bard did all the work.

15 mins later, "Oh lets start the game again for all of you"... yea its getting late and there is no redbull vendors here.

We were never into it again. He had lost us all. Its unfortunate as the module is very good.

Shadow Lodge

Ravenmantle wrote:
For instance, I replaced the initial obstacle of the chase (Bluff Past Guard) because it felt very artificial compared to regular gameplay where the characters wouldn't spend round after round trying to bluff their way past a guard.

Odd, that that was the one most of my party actually liked. I personally thought many others (Disable Device to open a gate!!!), where both very artificial and slanted towards Rogue(ish) classes, (which we didn't have), but an abundence of heavier armored types and a weaker arcane caster.


Wow, that's wierd - I run these occasionally with my PC's and they LOVE them. Classic YMMV

Grand Lodge

To me, the Pathfinder chase rules are a sort of "mini-game" within the game, and it is definitely one I do not enjoy.

Chase scenes are fun, but the Pathfinder chase rules are not. It reduces the game to a binary decision dice fest.

Andoran

Wow, I didn't realize there was any animosity toward the chase system. My players loved the chase scene in Curse of the Crimson Throne. The halfling sorceress even made the grabI had a good time as a player in Midnight Mauler. Of course, I was playing a ninja, which is chase friendly.

I admit that chases heavily favor rogues and monks and say, "let's have more of them." Combat is a pretty big part of the game and heavily favors fighters and barbarians.

I know, I know. Monks and rogues aren't as good at combat, but at least they can do something. The fighter and cleric are left watching the rogue chase the badguy into the .sunset because they can't squeeze through a fence or see the secret shortcut.

Still, I'd hate to see the chases go. I like skill characters and this is what they are made for. Maybe the bestvsolution is a compromise. I imagine a party is after one guy and they find him with a bunch of goons. Their quarry takes off right away and the rogue gives chase because he's the only one with a real chance of catching him. The goons try to stop the rogue. The rogue runs through and the rest of the party holds them off so the rogue has a chance. Thus you have two mechanics at once: a chase and a combat. The quarry should be weak enough that the rogue has a chance of soloing him when he catches up. (this is why he ran from the party)

So, keep the chase, use it sparingly, plan better encounters. The heavily armored fighter should have no chance of catching the swift-footed foe, just like the rogue can't go toe to toe with the barbarian ogre. Give the fighter something else to do.

Shadow Lodge

Suggestions to improve the Chase Mechanic for PFS might be relevant for this topic.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

I've run a lot of chases. Using the chase deck or via customised chase cards. Every time it's been a natural extension of the game. My players have loved it. If you're having trouble with chases here's some tips:

Increase your speed!

For every 5 ft. faster than 30 ft. You are you get a +2 bonus to your checks. expeditious retreat, haste, long-strider all help you.

If you can fly, you gain a +10 bonus on your checks. By level 5-6 there's a lot of flight options.

You don't have to chase. Each card represents about 30 ft. of movement. So you can fire arrows, shoot spells, lob bombs or whatever. Let your rogue, ranger and wizard bamf about the city. You can stay right where you are and fire at will.

Want a ride? If you're small ask the barbarian to carry you. Or hop on your animal companion and use its skills where appropriate.

Aid another- if there's two of you stuck on a card, fling your buddy forward with Aid Another checks.

To conclude:
My character isn't good at chases is no excuse. If I build a diplomat I don't complain about combat. If I build a fighter I don't complain about RP. Chases are a fun, new part of the rules. Your character will face. So why haven't you stocked up on potions of expeditious retreat tanglefoot bags and brought a back up ranged weapon?


The biggest problem in PFS is that GMs can not make changes to modules.
The challenges need to be better described and have more options that just two skills.
Alternate movement modes need to work a little better as well

Flight should not be a +10 bonus on your check to climb the wall, it should bypass it.

Grand Lodge

My usual character is actually pretty good at chases so that isn't the reason I piled on, and I GM as much as I play. My problem with chases is they are unnaturally restrictive. They take away the best thing about RPGs: "You can do anything you want!". And change it to "You can either squeeze through the crack or climb over the wall. Roll."

Confronted with an obstacle like a wall with a crack, I'd rather have my PCs come up with their own set of solutions rather than reduce it to just two — that isn't how RPGs should be played in my mind.

I know that some GMs are open to other creative options for each chase step, but just as many aren't. I actually had a GM still make me roll to have my druid pass through a "Thorny Thicket" during a chase, even though he had the Woodland Stride ability. Why should Fly only give me a +10 to get over a wall? I mean, I'm flying, right?

Chase rules are an unnecessary mini-game. The mechanics needed to resolve chases (skill checks, movement, etc.) are already in the Core Rules!

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Narl wrote:
My usual character is actually pretty good at chases so that isn't the reason I piled on, and I GM as much as I play. My problem with chases is they are unnaturally restrictive. They take away the best thing about RPGs: "You can do anything you want!". And change it to "You can either squeeze through the crack or climb over the wall. Roll."

I guess we're interpreting the rules differently, then. I don't see anything declaring that your character can only do what it says on the card. Sure, if you want to do the classic across-rooftops-through-crowded-streets chase scene, the chase mechanic offers a way for you to get from obstacle to obstacle. As mentioned earlier, however, you're still free to do other stuff, such as make ranged attacks, cast spells, roleplay, whatever. The chase mechanic, as I understand, is strictly there to provide a platform for those actually giving chase.

Also, I'm fairly certain that, if a Pathfinder Society player comes up with some cool idea in a chase that isn't covered in the chase cards, or even the rules, Paizo will not send the Goblin Squad after the player. If that assumption is correct, then it really comes down to how the GM adjudicates the situation and that's no different from non-Pathfinder Society games.

That said, as with everything else in the game, the chase rules are not for everyone and that's cool. We're all in it to have a good time and if you feel you handle chases better than the rules presented in the GameMastery Guide, that's absolutely awesome.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

Of course a GM should adjudicate beyond the simple rules on the cards? Are GMs not doing this? PFS is supposed to be run by people not machines for this specific reason. For example:

Bluff the Guard. Maybe you're not good at bluff, so instead you try and push him over. Then it's a CMB check vs the same DC. Or intimidate him. Or throw a tanglefoot bag thus negating the obstacle. The GM needs to remember these are suggested skill checks not straight jackets.

Grand Lodge

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

Of course a GM should adjudicate beyond the simple rules on the cards? Are GMs not doing this? PFS is supposed to be run by people not machines for this specific reason. For example:

Bluff the Guard. Maybe you're not good at bluff, so instead you try and push him over. Then it's a CMB check vs the same DC. Or intimidate him. Or throw a tanglefoot bag thus negating the obstacle. The GM needs to remember these are suggested skill checks not straight jackets.

I agree completely. Unfortunately, the GMs who have run chases for me in PFS have not. My opinion of chases has probably been colored by these experiences. I'll be running a scenario with a chase in a few weeks, and I'm going to do my best to make it great, so maybe my opinion will change.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber
Chinasaur wrote:

What I had thought was a one-time case of sniffles in God's Market Gamble has apparently broken out into a full on contagion - Chase Rules! Simply put, they are awful.

If you want a sure way to grind a free flowing game to a halt, insert an encounter using these contrived and artificial rules.

I just came back from GenCon and played the Runecarved Key special and Rise of the Goblin Guild. Both have chase scenes. Both chase encounters ruined the game.

The GM's don’t like it and the player hate it.

Look, I get how these things come about. In a vacuum, I am sure it sounded like a good idea. However, when actually playing, it is stultifying and lame. This is already a rule heavy game. There simply is no reason to create a separate set of rules for every conceivable situation.

You have good GM’s and a great set of rules. Let these things get sorted out via role playing – the very point of the game!

In games I run, I will not run the chase system. I will instead use words (imagine that!) to create a realistic chase wherein the PC’s can use whatever skills and abilities to their best to run down their quarry.

Kill the chase rules before they kill season 4!

I think the bolded is the issue. Have you had the experience of having them run by a DM who likes them?

It seems to me that any time the DM is hesitant or reluctant about a particular mechanic or other in-game situation, it rarely translates to a rewarding experience for the players.


My group recently encountered the chase scene at Gencon. We played three scenarios where the chase scene was incorporated, and played the chase rules three different ways, depending on how the GM wanted to run them.

Our consensus was that the chase rules were an excuse to sell a deck of cards.

I was somewhat ambivalent about the chase, it was interesting, but I wouldn't want to see a chase in every scenario. I don't need to buy 50 dollar rule books to play Munchkins.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I came up with these chase mechanics early on playing Pathfinder because it came up with some frequency that the players needed to chase down someone of roughly the same speed. It's pretty similar in construction to what Paizo came up with but doesn't depend on "cards" and is less heavy on the obstacles. It has to be somewhat abstract just because you're running through unprepped areas, but since the GM is coming up with obstacles on the fly they can be more appropriate (like in a chase through Riddleport, I keep an eye on the map to see what area they're in to come up with appropriate complications).


Steve Geddes wrote:
Chinasaur wrote:
The GM's don’t like it and the player hate it.
I think the bolded is the issue. Have you had the experience of having them run by a DM who likes them?

Yes. And I still hate them, and I still refuse to do them as a player - I'll say "start without me, I'm doing Gather Info/search the place taking 20/whatever."

Chase scenes are a valueless waste of time, especially hurtful if the time allocated to run the scenario is tight.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber
Daniel Mayrand wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Chinasaur wrote:
The GM's don’t like it and the player hate it.
I think the bolded is the issue. Have you had the experience of having them run by a DM who likes them?

Yes. And I still hate them, and I still refuse to do them as a player - I'll say "start without me, I'm doing Gather Info/search the place taking 20/whatever."

Chase scenes are a valueless waste of time, especially hurtful if the time allocated to run the scenario is tight.

Again:

"I don't like this. It was not fun for me."
Is not the same as "Valueless waste of time."

Also the sentiment chase scenes are created to sell decks of cards is silly. The entire Pathfinder Society Campaign is designed to sell and highlight Paizo products.

But the chase mechanic was made long before the cards, and all the relevant rules appear in the scenario and free on the PRD.

It's a new mechanic and GMs need to make judgement calls.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Modules Subscriber

So, I'm hearing a lot of bellyaching from players who had less than good GMs.

Good GMs will run the chase as a Chase! not as a mini-board game, letting characters interact with the scenery and scenario.

Not so good GMs will stultify creativity and lead to a dull mini-board game.

It's not the fault of the mechanic, which lets a complex thing be represented in very little word count rather elegantly. (It'll be even better as more people actually read the PRD details enough to get a grasp on how to cover the "alternate approaches").


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Saying "it's a great mechanic if you ignore the mechanical bits" is faint praise, indeed.

Qadira

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Hlynrian wrote:

My group recently encountered the chase scene at Gencon. We played three scenarios where the chase scene was incorporated, and played the chase rules three different ways, depending on how the GM wanted to run them.

Our consensus was that the chase rules were an excuse to sell a deck of cards.

I was somewhat ambivalent about the chase, it was interesting, but I wouldn't want to see a chase in every scenario. I don't need to buy 50 dollar rule books to play Munchkins.

You would be very much mistaken. The chase rules were developed for Curse of the Crimson Throne AP. Back before Pathfinder RPG, before they had any idea of making the deck. To the best of my understanding, the popularity of the Chase Rules on the messageboards is what led to the chase deck being made. Just sayin'.

Qadira

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The Sweater Golem wrote:
So, keep the chase, use it sparingly, plan better encounters. The heavily armored fighter should have no chance of catching the swift-footed foe, just like the rogue can't go toe to toe with the barbarian ogre. Give the fighter something else to do.

Unless the fighter has armor training and isn't slowed by his armor. And/Or, took a dip in Barbarian to get rage and fast movement. And/or, is hasted by the party caster. And/or, is flying from any number of sources.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
tlotig wrote:

The biggest problem in PFS is that GMs can not make changes to modules.

The challenges need to be better described and have more options that just two skills.
Alternate movement modes need to work a little better as well

Flight should not be a +10 bonus on your check to climb the wall, it should bypass it.

THIS

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Add to that the chase rules themselves are silly at high levels. Hello? Dimension Door? He's running? ok, now he's in an Invulnerable Sphere. we walk up and wave.

Please folks. If you're going to put these rules-within-rules in a game, allows the judges the flexibility to dump them in society play if the players don't want it.

Andoran

I've had my first chase experiences in some PFS games this month. Both times ended rather quickly, but both times also caught the attention of the players. What tripped up one of the players was the motivation. He had a hard time understanding why he was chasing this character instead of killing her, which based on the set up on the chase seemed viable. I also had trouble explaining why familiar mechanics were running differently now other than through the use of metagame terminology. I did pick up the Chase card deck, however, and plan on running several more chases until familiarity helps me work out the kinks.

Qadira

Paizo Superscriber

I was introduced to the Chase Cards by the Mahn himself. It was actually one of his first attempts at bringing something new to the game back when he wrote for Dragon.

I found it very entertaining because I was a rogue. It did give me the feel of a chase in JB's Iron Lords game. I will definitely use them in the future.

And it did not distract a single bit from the game. It played flawlessly and took maybe 15 minutes. And since he was the designer, I think a little advance thinking by the GM is required to pull it off in a fun manner.

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