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I'm prepping to run CotCT, and I've got a couple of questions about the Shingles chase. The first is logistical: do you think you should lay out all the cards for the chase at the beginning, so the players see them all, or reveal them only as characters encounter them? The latter seems more "realistic", but the former allows players to get more tactical about when to try to move three cards at once.
The second is a question about the DCs. I'm using the new hardcover edition of CotCT, and it seems like some of the cards are just going to be killers for 3rd level characters. Hell, I even tried to run a 10th level character I already had rolled up through it, and he couldn't get past some of them without half a dozen tries. At 3rd level, a DC of 30 is going to be all but impossible, even if you've put ranks in that skill at every level, and even a DC of 25 is going to be really tough. For people who have run this already, what's been your experience?
I would say that the chase mechanics are intended (my opinion only, I don't know for a fact) to let the players know what the whole board looks like, otherwise the "beat both challenges to surge ahead" trick seems off/odd.
It's also critical for those intending to help their allies past obstacles they would otherwise have no chance at (for those groups that like to work together even in a chase).
Sorry I got distracted and didn't answer question #2. In a chase, there will always be a character or two that can't possibly make the DCs of an obstacle (or sometimes both). My players had a few creative solutions for these problems, but the go-to seems to be aid-another and picking your spots.
Remember that a card is around 30 feet of range. My players ended up doing a few things to actively foil the chase-ee while the rogue shingle-runner caught up to them.
I plan on laying out the whole chase with the cards upside down so the player won't know what is coming up. When a character moves onto the card I will flip it over and they will see the skill required but not the DC. I really want to eliminate the "meta-gaming" of knowing ahead of time.
Yes the DCs are hard, I might reduce them a little.
When I was player in CotCT, it was spells that caught Trina.