I’ve been wanting to revise the DWAITAS’ (sorry, the Doctor Who RPG) chase system for quite some time now. Why so? Simply put, because I find the current system a bit too cumbersome and slow-moving (ah!) for my taste; I’d much prefer a quicker, simpler, less number-crunchy system based on the principle of direct conflict - i.e. rolling to beat your opponent’s own roll, as opposed to the current chase rules which make each character or vehicle involved “roll against the terrain” without comparing their respective results.
The variant system detailed below does away with the two major features of the official chase rules, namely Speed (as a separate characteristic) and Areas, in favour of a direct conflict between the involved parties. For the sake of clarity, these involved parties will be hereafter referred to as the fugitive (the one being chased) and the pursuer (the one chasing the fugitive).
Each party rolls Coordination + Athletics (for running chases – we’ll take a look at vehicles later), trying to beat the opposition. Ties go to the fugitive – just like they go to the defender in a fight.
If the fugitive wins, the result is interpreted as follows:
Success / Yes But (0-3): You put some distance between you and the pursuer. If you get a second Success in the next chase round, you manage to outrun him and the chase is over.
Good / Yes (4-8): You manage to outrun the pursuer. The chase is over.
Fantastic / Yes And (9+): As above, but the pursuer also suffers some kind of mishap (left at the discretion of the Game Master, depending on the situation) which puts him out of action at least for the remainder of the scene (or permanently if the GM deems it appropriate).
If the pursuer wins, the result is interpreted as follows:
Success / Yes But (1-3): You’re closing in. If you get a second Success in the next chase round, you catch up with the fugitive and the chase is over.
Good / Yes (4-8): You catch up with the fugitive. The chase is over.
Fantastic / Yes And (9+): As above, but the fugitive also suffers some kind of mishap (left at the discretion of the Game Master, depending on the situation) which puts him out of action at least for the remainder of the scene (or permanently if the GM deems it appropriate).
And that’s it. Everything else if fluff and modifiers (see below).
What about the Run For Your Life! trait? Well, instead of increasing your Speed by 1, this now simply gives you a +2 bonus to your chase rolls when you act as the fugitive.
If your pursuer has the Slow trait (for Cybermen etc.), you will only need a single Success to outrun him. If a fugitive has the Slow trait, the pursuer will only need a single Success to catch up with him. These two cases obviously cancel each other.
STUNTS & TERRAIN
Stunts should simply be interpreted as the expenditure of Story points to affect chase rolls, as per the regular rules (either before the roll to get extra dice or after to turn failure into success).
Terrain modifiers simply come into play as per the usual rules for complications, giving bonuses or penalties to the characters’ rolls.
VEHICLES & MOUNTS
Vehicular chases should be handled with the same mechanics, except for the following two differences: the roll will be Coordination + Transport and the relative Speed of the vehicles is taken into account.
Yes, unlike characters, vehicles retain their Speed rating but these do not have the same effects on play: simply give the vehicle with the highest Speed a bonus on chase rolls equal to the Speed difference. Thus, a car (Speed 8) chasing (or speeding away from) a truck (Speed 5) would get a +3 bonus on its chase rolls. But what about chases involving vehicles AND people on foot? In this case, simply use the vehicle’s Speed rating as a straight bonus (i.e., +8 for a car chasing people on foot); in most cases, this will mean automatic victory for the vehicle – unless stunts and Story points are involved (see above) and that’s precisely why such things exist. In other words, you shouldn’t be able to outrun a car by simply running away, unless you come up with some daring or clever stunt.
When using mounts (horses etc.), use the same system as for vehicles, except that Athletics is the relevant skill. Riding animals who are able to gallop (or move in a similar, very fast manner) should be given a Speed rating (such as 4 for a healthy horse). In other words, a rider on horseback will get a +4 bonus to his chase rolls against people on foot.