General Chase Rules

Copyright Thomas Shook © 2008

Edited by Mario Butter for The Guild Companion

There are times that the PCs will either be fleeing would be pursuers or will be the pursuers trying to catch those fleeing from them. These rules provide a basic framework to be able to conduct almost any type of chase.

All chases have a scale of 10 units, where units is a measure of time/distance based upon the needs of the chase. It could easily be 10 feet per unit, if the chase was through a crowded city; or could be days if it was an overland chase. The GM needs to determine the measurement of a unit when the chase starts.

In addition the GM should determine the appropriate skill needed for the chase, based upon the nature of the chase. For the city chase above, he may opt for Mundane Lore: Local to be the skill, since knowing the city and the alleyways is more important than how fast the person is moving. For the overland chase it may be Counter-Tracking vs Tracking or Navigation vs Tracking if one party is traveling by using land marks while the other is tracking them. For a horse race it could be riding, in the water it could be swimming, or boating, etc. It is not necessary for both parties to use the exact same skill, they should use the skill most appropriate to the activity they are doing.

A chase starts with both parties 1 to 9 units apart, determined by the GM based upon circumstances. Each turn, both parties make an appropriate skill roll and refer to the percentage column on the Maneuver Table (HARP pg 66) and divide by 10 to determine the units advanced (i.e., 120 on the table becomes 12, etc.). With the following two adjustments, a failed roll = 0 units for said group, and a fumble is treated as -5 units to the group that receives it (most of the time this will end the chase in favor of the other group).

When the difference in units reach 0 or 10 the chase is concluded. If it reaches 0 the pursuing group has caught up to the fleeing group When it reaches 10 the fleeing group has managed to escape the pursuing group.


Eldara has managed to escape from some orcs, who aren't too happy their dinner is now missing. Unfortunately for them, they hadn't noticed the escape until she was gone for a bit of time. The orcs decide to track their prey and hope to have meat in the cooking pot. Eldara, a skilled woodsman, was smart enough to cover her tracks as she fled.

The GM decides to treat this as a chase, since the orcs are hungry they are willing to pursue their prey for a bit. He decides the base chase unit will be an hour. As Eldara was able to escape earlier, he deems she is 3 hours ahead of the orcs so the starting Units = 3. Also, he decides to use counter tracking for Eldara and tracking for the orcs skill.

Note the GM can assign modifiers to either party based on circumstances. The orcs may gain a +10/20 to their roll for familiarity of the surroundings, whereas Eldara might have a minus since covering her tracks requires a bit of time so she is moving slower. Though these have not been applied to the example below to just keep things simple.

Eldara - Tracking +94
Orcs - Tracking +68
Units = 3

Check #1
Eldara 115 (94 + roll 21) = 11 Units
Orcs 105 (68 + roll 37) = 10 Units
Units = 4 (3 + (11 - 10))
Eldara is able to gain a little more reprieve and her counter tracking is paying off.

Check #2
Eldara 136 (94 + roll 42) = 12 Units
Orcs 147 (68 + roll 83) = 12 Units
Units = 4 (4 + (12 - 12))

Check #3
Eldara 168 (94 + roll 74) = 13 Units
Orcs 87 (68 + roll 19) = 8 Units
Units = 9 (4 + (13 - 8))
Eldara is almost free and she is feeling that she has thrown the orcs off her trail.

Check #4
Eldara 124 (94 + roll 30) = 11 Units
Orcs 91 (68 + roll 23) = 9 Units
Units = 11 (9 + (11 - 9))
Since the units is 10+ Eldara has managed to escape. The orcs have lost her trail completely and decided it's easier to return and eat the guard who let her escape instead.

The overall chase took approximately 4 hours from start to finish. Had the units counter reached 0 the orcs would have caught up to Eldara. The GM should play this out. Perhaps the orcs encounter her when she is taking a moment to rest, or she hears them crash through the bushes and immediately go to initiative, with the orcs gaining surprise, etc.

New Skills

This skill provides a bonus to the character for long distance running. The main use for this skill is long distance marathon style running or for resolving foot chases, or resolution of movement outside combat. It also increases the time a character may sustain continuous movement by providing a bonus of +1 per 10 ranks to the character's constitution bonus for maintaining a pace (HARP pg 26). Running is affected by Armor Movement Penalties.
(Physical - Qu/Co - All-or-Nothing)