Monday, 25 September 2017

Chases in Savage Worlds

A lot of people seem to have difficulty wrapping their heads around the chase rules in Savage Worlds, either because they find the rules confusing, or because they have trouble connecting the game mechanics to the narrative. In particular, many people seem to view chases as a "race", when what they more accurately represent is a mobile combat encounter, in which the characters are exchanging attacks while rushing across the landscape.

The way I usually explain chases is by asking people to imagine a typical action movie chase scene, and then pick out five pivotal moments from the scene to represent the rounds in which the characters take their actions. The remainder of the scene would just be handled through the narrative.

For example, imagine this scene from Casino Royale:


In the above chase scene, I would probably define the five rounds as follows:

Round 1 (takes place at 0:26): James Bond makes a Driving roll in the first round (Agility rolls after that, once he leaves the vehicle). He has the Advantage, and uses the Force maneuver against the bad guy, but fails.

Round 2 (takes place at 1:15): James Bond has the Advantage, but drew the King of Clubs, meaning he's distracted by the explosion.

Round 3 (takes place at 2:40): The bad guy has the Advantage, and makes a Shooting attack at short range, but rolls a critical failure (his gun jams). James responds with an Agility trick (he doesn't need the Advantage for a Trick), and causes the bad guy to become Shaken.

Round 4 (takes place at 3:00): The bad guy has the Advantage, and attacks James, causing him to become Shaken.

Round 5 (takes place at 5:05): The bad guy has the Advantage, and reaches the safety of the embassy.

Everything else would just be part of the narrative, described by the players and Game Master.

Simplifying the Rules

Some people understand how to narrate the chases, but find the rules overly complicated, and/or dislike the way characters cannot attack without Advantage. A suggestion I've made in the past is to streamline the chase rules by removing the attack range and complication tables - even I have to look those up, and to be honest, having to reference table entries every round isn't very FFF.

Streamlined Chases

Each round, each character makes their maneuvering trait roll, drawing one card for each success and raise (as normal). The characters then take their actions in sequence, however:

1. You suffer -2 to attack (or 'Force') someone who has a higher card.
2. You suffer -2 if you have a dot card (2-10), and must use ranged weapons.
3. Complication (Clubs): Make another roll at -2 to avoid Fatigue or a collision.

So face cards would allow melee attacks, while spot card would require ranged attacks, and you'd have a penalty of between +0 and -4, which the Game Master or players could narrate as range, cover, distractions, etc.

Note: Savageblog Italia have translated this post to Italian, read it here.