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Chapter 3: Subsystems / Chases

Obstacles and DCs

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 156
During a chase, all the characters must overcome a series of obstacles that represent challenges—from locked doors to deceptive bogs—during the different legs of the pursuit. These obstacles aren’t separated by specific distances; the distance is narrative and can vary between obstacles as needed for the story you’re telling. Travel times between obstacles can vary, too. The time scale you choose determines how PCs can act when dealing with an obstacle.

Each obstacle requires a certain number of Chase Points to overcome—typically 1 per party member for a standard obstacle, though particularly challenging obstacles might require more (listed in an obstacle’s Chase Points entry). Typically, there are multiple ways to overcome an obstacle; for example, characters could evade a guard or bribe them to look away. Each approach typically requires a skill check or Perception check, but sometimes a saving throw, an attack roll, or something even more unusual, like a casting a certain spell (listed in an obstacle’s Overcome entry).

On a character’s turn, they describe what they do to help the group get past the obstacle. They then attempt any required roll, or perform the required action for a choice without a check. If they attempt a roll, the result determines how many Chase Points the character gains.
Critical Success The PCs gain 2 Chase Points.
Success The PCs gain 1 Chase Point.
Critical Failure The PCs lose 1 Chase Point. If the means of bypassing the obstacle helps automatically without requiring a check—such as using a certain spell to assist—the PCs typically get 1 Chase Point. You can increase that to 2 if you feel the action is extremely helpful.

Chase Points represent the ability of the whole group to bypass the obstacle. A character who critically succeeds is able to help the other characters continue onward, while one who critically fails needs extra assistance. Players often have ideas for ways to overcome the obstacle beyond the choices you created for the obstacle. If their idea is applicable, you’ll need to determine the DC and skill or other statistic being used for that approach. This is great as long as it’s creative, but be wary of a situation where a character who is legendary at a skill tries to justify how they can bypass every obstacle with that skill, such as using Acrobatics to tumble around them all, or the like. You can determine that some tactics just won’t work against certain obstacles, or would help only one character without benefiting the rest and therefore aren’t all that useful.

Once the PCs accumulate enough Chase Points to overcome the obstacle, they immediately move to the next. Extra Chase Points don’t carry over to the next obstacle— each requires its own number of Chase Points to overcome. However, anyone who hasn’t already taken their turn that round can still take it against the new obstacle. Consequently, the characters best suited to overcoming the current obstacle might act first, since the remaining characters might be better suited against the next one. The number of Chase Points the PCs have can never fall below 0.

It might help to put your obstacles in a stat block for easy reference. Inside published adventures, chase obstacles are likely to be presented in stat block form, as follows.

Crowd Obstacle 1

Chase Points 4; Overcome DC 15 Acrobatics or Athletics to weave or push through, DC 13 Society to follow the flow
Throngs of people crowd the streets, making it difficult to continue the chase.