D&D 5e Chase Scenes

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A chase scene in any scene in which one party attempts to chase down the other.

[edit] Base Movement

  • Each turn, characters move their base movement, as normal.
Sample Chase

This chase takes place through the crowded streets of Waterdeep's Dock Ward on a cold winter night. Line of Sight is assumed to be 20', due to the close-packed nature of Waterdeep's grungiest streets. If the quarry reaches the finish line at 530', he escapes behind a door which he locks.

  • Fallen Crates Block the Path (20 ft): Large Obstacle: Dexterity (Acrobatics) DC 15 to get past. On a failure, lose 15 feet of movement; on a successful save, lose 5 feet.
  • Patch of Ice (70 ft): Difficult Terrain: Bypassing this terrain counts as 20 feet of movement.
  • Group of Drunken Sailors, Singing Badly (140 ft): Crowd: Strength (Athletics), Dexterity (Acrobatics) DC 15 to get through crowd. On a failure, lose 10 feet of movement; on a success, lose 5 feet.
  • Switchback Alley (180 ft): Sharp Turn: Dexterity save, DC 12. On a failure, collide with terrain, causing 1d8 damage and losing 10 feet of movement; on a success, lose 5 feet of movement.
  • Thinly Boarded Up Doorway (230 ft): Breakable Barrier: Make a Strength (Athletics) DC 13 check; this is reduced by 2 for every person who has already broken through it, eliminating it entirely once it is DC 8 or lower. Those who pass through it must make Dexterity saves (DC equal to the obstacle's current DC) or take 1d10 slashing damage. On a successful check, lose 5 feet of movement; on a failed check, lose 15 feet of movement.
  • Cluster of Nervous Streetfolk Around a Makeshift Fire (330 ft): Insightful Advantage (Optional) Make a Intelligence (History) DC 13 check. If successful, gain 5 additional feet of movement. If failed, lose that amount.
  • Gang of Brawling Street Thugs (360 ft): Dangerous Crowd: Strength (Athletics), Dexterity (Acrobatics) DC 12 to get through crowd. On a failure, lose 10 feet of movement and take 1d12 damage as well; on a successful check, only lose 5 feet of movement.
  • Group of Lost Foreigners (450 ft): Crowd: Strength (Athletics), Dexterity (Acrobatics) DC 13 to get through crowd. On a failure, lose 10 feet of movement; on a success, lose 5 feet.
  • An Overturned Cart (480 ft): Athletic Advantage (Optional): Make a Strength (Athletics) DC 20 check. If successful, gain 15 additional feet of movement. If failed, lose that amount.
  • Down A Sudden Stairwell (530 ft): Sharp Turn: Dexterity save, DC 10. On a failure, collide with terrain, causing 1d8 damage and losing 10 feet of movement; on a success, lose 5 feet of movement.

[edit] Dash (Action)

During a chase, characters may still take the Dash action, as normal. In fact, it is assumed they will be doing so for most of the chase.

[edit] Dashing & Exhaustion

  • Players should keep track of how many consecutive Dash actions they take during the chase.
    • On any turn in which a character does not Dash, this tally may be reduced by 1.
  • Characters have a "Dash Threshold" of 3 + (Constitution bonus).
  • If a character equals or exceeds their Dash Threshold, at the end of the chase, their player must make a Constitution save of DC 10. Failure on this check inflicts one level of Exhaustion.

[edit] Attacks

  • Characters that are in range of an enemy may make an attack as normal.
  • Anyone involved in a chase that is hit by an attack must make a Strength save (DC 10 or half damage taken, whichever is greater) or be knocked prone as a result of the injury.
  • Characters making ranged attacks must have line of sight, which is abstracted depending on the environs in question:
    • Large open areas (wide open plains or crop fields): Automatic line of sight
    • Open areas with some cover (rolling terrain or light forest): Must be within 80' of target
    • Areas with significant cover (heavy forests, streets of a town): Must be within 40' of target
    • Densely packed areas (subterranean, streets of a city): Must be within 20' of target

[edit] Complications

  • Every chase has several Complications - milestones measured in feet of movement that represent the kinds of obstacles and surprises that can foul up or abet a chase.
  • Complications by and large provide the means by which characters can manage to catch up to their quarry, or to escape.
  • Many complications force checks and inflict damage, reduced movement, or other penalties for failure at the check, and many even include such (albeit reduced) with successful saves.
  • Optional: Some Complications are optional - these are possibly advantageous encounters that can give a character the upper hand, if they can manage the complication. A character who encounters one may choose to take advantage of it, making the associated check. If successful, the character gains a number of feet of movement; if not, they lose movement.

[edit] Escaping or Catching Up

  • Each chase has an undeclared "finish point" - if the quarry gets to that finish point, they escape safely. The pursuers loose them in crowds, they reach the safety of a haven of some kind, etc.
  • The pursuer may end the chase before the "finish point" by forcing the quarry to stop their flight, through injuries, forced movement, knocking them prone, etc.
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