Have you read the first part of this article? Read D&D rat chase – Part 1 here!
The Woldians say…
This article stemmed from an e-mail discussion between Robert – a Dungeon Mastering reader – and Kim & Jerry from Woldian Games. If you haven’t done it yet take the time to check it their website.
Jerry’s suggestions gravitate around one concept: forget the rules. I couldn’t agree more with that. If you want a fast-paced, action-packed scene you can’t be an anal rules lawyer.
Forget the rules. Do look up mob rules as that can be fun. Pushing through etc.
What I would do is write out 10 or so “tidbits of fun and excitement” and throw one in each round. Things that show that they are not the only thing going on. It needs to “sound” busy.
1. Scream of a girl in the crowd being crushed. (50xp times level to rescue her.)
2. Pickpocket tries to take coin from a party member.
3. Difficult townspeople who try to hinder the party.
4. Friendly townspeople who help them for a round by rolling carts in the way of the other group.
5. Guards: “Who goes there!”
6. Urine pot being thrown out of an upstairs window. Eww!
Then I’d list some strategies of the opponents. What their goals are. What they will do when things happen.
The more info I have to “play with” the more I can act on the spur of the moment to keep it exciting.
Ok, that set, I’d really push the tempo of the combat. Faster and faster, from player to player. It simulates the action to make them go fast. Tell them that dragging cuts xp and speeding up in a chase scene will earn them xp.
Play some music. Something fast! 1812 Overture! Metallica! Set up a playlist. Creates excitement, even humor.
If they get too frantic, throw in a planned “pause in the action” to let them catch their breaths.
As you can see, it’s more about the roleplay than the mechanics.
I think in this case that detailed miniatures on a table would take away from the action. Slow things down too much.
So, I’d announce that the party will be represented by one figure and the opponents by one. Set it up so that if the party “average” is faster, they start closing the gap. The thief pulls out a potion of speed. Result: The party closes 15′. The opponents risk going to a faster speed: X4 speed. They make fort checks and fail. The party closes 10′.
Might even put the miniatures for both groups on a 3by5 card or something and move them as a group through a town map that you’ve drawn on the table.
I even like the idea of dead ends, rooftops, going down a road a second time so that the “planned event” you did there gets to happen again. Second time down the street, the lady throws urine on purpose cause you woke her baby.
Tomorrow: Tips on running different kinds of chase scenes.