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Foot chases: Is the Range Increment too small?

 
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luisto
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Joined: 08 May 2007
Posts: 246

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:16 pm    Post subject: Foot chases: Is the Range Increment too small? Reply with quote

For a foot chase the SWEX book says that the Range increment is 1". Given that there are 10 range increments in a chase, this seems a bit low to me. Thinking about the typical Jason Bourne chase thru a city, the participants are way more than 20 yards (10") away, but that doesn't mean the chase ends. In fact, chases where the participants are a block away or more are not uncommon.

So why the 1" range increment? For a foot chase I'm about to run next Monday I'm thinking about using a 5" Range Increment for the foot chase, this sounds more logical to this kind of chase. Anyone else has had this issue with foot chases, or has handled it differently?

Thanks!

Luis
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The Angle
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Joined: 28 Feb 2007
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Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Scale' in such things is entirely fungible. One could argue that the scale is not even consistent; the first two increments might each be 20 yards of open street while the third increment is 10 feet of crowded sidewalk. This might not be the case when a merchant ship is fleeing from a pirate on open sea, but it definitely is when an assassin is fleeing from a cop through city crowds and alleys. The best thing to do in such cases is narrate the range. Or, here's an alternative -- make a list of 'street situations' and the ranges they represent. For example, open street=3". Street during rush hour=2". Crowded sidewalk=1". Trash-filled alley=2". Fire escape=1". Office building lobby=3". Come up with a dozen or more of those, pick some way to cycle through them randomly during the chase, and then use them to narrate the action and the distances involved. For example: "The suspect is 12 feet ahead of you on the crowded sidewalk" (2 increments). Then the NPC gains an increment on the character, so you say, "He ducks through a doorway into an office building while you're stalled by the crowd moving against you." The increment has increased to 3 and the distance to 5" -- 1 each for 2 increments of crowded sidewalk plus 3 more for the building lobby.

Steve
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Dylan S
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Joined: 15 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the important thing is relation to other distance increments, not representing reality. You have to know that a car goes X faster than a bicycle, but exactly how far away they are from one-another is unimportant.
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luisto
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree from a storytelling sense, but not from a mechanics sense. If a hero in Range Increment #1 shoots at a hero at Range increment #10, that's a distance of 10" by the rules. This means that in the case of many guns, it's not even medium range. And yet the chase is about to end! Unless of course I started saying that shooting distance varies by a GM-defined amount depending on the number of Range increments, and things could get very funky that way... Sad
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The Angle
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then perhaps the best thing to do is make the increment variable from chase to chase but rigid within a chase. For example, if the chase is happening across crowded streets and sidewalks, you set the increment to 2 inches and leave it there for the entire chase. If the hare escapes at 20", it's not because he's 'too far away' but simply because the hounds have lost sight of him in the shifting crowd and can't relocate him. If the chase is taking place through a park with a lot of open space, then you could set the range increment to 5", and when the pursuers fall more than 10 increments behind, they're out of handgun range entirely.

If you want to stick with the 1" increments in all cases, then the only believable way to rationalize it in all cases is to say that once the increment goes over 10, you're simply so far behind that you have no hope of catching up. The guy in the front can maintain his lead no matter what you do. At that point, pulling out your gun and opening fire is a good option.

It's worth noting that the SvgW rulebook is rather vague about what happens at the end of a chase. It amounts to "the target gets away." It's up to the GM to explain how that happened.

Steve
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