... now with 35% more arrogance!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Race Wars

No, this post isn't about "race" in sense of human physical subtypes or their fantasy equivalents. It's about racing. On the post asking for 3LBB topics that have been under-represented on the blogs, there were two requests for chase rules. Well, a chase -- one or more people attempting to catch a moving goal -- is just a variant of a race -- two or more people attempting to reach a stationary goal first -- so I'll start with races.

At first glance, a race seems pretty straight-forward: if a character and an opponent are both trying to reach the magic sword/the helpless victim/the escape pod before the other, whichever is faster should win. But there are some provisos to this. A turn is normally two moves of 30, 60, 90 or 120 feet, depending on armor and encumbrance. In a "flight/pursuit situation" (U&WA p. 8,) it's four moves, but requiring rest after 4 turns. Performing an action that can't be done "on the hoof" means giving up at least one move. Thus:

  • Opponents who judge themselves to be much faster than you may take the more leisurely two moves per turn, so that they can move for 5 turns instead of 4 turns.
  • You can attempt to slow opponents down, if you are close enough (trip, drop valuable item,) or a third party may slow one or both of you down (archers firing random arrows.)
  • Evenly-matched racers would seemingly arrive simultaneously, but there should be more variation.

We could solve the third problem by using ability scores as a tie-breaker: Dex for short distances, Con for long distances. The tie-breaker approach is what I suggested way back in my simple skill system post, although I didn't specifically talk about racing there. If they are still tied, any character with more experience racing gets the advantage.

However, we could make these ties a little more interesting by letting each racer roll a 1d6 situation roll. On a 5+, that racer gets a further +1.

To solve other problems, we can break the distance to the goal down into 30-foot segments. So, a heavily-encumbered adventurer travels one segment in one move, but a less-encumbered one travels two or three segments, and those who are completely unencumbered travel four segments per move. Actions that slow a racer require situation rolls to see if the racer loses one move:

  • Arrow traps, or archers firing into race course: risk a hit or automatically dodge, but roll 5+ on 1d6 to avoid losing a move while dodging.
  • Tripping opponent: each side rolls 5+ or loses a move; side with higher Dex gets +1 to roll.
  • Dropping oil behind you: Opponent rolls 5+ modified by Dex or loses a move.


You could also allow pushing the limits: squeeze an extra segment in, but make a 5+ on 1d6 roll per extra segment or become tired, followed by "very tired" and "exhausted" (handled as wound levels, described in another post.)

I'll address changes needed for chases in a future post.

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