Action scenes in films and books tend to fall in to one of two categories: fights or chases. The extended chase in The Shadow over Innsmouth (quoted above) is one of the most dynamic and memorable action sequences in Lovecraft’s work. A chase scene should provide just as much drama and excitement as combat.
A chase is more than a simple test of speed; a good chase is made up of a string of dramatic locations that challenge the characters as they race through them. The characters may begin in a crowded marketplace before moving to narrow alleys, then climbing a fire escape, breaking through a window, pursuing each other through an apartment as a family eat lunch, and so on.
The chase is played out in rounds (much like combat). As each character’s turn begins, the Keeper should describe the situation, then ask what actions the investigator is taking that round. Only then should the Keeper determine what dice rolls are required, the outcome of which should be incorporated in to the story, perhaps changing the situation faced by the next player.
These rules assume the fleeing character has an escape route. If a character is trapped then they must escape before a chase can ensue.
While some measure of gritty realism can be desirable, avoid becoming overly preoccupied with realism. Always bear in mind that the aim is to create dramatic fiction, not to mirror real-world physics.
First, these rules will address a simple one-on-one chase. Later in this chapter, chases with multiple participants will be explored. These rules are intended for characters involved in any type of chase, whether running, swimming or flying, and for vehicles of any kind.
The rules for chases are presented in five parts.
Part 1: Establishing the chase: A method for gauging whether or not a chase needs to be played out in full. In cases where the fleeing character is determined to be fast enough, the chase will go no further than Part 1.
Part 2: Cut to the chase: Provides the Keeper with a system for laying out a chase, positioning all of the participants, and deciding the order of play and number of actions each participant can make.
Part 3: Movement: This part covers the essential rules for movement and for dealing with the various hazards and barriers that might be encountered.
Part 4: Conflict: Provides rules for resolving what happens when characters and vehicles try to grab, strike or collide with each other.
Part 5: Supplementary chase rules: Part 5 contains a selection of additional rules that complement parts 1 to 4.