Dungeon Master Assistance

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D&D 3.5 – Optional Chase Rules

Optional rules for D&D v3.5

 Why do we need more rules? What is wrong with just using the rules as printed?

Problems with using standard Dungeons and Dragons rules for a chase:

1)     The move rules are written for use in combat, and are excellent for that, but chases are resolved as if they were races. As anyone knows who has ever watched an action movie with an exciting chase scene, a chase is not a race. Being quick, clever and daring (along with a good portion of luck) can result in a slower person getting away form a faster pursuer, or a slower pursuer catching someone faster.

2)    On page 20 of the DMG “Evasion and Pursuit” says in round-by-round movement it is imposable for a slower character to catch a faster character. If they have the same speed, let them make an opposed Dexterity check to see who wins. And for long chases, have everybody make Dexterity checks to see who can keep up the pace the longest. This is workable but it replaces what could be an exciting chase into a single role of the dice. If combat was handled like this, everyone would roil one d20, add any ability or circumstance modifiers, and the fight would be over.  This would “work” but wouldn’t be much fun.

3)    Each character moves during his or her turn during a combat round. Even though this works just fine for combat, for a chase it can result in awkward situations. For example, your character could be chasing another with the same speed, each round on your turn you would move up close to him and then on his turn your opponent would pull away from you. If you are chasing someone and you are both running at the same speed, shouldn’t you stay the same distance apart for the whole round?

4)    Actions and moves are handled separately. There are very few actions that can be performed while moving. As we all know, during a chase, you don’t normally stop to do other things. Practically everything you do is done while you are running.

What these new rules attempt to do:

Only one thing. Make chases fun! To do this:

1)     It must be simple. The new rules are kept to a minimum.

2)    It must still be D&D.  A chase is basically a special combat situation. All standard combat rules still function normally during a chase except where specifically noted otherwise. Most importantly, your character isn’t limited to what he can attempt to do.

3)    It must work for any number of characters chasing any number of other characters. The PCs can be chasing others or be chased by others and each PC determines his own actions.

4)    It must work equally well for characters on foot, mounted, fling or driving a vehicle. Everyone on a vehicle is involved in the chase, but there will typically only be one character driving or controlling the vehicle. The mode of travel can even change during the chase. For example, someone might jump onto or off or his horse, or he might swim across a lake or climb a wall.

5)    There must be a way for the slower person to win. The distance you move each round can’t be just a static distance based on your characters speed rate. There will be a roil of a 20 sided die that each character involved in the chase makes that will modify his distance traveled. And it will be adjusted by various factors such as terrain, obstacles, abilities and actions taken during the round.

Download a free copy of these chase rules here: Chase Rules


5 responses to “D&D 3.5 – Optional Chase Rules

  1. jack11392@gmail.com August 17, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    This article is really good to read. Great!!
    Thank you very much for sharing, could I post it on my Twitter to share with my families?


    • Ronny August 20, 2014 at 10:46 am

      I am glad that you like this and, of course, you can share this any way you want to. I am rethinking chase rules for D&D 5E. You can expect to see a new post on that soon.


  2. Pingback: D&D 5e – Chase rules | Dungeon Master Assistance

  3. Cody Willis January 20, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    I just stumbled into this and I must say, this is fantastic. Chases were really a drag but this is essentially a whole new style of combat. Great work.


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