Anarchy House Rule: The Chase Scene
House Rules for a cinematic method of Pursuits in Shadowrun: Anarchy.
Every rigger needs a chase scene, just like every decker needs a Matrix Run. Chase scenes act as effective spotlights on the rigger’s abilities and due to their near ubiquity in action movies, they are very cinematic. They have break-neck speeds, jockeying for positions, sideswipes and stunts, and of course, crashes. More often than not, a chase scene can be inclusive of other characters and archetypes too, as they support the driver/pilot by firing weapons, hacking traffic signals, or providing magical support.
The trick to making an exciting chase scene is to have:
A) a back-and-forth in who has the upper hand,
B) more decisions to make than “go fast” or “go slightly faster,”
C) a cap on length and monotony to stop 25-mile long runway scenes from happening.
These house rules work for vehicle pursuits (Pilot Skill vs. Pilot Skill) or foot pursuits (Athletics vs. Athletics). By varying the Skills used--even from one turn to another--they can also be used in stealth pursuits (Stealth vs. Tracking), rooftop pursuits (Acrobatics vs Acrobatics), or wilderness pursuits (Survival vs. Tracking).
THE CHASE SCENE:
GM determines beginning Range and Environment of the Chase Scene.
Players make appropriate Tests (in the order below):
Quarry chooses a Difficulty and makes a Skill Test.
Pursuer matches the Difficulty and makes an appropriate Skill Test.
Indirect participants attack, interfere, or assist using appropriate Tests.
Quarry or Pursuer with most net hits gets a Chase Token.
Ties are broken by Edge, then by GM.
Pursuer gets a Chase Token if the Quarry fails its Skill Test.
The Chase Scene ends when 3 Chase Tokens are gained by either party.
If the Chase Scene does not end, GM determines new Range based on Chase Tokens and Environment.
The GM sets the Range between parties based on how the Chase Scene started, but it should normally start at Near or Far. The GM also sets the Environment, which could determine any modifiers to the Chase Actions. It might be raining, crowded, wide open, etc.
The Quarry narrates first, and since they decide the path they take to escape, they can decide what Skill to use and the Difficulty. Do they want to take the straight away and test vs. Easy (6) or head down that narrow alleyway and test vs. Hard (10)? They make their Skill Test and count their net hits.
The Pursuer narrates next. They follow the Quarry, so they make an appropriate Skill Test against the same Difficulty (to speed things up, the GM should roll just once for both the Quarry and Pursuer). They make their Skill Test and count their net hits.
Indirect participants are those along for the ride (like passengers) or those not taking place in the pursuit (like a decker helping out from the Matrix). They narrate last because they can attack, interfere with (such as causing a distraction), or assist (such as hacking GridGuide) either party on their next Narration. If successful, these actions could apply modifiers to future Chase Actions; Total modifiers from indirect participants should not exceed +/-3.
At the end of the Turn, compare the net hits of the Quarry and Pursuer. The side that has the most net hits gains a Chase Token (ties are broken by Edge and then by the GM). If the Quarry failed his or her Skill Test, the Pursuer automatically gains the Chase Token. The GM should adjust the relative distance between the parties based on who has the most Chase Tokens.
The side that gets to 3 Chase Tokens first, wins. The Chase Scene can end early if one side decides to stop taking Chase Actions or... you know... dies.
Stunts are dangerous maneuvers that have the potential to end a Chase Scene quickly. Examples might include crossing the tracks before the grav-train passes or jumping a particularly wide rooftop gap. The Quarry can spend a Plot Point to Live Dangerously on their Skill Test: an Exploit earns a Chase Token for the Quarry. The Pursuer may also Live Dangerously: an Exploit strips a Chase Token from the Quarry. A Glitch for either side will remove a Chase Token, as they crash, stumble, get turned around, etc.
The Quarry can choose to switch up how they want to escape. They could full out sprint in the first Narration (Athletics), then switch to blending into a crowd in their next Narration (Stealth).
This method works with multiple Quarry and multiple Pursuers. If the Quarry splits up, it effectively creates separate Chase Scenes but maintains current Chase Token counts with Pursuers deciding who to follow.
The whole Chase Scene generally lasts no more than five Turns but you can shorten or lengthen the Scene by adjusting the number of Chase Tokens to win.
Some other Plot Points should change how they work in a Chase Scene.
Double Time it should not allow two movements (it is assumed that all sides are moving as fast as they can already). Instead, Double Time it allows a Quarry or Pursuer to make a non-Chase Action (such as shooting out a window, casting a spell, or ramming) in addition to their Chase Action.
Shake it up should not allow a Pursuer to narrate before a Quarry.
Surprise Threat should introduce obstacles such as a big rig pulling into traffic, Knight Errant joining the pursuit, or those two guys that are always carrying glass panes across the street for some reason...