Archives of Nethys

Pathfinder RPG (1st Edition) Starfinder RPG Pathfinder RPG (2nd Edition)

All Rules | Downtime Rules

Vehicles / Vehicle Encounters

Chase Combat

Source Tech Revolution pg. 88
Many of the same considerations of vehicle choice and power levels apply to designing chase encounters, with key differences.

Terrain and Obstacles

Source Tech Revolution pg. 88
Because vehicle chases are more abstract than tactical combat, you have the freedom to create and describe any environment you need without depicting it on a map, giving you substantial flexibility. Consider your chase zones’ features and how these might facilitate or complicate maneuvers. An area with lots of small obstacles like rocks, trashcans, or pedestrians might increase the DC of Keep Pace or Speed Up actions. An area with slippery mud or wet pavement might increase the DC of Evade and Slow Down actions. Varying these conditions keeps each zone exciting, especially if those conditions might affect certain vehicles unequally. Shallow pools of acid can melt the tires off a vehicle, but a hover vehicle likely avoids this damage altogether. Smoke-filled air might endanger occupants of a vehicle that doesn’t provide passengers with total cover. The ratio of how many hazards threaten the PCs versus their opponents can tip the encounter’s overall challenge in either side’s favor.
A basic chase is strictly linear, but environments are rarely so simple. Upon departing a zone, a vehicle might have to choose between multiple routes that later intersect and rejoin, providing the participants vital options that enhance engagement. Do the PCs veer onto the highway where their exposed position offsets their ability to speed up, or do they detour into the crowded alleys where they enjoy cover yet must avoid more obstacles? When presenting these choices, be sure the players have enough context to infer how they will impact the experience, otherwise their actions might feel random and unfulfilling.


Source Tech Revolution pg. 89
Because escaping and getting left behind (Core Rulebook 284) are relatively easy in Starfinder, requiring only a two-zone difference, it’s valuable to plan for ways to extend an important chase scene near the encounter’s start and help the PCs succeed near the end. This ensures that the chase doesn’t end prematurely and uneventfully, and it allows the PCs to experience the different environments you’ve created for them.
Extending a chase scene is more art than science, especially since bad die rolls could stymie even the best drivers. If one party is too far ahead, adding complications could slow them down, and removing earlier complications for whichever group is behind could speed them up. Be careful of using too much overt manipulation, however, as a heavy hand can dispel the idea that the chase was ever fair.