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Fleeing in ToC


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#1 Detrucid

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 12:44 PM

Hey everyone! First time poster, really enjoying ToC as a system, and currently playing an Armitage Files campaign which I'm really enjoying.

 

I'm a bit confused about the Fleeing rules in Trail of Cthulhu, mostly because explicit explanation of the mechanic as such seems to be absent from my edition of the Corebook, but is present in the GUMSHOE SRD and the ToC Condensed Rules pdf I've seen around (and on the Pelgrane Press website).

 

What I'm confused about is actually two separate issues: Fleeing from Combat, and the way this transitions into a Chase scene.

 

1. Fleeing From Combat

 

As far as the ToC rulebook states, "if a combatant wishes to do something else besides fight – run away [...] – they move immediately to the last position in the ranking order as they turn to expose their vulnerable back to the foe..." (p. 62) On the same page, it says that combat continues until one side capitulates or flees.

 

Up until now, I had assumed that fleeing from combat was accomplished automatically, and that you only utilised Athletics/Fleeing rolls in a chase sequence (which I would usually call for after Investigators all announced they were fleeing from combat).

 

But the GUMSHOE SRD and Condensed Rules seem to state that Fleeing From Combat is a specific action with its own mechanism: namely, that if you succeed on a test vs. 3 + # of Opponents, you escape with no issue, but that if you fail, the Keeper can spend 3 Athletics points to prevent their escape OR deal one instance of the highest damage modifier from an opponent but allow them to flee.

 

Which is correct here? This is completely absent from the ToC Core Rulebook, and I only stumbled onto this rule about Fleeing From Combat by complete accident and assumed it was a rule in beta testing which was phased out.

 

2. Transitioning from Combat into a Chase Scene

 

How do you transition from combat into a chase scene? Let's say we have four investigators. A & B flee on round 1 of combat. C fails on round 1, whereas D elected to stay, but both C & D successfully flee on round 2.

 

Who is a part of the chase scene on round 2? Investigators C and D plus the Opponents? Or all the investigators and the opponents? If it's merely C, D & the opponents, does this mean A & B are "ahead of them" and therefore unable to help (unless they elect to "fall back and help", therefore placing themselves into the chase scene?) If A & B are not a part of the chase scene, does this mean they no longer roll Athletics/Fleeing after their initial attempt?

 

Furthermore, what happens when an investigator fails in a chase scene? Do they fail as per the Fleeing From Combat rules, allowing an automatic instance of damage or a 3-point Athletics spend to prevent them from getting away? Or do you enter combat and go into initiative? Or is there some other drawback to failure?

 

I just need some structure here, because my weak understanding is creating some weird stop and start chase scenes and confusion around the mechanics of fleeing.




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#2 GBSteve

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 02:24 PM

1. Each version of the GUMSHOE rules is a game in its own right. There's no vision of absolute consistency across them. That's how the SRD can differ from individual games. As new games are written rules are introduced or change. Stability is slightly different between Trail and NBA for example. So don't worry about this. It's best to be consistent in a scenario or campaign, so choose the version you like best.

 

2. I'd say they are all in the chase scene. I'd give A&B some kind of bonus, such as an extra 3 points of Athletics/Fleeing to indicate their distance from the fight. If the pursuer fails in a chase scene, the fleers get away. Any fleer who fails is caught up with. This doesn't necessarily lead to combat. It depends why they were being chased.

 

Also, Hi! Welcome to the forum.


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#3 Detrucid

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 02:33 PM

I've only really just started the campaign, so I think it's early enough that it could be changed without a lot of drama. But, duly noted!

 

Does this suggest, however, that there are no specific rules for fleeing from combat for ToC? If not, what mechanic do you use for fleeing from combat (while already in combat)? Does it require a roll or not? If so, what does the fail state look like?

 

I guess the reason I liked finding the Fleeing rules in the SRD (and in the Condensed rules) was because it was explicit about how fleeing works, which was the sort of guidance I looked in the Corebook for, but couldn't find. I've been kind of messily adlibbing up to this point, and without a rule to fall back on, I fear I'm already being fairly inconsistent. I'd appreciate some guidance from how people have interpreted the Fleeing mechanic up to this point (yourself included)!



#4 Tony Williams

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 04:10 PM

The wording you quoted from the ToC rulebook is as much as there is for rules for fleeing in ToC "officially". However, as Steve pointed out, GUMSHOE has been evolving with each setting and I am guessing that official fleeing rules weren't solidified when ToC was printed ( it's one of the earlier GUMSHOE games ).

 

By the time NBA was released a fleeing rule had been formulated and that made it into NBA and into the SRD.

 

If you were to ask the Pelgrane team for an official fleeing rule for ToC they would most probably point you towards the NBA/SRD rule to adopt. If ToC gets a 2nd edition down the line I wouldn't be surprised if the rule was officially inserted into the rulebook.

 

I've noticed that Fear Itself 2nd Edition has incorporated NBA's "3 + number of foes" test to allow for fleeing from ongoing combat but Fear Itself allows a test against Athletics or Fleeing ( because Fear Itself also has the Fleeing ability ) so I think I need to update the Condensed Rules PDF to mirror that.


Edited by Tony Williams, 09 May 2017 - 07:14 PM.

Do you play Trail of Cthulhu ? You may find these downloads useful...

The Condensed Rules for Trail of Cthulhu PDF - the rulebook as slim as it can go.

The Enchiridion of Elucidation PDF - a guidebook for both players and Keepers, with advice on playing the game.


#5 rylehNC

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 05:15 PM

Welcome!

 

The Fleeing ability is a way to have characters able to escape a tough situation without having to justify a high Athletics rating. The latest edition of Fear Itself also does this with a new Hiding ability separate from Stealth.

 

In NBA there's no Fleeing ability (mostly because it's assumed the characters are competent and able to last in a fight) so it's just a question of a chase. For your situation, where there are combatants and chase participants, I would allow the fleeing character to leave unopposed if his fellows are staying behind to absorb the danger he's leaving behind....

 

I believe most Gumshoe games say that the quarry failing a chase test gives the pursuer the choice of renewing the fight.


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#6 GBSteve

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 03:39 AM

I tend to a loose interpretation of the rules around what works in the moment, as GUMSHOE Da'Zoon will attest shortly. The crunchiness of Trail was kept quite low on purpose, to keep the focus on the mystery and horror. But that's not to say you have to run it like that. It integrates well with crunchier versions of the rules, like NBA.

 

I'm struggling to remember what I did last time someone ran away from a combat. I'm sure it has happened, but I probably just made something up at the time - probably a contest of fleeing versus athletics. I'm mostly running the game with two players these days and then try to avoid fights unless they are pretty sure they'll win.

 

There was a similar-ish situation recently when a Dark Young was coming through the back of a house, as the characters were running out the front, but it was resolved as a single roll. Could the Dark Young get them before the house collapsed on to it? They spent all their athletics points and made sure. Which was a good thing.


Come read about Dreamhounds of Paris actually being played.
 
The Armitage Files, now with added Ennie Award.
Cthulhu Britannica: London Box Set, now with Golden Geek runner-up award.