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.