FOURTHCORE TEAM DEATHMATCH

September 1, 2011

4E Modern: Vehicles & Chase Scenes


rendering of what Baltimore will look like in about 24 hours

Most of my readers are probably blissfully unaware; but now, right now, downtown Baltimore has been transformed into a Grand Prix race track. Yes, I'm serious! It is then only fitting that I delve into the last major piece of 4E Modern: Vehicles & Chase Scenes.



A dynamic Chase Scene is not just a staple of d20 Modern, but of the entire Hollywood action movie genre which it (and 4E Modern) attempts to recreate the excitement of. All too often, however, the players of these RPGs will get too caught up in the immersion of the scene and the setting and will begin crying out about realism. Many see these scenes as ways to flaunt their knowledge of real-world automobile technology. They will think they are doing everyone at the table a favor. They're the Car Expert at the table, and though they may have stunningly interesting insights about the subject, they need to shelve that knowledge away and get lost in the mindlessness of scenes such as this:

from The Matrix: Reloaded

Chase Scene

Chase Scenes occur over the span of miles, and are thus impractical to represent using standard movement and distance rules. Instead, vehicles travel at a speed and acceleration relative to one another on the Road. Likewise, although the Road may not visually represent any innocent bystanders, it is assumed that the heroes and villains involved in the Chase Scene are easily avoiding the normal flow of traffic (both pedestrian and vehicular) on the Road. Hazards are created to represent the special circumstances where these expert drivers may be in danger of collisions with these bystanders. Each Road is created with the assumption that all vehicles involved in the Chase Scene are driving as fast as possible. Vehicles in a chase scene may move in any direction; however they cannot turn or reorient themselves in any way.

At the start of a Chase Scene, the Game Master announces which vehicles are involved, which are the Chased Vehicles, and how long the Chase Scene will last in terms of number of Roads. A short Chase Scene is a single Road, and is an easy escape for the Chased Vehicle; whereas a long Chase Scene is up to five Roads long and is a difficult challenge for the Chased Vehicles. The types of Roads chosen will be determined either by the Game Master to fit a specific route to conform with immersion, for example plotting a course on a real-world map to go from Residential Streets to Highway to Residential streets, or will be determined by the Chased Vehicles. The Chase Scene ends when a group of vehicles, either Chased Vehicles or Chasing Vehicles, ends the last Road. If the Chased Vehicles end the Chase Scene, they evade their pursuers and escape. If the Chasing Vehicles end the Chase Scene, they catch up to and stop the Chased Vehicles and the game moves on to a different type of encounter as appropriate. Characters that do not have access to a vehicle at the start of a Chase Scene cannot participate in a Chase Scene. Characters removed from a Chase Scene, such as by falling out of their vehicle, are immediately brought back into the next encounter.

Roads fall into one of six categories: Residential, Highway, Superhighway, Bridge, Construction Site, and Train Yard. Chase Scenes may also take place in open water (with boats) or open skies (with flying vehicles), using a completely clear map and no added Road conditions. Flying vehicles in a standard Chase Scene are not affected by any Road Hazards. All Roads are 12 squares long and must have the end line represented in a clear and succinct manner, such as a solid, thick line.


Sidebar: Mining Carts

The Chase Scene rules presented here for a Modern setting were inspired by my Mining Cart Chase scene done months ago here. Check it out for your medieval fantasy setting games, and feel free to mix and match these two posts as needed; just tell me about it so I can share the D&D boundaries that you are surely pushing!

Common Vehicle Traits & Powers

These Traits and Powers are common to all vehicles in a Chase Scene, and usable by a vehicle's Driver. The skill DC's and Fall Out damage are further modified by the type of Road currently being driven on.

TRAITS

Closed Doors
A closed vehicle door grants cover to creatures inside the vehicle and creatures cannot suffer forced movement through the door.

Hands on the Wheel
The driver of the vehicle must have at least one free hand to use any of the vehicle's powers. If there is no driver of the vehicle, the vehicle moves its Speed towards the start of the road at the end of the combat round.

Falling Apart
A character driving a bloodied vehicle takes a -5 penalty to all vehicle skill checks.

STANDARD ACTIONS

Punch It * At-Will
Effect: The vehicle moves up to its Speed.

J-Turn * At-Will
Requirement: You must be driving a Chased Vehicle and be at least 3 squares behind the nearest Chasing Vehicle.
Check: Dexterity DC 17
Success: The Road start and end swap positions. All areas that were normal terrain are now Oncoming Traffic terrain, and all areas that were Oncoming Traffic terrain are now normal terrain.

MOVE ACTIONS

Drive * At-Will
Effect: The vehicle shifts 1 square.

Wheelie * At-Will (1/rd.)
Check: Dexterity DC 13
Success: You reduce the number of squares your vehicle occupies by 1 square in a single dimension (minimum 1) until the start of your next turn and shift 1 square.

MINOR ACTIONS

Place Hazard * At-Will (1/rd)
Check: Interaction DC 17
Success: Place one Hazard on the Road you are in. Hazards last until the Road is complete.          

IMMEDIATE ACTIONS

Destroyed (fire, physical) * Encounter
Trigger: A vehicle drops to 0 hit points or fewer.
Effect (No Action): All creatures in the vehicle take 1d10 fire and physical damage per number of squares on the longest dimension of the vehicle and are removed from the chase scene.

Fall Out (physical) * At-Will
Trigger: You push, pull, or slide an enemy out of a vehicle.
Target: The triggering enemy.
Effect (Free Action): The target takes 1d10 physical damage and is removed from the chase.

Highway Exit * At-Will
Requirement: The vehicle must be the Chased Vehicle and at end of the road.
Effect (Free Action): You complete this Road.

m Ram (physical) * At-Will
Trigger: Your vehicle ends its turn adjacent to another vehicle.
Target: One adjacent vehicle.
Attack (Free Action): Melee 1 (one vehicle); Constitution vs. Fortitude
Hit: All drivers and passengers in the target vehicle take 1d6 + 3 physical damage are knocked prone and you push the target 1 square.
Effect: Your vehicle and the target vehicle take 3d10 physical damage.

m Side Slam (physical) * At-Will
Trigger: An adjacent vehicle moves past to your vehicle.
Target: The triggering vehicle.
Attack (Opportunity Attack): Melee 1 (one vehicle); Dexterity vs. Reflex
Hit: 1d10 physical damage, you push the target 1 square and the target stops its movement.

RESIDENTIAL ROAD
                                                               
Vehicle Skill DC Modifier: +0





Oncoming Traffic                                   Road Terrain
Vehicle skill checks made while in an area of Oncoming Traffic are increased by +5. A failed vehicle skill check made while in an area of Oncoming Traffic deals 2d10 damage to the vehicle.

Sidewalk                                                   Road Terrain
Vehicle skill checks made while in an area of Sidewalk are increased by +5. A failed vehicle skill check made while in an area of Sidewalk deals 1d10 damage to the vehicle.

Storefronts                                              Road Terrain
The edges of the road are blocking terrain.

Hazard: Pedestrians                           Terrain Power
Create up to 8 Pedestrians in any 8 unoccupied squares on the Sidewalk. Pedestrians are difficult terrain. A vehicle entering or starting its turn in a Pedestrian kills an innocent bystander.

Hazard: Parked Car                             Terrain Power
Create a Parked Car in any 2x3 unoccupied area adjacent to the Sidewalk on the Road. Parked Cars are difficult terrain. A vehicle takes 1d10 damage for each square of Parked Car it moves through.

Hazard: Tight Turns                         Terrain Power
At the end of every round during this Road, each driver must make a successful DC 13 Dexterity check or the vehicle is pulled 2 squares towards the Road start.

Hazard: Fruit Stands                        Terrain Power
Create a Fruit Stand, occupying 2x2 unoccupied squares on the Road. A vehicle entering or starting its turn in a Pedestrian destroys the fruit stand and takes a -2 penalty to Speed and vehicle skill checks (save ends both).

HIGHWAY ROAD                                                              

Vehicle Skill DC Modifier: +2
Fall Out: +1d10 damage




Concrete Divider                                   Road Terrain
Concrete Dividers, located on the edges of the Road, are blocking terrain. Vehicles pushed into a concrete divider take 2d10 damage.

Guard Rails                                              Road Terrain
Guard Rails are difficult terrain. Vehicles moving into or starting their turn in an area of Guard Rails take 1d10 damage.

Oncoming Traffic                                   Road Terrain
Vehicle skill checks made while in an area of Oncoming Traffic are increased by +5. A failed vehicle skill check made while in an area of Oncoming Traffic deals 3d10 damage to the vehicle.

Hazard: Slow Traffic                           Terrain Power
Create a Slow Car in any 2x3 unoccupied area on the Road. Slow Cars are difficult terrain. A vehicle takes 2d10 damage for each square of Slow Car it moves through.

Hazard: Section Missing                                   Terrain Power
A section of the highway is missing, either under repair or not yet completed construction.
Each driver must make an immediate DC 17 Wisdom check with a power bonus equal to the vehicle’s speed to intuit a means to jump over the missing section. On a failure, the vehicle takes 4d10 damage.

Hazard: Shipping Truck                     Terrain Power
Create a Shipping Truck in any 2x7 unoccupied area on the Road. Shipping Trucks are difficult terrain. A vehicle takes 3d10 damage for each square of Shipping Truck it moves through. A driver in a Large or smaller vehicle can make a DC 25 Reflex check to negate this damage.


CONSTRUCTION SITE ROAD                                        

Vehicle Skill DC Modifier: +4





Oncoming Traffic                                   Road Terrain
No effect.

I-Beams                                                               Road Terrain
These steel posts represent the partially constructed or partially demolished bits of buildings and other structures in the construction site. These squares are blocking terrain.

Hazard: Trench                                     Terrain Power
Create a Trench in any 1x4 unoccupied area on the Road. The driver of a vehicle entering a square of Trench must make a DC 13 Wisdom check with a power bonus equal to the vehicle’s speed to intuit a means to jump over the missing section. On a failure, the vehicle takes 1d10 damage.

Hazard: Bulldozer                                Terrain Power
Create a Bulldozer in any 3x4 unoccupied area on the Road. Any vehicle entering the area is attacked by a Fortitude DC 13 attack. On a hit, the vehicle takes 3d10 damage and is pushed 3 squares.

Hazard: Wrecking Ball                        Terrain Power
Remove any previously created Wrecking Ball areas and create a 1 square wide area from one edge of the Road map to another, straight horizontal or vertical. Any vehicle entering the area is attacked by a Reflex DC 13 attack. On a hit, the vehicle takes 5d10 damage.


TRAIN YARD ROAD                                                     

Vehicle DC Modifier: +6





Concrete Divider                                   Road Terrain
Concrete Dividers, located on the edges of the Road, are blocking terrain. Vehicles pushed into a concrete divider take 2d10 damage.

Oncoming Traffic                                   Road Terrain
Vehicle skill checks made while in an area of Oncoming Train are increased by +5. A failed vehicle skill check made while in an area of Oncoming Train deals 6d12 damage to the vehicle.

Hazard: Racing the Train                   Terrain Power
Remove any previously created Parallel Trains and create a Parallel Train that occupies every square on one train track. Slide each vehicle on the chosen train track to the nearest unoccupied squares that are not on the chosen train track. Parallel Trains are blocking terrain.


BRIDGE ROAD                                                                   

Vehicle Skill DC Modifier: +8
Fall Out: +1d10 damage




Concrete Divider                                   Road Terrain
Concrete Dividers, located on the edges of the Road, are blocking terrain. Vehicles pushed into a concrete divider take 2d10 damage.

Oncoming Traffic                                   Road Terrain
Vehicle skill checks made while in an area of Oncoming Traffic are increased by +5. A failed vehicle skill check made while in an area of Oncoming Traffic deals 3d10 damage to the vehicle.

Hazard: Slow Traffic                           Terrain Power
Create up to a Slow Car in any 2x3 unoccupied areas on the Road. Slow Cars are difficult terrain. A vehicle takes 2d10 damage for each square of Slow Car it moves through.

Hazard: Drawbridge                           Terrain Power
The drawbridge begins to rise and traffic patiently crawls to a stop. Unfortunately, you don’t have time to wait.
Each driver must make an immediate DC 20 Wisdom check with a power bonus equal to the vehicle’s speed to intuit a means to jump over the drawbridge. On a failure, the vehicle takes 4d10 damage.

Hazard: Shipping Truck                     Terrain Power
Create a Shipping Truck in any 2x7 unoccupied area on the Road. Shipping Trucks are difficult terrain. A vehicle takes 3d10 damage for each square of Shipping Truck it moves through. A driver in a Large or smaller vehicle can make a DC 30 Reflex check to negate this damage.


SUPERHIGHWAY ROAD                                                

Vehicle Skill DC Modifier: +10

Fall Out: +3d10 damage


Concrete Divider                                   Road Terrain
Concrete Dividers, located at the edges of the Road, are blocking terrain. Vehicles pushed into a concrete divider take 4d10 damage.

Oncoming Traffic                                   Road Terrain
Vehicle skill checks made while in an area of Oncoming Traffic are increased by +5. A failed vehicle skill check made while in an area of Oncoming Traffic deals 5d10 damage to the vehicle.

Hazard: Slow Traffic                           Terrain Power
Create up to a Slow Car in any 2x3 unoccupied areas on the Road. Slow Cars are difficult terrain. A vehicle takes 4d10 damage for each square of Slow Car it moves through.

Hazard: Shipping Truck                     Terrain Power
Create a Shipping Truck in any 2x7 unoccupied area on the Road. Shipping Trucks are difficult terrain. A vehicle takes 5d10 damage for each square of Shipping Truck it moves through. A driver in a Large or smaller vehicle can make a DC 35 Reflex check to negate this damage.

Hazard: Water Barrels                       Terrain Power
Create up to 8 Water Barrels in any 8 unoccupied squares adjacent to the Concrete Divider. Water Barrels are difficult terrain. A vehicle entering or starting its turn in a water Barrel destroys it.

Hazard: Figure-Eight On Ramps     Terrain Power
At the end of every round during this Road, each driver must make a successful DC 20 Dexterity check or the vehicle is pulled 2 squares towards the Road start.

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