Both Trail of Cthulhu and Fear Itself feature protagonists who are comparatively (or cosmically!) feeble compared to the foes they encounter. By no coincidence whatsoever, both games also incorporate the Fleeing ability, an ability that’s used only for running away.
To make Fleeing a bit more complex and combat-like, here are some optional expanded Fleeing rules, drawing on the Thriller Chases of Night’s Black Agents.
Escape or Capture
The aim of a chase is to win three contests in a row. If a runner gets three wins in a row, that character has escaped. If the runner loses three rounds of the contest in a row, the pursuer catches up with that the runner. The pursuer rolls once and compares their result to all the runners, so it’s possible for one runner to succeed and another to lose in any given round (and for one runner to rack up three successes and get clear!)
To avoid having contests drag on too long, if the monster has 0 Athletics or Aberrance left, assume it gives up unless it’s one win away from catching a runner.
If A Runner Wins A Round
Whenever a Runner wins a round, they get to pick one of the following benefits.
- Gain Some Distance: The runner gets a +1 bonus to their next roll in the chase.
- Help Another Runner: Another runner gets a +1 bonus to their next roll in the chase.
- Create an Obstacle: Make an Athletics or Mechanics test. Next round, if the monster’s result is lower than the result of this test, then the round counts as a win for the purposes of determining escape only. The runners don’t get to pick a benefit next round if they win.
- Hide! Instead of continuing to run, a runner can Hide and hope the monster doesn’t find them. It’s a Hide (or Stealth) test, Difficulty 6, modified by the monster’s Awareness modifier.
- Take A Breather: Refresh 2 points of Fleeing or Athletics.
- Shoot! If the runner’s got a ranged weapon, they can take a snap-shot at the pursuer. (Stopping to make a melee attack is tantamount to ending the chase.)
- Split Up! The runners go in different directions. The pursuer can only chase one of them – but gets a +1 bonus to all its rolls for the rest of the chase against that quarry.
If A Pursuer Wins A Round
If the Pursuer beats any of the Runners, it gets to do one of the following actions.
- Swipe: The monster gets close enough to make a Scuffling attack on the runner. The runner gets a +2 bonus to their Hit Threshold.
- Trip: The monster nearly grabs the runner, making them stumble. The runner’s got a -2 penalty to their next roll in the chase.
- Scare: The monster pops up right on top of the runner, jump scaring them. The runner must make a 3-point Stability check.
If it beats all the runners, it gets to pick one of the following:
- It’s Gaining On Us! For the rest of the chase, the monster gets a +1 bonus to all its chase rolls.
- We Can’t Get Out This Way! Reset all the runners to 0 wins in a row.