Chases are an integral part of the pulp genre, which Atomic Robo most certainly inhabits, and our first two sessions of the game have included chase sequences — a delivery van vs. a giant kaiju crab, then a motorcycle vs. car/boat chase in the Philadelphia Naval Yards of the 1940s. Going off of the rules in the game, this can be done one of two ways — if it’s to be a short chase, say you have to get far enough to find a place to hide, or the opponent only has to go a short distance to escape, you can play it as a straight challenge, or you can run it as a contest — where the PCs have to get a certain number of victories in a certain number of rolls (we did the latter…)

But to really give chases character, something they really need to get that pulp flavor, you need something a little extra. One thing you can do is break the chase into a number of zones, each having its own particular stunt or setting to overcome while trying to catch the bad guy. You can also set a victory parameter for when the prey in the chase escapes. Since characters in the same zone are assumed to be able to get into direct conflict, lets assume this is “close” range — if the pursued can gain a victory in a chase over their opponent, they get to be a zone away and can only be attacked by long arms (let’s call this “long”) and also gain a +1 boost to their next chase test. If they can gain a second success, they are two zones ahead and are at extreme range with a +2 boost for the next test. With three victories, they have escaped. If you want to make it more interesting, if the opponent “steals” a victory from their prey during the chase, and close the distance. A success with style — for either side — would count as two victories.

The end point of a chase would be one of two events: the prey either gains 3 victories and escapes, or the pursuer is successful in catching their opponent by gaining a success in while in the same zone — perhaps they’ve tackled the guy, or cut off the fleeing suspect and stopped their car.

You can make the chases more interesting by allowing different skills. Perhaps during the car chase in which your characters are involved, they have managed to gain a zone from the bad guys. Instead of using Vehicles, they might choose Stealth, and try to hide the car in a convenient alley or behind that semi truck; maybe they bailed out of the car and hide (Athletics) — a success would count as another victory, mechanically, but would give the chase more character.

If the pursuer has caught them, there’s always the possibility of fighting. Maybe the pursuer has gotten a victory on a chase contest and has now “caught” them…the characters might decide to fight by using their vehicle to try and force the other off the road — you would use Vehicles or Combat in a direct challenge here with the stakes being the other car is disabled or crashed, or they are caught.

Example time: the opening motorcycle chase in Skyfall is an excellent example of giving zones their own character. The chase starts in a Crowded Bazaar, in the same zone. It progresses through Busy Streets, then onto Angled, Tiled Rooftops, before jumping though a big window into Covered Bazaar, then to Moving Train (where it turns into a foot chase.) There are five zones — each with decent character in their Aspects — and in Skyfall it would seem that the bad guy is never able to gain more than a single victory from Bond, before they are on the train. Bond “catches” the guy on the roof and the action moves from a chase contest to conflict.

Opponents, of course, could also throw aspects on scenes, as per the rules, to give these scenes more character, like Stained Glass Window on the Covered Bazaar scene — you’re going to have to take that bike through the window to follow!

These are just a few ideas to give chases a bit more character in a Fate-based game.

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