Monday, March 31, 2014

An idea for car chases and similar in Fate Core

In response to a thread on Google Plus Fate Core community, try this on for size, somewhat stream of consciousness.  Aspects are in quotations marks.

There are these zones:

Nearly Lost Them
Following Me
Right On My Tail
Right Next to Me
Cutting Me Off

All are presented from the perspective of the chased car. The chased car never moves. Instead, when the drivers of each car roll to move zones, they are always rolling to move the CHASE car, not the car being chased. There is no free zone movement, all zones have a "border" value of the Driving skill of the other driver, either as passive or active opposition.

So, on the Chase Driver's action, he might roll to move from Following Me to Right on My Tail. On the Chased Driver's next action, he might roll to try to move the Chase Driver back to Following Me, or alternatively move the Chase Driver to Right Next to Me, to let him get a sideswipe in or have his friend open up with the "Massive Double-Barrelled Shotgun".

This ends up being similar to a challenge between the two drivers, but also provides some description of the relationship between the two vehicles for actions by any other characters in the vehicles, and also to help frame the use of Aspects. "Big Ole 18 Wheeler" and "Sleek Small Sportscar" will be used very differently in the Nearly Lost Them versus Cutting Me Off zones. Finally, both determine the realm of other actions the Driver might take. When the Chase Car is in the Following Me zone, I may want to try to get some distance and move them back. Or, I might leave them where they are and instead roll Lore to try to navigate into some more favorable terrain for my vehicle, or roll Contacts to see if I have any friends in the area that I could ask for help.

If you can move the Chase Car back from Nearly Lost Them, then you have gotten away. Vice versa, if they are Cutting You Off, their next roll might be to actually force you off the road, or make you stop.

For an extra layer of complication, the GM could have a list of Scene Aspects that would get cycled or randomly chose each exchange in the Conflict. First exchange, the roads are "Tight and Windy", the next "Steep Grade", the next "Straight and smooth", the next "Massive Potholes". This gives the picture of cars travelling both compared to each other, and also in comparison to the surrounding terrain.

For one further layer of complication, assume that if you are braking (e.g. losing speed) as part of the move you are trying to make, if you succeed with style you can move the chase car two zones. For example, if I am the chased car, and the chasing car is in the Following Me zone, I could roll to move that car all the way up to Right Next to Me with a success with style, since I am braking and losing speed to do so.  As another example, if I am the chase car and I am the Cutting Me Off zone, I could move to Right on My Tail zone with a success with style if there is some advantage to doing so; getting out of the way of the chased cars "Front mounted machine guns", or putting my "Ram Plate" between the two of us for some cover.

Finally, it would certainly possible for the roles in the chase to change completely, depending on intent. I could be the chasing car, and have pulled into the Right Next to Me zone, and then suddenly the chased car's "pop-up laser turrets" and "side facing flamethrowers" come out of their concealed receptacles, and I'm thinking this was a bad idea. Suddenly, me in their Right Next to Me zone becomes them in MY Right Next to Me zone. It's all about who is chasing and who is being chased.

This could be fun. Or it could be way too much work.

EDIT: Credit where credit is due, the basic idea of moving the other guy instead of yourself is inspired by the system in Agon, by John Harper.  I highly recommend it.