I’m relatively new to Blades and finding the mechanics works really well so far but - how do I do a good chase scene?
I’ve tried Racing Clocks with one for the Crew and another for the Bluecoats or whoever’s trying to catch them, but when rolling 3-5 dice at a time for the Crew the odds are they are going to roll 6s more often and not, and they get away easily! (esp if they are able to use team work).
I’ve tried giving the opposition a much smaller clock to fill and that helps a little, but seems inelegant.
Also if they can resist the consequences of a 4/5 roll by taking stress it again means the opposition are making no progress on their clock at all.
And how would you incorporate other actions into the chase instead of just bashing down a clock? How would gunfire work, or taking evasive action etc?
I’m interested to see what other people have done in chase scenes in Blades to bring them alive and any tips most appreciated! thanks
You might consider giving the crew only limit or no effect without setup actions because they are a tier 0 or 1 against tier 4 faction who case criminals for a living. This means less ticks on the clock per Action.
Don’t forget the importance of describing the action fully, letting consequences come out of the scene and add to it.
What I mean is – don’t just roll to bash down a clock – every roll has to be accompanied by an action in the fiction, grounded in the reality of the story. If there’s a carriage chase, and the crew rolls Finesse to escape, what are they doing? Lashing the goats to gain more speed? Hurling a trunk from the roof to block the street behind them? The action in the fiction allows them to roll. If they can’t think of a way to help, they don’t – and they don’t get a roll.
If they take an action, get them to describe it and what they want from it. That will help you dream up consequences (maybe multiple consequences in the case of a non-6 roll). Rolled a 4 on that Finesse check to goad more speed from the goats? Success – you get ticks on your Escape clock. However, the goats panic at the touch of the whip and you lose control of them – you’re now barreling madly down the street (position shifts to desperate) and you miss the clever turn you were going to take to throw off the pursuit. They gain on you (a complication - 2 ticks on their side of the Caught clock). Which of those do you want to resist? Both? How? Resolve to reign in the panicked goats? Prowess to steer them and make that turn after all? In any case, you’re now at a new, exciting place in the story.
Not everything someone does will change the clocks. Introduce other complications and challenges that have to be overcome. Maybe someone on the back of the pursuing carriage is shooting at the crew. Will shooting back at them affect the racing clocks? Maybe… but that’s more likely if you’re trying to take out a goat or a wheel on the other carriage. Maybe you decide that there’s another clock for killing the bad guys. Or maybe by shooting the enemies with guns, the crew is protecting themselves from fire (stopping you proactively from applying harm as a consequence on a roll).
Maybe instead of racing clocks, it’s a tug of war clock, moving back and forth between the goals of the opposing sides.
And, maybe the chase is short, as the action rolls are good and the tactics are solid. Let it be. As long as you dig into the scene, and really tie the fiction to the rolls, really figure out what’s happening and lean into the excitement/threat of each test, it’ll be fun. Sometimes they get away clean.
Ah - that’s great thanks!! I guess I was partly forgetting the fiction first side of things and getting too hung up on mechanics. Though if I consider them up against higher tier or better equipped or more numerous opposition they would have limited effect when escaping, and so would have to draw upon their special abilities and cool set-up actions and whatnot to get things moving.
Also going with the fiction first will allow me to throw more hazards in their way and have the enemy be much more proactive.
So yeah that’s really good thanks. Lots of cool ideas there.
I find the racing clocks perfect fit for a chase scene. Using those means that one of the sides will corner the other, while tug-of-war clocks can lead to tedious rolls depending on the luck.
In your case, for example, you can make things spicy by having different clock size per faction. If your gang is chased by higher tier faction you can have the crew’s clock with more segments than their enemies. This can be represented in the fiction in multiple ways - being on hostile and now very known turf, while the hunters are knowing every street and can cut corners to… corner them Or simply that the hunting side has much more people to throw at and cover more area.