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Direct Pursuits

Source Ultimate Intrigue pg. 142
A direct pursuit involves a pursuing group chasing after a quarry group across a series of terrain tiles. The pursuers must succeed at Survival checks to continue tracking their quarries, as described in the Running a Pursuit section on page 143. Direct pursuits in which the PCs are the pursuers are the simplest and the most common type in an average campaign. It is a good idea to run a direct pursuit as the group’s first pursuit to help the players and GM alike to get a grasp of the system.

PCs as Pursuers: In a direct pursuit with NPC quarries, the GM establishes a linear series of terrain tiles that the quarries will follow, and the pursuers proceed along those tiles after their prey. See the section on Terrain Tiles for common types of terrain tiles. For a direct pursuit that is even simpler to run, don’t give the quarry group access to use all the tools described later in this section. For instance, the quarries might not attempt to gain advantages, and they might use tactics sparingly—and only if it makes the pursuit more interesting. Remember that if the quarry group doesn’t use those tools, the pursuit will be much easier for the PCs.

PCs as Quarries: If the PCs are quarries, direct pursuits become a bit more complicated, as the PCs have options for which path they choose and which type of terrain they enter as they try to shake their pursuers. The GM should present pursuit tiles arranged in more than a simple linear path. In fact, the GM can divide a map of the general region into terrain tiles as appropriate, perhaps using a hex grid to match the system for exploration in Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Campaign.

Ending a Direct Pursuit: A direct pursuit can end in one of four ways. When the pursuers are on the same tile as the quarries and have made equal or greater progress than the quarries, the pursuers catch their quarries. When the quarries reach a location where they stop progressing (such as a safe haven or stronghold), pursuit ends and may turn into a siege. When the pursuers can’t possibly succeed at the Survival check to continue tracking their quarries and have exhausted any other tactics that might help relocate the trail, their quarries have eluded them. Finally, the pursuers can voluntarily give up the pursuit. Optionally, the GM can choose a distance at which the quarries are so far ahead that the pursuers have no real chance of catching up. For instance, the GM might decide that if the quarry group is five tiles ahead of the pursuers, they’ve escaped; this number might be smaller in jungles or other dense terrain.