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Pursuit Tactics

Source Ultimate Intrigue pg. 146
Tactics are the key to shaking a tenacious pursuer or capturing an elusive quarry. The following tactics present many of the most basic methods for doing so, but if the PCs come up with a new tactic, the GM should use these examples as guidelines. Tactics can affect a single character, multiple characters, or the whole group. There is no limit to how many tactics a character or group can use, but common sense prevents using two contradictory tactics. Characters and groups decide which tactics they are using for each 1-hour pursuit phase, though some last for multiple phases or until the characters using them decide to stop. Some tactics require the group to be either the pursuers or the quarries, and can’t be used in races.

Individual Tactics

Source Ultimate Intrigue pg. 146
These tactics apply to individual characters, and each character decides whether she’s using the tactic.

Fast Track: A character using this tactic does not reduce her progress by half while tracking. However, she takes a –5 penalty on the Survival check to track. Abilities such as the ranger’s master hunter class feature negate this penalty.

Obscure Trail: Mark the terrain tile where a character starts and stops using this tactic. A character using this tactic reduces her progress by half in order to increase the DC to track her group by 5 throughout the marked section. This tactic requires the group to be quarries.

Recovery: A character can spend a phase tending to the health of her or her allies. This allows the character to cast healing spells, for example, which can be useful for removing nonlethal damage if the group has been hustling or making a forced march (see <%RULESGroup Tactics&Category=Pursuit Tactics">group tactics). A character that spends a phase helping with recovery can’t attempt to track or gain an advantage in that phase.

Special Movement: A character with consistent access to a fly speed, swim speed, or the like for a full pursuit phase might be able to move particularly quickly over the appropriate type of terrain; though, for instance, a character flying above a jungle canopy would not be able to follow a trail below.

Group Tactics

Source Ultimate Intrigue pg. 147
These tactics apply to the group, and can be used only if all characters agree to do so.

Forced March: A group using this tactic takes a ninth pursuit phase in the same day, directly after the eighth phase. As with a normal forced march during overland movement, this tactic causes each character to attempt a Constitution check or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage (and possibly become fatigued).

Gather Information: A group that is stymied in tracking their adversaries can attempt to gather information with a Diplomacy check, though it takes 2 pursuit phases, and it requires either that there are people around to gather information from or access to special abilities that allow them to question things like animals, plants, or stones. The DC is typically 15, though it varies depending on the area and how sneaky the quarries were being. The information is sufficient to make progress during that pursuit phase without a successful Survival check.

Hustle: This tactic is analogous to hustling during overland movement. A group using this tactic can double the progress they make during that pursuit phase. They can use it once per day without consequences, but using it again requires all members of the group to take 1 point of nonlethal damage and become fatigued. Each additional hour spent hustling deals twice the amount of nonlethal damage of the previous hour. A group can hustle during a forced march, but they take the nonlethal damage and conditions from both, meaning a healthy group usually becomes exhausted when they do so. Hustling is a useful tactic with fairly light repercussions, but the group spends all of its time moving. This means that the obscure trail, recovery, gather information, and set a trap tactics can’t be used when hustling. Unless an advantage is focused specifically on movement (such as climbing lead or fancy footwork), it can’t be gained while hustling.

Intentional Hardships: A quarry group using this tactic chooses a circuitous or treacherous path to attempt to shake pursuers. This decreases their group’s progress by 2 as long as they use the tactic. Mark the terrain tile and amount of progress the group made on that tile when they start and stop using this tactic. While the pursuers are in the same area, their progress is reduced by 2, but their number of maximum advantages is increased by 2. Like advantages, this reduction applies after any multiplication or division due to tracking, hustling, and the like. For simplicity’s sake, the GM might want to require the quarry group to use intentional hardships when they first enter a terrain tile and stick to it throughout that terrain tile.

Set a Trap: A more extreme version of intentional hardships, this tactic involves leaving a trap or ambush for the pursuers somewhere along the path. Depending on the situation, this trap could take a varying amount of time to enact. Make a note of the terrain tile where the quarries left the trap or ambush and adjudicate it as a normal encounter. If a trap or ambush would involve the quarries themselves, they halt their progress until they spring the trap, and springing the trap likely ends the pursuit unless they split the group and sent someone ahead toward their destination. This tactic requires the group to be quarries.

Split Up: This tactic allows a group to split into multiple groups. For example, quarries might choose to do so to ensure that at least one character gets away (or to send off a decoy group that doesn’t carry what the pursuers want), whereas pursuers might choose to do so in order to attempt more Survival checks and have a greater chance not to lose the trail, or they might leave a tired but faster character behind to catch up later. Pursuers who split up will probably need to use magic, a smoke signal, or other means to arrange a rendezvous. This makes the pursuit more complicated, so GMs might want to consider restricting this tactic for their groups’ first few pursuits.