After several attempts throughout a previous campaign, I am repeatedly having problems when using Contests specifically for chases (as distinct from races). Perhaps I'm applying the rules incorrectly, and have to unlearn some assumptions that prevent me from understanding how to use them.

Thus, as a first step, I'm asking for help with handling a hypothetical basic chase scenario (one that is a generalised pattern of multiple chase situations I've had throughout the campaign and surely to most I'm likely to have in subsequent campaigns).

The Scenario

The scene involves four units (which could be either groups or individuals, but either way each one of the four is indivisible for the purposes of the scenario): A and B are trying to 'catch' C and/or D. Either of the latter two (C and D) is willing to accept the other falling behind as a last resort, but are both escaping in the same general direction, thus allowing a the scene to be handled as a single chase involving four participants.

The participants are not trying to all reach the same static location fastest, so this is a chase, not a race; i.e. it can be resolved after running a short distance, or it may end up being done over a long course with changing environmental Aspects and all, but for the sake of simplicity and clarity of examples let's not get into any additional factors beyond those explicitly listed.

Possible Events

Thus, in-fiction, the following outcomes and intermediary events are possible throughout the chase:

  • The distance either decreasing or increasing between a given chaser and a given evader, perhaps repeatedly (depending how well everyone handles various obstacles along the way etc., presumably represented by roll outcomes).
  • An evader getting so far away from everyone else as to essentially become no longer at risk of being 'caught'.
  • A pursuer falling so far behind as to lose all hope of staying in the chase.
  • Both (all) pursuers falling so far behind / both (all) evaders getting so far ahead, that the chase ends, with nobody being at risk of getting caught anymore.
  • A pursuer or both pursuers successfully 'catching' an evader or both evaders. That is, even on a successful 'catch', it's possible that the other evader and/or the other pursuer are very far away when that happens.

Alternatives Tried

The example chase scene on page Core 175 is actually similar to the above scenario, but the example crunch used to run it is not helpful in my cause, since it treats multiple participants in a scenario as singular participants, and uses Teamwork / Combining Skills, which seems to be outright at odds with what's going on in the fiction.

Note also that I'm aware of alternative mechanic in the System Toolkit, but it neither helped me figure out how to use Contests, nor how to use the alternative mechanic for scenarios such as the one above.

Similarly, I haven't seen anything in Condensed that would help me out, despite a statement that Contests are perfect for chases (though I do understand that Condensed is the last place to expect an expansive elaboration).


2 Answers 2


Take a four-character contest and let it ride.

A and B are trying to catch C and D. Nobody's working together. So you run a four-player contest.

If C or D wins, they escape pursuit. Let's suppose D wins - then continue the contest with A, B, and C, with their current scores unchanged.

If A or B wins, they catch someone of their choice. That's fair since they've beaten both C and D in the requisite number of contest rounds. Let's suppose A wins and chooses to catch C - then continue the contest with B and D, with their current scores unchanged.

Either way the contest is now in a state where the next person to three, or however many, will bring it to a definitive end.

You might consider:

  • if it doesn't seem fair that A or B can choose to catch whoever's closer to getting away, maybe have them decide secretly at the start of the chase who they'll catch first.
  • if the state of the chase fiction is such that A or B might be able to secure their catch and keep on going, then instead of dropping out they reset to zero and have to try to create an appropriate advantage on their catch in the advantage portion of the contest round. Once that's done they can resume chasing.

This doesn't account for:

  • a pursuer dropping out. Fate generally doesn't let people out of contests unless someone wins; they're welcome to just hang out at 0 forever.
  • a particular measure of distance between any two participants, but Fate tends to shy away from things like that anyhow.

Diaspora plays space combat as a conflict, but avoids the intricacies of 3D orbital maneuvering by reducing the map to a linear scale of 9 zones, marked -4 to +4. It represents the difficulty of reaching the other on an abstract scale.

It just might be the inspiration you need, because it seems that what you care about is the relative positioning of the participants, just like Diaspora Space Combat


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