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In many games, you are being chased or something is chasing you. Since most races have a speed of 20-30, how does one group ever get caught by an equally fast group?

You can hustle and force march are located under the exploration movement rules. For the most part, this does not help. Sure you could also factor in knowledge geography or even survival in order to come up with more efficient routes if you know where they might be going. If you dont and are following their tracks then you must move at half speed as under the survival skill rules.

So how does one group catch another assuming that both groups have equal speeds (say their movement speed is 30)? The reason I ask is that in the module I am running, the PC's are going to be forced to flee and their pursuit is going to catch up. But it makes no sense on how they are going to be caught.

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The usual rules for chases in Pathfinder are, in a nutshell:

Create a series of skill tests to represent things that the characters encounter along the way. Put them in pairs and give characters the choice of which one to face.

For example, for a jungle chase: Swim across the river (Swim DC 15), or swing across on vines (Acrobatics DC 20).

Write the obstacles down on cards and lay them out on the route to track progress. Characters have to pass the test to advance to the next card.

The full version of these rules is available in the SRD.

Paizo sell a pack of cards with skill tests already printed on them.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Now that you mention it, in a different game I was a player in the DM did this, I had thought that it was something they had created. \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Dec 30 '16 at 1:22
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The gamemastery guide gives simple rules to quickly solve Evasion and Pursuits when the distance isnt too big, or the chase must be solved quickly.

  • If the pursuit lasts only a few rounds: Make opposed dexterity checks, the winner catches up to the runner or the runner escapes.

  • If the pursuit is long and could last all day: Make opposed constitution checks to see which party can keep up the pace for longer.

The ultimate intrigue expands both with the rules for Designing Chases, where you put obstacles on the course of the chase that both parties must be tested against using skill checks, and rules for Pursuit, which tracks progress through each exploration-hex the pursuit goes, using 1-hour increments as time lapses and a score based on each type of terrain that they have to progress in order to cross the hex as fast as possible.

All that while another party uses their tracking skills and whatever ability that could help to follow their quarry and obtain advantages over them.

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Local Chases

Some chases may occur in a localized area and are fast-paced like a chase scene in a movie. As described in Quentin's answer, there are rules for designing chases like obstacle courses, typically resolved by a series of d20-based tests; these could consist of skill checks (such as Acrobatics/Climb to get over obstructions), or sometimes even saving throws (such as Fortitude to get through a smog-filled hallway). In a sense, this is a contest between the pursuing party and the fleeing party, to see who is first to pass all of the obstacles.

Spells that increase movement speed will give the pursuers an advantage. Spells with durations of rounds or minutes per level are probably sufficient, since these chases tend to end relatively quickly. Haste is a great option for a group of pursuers. In addition, the pursuers could slow the fleeing party by creating new obstacles, such as difficult terrain (e.g., Entangle), solid objects (e.g., Wall of Stone), or dangerous hazards (e.g., Create Pit).

Overland Chases

Chases may be different when traveling long distances, over an extended period of time. Maybe the pursuers started far away, or the fleeing party had a head start. If the party is traveling together, then you use averages and approximations for the party speed, rather than individual character speeds. Pathfinder's movement rules have a table for getting these numbers. Like you mentioned in the question, this is where tracking and terrain familiarity can give some speed benefits.

To gain more effective advantages, the pursuers have a variety of options. For spells, their most effective magical options have durations of hours or days per level; Overland Flight is an obvious choice for multiple pursuers. Or, they could cast minutes-per-level spells like Mass Fly multiple times per day, which may save them time in the long run. Or, they could avoid the problem entirely and Teleport instead. And if they don't have spellcasting means, they could simply purchase a group of mounts (such as horses) that have faster land speeds.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ My chase is across the roof of a cave using giant cave geckos... \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Dec 30 '16 at 3:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Fering If the cave ceiling is small enough that the chase is measured in rounds, then I'd recommend Haste to increase the geckos' climb speeds. \$\endgroup\$ – MikeQ Dec 30 '16 at 3:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, the PC's arnt expecting to be followed so Im told to have them caught, but the scenario made me wonder what the rules should be \$\endgroup\$ – Fering Dec 30 '16 at 3:40

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