Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, first published in 2007, is an RPG written by sci-fi & dark fantasy author David J Rodger – it blends the Cthulhu Mythos and cyberpunk genres in a post-apocalyptic setting. Learn more…
This bolt-on is available below formated to this blog theme, or you can download it in PDF format.
This bolt-on is a optional, self-contained system to provide GM’s with a swift way of resolving any kind of chase between participants on foot, taking into consideration the risk of colliding with terrain features (city or rural) and endurance – the ability of one participant to outrun another regardless of sprint speed. It also provides guidance to GMs who want to deploy a mob into a scenario – how they behave, how they can be talked down and how they fight when angered.
In the following document, the people doing the chasing are pursuers and the people being chased are the prey.
Cut to the Chase
This is the system in action. Explanatory notes and tips follow this.
Any chase will require a number of Challenges before the people being chased are considered to have gotten clean away. For a very crowded environment, probably riddled with doorways and alleys, where getting away doesn’t need much distance to form, then only 1d6 Challenges are required. But the GM can ask for 2d6 (settlement or open urban area) or even a whopping 3d6 Challenges (this would be a very large location, probably with very few obstacles and very few opportunities to lose the pursuers).
How badly do the pursuers want to catch their prey? If the pursuers want to HURT the prey then add +2d6 to the number of challenges required to get away; if the pursuers want to KILL the prey then add +3d6 Challenges.
Range is also a factor = The Escape Ceiling: if the Distance between Prey and Pursuer ever reaches +20 or more then the chase is over – unless the GM has extenuating circumstances.
 Check for falling foul of Terrain: every participant in the chase must roll 1d20+DEX and score more than the Terrain Difficulty Rating (a value set between 5 and 20). If they fail to do this then they have collided with, fallen over, tripped, snagged or been struck by some aspect of the immediate terrain environment. The GM should narrate what this is, as appropriate. There could be some damage involved but the direct consequence is a loss of 1d3 points of Distance.
 Compare CON values, adjust range and check for fatigue: the prey should roll CON+1d20. Every pursuer should do the same.
Every 5 points of difference here (ignore fractions) either increases or decreases the Distance between pursuer and prey, depending on which scores the higher value. The higher value is the winning value. If the Distance ever reaches 20+ then this particular chase is over (unless the GM has a reason to keep it going).
RISK OF FATIGUE:
If the CON + 1d20 value is LESS than the number of Challenges performed so far: then the participant has suffered CRAMP (reduce effective CON by 2 for these Challenges and -20% on all physical skill checks); if this happens again then they suffer SEVERE CRAMP (COOL check to continue, -5 CON); and if again, go into FATIGUE, no longer run (see Yellow Dawn rulebook).
 Check for large hunt mass inserting fresh pursuers at a close Distance. This is optional and should only be used if there is a large number of participants involved in the chase who have split off into convergent routes in an attempt to head-off the prey; or if there are other participants in the area (local community infiltrated by gang members or cultists) or other participants can be swiftly inserted into the area (police support, etc).
If used, the GM should roll 1d20 for every Challenge. If the value is ‘1’ then another group of pursuers will intercept the prey’s position, coming in at a distance of 1d3 behind the prey. In certain circumstances, the GM may increase the target number from ‘1’ to ‘3’ or ‘5’ or even ‘10’, making it more likely that another group can intercept.
When Distance Reaches Zero
The prey is caught.
When NPCs are the prey: then the actual capture should be played-out using the combat system. The NPC is likely to fight unless Intimidated into submission (see Intimidate skill in Yellow Dawn rulebook) or realises to fight might be futile.
When Characters are the prey: the treatment depends on whether the pursuers want to Restrain, Hurt or Kill the characters. There are notes for handling each of these below.
Making a Run For It
If a character or NPC isn’t exhausted, hasn’t been securely restrained, hasn’t been subdued through violence or made submissive through Intimidation, then they are free to make a run for it at any moment.
This forces an opposed DEX check. If the prey wins then they get away with [Distance] being 2: however, the pursuers get at least 1 round to use ranged weapons – if this is appropriate. If the prey fails the opposed DEX roll, then pursuers get one grapple or other close-proximity attack before the prey gets away with Distance of 1. And so the Chase Begins Again!
Define the NPCs
The GM should determine the following factors:
- DEX for any NPCs (this can be one value for all NPCs)
- CON for any NPCs ( “ “ )
Note: An Average Human Sprint is 12 metres per round, with exceptional being 18 metres per round or faster.
How difficult is the Terrain?
Value of 3 to 18.
Is it cluttered or free of obstacles? This definition applies to urban and rural terrain, from walkways packed with café tables and busy roads, to fields made uneven by tussocks and ditches, and difficult by fences and dry stone walls. The GM should select a value between 5 (empty) and 20 (heavily cluttered, very difficult) or roll 3d6+2 to determine random values that allow the GM to create a freestyle narrative as the chase unfolds.
The measure of distance
Rather than getting bogged down with the exact number of metres between different individuals and groups of people, the distance is a value from +1 onwards. Anytime Distance reaches Zero means that the pursuer(s) have caught up with prey.
Setting the Distance at the start of a Chase: One or more people (prey) make a run for it. What is the initial Distance between prey and pursuers?
Every 10 metres is +1 Distance.
Especially Fast Participants?
If one participant has a sprint / run speed that is 6 or more than any others, then that person will automatically gain or close the Distance by 1 unit every Challenge.
Running as a Group
If characters (or NPCs) want to stick together as a group whilst sprinting in pursuit, or sprinting to avoid capture, then three rules should be applied:
 All members of the group must use the lowest CON amongst them.
 Any time a member of the group is caught up by terrain, then the group must “stop and help” – losing Distance as one unit – otherwise they plough on leaving the fallen behind. Stopping and helping reduces the Distance lost by 1 point.
 At any moment there is high-stress, a direct threat, then all members of the group must make a COOL check to be able to stick together and work as one.
Anybody who FAILS the COOL check: must make a LUCK roll to find themselves continuing along with the group even though they momentarily became a separate unit. If the LUCK roll fails then they actually veer off in a different direction, the fight or flight survival instinct pushing them along with tunnel vision unaware that they’ve left the others.
Treat this person as a separate unit, alone and without the support of others. How they find the main group again depends on the local circumstances; LUCK could be a big part of it; IDEA could also help. Did the team have a structured rendezvous and regrouping plan? Do they have communication devices?
Anybody with a Leadership skill check can attempt to use it to override the failed COOL check of others; in other words, they have the ability to see what’s happening, see the group fragmenting and shout, “Hey, you, on me, on me! This way!” with enough authority to cause that person to follow. One Leadership skill check required per individual character (who has failed a COOL check).
Finding a Hiding Place
The Distance needs to be 5 or more before it is possible to jump into a hiding position (if the GM states this is even feasible). Using hide makes use of the Hide / Evade/ Move Stealthy skill and opposed Awareness skill checks (see Yellow Dawn rulebook).
When does the threat pass?
If the chase was a small group who sprint off in pursuit unaware that the prey has found somewhere to lay low, then the threat is more or less over straight away. But there’s a still a chance the pursuers might suspect what has happened and backtrack; alternatively, the prey might be in an area where there is a high proportion of potential hostiles.
Chance of pursuers heading back to check for hiding places? If the pursuers want to RESTRAIN the prey then chance is 1d6 x 5%; if the pursuers want to HURT the prey then chance is 2d6 x 5%; and if it’s to KILL then chance is 3d6 x 5%. The GM can add +20% for large number of pursuers; +20% for technological support; +20% for a local population who are sympathetic to pursuers; alternatively if the local population is sympathetic to the prey, then reduce chance by 3d6 x 5%.
The chase is back on: distance will be 1d3 unless there is a reason why the prey are remaining hidden for a significant period of time (another opposed Awareness skill check against Hide / Evade / Move Stealthy).
Getting out of a hot zone
Value of 3 to 18.
This is defined as the prey finding themselves in a location surrounded by a population that is either all hostile, or contain elements who are potentially hostile.
It comes down to what is the chance of a hostile reaction if the prey is seen on the street? The GM should determine this as a value between 3 (unlikely, population either unaware of what prey looks like or mostly uninvolved in this situation) to 18 (entire population is hostile and very aware of what the prey look like).
The prey then needs to make their way out of the hot zone (the area where they are at risk of being spotted creating a hostile reaction; this could be a small market place; a whole settlement or a neighbourhood in a Living City).
Typically every 100 metres will force a risk of being “being recognised” unless, the prey can demonstrate a way of covering the distance without being seen by the population. This could be through using Hide / Evade / Move Stealthy skill, but such a skill check will suffer a penalty of -20%, -40%, -80% or even -120% depending on how the GM sees the chance of moving without detection, how busy the area is, how much cover there is, how alert the population is to the risk of prey moving amongst them
NOTE: failing such a Hide / Evade / Move Stealthy skill check not only forces a chance of being recognised, but also adds +20% to it because of the way the prey are behaving (acting suspiciously).
When a Mob Wants to Restrain
This happens when Distance reaches Zero.
If characters want to resist (without using dangerous weapons) then they have 1 chance to create an opportunity to MAKE A RUN FOR IT: at which point the Chase automatically continues.
This chance is based on a 1d100 roll against a value of:
- STR + DEX + INT
- + / – the success or failure of a Persuasion skill check (bluffing); this is entirely optional.
Any character that rolls beneath this value:
Is still captured by the mob but they’re not beaten, they’re treated with a slight amount of respect (you’re tough; you might be the wrong guy, etc); and when the character(s) reach their next destination with the mob around them, they’ll have a positive opportunity to attempt escape if they wish. More importantly, the mob won’t take bags or equipment, although they will have removed any visible dangerous weapons.
Any character rolling beneath 1/5th the value:
Is able to make a clean escape. The Chase may or may not continue against them.
Any character who fails to roll beneath the value: is given a bit of a beating by the mob for resisting; the mob wants the character subdued. The character takes 1d6+3 hits, each doing 1d6 Stun damage. It ends with the character having everything portable taken from them and being securely restrained. They are now classed as subdued and cannot act freely until they roll a ‘1’ on 1d20, one roll per minute; and even then it requires a COOL check to take any action that might result in further beating.
If a character decides to use a dangerous weapon to encourage escape, then see those rules further on.
When a Mob wants to Hurt
This happens when Distance reaches Zero.
The character(s) have done something that has angered the people in the mob. The characters have no chance to escape unless they decide to use dangerous weapons (see below). Otherwise the mob surges over them with a barrage of blows.
For the next 1d6 minutes the character suffers a sustained beating; most likely curled up on the floor after dropping down, or being knocked down. After the experience comes to an end the mob will disperse, quickly or slowly (GM’s call), leaving the character bloodied and bruised, clothes dirtied – maybe even ripped away. There is a risk of broken bones and internal bleeding, of lost teeth and swelling on the brain. Confidence can be damaged leaving the victim anxious, angry and upset. At the very least the character will have facial bruising, black eyes, split lip that linger for a week: making it evident they’ve been in a fight (this may inspire dislike in some, or sympathy in others – GM decision, or use NPC motivation score in Yellow Dawn rulebook).
The GM should go through the following list, applying effects where required:
- The character suffers 1d4+1 injuries, each delivering 1d3 HP’s of damage. Do not roll for hit-location unless appropriate. Armour has no effect because the mob will either remove it; or target their hits to vulnerable areas. Of course, a character may have other means of absorbing or deflecting damage; these should be considered.
- Regardless of how much HP damage is sustained by the character, use the above value (1d4+1 x 1d3 HP) as the risk score for what follows. These risks are based on the physical violence rained down on the character, including being grabbed by hair, neck and limbs, stamped on, dragged and repeated blunt force trauma.
- Clothes ripped from body or at the very least ruined: if you roll beneath Risk Score x 5 on 1d100.
- Broken jaw: if you roll beneath Risk Score on 1d100 (see expanded notes below).
- Smashed teeth: if you roll beneath Risk Score on 1d100 (-1 APP until repaired by dental surgeon)
- Lacerations to face bad enough to cause permanent scaring – from being dragged by legs, and by head smacking off a solid surface (wall, ground): if you roll beneath ½ Risk Score on 1d100 (-1 APP permanent).
- Knocked out: if you roll beneath Risk Score x 3 on 1d100 (lasts until you can roll ‘1’ on 1d6, one roll per minute)
- Beaten into a coma: if you roll beneath ½ Risk Score on 1d100 (lasts until you can roll ‘1’ on 1d20, one roll per day; suffer -20% to all physical and mental skills for 6 months after waking up)
- Suffer internal bleeding or swelling of the brain that is life threatening: if you roll beneath ½ Risk Score on 1d100 (see expanded notes below)
- Make an Anxiety roll, using the Risk Score as a penalty DM, or suffer the loss of 0/1d6 COOL. (Those using this with CoC can swap Anxiety & COOL for the Sanity score.)
This requires 6 weeks to heal, during which time the victim’s jaw is wired shut, and they cannot eat solids. -40% penalty DM to any communication skills.
Internal Bleeding / Swelling of the Brain
The victim will feel unwell, suffering -40% to all skills and all vital stats are halved. They will be unaware of the injury until somebody makes a MedTech skill check to recognise the symptoms.
The injury poses a serious risk to the victim. Every hour the GM should roll 1d20. On a ‘1’ the victim will collapse, barely conscious, and wracked by unbearable pain. This only gets worse. After 3d20 minutes the victim will fall into unconsciousness and enter a coma. After another 3d6 minutes the victim will enter Cardiac Fibrillation suffer a heart-attack and then going into Death Stage 1.
The injury can only be “cured” with Emergency Surgery (count as ‘serious wound’ for cost).
When a Mob wants to KILL
This happens when Distance reaches Zero.
It’s a horrifying and sickening experience. The character becomes a bloodied rag-doll at the hands of a violent crowd. For the next 1d100 + 4 minutes the character suffers a sustained beating to the point of being subdued. At this point the character will then be murdered, either through acceleration in the violence, or through something more dramatic.
At the very least the character will have significant facial bruising, deep lacerations to head, body and limbs, and broken bones. Clothes (and armour) will be torn from the body.
Make a LUCK roll. If failed, the character is hung, set-alight, beheaded or some other gruesome and unavoidable route to death. If they succeed then there’s a chance they might survive.
The GM should go through the following list, applying effects where required:
- The character suffers 1d6 injuries, each delivering 1d6 HP’s of damage. Armour has no effect because the mob will either remove it; or target their hits to vulnerable areas. Of course, a character may have other means of absorbing or deflecting damage; these should be considered.
- Still alive?
- Each limb has a 05% chance of being broken.
- Suffer 1d6 Major Complications. Use the hit-location table (in Yellow Dawn rulebook) to determine where these occur. Some of these can be fatal.
- 20% chance beaten into a coma: lasts until you can roll ‘1’ on 1d20, one roll per day; suffer -20% to all physical and mental skills for 6 months after waking up)
- Make an Anxiety roll with a penalty of -20, or suffer the loss of 1d3/2d6 COOL. (Those using this with CoC can swap Anxiety & COOL for the Sanity score.)
Using a Dangerous Weapon Against a Mob
A character will automatically hit. Just roll damage for 1, 2 or 3 rounds of attack (the mob takes time to react to the fact there’s a deadly response taking place).
Total the amount of damage done. This can be combined with other characters launching dangerous attacks.
If the Mob wants to RESTRAIN: multiply total damage by 5.
If the Mob wants to HURT: multiply by 2
If the Mob wants to KILL: multiply by 1
The resulting value is the % chance of making an escape as the mob opens up around the character(s) like a wounded creature. Those characters escaping will gain a distance of 1d6+3 before any chase resumes (due to chaos and confusion and fear within the Mob).
Enraging the Mob
There is also an immediate 40% chance that a Mob that wanted to RESTRAIN the characters now wants to HURT them; or that wanted to HURT now becomes want to KILL. This is the biggest risk from using dangerous weapons.
Failing to Escape
After the 3 rounds of deadly unchecked attacking comes to an end, the mass of the Mob swarms over the character(s). They suffer an additional level of violence against them, on top of anything else that may come their way.
- Sustain 2d6 Hits delivering 1d6+1 Stun.
How much of the mob died or was injured?
If the GM wants to know this, then every 10 HP delivered by the dangerous weapons leaves a mob member seriously wounded; every 20 HP delivered leaves a mob member dead. There may be legal ramifications of this after the fact.
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YELLOW DAWN – THE AGE OF HASTUR: The Earth has been ravaged by viral pathogens, the death of billions observed by the orbital colonies and deep-space habitats that were largely unaffected by the Outbreak. Terrified of infection, nobody came to help. Less than 30 percent survived the first few weeks. Then came the 2nd Wave of infection, spreading steadily outwards from the impact points, and that was when the horror really began…
This book is crammed with everything you will need to create characters, run scenarios and experience horror and adventure in the fictional world of David J Rodger.
FEATURES: Narrative examples of key themes • The Influence of Hastur • Medical theories on the Infection • Zombie surges • Dead Cities • Wilderness survival • Comprehensive scavenging system and how to repair or build things with resources • Backgrounds and motivations of government bodies and corporations • Computer hacking and drug abuse • High-tech immortality options • Non-human characters • Enhancements through cyberware and bioware • Weaponry, equipment and armour • Complete character generation and development system • Complex political, corporate and quasi-religious tensions • Schools of Elemental Magick, occultism, demonology, and the alien horrors of the Outer Chaos – the Cthulhu Mythos. Purchase or Preview via LULU.
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