Flight or Fight
A huge ape, golden fur and shaking in visible rage stands before the party, its forearms alone are broader than the most muscular warrior in the party and its hide is littered with scars that tell of the hundreds of battles it has won. As it moves the rocks and dirt under foot crumble into nothingness as its strength, rage and dedication to pursue its prey is so intense that the ground breaks beneath it. Standing well over 15ft all its both quick, intelligent and experienced in fighting.
Ah yes, now I’ve said it before I do like the chase mechanics. There is something special about running from or chasing down something as opposed to just chopping it to little pieces.
In this case the parry is our quarry as well give them 60ft head start and the goal is to hide or lose the ape, simple enough right? The cost of failure is that the beast will immediately start combat on their initiative and, this is something that we as dungeon masters need to describe in great detail the power and strength behind this beast, the Party should not want to fight it and we should describe it as a force of nature that no one should ever seek to fight.
Have the beast be initiative 11, mid way but a chance of not being last. Have each party member roll for initiative as normal and then we follow a simple set of rules.
Chase limitations (to be explained)
Firstly our players are only allowed one action and one move. This means that their bonus actions and reactions are not permitted during the chase so we can keep the tempo going forward and to add to that sense of dread of being caught.
Secondly the party members get to ‘dash’ three times plus an additional time for each point in their constitution modifier (a constitution score of 14 means they get to dash 5 times for free during the chase scene!) Each time they dash after that they need to make an endurance check, DC10 Con check where if they fail they gain a level of exhaustion. If they reach Exhaustion 5 then they fall unconscious.
Now, I will add some additional ones this weekend in the final writeup (cant lay all my cards on the table at once) but a chase scene through the streets of a city would have various complications, city guard standing in the way, a cart, barrels, children chasing balls into the middle of the street. At night, in a temple (or out side of it – more on that later) particularly one where you may not know what is between buildings, in them or around them you may find that you run into dead ends or create issues for people following you. An example may be that a character may use a branch, root or vine to climb onto a roof – but the complication in doing so is that the thing they used to climb up breaks and so anyone who was trying to follow them cant follow the same path.
We have a map of the temple grounds but not he buildings, the buildings would be simple (and I don’t really want to go in an design little rooms for them all. Sorry!) so I would have them have one or two rooms where the players can hide – the more people that hide there the easier it will be for the beast to find them – splitting up when hiding in buildings is key. But if they can make it out the gate then there is nothing stopping the party from hiding and running through the woods where there is potentially countless places to hide – and for this I will create one or two more maps this weekend to capture this ability to leave the temple and travel on foot out of there.
If the beast loses the party it will keep looking, but it will give the party between 10 minutes 60 minutes of rest before it comes close to finding them again (roll 1d6 and add a 0 to the result to get the amount of minutes). For every 10 minutes rested in hiding they gain 1 ‘dash’ left and for every 20 minutes rested they can remove 1 level of exhaustion from the chase.
There is one part in the temple where the beast is extremely hesitant to enter or go near – the building without the door (where Shiku’s brothers and sisters were slain) – if the party successfully hide or go in here they automatically count as hiding for 60 minutes. If they are discovered in there then the beast will go in there and attack, but will have disadvantage on all rolls – it will also not use its movement or attacks in any way that will damage the area and will cause half damage in its attacks in its effort to respect the resting place of its human side’s kin.
If the player is out of sight from the beast at the end of a round they can attempt to roll a stealth check to hide. For us as the DM we would have the beast focused on finding a single person (if they are playing distraction) or if no one has opted to do that heroic move then it would have disadvantage as it tries to track all players (intruders) at once. If all the party members are successfully hidden at the beginning of the round then the chase is over and they get 1d6*10 minutes of rest before the beast comes back to their location for another search.
If they are found again then the chase begins a new – give the beast initiative 1 and the party starts within 30 feet of the beast for terms of spacing. Then go through it again.
Ultimate victory is where the party remains hidden for 3 hours in total (at which point the beast bellows and storms off into the forest / back to the temple if they made it out) or if the beast becomes exhausted (rank 5) in its effort to pursue the party.
In combat it’s a ruthless combatant that will try and knock all party members unconscious, but not kill. Shiku wont let it kill them. If they are all knocked unconscious they are tier 4 exhausted and on 1 HP outside the temple. Pick 1d6 items on each player and they are broken beyond use (magical items included) as they would have suffered enough damage to break during the fight.
If the beast throws a party member pick a random direction (rolling a d8 for North, North east, east, South East and so on) and the PC moves that direction 60ft. That PC can now attempt to begin the chase again and go hide if they choose too. Remember the aim is to get the party members to get out of combat.
If they do beat the beast in combat it will shapeshift into Shiku, mostly naked with modesty hidden (I am a gentleman after all..) and will appear dead – dawns first light will awaken her however and her body wont burn if set alight (part of Shuimu’s gift to her monks).