Flee conflict and narrative

What should the narrative of a flee conflict sound like? What’s it’s scope? Does a flee conflict all take place in the same area, and it’s all about trying to get a good head start and avoid being cornered, and it ends when you leave the door or get captured? It feels like that has to be the case, otherwise you run the risk of triggering traps, encountering enemies or allies along the way, or entering an area that your pursuers can’t or won’t follow you, like stepping out into the sun while being chased by vampires. Then again, all that jockeying for position in one relatively small area doesn’t feel like it has enough narrative guts to fill a whole conflict… maybe just a versus test?

I’m almost thinking that most “flee” intents in tight spaces are actually better handled by a drive off conflict, while flee and pursue should be reserved for more open or at least expansive spaces. Does that make sense?

I was also wondering about this, particularly because the Skogenby module specifically mentions a Flee conflict as a way to interact with some Tomb Guardians. My assumption is that you can really only go back out the way you came, since you don’t have time to be poking around and trying to open locked doors.

My thought is that as part of the round, you describe where the players are and include any terrain advantages or disadvantages and note exits or other routes, and the players determine which direction they’re going to try to go. Then you play out your actions and if the conflict continues, you again describe where the players are and they determine which way they’re running. You could probably double back as a feint or something.

Does this seem right?

Though if they do go deeper into the dungeon, the group getting lost could be a fun compromise for the GM. And I guess if you hit a dead end then you could switch to a kill or drive-off conflict.

Well, in raw you can’t switch conflicts, so if the conflict drags on and you run out of rooms what do you do? If you reach the dead end do you automatically lose? Are there compromises? Do you just assume you can get past your enemy again the way you came? That seems far-fetched, you hit a dead end, it’s over, you went the wrong way… Again, is flee the wrong conflict type here, or am I not understanding how a flee conflict plays out in terms of player and GM descriptions?

Does it have to stay contained to one room or area? No, absolutely not. It could involve miles of caves and countryside if that makes sense. But this is why it is the GM’s prerogative to interpret the players’ actions and choose a conflict appropriate to the situation. If what you know about the layout and creatures in the area mean that a chase doesn’t make sense, then don’t call for a chase/flee conflict.

In Skogenby, there’s a lot of running around that you can do trying to lose the Tomb Guardians. Crawling out of the crypt is a problem, because there’s no way to do it quickly. But you can run around the various rooms and try to hide!

Some months ago, while I was running The Beacon at Enon Tor, the players had run into some giant rats and driven them off. I described them fleeing to the stairway that led up from the basement the PCs were in. They closed the door after the rats, trapping them in there (the door at the top was spiked shut). Later, when the characters had set the basement on fire and were desperate to get away, they opened the door to the stairway. They wanted to drive the rats away again. I told them it was impossible. The rats were between them and the exit and the rats had nowhere to go. If they players wanted past them, they’d have to kill.

I think a flee conflict is more slow-paced. It involves grabbing, pushing, dragging, going back and forth and finally getting loose (or not). In the first session we made we had a long Flee conflict, but at the end the had only covered a room.

Stay cool :cool:

Okay, so you have to call the conflict type based on the situation, and restrict conflict types that don’t make sense. What do you do if you choose flee because you think they have room to flee, but then they flee somewhere you didn’t expect and set off a trap or run into more monsters, or hit a dead end? It seems like there’s a thousand ways you could really mess up the nature of a conflict if you allow it to expand into multiple areas…

I remember there was a thread about what to do when a conflict is interrupted by a trap or new monsters… but I just can’t seem to find it…

Flee to me could mean trying to get some grubby paws off of you as well as trying to outrun whatever it is. Narration could include both activities in a single Flee conflict. I love the idea of narrating it as close-quarters. Compromises could include ripped cloaks, bags, and other nasty close-quarters things from all the pulling and tripping. A sprinting chase would most definitely mean someone losing a shoe! I think it just depends on the situation.

I feel like an Escape conflict would have slightly different skills than a Flee conflict though. Which is fine, I don’t mind getting creative with conflict types.

Couldn’t you keep all the details of where they are actually running to ambiguous, insisting on that they first priority is of where not to be?
Where they eventually end up is decided after the conflict in a compromise.

During the conflict I would then only use generic features of the dungeon like dark corridors to run along,
even darker corners to hind behind, forks to take the wrong turn at, entrances to accidentally overlook,
Traps to be chased into or use to your advantage, other mosters to block an escape route etc.
When the player later try to find out where all this happened, they are just not sure.

I think this discussion would benefit from referring to the source material in D&D’s “dungeon chase” scenes (without which we have little to base what a dungeon chase procedurally should look like). I am assuming that B/X has the same rules as 0d&d.

From page 53 reformatted 0d&d text.
Monsters will automatically attack and/or pursue any characters they “see”, with the exception of those monsters which are intelligent enough to avoid an obviously superior force. There is no chance for avoiding if the monster has surprised the adventurers and is within 20 feet, unless the monster itself has been surprised. If the adventurers choose to flee, the monster will continue to pursue in a straight line as long as there is not more than 90 feet between the two. When a corner is turned or a door passed through or stairs up or down taken the monster will only continue to follow if a 1 or a 2 is rolled on a 6-sided die. If a secret door is passed through the monster will follow only on a roll of 1. Distance will open or close dependent upon the relative speeds of the two parties, men according to their encumbrance and monsters according to the speed given in the Monster descriptions. In order to move faster characters may elect to discard items such as treasure, weapons, shields, etc. in order to lighten encumbrance.
Burning oil will deter many monsters from continuing pursuit. Edible items will have a small likelihood (10%) of distracting intelligent monsters from pursuit. Semi- intelligent monsters will be distracted 50% of the time. Non-intelligent monsters will be distracted 90% of the time by food. Treasure will have the opposite reaction as food, being more likely to stop intelligent monsters.

It doesn’t list this on page 73 of Torchbearer, but I feel GM compromise should–given the above, include treasure and or food depending on the type of monster pursuing as they help explain how the players got away as much as, “you’re lost” “you fall into a sink hole” “you’re injured/afraid” certainly help. Obviously, using oil should grant some sort of bonus.

Part of the decisions on what the chase ends up “looking like” is determined by how much disposition is lost. If at one point lots of disposition is down it could be narrated as literally dropping lots of loot, the party being split up, running around in circles like chickens with their heads chopped off…but if a defensive maneuver brings the disposition back up, the group could run into each other at a 4 way intersection, pick up all their gear and shut the door on the pursuing monster in the room it started in! So the answer is, you cannot determine the final events of a flee conflict until the conflict is resolved one way or the other. It has to unravel in time as the chase ebbs and flows.