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May 16, 2013

Morale, Pursuit and Evasion

To answer a question on a previous post, no, there are not a lot of ways to resolve combat other than kill or be killed in D&D.  It's a major flaw with the game, but in next week's post on The Horror-Hunter Ladder, you'll see why that's not such a big deal for the game.

But to satisfy my raging nerd curiosity/pedantry, I decided to do twenty minutes of research and pull out some history of D&D's alternate conflict resolution systems...

Click here for just a selection of the rules from original D&D's morale, evasion and pursuit system.  From the Rules Cyclopedia edition (the one I cut my teeth on).  This isn't everything.  There are pages and pages of this stuff.

The entirety of the 3.5 ed D&D evasion and pursuit rules.  
There are no morale rules in 3rd edition or Pathfinder's core books.  I haven't checked their supplements.  The upcoming Pathfinder Ultimate Campaign might have morale rules.  I'll let you know if I see them.

Evasion And Pursuit

In round-by-round movement, simply counting off squares, it’s impossible for a slow character to get away from a determined fast character without mitigating circumstances. Likewise, it’s no problem for a fast character to get away from a slower one.

When the speeds of the two concerned characters are equal, there’s a simple way to resolve a chase: If one creature is pursuing another, both are moving at the same speed, and the chase continues for at least a few rounds, have them make opposed Dexterity checks to see who is the faster over those rounds. If the creature being chased wins, it escapes. If the pursuer wins, it catches the fleeing creature.

Sometimes a chase occurs overland and could last all day, with the two sides only occasionally getting glimpses of each other at a distance. In the case of a long chase, an opposed Constitution check made by all parties determines which can keep pace the longest. If the creature being chased rolls the highest, it gets away. If not, the chaser runs down its prey, outlasting it with stamina.

The 4th ed Morale system is under the Intimidate skill (Click for details).  The word Morale does not even appear in the 4e monster manual.  

4e Evasion and Pursuit is handled as a skill challenge, which may be the most awesome way to handle it of all editions.  


  1. Likewise, it’s no problem for a fast character to get away from a slower one.

    Unless the slower one has Ego Whip...

  2. Boy, changing layouts really screwed up this post's formatting! Maybe I'll fix it someday.