Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Cepheus Light preview: Chase Rules

As you may know, we at Stellagama Publishing are hard at work on our rules-light version of the Cepheus Engine. It's name - logically enough - is Cepheus Light. The current draft is about one half, in term of word count, of the Cepheus Engine SRD. We strive to provide players and referees with a lightweight, fast-play, yet nuanced and varied, sci-fi rule-set.

Today I will present a preview of one area of rules we are very proud of: the chase rules. They should work very well with the Cepheus Engine SRD as well. This also serves as the conceptual framework for our space combat rules.


The tactical combat rules represent action in small, more limited areas. For vehicles, this means "knife-fighting" ranges and relatively slow speeds. A fast-moving vehicle will easily pass through the entire tactical combat map in less than one combat round. This is unsuitable for chases and dog-fighting. Use these rules instead. 

Chase turns are an abstraction in combat and vary in length depending on circumstances, from mere seconds in high-speed aircraft pursuits to hours in long drawn-out submarine duels. 

There is no initiative throw in chases. Instead, at the start of each turn both participants throw 2D + the relevant vehicle skill + the vehicle's Agility. The pursuer wins on ties. The winner has Advantage and may attack using the regular vehicle attack and damage rules, with the following modifiers based on the vehicle throw's effect: 

Effect 0-2: DM-2 to hit
Effect 3+: DM+0 to hit

The loser of the Advantage throw cannot attack in that turn, unless their vehicle has a turret-mounted weapon. Turret attacks made without Advantage suffer DM-4 to hit. 

It is possible to have multiple parties engaged in a chase. Simply record the different Advantage results in descending order. The vehicles higher on the “ladder” may attack any vehicle below them. This can be used to great effect in a dogfight, below. 

Chases last five turns. At the end of the fifth turn, if the prey has not been stopped, disabled, or destroyed, the prey escapes and the chase ends. 


In a dogfight, two or more highly maneuverable vehicles, usually aircraft, try to outmaneuver and fight each other. A dogfight has no time limit, barring certain fuel considerations. The dogfight will end ends either when one participant is disabled or destroyed, or if one participant disengages. To disengage from a dogfight, a participant must have Advantage and use their action that turn to throw Vehicle Skill 10+, DM +vehicle agility. 

Foot Chases 

Chases on foot use similar rules. Each turn, each side throws Athletics + DEX DM. The pursuer wins on ties. The winner of this opposed throw may attack in melee or ranged combat, at the Referee's discretion, while the loser cannot attack in that turn. Foot chases end in the same way that other chases end.

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