warrenss2 wrote:This is twice I've seen you mention Road Wars and I've seen it on your website. What is it and where can it be found?
Oh, sorry -- somehow I missed this earlier. "Road Wars" is not a reference to a specific game or game supplement. Rather, I mean that I have a history of running several home-brewed games that, for one reason or another, feature a running battle along some stretch of highway between vehicles (possibly armor-plated, possibly equipped with spikes or ram plates, and most CERTAINLY carrying hostile people with guns and explosives) -- whether in "Hell on Earth," "Zombie Run," my "Deadlands Deco" alternate timeline pulp adventures, or my greatly off-the-rails treatment of "War of the Dead."
Roughly speaking, when I run a "running road battle" (or, for that matter, a "running rocketship battle"), I tweak the basic Savage Worlds vehicle rules. Usually, one party is the "fugitive" and another party consists of the "pursuer," and there may more than one vehicle on one side and/or the other. I represent the conflict area with an elongated section of the table with something to represent a stretch of road, and I typically use very small (Micro Machines scale) toys and markers to represent the participant vehicles.
My representation of motion at this point becomes relativistic, with the assumption that everyone is more-or-less heading in the same direction. One vehicle (usually that of the heroes) is for all intents and purposes "stationary," while we can assume that the terrain is scrolling by. (I don't actually MOVE the terrain; I just assume that we're on a straight road -- or else, for the sake of abstraction, I treat it that way in representation.)
Let's say the heroes are in a cargo truck trying to escape raiders. The assumption is that the raiders' vehicles are probably FASTER than the truck, or else it wouldn't be much of a chase. I set up my board so that the raiders' vehicles are on the back end. Each round, they'll move forward on my represented road a distance equal to the DIFFERENCE between the two vehicles per-round speeds.
So, for the sake of argument, let's say that at this scale, the cargo truck would be moving at a speed of 10 spaces, and the raider buggies would be moving at a speed of 12 spaces. Rather than moving the cargo truck 10 spaces and then moving each of the buggies 12 spaces each round (and quickly running out of table to represent this), I would leave the cargo truck right in the middle of my abstract road board, and move the pursuing buggies up 2 spaces (12 - 10 = 2).
Now, if a buggy were to VEER wildly off course (say, he wants to hop off the road and buzz through the dusty underbrush off the side of the road), in an attempt to flank the truck while his buddies attack from the other side), I can figure out his new position fairly easily. Rather than move him forward two spaces, I simply pick the direction he's going to be driving in, and move him the full 12 spaces in that direction (just like you'd normally move a model) ... and then, whatever position it ends up in, I move it back in a straight line 10 spaces along the path of travel (as the terrain "scrolls" by). As a consequence, the further he veers off of a path parallel with the road, the further he's going to fall back in relation to everyone else.
If I had the foresight to plan ahead a little, I could fairly easily just calculate how much it's going to cut into his "2 spaces" of gain to jog left or right a bit, ahead of time ... but since it's an RPG, most of the time I can just wing it. (A lane change is not going to have a very significant effect in the big scheme of things. I probably should draw a diagram to illustrate this, but that'll have to wait for some other time.)
Turn order leads to some weird effects, such as vehicles crossing each others' paths, but for the sake of abstraction I tend to just gloss it over unless it leads to some obvious contradictions (and then, since this is an RPG, I can just spot-rule whatever seems to make the most sense at the moment).
Now, occasionally I might have some obstacles "scripted" to enter the scene (say, Round 4, there's a burning road wreck up ahead!), or I might even do something like rolling randomly each round. This is just represented by placing an obstacle on the "forward edge" of my "scrolling" terrain board. At the bottom of each round, it moves back 10 spaces (the speed of the cargo truck serving as our point of reference). The same happens for any vehicles that come to a complete stop (due to a crash, etc.).
Under normal circumstances, we can assume that anyone would have the sense to NOT run right into a flaming road wreck, but with all the gunfire, explosions all around, smoke pouring from the wreck, etc., drivers are understandably distracted. Hence, any vehicle marker passing through or adjacent to an obstacle prompts a Driving check from the vehicle driver to avoid clipping it (roll for collision damage -- if it's high, it must have been head on, and if it's low, then he must have just run across a bit of debris on the outskirts of the wreck and kept right on going). and losing a bit of speed in the process (raider markers fall back -- or if the hero vehicle slows down, all the raider and other markers move forward, gaining ground).
Somewhat more abstract, I made a bunch of "road condition cards" (which I first used for the crazy mountain chase in "Zombie Run" that is doomed to be very, very short if you play it exactly as written) that are based on rounds rather than having a marker on the table. For the sake abstraction and keeping things "Fun! Fast! Furious!" the cards represent hazards that everyone has to deal with this round (or for the next X rounds, depending) -- such as having to make Driving checks to avoid obstacles, or slow down and lose ground, or thick smoke/fog that limits visibility (ranged attack penalties), or going through a tunnel (everyone forced back onto the road to keep with the chase, and darkness penalties to ranged attacks and to see upcoming obstacles), or an obscured road hazard (Driving check with a hefty penalty for the lead vehicle to avoid; every vehicle down the line gets a bonus to the Driving check to evade, because the driver is warned by the sight of the car in front of him swerving to avoid it!), etc.
Right now, all of this exists as some notes and a couple of custom card decks (done with Photoshop and InDesign) I've been revising each time, and tweaking for the particular scenario. I guess I should try polishing it up sometime.