Player characters may become involved in a manhunt on either side of the equation. It’s not uncommon for a mission to go awry, leaving the team on the run from the internal security forces of a hostile nation or wanted by police in connection with the murder of a trusted contact. Likewise, characters can marshal their own resources or even commandeer local law enforcement in pursuit of a wily enemy with vital information — or worse, a weapon of mass destruction.
This type of Dramatic Conflict begins when 1 or more characters (the Predator(s)) set out to find one or more individuals whose current whereabouts are unknown (the Prey). A manhunt is only possible if the Prey’s previous whereabouts were known within the last 24 hours.
Prey Skill: Blend (Cha). This check possesses no tags.
When the GC wants to speed up or reduce the risk of any manhunt, it may become a Complex Task with a number of Challenges equal to the starting Lead and an Investigation (Wis) DC equal to the Prey’s Blend skill bonus + 10. This check possesses the Bribe and Language tags.
Manhunts take place against a backdrop of politics and everyday life. Unless the Predator is extremely driven or simply above reproach, there’s an upper limit to the public inconvenience and expense his actions can impose before someone in authority pulls the plug. The Predator must always avoid undue publicity and be mindful of how much his activities are disrupting the lives of bystanders. The Prey can sometimes use this to his benefit, forcing his pursuers to disrupt daily life or plead their case before the court of public opinion. Publicity also provides a second avenue of escape for the Prey by making it too costly to maintain the hunt.
The amount of publicity a manhunt can endure is determined by the authority of the Predator’s organization and the Prey’s notoriety, as shown on Table 6.13: Publicity Limits. If a manhunt’s publicity ever reaches or exceeds this limit, it must immediately be called off and the Predator may not initiate any subsequent manhunts for the duration of the current mission.
During a manhunt, Lead represents the search radius within which the Predator correctly believes the Prey is hiding. Each point of Lead gained gives the Prey more breathing room, while each point lost gives the Predator a progressively stronger idea of his whereabouts.
A manhunt’s starting Lead is 4 (if the starting radius is a neighborhood), 5 (if the starting radius is a city or county), 6 (if the starting radius is a state or small country), 7 (if the starting radius is a large country), or 8 (if the starting radius is an entire continent). A manhunt isn’t possible if the Prey’s location can’t be narrowed to a single continent or smaller area.
Multiple Manhunt Participants
When multiple groups are tracking a single Prey, the Lead is tracked separately between each Predator/Prey pair. During each Conflict round, each step is resolved by each pair, in order from lowest to highest Lead (all pairs resolve each step before proceeding to the next step). The Prey may choose a different Strategy in each pairing.
Likewise, when multiple groups are tracking one another in a “chain” (e.g. the characters hunt a foil and are in turn sought by the police), the Lead is tracked separately between each Predator/Prey pair. During each Conflict round, each step is resolved by each pair, in order from front to back (all pairs resolve each step before proceeding to the next step).
During a manhunt, each Conflict round takes 1 day. The Predator and Prey must each be present and involved for a minimum of 4 hours per day.
During a manhunt, many modifiers apply to the Predator and the Prey, as shown on Table 6.14: Manhunt Modifiers.
Available Strategies are determined by the current Lead and each participant’s Spending Cash or the Tools Rating of his organization, as shown on Table 6.16: Manhunt Strategies. In some cases, a participant’s choice of Strategy changes the skill he uses to make the Conflict round’s opposed skill check.
The Prey develops a simple, inconspicuous routine to avoid notice.
All Points Bulletin
The Predator puts the word out, hoping to drive the Prey into the open.
The Predator sets up shop at major transit hubs and key routes in and out of the search area, hoping to catch the Prey right as he makes a move.
The Predator focuses on the information in hand, trying to extract telling patterns from it.
Dial It Back
The Predator withdraws from the public eye temporarily, trying to cover his own tracks and allowing things to cool off.
The Prey sets up an exhibition of the Predator’s “incompetence” and “abuse of authority.”
The Predator backs a hunch and takes a tremendous gamble, hoping to catch the Prey unawares.
Go to Ground
The Prey stays out of sight, buying time for other activities.
The Predator returns to previous scenes where the Prey was spotted and subjects every detail to intense scrutiny. This threatens any façade the Prey has erected, but also calls unwanted attention to the search.
The Prey feeds the Predator a series of false leads and red herrings in order to bog down the hunt.
The Predator or his proxies head out into the streets to follow up on leads and interview citizens.
The Predator appeals to the populace for support in finding the Prey. While intrusive, this tactic can pay off in a big way as the manhunt progresses.
Mind of a Killer
The Predator immerses himself in the Prey’s mindset, believing that if he understands him well enough, he’ll be able to predict his next move.
New Face, New Man
The Prey develops a new cover identity to help screen his actions.
The Prey backtracks, trying to silence any bystanders who might provide the Predator with clues about him.
Out of Bounds
The participant tries to take the manhunt off the asphalt and into the underbrush (e.g. a major city park, a wildlife preserve, a local forest, etc.).
The Prey tries to break up his routine, throwing off the Predator.
Run for the Border
The Prey brazenly tries to flee the search area, ending the manhunt with one wild dash for freedom!
The Prey goes back over his trail, trying to erase any signs of his passage.
The participant prepares for something completely different — and with luck entirely unexpected — during the following Conflict round.
The Predator uses wire tapes and other surveillance gear to track the Prey electronically.
The participant tries to pin his opponent down, or slip out of his opponent’s net. If a character possessing the master tracker class ability wins an opposed skill check using this Strategy, he may spend 1 use of the ability to choose any 1 Advantage, plus 1 additional Advantage per 4 by which he wins the check. He may not choose the Victory Advantage as part of this package.
Take It Public
The Prey pleads his case to the public, looking to garner sympathy.
The Usual Suspects
The Predator runs down the “usual suspects,” interviewing and even squeezing them for information about the Prey.
Without a Trace
The Prey concocts a bold and possibly complex plan to vanish entirely.
A chase erupts between the Predator and Prey, each with a vehicle chosen by the GC based on their whereabouts and the situation at hand. The chase’s starting Lead is equal to the manhunt’s current Lead and the Predator gains 2 bonus action dice that may only be spent to boost skill checks made as part of the chase Conflict. If the Prey wins the chase, he escapes and wins the manhunt.
A combat erupts between the Predator and Prey, with both characters carrying only their Possessions (personal
gear) and the Prey benefiting from a quick ambush. If either character defeats the other, he wins the manhunt.
The lowest cover identity Power Rating possessed by the opposed check winner increases by 1 (maximum 7). If the winner possesses no cover identities, he gains 1 cover identity with a Power Rating of 2. Every 2 times this Advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same round, the lowest cover identity Power Rating possessed by the opposed check winner increases by an additional 1.
The Prey plants a set of false clues about his motivations and methods. The next time the Predator gains a Profile Advantage, the Lead is considered 2 higher when calculating the profile’s effect. Choosing this Advantage multiple times does not further increase the Lead for this purpose; instead, every 2 times this Advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same Conflict round, this modifier affects 1 additional Profile Advantage after the first.
The Lead is adjusted by 1 in the opposed check winner’s favor. Every 2 times this Advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same round, the Lead is adjusted by an additional 1 in the opposed check winner’s favor.
The manhunt’s publicity increases by 1. Every 2 times this advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same Challenge, the manhunt’s publicity increases by an additional 1.
The manhunt is “put on hold.” The Lead remains the same and no steps are resolved during the following Conflict round. Further, the manhunt’s publicity decreases by 1. Each time this Advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same round, the manhunt is paused for 1 additional round and its publicity decreases by an additional 1. The action continues during this time (i.e. the participants continue to fox and outfox one another and take other actions during Step 4 of each Conflict round), but no one — including the opposed check winner — makes any progress.
The Predator reconstructs or even predicts 1 opponent’s actions through psychological analysis. He begins or joins a scene featuring the chosen opponent at a location of the GC’s choice as a point shown on Table 6.15: Profiling Delay. Unless the Lead is 1 or less (after all current modifiers are applied), the winner always arrives after the Prey leaves. If the chosen opponent possesses 1 or more cover identities, the Lead increases by 1 for this purpose. Every 2 times this Advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same round, the Lead is decreased by 1 for this purpose. The actual Lead does not change as a result of these modifiers.
Once the Predator arrives on scene, he may make an Investigation/Canvass Area or Search/Perception check against the DC listed on Table 6.15. With success, he gains 1 clue or detail about the Prey. In addition to any other effects the Predator gains for possessing this information, he also benefits from a +2 bonus per clue/detail with all subsequent skill checks made as part of the same manhunt (including any made due to later profile Advantages).
|Example: Kevin is pursuing an arms dealer and gains 1 profile Advantage. The current Lead is 4, but the arms dealer possesses a cover identity, so it’s considered 5 when determining the profile Advantage’s effects. The GC decides that the arms dealer met with one of his contacts earlier that day, and Kevin arrives at the bar where the meeting took place 4d6 hours later. The arms dealer is long gone, but Kevin may make an Investigation/Canvass Area or Search/Perception check (DC 40) to discover an additional detail about his Prey.|
The manhunt’s publicity decreases by 2. Every 2 times this advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same round, the manhunt’s publicity decreases by an additional 1.
The Power Rating of 1 of the Prey’s cover identities decreases by 1 (if the Prey possesses more than 1 cover identity, this affects the one with the lowest Power Rating). If this reduces the Power Rating to 0, the cover identity is blown (see page 286). Every 2 times this Advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same round, the identity’s Power Rating is reduced by an additional 1 (if the most recently targeted identity’s Power Rating is reduced to 0, this affects the cover identity with the next lowest Power Rating).
The opposed check winner gains 1 of the following benefits.
- The winner extracts 1 clue or important secret from 1 opponent.
- The winner presents one lie that is believed to be true as if he had made a successful Bluff/Deception check with a penalty of up to –6 (see Table 2.26: Character Deception).
Every 2 times this Advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same round, the winner extracts 1 additional clue or secret, or increases the penalty limit of the lie by 2 (i.e. to –8 if the Advantage is chosen twice, –10 if it’s chosen three times, etc.).
Each participant except the opposed check winner suffers 1d4 stress damage. Each time this Advantage is chosen beyond the first during the same round, this damage increases by +1d4. No character may recover from this damage until the manhunt ends.
The opposed check winner may use any of the following skills when making the next opposed check during the same manhunt: Athletics (Str), Bureaucracy (Cha), Computers (Int), Drive (Dex), Networking (Cha), Search (Int), Sneak (Dex), or Streetwise (Wis). None of these checks possess tags.
The manhunt ends in the opposed check winner’s favor.
Ending a Manhunt
If the Predator wins (i.e. the Lead decreases to 0 or less, the Predator catches the Prey in a chase or other prompted scene, or the manhunt otherwise ends in the Predator’s favor), the Prey’s exact location is revealed and the Predator may take action as he sees fit. This usually results in a combat or chase scene, with the Predator gaining the benefits of a slow ambush. Alternately, the Predator may choose not to act yet, keeping tabs on the Prey instead. In this case, the Lead is reset to 1 and the manhunt continues the following day as standard.
If the Prey wins (i.e. the Lead increases to 10 or more, the publicity becomes too severe for the Predator to continue, or the chase otherwise ends in the Prey’s favor), the Prey and his team escape and cannot be found for the duration of the current scene.
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