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Thread: Leap Year
Thursday, 13th September, 2012, 05:00 AM #1
I had to cancel my D&D game five weeks in a row due to conventions and vacations. During the break, I decided to advance the campaign timeline by one year. Needless to say, my players were surprised.
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Thursday, 13th September, 2012, 12:24 PM #2
Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)
As usual, an interesting article from Mr Perkins. Always a lot of food for thought, although I'm not sure I agree with it all...
Firstly, I always balk at DMs giving "homework assignments". By all means ask for input, and I'll probably even give it. But one of the very best things about being an adult is that when I leave the office, I leave my work behind. I don't do homework (heck, I always did it, but I always objected, even when I was in school). I know he's being light-hearted, and that his players are also probably bought-in to that sort of thing, but...
(And, yeah, that's a very minor nitpick about not much!)
It's always risky taking the timeline forward in an RPG like this. What if one of the players really wants to influence one of the events listed? For example, what if one decides that the execution is not a good idea after all, and the villain is of more use as a source of information? What if they really want to try to stop it?
Now, that said, what he's done here, and especially the dump of key information, is very cool. It's not something I would do myself (because it's too much - my players wouldn't read this), but I would probably do something similar, albeit very stripped down.
I have done the "time jump" thing a couple of times, but generally using some means where the PCs can't meaningfully affect wider events - they've been stuck on a long journey, trapped in a timeless dimension, or something of that sort. I've never (that I recall) simply moved the timeline forward a year while having anything significant happening in the setting (because of the "the PCs may want to change it" factor I mentioned above).
On the other hand, what I have done quite often is small jumps forward. In general, I start my campaign by syncing up a particular real-time date with an in-game date. Thereafter, while in mid-adventure, time passes slowly. However, between adventures I then tend to re-sync the calendars - if two months have passed since the start of the campaign (real-world), then I'll advance the in-game calendar so that two months have passed since the start of the campaign. (Obviously, this gets a bit trickier if in-game time passes more quickly than in the real world!)
The one area where I have been seeing some issues with in-game time passing has been in my current 3.5e Eberron campaign. One of the PCs is an Artificer, and this is therefore the first campaign to feature extensive use of the magic item crafting rules. And, aside from all the other issues with those rules, there is also an issue with time passing - if there isn't significant downtime built in, the Artificer can't craft items, and so is denied one of the key features of his class. Thus far I've been able to handwave it, but it's becoming harder as levels go up, crafting takes more time, and the campaign is coming to a head (thus compressing the timeline).
Thursday, 13th September, 2012, 01:48 PM #3
I like it, and as a player I don't think I would mind. Now, my opinion might be different had I been a player in that campaign and thought to myself, "My character wouldn't just be sitting on his duff while that was going on!"
All the same, I think some enforced downtime is a good idea to increase drama and provide more opportunities for the plot to develop. Your character might have been attending to urgent personal or official business elsewhere and either couldn't involve himself in the listed events or didn't know about them. I think advancing the timeline and having your players think about what their characters were doing would be a good exercise in creativity.
Thursday, 13th September, 2012, 02:15 PM #4
Lama (Lvl 13)
While I personally never done that, due to the fact that I don't think that my players would have appreciated this, I fond the idea of moving the timeline forward very compelling, both as a player and as a DM.
Chris example of the timeline jump in BSG (best Sci-Fi ever btw) really drawn the excercise into focus and I would love to have a bunch of players who won't throw an hissy fit over somthing like that.
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Thursday, 13th September, 2012, 07:14 PM #5
Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)