Non-urgent Adventures and Campaigns?
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  1. #1
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    Non-urgent Adventures and Campaigns?

    This thread got me thinking. I've been reading too many published adventures lately that all have a timer of some sort. Some big bad Thing is going down, and the adventurers need to stop it. What kind of adventure/campaign can be constructed where taking a week-long rest doesn't result in towns destroyed, kidnapped princesses sacrifced, or the BBEG inching closer to his plan?

    What are some plot hooks that allow for downtime?

    • Artifact search. Nothing bad happens if they don't find it, it's just a cool thing to discover. Perhaps a rival treasure-seeker to racket up the tension when needed.
    • Survive. There might be a clock, but the goal is to run it out. Fight off monsters on the island until rescued. Find your way to the portal out of the Feywild.


    What are some other ones?
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    Here are a few.

    * Any sort of "hex crawl" scenario where the main thrust of the game is exploration and treasure hunting. You start in a city as your HQ, and then expand out into the wilderness to see what you can find. When you're done, you return to town. Rinse and repeat.

    * Any sort of "quest of the week" style of game. You get a mission with a definite end. You go do it. You return to town until your guild or your faction has another job lined up. Or the DM can just make it so every so often something of interest happens.

    * Any sort of threat that builds slowly and whose end game isn't apparent. There might be a cult out there that's eventually going to do something that ends the world, but for now all you know is they show up in temples and do creepy things every so often.

    * Anything where the weather forces you to stay home, like the old times in real life. If the winter season is fierce and long, there might be an "adventuring season" and a "hibernation season."
    Last edited by mAcular; Wednesday, 11th April, 2018 at 01:17 AM.
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  3. #3
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    If you remove time frame pc will nova at each fight who look dangerous.
    otherwise time strain is needed to feel the thrill of the hunt.

    Game were nothing happens can be dull.
    You are at the beach on your desert island, the goal of the day is to get water.
    Tomorrow the goal will gather be some fresh fruits.
    And next day some fishes.
    And then water again.....

    I think time strain is an essential part of a good challenge.

  4. #4
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    It is always a bit of resource Management, time critical adventures just push that aspect a bit harder. When playing RPGs on the Computer i always hated when things went on timer, or you got Groups who want to rush it all, so i can understand you.

    For those who DM - Think about the downside of a quest under pressure, the following might happen and does happen, which can be very frustrating:

    - Players Bypass or shortcut Areas which you did put much effort in

    - They miss out clues or good Equipment available in those bypassed Areas and you have to rebalance Encounters because you thought they will be equipped with these items

    - They waste to much time at soem early or mid Point in the adventure and now the big bad is going to happen no matter what. There goes your homebrew world with the apocalypse you had the Players planned to prevent.

    If you are hardcore and have planned for all these unplanned Events, are you sure the second half of your campaign should take place in a Dark Sun like world, everything destroyed all in ruins etc.?

    If you are true to Canon somehow and Play in FR, when is the Point when Drizztminster jumps into the fray to save it all and frustrate upright PCs :P
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    My son and I got an LotR video game as soon as he turned 13.

    He played through Moria as if it was a race to the end. When he met the Balrog, it took him about two dozen attempts, because his characters were under-levelled and under-equipped. He in effect had to wait for the AI to be dumb for several rounds in a row.

    I watched him for the first evening's worth of attempts, then created my own character and went through Moria very thoroughly. Looked in every corner, found all the equipment, and incidentally faced so many random encounters that I had extra levels over the game's expectations. I defeated the Balrog on my second try (because its AI decided to concentrate on Gandalf - who was the weakest member of my party - instead of unloading AoEs on everybody).
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mAcular View Post
    * Any sort of "hex crawl" scenario where the main thrust of the game is exploration and treasure hunting. You start in a city as your HQ, and then expand out into the wilderness to see what you can find. When you're done, you return to town. Rinse and repeat.
    +1 to this.

    One of my personal "side quests" for Tomb of Annihilation is to create a Complete Map of Chult, and sell a copy to every interested bidder. (While not telling them that they have a copy and I still have the original.) For an additional fee, I'll copy my Adventurer's Log too - what interesting stuff I ran into and where to find it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krachek View Post
    If you remove time frame pc will nova at each fight who look dangerous.
    otherwise time strain is needed to feel the thrill of the hunt.

    ....(deleted for focus)

    I think time strain is an essential part of a good challenge.
    I think a decent way to combat that a little is to make dungeon/cave/mysterious ruins prime real estate.

    If a party long rests after every encounter, and a you can only take one long rest every 24 hours. It could take a week or more to clear something.

    In that time other monsters could move in, other ones could expand their lairs or call for reinforcements, or maybe even decide to go out and hunt down whoever just killed Gary from two caves down.

    It makes the long wait feel like it has some consequence even if there is no real time limit.

  8. #8
    I have a campaign where there is a clock, but it is a year or so in-game. The players can take time if they want, and probably will until they figure out that some bad stuff has been building for some time. This allows me to add in situations where the PC's getting trapped or taking a long time with rests can result in days or weeks of main story forward movement while the PCs have done not much of anything. If you want the PCs to work with week long rests, then just multiply the clock by 10. Instead of 1 year for the kingdom of Havensclock to begin an all out surprise attack on its neighbors, bent on killing all the inhabitants to solidify control with loyal Havensclock-iens, it takes 10. Just be sure to have key moments where things significantly change and be able to progressively describe how things are changing.

    I also have a number of side quests, like find out how to stop the blightwood threat making land travel around Neverwinter incredibly dangerous, enter the tomb eternal and stop it from poisoning the local ground water, procure and clear Mirror Manor for use as a forward base for faction agents, and hunt down a pack of Manticores that are devastating the hippogriff herds of Amn (reward: chests of silver trade bars or an equivalent in trained military hippogriff mounts). Right now these side quests are relatively easy to get to, but the quest itself can have many twists and surprises. They are balanced for an 8 hour long rests. I am of the opinion quests balanced for longer rests need to be designed significantly differently, primarily made easier or at the very least smaller maps. No 25 room, 10 corridor, trap filled, multi-level tomb of death. Your players would run out of food and water after the first rest if they could not easily escape.

    Additionally, each side quest can effectively expire at some pre-determined time, say 200 days in is where the hippogriff herd disbands due to sheer casualties, the way to Neverwinter is now shut, or Mirror Manor has been burned down for some reason, etc. This makes it feel like the world is still moving around and with the players, not just static quests that will always be available regardless of how long they take to get to the location.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krachek View Post
    If you remove time frame pc will nova at each fight who look dangerous.
    otherwise time strain is needed to feel the thrill of the hunt.

    Game were nothing happens can be dull.
    You are at the beach on your desert island, the goal of the day is to get water.
    Tomorrow the goal will gather be some fresh fruits.
    And next day some fishes.
    And then water again.....

    I think time strain is an essential part of a good challenge.
    In an exploration based game, there may be encounters or hazards at any time. Going nova and using up most available resources during the first encounter isn't a good strategy even if the adventure goal isn't on a timer. When out in the wilderness and away from the influence of civilization, getting the full benefits of a long rest should never be automatically assumed.
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  10. #10
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    There are also time restraints on seasons and years. A gate that opens on full moons, or the winter solstice slows down play. You do not always need the plot to have the solstice next week. Having it 6 months away allows players time to think and have the PCs study and research.
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