D&D 5E Do you use a clock?

atanakar

Hero
There are several ways I use a «Clock» in my D&D games.

1) The Timer : When I want to impress a «hard» sense of urgency to the player I use a timer set to 2-3 hours. They must complete the mission within that time frame or they fail and consequences happen. The game is played almost real time. If they loose time arguing out of character I don't stop the clock. The first time we did this was with the RPGA module The Ghost Tower of Inverness. It was stressful but very captivating. Don't do this too often as it is even harder for the DM.

2) Clock (revealed) : Usually the characters know from the start they have a fixed number of time to complete the mission. If they do not consequences happen. For exemple, a kidnapped person will be killed if a ransom is not provided or if the characters don't manage to find the location and rescue the hostage before it is too late.

3) Clock (hidden): The opponents of the characters have a secret plan in motion. Parts of the plan goes into effect, step by step, until it is fully active.

Do you use Clocks in your game?
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

I use the Dice pool style time keeper. each die represents either 10 minutes, one hour, 1/6 of a day, or a day depending on current pacing. 6 dice rolls its over and such. If i feel the players are sitting around talking or wasting time i just add a die. works pretty well and is simple and visual so the party knows how much time has passed in game.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Almost all of my adventures and campaigns have time pressure in some form or another. I don't think the game works very well without them. If there is a time pressure, the players are made aware of it so they can factor it into their decision-making. I wouldn't use a "hidden clock" on them. This defeats the purpose of it in my view.

It is pretty rare for me to tie game time to real time. I've done it, but it has to be for very specific scenarios in order for me to consider it a viable option.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
There have been things happening offscreen in the campaigns I run, but I don't think of them as clocks, exactly, because the things aren't necessarily adversaries. For the most part, the only clock I bother with is the real-world time, because I run at game stores and we have to end at [time]. I'll wrap early rather than have to interrupt a combat.
 

DemonSlayer

Explorer
No. I have been toying around with the idea of using a small hourglass timer, but haven't pulled the trigger yet. If I come up with a situation like the walls are closing in, then I might actually do it.
 


dave2008

Legend
There are several ways I use a «Clock» in my D&D games.

1) The Timer : When I want to impress a «hard» sense of urgency to the player I use a timer set to 2-3 hours. They must complete the mission within that time frame or they fail and consequences happen. The game is played almost real time. If they loose time arguing out of character I don't stop the clock. The first time we did this was with the RPGA module The Ghost Tower of Inverness. It was stressful but very captivating. Don't do this too often as it is even harder for the DM.

2) Clock (revealed) : Usually the characters know from the start they have a fixed number of time to complete the mission. If they do not consequences happen. For exemple, a kidnapped person will be killed if a ransom is not provided or if the characters don't manage to find the location and rescue the hostage before it is too late.

3) Clock (hidden): The opponents of the characters have a secret plan in motion. Parts of the plan goes into effect, step by step, until it is fully active.

Do you use Clocks in your game?
Yes, players have 30 seconds to resolve their turn (decided what to do and make an required rolls)
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Yes, players have 30 seconds to resolve their turn (decided what to do and make an required rolls)

I can see the time limit thing, but I'd maybe want a little flexibility. I can see events obviating my planned action/s, and I can see some turns (especially with multiple actions) just taking a while to resolve (or roll). Then again, I've never timed how long it takes me to resolve my turn.
 

dave2008

Legend
I can see the time limit thing, but I'd maybe want a little flexibility. I can see events obviating my planned action/s, and I can see some turns (especially with multiple actions) just taking a while to resolve (or roll). Then again, I've never timed how long it takes me to resolve my turn.
To clarify we only strictly enforce that in combat. It works for us because it makes combat feel more urgent, if you make a mistake - too bad, that just is the craziness of battle. It only took a combat or two to get used to it, and now it feels strange without it.
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
To clarify we only strictly enforce that in combat. It works for us because it makes combat feel more urgent, if you make a mistake - too bad, that just is the craziness of battle. It only took a combat or two to get used to it, and now it feels strange without it.

I figured it was in combat (doesn't make much sense without it), I'm just thinking about some characters I've seen with, e.g., lots of attacks and lots of rolls, and I'm wondering if one could do all that rolling in 30 seconds. As I said, I haven't timed myself (or anyone else). I do understand the motivating impulse, I'm just ... thinking, I guess.
 

I believe that a shot clock works well for when turn based game play is accruing. the more experience you have as a player the sooner i expect you to make a choice. players who have years of play under their belts have 5 seconds and the brand new player has no limit. if you can't decide default to dodge. once the decision is made i don't rush the player. some people are better at counting dice than others.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I have used clocks very infrequently ... and it drastically changes the nature of play. RP goes way down for one, as players see it superfluous to "solving" the mission. And avoiding combat goes way up because it's such a ridiculous time sink compared to any other mechanical part of play. Characters will also, for example, pay bribes of an amount they never would otherwise because the meta-incentive of the out-of-game clock makes haggling a bad thing, even though that goes contrary to how they would normally play their characters.

The fact that players put back in RP as soon as there is no longer a clock leads me to the (somewhat obvious) conclusion that the players I play with enjoy doing it. So overuse of clocks would be counter-fun for my table in that aspect. But still, occasionally moving people out of their comfort zones is also fun.

I've also done short in-game clocks, but that has much different results. For example, when 30 minutes of combat is 24 seconds of in-game time, that's not a problem. Taking rests is a problem. Which screws up inter-class balance for short-rest-recovery classes like the warlock.

I'm much more likely to have longer in-game clocks (days+), such as a count down to a celestial conjunction or something.
 
Last edited:




An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top