D&D General Time Pressure and Adventures

Your DM says that tonight's adventure has a time limit. What's your first reaction?

  • Personally offended ("Okay first of all, how dare you?")

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Negative ("Ugh, boring. Nobody wants to watch their resources so closely.")

    Votes: 1 1.7%
  • Completely uninterested ("Gosh, look at the time, I forgot I had to go to a thing. See ya'll next w

    Votes: 2 3.4%
  • Combative (Argument after argument, hoping to wear the DM down and force them to change their mind

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Inflexible ("Whatever, we do what we want. If we fail, it's the DM's fault for imposing a time limi

    Votes: 1 1.7%
  • Indifferent ("Sounds good. I'll go load up on potions and coffee, and meet back here.")

    Votes: 13 22.0%
  • Positive ("It's a puzzle! So first, we need to prioritize stealth and save resources. If we...")

    Votes: 24 40.7%
  • Enthusiastic ("HECK YEAH! Right to the point, no dilly-dallying around! Let's move, team!!!")

    Votes: 15 25.4%
  • Other (allow me to explain)

    Votes: 3 5.1%


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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Yeah, just like there is no time pressure at the start of an adventure when you're in town relaxing, but then comes the hook, enter the antagonist, and the race against time to stop them.

Name me a single Superhero, Action, Fantasy or Sci Fi movie where the protagonists just meander about, free from temporal constraints, free to do what they want.

The Heroes are always in a race against time, trying to foil the villains evil plan.

Almost always, but yes. I am not generally disagreeing with you. Just pointing out that this works to different degrees.

No, that's self evidently not true. They're as nuanced as you make them. 'Lack of nuance' is not an inherent property of a temporal constraint.

I really don't think you are reading what I posted carefully because I never remotely made that claim.

I am afraid that if you can't get it in the next five minutes I am going blow up the internet and no one will ever be able to post again! Hurry up! Clock's ticking!

no good satan GIF
 

If you can't get it in the next five minutes I am going blow up the internet and no one will ever be able to post again! Hurry up! Clock's ticking!

no good satan GIF

And that would make for a much better story than 'Get back to me with a response later on whenever you get around to it, and there are no consequences if you dont'.

Get what Im saying?

Time limit + consequences for failure before the clock strikes midnight = actions matter, story moves forward, tension heightened, verisimilitude maintained.

No time limit = snooze fest.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Name me a single Superhero, Action, Fantasy or Sci Fi movie where the protagonists just meander about, free from temporal constraints, free to do what they want.

The Heroes are always in a race against time, trying to foil the villains evil plan.
Yeah, but interactive media are different and give rise to different styles of storytelling.

For example, it's not hard to find people who really enjoy dilly-dallying in GTA, Skyrim, Minecraft, etc.

Also, while I can't think of any movies that do this, there are plenty of Fantasy and Sci-Fi books about just discovery and exploration.

Keep doing how you're doing if you enjoy it, but there's definitely alternatives.
 


The first Dodge action or two usually works wonders.
I've skipped people on occasion and have other DMs do it to but it's not something we've agreed to implement. I think we'd need buy in as a group and I don't think we'd get it. It's not worth the cries of unfounded pushback such as "I dont know the rules enough or as well as you"...blah blah blah....
 

"I dont know the rules enough or as well as you"...blah blah blah....

My response is ''Learn them. I spend hours each week prepping adventures for you. If you spent a fraction of that time reading the rules, we wouldnt be here having this discussion.''

I go easy on them to start with, but if they're still confused how Cunning Action works after 3rd level, they're on their own.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
In game? Every adventure. The idea of not having time limits is weird to me. I just don't see the point of playing. I would never read a book or watch a movie like that. And the game aspect loses challenge too.

At the table? Lax. I hurry people up if they take long to take a turn in combat but otherwise we go at a leisurely pace and often get into side conversations.
 

My response is ''Learn them. I spend hours each week prepping adventures for you. If you spent a fraction of that time reading the rules, we wouldnt be here having this discussion.''

I go easy on them to start with, but if they're still confused how Cunning Action works after 3rd level, they're on their own.
I agree and I've tried the same with various groups of players, and I usually get the same response either outright or passively. They just aren't invested enough to put the time in. So, my response is if that's how you feel then I have to ask myself if it's worth my time prepping anymore? Then the quality of the sessions rapidly decreases. Ultimately, I usually end up winging rules to accommodate their lack of knowledge and tell them to STFU or quit if they complain. That works too.
 


Musing Mage

Pondering D&D stuff
Adventures with a ticking clock are a great tool for fun games. Like any other style, it has its place and I would welcome them, but variety is the spice of life so I want to full range of games from an overall campaign perspective.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
Adventures with a ticking clock are a great tool for fun games. Like any other style, it has its place and I would welcome them, but variety is the spice of life so I want to full range of games from an overall campaign perspective.

What is playing without a time limit even like?

People say they do it and have fun and I just can't wrap my head around it.
 

Musing Mage

Pondering D&D stuff
What is playing without a time limit even like?

People say they do it and have fun and I just can't wrap my head around it.

I am assuming an in-game ticking clock. Solve X puzzle within a time frame... or rescue Y before dawn on the 5th day etc...

Most general adventures won't have a time limit per se. The adventure just takes as long as it takes. My 1e group is exploring an underground complex, for instance, and there's no rush or imperative. They go in, explore, map, etc... retreat to their camp to rest and plan the next day's exploration. Classic expedition style.

If you're referring to an IRL time frame, well, yes, we usually schedule our games around a 4 hour session.
 

Some of you seem to have very...tenuous...relationships with your players. Are ya'll okay?
Yep. We usually come to a compromise in the end. I'd love if my players were more inclined to put some time into learning the rules in between games, and some do, but some don't, so I've accepted it as they accepted that I'm only going to put so much into prep. All these are people I hang out with outside of gaming, some I've known for over 25-30 years and if that wasn't the case, I'd have quit playing with them long ago.
 

Almost always, but yes. I am not generally disagreeing with you. Just pointing out that this works to different degrees.



I really don't think you are reading what I posted carefully because I never remotely made that claim.

I am afraid that if you can't get it in the next five minutes I am going blow up the internet and no one will ever be able to post again! Hurry up! Clock's ticking!

no good satan GIF
I wonder if that costume left over in wardrobe from John Lovitz?
 

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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I've even created a scenario around shopping that had time pressure. I called it "6 to 8 Hours of Shopping." It's the most nail-biting shopping scenario you'll ever experience. I ran half a dozen groups through that one and almost all of them failed due to poor time management.

I created the adventure because I couldn't for the life me understand why so many games spend a lot of time (or any appreciate time really) on shopping. So I was like, "What if shopping was the adventure?"

The really funny part is that when I'd post up the adventure and solicit pick-up players to apply to the game, people would ask "Is it really a 6 to 8 hour session?" Meaning they'd probably be fine with 4 hours of shopping but 6 hours is just a bit much! (The adventure takes 4 hours of real time.)
 


fba827

Adventurer
As long as there is a reasonable in-story context/justification for the time limit on an adventure then frankly I’m all for it as it keeps game with forward motion and PCs get a bit more active rather than passive in their activities
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
What is playing without a time limit even like?

People say they do it and have fun and I just can't wrap my head around it.
I imagine it's a lot like Skyrim, or any other open-world video game.

"A dragon is attacking the western watchtower!"
"Yeah, yeah, I'll get right on that. Right after I finish these 1000 daggers."

Don't get me wrong, I love playing Skyrim.
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
What is playing without a time limit even like?

People say they do it and have fun and I just can't wrap my head around it.

It is not so much "no time limits at all" as it is realizing and playing with the varying degrees and types of time limits that can overlap and/or are nebulous enough to allow for other choices.

For example, in one of my current game, the PCs are waiting for their allies' scouts to find the lair of a threat to various communities in the area. They know that threat is preparing for a big attack, but have absolutely no idea exactly when, except probably not in the next week or so. So there is a time limit and when the scouts return with more info the PCs hope to have better sense of the timing of their pre-emptive attack and the preparedness of the threat.

In the meantime, however, they have other side plots and goals they want to take care of. Some of those have their own time limits, some of them are open-ended. They know there is a risk of not being around when the scouts return, but the risk starts off as small and the longer they stay away the greater it becomes. But it is not immediate boom, boom, boom type clock-watching. Though of course, they have had adventures like that too (see my previous example).

There is room for both "We need to bring this Ring to Mount Doom as soon as possible because the longer we take the more likely Sauron is to find us or for someone else to give in to temptation" and "We need to take a month off and recuperate in Lothlorien because the Mines of Moria nearly wiped us out and in the meantime we are gonna re-supply."
 

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