"While few encounters last as long as 60 rounds, for purposes of calculating the passage of time in an adventure, any encounter of 60 rounds or less is considered to last one full turn. The additional time represents recovering one’s breath, binding wounds, cleaning blades, looting bodies, and so on." - ACKS p.96
Case A: Usually, time is not of the essence. However, sometimes it is. Sometimes time is of the essence and the party has an encounter with only 2 orcs who can be dispatched in a round, in any event, the encounter would consume a turn by the rule as written. Note I'm perfectly fine with the rule. I'm quite fond of certain abstract rules like that even if it takes a bit of suspension of disbelief sometimes. Except that there are cases when the party is faced with a serious countdown, and in those cases I'd like to have a plan b rule. Yet, I'm more so curious how other people handle such a dilemma. I could see in most countdown cases the rule could be handwaved, but I prefer a simple elegant solution than handwaving if possible.
Case B: Also, with the rule concerning having to rest 1 turn out of 5, otherwise, you suffer a penalty until you get the proper rest; do you allow for consecutive skipping rests for a cumulative penalty? If not and you only allow 1 skipped rest at a time, do you just say the party is too exhausted to move forward? Is intended by the rule as written?
In all, I'm tryng to figure out how I'm going to run it and I'm just looking for insights and experiences, or if it has even come up much.
Here are my suggestions:
- Case A - when you have those rare cases where each round matters, measure time by rounds. If the arch demon will be released in an hour, every second counts. If the players want to move at combat speed the entire time they can, just make sure that they:
- Do not map
- Have a reduced chance to surprise anyone and an increased chance To be suprised
- Have a significantly lower chance to notice traps, secret doors, or dwarf stuff
RPG are about making choices, so everything is a trade off. Let you players know the consequences and track everything round by round. The amount of time needed to rest in those circumstances should be considered using common sense.
- Case B - I always forget about this rule. I use different color poker chips to pass the time when they are in the dungeon. There are 3 white and two green chips that alternate. As each turn passes I add a chip. When the green chip comes up, I know it's time for an encounter chip. After the last white chip, I replace the stack with a red chip, which represents an hour. That would be the 'rest' turn. It's also the time to replace a torch. I then stack the white and green chips on top. Whenever I want to know how much time they've been in the dungeon, I just count the chips.
I find myself forgetting about formalizing the resting. I do think it is important, however, as it heightens danger. My players have come to fear the encounter rolls and move along when in the dungeon to avoid them. To give them the ability to take a combat penalty to reduce the chance for a random encounter is another meaningful choice to give them and improves gameplay.
My 2 cents. Hope it helps.
Your poker chip idea is really good. I was going to actually change how random encounters worked for my next campaign becasue I kept forgetting them in my last one, but I might just steal your idea instead.
i don't have a physical game right now, but i absolutely adore your poker chip idea.
Case A: ...Except that there are cases when the party is faced with a serious countdown, and in those cases I'd like to have a plan b rule. Yet, I'm more so curious how other people handle such a dilemma.
In that case, I allow the players to finish the encounter in as many rounds as it takes before rushing on instead of taking the full ten minutes, but narrate that their blades are still slick with blood, their bodies still flush with the rush of combat, and so on. I won't apply any specific penalties immediately, but my experience is that the players will recognise that doing the nonstandard thing will lead to penalties eventually, so they'll avoid rushing in this way if it's something they can avoid.
Case B: Also, with the rule concerning having to rest 1 turn out of 5, otherwise, you suffer a penalty until you get the proper rest; do you allow for consecutive skipping rests for a cumulative penalty?
Yep, a cumulative penalty makes sense to me. In practice, though, my players try to avoid penalties if they can, and there are very few situations where the players are required to press on for more than two hours without a break, so the penalty has never gotten worse than -1.
I keep track of time by using fencepost-style tally marks, clustering in groups of six instead of five: For each turn that passes, I draw a vertical line on my notes page. When I've got five lines, I cross 'em out with a line that represents the sixth turn in which the players rest. This has the convenient side effect that I can count the number of tally mark clusters to determine how many hours the players have been in the dungeon.
Thanks. I have a good idea what I'll do now.
Poker chip idea is great!