The passing of time

How does everybody handle time in their games?

I try to enforce a “2 weeks - 1 Adventure” rule so that players have time to do stuff besides adventuring.
This works somewhat… Some players use this to further their goals, earn gold and so on while others completly ignore that. It also makes sure that the henchman salary is quite a factor, especially for people who miss sessions.

I would love to switch to a “1 Month - 1 Advenure” schedule so time passes quicker and henchmen get even more expensive but some players already argue against my current scheme…

How do you guys handle this?

In my campaign, since they move around a lot, I merely base the time based on their travels. In the past I’ve often used the 1 adventure = 1 month time progression.

commissioning and travel have done a good job of eating up time so far in my campaign. If you want adventures to take longer, make them farther away from home base and pay close attention to travel speed.

Yeah, 7 sessions in, the PCs are still 1st level and more than 7 weeks have passed in game, due mostly to travel and resting from injuries. I expect that to slow a bit, as they’ve just entered Barrowmound, so the travelling will me minimal for a while.

Wow. I tended to let my players control the pace, so we got a lot of “three adventures in ten days, followed by a month of bed rest”-type situations. I tracked down to the individual day, and standardized month lengths to 28 days for convenience of bookkeeping. Things definitely slowed down once they got out of local dungeons into the wilderness, though.

This site: is a great place to track time. You can create your own calendar and add your own events and moon cycles. The biggest drawback is not being able to delete events, hopefully they add that function.

Time runs as my players dictate. I keep a running calendar in a spreadsheet with each row one day, and project out far enough to record upcoming holidays, when major opponents intend to act, when commissioned items will be complete, and, probably most importantly, when characters are going to recover from their mortal wounds. The PCs decide when they want to wait and when they want to press on with a smaller party. Oh, and I standardized on 30 day months since that is so central to ACKSonomics.

I’ve made my own calendar that is stored as a spreadsheet on google docs. I know, roughly, how long they spend travelling or adventuring and just mark the days off. The PCs decide when to rest up, which is frequently as they’re pretty good at taking mortal wounds :slight_smile:

I don’t micro-manage the day-to-day (what did you have for breakfast today?) and am comfortable letting days roll by quickly as players do spell acquisition, healing, and non-adventuring goals - I like cost-of-living abstractions to handle daily expenses. Mid-level ACKS provides a ton of ways to sink time and money.

I make an annual calendar in excel and map out any key holidays; an old Dragon magazine had weather generation charts based on real-world latitudes and terrain, which I turned into a simple algorhythm; finally, I use something from the old Companion Set dominion rules to randomly generate ideas to make a series of world-level events running in the background; the old 1E Oriental Adventures pioneered that approach.

In this way, as the days, weeks, and months roll along, you’ve got weather pre-generated for travel flavor; you also know what might be going on in the larger sandbox to help put the world in motion.

One final note - having large world events sketched out in advance is handy when prophecy and oracles enter the picture, too.

Two examples from by blog - curiously enough, we just hit a patch where a month flew by engaged in strategic activities, and a campaign prophecy (mapped on the calendar) came to pass:

Happy New Year, Greyhawk (my calendar techniques)
Latest game report (intersection of the calendar and prophecy)

Beedo, that's great stuff. I think you've just confirmed for me that I should include weather-generation rules and yearly/monthly event rules in the Auran Empire Campaign Setting.

This is almost precisely how I play. We track day to day, but sometimes just write, say,
Jan 17 - Feb 21: Spell Research & Healing.
Feb 22: Set out for Castle Damnation
Feb 23: Encounter Giant Lizards
Feb 24: Arrive Castle Damnation

I use a copy of 1E oriental adventures that I happen to own through good fortune and use those exact tables for weekly, monthly, and yearly events. It’s good fun and they’re great tables.

I like the idea of using a spreadsheet to track everything day to day. I like that a lot, especially because of forecasting ahead.

Yes, absolutely! Decent weathergen is hard; I’ve been looking at using these, but it’s complicated and doesn’t really change seasonally.

That would be a very good idea, would love to see a new take on these tables. :slight_smile:

Y’know, a thing I’d like to see isn’t just a set of tables to roll on, but a functional web-based (or offline) app that will generate this sort of thing for you.

Ofc I realise that development costs are probably prohibitive, and you’d still want to model it on paper first, etc etc. That said, something that would generate short-medium-long term weather patterns based on a user defined seasonal calendar and biome would be very cool and a very convenient tool for a GM (particularly one running over a Hangout). One click and you get weather, vs rolling and looking up on a table - one of many tables you need to use in a session.

A boy can dream :wink:

Players control the pace at my table. I enforce how long what they want to do takes. Injuries, travel, detours, delays, required time for an action, and so on take care of the rest. We’ve passed several years in-game as a result.

So how do you track time then? You write everything down and create a calendar?

I track time offline in a calendar and I have to admit I was a bit concerned at the start that the party would not delay for more time intensive investments resulting in disgruntled casters. With an average party level of 5-6 the campaign has run for almost two years, so much for my worries. :slight_smile:
As it turned our they spent most of the time travelling between the local dungeon and the nearest lv 4 market to sell copper ingots and resupply on henchmen.

Yes please. :slight_smile:
Actually I`m most interested in the event rules.

I keep track of the time that passes during the game, example: I’ll jot down “Day 1–traveled 30 miles south, killed a band of rabid monkeys”. And then between sessions, I type it up into a log and send it to the players. However long a session takes in game time, that’s how long it takes. Some are a single day, others are a couple of months, if there’s a lot of travel and/or resting from wounds.

But, as long as we don’t end the session in the middle of an incomplete expedition, i.e., as long as the players go ‘home’ at the end, then I always make the next game session start at the beginning of the next calendar month with all expenses due.

I used to use fictionally named months of 30 days each, but I got weary of explaining what month it was ‘really’, so I’ve gone to using our modern calendar for game purposes. I don’t have to explain what “February” means.