by Ramanan Sivaranjan on April 02, 2013
YOU CAN NOT HAVE A MEANINGFUL CAMPAIGN IF STRICT TIME RECORDS ARE NOT KEPT.
Strong words from Gary Gygax on running a campaign. This is one of the few places in the Dungeon Masters Guide where text is set in all caps. This is important: you’re just fucking around until you start correctly tracking the movement of time in your campaign.
On some level D&D is a game of resource management: do I have enough torches, food, spells, etc, to survive exploring this dungeon. If you aren’t mindful of how time passes one aspect of what makes the game difficult disappears. (AD&D takes this to extreme levels with combat and rounds being split into segments.)
That is time at the micro scale. In this section Gygax is referring to time at a more macro scale. How much time passes between adventures. Do other adventurers have time to sweep in and steal the choice treasure before the PCs get another shot? Gygax was running games with multiple groups of PCs operating in the game world at the same time. The interplay between the groups will be different depending on what each group gets up to and how long it takes. It’s easy to hand wave what happens outside of the dungeon, but there is some interesting game play to be had IF STRICT TIME RECORDS ARE KEPT.”
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