kmjii
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Posts: 8
Joined: Thu 04 Apr 2024, 20:42

How do you do time management?

Tue 16 Apr 2024, 02:38

My group is currently running on a 1-1 game day to real day system partially for stronghold management and partially cause I had designs of a west marches lite system but after a month of running it like this I think we're gonna switch to a more reasonable system of time skips and "fellowship phases" to steal from The One Ring 2e. This will make gameplay better probably but will be a pain in the ass for stronghold management and keeping synced time scales between the parties. As it stands, the plan is to update the stronghold every in game Sunday rolling stronghold events, updating the stockpile with stuff from the hirelings, and making any payments. Some of my PCs are very invested in the stronghold and others aren't as much so I'm not sure how to balance this.

On top of this, I'm splitting my party. Currently my table is 7 players and due to it being a lot for me to manage, some players feeling left behind in a large group, and sessions running a bit too long I've decided to put a 4 players per session cap on it all with the game running week to week. Week 1 is Party A, Week 2 is Party B and back and forth so on and so forth. These parties will each have a PC for a player so they can dive right in to either party if they want but whichever PCs aren't being played that session will be narratively off screen camping or keeping safe in a town. This allows for them to focus on multiple tasks and get more done as well as give players a week break from playing if they need it. Upon thinking about it though, I'm unsure how to manage the timeline for these two groups without the 1-1 game time real time system. I was thinking since I'll be pulling in the fellowship phase as a reference, we keep it to 1 adventure per party per "month". Maybe in Fallwane 1165 one party is exploring the Vale of the Dead while another party is off treating with Zertorme in Amber's Peak, then in Winterrise 1165 Party A is down in Haggler's House dealing with that while Party B is delving into a dungeon. Gameplay goes as such and once they are done their requisite adventure for the "month" they enter into a downtime fellowship type phase for the remainder and can chase their goals. My player seem to enjoy that stuff (and I'm sure some people he wouldn't) so I don't see a lot of issue with this. Everything still works on mostly weekly scale allowing for me to manage the stronghold and roll faction actions behind the scenes but one group shouldn't ever be overlapping the other group time wise.
 
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leaddolphin
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon 02 Oct 2023, 00:19

Re: How do you do time management?

Tue 16 Apr 2024, 15:04

My instinct would be that you do not, in fact, want to roll for stronghold events every week. A minor trip - let's say to somewhere 5 hexes away and back over open terrain - will take a week; anything more significant and by the time the PCs come back a whole bunch of people will be waiting for them. Also, after a year you'll have rolled almost all of the random events.

(For that matter, building times are quite ridiculous as well. To build every building in the rulebook would take a standard PC party of 5 about 15 months; that includes getting all the resources. Yeah, the PCs aren't going to do this, but they're also going to hire people to cut down trees and quarry in the mine. 9 months to go from nothing to a feature-complete stronghold is quite ridiculous.)

I'd be inclined to do things more nebulously: focus on what the PCs are up to when adventuring for a few sessions, then when they're back to the stronghold do some stronghold-centric things for a session. It's not like whether the bakery has been built back home or not will impact whether Merigall decides to help the PCs or not, for instance.
 
kmjii
Topic Author
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu 04 Apr 2024, 20:42

Re: How do you do time management?

Tue 16 Apr 2024, 20:03

I see what you mean by running out of events though I probably won't ROLL per say every week, some weeks might see a plot point coming to fruition (currently the rust brothers the hex over are aware the PCs hold Stanengist and will eventually come knocking) but the big problem is that, in my infinite wisdom, when we did the West Marches Lite system most players made 3 PCs as a bit of insurance so that there was always a PC at the stronghold they could take on an adventure.

Now, if they want to send two of their PCs with one party they can to give some variety or options in any one session but I suspect some or all will leave at least 1 PC back at the stronghold at all times so they could feasibly deal with the events as they come up (one of the PCs is the party money man and has 2 STR so he's basically parked himself at the stronghold).

The main issue is figuring out how to handle it all in play. Say 5 of the 7 players leave a PC back at the stronghold and then the party splits off as they go to their own goals. The next "season" of adventuring encompasses a month which (going by the Raven's Reckoning calendar) means about 6-7 "events", I'm also using Reforged Power to flesh out the possible events themselves so I think the events are doubled. Should I just do a summary of the events at the stronghold within the downtime after the adventure proper? They'll seemingly do their downtimes at different sessions so whichever group does their downtime first will hear of the events first and can choose how to deal with them independent of the other players which doesn't feel great. I could go the Diplomacy route and have all the players write down how they would deal with the events on paper and then when all the players have given their votes the downtime are resolved.

This all sounds like I'm really overcomplicating it but I'd like to just find a way where we can resolve stronghold actions and events with everyone while the party is split up. I'm sure the easy route would be to talk to the players, see how much they care about that stuff, and if not then float the idea of retiring down to 2 characters each, sending one of their PCs with each party, and then NPCing the important PCs like the peddler as manager of the stronghold. Then stronghold events will just resolve as the game wants them to with the PCs away and hopefully the guards are able to deal with it.
 
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leaddolphin
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon 02 Oct 2023, 00:19

Re: How do you do time management?

Sat 27 Apr 2024, 01:28

Sorry for not replying earlier; I apparently didn't get emailed that you'd answered?

If you're wondering whether you're overcomplicating, and the solution you were thinking of was something like Diplomacy, my personal opinion is that you are definitely overcomplicating. But what matters is what your players think; what do they find fun?

It sounds like you're doing troupe play, which can be fun (I imagine that your player with 2 Strength who's parked themself in the stronghold is looking forward to a whole bunch of political negotiation with neighbours, for instance); but maybe your players might be happier with a broad-brush "let's spend a bunch of money to park some guards in our stronghold and then we can just go adventuring without having to worry about our stuff getting stolen"?

I don't know your players so I don't know. But before you start getting into complicated ways of simulating what's happening to a whole bunch of PCs at different times, maybe ask them how much they care about all of this?

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