Friday, October 08, 2010

The World Within: The Passage of Time...

Good Evening, All:

In a world where the sun never sets and the passage of time is difficult at best to track, if not impossible, tracking such things can be a challenge to the Referee. The concept of the regular and routine passage of days is thrown out the window when it's perpetually noon outside. Nocturnal races exist in cavern systems below the surface, where the eternal darkness of underground creates much the same problem. Obviously, people will eat when they get hungry, drink when they are thirsty and sleep when they are fatigued. In the World Within, a person's endurance determines their own internal clock, and so that becomes how we will likely track time within the game.

In essence, I think that you can look at a day as six blocks of four hours each. In a regular campaign, characters spend approximately two blocks sleeping, two blocks travelling or working hard before having to worry about fatigue, and two blocks on various and sundry tasks, such as cooking, eating and partying at the local inn or tavern if you happen to be in civilization. If hard labor is twice as difficult as sundry tasks, you could effectively say that most people get six blocks worth of light activity time before they begin to feel fatigue. Performing heavy activity counts twice, so that one block of heavy activity counts as two blocks of light activity. I imagine that a particularly high or low Constitution score would affect the number of blocks of light activity a person can perform before feeling the impact of fatigue, but I have yet to iron out that part of the rules. Fatigue is removed by two blocks of time spent sleeping.

People become hungry after sleeping, and after three blocks of light activity. This gives us a meal after waking, a meal in the middle of a day of travel, and a meal at the end of the day. Remembering the Rule of Three for Survival, it takes three days to die of dehydration. After two days of dehydration, characters begin to suffer 1d6 damage every two blocks of activity, until they become hydrated again or until they die from dehydration damage. It takes three weeks to die of starvation. After two weeks of starvation, characters begin to suffer one hitpoint of damage per six blocks of activity, until they become satiated with food or until they die from starvation damage. If a character has suffered either dehydration or starvation damage, they do not regain hitpoints from rest.

This system is simply my first thoughts on the subject. With this, I simply have to track blocks of time, and let hours roll into days without creating an awareness of time passing that is external to the milieu itself. After a while, time becomes what you make of it, and the perception of its passage will be based on a person's activities. I think it will lend itself well to the flavor of the setting. What do you think? Any suggestions?

With Regards,

1 comment:

migellito said...

This sound like an excellent idea that could really bring home a big part of the setting's flavour, a part which would be extremely noticeable to the characters, but less obvious to the players.

In my campaigns I generally go with a travel/activity period of 12 hrs, 4 hrs downtime/maintenance, and 8 hrs for sleep. This is similar to the day led by a typical farm or ranch hand, in my experience :)