View Full Version : How do you...

2010-06-18, 12:52 PM
Ok, so there was a thread on here a while back, but I can't seem to find it at the moment. The thread involved a DM who was setting up a module for his players where they were imprisoned on an island chain with very little in the way of supplies. I have the link at home, but I am missing it here.

In any case, I am thinking that this would be a really neat idea to set up for a game, but I can see this being *REALLY* hard to set up and run. I generally have a hard time dealing with mass numbers of details, and generally lose a lot of world flavor (time passage, what's going on wherever the players aren't, etc.) because of it.

How do other DMs handle keeping track of such things in their game world? The biggest cause I have found for the difficulty I have with such things seems to be the fact that in battle, you are dealing with rounds of 6 seconds each in game time, except that they can frequently take 5+ minutes in RL time, whereas outside of battle, the same 5 minutes can easily be two weeks.

How would you handle the case where the players are all trapped on this island, and they end up all wanting to go their own way to do something? I know I could railroad them somewhat by making the jungle on the island chain so hostile that anything less than the full party is liable to get killed, but I don't really like that idea. Thoughts?

2010-06-18, 12:58 PM
I would do this one of two ways. Either I would let them go their own ways and suffer the consequences of going off alone and hoping that they will migrate back together as to not die. Be forceful in that they cannot create new characters if the current ones die. If they go off into the woods and get eaten by a frenzied gorilla then they simply cannot play anymore. As is fitting for a secluded island setting.

The second thing I would try is to allow some event to give them a reason to stick together. Such as spotting a ship out at sea a little giving them precious supplies. Or a natural disaster of some sort creating a need to build shelter and stick together instead of them all just standing on a beach saying what the eff are we gonna do now. Just nudge them a little down the road of unity.

2010-06-18, 01:01 PM
Hmm...if they're prone to separate, divide time into "Hours" with each task taking a certain number of Hours. Battles take 1 Hour, since a person would need time to bandage their wounds and repair minor damage to equipment.

Get a sheet of graph paper, sub-divde so that each player ha a section, and then fill in boxes as players use Hours. Thus, treat out of combat time like combat, by letting everyone clarify what they're doing for the hour. At the very least, don't let one player get more than 5 hours ahead of the slowest one.

Also, each time a player uses a box, roll for a random encounter (most tables are listed by x%/hour anyways).

Lastly, trim the graph paper so that its 24 boxes across. Presto! That's one day. Write the date on the top. (you might get 4-5 days per sheet if you cut carefully).

To avoid losing your day sheets, find a small binder to put them in order. You cna write notes saying what happened on each day on the back.

The good news is this way is a fool-proof system of keeping track of time, but it takes 1/2 an hour or so to set up (more if you need to get the materials first). However, once set up it should be good for quite a few sessions.

Hope this was helpful.

2010-06-18, 02:51 PM
I find that the single best way for getting PCs to stick together is to give them a history. People who just met are likely to pull a Lost and diaspora around the island, but people who know each other will be like "okay, childhood friend, what do we do now?"
You needn't necessarily do this with every character, but if two or three of them have something that immediately makes them want to band together, then it can squelch thoughts of running off and dying alone.
Then, you could elaborate on that and make it into one of those 'you're all connected but you don't know it yet' kind of things, too, if that's what you're into.