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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    oxybe's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default Dungeon segments/rounds, exploration and me (aaaaaand possibly you too)

    So not too long ago, after 20+ years of gaming something clicked.

    I don't really remember what it was. I was working on my on-again/off-again fantasy heartbreaker for the umpteenth time after a recent umpteenth do-over, listening to some RPG podcast YouTube had thrown my way as background noise and it just clicked how to finally run those dungeon crawls "the right way".

    see I suuuuck at keeping track of time and could never grok doing so in a dungeon "live", so my crawls were relatively short ins and outs.

    But working on my own project it finally clicked on how to break down your time in a dungeon "correctly".

    Abilities and spells usually work on a 6sec round by 6sec round up to a minute basis in D&D, with most fights usually being done under a minute.my own game works on a minute round, but in the greater scheme of things the distinction doesn't matter.

    The next time bracket i would consider "the dungeon round", or 10 min. This is enough time to give a room or corridor a good searching or take a breather. several spells obviously made to help explore last this long, as well as those meant to mask your presence.

    The next time bracket would be "the exploration round", which is one hour. This is long enough to search a small cluster of houses or thoroughly check one house or small cave unimpeded. It's also the duration a torch lasts. a few spells and abilities last this long, but they tend to be more utilitarian in nature

    The fourth time bracket is "the travel round" of 8 hours, the time needed to travel 1 hex of well-maintained road. this is the duration a hooded lantern lasts on a pint of oil. rare are the spells and abilities that last this long. most people "work", "relax" and "rest" in travel rounds. maybe not all at once, but it's a decent generic breakdown of a day.

    finally the last bracket is "the day", or 24 hours.

    I don't know if it was because I was in the amateur designer mindset but it finally clicked on how I can breakdown player actions and spells into these time blocks and get a good idea of how long they've been in a dungeon or figure out if they're early or late outside of narrative convenience for that evil necromancer's ritual. It helps manage (some) player resources much more easily.

    10 combat rounds to the dungeon round.
    6 dungeon rounds to the exploration round.
    8 exploration round to the travel round.
    3 travel rounds to the day.

    I don't know if this was just badly or never explained to me during my 2e days but I can't remember seeing anything mentioned in 3e or 4e about the benefits of segmenting your time when running a dungeon and how spells and abilities are timed in such a fashion to make it easier to count their use and when they wear off (i can't speak for 5e, don't own the books).

    I finally get some of that old school gameplay i never understood. I knew something similar was used by older editions or modules but for the life of me it never clicked.

    all it took was 20+ of play and years of hammering out a game that will never be seen outside of a private Google doc.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Default Re: Dungeon segments/rounds, exploration and me (aaaaaand possibly you too)

    Quote Originally Posted by oxybe View Post
    The next time bracket i would consider "the dungeon round", or 10 min. This is enough time to give a room or corridor a good searching or take a breather. several spells obviously made to help explore last this long, as well as those meant to mask your presence.
    This is what OD&D, 1E, and even still 2E called a "turn". And each turn was... 10 minutes.

    See, you're actually somewhat reinventing a wheel that was gradually but quite deliberately written out of the rules for D&D because it wasn't being played the same way as when it had begun. I've described it as originally being a dungeon exploration game far more than an actual roleplaying game. Roleplaying the part of a single individual was an ELEMENT in how the game was played but much of the rules - including the exploration "turn" - were geared to mark elapsed time in the process of exploring a given environment, especially of a dungeon. Movement distance was scaled and adjusted according to the activity being undertaken during the turn. Just moving from A to B you cover ground, but aren't then able to map. If you're mapping as you go, your PC's move slower. If you're searching an area you slow to a dead crawl or are actually stopped entirely in a room or given area. This then has an impact on spell durations, abilities, potions, and perhaps most importantly wandering monsters. The longer your PC and fellow adventurers take to cover ground the more likely it is that your progress will be interrupted by wandering monsters that will injure or even kill you and provide little or no benefits (XP, but no treasure). Yet by moving faster your party will miss secret doors and traps. The game was oriented around the process of exploration by the PC party and that was regulated by 10 minute TURNS.

    Longer durations were more easily tracked as that would mean no longer exploring but travelling.
    I don't know if this was just badly or never explained to me during my 2e days but I can't remember seeing anything mentioned in 3e or 4e about the benefits of segmenting your time when running a dungeon and how spells and abilities are timed in such a fashion to make it easier to count their use and when they wear off (i can't speak for 5e, don't own the books).
    2E still had the 10 minute turn but it was very much just a little-used and largely meaningless holdover from earlier editions. 3E finally did away with the turn entirely and from then on it was just about combat and combat rounds and if you needed to measure time outside of years, days, hours and minutes then it was strictly by rounds. And in doing away with the turn then activities that had been regulated by the turn were either finally abandoned or measured only in rounds.
    I finally get some of that old school gameplay i never understood. I knew something similar was used by older editions or modules but for the life of me it never clicked.

    all it took was 20+ of play and years of hammering out a game that will never be seen outside of a private Google doc.
    Well, if you had read 1E or original D&D you might have saved some time. :) I'm not an RPG Luddite but not all changes in D&D and RPG's in general have been for the better, and much has been forgotten and abandoned by "modern" editions that should NOT have been.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Dungeon segments/rounds, exploration and me (aaaaaand possibly you too)

    Quote Originally Posted by D+1 View Post
    I'm not an RPG Luddite but not all changes in D&D and RPG's in general have been for the better, and much has been forgotten and abandoned by "modern" editions that should NOT have been.
    Better is subjective. And by that I don't mean as much "according to taste" but more "can only be judged in the context of what is trying to be accomplished."

    D&D was a pretty damn good dungeon exploration game, but a lot of people didn't want that. And so the focus of the game drifted over time to more character development and combat focus, while retaining a lot of the structure. To me this ends up being a bit of a weird design, because you have a game that ends up being half-focused around some things, and half-focused around others, with vestigal remnants that no longer make sense in their new context.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

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