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Author Topic: Real-time RPG session?  (Read 1360 times)
jeffd
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Posts: 58


« on: September 02, 2003, 01:29:18 PM »

I'm kicking around the idea of doing one of my Fading Suns sessions in real time... that is, a six hour session will cover six hours of in-game time.  The players will have this long to do something (prevent a murder, for instance).  

My reasoning behind this is to add some urgency to a task.  Players tend to take it for granted that time in RPG's is somewhat soft; I want to run a session where it isn't.  

Of course, travel time & whatnot will introduce problems.  Still, it might be interesting to see what happens when things are coming down to the wire and the players want to travel from one side of the city to the other.  "That's going to take you thirty minutes."  

Has anyone had any experience trying something like this?  If so I'd appreciate it.  Also even if you don't have any experience, I'd love to hear impressions on the idea & suggestions on how to keep it running smoothly.

JD
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Simon W
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2003, 01:42:38 PM »

I dunno, but my most immediate thought is that you should try to keep it 'local', by that I mean all in one house/building/locale or whatever so you do not get the travel-between-locations problem.

Simon
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MachMoth
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2003, 01:45:42 PM »

First off, if you want to avoid the problems of travel time, limit to a small area.  A mansion or something.  I find that real time adventures tend to work best in either a freeform system, or a LARP game.  I haven't played Fading Suns before, so I don't know what kind of problem this will be, however I've noticed that rules tend to get in the way.  It may take me 15 seconds to roll up a 5 second result.  And that adds up.  At the same time, your players will try to cut corners where they can.  They will try to put you in situations would take time, but won't want to wait (like the travel time).

Another idea I've found to work, is to force resource management of time.  Place a pile of tokens in the center of the table.  Every scene takes so many tokens (a 3 round gun fight could take 1 token, while running across town takes 10).  The players can visually see their time diminishing, and that can have much the same impact (if not more) as an actual timer.
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jeffd
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Posts: 58


« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2003, 02:56:19 PM »

Thanks for your feedback guys.

What I've cooked up doing is a sort of modified real-time system.  Interaction (be it between PCs or between PC's and NPC's) would take place in real time - I'd set a stopwatch and just let things happen until it's done.  The other thing I'm going to have to do is give each character their own time-track for when the group inevitably splits.  For example, we've got Lady Jieza, her bodyguard Bada-Gur, and her slightly sleazy servant Jaxom.  At 1:00 into the session they agree that Jieza and Bada-Gur will take a carriage to some noble to pump him for information, while Jaxom goes to visit his underworld contacts.  

I deal with Jieza and Bada-Gur first.  Travel time is fifteen minutes between finding a carriage and riding (1:15).  They spend five minutes in the foyer waiting for the Duke to see them (1:20), and then twenty minutes in conversation with him until they're satisfied (1:40).  It's another 15 minutes back to where they were to rendezvous with Jaxom, putting them at 1:55.  Now I go to roleplay with Jaxom

Jaxom on the other hand spends 30 minutes traveling (Jieza forgot to give him money so he was unable to hail a coach and had to hoof it, so he's now at 1:30).  It takes about five minutes to find his contact and strike up a conversation (1:35).  It becomes obvious pretty quickly that this sleazy broker of secrets isn't willing to talk, so Jaxom decides to muscle the information out of him.  We enter combat, and three combat rounds pass, which translates into say 1 minute of game time (1:36).  It takes four minutes of further interaction for Jaxom to be satisfied with the information he's recieved, pay the tab, and leave (1:40).  Another 30 minutes of travel passes before he returns to the villa this started at, putting him at 2:10.

At this point Jieza and Bada-Gur are 15 minutes behind Jaxom.  They can opt to roleplay with each other, but before things start I'm going to suggest to the group that in situations like this unless there's something important that might come from the interaction to just have the two sit in tense silence (or perhaps exchange meaningless pleasantries) until Jaxom's arrival.  

The main goal of this will be to inject some tension into the game via the metagame knowledge that time counts.  In my RPing circle it's taken for granted that time's somewhat fuzzy - no one wants to be left out of the action for too long so time tends to get warped.  I want to see how the group handles it when time is dear.

JD
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Chris Goodwin
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2003, 07:54:10 PM »

Frank Perricone wrote a game called "RealTime" which he intended to use to run in a style similar to the TV series 24.  Obviously you're not using the system, but I'm sure the game will have a lot of advice for running a game in real time.  

http://personalpages.tds.net/~huntergreen/realtime/
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Chris Goodwin
cgoodwin@gmail.com
DP
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« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2003, 01:06:43 PM »

Gotta go with the Moth-man, here. Fading Suns deserves better than some frantic rules-heavy Beat the Clock treatment. LARP would be luscious with a fruit center when applied to FS (don't they have live-action rules?), and the token system sounds muy clever.
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Dave Panchyk
Mandrake Games
garapata
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2003, 11:19:19 AM »

Require your players to ALWAYS speak in character. All discussions among them happen in character, forcing them to keep note of "real time".

Discussions with the GM are resolved with a time out halting the game (everyone freezes) while the GM resolves it privately with the player.

Just a thought.
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Daniel Solis
Member

Posts: 411


« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2003, 01:06:10 PM »

Quote from: garapata
Discussions with the GM are resolved with a time out halting the game (everyone freezes) while the GM resolves it privately with the player.


If you'll go with that, then everyone should have a limited number of time-outs given to them, during which they can have an extra minute or two to assess the situation or do whatever. Timeouts could actually be the metagame reward/resource at the end of each session.
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Meatbot Massacre
Giant robot combat. No carbs.
garapata
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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2003, 09:40:18 AM »

Quote from: gobi
Quote from: garapata
Discussions with the GM are resolved with a time out halting the game (everyone freezes) while the GM resolves it privately with the player.


If you'll go with that, then everyone should have a limited number of time-outs given to them, during which they can have an extra minute or two to assess the situation or do whatever. Timeouts could actually be the metagame reward/resource at the end of each session.


True.
Actually, in a session I ran, each player is permitted only three time outs in the game (unless they earn more if they come up with really neat moments in the game.) Players were expected to resolve things between themselves on their own.
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