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Lunus Quelnegarde
Looking around
(12/20/02 10:27:22 pm)
Fighting against time
Hello. I appologize in advance if this is an old topic that I am bringing up again. (I browsed through a bit and didn't see anything similar)

I've been running the RttToEE for about 9 months now. We started off doing the Sunless Citadel to hit level 4, then I tied it in a bit with Hommlet and the characters began their quest to saving the world. (With all appropriate hooks)

I started the campaign in on the 1st of Planting, Common Year 591. (Which on Oerth is the equivalent of the first of spring.)

Being rather naive when I began this, I decided to take all the memorable events listed in the module and set them up on a timeline of specific dates. I've always liked a dungeon that went on and destroyed the world whether the PC's were moving quick enough to stop it or not.

Of course, there are a few problems. The biggest (to me) is that the PC's could possibly ruin everything before even Lareth is found as the Champion of Elemental Evil.

The way I have it set up is that in exactly one year (on Planting 1st, 592) Tharizdun will be set free. (destroying d% of reality before being banished and bound again... harsh, yes.)

Looking back so many things could have gone wrong... but either by foresight or luck they didn't. Actually, things are right on track. The players have just drawn Hedracks attention and are going to enter the Earth Door (ooh... this will not be pretty. They are so confident after thrashing the earth and water temples), Imix is free, Lareth has been chosen, and they are working on finding the Air node.

Yan-C-Bin's return is a good ways away yet, and I have a feeling that (if they don't suffer a TPK from Hedrack) they will arrive at the recovered temple just in time to stop Yan-C-Bin's return and hopefully banish Imix back with the destruction of the Orb of Oblivion.

Anyways, I'm just curious... has anyone else thought of making a timeline of events to follow, just to make it seem a bit more realistic and less forgiving? Also it helps to concretly know what the major NPC's will be up to at the current time. "Can Hedrack run to the Recovered Temple, or has that started yet?" etc...

Did anyone else do this?

Still here? Wow.
(12/20/02 11:35:48 pm)
Re: Fighting against time
It has, AFAIK, never been brought up. I really, really, REALLY think you should post it. I, for one, would like to see it.

Siobharek is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Lunus Quelnegarde
Looking around
(12/21/02 2:43:34 pm)
Re: Fighting against time
These are crude timeline notes mostly just for personal use. I wouldn't recommend anyone else using these without careful forthought. As I said, I feel I've lucked out on how things came together.

My party also took a long vacation in Verbobonc before taking on the ToAC. Anything with a * preceding it is more of a variable

In Oerth, there are 12 months each with 28 days. Every 3 months, there is a Festival week, which is 7 days long. The 4 festival weeks of the year divide up the seasons.

1st Readying, 591 - Dunrat and his band left for Hommlet and the moathouse.

6th Readying - Dunrat arrived in Hommlet, set up and dispatched to the moathouse.

28 Days of Coldeven -

7 Days of Growfest -

*1st Planting - Beginnings of party meets and goes to Oakhurst (Sunless Citadel)

*15th Planting - Utreshimon arrives killing Master Thaque + crew

20th Planting - Schedualed Departure date (this + 6 days is how long the rations last. Those in the temple are cut off from Dunrats caravan)

28 Days of Flocking -

28 Days of Wealsun -

7 Days of Richfest -

*During these months the party explored Nulb, the Temple of Elemental Evil, Hommlet, and Verbobonc... eventually relaxing through Richfest in Verbobonc. They barely pieced together anything about the Temple of All Comsumption or Rastor.

9th Reaping - Excavation crew leaves through back ways in the Kron Hills.

15th Reaping - Excavation begins.

*23rd Reaping - Water Temple attacks Fire Temple. (One of my PCs delayed the date by bargaining his way into the Water Temple forces. Really, I would through this in whenever it affects the players most directly.)

21st Goodmonth - Potential Champion (presumably Lareth) brought to Outer Fanes.

24th Goodmonth - Champion of Elemental Evil found. Given his equipment.

28th Goodmonth - As Champion is being taught, Fire node is completely recovered.

1st Harvester - Champion uses the Tourbillion or some other means to get the the Recovered Temple. Later that day the ceremony for Imix is complete.

28th Patchwall - Champion sets Yan-C-Bin free.

28 Days of Ready'reat -

2nd Sunsebb - Champion sets Olhydra free.

6th Needfest - Champion sets Ogremoch free.

7th Needfest - Elemental Princes and Champion set Tharizdun free.

-Killing the Champion would not delay excavation... but a Champion needs to be present to set the Princes and Tharizdun free. Finding a new champion takes about 28 days. (or as fast as you can ressurect the old one)

-Stopping the beholder delays excavation 28 days (or until ress.)

-Each set back is just a time set back accordingly.

Of course there are so many things that could go wrong. Something along these lines could be fine, but I would refrain from using concrete dates for most of this.

The two most solid dates are the first one, and the last one.

... The date for my group is 24th Harvester. Imix has been free for nearly a month and Yan-C-Bin is halfway there. The group is just about to enter the Outer Fanes.

-Hope this is interesting, or at least humorous.

Here for a while
(12/22/02 6:17:32 pm)
Re: Fighting against time
Hi Lunus,

I think this is great, and I also think it will be fascinating to see how much you have to adapt the timeline (if it all) to account for the party's actions. I suppose two things in particular interest me -

(1) What you're thinking of doing if the players want to make unusual character choices as they level up

I'm fine with the "no time elapsed to level up" approach if the characters have some plausible link with the new level, but if it's a bit different and they haven't told me about it in advance, I generally hold their levelling up until their PC has trained/studied/practiced/whatever (no idea about prestige classes as yet - only just getting into that territory now...)

(2) How you're going to handle magic item selling and purchasing.

There's a discussion on the Best of the Boards thread about how some groups, aware of the time pressure, are reluctant to make the round trip to Verbobonc, and thinking about an alternative that may suit. I think this gets especially tricky if one of the characters wants to craft a magic item, given the length of time that exercise takes.

Anyways, have fun with it!

Lunus Quelnegarde
Looking around
(12/23/02 10:01:35 pm)
Re: Fighting against time
(1) This campaign is my first using the 3rd Edition rules, so when we started I did a lot of things I regret now. Right now there is no time needed to level up, but some reasoning or character development is expected.

For prestige classes, I do it this way:
Once the character is ready to level (or before if they have any foresight) they are not allowed to advance their character unless they meet all the prestige class requirements first. Sometimes this includes quests or alignment shifts... which take time and rping. Other times, its as easy as showing up at the local mage guild and paying a 2000 gold admittance fee.

I pretty much go by what they say in the books for prestige classes.

Right now IMC the paladin (well, one of them) has lost his paladinhood in hopes to become a holy liberator (required align: CG). He's in a grueling transition stage since he has no holy liberator abilities and no paladin abilities... (and he's about to meet a buddy named Hedrack...)

Generally it hasn't taken up too much time. If leveling up did require time... I think it would still be possible to stop Tharizdun on time. There would be much less room for error, though.

(2) The players, aware of some time limit, only build items that take very little time to build when they get a week here or there. Generally they have been very good at staying on task. I believe they plan to build the stuff they really want when they get the time after Tharizdun is stopped.

I really believe that players conscious of the limited time should be rewarded. Really, if the players ever figured out there is no "date of doom", they would exploit it. (Though, then I know many of you would throw the date in... and probably pretty soon to punish their poor roleplaying)

One last thing I want to add... Using set dates doesn't work so well unless the players can grasp in some way that "time is running out."

One of my characters went down to -9 HP at the obex... so since he is one of the "Blessed", Tharizdun keeps him informed on the progress with little messages like: "Imix, Prince of Fire, has been freed!"

Since the 4 evil elemental princes are not hidden secrets... my PCs looked up Imix at the Greyhawk libraries. Now they have a grasp on why Tharizdun needs the elemental temples.

Other hints could be dropped to those that ate the fruit, or through the weather. The paladin knows Tharizdun wants to unravel the world, so when a snowfall happened in late summer, we had a classic moment as he ran around downtown yelling "Oh my God, Tharizdun has unmade summer!!!"

This was followed by a heat wave... as weather and natural things slowly get tugged at by the malicious thoughts of Tharizdun.

Anyways, thanks for the input.

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