Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

The Concept of Time


Beginner Box


I've been playing around with the Beginner Box for about a week now and I'm really enjoying the experience, although I've yet to play with a group that consists of more than myself and my girlfriend. Handling the GM side of things, as well as typically rolling for one of the pre-gen's that often act as hired help for my pc, I often run across things that I'm not comfortable doing yet, or don't really know how to handle. Which is fine!

Anyway, my concern this time (no pun intended) around is concerning time and how it's used in Pathfinder. I guess my uncertainty lies in knowing how closely to keep track of time. I mean, do other GM's actually 'time' things, like if the pc's decide to sleep for 8 hours, do they convert that to a certain amount in 'real' time and then time it, or is it something along the lines of "you rest for 8 hours, and you find yourself in this room, leading to x, what do you want to do?" (Questioning like that is too open-ended I feel, but that's another confusion that I'm working on figuring out.) I guess I basically don't really know how time works in the game in relationship to how it affects real-life time. Spells for example, some last 1 round, well that's about a minute (I think, I need to recheck the Handbook), so when someone's spell goes off, do some of you sit there with a stopwatch and time that round? Is it mostly just guesswork and approximations? I don't plan to worry too much about it at this point. But I do want to feel more comfortable with the rules provided by the Beginner's Box before I begin easing into the Core Rules book.

It might help if I had an example I could refer to, so can anyone direct me to a good, solid, video or podcast of a session that might showcase 'good' GM'ing?

Thanks for the help so far!


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

A round is actually 6 seconds, so there are 10 rounds to a minute.

When I'm GMing, I just kinda make up how long it takes, based off of reasonable estimates.

But! There's no relation between in-game time and out-of-game time.


As Cheapy stated: There's real time and there's game time. Even though they share similar units of measurement they are not related in any other way. Generally you'd never time game actions in real world time, unless perhaps you are trying to create an atmosphere of tenseness. But that should be, IMO, very rare.

For example, the PCs announce they are going to travel to Scooby City. They gather their mounts and supplies, and head out. As the GM (for example, not how you have to do it!) you've decided there are no encounters on the way to Scooby City, because the story/adventure is in the city. The trip takes the mounted characters three days of game time. In real time this amounts to you, the GM, saying: 'So after an uneventful three day ride with lovely spring weather you arrive in Scooby City.' In real time this takes what? Maybe 5 seconds, tops? This is the movie/novel equivalent to the cut scene.

On the opposite end is a combat with lots of PCs and enemies. The combat could take only 8 rounds/48 seconds of game time, but 2 hours of real time to resolve. So far in real time you've only been gaming for 2 hours and 5 seconds. However, in game time, 3 days and 48 seconds have passed.

Strict game time is only necessary when there's an in game reason to be concerned about it for immediate danger, e.g. combat; or a story element, e.g. 'the princess will permanently remain a Yeti unless she is kissed by a good hearted rogue by midnight on her sixteenth birthday.'

Errr... Does that help any?

Take care,

Harry


When players spend an inordinate amount of time debating an action I will start to time them. (Placing an hourglass on the table has a wonderful psychological effect on players.) Otherwise ingame and real time dont have alot to do with each other. - Gauss


Roleplayed conversation will naturally take the same amount of game-time as real-time. Otherwise game time may pass much faster or slower than real time.

If you have lots of players, aren't sure who will turn up to a session, and are running an episodic campaign, then a good approach to game time is suggested by Gary Gygax in the 1st edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide: basically take it that each session's game-date corresponds to the equivalent real-world date, and time between sessions passes in the game world at the same rate as in the real world. So if 2 weeks pass between sessions in the real world, 2 weeks pass in-game. I am doing this in my Pathfinder Beginner Box 'Yggsburgh' campaign; it works very well and makes tracking game-calendar time very easy. Eg the first session was on 12th February 2012, so that became 12th of Month 2 Yggs Year 96.


Whew,I feel like I sometimes make the gaming process harder than it needs to be. Anyway, thanks for the clarification folks!


Guacenspiel wrote:
Whew,I feel like I sometimes make the gaming process harder than it needs to be. Anyway, thanks for the clarification folks!

No worries. Just remember when you are acting in initiative order, 1 round = 6 seconds. All other times, just kind of feel it out as the dm. I make rough estimates of how long a trip from town to the cavern takes, or how long it took to cross a ravine. You dont have to be exact, but you should keep track of things like what time it is, because that matters in some cases (like in the case of clerics praying for their spells) and getting rest in general. But again, as the dm you just make it up based on how you want to space things out.


The only case you should be STRICTLY tracking time is during combat (1 round = 6 seconds, 10 rounds = minute).

Beyond that, you determine what is right based on the situation.


I have a related question.
How do you keep track time of things like torches that state it lasts for 1 hour?


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

GM fiat.

Or guesses. They're actually the same thing.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Time should never get in the way of the enjoyment of the game. There are several charts that can be found based on travel time, which is the biggest time issue that i seem to encounter. But the average human walks 25 miles in a day at a leisurely pace if that helps.

Never spend too much time on time (pun intended), Pathfinder is a game of fun and adventure.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
KDNash wrote:

Time should never get in the way of the enjoyment of the game. There are several charts that can be found based on travel time, which is the biggest time issue that i seem to encounter. But the average human walks 25 miles in a day at a leisurely pace if that helps.

Never spend too much time on time (pun intended), Pathfinder is a game of fun and adventure.

This is pretty much the best advice for dealing with all Pathfinder questions. ;)


This is pretty much the best advice for dealing with all Pathfinder questions. ;)

Sometimes the simplest advice is the best :p.


Once I played a sort of silly trick on my players, this was around 1980. We played at a table in a room with heavy blinds, and I sat near the door, within reach of the light switch. As the party was exploring a temple in the Palace of the Vampire Queen i told them, "You notice your torch is flickering and nearly out, you estimate you only have a few minutes left before you will need to light another one." (I did not often make the player's keep track of these things, but they had been in the dungeon for a while and I felt it should be apparent to the Characters that they needed to return to town for supplies, and unload some of the treasure they had found, buy new armor, just minor story related stuff, anyway...).

So they continued to ask questions about the statues in the room, strange markings on the walls and inscriptions on urns, when suddenly I reached over and turned out the lights. The players started laughing and said it was a very nice touch. I've never done anything like that again, but it was fun that one time.

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Beginner Box / The Concept of Time All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Beginner Box

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.