Pale Mountain time limit

Doomsday Dawn Game Master Feedback

The adventure states that when the PCs get to the actual dungeon, you should inform them how much time they have left before the bad guys get there. But I can't find anything in the adventure that says that this should be PC knowledge from the start. The questgiver essentially tells the PCs "The bad guys are already on their way, but we found a shortcut/back door so you might beat them to it. But you need to hurry." - but she doesn't have any hard data. And I can't see how she could have, given that she doesn't know how long it would take the bad guys to get there and get through the dungeon the hard way.

What am I missing?

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Did I miss where I was supposed to tell my party when they got to the dungeon how much time they had left? Because my group flew blind all the way through. They finished in time to avoid having to encounter the other party, but just barely.

They found out (as players) when the adventure was over and we walked through the time structure of the adventure (my players are also GMs, so we dissected each adventure this way afterwards so everyone got to see behind the screen a bit). I don't think they ever found out (as characters) how close they cut it on managing to avoid that encounter, so they probably all just assumed they were amazing. They seemed like the sort of PCs who would just give themselves all the credit.

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While the book does have this excerpt on page 27, at the bottom left of the page:

Page 27, Tracking Time wrote:
Remind the PCs how long they have left when they enter the tomb so they know whether they’ll have any time to rest before or during their explorations.

I'm of the opinion that this does nothing to aid the players or the immersion of the adventure, and is essentially GM-Ex-Machina-ing on the players' behalf. The players already know they're on a race, and the players are aware of how long they've taken to get to that point; I shouldn't have to tell them how long until the other party gets there, even when they've asked prior (especially when the NPCs whom they've questioned prior to this have no clue as to when they would get there).

I would probably allow a check of some kind (probably a survival check) to ascertain if they arrived there at a relatively quick pace in relation to how much they traveled at the time they took, but I would, under no circumstances in-game, tell them how long they have to go until the other party gets there (and since I didn't really notice that excerpt as I ran the module, I never told them to begin with). They should be aware of the potential dangers of adventuring with an enemy party approaching, and I'd rather leave it up to the players with no knowledge of forethought to decide whether they should rest or not (which is what the adventure should have done from the get-go if they wanted completely accurate playtest data). If they feel pressured, then they might try to rush it (which is a risk all its own), but if they don't, then they might risk losing the Macguffin to the bad guys. This is also important playtest data as well, and it makes no sense for the players to know this information at this time in-game.

So, are you missing anything by telling them? Yes, you absolutely are. You're missing the opportunity of making the adventure that much more compelling and interesting by effectively giving the PCs the time budget information they need with no apparent reason as to why or how they know that information, which kills immersion, and by relation, any potential challenge of the adventure.

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You don't really need to tell the PC's how much time they have left. The players have to royally screw up somehow to actually encounter the Night Heralds. I'm talking like "rest every time they get a papercut" screwup. Even with mostly failing the survival checks on the way up to the mountain, there's still enough time to rest after every major combat encounter and still beat the Night Heralds by more than a day.

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OK, I apparently did miss it. Going to have to go back and reread that to see if I was supposed to tell them "You have X number of days to get there and take possession of the item" right off the bat. Because that's the only way that makes sense. I guess I just skipped right over that bit of info that the NPCs had to share.

/waves at her table of players... oops!

I ran it as a race against an unknown deadline, with the PCs having to weigh the risks that come with pushing for speed against the risk of being too cautious and being beaten to the goal - without being able to exactly quantify that risk.

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Requielle wrote:
I ran it as a race against an unknown deadline, with the PCs having to weigh the risks that come with pushing for speed against the risk of being too cautious and being beaten to the goal - without being able to exactly quantify that risk.

This is 100% how it should be. The players were never originally told this information by the NPC, it makes no sense for it to instantly dawn upon them upon entering the tomb without some sort of storyline element to demonstrate this fact in-game.

At least part 1 had the decency to foreshadow the heroes later on in their adventuring careers (or at least, the ones not already dead) participating in Part 4 of the adventure (thereby signifying those PCs will be used again and again). Here, there is absolutely none of this storytelling conception, it's just a GM saying "Oh, by the way, you have X days to grab the item from here." Like, what? Seriously?!

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I ended up ignoring it, but at the time I was going to use a bit of Deus ex Machina, and have Lady Vord have a sending spell to them to the effect of, "This is Lady Vord - spies detected Heralds entering tomb today. Estimate no more than 1 to two days before discovery."

or something to that effect.

I resolved it as a reminder that they are on a clock, but not the specific number of days left.

They also ended up leaving the tomb the day before the Night Heralds even got to it, let alone got through it, so they were well away.

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