Saturday, 23 April 2022

T is for Time

In the High Gygaxian Catechism, one stricture from AD&D that is oft quoted, debated, and puzzled over is "the one about Time in the Campaign


Emphasis E. Gary Gygax. Before the idea that writing in ALL CAPs is how one yells at someone online.

Of course there is context. Context loss in the 40+ years since it was written. Let's look at the whole paragraph:

One of the things stressed in the original game of D&D was the importance of recording game time with respect to each and every player character in a campaign. In AD&D it is emphasized even more: YOU CAN NOT HAVE A MEANINGFUL CAMPAIGN IF STRICT TIME RECORDS ARE NOT KEPT.
So we see that Gary is saying that Time is a game mechanic that drives an underlying story function. This is further framed by the prior paragraph:
Game time is of utmost importance. Failure to keep careful track of time expenditure by player characters will result in many anomalies in the game. The stricture of time is what makes recovery of hit points meaningful. Likewise, the time spent adventuring in wilderness areas removes concerned characters from their bases of operation—be they rented chambers or battlemented strongholds. Certainly the most important time stricture pertains to the manufacture of magic items, for during the period of such activity no adventuring can be done. Time is also considered in gaining levels and learning new languages and more. All of these demands upon game time force choices upon player characters, and likewise number their days of game life.
I love High Gygaxian.

However, I think that we often don't give credit to Gary's contemporaries, those that he was writing for. They certainly believed the reader would "get it." Gary and Dave debated these things in war games, in journals, letters, and rule sets for years before. They tried to elaborate for the n00b. Add they wrote in a voice for a college educated reader. Many players first encountering these rules were not even out of high school. I know I learned more Latin from D&D then I encountered in high school outside of biology class.

Posted by caffeinated at 9:11 PM in d10