Let’s hop to it; shall we?
This week we’re going to look at designing a Timed Encounter for our players. Now, this rendition of it will be left a little open. We’re going to base it around the idea that the party is going to scale the wall with crafted ladders. However, the DM could have to tweak this if their players decided on an alternative means of escaping.
So I figure we should have set points to keep pressure on the characters. First would be to see if the characters react quick enough. There have been times my players just stand around and don’t know what to do or they spend forever on deciding what they should do. Players should think through things, there’s no issue with that, but if you allow them to have all the time in the world then it takes away from the gravity of the situation and in the end breaks the self-immersion. Our players are trying to escape! They don’t have a half hour to decide what to do.
Event 1: The players have 1 minute to decide what they’re going to do. Whether it’s rush up the ladders as fast as they can or turn to face down the countless amounts of guards, they have to choose quickly or they’re in trouble. If they don’t start doing anything before the minute is up, they find themselves surrounded by guards. The ladders are knocked down and things don’t look very good. If they do decide what they want to do, the DM can have them roll initiative and move on. Otherwise they’ll skip through this entire section. Which is fine. The players failed to react, there are consequences for that.
After the initial moments, the characters will proceed with the escape through each round as they would any encounter. From here, all events will occur after a set number of rounds. This will give them time to achieve their goal with more consequences of being slow. Of course, we’re going to make it extremely hard for them to succeed. The plan is to get them in the arena and jump shards there. If they successfully escape-which they very well might-the DM will have to improvise; but we can make a suggestion on that later as well.