Often dynamics in modules and your own homebrewed adventures will run like races. The party hurries to foil the plan of the BBEG, an epic final battle ensues, and they (hopefully) emerge victorious.
What I mean is: players won't have to think about time as a factor – or better – an ending ressource. A ressource that never runs out for their opponent.
I offer this story as advice because I've rarely ever seen a table as filled with anxiety as mine when the full weight of it all sunk in.
My party is fighting an evil sorceress who has, ages ago, achieved immortality and almost invunerability (which is her goal now). Once she achieves this, there will be no stopping her.
The way she does this is manyfold. The hags under her command enslave villages and siphon their life towards the sorceress. Powerful adventurers are caught and made into reservoirs for this force of life. Angels are brutally murdered and from their divine essence, the sorceress builds herself a new body. The last ingredient is a legendary artefact called the Chronocompass. It is a device designed to travel through time and more importantly, possibilities. Whoever masters the Chronocompass can shift through every possible outcome of events, at will. Mastering it requires tremendous arcane knowledge, wisdom, strength of character and time.
The party has found this device, and knowing what it does, entrusted it to the academy. The many dozens of archmages there would even be a risk for the sorceress. Traps and Safety around the item made just breaking in impossible.
At their next head on confrontation, my players gloated to her about it. Her plan was foiled!
Her answer:"I'll wait."
They ask her what she means, and she, liking some gloating herself, explains that she'll have the Chronocompass soon enough when the archmages are forgotten by even their descendants. A thousand years? pff, please. Everyone is sprinting while she is running the marathon. She'll just keep on picking and prodding until one of her agents can bring her the artefact. Meanwhile her hags will eventually have enough villages subdued that she can build an empire. Her body, while not indestructible, will be a vessel of such power even the gods will shiver in awe.
The players are left with the knowledge that all momentum needs to come from them. Being reactive is no longer an option. Never has been, really. Because the next action to react to may come after their lifetimes (elves included).
So now they are the ones with the plans other have to foil. Its their time to act bold, be cunning and swift.
This helped me bring my players out of the "X happened, lets do Y" pattern they got stuck in. They waited for something to happen and then come and fix it. Now this responsibility is in their corner and it helped them really engage with the world, make plans and use the resources they have to their full potential.
I realize this could have also been a death sentence for their sense of urgency. So be very cognisant about how your party would react to facing the fact that their immortal component can literally just wait them out.
- Have I painted my players into a corner?
- Campaign idea in Wildemount. Need some input. New DM.
- How to handle a PC betraying the party without ruining the fun for the players
More about Dungeons & Dragons OnlinePost: "Fighting Immortals means fighting time. Let the players know." specifically for the game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Other useful information about this game:
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