A Case for Time Units

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I've pretty much heard just about every argument for and against time units. I am also aware at this point that they are still "under consideration" for LFR. Before the devs throw in the towel on the subject, I'd like to weigh in on the value they present from an RPGA Coordinator's stand point.

The mission of the RPGA is to promote good organized game play, whether at Home or Retail, at a Game Day, or at a Convention. Time Units help promote good organized game play by creating hard rules as to how often you can play a particular character in a given year. This is invaluable from a game mustering standpoint.

Your typical muster of 50+ players will have a variety of players with a varying number of character levels creating a broad range of potential APLs to set tables with. This helps when we attempt to organize a round of RPGA game play. A new player might have only two APL options, while a veteran to LFR might have six or more. Obviously the more options of available APL a player can play the easier the muster.

Generally speaking, most players have a "favorite" character that they prefer to play, and because of the TU rule, they also have a few alternates that they can play, ranging in different APLs. This is VERY good for the muster in my opinion. Our jobs as an RPGA Coordinator is to provide a player a GAME not necessarily cater to their preferred APL. When you remove time units, and summarily, do not place restrictions on the number of times a year you can play a character - you change this dynamic all together.

LG had a number of good things that they did well. Time Units and ARs are among them. I know it's tempting to overhaul the entire mechanics of the system because we are presented with a new set of rules for D&D, but please consider not pulling the rules that are vital to organized play such as time units.
I used to agree with your position. Now I'm not so sure.

In addition to the ones you raised another benefit would be to have another resource in the campaign (in addition to gold and xp) that can be used to reward or penalize players.

However, an alternate solution to the "only one high level character" syndrome is to have:
1) Intro adventures for APL2 characters only - I have almost a dozen characters now because I decided to play an intro character at a con. About half of them have progressed past 2nd level even ;)
2) low level cap mods - the past few years have seen several Core mods that range APL 2-8 only. This is a good thing and encourages people who play often to create and play their secondary characters.

If the LFR campaign does the above two things, then I think it'll help tremendously to prevent the single high level character syndrome even if TUs are gone.

Someone pointed out to me that TUs actually hinder mustering near the end of the year when some players can't play certain characters because they're out of TUs.
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Here's the thing, it's not everyone.
I ran out of TUs my first year because I just started and that character could play everything. But I also created an alt at the end of the year, mostly so I could play low-level tables when need be.
So even if I had unlimited TUs I still would have played the same number of mods with the same characters.

Other people do nothing but make alts and have a dozen characters that are all below 6.

Even last year, with no TU limit, I still played my alt. I favored my main, mostly because I want to see her retire, but there's a couple arcs I'm using my alt in.
I also don't play my alt much due to a "curse" that really gimps him (he's now essentially a 22-point buy and has 4 Cha).

In the first year, when everyone can still play at the same table, there should be no reason for limiting adventures.
When people want to make alts they should, so they can choose to be playing up or down.

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I am definitely down with the TU system (ARs as well). I consider it a feature of LG. It's effects on mustering and populating lower levels are well known and I feel the risk of play oportunities for failuer or being jailed or whatever adds to my experience by being a meaningful risk to me the player.

The major concern is a campaign filled player's highest level characters only and brand newbies who have no one to play with. Some mechanism that allows newer players or less hard core players catch up and populates lower levels to support new members is needed and few other systems work as well in my opinion.

I don't think that offering low level-only mods and level caps would work anywhere near as well. It in no way places any drag on characters skyrocketing up in levels and probably ends up being more restrictive for the campaign as a whole.

With a TU system the players have a great deal of flexibility in how they use that characters play opportunities as oppose to cutting off modules to segments of the character population. The TU method ends up being a soft limit that can be planned for as opposed to a hard black and white line ruling over what you can and can't play.
The major concern is a campaign filled player's highest level characters only and brand newbies who have no one to play with. Some mechanism that allows newer players or less hard core players catch up and populates lower levels to support new members is needed and few other systems work as well in my opinion.

I don't think that offering low level-only mods and level caps would work anywhere near as well. It in no way places any drag on characters skyrocketing up in levels and probably ends up being more restrictive for the campaign as a whole.

I've found this a problem in the past with some of the other, smaller Living campaigns. Arcanis, for example, I can find mods being run, but nobody can be bothered to play anything at low level - despite the fact that there are mods that only run at those levels.

If you really want to keep people creating low level alts, then you need to have a yearly thing like Greyhawk Ruins where you only get the full benefits or only can play if you start a brand new character.
With a TU system the players have a great deal of flexibility in how they use that characters play opportunities as oppose to cutting off modules to segments of the character population. The TU method ends up being a soft limit that can be planned for as opposed to a hard black and white line ruling over what you can and can't play.

You're right, but some story lines are extremely improbably if presented as a high APL game.

A mod involving bringing some medicine to a mountain town within a week through hazardous terrain (containing most of the challenge) loses its impact if someone can just teleport there.

Likewise if you have a murder mystery and there are 10 people in the house, a cleric casting commune to ask "is X guilty?" will ruin the fun.

Some stories can only be told at low APLs.

In any case, I strongly urge the campaign admins to at least have several Intro level mods for new characters. These were a tremendous help in mustering cons and encouraged players to create new characters.
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You're right, but some story lines are extremely improbably if presented as a high APL game.

A mod involving bringing some medicine to a mountain town within a week through hazardous terrain (containing most of the challenge) loses its impact if someone can just teleport there.

Likewise if you have a murder mystery and there are 10 people in the house, a cleric casting commune to ask "is X guilty?" will ruin the fun.

Some stories can only be told at low APLs.

In any case, I strongly urge the campaign admins to at least have several Intro level mods for new characters. These were a tremendous help in mustering cons and encouraged players to create new characters.

Many plots don't make sense at higher levels but, a fair percentage could be with a little more of an eye to hindering some of those higher level abilities. A magical storm of wild magic over those mountains explains away why not to use teleport. We also don't know what high level powers in 4th ed may look like but, limiting mods for story reason is much better than for artificial ones.

Either way, I think there needs to be more than just a low-level option. There needs to be a little pressure from the top down as well. Doesn't have to be TUs but, they are the best answer I have seen thus far.
My initial reaction to this thread was to applaud the removal of TU's. After thinking about it for a while I think we should keep them. If if were not for TU's my favorite character would have retired in only about 2 years. With them he has been around since year 2 and just finally made 15th level. I say keep them. If people want to keep playing they can always make another character. I know that people should not be forced to play something they don't want to but some of my favorite characters are ones I made when I ran out of TU's.
Many plots don't make sense at higher levels but, a fair percentage could be with a little more of an eye to hindering some of those higher level abilities. A magical storm of wild magic over those mountains explains away why not to use teleport. We also don't know what high level powers in 4th ed may look like but, limiting mods for story reason is much better than for artificial ones.

This makes me think of the "ion storms" in Star Trek TNG that would pop up and make transporting and/or communication impossible, when it made for a good narrative. :P

Mike
How many times are the same handful of people going to express the same opinions on this topic? Guess I'll just throw my 2 coppers in one more time...

I don't think we need to limit the number of times I can play a specific character. My experience has been that it's not necessary, and I believe there are better ways of encouraging people to have multiple character levels. I also believe that the fewer meta-game rules we have, the better.

In our area, we are still running many, many low level tables even with no TU limits and the campaign ending. Why? Because people like playing intro mods, and playing different characters.

TU limits don't do much to ensure that I have low level characters. If I play a lot, I am forced to have multiple PCs but they could all be Epic level assuming there are games and people to support that level of play. If there are not games and people to support that level of play, then I will have lower level characters without TU limits.

People normally run out of TUs towards the end of the year. So if we're relying on TUs to force multiple levels, there will still be a lack of low level characters for most of the year. Note - I don't remember ever seeing this in our area in LG.

TU limits do cause problems with mustering tables towards the end of the year. I've had end-of-the-year-retirement cons where I didn't play a mod before it retired because my appropriate level PC was out of TUs.

For most people TUs are just added overhead, and an annoyance.

TU limits stop me from playing "Catch up" to my friends so we can have fun playing higher levels together.

I'm sure I could go back through old threads and come up with more, but that is what I can think of right now.

Allen.
I do believe TUs should be in the game. I just think with new people regularly coming in, and with lower level mods it won't be as bad as some people think.

TUs should be a little more logically numbered as opposed to just one-a-week.
When they figure out exactly how much xp and gold one gets each mod then TUs should be based around a character playing a select number of mods and gaining a select amount of levels.

The system also needs to be more flexible with the removal of home regions (or diminished importance of). Something should encourage the PCs to stay close to home (for storyarc reasons) and start alts abroad for farther away regions.

Or a more realistic approach might work. Mods take up X number of days (which vary depending on the mod and are recorded on each) and have a chart for travel between regions. Which encourages play in neighboring regions instead of bouncing across the globe (I dislike the idea of a character having to always pay 2 TUs for a Core due to travel when their last three mods have been set in the same location).
When the character ticks off his full 365 days (or whatever) they've used all their time.
It would also be flexible so if you go through mods without resting or eating up days you get more play.

Or there could be a "Travel Pool". Adventuring doesn't cost time but traveling between regions does (again, set # between each region). So if you bounce around alot your pool will drop quickly and you'll be stranded in a region. But if you stay local or the immediate area then you get to play more.

With more real villains, slavery should be rarer. Which removes that fate worse than death. So there's less chance of losing TUs for that.
But imprisonment... I've never liked the TU loss for that. With 2 or 3 alts anyway, unless it's a huge number then you don't notice. It'd be better if that character was removed from play for the real-time duration.

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IF they keep TUs and they represented days instead of weeks (obviously we would get more) they could function as a nice way to reward not taking too many rests between encounters in some mods. Being able to shave some TUs off a mod would be a big motivator.
Most people posting here on the pro TU side of things seem to say "We should have TUs because I think we should". Where's the justification? The analysis of cost versus benefit? What do TUs buy that we can't get other ways?

We seem to have a core group of people who want to change as little as possible from the way LG worked. The problem is, LFR is probably not going to lose those people as players because of meta-game rules. I would guess that if TUs are eliminated, we will lose very few people that played LG due to eliminating TUs (we may lose them for other reasons). OTOH I know people who didn't play LG or who quit in large part because of the overhead (including TUs).

We should be asking a different question. Not, should we have TUs, but how do we best encourage a significant percentage of people to play a variety of character levels so that we support tables for new people? Do we even need to have a policy?

The biggest issue seems to be the perception that we need to force people to have multiple PCs so that we support low level tables. If you have a small enough group of players in an area, there's very little we can do. Even if you limit how often a person can play a specific PC, the odds of the small group playing new PCs at the same time a new person wants to join are probably small. If it's a good group, they will have multiple PCs so they can at least occasionally bring in new people.

If it's a larger group, there will probably be people who play frequently who write up new characters on a regular basis for a variety of reasons. I see people creating characters to play with friends they're introducing to the campaign, because they want to play intro mods/lower APL games. I personally have a spread of characters because I enjoy playing a variety of characters and because I want to be able to play different APLs.

I think we just need to balance what level adventures are geared to. If 50% of all mods are geared towards Heroic level characters, most people will write up new characters when their favorite character reaches Paragon level.

Allen.
I favor a Time Unit system, but not because it encourages players to develop multiple characters. (although it does do that somewhat)

Instead, I'll cite the use of TUs as a cost. This shows up in a number of ways.

Cost to play - the most classical case in Living Greyhawk. As a side note, I very much don't want to see variable and unkown TU costs per adventure.

Cost to gain X - I have a number of ARs that specify favors that can grant access, but only if an associated TU cost is paid. This shouldn't always occur when access is gained, but it provides a costing mechanism that is healthy for the game (assuming that the access isn't something you want everyone to have---the cost is payable, but not free) and feels natural.

A subset of the above item is something I see less often. TUs are also sometimes used as a cost to gain a roleplaying benefit that has no obvious mechanical impact on the game. Heavily used characters might avoid paying such costs just to allow further gameplay, but they're a nice niche for people who would like to flesh out their characters.

Metaorg benefits would also fall under the cost to gain X model, and are a nice way to represent a character that is invested into something other than running around to kill monsters.

Penalties - None of us really like to see penalties being applied to their character, but in certain cases a Time Unit penalty is very appropriate. Slavery and jail time for being arrested are two classical examples. I'd prefer to see higher Time Unit costs applied to characters rather than stripping them of their equipment and/or gold on a regular basis.
Instead, I'll cite the use of TUs as a cost. This shows up in a number of ways.

The problem with TUs as a cost is that they are very uneven. I have characters that are "filler" characters that never run out of TUs. A 30 TU penalty? A 10 TU cost for a meta-org? I don't care. I have other "primary" characters where a 2 TU penalty towards the end of the year means I don't play in a game or two I had scheduled at a con.

A cost that has such dramatically different effects on different characters is fundamentally flawed.

Allen.
The problem with TUs as a cost is that they are very uneven. I have characters that are "filler" characters that never run out of TUs. A 30 TU penalty? A 10 TU cost for a meta-org? I don't care. I have other "primary" characters where a 2 TU penalty towards the end of the year means I don't play in a game or two I had scheduled at a con.

A cost that has such dramatically different effects on different characters is fundamentally flawed.

Allen.

From another point of view, it works as a resource on your primary character and has driven you as frequent player to play lower level characters.

---

I'd like to see the system stay because I feel it has worked well and is a facet of LG that I'd actually say I like better about the campaign than the setting itself. I have little issue switching over to FR but, dramatically changing the structure when going from LG to LFR could dissuade me from playing as much as I do.

It basically comes down to this, people don't like limits but, sometimes they are useful for the greater good. TUs populate lower levels, add an appropriate cost to certain elements of the game and and help slow down the spread of level ranges. Good things for the campaign but, alas, still a limit some players just don't want to face or plan for.
I favor Time units. I think they are a great tool to manage in-game benefits and penalties and other investments of in-character time. I also think TUs are a good way to gauge an adventure's length and help create the standard or measuring stick upon which XP and gold can easily be determined.

As noted above, TUs are one of Living Greyhawk's (many) strengths. I vote for keeping them.

-------- Don (Greyson) --------

Non-smoker, White, Non-golfer, U.S.-American

The main reason for me to be in favor of TUs is that they were a way to measure time. Not an excellent way (some scenarios took months but cost only 2 TU), but a means nonetheless.
People leveling like crazy can be a problem that can be dissuaded with TU, but there are other ways (i.e. I expect regional scenarios for this and next year will be enjoyed best if you play them all. But that is likely to assume a certain level progression).
I would like to see a certain measure for time be available in the campaign.
One way is TUs. Another way may be to simply 'date' scenarios. I.e. a scenario might be set at 'Hammer 5', or at 'Midwinter'.

Gomez
The big problem with TUs is the number (52) is just pulled from nowhere (okay, it's the number of weeks in the year, but no less arbitrary). So you can play 52 regional/metaregional if there were that many release or, more likely, 26 Core mods.
And with 20 Core mods a year (40TU), 9 regionals (49TU) and 6 metas (52 + 3TUs) you can almost play everything without an alt anyway, assuming you don't do specials or interactives or belong to meta-orgs.
So the "requiring" or alts just doesn't work because you can play over 90% of mods with a single character.

If TUs are done for LFR you'd have to have far fewer for the argument to work.
At the same time, reducing the number below 50 makes it less flexible and more restrictive. Each reward that costs a TU costs the character the chance "for 15% of a level's worth of xp.
TUs also only restrict play at the end of the year and during the flurry of retirement Cons or GameDays.

A monthly play allotment might be one option. Instead of 52 TUs for a year it might be 5 TUs a month. That way you always have some for the end of the year. But this causes problems during slow months when you might use 1 or 2 compared to con season where you could blow 10 in two weeks.

And, as mentioned earlier, without some kind of "time pool" things like slavery, jail, crafting and travel are less meaningful.

But there should also be some realism in distance between regions ("I join a metaorg in Baldur's Gate when I live in Cormyr and the TU cost is the same" or "it costs the same TUs to play in BG as it does it Akanul when one is just across the sea"). Plus how TU costs don't take into consideration that you're a 15th level wizard who teleports down the street to buy a bagel every morning yet has to spend an extra week traveling to Greyhawk and back with a bunch of lowbies. Access to magic, boats (owning should be an option AND a benefit)

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The problem with TUs as a cost is that they are very uneven. I have characters that are "filler" characters that never run out of TUs. A 30 TU penalty? A 10 TU cost for a meta-org? I don't care. I have other "primary" characters where a 2 TU penalty towards the end of the year means I don't play in a game or two I had scheduled at a con.

A cost that has such dramatically different effects on different characters is fundamentally flawed.

Allen.

You're right, but the tight control of TU on a character that's played a lot just reflects the cost for all the other benefits they get. Characters that don't spend as much time progressing should be able to spend more time on non-adventuring activities without worry.

The system isn't without its flaws, and the abstraction sometimes hits a silly level, but I think the overall impact TUs had on Living Greyhawk was very positive.
How many times are the same handful of people going to express the same opinions on this topic? Guess I'll just throw my 2 coppers in one more time...

I raised the issue again and I apologize, I've been away from the boards for a bit…

The current system that LG uses (ARs and TUs) works very well. To remove the current system of character management would change the fundamental way this campaign has been handled for the last seven years. One cannot say that it would not, as TUs have only been removed from the campaign for a short bit. It’s "total affect" on game play is not widely understood at this point in time.

I made my arguments as a Senior GM and Convention Coordinator's standpoint. The muster is something that needs to be understood when the devs decide how to handle the long term impact of not having TUs. All we have to compare to at the moment is roughly six years of time with TUs and eight months without.

Aside from the logistic benefits which I highlighted in my earlier post, let's take this down to a more personal level. I've played in this living campaign for almost two years. In that time, I've DMd over 50 rounds for two big gaming groups. Some of my players have 3 characters, some have two and some have just one. As a veteran DM I fall into the category of having just one primary character. The TU system gives everyone a variety of play opportunities and allows a variety of players to play together and allows others to play more often as they see fit. This is the big point. Sure this can be done without TUs, and focusing on intro adventures, but it's a gamble right? Do we know for sure it will work and provide the character diversity that we need for organized play? We have six years of TU history that is proven to work. We shouldn't ignore this point. I’ve seen it happen recently at a convention I was in charge of, players being stubborn about wanting to play only their primary character – which could be an effect of the campaign closure, but again – it’s an unknown. As a Coordinator, it’s not exactly a positive experience nor is it from a player's perspective. The issue needs to be looked at both ways, from a player standpoint and a coordinator standpoint.

Continuing on a personal side, the RPGA represents the epitome of role-playing excellence. If you've been around for a bit, you know that this is the key principle that the organization was founded on - hence we have restrictions that other non-RP focused players would prefer not to deal with. Our standards weeds them out.

Here is a good example: Have you ever met someone who has a 15th character? Did you ever ask him or her when they started that character? Did you ever ask other characters/players at a convention if they knew who that character was? If you are part of a tight niche region like I am, generally people know that player and his or her character. They've made a name for themselves within the region because they have been around since the beginning of the campaign.

Do we really want to change this dynamic? Do we really want to allow players to reach level 15 in 18 months; for what would have normally taken five years? Consider this element as well. This discussion spans farther than just allowing people to play as much as you want.

If it's rapid advancement that folks want, my suggestion is to find it on a computer screen and not at a gaming table. As a representative of the old regime, I believe it's my duty keep the old fashioned feel of D&D alive through this new version of LFR. LG did this well and I hope LFR continues to maintain the same high standards of game play. I also think it's our civil duty to teach young players this same tradition.

If my opinion is not taken here by the campaign leadership, well then - so be it. However, at least I have had the opportunity to speak up.

Thanks to everyone for responding to my earlier post. I hope to catch you all at a table soon.
as TUs have only been removed from the campaign for a short bit. It’s "total affect" on game play is not widely understood at this point in time.

Well for me the removal of time units lead to my wizard, who took from year 3 until last Gencon to get to level 9, skyrocketing from 9-15 in about 7 months.
Do we really want to change this dynamic? Do we really want to allow players to reach level 15 in 18 months; for what would have normally taken five years? Consider this element as well. This discussion spans farther than just allowing people to play as much as you want.

If it's rapid advancement that folks want, my suggestion is to find it on a computer screen and not at a gaming table. As a representative of the old regime, I believe it's my duty keep the old fashioned feel of D&D alive through this new version of LFR. LG did this well and I hope LFR continues to maintain the same high standards of game play. I also think it's our civil duty to teach young players this same tradition.

If my opinion is not taken here by the campaign leadership, well then - so be it. However, at least I have had the opportunity to speak up.

[/QUOTE

As I mentioned in a previous post I think time units are good thing because they do slow you down. They let you ,and eveyone else, get to know your character. However it seems that part of the 4th edition feel is bringing computer RPG mechanics to the table top. They want the fun parts of the game to be more prevalent and leveling is fun.

What they failed to grasp is that leveling is satisfying because you have earned it. When you start just giving out rewards which are unearned it ruins the game. I was hopeful that they would slow the level progression in 4th ed over 3rd. I just felt that in 3rd ed you leveled to fast. It seemed like you would be getting new abilities before you even used all the abilities you received last time you leveled. Unfortunately everything I have seen points to an increased leveling pace.

I think TU's would be a good thing but I doubt we will have them because they interfere with the game design of 4th edition and at DDXP they said more than once that RPGA would try very hard not to step on the toes of what R&D had concepted as the 4th ed version of D&D.
One thing I notice in alot MMOs is a tendency for players to try to level so fast taht they eventually are viewing playing the game as an obstacle to be overcome in order to level faster.

The LG version of this would be players trying to squeeze adventures down to play as many as possible or possibly even for homegroups to download and record ARs without playing them.

By limiting the number play opportunities, TUs remove alot of the pressure and reward of rushing past the game for adavancement sake. In a way, it supports savoring the limited chances you have with that character instead of just stacking XP and gear.

We'll likely see alot of new players used to the MMO "grinding" mindset with the new edition so, I believe reinforcing enjoyable play at the table over character build and advancement as the campaign's primary concern would be a worthy goal.
Well for me the removal of time units lead to my wizard, who took from year 3 until last Gencon to get to level 9, skyrocketing from 9-15 in about 7 months.

But is that related to TUs?
I started my main in Feb of '06 and she's now level 10. The removal of TUs helped but I wouldn't have run out last year. I just craft more. I'd actually be more xp into lvl10 with a TU limit.

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I'm trying to be the voice of the people that I see that gave up on LG because of things like TUs. There are people who only want to play 1 or (at most) 2 characters, who could find others to play with, who could have great fun with LFR and be a vital part of the RPGA community. But we turn around and tell them that we don't like their style of play and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

I fully understand and acknowledge that we cannot ever design a system that will be everything to everyone. Nor should we try. But if a rule is not absolutely necessary or have a significant impact to how games are run, we should question whether it is necessary.

Do TUs slow down advancement for some people? Yes. Whether this is good or necessary, is a matter of opinion. I personally think it's like suing McDonalds for serving Big Macs. If you don't want your character to advance too quickly, don't play that character as much. RPGA is not responsible for your lack of self control.

My preference is to focus on a character or two. Why? Because I enjoy a deeper, better role playing experience when I sit down with the same character and mindset on a regular basis. If I have to switch from one character to another too often, the characters feel more like just numbers on a page than a fictional person that I'm running. I do have multiple characters and support encouraging multiple characters, because there are times when I will switch to a different character so that we have a valid table. It's a compromise I happily make - but not one I want forced on me.

Want to limit people to a reasonable number of meta-orgs? Just set a max number of meta-orgs a character can belong to. Want to encourage people to run low level characters? Write fun, exciting mods that people will want to play - but make it only available to low level characters. Don't like it if your character advances "too quickly"? Take some personal responsibility and don't play as much. Worried that people might not play LFR for exactly the same reason you play? Get over it.

Allen.
I don't post here much, but I feel strongly enough about this that I'll weigh in. I personally believe Time Units were one of the best things about LG. Why?

While I agree that TUs do help keep a good mix of high and low-level characters available within the campaign for mustering purposes (as a veteran of Living City, I can attest to the mustering problems due to people having only 1 high-level character), as others have said, there are other ways to 'fix' that. For me, what makes TUs so important is that level of 'realism' they add to the game. Yes, I know it's a fantasy game, but I mean it makes it more realistic as a 'campaign' versus tournament D&D (which is essentially what the D&D Campaigns are). How?

First, it makes you feel like your character actually lives in a world where he/she has to travel to reach their destination. I loved the fact that if I wanted to play my character outside my home region, I had to pay more TUs to do it; I just wish LG had gone a bit farther and scaled the TU cost based on how far away the adventure was set from my home region. And sure, I would totally support lower TU costs for special forms of travel (ie. horses, boats, flying mounts, teleportation, etc).

Second, as some others have pointed out, it puts certain negative effects to your character into context (ie. slavery, jail, falling in lust with an unseelie nymph, etc) that just makes the world that much more real for me. I know some people just hate having bad things happen to their characters, but that’s part of the role-playing (vice roll-playing) part of the game for me. If there were never any penalties for failure, then success wouldn’t mean nearly as much to me.

Finally, it puts various meta-gaming actions into the context of the world. This allows for wizards who wish to craft magic items to do so, but with a ‘downtime’ penalty that should be there. Also, it clearly makes since that meta-orgs that the PCs can join would require a certain amount of the characters’ time to conduct guild/organization business, in return for the bonuses that the PC incurs for being a member. Also, the dynamic whereby PCs can utilize craft/profession skills to ‘burn’ TUs in order to make some extra money makes sense to me.

For me, for a shared world/campaign to work, there needs to be some standards that minimize the suspension of disbelief as much as possible to make it ‘Living’. It just doesn’t pass the sanity test to me to have PCs who spend 370 days adventuring in a 365 day year (just as an example).

And, as for those alts sitting out there who only use 40% of their TUs a year, maybe a system can be put in-place to allow them to advance just a bit by ‘burning’ TUs (ie. if a typical 6th level adventure gives 4,000 xp and costs 2 TU, then a 6th level character ‘burning’ 2 TU could receive 500 xp) as long as they’ve played a certain amount of adventures during the year (to keep people from making an infinite number of alts and just advancing them without playing them).

Just my 2 cents…
I wonder what the impact of TUs is on increasing the DM pool. I'd have to imagine there are more than a few players who decide to DM instead of playing an alt. The system also makes DMing more attractive because an active home group's DM's character will have an opportunity to catch up to the rest of his group in many cases.
While I'm a supporter of some sort of TU/advancement limiting mechanic, I don't think you can link TUs and a willingness to "eat" modules.
While I'm a supporter of some sort of TU/advancement limiting mechanic, I don't think you can link TUs and a willingness to "eat" modules.

Eating mods really doesn't come into play with TUs just not getting XP for that play session. It's more of a matter of players realizing they can take a round to DM and still use all their character's TUs before the end of the year or have the ability to play their character outside of their usual group to catch up on XP because there is a finite limit. It allows frequent DMs, hardcore campaign participants and only occasional homegamers to better sync up at a common level.
IF they keep TUs and they represented days instead of weeks (obviously we would get more) they could function as a nice way to reward not taking too many rests between encounters in some mods. Being able to shave some TUs off a mod would be a big motivator.

That is actually a point against such use of day units. It discourages roleplaying adventures when taking time between encounters is appropriate. Rushing the action can spoil the fun. Having each adventure use up the same amount of play opportunity is better than having the number of days within an adventure determine how many adventures you can play in a year.

Tom Bollis
That is actually a point against such use of day units. It discourages roleplaying adventures when taking time between encounters is appropriate. Rushing the action can spoil the fun. Having each adventure use up the same amount of play opportunity is better than having the number of days within an adventure determine how many adventures you can play in a year.

Tom Bollis

I think you are missing the point here. The roleplay occurring in a given mod is unlikely to add up to a day. I am talking about in-game rests to regain daily spells and abilities and extra creativity in reducing travel times. Playwise, players could stop and RP and spend their real time as they please. The only thing counted would be the "overnight" rests and days taken to complete the adventure in-game. Taking fewer TUs would likely mean a more challenging mod but, little effect on the play experience otherwise.

Many of the mods take these factors into account in their rewards very well but, supporting them via the TU system could make some sense.
That is actually a point against such use of day units. It discourages roleplaying adventures when taking time between encounters is appropriate. Rushing the action can spoil the fun. Having each adventure use up the same amount of play opportunity is better than having the number of days within an adventure determine how many adventures you can play in a year.

Tom Bollis

It would also encourage people not to waste days. Rest needlessly between fights just to make the remaining ones easier, or rest overnight in investigate mods which (ussually) advances the plot.

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It would also encourage people not to waste days. Rest needlessly between fights just to make the remaining ones easier, or rest overnight in investigate mods which (ussually) advances the plot.

I'd prefer "wasting" days rather than constant metagaming about shaving the time a module takes down to the bare minimum.

TUs were an adequate level of abstraction. Any more granularity and they become more trouble than they're worth.
I think you are missing the point here. The roleplay occurring in a given mod is unlikely to add up to a day. I am talking about in-game rests to regain daily spells and abilities and extra creativity in reducing travel times. Playwise, players could stop and RP and spend their real time as they please. The only thing counted would be the "overnight" rests and days taken to complete the adventure in-game. Taking fewer TUs would likely mean a more challenging mod but, little effect on the play experience otherwise..

No, I did not miss that point. It is part of roleplaying to have the PCs take as long as a sensible character would take to prepare for encounters. Poor roleplaying to always rush in unprepared in order to finish as fast as possible (in game time), if the PCs aren't unusually impacient and reckless.

There are situations where PCs are under time constraints to deal with a foe, but that isn't what you are referring to. When the characters believe they have the time, good roleplaying would include having them take as long as necessary to improve their chances of survival and success.

Tom Bollis
For me, what makes TUs so important is that level of 'realism' they add to the game.
...
For me, for a shared world/campaign to work, there needs to be some standards that minimize the suspension of disbelief as much as possible to make it ‘Living’. It just doesn’t pass the sanity test to me to have PCs who spend 370 days adventuring in a 365 day year (just as an example).

If limiting a character's activity over a period of time is important to you, limit how much you play. Personally I don't really care - real world calendar years don't have much to do with my fantasy character's passage of time.

There are some inherent limitations to a living campaign. I regularly end up playing mods out of sequence, which can be really confusing when you have to play "who's on the throne" and "is that really important NPC dead or alive?". In a home campaign I can play every night with the same character for a month and years may pass in the campaign. Or we can go months without playing and moments pass. Weird passage of time in a living campaign is just one of those things we have to live with.

But honestly, why do you care what other people's characters have done over the past year? What matters to me is whether or not I have fun playing with or judging a mod for them. I don't know of anyone that has ever done an audit of another person's character records to see how much they've played in the past year. I don't ever remember anyone ever asking.

Allen.
No, I did not miss that point. It is part of roleplaying to have the PCs take as long as a sensible character would take to prepare for encounters. Poor roleplaying to always rush in unprepared in order to finish as fast as possible (in game time), if the PCs aren't unusually impacient and reckless.

There are situations where PCs are under time constraints to deal with a foe, but that isn't what you are referring to. When the characters believe they have the time, good roleplaying would include having them take as long as necessary to improve their chances of survival and success.

Tom Bollis

It's called character impatience. Even if there is no time component written into a mod, some characters may very well want to not waste their lives waiting to be perfectly prepared for an expected encounter when they might have a chance to get on to the next good deed. In real life, when I decide to fly somewhere instead of drive it is very similar to how a character would preserve TUs in such a system. It's just addin a little more risk/reward factor to the game that is supported both in and out of game.

If careful players want to take their time they should but, it is very realistic that there be some sort of cost to it. Presently, there is not.
But is that related to TUs?
I started my main in Feb of '06 and she's now level 10. The removal of TUs helped but I wouldn't have run out last year. I just craft more. I'd actually be more xp into lvl10 with a TU limit.

Yes, I did a lot of scribing and crafting plus was in a few metaorgs so I ran out of TUs every year around august.

Also there were no adaptables back in the day so fast level advancement was harder. There just were no mods where one mod got you a levels worth of ex.
Continuing on a personal side, the RPGA represents the epitome of role-playing excellence. If you've been around for a bit, you know that this is the key principle that the organization was founded on - hence we have restrictions that other non-RP focused players would prefer not to deal with. Our standards weeds them out.

No it doesn't. The RPGA's job is not to tell others how to play the game. It's job is to help as many people as possible enjoy their RP-games both at home and at conventions. Granted, LG favors specific styles of gaming above other, but to call that the epitome of roleplaying excellence is a bit overdone. It is also rather ironic, since a large majority of players consider LG to more for power-gamers and tactical minded players and less for the storyteller and method actor. It are among others the RPers who dislike TUs and the extensive ARs.
No it doesn't. The RPGA's job is not to tell others how to play the game. It's job is to help as many people as possible enjoy their RP-games both at home and at conventions. Granted, LG favors specific styles of gaming above other, but to call that the epitome of roleplaying excellence is a bit overdone. It is also rather ironic, since a large majority of players consider LG to more for power-gamers and tactical minded players and less for the storyteller and method actor. It are among others the RPers who dislike TUs and the extensive ARs.

While I'll agree that LG does not enjoy the reputation for high levels of RP it should or may have, it been my experience that it the Roleplayers who are bigger fans of the TUs than the powergamers. The perception being that the TUs are an obstacle to build advancement. I am of the opinion that taking the emphasis off being the highest level guy and not powering through as many mods as possible is better for RP and most of my friends who at least respect the role of RP in our gaming tend to be fans of the TU system as well.
...powering through as many mods as possible is better for RP and most of my friends who at least respect the role of RP in our gaming tend to be fans of the TU system as well.

See, this is one of the things that confuses me about the whole TU argument.

How is playing a character on a regular basis "powering through" mods? I still have to sit my behind in a chair and play the game for (approximately) 4 hours per slot in order to play a mod. If I play 100 mods over the course of a character's career, I've spent 400 hours playing (assuming all 1 slot mods). It doesn't matter if it takes 3 months or 3 years to do that. I personally don't "savor" or "enjoy" a character all that much when I am not playing them ... I enjoy them when I am at a table playing. TU limits don't extend the amount of time I play a character.

As for the whole "real gamers like TUs argument", people play for different reasons. If you took a survey of active LG players, the majority may agree (or may not, I have no clue). I think you'd find a different story if you talked to people who tried LG and quit.

Allen.