I’m talking about passing time, and non-combat experiences.

Any venture the PCs undertake should have fairly visible costs, risks, and rewards. Investigating the tomb of a sorcerer-king has the costs of establishing a party, traveling to the location, and dealing with revealed dangers. The risks are to life and limb, and the rewards are based on rumor and speculation.

The cost for a non-combat experience should begin with an investment of time. The risks then, should be less about danger and more about the desire to succeed or accomplish “faster,” or “ahead of schedule.”

I believe I suggested in a previous post the possibility of making skill success automatic, but allowing a PC to “gamble” for a greater reward.

This will be important later — what we’re talking about now are NPCs.

Whereas the success of an adventure is largely dependent on the cooperation of the PCs, I believe the default assumption for non-combat encounters should be that PCs will not work together — and why should they, really? Adventuring is the thing they’re supposed to have in common anyway, not the rest of their “lives.”

Since this is largely unexplored territory, I’m going to suggest modeling it closely — at least to start — on things we’re already familiar with, in this case adventuring parties. A non-combat encounter should require a group — let’s say 3-9.

We’ll assume the PC in question is the project leader, and they will need about four people to help them. Why not make it random, and roll 2d4 to figure out exactly how many NPCs will be required? These NPCs won’t need classes.

More than 60 percent of projects will require the PCs to find 4-6 NPCs to help. Here’s where I would bend things a little bit — rather than generating NPCs equal to the die-roll times the number of PCs, use one roll for all PC projects, and then generate just one batch of NPCs. Use the same NPCs for all projects.

Continue to roll for each project separately, allowing each player to characterize each of the NPCs differently — a prevailing opinion will tend to emerge from the conflicting player views, and that’s the personality you’ll want to portray.

I can’t think of anything you might need for these NPCs apart from say, name and ability scores — your players will assign any additional importance to them on their own. Players bring their own foibles to the table. Recruiting the NPCs to help could be a simple reaction roll, but might also involve intimidation, charm, or bribery.

When you have multiple PCs leading projects simultaneously, it’s probably better to “forget” about the travel between different locations because it eats up time when players argue about who’s where, and when — instead, it’s probably a lot simpler to just assume that people are where they need to be.

Next up, should be “taking week-long turns.”