One part of my “plot generator” includes a travel minigame.

So that PCs can travel “at the speed of plot.”

I’d had some ideas along these lines for a long time — some of them to do with Chess, others to do with Monopoly, and more recently I’ve returned to the mechanics of Arkham Horror, where I technically began.

Now, I admire Arkham Horror for the narrative structure it lends to its game, however flawed it may be at times — I appreciate the struggle against monsters, of closing gates — all sometimes culminating in a battle with an Ancient One.

But. But. The game has some stale bits. And the formula doesn’t always work out. My thinking is there are a few too many components and mechanics to keep track of — where the game can (and will, often enough) break down.

Probabilities for gates opening on the map correspond roughly to the results on a 2d6 roll — there are 11 unstable locations, with gates commonly appearing on the ends of the map — The Woods and Independence Square — and the Witch House. Honorable mention goes to the Greens and Purples.

The farthest a player needs to travel to get to any location is 4-6 spaces, taking an average of 1.5 turns (my estimate) when you take into consideration the average speed of investigators. This doesn’t account for monsters though.

However you do enter a gate the same turn you land on it, so the time it takes to get there really adds no more than 0.5 to 1.0 turns to closing the gate.

You enter a gate during Arkham encounters, have an Other World encounter. Next turn you move to Area B and have a second Other World encounter. The next turn (barring delays), you move back to Arkham and can close the gate during Arkham encounters. The average amount of time to close a gate? About four turns.

You move almost every turn. Move? Well, yeah.

You move to enter the gate, then enter the gate. You move to Area B. Then you move back to Arkham. Four turns, four moves.

Yeah, there are other circumstances — but it’s Arkham Horror where much of the game is in the strange circumstances of a given turn.

I can’t help but wonder though — those movements which occur, which match the encounters almost one-for-one — is movement strictly necessary? From a narrative perspective, what’s the difference between actually changing scene locations and simply advancing the clock?

Without getting into the physics of it — time and space are as one here.

Maybe you move from one room to another and bump into a patrol — or maybe you camp out in a room and some monsters blunder in while you’re resting.

Both are random encounters.

Actually, both are scenes that play out, with movement — whether through time or space — being the transition from one to the next. I think there are only so many “moves” you can make: “a few hours later,” et cetera.

The trick then, would be to make the transitions feel natural — maybe even have a table your GM could consult when a transition is needed. When you get right down to it though, the passage of time is a narrative function rather than say, a component of dungeon-crawling or what-have-you.