What's unique about Time Enough?

Updated: Mar 6, 2020

Time Enough is a D&D 5e adventure from The Gallant Goblin. A summary of the adventure and an index of all blog posts about it can be found here.

Whenever I come up with an idea for a TTRPG supplement, the first question I ask myself is "Why would anyone care?"

Some people say write what you love, and sometimes that's good enough! Certainly you should love what you write or you're not going to do it well. But there's a lot of amazing content out there, and as a writer, my goal is to reach people and make them happy. In a world where, ironically, most of us do not have time enough to do everything we want, I have to prioritize work.

So what's special about Time Enough?

For me, the answer lies in what I, as a TTRPG player, enjoy or look for in games I play:

  • Epic: Whether I'm low level or that elusive level 20, I want my jaw to drop at the table. I want to feel like my decisions matter. For better or worse, I do not enjoy murdering rats for money unless those rats have formed an intelligent swarm secretly mind controlling the town. This adventure drops you in the middle of a war in pre-Guildpact Ravnica and lets you change the past. Its goal is for low level characters to experience Ravnica and its history in an epic way.

  • A world that feels alive: It's weird and lonely when you and your friends feel like the only game in town. We get invested in fictional characters all the time in novels, movies, and other forms of fiction. We gasp when we discover shocking things happened somewhere else in the world. I want recurring NPCs I can befriend, heroic NPCs who show up for the big crossover when the world is at risk, towns that have lives of their own when we're not there. There will be so many familiar faces from Magic: The Gathering, many with their own goals and motivations and, yes, romances, that the DM will need to go back in time to prep more... or stop me from writing this thing in the first place.

  • Decisions that matter: Anyone who follows Bioware knows the trouble of writing truly different endings. Writing unique branches and endings can take a lot of time. You're basically writing another adventure, but you typically don't get extra time or money to do so. The joy of TTRPGs is the DM is smart and can improvise, but that doesn't apply as much when you're writing an adventure for someone else to run. But especially if you're hoping many groups will run your adventure, there's something immensely satisfying knowing that those groups might talk and suddenly realize they basically played completely different games. Player decisions through the course of Time Enough will lead to different encounters throughout Acts 2 and 3, including leading to endings that are set in different time periods and locations and have different possible outcomes.

  • Diversity: This is a huge category. It means representation for real-world demographics. It means challenges across all three pillars of adventuring—exploration, social interaction, and combat. It means meeting underutilized monsters and new mechanics. It means: if we're playing a game where anything could happen, let's get creative! I aim to deliver all these things in Time Enough.

Whoa, hold your unicorn horses...

Is this going to trample all over the way we normally play D&D?

Hopefully not? Common concerns I hear when I pitch this idea are:

  • Are you going to change how the game plays so much that it's not really D&D anymore?

  • How is the DM going to handle so many NPCs, most of which are higher level than the players?

  • Are the NPC storylines going to overshadow the player characters?

Well be assured I have heard your concerns and ignored them. Kidding. Every single encounter will be designed to make sure the following holds (reasonably) true:

  • Players always feel like heroes whose inputs matter, even if they're being stomped on by a CR 10 monster (sometimes your input is "ow"... I've been told that is called character development, or Star Wars screenwriting...)

  • Players can make an impact with the builds they created even if other mechanics are in play

  • DMs have enough tools on hand to break down encounters into manageable chunks and friendly NPCs have roles such that their involvement in combat provides flavor and excitement instead of slowing it down.

This is obviously a huge design challenge that merits another article, or multiple where I'll talk about how I approached it and, when the adventure comes out, you can judge how well I succeeded.

I skipped everything above. Give me your best elevator pitch!

Prove Chandra and Nissa belong together! Punch things your level says you have no business fighting! Hijack war elephants, change history, eat shrooms with a flying insect buddy! Sphinx love triangles, murderous topiaries, a gorgon riding a time traveling unicorn, chestnuts roasting in Chandra's hair, sexy ghosts, NO JACE! Come on, admit it, it might be missing a kitchen sink but at least something in there sparks your interest, right? No? What about your morbid curiosity?

If you have comments, questions, or advice, you can reach me on Twitter at our joint account, @gallantgoblin.

Want to check out other blog entries?

Next: Anatomy of an encounter—designing to incorporate the three pillars of gameplay

Index: Project Blog: Time Enough

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