YAOSC (Yet Another Old School Clone)
Terms for absolute time within the game-world will, unless the setting is a home-brew1 that specifies otherwise, follow real-world conventions: seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, etc. (Do keep in mind, though, that many low-tech settings will only have rough measures of time — the motions of the sun and moon, heartbeats, candles of set length, and sandglasses) Beyond real-world measures, YAOSC will use several abstract units for organizing gameplay.
- The smallest unit is the round. A round is approximately six seconds of time; enough for a quick action or two. Rounds are used to measure combat and other situations where time is limited and rapid action is called for.
- Each round, every character present or involved in the action gets a turn. Turns are generally taken in order of initiative. Note that a character can take their turn at any point of their choosing after their rolled initiative, in order to respond to an opponent or coordinate with allies more effectively. Most actions must wait for a character’s turn, except:
- A series of rounds linked by a common action theme (resolving a combat, escaping from a trapped room, overcoming an obstacle, etc.) is a scene. Scenes have no set length, and an extended event may be divided up into multiple scenes even if it comprises a stream of consecutive rounds of uninterrupted action. The YAM has final say in when a scene begins and ends. Scenes are generally book-ended by downtime.
- Downtime is the indefinitely-extensible period of time between scenes. Downtime will generally be measured in real-world units, “turns” will not matter, and actions will be described in broader terms than within a scene. Exploration, rest, and toilet breaks (one hopes) all use downtime.
- When necessary, downtime may be divided into segments. A segment is, like a round, purposely ill-defined, but can be roughly set at ten minutes in length, or six to the hour. While intense action calls for rounds within a scene, and overland travel calls for hours or days of downtime, segments are most often going to be used for dungeon exploration, urban travel, or perhaps mildly time-sensitive situations that could segue into scenes if the right conditions are met.
- Finally, downtime can also be divided into watches. Each watch is roughly four hours long (six to the day), and they are commonly used to organize activities that take hours at a stretch, such as a day’s work, long-distance travel, intensive study, research, or sleep.