I wanted a simple system for running a city adventure with a deadline as in "uncover and defeat the assassin conspirators before the return of the prince," and I wanted to easily utilize relevant AFF rules of Social Class, eating meals, exerting Stamina, etc.
So, here's what I've come up with. It's untried, and feedback is very welcomed.
Day Stacks: Running Time-Sensitive City Adventures
When an adventure requires heroes to wander a city to fulfill an objective before a deadline, Day Stacks abstract 24 hours into scenes to track the passage of time.
Each day, heroes are allotted 12 scenes. An Encounter Scene allows heroes to visit specific locations and interact with locals. A Meal Scene requires money and an eatery or provisions. A fully restorative slumber is three consecutive Sleep Scenes in a socially-acceptable place. A Rest Scene is a free "non-action" happening anywhere at any time.
The Optimal Day: Order of Scenes
Morning: Meal, Encounter, Encounter;
Afternoon: Rest, Encounter, Encounter;
Evening: Meal, Encounter, Encounter;
Night: Sleep, Sleep, Sleep.
The Optimal Day is represented in a "Day Stack" of 12 poker chips of different colors corresponding to the different types of scenes. The scenes are ordered as above, but players are NOT bound to that order. However, they must adhere to the following rules:
- >Unless played earlier in a day, a Meal or Sleep scene replaced by an Encounter or Rest Scene will result in the immediate loss of 1 Stamina. This loss is not a wound.
>After two consecutive Encounter Scenes, additional consecutive Encounter Scenes will result in the heroes cumulatively suffering -1 to Skill on all opposed and unopposed tests at the start of those scenes. This penalty is removed once a different scene is played.
>Meal Scenes may not be played consecutively.
>Heroes may play no more than 3 Sleep Scenes consecutively. Afterwards, at least 6 other scenes must be played before more Sleep Scenes are permitted again.
A chip is removed as a scene is played. Given the Optimal Day's structure, order, and rules, a Director ought to be able to determine a deadline that is appropriate for the adventure's intended difficulty level based on the number of Encounter Scenes heroes should need to resolve challenges, adjusting for eating, sleeping, making money (if necessary), and dealing with distractions. As Day Stacks shrink, tensions should rise.
Encounter Scenes can be prepared as location-based lists of general information, time-specific events, and NPC details. Noting specific times of day adds another element of complexity and opportunity to the heroes' visits. For example:
MONEY LENDER SHOP
Closed Highday; will extend 25-100 gp credit at 20% interest to folks of Social Class 4 or less, more money with less interest to higher Social Classes; keeps (1d6)x100 gp on hand.
Morning-Afternoon: Cyril Digsby, owner, Skill 6, Stamina 9, Swords 2, Evaluate 2; former Guild thief who may be able to buy information; knows Drast Connell's hideouts.
Afternoon: Roll on the NPC table. NPC(s) indicated will be doing business with Cyril.
Evening-Night: Closed; strong lock (-4 lock-picking); night watch present on a d6, 1-2.