Time in StoryHammer

StoryHammer games rely on players’ imaginations. As such, tracking the passage of time or visualizing space and dimension may be difficult to convey and keep consistent. The following sections introduce key concepts regarding the navigation of time, space, and dimension within StoryHammer.

Macro Time in StoryHammer

Units of time in StoryHammer are somewhat abstract. Rather than measuring time by seconds or minutes, time is based off of events. These measurements are like containers that can stretch and shrink to fit the number or mass of the events within. A story contains one or more acts. An act contains one or more scene(s).

The Scene

The base unit for measuring time is the scene. A scene serves as a container for one or more continuous events within the story and has a distinct setup and resolution. Scenes are sequential and form the building blocks of the game. There are several types of scenes and each can vary in length or size but each scene tends to have a description, setting, and a resolution. In game terms, conflict (including combat) will happen within a scene.

The Act

An act is a unit of time that contains one or more scenes. Acts vary in size but their purpose is to resolve one movement or objective of the story. In game terms, an act should take one gaming session to complete (or 2 – 3 hours).

The Story

In CQ StoryHammer, a story refers to the adventure that the players are trying to complete.

Traits of a story:

  • Has a beginning and an end
  • Has an overarching theme
  • May have multiple objectives
  • May take multiple game sessions in order to finish
  • Is made up of one or more acts.
  • The protagonists seldom change throughout the story.

Stories are referred to as “campaigns” in other role-playing game systems.

Micro Time in StoryHammer

Often, time needs to be more concrete in StoryHammer. Particularly during conflict when multiple characters or a time-sensitive objective is involved. During these events, time tracking becomes more nuanced. A scene may contain conflict which may be broken down into a series of rounds. Each round is broken down into speed stage(s).

The Round

A round is a unit of time that represents about 5 – 7 seconds within the story’s world. Rounds only come into play during conflict. During a round, every active character gets a chance to perform an action, which are typically resolved during one of the round’s speed stage(s).

The Speed Stage

Each round is split up into speed stages. Every action a character performs is assigned a speed – which is resolved during one of the designated speed stages. Generally, quick actions are resolved during the quick stage, regular actions are resolved during the regular stage, and slow actions are resolved during the slow stage.  This is explained in more detail in the Ordering Actions section.