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A. Harbinger

How "long" does one round take?

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Some days ago the question occured, how long one complete round in "Arkham Horror" really was. I mean "ingame time". Judging by the board (and some of Lovecraft's novels) Arkham shouldn't be that big of a city so it shouldn't take that long to get around it and some of the encounters are (or should be) rather short (for example going to a store and buying something...). But on the other hand I would find it strange if portals to other dimensions would be popping up every other hour and new headlines would be littering the newspapers. Back then I guessed that a single round might be one day or something like that, but I found it rather strange, that the investigators would do so few things in a whole day. So speaking from a roleplaying point-of-view, what would you say, how long is one round? Or is there clear proof for a definitive time anywhere?

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A day. Travelling Arkham, investigating it, searching for clues, having the encounters, and yes, eat and sleep. A day sounds just fine.

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Man I haven't seen this question in a long, long time. "A day" sounds like a nice clean amount. I think I remember someone suggesting that it's 18 hours or something arbitrary. A day works. Or whatever amount makes the most sense story-wise from turn to turn.

Who knows, the reason the investigators get so little done in a day might mean that they have a lot of obscure loose ends they need tied. Groping around for even the slightest clue in abandoned houses or clawing through an entire library for relevant information could consume a lot of time. In some Lovecraftian stories I recall the protagonist staying up all night reading forbidden tomes. The entire novel The Lurker at the Threshold took four or five months from start to finish.

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A common occurence in a Lovecraft story is that the protagonist is investigating in addition to their normal lives, many of the investigators fill positions in town have jobs etc, I would assume that they are handling this stuff as well as investigating.

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Veet said:

A common occurence in a Lovecraft story is that the protagonist is investigating in addition to their normal lives, many of the investigators fill positions in town have jobs etc, I would assume that they are handling this stuff as well as investigating.

No point in saving the world if it'll get you fired afterall ;)

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I kind of assume that the investigators are doing most of their business at night time.  A gate opening in the middle of independance square in broad daylight (during the encounter phase) and unleashing monsters should otherwise cause the terror level to sky rocket.  Same with flying beasties, I picture them swooping down on investigators after dark if they stray into the streets. 

In the imaginary day of my investigators they hit the sack at around 6am, sleep and enjoy some nightmares until around noon.  Find a local phone and coordinate with the rest of the team after that and do shopping and none evening/night activity shortly before closing hours.  The rest of daylight is spent reading the paper, having a fine last meal (one of many hopefully) and studying what pieces of clues they have so far.

Late in the evening its time for a a brisk walk or stealth trip to the next location that holds their interst, for some more wacky escapades of going insane, falling into other dimensions or being devoured by the various horrors that come calling after sundown.

At best after that the investigator heads to a safe haven to rest again at 6am alternatively if things didnt go well they will spend the next morning in a padded cell screaming about how they can feel an invisable hand guiding them and observing their every move (a la Truman Show). 

 

 

 

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I've never really thought about this particular question before, but now that I have, I like to think of each turn as a "scene" in a movie rather than a specific amount of time.

Fade in, the hero walks down Main St towards the Velma's Diner, he stops and goes in to grab a bite to eat, fade out.

Fade in, our hero creeps through a dark cave waving a flashlight around, suddenly a horrible monster jumps out of the shadows and a brief combat scene ensues, fade out.

Fade in, our hero, standing outside the university suddenly realizes something is amiss in the neighbouring town of Dunwich and runs off (quick camera cut to train station), our hero jumps on a train departing for Dunwich, fade out.

I agree with the idea that the investigators probably have a life outside fighting monsters; a day job, a family, they need to eat and sleep and so on.  Much like a movie, however, that stuff sort of gets skipped over and ignored, unless it somehow becomes relevant to the plot.  If you want a fixed amount of time that each turn takes, I agree that one day is a good round figure.  I prefer to think of it as a more abstract concept though - a turn takes as much time as it needs to for this particular scene with this particular character, then we fade to black and go see what the next character is up to "at the same time."  Exactly how many days it takes for our heroes to gather themselves together and (hopefully) defeat the menace that is closing in on Arkham isn't really important to the story, and remains mostly undefined.

This doesn't mean that characters who need less time to do their turn sit around twiddling their thumbs and waiting for the next fixed period of time, it just means whatever else they did to fill the hours in between isn't important to the story, so it gets set aside.

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cim said:

One game, "Fourth of July parade" came up twice, about ten turns apart.

 

That could have been an indicator that your investigators were living the same day over and over again. It's almost a requirement that every TV series has an episode like that.

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