Playing Against The Clock

RealTime is the only roleplaying game played in real time -- that is, every minute of play corresponds to one minute of game time.  It's inspired by the hit show 24 and the movie Nick Of Time, and if it's done right, players will feel all the same pulse-pounding tension and excitement.  You can use it for modern action/adventure (and that's probably where you'll want to start, due to its familiarity), but you can use it for any genre and style, from science fiction to two-fisted pulp to Western to mythic high fantasy -- as long as you have a story that hinges on every tick of the clock.

RealTime is a simple, rules-light game.  That's because, when you're playing RealTime, you won't have time to think much about rules.  In fact, the rules aren't the most important part of RealTime.  Far more important are the tips, tricks, and techniques for making the real time element work -- ways to make your character's down-time (e.g., driving across town) fit in with other characters' up-time, to keep track of time spend doing different things, etc.  If you want to play it, it's imperative that all the players be familiar with these techniques before the game, because there won't be time to think much about them during the game.

RealTime is free to download and play; all I ask is that you let me know what you thought of it, or how your experiences with playing it went.  (All too often, those of us who share our work free get less feedback than those who charge for things -- you work hard on something and drop it into the world, then wonder if anyone is even reading it, since most of those who download it don't say a word.)

Download RealTime now!

  • RealTime v1.0, last updated 09-09-2003.  All the rules, and all the tips and tricks you'll need to make real time work.  Necessary reading for both player and GM.

  • Character Sheet and quick reference/GM's Screen.  Print this on heavy cardstock for best results.  Four sheets to a page.

  • Chronos Veritas: A 2-hour RealTime introductory adventure with all the time pressure that starting players can handle.  This'll work best if the players have all read the rules first -- there's no time to spare, so you already have to know all the tricks and techniques.

Still in development:

  • Adventure Writing Guidelines: Suggestions for GMs writing adventures, to make sure the real time elements work.

  • RealTime Control Center: software which will help the GM coordinate a RealTime game.  Includes clock, alarms, stopwatches, and timers; FUDGE dice; notepad; plot twist calculator; commercial break timer; and automated resolution of unopposed actions, opposed actions, characters working together, wounds and healing, blow-by-blow combat, one-on-one combat, and team combat.  Saves the GM time in the one roleplaying game where the GM most desperately needs to save time!

  • No One Ever Looks Up: A 2½-hour gentle introductory scenario for RealTime, designed to get players acclimated to the rules before you put them through the wringer.  In the interest of giving the players (and GM) a chance to get the hang of this real time thing, this adventure starts slow and doesn't put that much pressure on the PCs.  As a result, it gives only a small taste of the intensity and excitement of full-bore RealTime play.

  • Hermit Crab:   A 6-hour full-fledged RealTime adventure.

Read a review of RealTime posted to RPGnet.

Best if used with any browser!We rated with ICRA