Handling ICRPG turn base approach




How do you handle the turn based approach of ICRPG in more “freeform” situations?

For example the PC´s manage to escape a horde of goblins, into an abandoned citadel, by closing the door and barring access to the goblins.
They are in a safe environment and all players have damage. The priest player turns to the GM and says:

“I’m going to heal everybody”



There is no real free form in ICRPG you just shift to longer turns - check page 17 of ICRPG Core - rather than being in moments you go to hours

To me during said hours the world should be moving around the players - so toss a threat timer out as the goblins start figuring out a work around or go get a battering ram etc etc


The timer idea is great, but if in the situation no threat is present, shifting to longer turns to perform an action your can also do in moments, seems a bit off.

How would you narrate that now you can only cast healing magic in hours, when you could do it in moments just a few minutes ago?


CORE 2Ed p.21
RECOVERY chapter
The way the mechanics about recovery is laid up in Moments Hours and Days I use for almost anything else


I think /u/GMagnus is correct … in complete safety the group heals to full in a single “turn” aka hour

If the group isn’t safe and shifted to hours then from a narrative stand point I would narrated it as getting a full healing on everyone just times due to the uncertainty of the MAGIC effort die roll and the threat.


As others have stated, this is a totally doable action on their turn if the turn time is in hours rather than moments. Depending on the scale of “more than moments,” as in say, 10 minutes as opposed to hours, I would make the call as to whether or not it needs a roll. Instant free recovery is only if the party is in safety, so this would be a good call for a healer in that circumstance. This frees up say the fighter’s turn to shore up defenses on their turn, rather than recovery.


I do exactly what @GMagnus and @s5photog say. Recovery chapter in p.21 is what I go by and you can’t spam free heals due to MERCURIAL FAILURE risk, i.e. rolling a nat 1.

Yes, the transition between different time frames a.k.a from Moments to Hours to Days sometimes becomes awkward. This awkwardness happens in D&D too. DMs usually declare “We are out of combat”. Try to find in-world explanations for those occurrences so they don’t stick out like mechanical rules that they are.


In practical terms, if the PCs are “safe” because they have retreated and barred the door, then why wouldn’t the healer have time to heal everyone up? The healer should. If players have an hour on their hands, it’s a no brainer. Just narrate the time passing and ask each player what he or she would do in an hour.

If there is still urgency, e.g., the goblins will break down the door, then roll a timer to give a sense of the time pressure because play is still in moments, stay in turns, and now the healer has to triage and make rolls under time pressure.


If you are safe then change the turns to minutes, hours or days.

Turn order still applies so as to keep the game moving and to prevent meandering or spotlight hogging.

So like:

Dm: ok so you’re safe and in a room with no other way in. Player 1 How do you spend the next couple hours?

Then player 2 and so on.

If in a safe area with extended time, I would let a cleric or someone jump out of order to provide healing magic or something, but that is an exception to the always going around the circle rule.


Thanks for all the input, you guys/gals are awesome! :smiley:


First, I use a little variation of the time scale system:

Turns can either be:

  • Moments (combat, conflict)
  • Minutes (exploration, partying)
  • Hours (Shopping, gathering info)
  • Etc, etc, etc, etc.

Players are usually in the minutes and moments scales for most of the game.

Then I use two types of inititiative:

  • Roll every round (you might use DEX or WIS or whatever the GM says), if you succeed you go BEFORE the GM, if you fail you go AFTER the GM. I use this for conflict and combat.
  • Popcorn Initiative, someone (anyone) takes a turn, then decides who goes next until everyone has taken a turn. I use this for a more “relaxed” mode.

And finally timers, I usually let them go around freely when in popcorn time and roll a d6/d4 timer. When the timer ticks off, I take a GM turn and pull the rug/do something.

When combat rages, I usually have multiple timers for “extra GM actions” I use (such as special monster attacks, disruption, etc.) that I tick every turn isntead of every round.

Hope you find my crazyness useful somehow haha


Me likey and I steal what me likey.


I (and lots of us) already use a lot of your content! Haha so be my guest. Khan sensei :slight_smile:


I like to roll the d4 and each player gets that many actions…if it’s a longer day…some actions players take cost 2+ actions.


I like these techniques a lot. Taking notes like crazy, and will have to test these tricks out sometime soon!


Dont forget you don’t have to roll a random timer, instead you set a timer to anything you like.

Safety? you have 6 ROUNDS maybe in hours to do shop and ask around town.

Even in danger you can set a timer to 1 every round if it makes sense to you.

Go nuts. But id advise staying in turns and always have a timer of some sorts (even a timer of 15) to keep things moving forward.


Our table free-form role plays regularly. Any time they can exchange ideas, say things in character, or want to have a conversation with an NPC they’re not beholden to “turn” taking. As long as players are putting role play into the same scene in an organized and thoughtful way I’ll just let them go for it and step back.

That said, whenever people start getting lots of ideas and are really getting into the game I start up turns again to get people on track so there’s no cross-talk or anyone feeling like they haven’t been heard. Also, taking turns is great when players want to split up to accomplish smaller tasks separately. Shopping, inquiring to a guard about the suspicious character they saw in the market, craft their next piece of equipment, etc.

When the role play juice is starting to wane in a free form scene, I go around the table in turns to ask if there’s anything else a player would like to contribute before moving on. This lets everyone organically talk with each other, gives everyone the opportunity to explore their own conversation branches, and lets them know we’re going to move on if nothing else is needed.


…'card-tastic :smile: good stuff @Chaologic

(like your website too (bookmarked))

~cheers :beers:


I agree with @James_Horn and I always try to keep people in turn order even when roleplaying. Otherwise some people in my group tend to talk a lot and take the spotlight a lot and others silently despise them for that.


Just dropping a few questions here, as always:

What when turn based RP bogs the session down?
Is that a sign that as a GM, I should direct the scene more? I’ve read and thought about using timers and wording but would love to hear more thoughts from others.

What when players starts a dialogue with another party member?
Should I let them finish talking, add a timer or do something else? How can I include or engage the other players as well? Like I get that people wanna RP, I’m just wrapping my head around the timing and moderating of it. As to avoid the situation of having to sit around for slow dialogues between two parties to end.

One of my players actually asked if we could drop turn based RP last session (so about a week ago), but since we’re a big group online I’d rather try making it flow better for the group instead. It’s not like they’ve been able to experience a lot of it yet, not to mention my inexperience with it. I feel a lot of responsibility weighing on me for that.

I plan to try the popcorn turns out of combat, but have to wait for the next time people are available for a session. My mind is thinking a lot about this, and all the waiting is kinda making me go crazy. :joy: