Let me propose the following:
No time sensitivity from the moment you start the game until you reach the grove. (Again, though, unchain dialogues so that they are in order so that you don't miss any whenever you Long Rest. Otherwise, you are encouraged to Long Rest a lot in the beginning just to get cutscenes.) Everything is as it is currently. Then, you reach the grove and learn that Aradin led the goblins to the grove and now the goblins know where it is and are going to attack it within a few days because they now know where the grove is that they've been wanting to destroy. You also learn about the ritual, and you know the druids are going to kick everyone out in a matter of days. Once you talk to Wyll and Zorru, you now also have 2 more sensitive events. Lae'zel will want to hurry to the Gith on Risen Road and Wyll will want to hurry to kill the gobbo leaders.
So you have the following time sensitive events:
1. Goblins will attack in 14 days (14 long rests or 2 weeks). You have 14 whole days to make your way to kill the gobbo leaders.
2. Druids will kick out the Tieflings in 3 days.
3. Lae'zel will get antsy and pressure you if you don't get to Risen Road to the Gith, and she'll start bugging you if you don't get there within 3 days.
4. Wyll will get antsy about going to kill the gobbos, and he'll bug you in 2 days.
You use 2 long rests. When you wake up, Wyll bugs you about going after the gobbo leaders. "If we don't hurry, the Druids are going to complete that ritual and kick everyone out." But then, at the end of the cutscene, Arabella's parents come up to you begging for your help. "You were able to get close to Kahga earlier. Our daughter stole the druid's idol and disrupted the ritual. Please go and talk to Kahga and intervene. We beg you! She's being judged by a bunch of druids who hate us." You go deal with the situation or not. It doesn't matter. The point is that after you make your choice, someone in your party points out that the ritual has now been reset. That means you'll have at least another 3 days to stop the ritual.
You use another long rest. The next morning, Lae'zel nags you about going to her creche. "I'm not going to wait around all day. The tadpoles may be dormant, but they could begin at any time to turn us into mind flayers. Does this NOT concern you? If they are not acting normal, then we cannot rely on them slowly turning us into ghaik either. That means that once they start to turn us, we may have less than a week to be cured before it is too late. We NEED to be cleansed. Now!" Ignore her or not. Your choice.
You've not spent 3 days since you reached the grove. The druids are still performing the ritual, Wyll has bugged you to get moving and so has Lae'zel. You can still go about and explore the map all you want. There are not time limits or consequences so far. All that's happened is you've been warned. So the time sensitive events now are:
1. Goblins will attack in 11 days. You have 11 more days to make your way to kill the gobbo leaders.
2. Druids will kick out the Tieflings in 2 more days.
3. Lae'zel will get antsy and pressure you if you don't get to Risen Road to the Gith, and she'll start bugging you if you don't get there within the next 3 days.
4. Wyll will get antsy about going to kill the gobbos, and he'll bug you in 2 more days. He is worried so much about the druids kicking out the Tieflings, and he knows that if you don't do something in 2 days the Tieflings will be doomed.
You use 2 more long rests. Wyll urges you again to kill the gobbos or do something to stop the ritual. "Screw it!" He says. Then he walks over to Astarion and the two talk in low tones. Both leave. Cutscene ends when they return. "We bought us more time," Wyll says. "I offered Astarion a chance to suck my blood from my arm if he'd slip in and steal the idol again. He shot it with a bow from hiding and we bolted. It was enough to mess up the ritual again. Druids are pissed, but who cares. We have 3 more days now." Astarion grins wickedly. "It was a win-win for me, Darling. I got to suck his blood AND piss of those wretched tree huggers."
You long rest again. Lae'zel approaches you that night at camp. "Do you WANT to turn into a Mind Flayer? I'm pretty sure you do. We STILL have not gone to my creche to be cleansed. I'm not sure you're taking this seriously. I will give you 3 more days. If you don't get to the spot Zorru put on the map, I will leave and go there myself."
You now have the following time sensitive events:
1. Goblins will attack in 8 days. You have 8 more days to make your way to kill the gobbo leaders.
2. Druids will kick out the Tieflings in 3 more days.
3. Lae'zel will get antsy and leave the party if you don't get to Risen Road to the Gith, and she's only giving you 3 more days.
4. Wyll will get antsy about going to kill the gobbos, and he'll bug you in 3 more days.
3 more long rests later, you suffer your first consequences for taking over a week to do any of your primary quests in the game. So it's been, just to be clear, 9 days since you arrived at the grove, and you have 5 days left before the gobbos attack it. You don't really know this, mind you, unless you've played it a lot, but ultimately that is what you have left. So after 9 days, Lae'zel finally gets fed up because you still haven't prioritized what she wants you to prioritize since you first met her on the Nautiloid, and Wyll is also fed up because you have not done anything to save the Tieflings. So both Lae'zel and Wyll leave the party unless that very day you agree to do their quests. The crap has hit the fan. Once you long rest again, if Kahga is not dethroned or dead or Halsin has not been returned, the game is not over. No. You can still keep going. The only thing that happens is the Grove is sealed off. The Tieflings are kicked out.
So, to recap on day 9:
1. Wyll leaves the party IF by this point you haven't killed the gobbo leaders and brought Halsin back, OR if you haven't dethroned Kahga. If you do either of these things, Wyll remains in the group. As long as the Tieflings are safe in the Grove, he will remain with you. So, time sensitive event isn't game over. Shoot! Larian could even make it so that once you actually do start up the quest to take out the gobbo leaders, you bump into Wyll again somewhere near their base and he can rejoin. It doesn't have to be a permanent time limit penalty situation. Just something that makes sense from a story perspective that kinda urges players to move their butts because Wyll isn't going to just follow the main character around for 3 weeks while the goblins plot to kill his beloved Tieflings.
2. Lae'zel will leave the party. She's naturally tired of waiting because she wants desperately to be cleansed of her arch-enemies' taint. You have ignored her for over a week. Naturally, she's going to want to go. That said, again, it doesn't have to be a permanent thing. When you actually do get around to heading to Risen Road, you could meet up with her again. "My people tried to kill me," she explains. "They weren't going to cleanse me. They were going to kill me!" Then, the Gith, who have been searching for her to complete the task, find you and ambush you while you are talking to her. You took a long time, so it isn't game over or a permanent penalty. It is just a different path to the same conclusion; a path that makes sense from a timing perspective.
3. The druids kick the Tieflings out. Now, instead of them being in the Grove, the Tieflings are gathered all outside the main entrance. They don't know where to go or what to do because the goblins and gnolls and Gith are still out there. Again, not a permanent ending or penalty. Maybe Larian could have them take up residence at the Old Ruins where the Dank Crypt is for the time being, or they all gather at your camp because they have nowhere else to go. You would still have a merchant to buy and sell things with, etc. The ONLY thing that has changed is that they are no longer in the Grove, and the Grove is now no longer accessible to you...or is it! You found several secret ways into it. Maybe the ritual did not cover all the secret entrances. Maybe once Halsin is rescued, you can return into the grove and still save the druids within and with Halsin's help undo the rite of thorns. So again, it could only be a temporary penalty or situation.
4. Gobbos will still attack in 5 more days. Now, however, if the grove is sealed off and the Tieflings are outside, they will attack the Tieflings in a more vulnerable location.
Now let's say you are REALLY dragging your feet to get to the gobbo leaders. You use up those last 5 days. Still not a permanent ending. Nope. You awaken at your camp and are summoned to help save the Tieflings. Either you do so or you don't. Your choice, just as if you were playing the evil path. You have a big, challenging fight against the gobbo army wherever the Tieflings have taken up residence, and/or you abandon them and go about your business. Your choice. Even this doesn't have to be an end game permanent time sensitive thing. You long rest again and learn that somehow the Tieflings won, with or without you. Maybe some of the druids who didn't agree with Kahga went with them and helped turn the tide of battle, and the gobbos underestimated them. Whatever. The point is that SOMETHING happened because you took a long time. The world is moving forward and is active and things happen and aren't just waiting around for you.
And then, on top of it all, AFTER you finally do rescue Halsin, you can go and do whatever quests you want at that point to wrap up the first act. Once Halsin is saved, you visit Risen Road and fight the Gith, or whatever, you can, if you haven't already, then visit the hag, the Tyrites, the spider lair, etc. and do every last quest in the game and explore every last area of the starter map you want because after the time sensitive events are done nothing is necessarily driving you to move to the next part: the Underdark. The only thing, at that point, that would drive you is the tadpole, and as many have pointed out, they haven't started to do anything yet to the characters. So one could logically then take their time, trusting that they don't have to necessarily hurry as much...
...until the next set of timed events perhaps...
Either way. That is what I'm suggesting. It isn't time limits like the game is going to be over or there is going to be some major game crushing things that happen if you don't do things within a certain amount of time. It is more of a logical timing of events so that the world is not static but fluid and alive. It doesn't have to be the exact timing I've outlined. This is just an example of what I'm talking about. They could set the times as 1 day, 4 days, 6 days, 15 days, 20 days, or whatever. That's not the point. The point is that in x number of days something happens. In x number more days something else happens, and so on so that different paths are taken depending on how you are playing, offering different choices and so on and making it so that Long Rests MEAN something and so do potions and short rests and so forth. Again, if I can Long Rest however much I want, then potions, food, short rests, etc. mean absolutely nothing in this game. You might as well sell them like you do 99% of the items you pick up because it won't matter to keep them around except maybe just a few for emergency in combat healing purposes. The rest of the 15+ potions you get, just sell them. They're meaningless because after every battle you can just Long Rest and get all spells and health back anyway. And forget Short Rest altogether. What's the point if you can Long Rest however much you want. Short rest doesn't give you back full spell slots and health, and you can do Long Rests just about everywhere. So Short Rests are totally pointless.
However, if I know that I have 3 days or something before something is going to happen, I am going to utilize my potions and food and short rests a WHOLE lot more. That makes them meaningful and worth something to keep around. THAT is the whole point in even having them in a game like this. They are meant to be used so that you WON'T use Long rests too much. You completely nullify their value altogether if you have absolutely nothing happen when you use too many Long Rests.
Last edited by GM4Him; 27/04/21 04:28 PM.