Goal Tracking and Downtime: Task Wheel

This additional rule is being pulled from the RPG called Blades in the Dark.

Blades in the Dark handles downtime activity through the use of progress clocks. A clock is a circle divided into some number of segments determined by the GM to represent time until completion for any task, not just downtime activities. How long until someone spots you doing something, for instance, is a clock. The more complicated a task, the more segments a clock has. In describing how the progress clock should be tracked, the game’s creators share the following in the handbook on page 15 when describing the goal of getting into a tower under watch.

When you create a clock, make it about the obstacle, not the method. The clocks for an infiltration should be “Interior Patrols” and “The Tower,” not “Sneak Past the Guards” or “Climb the Tower.” The patrols and the tower are the obstacles­—the PCs can attempt to overcome them in a variety of ways.

The tracking of these progress clocks is used to represent the things that change in the world, providing an abstract way of interpreting the dynamic elements of factions, PCs, and NPCs.

Progress clocks are only used for complex scenarios. They describe a difference in types of clocks such as Danger Clocks, Racing Clocks, Linked Clocks, Mission Clocks, Tug-of-War Clocks, and Long-Term Project Clocks. With regards to downtime activities, the progress clocks are downtime clocks, though we might find that depending on the action, such a downtime activity might be a tug-of-war, a racing, linked, or even multiple clocks representing phases of development.

With regards to downtime activities, PCs and NPCs/factions each have the ability to work on downtime activities (crafting a magic item, finding an item, researching something, etc.) and these are still tracked by clocks. To begin work on a downtime activity, a player may need to perform work on a different activity first (a sort of prerequisite). Each PC, NPC, or faction performing downtime activities can work on two downtime activities during a block of downtime. A die is rolled to determine how many segments of a particular clock is filled and when it is completed; a player may increase the result through expense. A PC, NPC, or faction can work on more downtime activities but it costs them.

Given this, I find the mechanic unique and a wonderfully simple way of tracking progress towards a goal. It gives a player a real measure of accomplishment in the pen-and-paper world as well as allowing the GM to keep simple track of factions and in/famous NPCs easily. I would like to implement this for D&D 5e. I am giving this relatively simple game mechanic port the title of Task Wheel.

D&D 5e Goal Tracking

When you have a particular task, whether it is something overarching to a story line, a particular character’s downtime activity, or even an immediate task at hand for the current session’s adventure, consider using a task wheel…


Plot Objectives