One of the biggest problems in DnD is the inconsistency of spell durations. If I cast a spell that lasts 100 minutes, most of the time I just have to guess when it ends. Does walking to the end of town take 15 minutes or 20? Tracking the round of multiple effects gets even more tedious. I have 5 rounds on our bard’s song, 2 rounds on the 3 summoned badgers, 4 rounds on glitter dust, and 1 round on grease. I hope I’m not forgetting anything.
You should never have to calculate or track a spell duration. Durations should never expire at some bizzaro point in the middle of a combat — it should be totally obvious whether a spell is still in effect or not. Every single spell in the game should have one of the following durations:
- One encounter (A single battle)
- One Scene (While exploring a single building)
- One Activity Period (While exploring a single town)
- One day (24 hours)
- One Week (168 hours)
- Constant while conscious
Attack powers and healing are still instantaneous.
Most powers fall into the “one encounter category,” while some buffs went into the “one day” category. Powers that essentially gave class features were in the other two categories.
I’m considering using this, if tracking durations gets to be a problem:
Any effect that lasts 12 rounds last for an entire encounter
Any effect that lasts 12 minutes lasts for an entire scene
Any effect that lasts 2 hours (120 minutes) lasts for an activity period
Any effect that lasts 12 hours lasts for the entire day
Any effect that last for 12 days lasts indefinitely.
(An ‘Activity Period’ is a roughly an 8-hour block; end of rest cycle to mid day, mid day to start of rest cycle, all of Rest Cycle. or similar)
It simplifies durations for mid-upper level characters. I’m not so concerned that a 6th level Sorcerers (using Extend Spell or a rod of extend) has an Invisibility Spell that lasts as long as a 20th.
Extend spell would move the duration of the spell to the next highest duration. This would apply for spells with a duration of one encounter to one day. One encounter would change to one scene, one activity period would change to one day ect. This makes extend slightly more powerful but far from game breaking.