The Hero Instant has a unique Time Tracking method that can give Heroes time to react to the actions of the villains or to other dangers before they happen.
During most of a game session, particularly at times when there is no rush for the heroes to do something, the players should take turns describing what their character is doing. Keep each turn as simple as possible and don’t describe a long laundry list of actions before letting someone else have a turn. Basically, as soon as you describe an action that would take enough time for someone else to start another action, end your turn. The GM will keep track of the passage of time. In these situations, keeping track of exactly who is doing what down to the second is not important.
Once time becomes a factor in the scene – when bullets or punches start flying or the villain has triggered the doomsday countdown – time needs to be tracked much more cautiously and specifically. This game uses increments of time called Time Units. A Time Unit is a VERY small amount of time, just a fraction of a second. Each different type of action you might choose to do takes a different amount of time:
- Thought Action: an action you can do just thinking about it = 3 Time Units (TU)
- Twitch Action: a short burst of physical activity, shout a short warning = 4 TU
- Perception Action: Listening at a door, using your telepathy, etc. = 5 TU
- Prep Action: like aiming a gun, or lighting a match = 5 TU
- Move Action: moving a distance up to your Movement score in spaces = 5 TU
- In-depth Communication: telling your friends your new plan = 5 TU
- Targeted Action: any action you need to be careful what you hit = 7 TU
- Recovery Action: taking a breather, resting = 10 TU
- Full Turn Action: This is a Move + a Targeted Action combined = 10 TU
- Extended Actions: Anything that is complex and would take a bit of time = 11+ TU
- Additionally, any action done at a range adds +2 Time Units.
There is a Time Tracking Sheet (download it here, or make your own) and each character in the scene should have a marker on it. Your Initiative score or roll will determine when you start. Each time you take an action, your marker is moved forward the appropriate number of spaces. The character who is further behind gets to take the next action.
Reacting to another character’s action
Sometimes a character – perhaps an enemy- will take an action, and your character would have time to act before the enemy action would resolve. In those cases, you can interrupt the other action with a shorter action of your own.
For example, a Sniper takes a shot at the Mayor on Time Unit 10. This is a ranged, Targeted action, so takes 7+2 = 9 Time Units, and so effectively resolves at Time Unit 19. You’re the next player to act at Time Unit 13. You have 6 Time Units before the shot resolves, enough time for you to take a Move action (5 Time Units), but not enough for a Targeted action (7 Time Units) of your own. You choose to Move between the gunman and the Mayor and take the shot yourself. This is a very heroic thing to do! You resolve your Move action BEFORE the Sniper resolves his Targeted (and ranged) action.
Using the Time Tracking sheet is meant to make it easy to see who might have time to interrupt another action. As the GM, if you see that a player character has time to react to an enemy action, make sure to ask the player if they want to try to interrupt it.