The same thing went for time. Unless there was a literal clock ticking in game, outside of combat it was always very loosely handled, and mostly by DM fiat.
And yes, I've read the DMG where Gary says "YOU CANNOT HAVE A MEANINGFUL CAMPAIGN IF STRICT TIME RECORDS ARE NOT KEPT."
And I ignored it. Happily. With no small amount of success as a DM. And so did the DMs I played under. It just wasn't a big deal.
Except recently my thinking has changed a bit. I'm playing in 2 games right now, a Castles and Crusades game The Ancient Sagas of Everlance, and a B/X Expedition to the Keep on the Borderlands, and both Mario and Peter (the DMs) keep close track of both time and weather.
|A calendar from the Realms|
The B/X game is a hex crawl, and it's very much a resource management experience. How much can we explore and still make it back to the keep? Or if we're not going back to the keep, where do we keep our crap, and how many days of rations do we still have unspoiled? If it takes 3 hours to get to the pumpkin-head's cave, and 3 hours back, how long do we have till sunset? Is it worth going out of the keep in the rain if it's going to slow us down, limit our ability to really search the hexes?
In the Ancient Saga of Everlance (no, I don't actually know why it's called that) I've been the game's chronicler, keeping an in-character diary. Knowing what happened what day has made a difference. Things happen in a specific order. And yes, Mario handles travel time a little more loosely, but it isn't a hex crawl, and he keeps very close track of days and of the weather, and that has made a difference in how I'm experiencing the game. Hell, knowing my character had the inn's special for the day (curry owlbear chop) further lends a level of immersion to the game that I didn't expect. I would usually just say something about the stew over the fire and move on. Every inn our characters visit (and we've hit a bunch on the road) is at least a little different.
So maybe Gary was on to something? Since I'm going to be starting a DCC campaign in a couple of weeks (my first ongoing gig as a DM in quite a while) I'm going to make a greater effort to keep track of time and weather in my game.
What's been your experience with time and weather in your RPGs? Do you run it lose, or do you keep a really close eye on things?