Putting time limits on the characters puts them under increasing pressure. If they have to be back inside the house before sunset it limits how far they can go. If their ship is sinking they have even less time.
The time pressure takes away options without taking away player or character agency. They can still try anything they like, as long as it is viable in the available time.
Time pressure doesn’t have to be in minutes and seconds. You could limit the fuel in the tank or cell phone battery life. If these things are key to the adventure.
The Donner Party is a moment in US History where the limiting factor to start with was the approaching weather front and then once the party was cut off by snow, food was the limiting factor. It was a long time until the spring melt came….
There is a lot that you can do by putting time limits on your characters!
These tips are taken from my Scarier Horror Play book. You can get 40% off this book at DriveThruRPG using this discount link. You can get 40% off all new releases as a loyalty discount if you join my contact list.