What do your heroes do when they're not adventuring?

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  1. #1
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    Block mmadsen


    What do your heroes do when they're not adventuring?

    On another thread, we were discussing the Pendragon game and one of its interesting features (besides its mechanics for personality traits): its concept of a Winter Phase. Knights adventure and quest throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall, but in Winter they return to their castles for an "off season".

    What would make for a good Winter Phase in D&D?

    In Pendragon, the Winter Phase comprises nine steps:
    1. Perform Solo -- Participate in a solo scenario, maybe administering your own estate, serving your lord in some manner (escorting someone, border patrol, etc.), starting (or continuing) a romance, challenging all who pass a particular bridge (for "love of battle"), etc.
    2. Experience Check Rolls -- Characters improve between adventures.
    3. Aging -- Pendragon campaigns don't squeeze dozens of adventures into a year or two.
    4. Check Economic Circumstances -- Pay cost of living and collect income.
    5. Stable Rolls -- Horses age and injure themselves, and they're very important to a knight.
    6. Family Rolls -- There are rules for marriage, children, and family events (births, deaths, marriages, scandals).
    7. Training and Practice -- Players can direct some of their characters' progress.
    8. Compute Glory
    9. Add Glory Bonus Points

    Some of those steps are very game-mechanic-specific (Experience Check Rolls, Training and Practice, Compute Glory, and Add Glory Bonus Points) and would probably get rolled up into one D&D step: Level Up. Others would carry over quite easily: Perform Solo, Aging, Stable Rolls, and Family Rolls. Either they'd use the same rules (Stable Rolls and Family Rolls), or they'd use D&D equivalents (Aging). The solo scenarios are obviously quite open ended. Checking Economic Circumstances might take some work, but you can start with the Upkeeps rules.

    So, what do your heroes do in their off time now, and what could they be doing? What solo scenarios do you recommend?

  2. #2
    I seem to recall Warhammer Quest having a game mechanic for determining events that occur when your character wasn't adventuring. I think you rolled on a series of charts. It's been quite a while since I played.

  3. #3
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    Re: What do your heroes do when they're not adventuring?

    Originally posted by mmadsen
    So, what do your heroes do in their off time now

    and what could they be doing?
    Research new and interesting ways to breed.

    To wit:

    the thread of unlawful carnal knowledge [rated MA]

  4. #4
    My dwarven artificer-type wizard is obsessed with finding a suitable place to set up shop - have a base of operations and a place of business that is suitable to his dwarven sensibilities but close to major human trade routes that he could spread his homeland guild's influence. He sizes up every cave and dungeon we seem to wander into wondering how he could 'fix it up' once we're done clearing it of hazards and critters, mapping everything along the way and messing around with plans for how to change things if he ever decided to settle down there. Researching spells and creating items takes up another good-sized portion of time.

    The elven sorceress that my dwarf travels with was seperated from her elven parents during a bandit raid as a very young child and raised by those human thieves. She spends much of her time trying to learn about elves and find her heritage (the majority of elves in this campaign appear to inhabit or come from a distant land - kind of like the elves in The Lord of the Rings or Kalamar). She doesn't really know a lot about being an elf, and having a dwarf around that constantly criticizes elf and human workmanship probably doesn't help much. She knows enough to think she should probably be offended, but doesn't understand some of it.

    The paladin we both hang out with brushes up on her combat skills, spends time reading about and contemplating moral issues, etc. Recently we picked up a pack of Winter Wolf cubs after I encouraged the paladin to kill the mother (who it turns out was only providing for her new cubs) - I think my dwarf's arguement was something like "You're a champion of good, she's evil. That's not going to change. Kill her!" The paladin felt guilty after she found the cubs and so far the DM is choosing nuture over nature in deciding that their alignment is going to be up to how she raises them rather than the default for their race.

    The two new members of our group (last couple sessions or so) are brother and sister, intent on avenging the death of their parents - as soon as they figure out just who it is that killed them. Not much development on their parts so far.

  5. #5
    They Do Strategic Roleplay!!!

    For me this is where the real fun begins and characters start to develop lives.

    I call this the Faction Stage

    In the Faction Stage they manage their environmet thus:

    PCs get Cha modifier x d6 'faction' members then get a chance to describe their faction - it could be their family, guild, church congregation, business employees or hockey team.
    *PCs with negative Cha mods must affiliate with a positive mod PC (and become Allies)

    During the Faction Stage factions can be assigned tasks eg administer the estate, harvest crops, claim new territory, use diplomacy, agitate in another faction etc

    Each faction has 3 Ability scores determined using 3d6, they are

    * Wealth - ability to use labour productively (eg Harvest and Building actions), and ability to withstand (save) economic decline (eg crop failure , tax increases)

    * Social - ability to acquire new skills and use social skills and ability to withstand (save) social challenges

    * Military - ability to react to aggression and to withstand (save) physical attacks

    These abilities are checked using the standard D20 mechanic with challenges put by me as DM, suggested by the PC or presented by other PCs.

    Successful actions gains the PC 'Status points which can be converted into new 'faction members', used to improve faction actions (eg agitates), used to obtain faction skills and upgrades, or used to improve PC skills or as character XP.

  6. #6
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    Depends on the characters. In my Rokugan game the Samurai in their 'non-adventure' time are given duties most often. The wannabe Lion Samurai is going to be working toward becoming officially a Samurai, so he has training to be doing. The Aasimar cleric/bard has gotten permission to build a shrine to Silvanus in a grove a little east of town and figuring out how much trouble she might be in with an overly cheerful shugenja she's worked with. The Vanara Shaman just kinda hangs around, but he's been meditating on the pearl that 'found him'. The elven wizard will probably be working with his new student and finding a spot for a wizards lab.

    For me the downtime between adventures is a good time to set certain things up and do a little foreshadowing.
    Black Omega
    "On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    -- Charles Babbage (1791-1871)

    Check out my Rokugan Storyhour (Updated 12/13/03)

  7. #7
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    Magsman (Lvl 14)

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    I'm with Skull on this issue.
    Last edited by Staffan; Sunday, 7th April, 2002 at 01:37 PM.

  8. #8
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    Well, when they aren't adventuring is kind of a misnomer in my campaign, but the point is well taken. In my campaign, there's always something potentially happening, even when they aren't specifically "adventuring." Still, they engage in the following:

    (1) CLASS ACTIVITIES: Fighters, Wizards, Clerics, and so on all perform various routine disciplines and professional activities. Wizards study scrolls and books, and work on potions, or whatever other research possible; Clerics pray and meditate, exersize, as well as confer with clergy of their faith in the local area; Fighters and such exersize vigorously, and engage in intense weapon training, and so on.

    (2) The characters, as individuals, go far beyond the professional activities by engaging in relationships with the many different people around them. They talk in character with each other, and attend the theater, the arena, and other events together. They cultivate various romantic relationships with each other, or with other characters, while they explore the environment they are currently in.

    (3) New friendships are made, new romances develop, and at other times, various characters will explore different shops, restaurants, clubs, and so on, learning knowledge, cool places to hang out, making new friends, or sometimes gambling, getting robbed or assaulted, or falling afaul of some bizarre cult's plans, or being dragged to some dark, ancient temple to be given to the gibbering thing in the pit. It's all possible!

    Semper Fidelis,

    http://www.enworld.org/forum/blogs/shark/ and http://sharkempire.blogspot.com

  9. #9
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    Players in my group are always on the move. When they're not actively adventuring, they're reporting to those who are their mentors, training in the wilderness, pursuing love interest or spending time in the bar in and effort to find more clues about the lattest happenings. Seems to work out pretty well.

    Runequest Cities did have a table for catching players up who had missed several sessions and I've run that on occassion a time or two. Central Casting has some tables, significant events of adulthood, that I've rolled on to mess with the players ever now and again. Fun stuff!

  10. #10
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    In a recent session, the two dwarves spent a week and a half building a war wagon with a huge ballista attached.
    Previously known as "Tsunami".

    If you don't like a man, try walking a mile in his shoes. Then you're a mile away and you have his shoes.


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