[+]Training and Reward, not Assumed Advancement

Staffan

Legend
One of the players in the game I play in is like this: if it's not adventuring, it's not of interest.
I might not be interested in playing out downtime in detail, but I do like it when there are downtime systems that let me work on long-term stuff without taking up a whole lot of actual game time, perhaps with the chance for some hiccup that requires involvement. The Troubleshooters is nice in this regard. Depending on how much time passes until the next adventure, you get 1 to 4 units of downtime to spend (this is not linear: 1 for a week, 2 for a month, 3 for half a year, and 4 for a year or more). These units can be spent on:
  • Crafting: make one of the (usually) five skill checks needed to build a non-standard item.
  • Mend & Recuperate: get rid of the Wounded condition if you ended the last adventure with it.
  • Shop: Get an additional gear kit of mundane gear. You can still only have so many gear kits available to you at any one time, but this provides more options.
  • Socialize: Meet an interesting NPC and get to know them. Write about half a page of stuff about the NPC, which the GM can then use in future adventures. You start the next adventure with an additional 2 story points (so 6 instead of 4) for helping the GM make the world more interesting.
  • Train: Get an additional improvement check on a skill, or a tick toward learning a new Ability or language.
  • Travel: As Socialize, but for a location instead.
Usually, you can only do each of these things once in any downtime period.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I wish I thought that was true, but my observation has been that any time there's any time pressure, one or more players will find any downtime unattractive unless they're actively forced to it (travel by ship, for example).
IME, that is mostly true in D&D and similar games. Never saw it when playing The One Ring, for instance.

You just need the game to assume downtime as part of normal play, and ensure that some activities that are needed for success require downtime, like investigation to know how to deal with a malignant spirit of a particular nature.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I might not be interested in playing out downtime in detail, but I do like it when there are downtime systems that let me work on long-term stuff without taking up a whole lot of actual game time, perhaps with the chance for some hiccup that requires involvement. The Troubleshooters is nice in this regard. Depending on how much time passes until the next adventure, you get 1 to 4 units of downtime to spend (this is not linear: 1 for a week, 2 for a month, 3 for half a year, and 4 for a year or more). These units can be spent on:
  • Crafting: make one of the (usually) five skill checks needed to build a non-standard item.
  • Mend & Recuperate: get rid of the Wounded condition if you ended the last adventure with it.
  • Shop: Get an additional gear kit of mundane gear. You can still only have so many gear kits available to you at any one time, but this provides more options.
  • Socialize: Meet an interesting NPC and get to know them. Write about half a page of stuff about the NPC, which the GM can then use in future adventures. You start the next adventure with an additional 2 story points (so 6 instead of 4) for helping the GM make the world more interesting.
  • Train: Get an additional improvement check on a skill, or a tick toward learning a new Ability or language.
  • Travel: As Socialize, but for a location instead.
Usually, you can only do each of these things once in any downtime period.
Even that's more mechanical than I'd like. Common downtime activities I see are:

--- training to level up
--- treasury evaluation, identification, and division
--- work on non-adventuring projects e.g. building a home or ship, getting involved in local/regional/national politics, etc.
--- interaction with NPCs not connected to any adventure e.g. a PC's friends and family
--- information gathering, includes spell research, mission research, and so forth
--- shopping and restocking, also selling of excess or unwanted items and gear
--- carousing, partying, etc.
--- recruiting new adventurers to join the party, if needed; along with other party-member turnover e.g. retirements, etc.
--- pranks and practical jokes

All of these can and sometimes do happen during a single downtime break; and IME the session time spent on downtime breaks is almost always determined by a) the complexity of the treasury that needs dividing and-or b) the level of difficulty encoutered when gathering information. I usually guess it'll take a full session for treasury-training-etc., sometimes it's faster, sometimes it ends up as 2 or even 3 sessions.
 


Thomas Shey

Legend
IME, that is mostly true in D&D and similar games. Never saw it when playing The One Ring, for instance.

You just need the game to assume downtime as part of normal play, and ensure that some activities that are needed for success require downtime, like investigation to know how to deal with a malignant spirit of a particular nature.

Notice the key phrase was "if there's any time pressure." That can happen in most games if there's an ongoing situation that really needs addressing. I'm not even sold TOR would be immune to it, baked in downtime events or no.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Notice the key phrase was "if there's any time pressure." That can happen in most games if there's an ongoing situation that really needs addressing. I'm not even sold TOR would be immune to it, baked in downtime events or no.
If TOR were to fall prey to that issue, it would be a willful error by the GM. The game just isn’t structured to accommodate every part of the adventure being the rush to find the hobbits. Sometimes it has to be Lothlorian or Rivendell. Not only that, the “go home and deal with life for a season” phase is built into the structure of the game.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
If TOR were to fall prey to that issue, it would be a willful error by the GM. The game just isn’t structured to accommodate every part of the adventure being the rush to find the hobbits. Sometimes it has to be Lothlorian or Rivendell. Not only that, the “go home and deal with life for a season” phase is built into the structure of the game.

Sure, but then, at that point my clause about time pressure doesn't apply, either.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Sure, but then, at that point my clause about time pressure doesn't apply, either.
There can still be time pressure, only it could be a low-key background sort of thing where the PCs know something will eventually need to be done but it doesn't have to be done right now or even anytime soon.

In the real world this might equate to being handed a fairly minor project today (Jan 25 2024) with a deadline of June 1 2030.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
There can still be time pressure, only it could be a low-key background sort of thing where the PCs know something will eventually need to be done but it doesn't have to be done right now or even anytime soon.

That's not really time pressure. Its time pressure if there's a motivation to get to it as soon as is practical. And once you have that, some people are going to assume the presented time frame is actually longer than the real time frame.

In the real world this might equate to being handed a fairly minor project today (Jan 25 2024) with a deadline of June 1 2030.

Not time pressure in any meaningful way.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Sure, but then, at that point my clause about time pressure doesn't apply, either.
Two things:

1. Okay? You brought an issue of training in downtime, I pointed out one way to make it not an issue. 🤷‍♂️

2. If you have to research The Beast of Breglstergl to find her weakness, and then craft a weapon or other item that exploits that weakness, in order to even have a chance to survive the Beast, then you have to just stop and do it.

If you need to get a full rest and get resources back or treat injuries that can only be done in an extended rest of multiple days in a Safe Haven, and the Troll King’s hunting lodge is nearby and the Troll King granted you a boon last adventure, using that boon to heal and recover and resupply is a lot better than just dying, and most groups are going to take the extended rest.

If a group can’t stand that sort of decision, there are a hundred thousand other games we could play instead.
 

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