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Started by brainwipe, May 19, 2003, 04:40:46 PM

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Do you do downtime in your group? If so, how do you go about it? I have just started it up amongst the more keen players in my group. Here's the format it takes:

1. A web board for them to discuss in character and share any information they find out.
2. Emails set in a format for them to find information out (actions are not allowed, only fact finding tasks).
3. Only particularly well thought out of effort laden downtime actions get free Roleplaying Points (XP).

How do you do your downtime? Are there any other things I should consider or leave well alone? Any comments gladly accepted.


I'm not certain I am following.  By "downtime", are you referring to the period of time between sessions (as in, you play every Thursday, so the days that aren't Thursday is the "downtime")? (Call that Down A)  Do you mean the bits of time when you are dealing with Bob, and Nancy and Kyle aren't with Bob's character, so what the hell do they do? (Call that Down B) Or, do you mean that slack time of a month or so (in-game time) between campaign sets? (Call that Down C)  Or something else entirely? (Call that Down D)

Down A: My groups don't do anything.  We might send an occasional email saying "I thought of X, help me remember for next time we get together", but overall, we just don't do anything that could be considered "downtime play".

Down B: We all pay attention to Bob, and Bob's character.  Mainly, because Bob might do something hilarious that we can make fun of him for, but also because, depending on the game, we may still have some ability to affect the scene, and we may want to get in on it anyway.

Down C: We just throw shit out there before we start the next bit.

Down D: Dunno, you'll have to let me know what this is.


Jack Spencer Jr

It sound to me like he means Down A


I use Downtime for the fortnightly Vampire LARP that I run. Individual game sessions last approximately four and a half hours. In the gap between 'games', the players submit 'Downtime', a list of actions that they'd like to perform in the two weeks [or otherwise] of 'game time' between the two gatherings. This gets resolved as a series of player specific 'Resolutions', which detail the results of their actions, the information they gained, and, usually, the effects of other people's actions on their own. They also get gameworld information, news and things. Typically, this comes to an average of 2000 words per player, with a low of roughly 500 and an all time high of 6000 and odd. [0]

The system, which is a bastard homebrew influenced by more things than 'Fusion' cookery, works quite well to allow it to provide fast paced resolution of actions during the games [1], as well as supporting the quite complex interchanges that can occur in a political LARP when lots of folks are scheming [2]. I think it's important to have some level of correspondence between ability to do things in 'active' and 'downtime' phases, and to keep everything running on the same basis. There are characters who are built to acheive things in the game [combat, typically], and those who are built to acheive things in downtime [social, mostly], but there's always a way to apply a skill to good effect in downtime.

Of course, all this is only made possible by the fact that the LARP currently has a website, a message board, a dedicated email address, a dedicated postal address, and two STs, one of whom takes charge of the whole 'Downtime' thing for each fortnight. It's usually me, but my colleague steps up to the plate when I've got a job on or life intrudes.

We're also helped by having a well-connected player base, most of whom have internet access and mobile telephones, and, for many players, have clustered in a few places in the city in real life.

Anyway, that's my response to what I think you're asking for Brainwipe, and if I'm wrong feel free to tell me.

- drew [edit: my name is not erith]

[0] Numbers are good.
[1] In a rather confused and violent game [two old adversaries of the fief, one an NPC, and one an occasional player, turned up at once], in an hour and a bit hours, eight fights took place, one of which involved nine people, and there was still a good three hours of standing about in costume talking.
[2] Three-way, or Five-way opposed actions make things interesting.
my name is drew

"I wouldn't be satisfied with a roleplaying  session if I wasn't turned into a turkey or something" - A


I meant between sessions downtime. Thanks for the comments.