Downtime Actions and Private Forums

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Downtime Actions and Private Forums

Post by Admin on Thu May 12, 2016 10:11 pm

So, once you sign up and you get a character, you'll get a private forum. Great! What do you use a forum for? Well, anything you want to keep between the GM and yourself. Backstory, NPC lists, and downtime. Glorious, blissful downtime.

What's downtime? Downtime are actions you take between sessions. These actions are investigative, character building, and soul destroy/reviving. The limit is your imagination and, well, practicality.

In between each session, even if you don't play, you will get to put in a downtime. A downtime consists of three types of actions:

MAJOR actions are what you will spend most of the week doing, or what will occupy most of your energy and headspace. Getting an invasive surgery, working a full time job, and stalking that Big Foot are examples of major actions. You will receive one each downtime.

MINOR actions are what you would spend half a day doing, or an activity that takes some mental energy. Cleaning your room to a shine, going to a night class, learning a skill from a friend, or going through your contacts to find a number of a good dealer. You will receive two each downtime.

FREE actions take only a couple hours, if that, to complete, or are things you don't need to worry about much. Cooking dinner, meeting up for coffee, getting a hair cut or buying new jeans, casually reading a book. You get as many free actions as you want, within reason. A text message string to a contact or a friend to touch base could be a good use of this, as long as you aren't asking for anything.
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Re: Downtime Actions and Private Forums

Post by Admin on Thu May 12, 2016 10:20 pm

To use downtime effectively, you should make sure to allot your downtime well. Here are ways to help you get the most out of your downtime. My husband wrote a description for this downtime system, and I will paste it with some details changed as it's very expressive. The details may not make sense to you, but the context is clear.

Matt wrote:Here is a hypothetical example of a (i) bad post and a (ii) good post in terms of helping the GM out. Note: These are just vague guidelines and not rules.

(i) The bad.

Major action: I look into the Ai Jinn in Shanghai.

Minor Action: I investigate the epic plot line in my backstory.


This is a bad post for the GM because it does not specify anything about what they are looking for or how they will do so. When this post gets a reply, it will be to ask for more details or to say something like "You find out there are some Ai Jinn in Shanghai. Watch out for that."
Also, the use of a minor action to perform any kind of in depth investigation is unlikely to work. Minor actions represent a couple of hours of effort during a week, and simply isn't enough time to get lots of results. The exception to this rule is using automated searches such as data trawling, which are at least possible in minor action timescales. The results of these will be less awesome than using a major action though.

(ii) The good.

Major action: I use my knowledge of the criminal underground to go and track down some leads in Shanghai. I really want to find out more about Gaun Yu armour, so I ask around to see if any Ai-Jinn affiliated gangs have been seen wearing or selling the stuff, or if any has been sold on the black market recently. Here is my Presence + Street Culture roll to ask around <some numbers etc.>. Also, I have a contact in this area (Jojo, from Week 7) who I gave those rocket pants to. I'll call in on them and see if they can help me, or if anything interesting has happened with them.

Note how in this post the GM has been given lots of information on how the character is going to behave. This makes it much more likely that a really useful result will emerge from the investigation. Also, by reminding the GM about a contact in the area it provides an easy way to add in additional information, or some kind of side mission.
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Re: Downtime Actions and Private Forums

Post by Admin on Thu May 12, 2016 10:23 pm

How will you know when you've investigated enough for mission to take place? When does stalking Big Foot turn from a week long hobby to a mission for a session?

There will come a point where you can't have any more information, or where your window is limited. You've found the Big Foot burrow, you've gone to the library to investigate Big Foot's native tongue. You found out Big Foot is going to migrate when the weather gets cold, and last night was the first frost! The time to move is down.

Moving too soon might increase the danger or rate of failure. Moving too late might mean you miss the chance all together. If you have a doubt, let me know.
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Re: Downtime Actions and Private Forums

Post by Admin on Thu May 12, 2016 10:29 pm

Look at the example downtime below for Leo the Rockstar.

Leo wrote:
Post title: WEEK 3 DOWNTIME

Major: Last week the bulletin board said that some guy named Dave was looking for a bass guitarist. I call him and see if I can set up an audition. I practice any songs that I can find from his band on the internet. When I go, I take time to gussy up and look good.

Minor: I do my pizza delivery job. Did the triple anchovy pizza guy order his Friday special?

Minor: I meet up with Donna (the other player) and we train the knitting skill.

Free: I text my contact, my Uncle Jim, and see if he's had a quiet week at the morgue. I let him know he's in my thoughts. (And let the GM know I'm not just being a leech on the poor guy and really care about him and stuff.)

Note specific times, dates, and reminders of who people are. This is a reasonable downtime. For the major action, Leo and the GM will go back and forth, describing Dave and maybe asking for a few rolls, and then giving a write up or an invitation to have a short thread.

Here are some hints as to getting your downtimes back quickly, efficiently, with a minimal amount of swearing from my beloved.
When you reference an event, especially one from a downtime, provide a link if possible. If it's information that someone else told you, mention who, and when they got it.
If you are using a special training or piece of equipment, quote the stats if possible. Mention where this equipment has come from.
If you have private things that need constant referencing, like a plot or equipment, you can make a separate entry in your downtime forum for easy linking.

Make sure you put all the relevant information in your downtime. Makes sure you do a cursory spell check. I will be as generous as possible, and the more pertinent, interested, and involved you get, the more I will. That doesn't mean writing more, but it does mean writing usefully and with focus and context and mild enjoyment.
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