PC Downtime Chart

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PC's will sometimes have time where they aren't doing anything for a while, while another PC is doing research, or haggling with a merchant for goods or neogotiating for a trip down the river.  They could be resting in town for a week, before getting thier next scent of trouble.  Sure you could pass that week as 'nothing unusual happens'.  But I think having some minor events for role-playing would be more fun.

  
A chart of sorts with some random common events, that can be rolled for.  Something like 'a friend gets into trouble', or 'a peasant starts following you, imitating you',  'you are the vicitim of a crime',  'You receive a proposal of marriage'.  Things like that.


Something with a percentile roll for the events.  Lower #'s represent bad things, and higher events represent good things.  The roll could possibly be altered by Charisma modifiers, or a good Streetwise roll. 

Anyone got anything like that they'd be willing to share?  Or perhaps as a colloaborative effort we could come up with something together?

Thoughts? Suggesstions?  I'm open to them all.

  
Rather than doing a random roll I'd ask the players to think of interesting things and go from there.  Basically just toss out ideas and see if it would be interesting if XYZ happened to a player.  The player could bring ideas for their own character, or ideas for someone else at table. 
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I've tried that, and we didn't get far. A list of ideas to throw thier way would go a long way.

I have to say Matyr that is where me and many other people on this forum differ. Most people on this forum are "Hippy DMs". They hate PC death and wan't to constantly have the players choosing what happens within the game world. I would prefer to present my own ideas to my own players. The idea of making the players run the game for themselves gets under my skin. I don't know about your players but mine come to play in a world that I present to them, not to make a world and all of its events. It just seems extra lazy to ask for player help when coming up with interesting things. 

But anyways check this out. It may be of some help.

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I've tried that, and we didn't get far. A list of ideas to throw thier way would go a long way.




I'd recommend trying again, at least once.  There's a pretty good chance that the random-roll chart will result in a lot of apathetic responses.  Heck, just having a good background story for a PC could give you plenty of RP fodder for stuff like this.  The players should have an idea what kind of plotlines would draw in their characters, and in an ideal world, they would be happy to provide you with some starting points.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.

I've tried that, and we didn't get far. A list of ideas to throw thier way would go a long way.




I'd recommend trying again, at least once.  There's a pretty good chance that the random-roll chart will result in a lot of apathetic responses.  Heck, just having a good background story for a PC could give you plenty of RP fodder for stuff like this.  The players should have an idea what kind of plotlines would draw in their characters, and in an ideal world, they would be happy to provide you with some starting points.


Backgrounds do indeed help with everything. But straight up asking your players what next, is stupid.

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 


I've tried that, and we didn't get far. A list of ideas to throw thier way would go a long way.




I'd recommend trying again, at least once.  There's a pretty good chance that the random-roll chart will result in a lot of apathetic responses.  Heck, just having a good background story for a PC could give you plenty of RP fodder for stuff like this.  The players should have an idea what kind of plotlines would draw in their characters, and in an ideal world, they would be happy to provide you with some starting points.


Backgrounds do indeed help with everything. But straight up asking your players what next, is stupid.



Ah, no.  It's a shared world and a shared story; it's a cooperative game not only between players, but between players and DMs.  I have gotten some of the best ideas and RP when I ask my players "Okay, so what happens now?"  Back off the control freaking.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.

I've tried that, and we didn't get far. A list of ideas to throw thier way would go a long way.




I'd recommend trying again, at least once.  There's a pretty good chance that the random-roll chart will result in a lot of apathetic responses.  Heck, just having a good background story for a PC could give you plenty of RP fodder for stuff like this.  The players should have an idea what kind of plotlines would draw in their characters, and in an ideal world, they would be happy to provide you with some starting points.


Backgrounds do indeed help with everything. But straight up asking your players what next, is stupid.



Ah, no.  It's a shared world and a shared story; it's a cooperative game not only between players, but between players and DMs.  I have gotten some of the best ideas and RP when I ask my players "Okay, so what happens now?"  Back off the control freaking.

No "control freaking involved" I just don't need advice from players to make the game run smoothly. To put it bluntly, if you really need that much help to get RP out of your players maybe your not ready to be a DM. I've never known a single person that said "Gee I can't wait to play again so I can tell you how to run the game!" And form how you are describing it you don't have any ideas and you ask your players "Well what happens next?" That sounds incredibly lazy. I would rather have a DM with poor improv skills than one that must ask their players what happens next. Here is how I see it going down: DM asks the players what happens next, Player comes up with an absurd answer or something completely random and not at all related to the location, DM goes with what the player said and the balance of the entire local area is now turned on its side. 

I think in games you must have some form of consistency. Consistency is key to having a believable game. If something out of whack happens then you just messed with that area in your world. In some places some things just don't happen. And when players are naming things off willy nilly trying to be cool/interesting/etc then it just becomes unbelievable. Certain things happen in certain places.   

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Wow Felorn, you went from implying that Wizzzard is not as talented as you, while offering a little bit of help, to being outright insulting.

Personally, I like being given a chance to help shape the world. I'll flesh out my character's corner of the world, rather than try to guess and keep up with my GM's version as he goes along. Collaborative.

Wizzzard, rather than asking them what they would like to do or see happen, ask them to flesh out their backgrounds. If you can find out what motivates the characters, it should be easier to come up with things that happen to them. I understand you're not asking for major plot lines, since very often one or more of the PCs is occupied during this downtime, but if when you learn someone's quirks or motivations, you can make your little events play into them. Or set up little events that draw the characters into bigger ones for the uptime.
I like floating_stump's suggestion very much, I would add you to the mix, flesh out a little of the background of the Neim Less village, present them with a scenery, random farmers working, horses carrying goods, traders selling on the streets, maybe some street performance by bards or some such? Maybe the Margrave's herald shouts the raise of price for all grains, maybe some people are having trouble hangin a sing in front of a building, maybe some strange looking group of people in hooded robes are passing by the other side of town, maybe there's a drunk yelling nonsense on top of a soap box... you get the idea, I hope.

It's easier to decide what to do if you have context of where you are, IMHO of course.
Agree that what seems to work best at our table is for me (the DM) to get all kinds of background info from characters, jot down nuggets that they drop during gametime, and integrate that "input" as the story progresses. That way, the players see their ideas implemented, but they can still be surprised by events because it's on my schedule (and when it fits the story).
I know that some DMs are high on the idea of letting the players tell the story, but to me, it's just a matter of too many cooks in the kitchen. Our table enjoys plot surprises. That can't happen in the shared-storytelling style of play. Not to the degree of foreshadowing that I like to plan for.
But I realize that it is only a play preference too.
Wow Felorn, you went from implying that Wizzzard is not as talented as you, while offering a little bit of help, to being outright insulting.

Personally, I like being given a chance to help shape the world. I'll flesh out my character's corner of the world, rather than try to guess and keep up with my GM's version as he goes along. Collaborative.

Wizzzard, rather than asking them what they would like to do or see happen, ask them to flesh out their backgrounds. If you can find out what motivates the characters, it should be easier to come up with things that happen to them. I understand you're not asking for major plot lines, since very often one or more of the PCs is occupied during this downtime, but if when you learn someone's quirks or motivations, you can make your little events play into them. Or set up little events that draw the characters into bigger ones for the uptime.

Now, where did you get that I insulted Wizzzard, or say he wasn't near as talented? I don't remember doing that. If I insulted anyone it would be Salla. The way these people describe what they are saying is that their players practically run the game and the DM is along for the ride. And there is a complete difference between giving a detailed background or having a specific place for your PC, and you telling your DM what happens next. You are the DM, GM, Storyteller, Arbiter... Without you there would be no game. If the players feel they can do things so much better, or come up with more interesting hooks, let them run their own game. I'm all for collaborative storytelling, not for player dictatorship. I run MY game, MY world, if we cooperate turns into OUR game, OUR world. But at its heart it is still my game. Next time try and put a little insight into what one is saying.

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I think perhaps that people are overthinking this.  I don't want a list of plot ideas.  I don't need a list of things to begin an adventure on. 

What I'm looking for a list of quick random events that could be resolved quickly, in the span of a few days at most while goofing off in a city or town.

What I want is that while the group is in town trying to sell off some magic item they can't use, or get rested up for the next journey out into the wilds of the land, something completely random, but a normal event, happens to them while there.

Just sitting here, I had a few ideas:

- you find a sack of fresh groceries
- you are propositioned by an extremely and obviously inexeperienced prostitute
- you find a childs toy that seems brand new.
- a letter meant for someone else in town is delivered to you by mistake.
- you're asked to participate in a religious ceremony

Simple 5 or 10 minute mini-adventures that can be resolved with a minutes of roleplaying.

I was wondering if someone had a chart of ideas like this.


I think perhaps that people are overthinking this.  I don't want a list of plot ideas.  I don't need a list of things to begin an adventure on. 

What I'm looking for a list of quick random events that could be resolved quickly, in the span of a few days at most while goofing off in a city or town.

What I want is that while the group is in town trying to sell off some magic item they can't use, or get rested up for the next journey out into the wilds of the land, something completely random, but a normal event, happens to them while there.

Just sitting here, I had a few ideas:

- you find a sack of fresh groceries
- you are propositioned by an extremely and obviously inexeperienced prostitute
- you find a childs toy that seems brand new.
- a letter meant for someone else in town is delivered to you by mistake.
- you're asked to participate in a religious ceremony

Simple 5 or 10 minute mini-adventures that can be resolved with a minutes of roleplaying.

I was wondering if someone had a chart of ideas like this.



Try this: add1e.bbe-tech.com/index.php?title=Table...

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   Midkemia Press had a pretty extensive system of minor events.  The system was picked up and somewhat modified by Thieves World. 
   The system has the advantage of being mostly unimportant events the party can largely ignore [Somebody dumps a chamber pot on a PC as he is is walking down the street], or can be expaned to full adventures [The "drunk" is actually a drugged & kidnapped noble who will reward the party well for rescue. However, several of his kin want to get rid of him and won't make it easy to restore him.]
      Any such system should be mostly color, designed to make the city have some events so it is not empty time.  But these events have to both interest the players and not get in the way of the game.
But you can insert a lot of adventures this way too.
In response to the OP, I wouldn't worry about it.  Mundane events are exactly that, mundane.  They don't happen on screen - no one wants to watch a season of 24 where Jack Bauer does paperwork at the office and goes grocery shopping in the evening.  Skip to the action, and if you must deal with downtime, just let the players quickly narrate it and move on to the next big thing.  Mundane happenings in the town are rarely as interesting as the next big quest.
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/
Felorn, you're being incredibly aggressive and insulting.  And you're wrong about this approach.

I've never known a single person that said "Gee I can't wait to play again so I can tell you how to run the game!" And form how you are describing it you don't have any ideas and you ask your players "Well what happens next?" That sounds incredibly lazy.



I don't think it is being "lazy."  "Lazy" is a pejorative.  I'm not "lazy," but if I can see an alternative that gets me better results for less work, I'm going to jump at it every time.  Doing less work for as good or better results is just being smart.

Here is how I see it going down: DM asks the players what happens next, Player comes up with an absurd answer or something completely random and not at all related to the location, DM goes with what the player said and the balance of the entire local area is now turned on its side. 

I think in games you must have some form of consistency. Consistency is key to having a believable game. If something out of whack happens then you just messed with that area in your world. In some places some things just don't happen. And when players are naming things off willy nilly trying to be cool/interesting/etc then it just becomes unbelievable. Certain things happen in certain places.   



I think you're misrepresenting this approach.  The players have a responsibility to not contradict already established fiction, rather, build on it.  And even if something is out of place, that could be a future plot hook.  "Owlbears?  They don't live in these parts, I have to investigate!"

I was doing a game of Dungeon World tonight, and I threw in a bit of an experiment.  The players were in a four-story mage tower to confront Melvyn, a mad wizard, at the top.  In the basement and the main floor, I had some pre-established stuff.  On the second floor, I asked the players "What sort of vile experiments is Melvyn working on?" and let each player create a monster.

Lo and behold, the second floor scene was awesome, and the players created some very cool story elements, building on existing fiction, some which will be coming back for the sequel.
DM advice: 1. Do a Session Zero. 2. Start With Action. 3. Always say "Yes" to player ideas. 4. Don't build railroads. 5. Make success, failure, and middling rolls interesting. Player advice: 1. Don't be a dick. 2. Build off each other, don't block each other. 3. You're supposed to be a badass. Act like it. Take risks. My poorly updated blog: http://engineeredfun.wordpress.com/
Now I see Felorn's problem.  He's a terrible player, so he assumes every other player is terrible too.

Now, his perspective makes perfect sense ...
IMAGE(http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa279/LolaBonne/butthead.jpg)

Sorry, Binky, but if you can't comprehend the difference between 'asking for input' and 'being told what to do', your opinion on the matter is worth exactly crap ... which is remarkably consistent.

(Ban in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...)
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Now I see Felorn's problem.  He's a terrible player, so he assumes every other player is terrible too.

Now, his perspective makes perfect sense ...


Sorry, Binky, but if you can't comprehend the difference between 'asking for input' and 'being told what to do', your opinion on the matter is worth exactly crap ... which is remarkably consistent.

(Ban in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...)


How is one a terrible player? 

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Felorn, you're being incredibly aggressive and insulting.  And you're wrong about this approach.

I've never known a single person that said "Gee I can't wait to play again so I can tell you how to run the game!" And form how you are describing it you don't have any ideas and you ask your players "Well what happens next?" That sounds incredibly lazy.



I don't think it is being "lazy."  "Lazy" is a pejorative.  I'm not "lazy," but if I can see an alternative that gets me better results for less work, I'm going to jump at it every time.  Doing less work for as good or better results is just being smart.

Here is how I see it going down: DM asks the players what happens next, Player comes up with an absurd answer or something completely random and not at all related to the location, DM goes with what the player said and the balance of the entire local area is now turned on its side. 

I think in games you must have some form of consistency. Consistency is key to having a believable game. If something out of whack happens then you just messed with that area in your world. In some places some things just don't happen. And when players are naming things off willy nilly trying to be cool/interesting/etc then it just becomes unbelievable. Certain things happen in certain places.   



I think you're misrepresenting this approach.  The players have a responsibility to not contradict already established fiction, rather, build on it.  And even if something is out of place, that could be a future plot hook.  "Owlbears?  They don't live in these parts, I have to investigate!"

I was doing a game of Dungeon World tonight, and I threw in a bit of an experiment.  The players were in a four-story mage tower to confront Melvyn, a mad wizard, at the top.  In the basement and the main floor, I had some pre-established stuff.  On the second floor, I asked the players "What sort of vile experiments is Melvyn working on?" and let each player create a monster.

Lo and behold, the second floor scene was awesome, and the players created some very cool story elements, building on existing fiction, some which will be coming back for the sequel.


Well yes and owlbear in these parts could be weird but the guys that constantly say "ask your player, ask your players" never come up with and examples on how it works well. I've seen some do it and it completely bomb. Some people like to take advantage of their DMs and a lot of people on this forum are giving them advice to be even more of a push over in game. 

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I've tried that, and we didn't get far. A list of ideas to throw thier way would go a long way.

In my experience players tend to be a bit scared to actually add new things to the world that their DM is designing or to think of things that could be considered an "adventure". For example, recently we discussed the very same thing with our group and one of the players pointed out that his character was a follower and would not go out of his way to do stuff which made it a challenge for him to fill in the blanks. The DM then pointed out that he was perfectly free to think of NPCs that would hire him to do adventurous things as long as it was something a level 17 PC would have no problem dealing with and that would not automatically generate something that would be considered a game mechanical benefit for a level 17 PC. The DM came with the example of having the PC being hired as a guide in an expedition to a jungle to find valuable mineral deposits (which fitted this PC's background and skills perfectly) or something similar. My own PC in that same campaign has performed his share of off-screen heists some of which that had consequences in the regular sessions and others that never were more than a header in the local newspaper. It was the DM who decided though whether or not their were any long term consequences.

Mind you, the advice is not for every player. It does not only require confidence and trust from both sides of the screen, but also a certain level of knowledge on how the setting operates, creativity and a certain commitment to active involvement in the game. It is also not something that you should do at the game table in the middle of a session, but at the end and then something to discuss in between. It gives the player some time to contemplate the situation. If your players don't show any interest, then let it rest. Personally I also wouldn't bother with thinking of minor events for that PC, since they add little. If you want to though, simply grab your local newspaper (or scan the web) and check for some news that grab your interest whether it is "car crashes into spectators of New Year celebration, wounding 16, killing 1" or "police force reorganized, 1/3rd of the new managers is woman" (to pick two from the paper I read this morning). It tends to be easy to adapt these to your average fantasy setting and give the players a role in it. Just watch for any potential sensivities. You don't want to get your players angry because you used something in what they consider to be a disrespectful way.

As for the players walking all over the DM, if that were the case then the OP would have said something differently then "we didn't get very far" as a reply ;) The DM would also have a lot more issues beyond "what can a PC do during downtime", not to mention that in those circumstances the players would have no issue answering that question in the first place.