Map Reading

Downtime Guide

Downtime Actions and Between Game Abilities:

There are a number of things you can do between games as your character. These actions are taking place between events and describe actions that your character is taking during this time. The amount of actions you can take depend on the skills, abilities and sometimes items you might have.

Downtimes:

A downtime action (or DT for short) is the most common action for a players to have available to them. These are split into two broad categories, Simple and Complex. Every player starts off with one simple downtime regardless of skills or abilities.

At the end of each game players without any special downtime abilities gain one simple downtime game action. This action allows you to perform some mundane task with your character’s free time between games. This is above and beyond the normal requirements of making a living, your character isn’t at risk of starving to death or having no place to stay; it’s assumed that you are able to take care of mundane living requirements and still have some time left over.

Simple downtime actions can be used to:

Use a Production Skill: You can use your downtime action as one cycle of your production skill. Turn in any components and money used to staff. Write down an itemized list of what you’re making. Remember, you can use your full level of skill in any one production skill, so if you have three levels of weaponsmithing, you could make three daggers (level one each) in that one cycle.

Earn Money: If you have a Professional skill, you can earn money in your downtime action. You can use your profession to receive 5 copper, or 1 draught if you participate in a Sun Acolyte Ceremony specially designed to increase this amount.

Learn a spell:  If you are part of a magical tradition that can or must learn spells via downtime actions, doing so is a simple action. This is also true for alchemical formulae.

Generate Influence: If you have a means to generate influence, doing so is a simple downtime. This may come from a skill, from a background, or from some special school or ability. All the usual restrictions for influence still apply.

Basic Lore Research:  Basic lore research is inquiring about a topic so as to qualify to purchase that lore with CP. This is not directed research on a particular topic, but broad inquiry on a general subject. Additionally a player may use a lore they already have to do an “undirected” research, this represents your character pondering upon a subject they know and perhaps rereading some texts on the subject. An undirected research usually results in staff revealing knowledge within the area of expertise of the lore often giving hints as to a storyline that the player may wish to pursue. An example of an undirected lore research might be: Lore: History – “I review my history books for anything interesting that happened around Verrakis in the last few years.”, Lore: Skullduggery – “What interesting items were stolen in the last year?”, or Lore: Strategy and Tactics – “What are useful tactics to use in a sword duel?” The question should not try and address a specific event or aspect of a subject but be a general inquiry into something you find interesting and have an appropriate lore for.

Participate in a tabletop: Sometimes you might get asked to go along on an adventure for a dedicated tabletop between events. You have to spend a simple downtime action to do so. Requesting a special tabletop, however, is an Advanced action, detailed below. Note: this does not include tabletops that are apart of an officially scheduled Dying Kingdoms Event such as DK Tabletop Days official events do not require downtime actions to attend. These are for participating in tabletops that are not part of the official events schedule, typically scheduled when a player uses a complex downtime to request a tabletop session.

Complex downtimes normally require a unique skill, ability, or the use of a volunteer point. A volunteer point may be used to upgrade any one simple downtime action into a complex downtime. NOTE: You may only ever have ONE complex downtime action per downtime cycle. You may however have multiple simple downtimes in addition to this.

Complex downtime actions can be used to:

Conduct a Roleplaying Action: If you want to perform some special task but there isn’t an applicable skill, and it’s not something you can do in play, this is the time to do it. This might include helping the villagers to rebuild after an attack, or taking a trip back home to visit your character’s family. While taking a roleplaying action you can apply various skills, items, or influences you might have from previous downtimes or that were found in game to enhance the results of your RP downtime action. For example if you wished to help villagers rebuild, an economic influence may help get better supplies or pay for more labor and thus make the rebuild efforts succeed quicker. Another example might be that you wish to sneak into an adversaries home and collect information on their dealings, having an item or skill that helps you sneak around will likely increase your chances of not getting caught.

Directed Lore Research: You can use a Lore skill to gain access to special knowledge. Write down your question and the Lore skill that you want to use. This differents from a basic or undirected lore research in that you may ask a specific question such as: Lore: History – “What event specifically led to the founding of the city Mirror Bay? Who were the founders? What was the original population? Did anyone oppose the city’s creation? What is the political system used in the city?”, Lore: Skullduggery – “What is the criminal element look like in Verrakis? Who might be able to help someone fence goods? If an assassin was after me who might know who hired him?”, or Lore: Strategy and Tactics – ” If a clan of trolls were to attack a major city, what tactics would they use? What is the best defense against these tactics? What kind of weapons and equipment would they typically have?”

Request a Tabletop: It takes a downtime action to request a special dedicated tabletop to resolve some of your personal plot, advance a particular story, or get attention focused on something you’re interested in. Tabletop sessions at an event do not count for this; this is purely for personal stories in between events. Of course, this is subject to everyone’s availablity and schedule, so make sure you have all that sorted out before you spend your ADT.

If you have requested a private TT game, the best way to make that happen in a timely manner is if you do a lot of the scheduling legwork and player wrangling yourself. Ask the GM for a range of dates that they might be able to run on and how many players he or she is comfortable running a game for and then get your chosen adventuring group to commit to one of those dates within a reasonable timeframe. All you need to do then confirm a final date with the GM and nail that baby down on your calendar! This needs to be sorted out before you spend your advanced downtime.

Between Game Abilities: Some abilities allow you to do something between games without the use of a downtime, these abilities will typically state specifically in their description that they do not require a downtime. Unless specifically stated you should not assume it does not require a downtime. An example of a between game ability is having a “holding“. Holdings are lands that you have purchased and have a deed for. Between games your holding will produce something that you will gain at the next game. Getting this item does not require you to use a downtime action, but it does require that you submit a “Between Game Ability form”. This will let staff know that you have this ability and wish to utilize it. Other examples of a between game ability include certain magical spells that state they may be used between games. Such things might produce visions or allow you to communicate with NPCs in the world between games.

Things you CANNOT typically do between games: Unless you have special Story Team approval, you can’t use your downtime action to explore, to prospect, or to engage in combats. You must do such things at adventures in game events.

DOWNTIME DEADLINES AND CONTACT

  • Please submit your downtimes using the Player Forms which can be found in the main navigation at the top of this page. Select the appropriate form based off what you wish to do and fill it out. When you submit it you should receive a confirmation e-mail for your records. Be sure that your e-mail is correct as it is how staff will respond to your downtime.
  • For simple downtimes you may submit multiple actions in one form but for complex, lore, or between game ability submisisons please use a single form for each action.
  • There is a hard deadline for downtime action requests and between game ability actions. If you would like to receive responses to your downtime actions in game you MUST send your requests three weeks prior to the next game event. Submitting a downtime or action past this deadline will normally cause your downtime not to be fulfilled. We appreciate your cooperation on this!
  • If you have any questions please contact Plot at dkplot@googlegroups.com.
  • Please note that downtimes are different than CP spends, CP spends should be submitted via the CP/VP spend form.
  • Downtimes are specific actions taken by a character, to do specific things allowed in a downtime between games. Its a mechanical action within the rule system.
  • You must have played at the previous game to submit a downtime action for that cycle. Meaning if you do not attend an event, you cannot submit a downtime until you attend the next event. Downtimes do not roll over and are a “use or lose” resource.

Common and Useful Downtime Actions:

  • Earning money. This is downtimes like Profession, and Advantages like Illumin Baronet. The downtime basically converts to a small amount of cash, added to your packet next game.
  • Generating resources. This is usually abilities like generating influences and such. These are all special abilities and take a downtime to do.
  • A special action from a special school. Some special schools and organization have special things that can be done with a downtime. Some cultures also have this. An example is Verrakan Guild Membership. A member of the Merchants guild can sell one item for the list appraisal sheet price, with a downtime action.
  • Use a lore. This one is a bit complicated and will be described further, below.
  • Learn Spells or Alchemical formulas. Some schools of magic take downtimes to learn spells or Alchemical formulas. Not all schools of magic work like this. Many also require a teacher. These are designated in the information about the school. Alchemical formulas each take one downtime to learn.
  • Crafting. Crafting can be done in downtime. However, it can also be done in game and is usually more efficient to do in game. A Marshal can collect the resources for you right then and there and issue an item tag. While valid, maybe 3 items have been crafted in submitted downtimes in the history of the game.
  • Mining. Mining can be done in downtime to gather resources. One needs to have a prospected mining site to do this. Other types of gathering cannot be done in downtime and must be done in game. Herb gathering and Survival are done in-game. Mining can also be done in game.
  • Something not listed. This one causes a lot of confusion and will be addressed below in Other Downtime Actions.

Lore

You have access to specialized knowledge.

  • Cost: 1 CP
  • Time: None.
  • Props: Scrolls, books, ancient notes.
  • Effect: You can gain special information regarding a particular topic. Typically, you must submit this request as a downtime action

Common lores include geography, cultures, history, ancient history, undead, magical schools, demons, fey, elves, and luminaries. Just because they are “common” does not mean they can’t shed awesome new light on your character’s arc.

Lores can be used to research specific things. This is a lore downtime action. Lores are best used within ones field of specialty. Sometimes lores overlap or can grant different knowledge about things. As an example, lets say the players want to know more about the Innumerable Army. Lore: Strategy and Tactics, would tell about how they use a Circadian phalanx formation, are a professional military, and are led by a famous Circadian general. Lore: Sun Invocation would tell you their leader, Hyrum, is a Sun Acolyte. Different lores give different things. Some will give more info than others. Sometimes a lore is not that appropriate to learning more info about a thing. Lore: Magic items would give minimal information on the Innumerable Army. That lore would tell you that they use a lot of concoctions and talismans, pretty limited knowledge, but its really out of the field of the lore to give more information. Sometimes lores have no appropriate info. Use of Lore: Demonology on the Innumerable Army would yield no info, because the lore is of no help with the topic.

If you are researching a topic and do not have the appropriate lore, do not put in a downtime. You cannot research Fire Invocation without the lore. And sometimes the lores you have will yield limited or no information.

Directed vs. Undirected Research:

Note that you can use any Lore with Undirected Research to find out super cool in game stuff. For example, with “Lore: Fire invocation” under normal Directed Research, what the player is saying is “I want to learn secret fire spells!” With Undirected Research essentially the player says “Tell me something cool about fire that I do not know about!” Staff then gets to pick something cool and possibly relevant to the player’s story arc and pitches it the players way. This can be a fun surprise and a good way to use downtime actions that is both useful to you and easy on staff. Just submit the downtime and say you want to do undirected research.

Using Lore in Game:

Lores can also be used in game. Just come up to staff, say I have X lore and ask questions. Marshalls will usually throw more info and advice about the topic to a player if they have the right lore. But you have to ask, Staff and the Marshalls have no idea what 80+ players have for lores, so please make sure to let us know the lore and what you want to ask about it.

Other downtime actions

There are other things people attempt that do not fall under one of the downtime categories above and are classified as complex downtimes. As a general rule, resolving plots, fighting your enemies and going on adventures are things that should happen in game or a TT, not in a downtime. Please keep to a minimum other actions that are not in the list of downtimes, and note that you may only have one complex downtime per downtime cycle. If you have a question about an action, then feel free to email Plot at dkplot@googlegroups.com and ask if an action would be appropriate for a downtime. Going on a personally requested Table Top between games will use up one of your downtimes. You do not gain CP from a personal Table Top game that you have solicited though you WILL gain CP from official fundraising or convention Table Top games. The downtime cycle is between any events that you pay to attend, including fundraising TTs.

On occasion, your character may sign up for a custom action that staff provides and that action will eat a downtime; for example, when groups of players went to go stabilize the stelae in Ikhten, they signed up on a list and removed one of their downtime actions in order to complete the objective before next game.

Things to Consider When Submitting a Downtime

Each time a player submits a lore downtime, that means staff has to write up a sheet. Sometimes what they want to do is not viable or will not yield any useful results. Sometimes staff needs clarification on the downtime. In this case you will be emailed and we will work it out.

Sometimes lores get played out. If you have Circadian Philosopher and tons of downtimes, you might have learned everything there is to know about Lore: Healing Arts. You might learn all the advanced mundane types of healing. In that case, well, you learned a lot and there is nothing more to submit downtimes for.

As a final note, Lore downtimes take the most time to process, so please, if you do not really need anything, you do not need to submit a downtime. This helps when staff has to write 40 loresheets a game.

Please note custom downtimes take a long time to write, and may not give you the information you’re looking for. If you want to get a downtime processed quickly, look for a standard lore, a new spell, or use your production and profession skills. Before you craft out a wacky downtime, think about what you think the outcome will be.

Retraining skills

You may deliberately abandon a skill by “failing to practice it or keep up to date on it” simply by noting this to Records and Book Keeping and it will be added to your downtime log (Book of All Knowledge Sheet: BOAK). This doesn’t require a downtime action; you simply declare that you’ve decided to let a particular skill languish, and at the next game, you’ll no longer have that skill.

Character points from the skill are refunded immediately, so you could (for instance) abandon one old skill and use those points to learn a different skill, which would represent using your time to practice something new.

Reason

A character with Reason has a strong grasp of logic, perception, and interpretation, coupled with an excellent memory. The Reason core trait grants an extra, complex,  downtime action to the character. Additional levels count for additional downtime actions. Reason traits refresh in each downtime cycle. So with one Reason trait, a character gets one complex and one simple downtime action, or two simple actions. (But not two complex.)

Cunning

A character with Cunning has good intuition and a quick and slippery mind. You can use a leveled skill as if it’s one level higher than your character actually knows for instance, if your character had Artifice 1, you could use it at level 2 instead for one lock. This does not give you extra codes, but would allow your character to pick a harder lock, perform more production, or understand a more complicated task. Extra levels of Cunning grant extra daily improvements, but they do not stack together. Cunning is usable during downtime production between games in order to make more or better items. Cunning traits refresh daily.

Circadian Philosopher

Perform two Lore research actions with *one* downtime. This applies to lores only.

Verrakan Guild Member

Gain benefits from a guild as a downtime action

Salvage

You may also salvage unwanted armor and weapons as a downtime action, in order to recoup some of its raw materials. You can salvage a batch of items as one downtime action.

Alchemy Formulas

Learning a formula requires the use of one downtime action. Every forumla you wish to add takes one downtime action. You may also copy a formula during play, but you must spend a subsequent downtime action from that event to master the formula. (You may, however, use it immediately at that event.)

Artifice

You can use salvaging on a device to learn its artifice codes as a downtime action, if you are also gaining a new level of Artifice. Salvaging a device requires one downtime action.

Familiars

Bird Familiars can carry messages between events at no cost, without using downtime actions.

Pick Pocket

High levels of Pick Pocket may open access to steal special items in downtime, and access to thieves’ guilds.

Using Mining

Mining as a downtime

Leadership

Members of a team can gain specific benefits with respect to one another. Simply being in a team allows you to assist one another in downtime actions. Any individual in your network can be given a downtime from anyone else in your network, although any individual can only gain one extra downtime in this fashion. Still, this can be of great use in doubling production or income skills.

Magic

A magician can learn one spell as a downtime action, so long as an appropriate teaching resource exists. Characters may teach spells to one another. Not all magic schools learn spells via downtimes

Survival

You can use a downtime to hunt and gain hides

Professions

You must use a Profession as a downtime action. For most production skills you can do more during game than during downtime. But maybe you want something done before the next game, so want skill up and make something. You may also use a downtime action to produce an item between games, if you have the necessary elements. In general production is emphasized at game, both cause it is something to do and also good advertising that you can craft things. For instance, with Alchemy you can tinker away during a game and, with the primary ingredient plus some cash, produce a concoction in 1 minute/level. If you use a Downtime, can you produce [Skill Level] worth of concoctions (if you were level 3, you could produce one Level 3 Concoction, a 2 and a 1, or three 1s).

Military

See Chapter Eight: Influence, Land, and Warfare of the Players Handbook for how to use downtimes in Military maneuvers.