At the end of every game, you can submit up to 3 downtime actions which describe what your character is doing between events. Certain abilities will grant you more than this, but for most folks the number is 3. Although many skills have obvious and explicit downtime applications, even characters lacking them can make use of these actions.
Although it is possible for a character to never engage with the downtime aspects of our system, even the most “active,” game-based character can benefit a great deal from them. As well, we often use the downtime actions of players as starting points for the next event. If you do consistent, interesting downtime actions, we guarantee you will be gifted with that most mysterious element known as “plot.”
Here is a list—by no means complete—of basic applications for downtime actions, both skilled and non-skilled (check out individual skill descriptions for details on specific rules for these):
- (Attuned) Having visions
- (Craft) Producing craft items
- (Diplomacy) Attempting to influence factions/groups/individuals
- (Diplomacy) Making social contacts
- (Empathic) Helping another person with a skilled action if you also have that skill
- (Mercantile) Speculating in various markets
- (Mercantile) Making business contacts or managing a business directly
- (Occult) Teaching a new magical skill
- (Performance) Playing at various venues
- (Scholarship) Researching any particular topic
- (Survival) Searching for someone/several someones
- (Survival) Foraging for herbs
- (Tinkering) Producing tinkering items
- (Unskilled) Doing odd jobs for an NPC
- (Unskilled) Helping with camp for a faction
- (Unskilled) General exploration, scouting, and looking around (though much more difficult without Survival)
Even if you can’t think of anything in particular for your character to do, we recommend that you write something down: you never know how it could come out in play.
Note that non-production downtimes can be submitted via the “Character Forms” page. Production actions (which require money and/or tagged items) are done in person at the beginning of the following event, though they must be noted in downtime.
Crafters and Tinkers get one free production action they may take during an event. Except in highly unusual circumstances, other downtime actions cannot be performed during in-game production periods.
Like everything in the Forest of Doors system, there are a few rules that govern the downtime submission. Unfortunately, downtime actions that do not meet these requirements will make little to no progress in the game. We always try our best to understand the purpose of your downtime action, but with an average of 150 actions per game to record, score, and write, we unfortunately cannot reach out to every player for clarification. Following these guidelines is a surefire way to get the most success from your time.
Downtimes should be short: no more than a tweet
We love the lore you create for your actions, but as mentioned above, 150+ paragraphs is a lot to sort through. If you cannot summarize your action in a short sentence, chances are it is too complex for one action already. If you want to send us the actual letter, you can share it as a Google Doc or send the letter to the Staff directly.
Downtimes cannot depend on someone else’s downtime from the same game
Downtimes are, for the most part, all happening at once. If you have a friend spending their actions looking for the Helm of Bears, then you cannot submit a downtime that says ‘Once Bob finds the Helm of Bears, I wear it to the ball.’ This is for two reasons: one, 150+ downtimes that all relate and require to each other would probably kill our writers, and two; Bob may not even find the Helm, meaning you wasted your actions. Have your actions be self sufficient within each suite.
Downtimes cannot follow an ‘if X, then Y’ structure.
Similar to the one above, your downtimes cannot all depend on each other. For instance, a downtime action suite like the below would not be acceptable.
‘I find the Helm of Bears’
‘If I find the Helm, I wear it to the ball’
‘If I go to the ball, I use the Helm of Bears to make the Bear King think I am a pretty princess.’
For actions like this, we will only take the first one in the sequence. While this may seem like it slows the game progress down, this is intentional: downtime actions are designed to expand and change the world and have long lasting consequences. Trying to hurry along something probably means that the opportunity to start earlier was not taken. Plus, you’re not really the Bear King’s type.
Downtime skills can only be used for actions that fit their purview
For example, a character with the Scholarship skill could research the likely location of a set of ruins. They could not use the Scholarship skill, however, to actually get to the ruins once they have a location; this is the Survival skill’s domain. A character with the Mercantile skill could sell weapons to only one side of a war, however, they could not use this skill to influence the war in any way, as that would require Diplomacy.
These skills have a function that can be used in downtimes, with examples of submissions:
Have a Vision.
Craft/Tinkering – Create new weapons, armor, or items
I craft 3 Healing Doses.
I make a Buckler for McStabbington.
Diplomacy – Influence minds and navigate politics
Send a letter to an NPC
Convince a King to make you his advisor
Bridge the cultural gap between two warring tribes
Explain why your town murdered all those orphans
Mercantile – Run a business and make money
Maintain and manage my business, the Snuggly Duckling (maintain & manage can be submitted together)
Find mercantile contacts for weapons
Speculate on a market type: Weapons
Occult – Teaching and rituals
Teach Johnny the magic school you know
Perform my investiture ritual
Performance – Grow in fame, hear rumors, and maybe make a coin or two
Sing about how awesome you are, gaining fans around the world
Perform at some seedy bars and keep an ear open for rumors
Perform scandalous tales of certain factions in bars, spreading your own rumors
Scholarship – Research new recipes, rituals, or forgotten lore
Find out where a likely location of an artifact is
Discover a new occult ritual to ward against bees
Research the secret name of the ancient sorcerer king
Research how to defeat the King of the Frost Giants
Through mathematical legerdemain, define a set which contains all sets, and also itself.
Survival – Find things in the wild, hunt locations, and track people
Search for ruins of a lost civilization
Track a group of bandits to their secret cave hideout (it’s always a secret cave hideout)
Find the missing cook from the Seedy Brigand Bar
Forage for herbs and other forageables
Weapon – Favored Weapon
Practice with my Favored Weapon, The Black Night
As part of my deal with Professor Poison, defend his establishment for the week
Help the White Noble Unicorn Order set up their outpost
Look around and explore this brave new world following the Minotaur’s Road to see what I can see
Examples of poor downtimes:
“I’m looking for the King Sword, so I’m going to start by looking for the man who told me that the King Sword might be in the lake. I’m going to do this by going to the lake and seeing if the troll still lives there, who is supposed to know the location of the King Stones that can lead me to the King Sword.”
This downtime is overly complex, somewhat confusing (what exactly is the action here?) and way too long.
“I fight the guy. Staff knows what I’m talking about.”
What guy? Where? No Staff doesn’t know what you mean. This is the rare example of not enough information to move forward.
“Using the amulet from my first action, I kill the Megalodon.”
Please do not make actions depend on other actions. No If/Then actions. They will always fail.
Examples of great downtimes:
“I continue my research into a ritual that protects against bees.”
Scholarship – Research with a clear topic and goal.
“I perform at the Seedy Brigand Bar with my lute.”
Performance – Fame, money, rumors at a specific location.
“I’m going to start looking for a good location for Bob to do his Greater Working.”
Survival – Searching – location for ritual
“I make 3 Healing Doses.”
Craft (Alchemy) – using Production to make things