The player who doesn't like Downtime (rules, that is)


Advice


I'm running a game where we're spreading into using the Business and Organization rules from Ultimate Campaign. This will change the dynamic of the game a little from a One Session = One Mission flow to a focus where some sessions will be mission based and some will be handling results of Capital checks, Events, etc.

This works great for two of the players, one of whom wants to start a brothel, the other who wants to start a tavern. They're all part of a criminal organization, so starting these types of businesses will be a way for them to gain more power and prestige within the organization.

The problem is, I have one player who doesn't really have an interest in starting something like this. And it makes sense, not every PC would want to get involved in these types of situations. So I don't want to penalize the character for not going that route, but I need to find something that's equally useful and lucrative for him to do while the other two are doing their thing. Advice?


Is it a reasonable option for him to just skip the downtime sessions, if he isn't into that aspect of the game?

In-game he could be offscreen doing something, without having to actually invest hours into an activity he doesn't really like.

Hard to think of much by way of alternative, since you can't realistically be actively GM'ing the downtime stuff while simultaneously running a solo mission for him.

If you've got the time (and/or are a glutton for punishment) you could always schedule a one-on-one session to run a short solo mission for him every now and then, to help soften the blow of him missing out on a large chunk of the other sessions. That's making a lot of work for yourself, though.


The Steel Refrain wrote:
Is it a reasonable option for him to just skip the downtime sessions, if he isn't into that aspect of the game?

Thanks for the response.

Potentially, though since we only game bi-weekly, I wouldn't want to do that too often.

The Steel Refrain wrote:


If you've got the time (and/or are a glutton for punishment) you could always schedule a one-on-one session to run a short solo mission for him every now and then, to help soften the blow of him missing out on a large chunk of the other sessions. That's making a lot of work for yourself, though.

I guess I could kind of do the reverse of that and run the Business/Org stuff via a forum and save tabletop meetups for adventures, but even if I do that, I'll need to have some way to make sure he doesn't fall behind in income, or gets some other sort of reward for doing something else the other two don't with his extra time.


He can spend his downtime earning capital for gp.
Researching spells.
Developing a love affair.

That is really is up to him, you should ask him what he wants to do while the others are busy handling their personal business.

If he wants to earn money without investing money and/or time, then ask him how he is supposed to do that so we can teach our economic specialists all over the world.
The downtime activites are only lucrative after at least 12 months of time after the initial investment, some buildings will only grant any benefit much later.


Well, income could be partially solved through craft and/or profession checks (assuming he takes those skills). If he doesn't take them though, then its pretty much a choice on his part to fall behind on income.

All that said, one thing I would consider is combining your mission and downtime sessions. There's no need to fully complete a mission every session (aside from an OOC narrative standpoint). Likewise, running a several hour session of nothing but downtime checks might be fun for most groups initially, but I imagine if that were every other session even the two players who are into the downtime rules might start getting bored by the end of the sessions every other session.

Its cool to own a business and all, but I kind of anticipate that four hour (or so) sessions every month of running a business might get a bit stale. Personally, I wouldn't worry if you had to stop a session in the middle of a dungeon, etc.

Grand Lodge

rando1000 wrote:

I'm running a game where we're spreading into using the Business and Organization rules from Ultimate Campaign. This will change the dynamic of the game a little from a One Session = One Mission flow to a focus where some sessions will be mission based and some will be handling results of Capital checks, Events, etc.

This works great for two of the players, one of whom wants to start a brothel, the other who wants to start a tavern. They're all part of a criminal organization, so starting these types of businesses will be a way for them to gain more power and prestige within the organization.

The problem is, I have one player who doesn't really have an interest in starting something like this. And it makes sense, not every PC would want to get involved in these types of situations. So I don't want to penalize the character for not going that route, but I need to find something that's equally useful and lucrative for him to do while the other two are doing their thing. Advice?

The Downtime Rules are rather boring at times.

So some of the others wish to Open businesses or Store Fronts. Not everyone needs too. There are other options for the guy. Bounty Hunting or assassinations during down time is a good way to earn extra capital and eliminating competition for himself and allies. He could be a Con artist who swindles travelers that come through town. If he is a Bard he could Perform in his Allies Pub and Brothel.

I'm sure the two of you could come up with ways for them to spend the Downtime and come up with a bit of Coin.


Moonlighting as an assassin should at least garner some respect for him. Could reduce it down to a series of skill checks to see how things go. On the other hand he is friends with tavern and brothel owners ;) If he doesn't advance in the organization so what. Advancing in a criminal organization isn't always in your best interest.


What if he did odd jobs for a guild for experience or became a craftsperson and sell for profit/improve parties equipment. I'm a GM and one of our first downtimes the players split up to do their own thing. One encounter was a B&E, another the player hired himself out as a bodyguard for a noble party, and the third made criminal connections. I don't know how long you games are but they don't have to be complex encounters if you only spend a third of the time on it.


Luckily the downtime rules can be down over email and such, since they really are just rolls and description.

Still, you can turn them into adventures for the whole crew. Maybe a rival organization tries to get a cut of their money for the brothel/tavern. Or thieves' guild robs them. Or highwaymen try and assault their supply line for the brewery. Or perhaps they can use the brothel to gather interesting information from local nobles. There's a lot you can do with this.


Gargs454 wrote:
Well, income could be partially solved through craft and/or profession checks (assuming he takes those skills). If he doesn't take them though, then its pretty much a choice on his part to fall behind on income.

Yeah, we have been doing that so far for all three players. The two will begin putting their income into Capital in order to build their businesses, which will eventually earning money in addition to their weekly Profession checks. I guess it will take a while to recoup the money they've invested, while the non-participating player will have either saved or spent said $.

Gargs454 wrote:
Its cool to own a business and all, but I kind of anticipate that four hour (or so) sessions every month of running a business might get a bit stale.

ONE of the two would get bored. The other one spent about 4 hours a week on Kingdom Building on his own for the entire run of our Kingmaker campaign, so he will NEVER get bored of it.


Fruian Thistlefoot wrote:
Bounty Hunting or assassinations during down time is a good way to earn extra capital and eliminating competition for himself and allies. He could be a Con artist who swindles travelers that come through town.

Yeah, I suggested the assassin gig, considering he's a sniper and all, but he wasn't warm to the idea. I think I need to get more of a feel for his character's personality before I make more suggestions, but he had asked me for alternatives so I was trying to come back with some more ideas. I'll try to get him to think of some other options similar to your suggestions.


I say just ask him what he wants. Don't leave it to be a guessing game. Sit down before the game and see what he wants his character to do.


I would suggest crafting especially of the wondrous variety :P He still makes money and can make things that he and the party needs


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His friends are opening a brothel. This guy has all his spare time covered.


Joey Cote wrote:

His friends are opening a brothel. This guy has all his spare time covered.

I like it he gains experience (experience at what that is a personal matter) at the cost of gaining several diseases.


Well, you could get rid of the idea of pure downtime. The tavern and the brothel might be visited by unwanted guests (thugs, overly curious guards, ambitious enemy criminals etc.) which has the potential of interesting RP and encounters.

Some time during the session might be still dedicated to pure downtime - a good opportunity for him to level up, solve riddles or sort his spellbook.


I'll add my opinion to those suggesting the option of putting downtime in email sessions.

Is it the player or the character that's opposed to setting up a downtime business? If the player's not interested but it's something that might make sense for the character to do, it might work out for the uninterested player to just delegate running his character's downtime activities to the one who really likes doing it. If I recall correctly, unlike with regular adventures there aren't any lethal consequences from running a business, and few or none that are even personally harmful. The sniper could just say "Over the course of the next few months, I'll sink no more than 2000gp into setting up an archery training facility." (for example), and then let his friend play out the details.


If he's interested in his combat potential, he could retrain hit points to increase them in the downtime.


I'm not familiar with the details of running businesses, but craft or profession rolls can generate income.

I also see no reason not to allow him to tag along with another player, and just say they are doing the exact same thing with the exact same results (adjusting for modifier differences, perhaps).

I run some downtime in my game, and it doesn't take much table time at all. Usually, we go for a quest during the session, freeing slaves, escorting caravans, sailing home, whatever, and at the end of every session I go "okay, you have X days of downtime before next session". I let them think of what they want to do, and most of it is handled between sessions. Next session, I'll spend maybe 5 minutes at the start to answer questions and make any necessary rolls to finish up, and then we resume adventuring.

While they don't get enough downtime, nor do they have enough wealth, to start businesses and such, I have a hard time imagining it taking too much place.

For starters, you'd need to consider what your GMing goals are. Most downtime checks can be done in little time or by email, as said by others. But you said that some sessions "will be handling results of Capital checks, Events, etc.". As in: more checks, or quests? Having a session of nothing but downtime checks sounds boring to me, personally.

If quests, then there's potential, but also pitfalls. Your two downtime players aren't doing the same thing. So the problem isn't really that the third player isn't doing his own third thing, but that no matter what happens to one of them, it doesn't involve any of the others. What affects the tavern probably doesn't affect the brothel, and vice versa.


bodhranist wrote:
Is it the player or the character that's opposed to setting up a downtime business?

I THINK it's the character; the player doesn't see that sort of activity as something his character would do. I'll check that the next time I speak with the player; I only have sporadic contact with him between sessions, and he's not on social media at all.

Issac Daneil wrote:
If he's interested in his combat potential, he could retrain hit points to increase them in the downtime.

I hadn't really used retraining much, and my players haven't requested it. Something to consider, I guess.

Goblin_Priest wrote:
For starters, you'd need to consider what your GMing goals are. Most downtime checks can be done in little time or by email, as said by others. But you said that some sessions "will be handling results of Capital checks, Events, etc.". As in: more checks, or quests? Having a session of nothing but downtime checks sounds boring to me, personally.

I think what I envision is a split portion of gaming; some RP action and some Downtime rolling; how much of either I guess will depend on what people are interested in and what the dice have to say, moreso than my actions. I've made a fairly open setting where the players can choose a lot of different options; our first few sessions were mission based, but I'm hoping the players will start self-determining soon, with only occasional prompting from me. Part of that is Business and Org building, but part of that will be moving in on rival territory, building alliances (and making enemies), etc.


You could always try some carousing. Plenty of rules for that on the internets.


Thanks for all the help, guys. You've given me a lot to consider. I'll take some of it to the player in question and see what we can come up with.

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