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How much downtime do your PCs get?


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Mostly breakneck speed, I guess. Over the years this has been conditioned by the play style. When the players are together for a session it's generally for the purpose of 'playing an adventure', so it's tricky to organise a big chunk of time out for a single character. However, I'll frequently get a player to play a new/ temporary character if their main PC is committed to some background/ far away activity.

That said, I'll occasionally include big jumps of time - weeks, months or years - between adventures and ask or tell the players what their characters do in that time. Or transfer PCs between campaigns by allowing them to age ten years, or whatever.


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A buddy ran a long 3.5 Ebberon game for us a while back and I played an artificer. It can take *a lot* of time to create magic items and one of my biggest problems with his style was that he wouldn’t give my dude the downtime to do it.
There wasn’t anything pressing going on and he wouldn’t listen to my requests are argument either. Like does it really matter if we chill in Sharn and do our own things for a month or two?

Ever since then I’ve always opted for downtime, if the current events allow for it of course.

When I ran Night’s Black Agents it was go go go.

When I ran Masks of Nyarlathotep I kept reinforcing to the players that (after they made a certain discovery) there was a time limit but it ‘wasn’t for a while’. I didn’t give the concrete date of badness but it was enough that they chose to just hammer through it. Their downtime was whatever it took to travel from one country to the next, usually a week or two by steamer.

My current East Texas University game is days of downtime within an adventure, usually until the weekend, unless something happens during the week. Otherwise a month or so may pass between stuff happening to the kids during the semester.

Current Black Hack game is a west marches style thing and downtime is roughly a month between adventures. PCs come back to homebase pick downtime activities and then plan their next sortie into the wild.

On here the Red Markets game is about a month in between jobs. That represents enough time for downtime to spend selling old gear, training, sourcing new gear, spending time with dependents and abstract out looking for and researching jobs.

Brad J. Murray

RPGnet Member
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So far in our Sand Dogs campaign, between defending against armoured car assault, fleeing, freeing an enslaved work gang, and parachuting out of a burning plane I think they got in a 3 hour nap to recover from sunstroke.


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I put in as much as I possibly can. I have a couple players who want to go,go,go,go but I tell them no,no,no,no
I do it for two reasons:
  1. Because I want time to pass
  2. Because people need to rest


Master of Mutant Design
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In one Gamma World campaign I have notes for the PCs need to be farmers during the growing season, otherwise everyone starves. But after Harvest then they can go raid ruins for technology as well as kill of the vermin that have colonize them since last year. It is the time when alliances are made as the ruins are the place where people from several communities meet up and trade unwanted tech. And a good place for younguns to find potential mates. When the weather turns really bad the survivors return home and spend a couple months doing what they can while waiting for Spring.

So it would be technically about 2 months out of the year as downtime, 6 for farming and harvesting and the last 4 for adventuring.


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Not enough time. I have had many characters that wanted to work on small personal projects. But, usually the GM doesn't give any downtime.


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It depends a lot on the game. If it's fairly episodic – completing an adventure / mission, than waiting for the next one to come up – then they generally get as much downtime as they need to recover and to justify training/study for any character improvements they want to make. If they have anything that might take a while, e.g. special projects, I'd judge that on a case-by-case basis.

If it's a more continuous game, they'll get downtime whenever it makes sense – often, that means they'll get none for long periods because they're busy adventuring, then they'll get a lot of it in one go, because they've just embarked on a months-long ship voyage. So if (for example) the wizard wants to research something, he has to either a) do it over an extended period at a few hours a day, b) wait until a natural break comes up, or c) talk to the party about making the research the focus of the next adventure.

Black Flag

Dweller on the Threshold
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Unless the session breaks in the middle of the action, or if we happen to be playing something rather preplanned and linear where this has already been determined, downtime is variable and negotiable.

In our Vampire game the usual minimum between sessions is a day, but frequently it’s a week or more because I want time to pass at a similar rate to the real world, and we’re not playing every night of these characters’ unlives. We’re playing the nights when interesting things happen.

For fantasy games like Shadow of the Demon Lord or Pugmire, which are more adventure-centered, don’t really keep track of the passage of time outside adventures. We’re just playing some of the highlights of these characters’ careers. There might be months or even years between them.
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