A word on down times:

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A word on down times:

Postby Jared Thaler » Mon Jan 19, 2009 12:35 am

1. The more details you give us, the better your results.

This applies especially to investigative down times. If you can tell us a.) what you already know, b.) what you think you have figured out and c.) how you are looking for more (new) information, this does three things. One it means you don't get staff telling you the same thing over and over again (admittedly, with a low dice pool they may just tell you "you don't find out anything you didn't know already") It also lets us say "You find out that what you thought you knew was wrong." (or at least give you clues that will let you figure out that your conclusion was wrong.) Most importantly, it lets *staff* know what information has been communicated successfully (staff often forgets that just because we have told people things, it doesn't mean they know them.) Then, if there is important info that needs to be known, even if you don't find it yourself, staff can seed clues toward it into your downtime (or elsewhere in game.)

2. If you "Always do X cause it is a free kith ability / spell / whatever" then you always need to tell staff that you are doing it.

This actually applies more generally in game too. If you always cast first impressions when you meet someone for the first time, you need to always tell people you are casting it. If you always check any gun handed to you to see if it is loaded, always ask the person who handed it to you if it is loaded. Finding out later and saying "I would have X, I always do X." is not an acceptable substitute for taking action at the time.

This doesn't apply so much to default down time actions (we keep a file of those) but if you have an ability that modifies your down time action, (or modifies how many dta's you get) then you need to tell staff when and how you are using it. (We have 30 characters to keep up with, we are not going to even try to remember that Joe Shmo always casts quantum flux and aims his actions before starting them. Sorry.)

You don't need to get paranoid cautious about this, no "I check left, then right, then up then down then behind me." every time you step through the door, but please take some responsibility for calling other actions, especially actions that might provoke tests. (On the other hand, if your character really *is* that thorough / paranoid, please act it out, both because it means you are likely to see someone sneaking up on you who doesn't necessarily know that you are doing that, and second, because it gives other players a valuable cue as to your character's apparent mental state. (Eidetic memory is an exception in that it lets you recall any fact you have seen without having to declare that you are memorizing it. On the other hand, it isn't flash reading (You can't look at a page and read it all in a single glance) so if you are taking the time to read something, you need to mention that to people (or better yet act out reading it.)

On the other hand, if your character *is* taking paranoid level precautions (either because he is paranoid or because someone is after him), you need to tell us. And you need to keep telling us as long as he goes on taking them. (Part of being paranoid is putting in extra effort.) Again, coming to staff after downtimes are resolved and saying "but they couldn't have followed me, I take precautions" is not good enough. (also, if your paranoid precautions are intricate or time consuming enough, staff reserves the right to charge one or more Down times for them)

3. (Mage only) if you are ritual casting a spell, please include the following: Target number of successes spent on potency, Duration, target number, target size, target area (if applicable) as well as what you will do if you don't reach your target.

(Staff's default assumption is that you will spend a willpower and settle for less potency. If you have no willpower, the spell fails.)

4. If you care enough about something to spend willpower, tell us, otherwise we won't spend any. This can take the form of "if I don't have at least half the needed successes by the 4th test, I start spending willpower."

5. If someone was supposed to do something for you, or in partnership with you, make sure they get their DTA in. If they don't send in a DTA, or didn't include it in their DTA, staff assumes you got stood up. (We will make some reasonable allowance for people who lose access to the computer, etc.)

6. Put down times in order of importance. If we decide one of your DTA's was really two, we just bump the bottom one off the list.

7. It doesn't hurt to put a section at the bottom with "If I have extra time I ..." After all, we may decide that one of your downtimes didn't take up a down time slot, or that it was impossible, in which case, you have something else to sub in.
Jared Thaler
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Re: A word on down times:

Postby Fetch » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:55 am

As long at this thread is here, downtimes are still due by(not on) the Monday before game. I've found some people are still unaware of this.
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Re: A word on down times:

Postby KrisT » Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:17 pm

In general, I'd like to note that there are a couple simple rules of thumb that can stand in for most of the above:

1. If you are lazy about how you write up your downtime actions, it makes more work for staff.

2. Remember that even if it should "only take staff a few minutes" to work something out, that's still X minutes times 30 players.

Staffing involves a ton of work, not limited to rumour and DTA writeups. If you can save staff a few minutes by investing a little extra time on your end, we will be extremely grateful.
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