Characters can take a number up to their Resolve score in Downtime actions. They can take additional actions via Merits (Allies, Contacts, Friends, Retainers, Staff, Status, Mentor & Relationships) or through the aid of another PC (only one PC may provide such assistance, and that PC uses up one of their Downtime actions to do so). General RP between sessions is considered a free action, as long as no conflict or time-consuming actions are involved.
Example Downtime actions include:
- Actions that influence plot or build up the PC in a mechanical way.
- Training to learn or improve a Trait (first use of xp to gain/improve a Trait is free, but each additional Trait improved costs an additional Downtime action).
- Researching important information.
- Maintaining a semblance of normalcy at work after a brief time of extreme stress (failure to do so might result in being fired, followed by loss of Resources or other social Merits).
- Making works of art.
- Conducting serious professional negotiations or demands.
- Travel to distant locations with significance to the plot.
- Building or repairing significant equipment (discounting general maintenance, which is considered a free action).
- Running laboratory tests on materials with story significance.
- Getting in touch with a Contact for information relevant to a current plotline.
- Scavenging for bare necessities if PC has no ready income or other means of basic support.
Limitations on Merits:
As always, use of such Merits puts them at risk comparable to the circumstances they are being used in.
Allies: Allies will often be willing to do favors for the PC, within the limits of their nature. Such favors are expected to be returned. Also, the risk shouldn’t be more than the rating, or the action could result in the Allies being at risk of loosing their position (and thus, value).
Contacts: Contacts will only gather information for PCs, nothing more.
Friends: Friends can take any action for a PC another PC could, though their success or failure will of course be commensurate with their capabilities.
Mentors: Mentors will not perform Downtime actions for PCs, though they may take actions on their own initiative if the Storyteller feels it is in their interest to do so. They are always available to assist with training or provide advice, however.
Staff: Depending on the nature of the Staff, they may take action on part of the PC as if they were Allies or Retainers. Even though they are by definition many, they still can only provide one bonus action, as they collectively are all working on the same activity.
Status: An action can be passed on by a PC to an underling within the organization within which they hold Status, but such actions become known (at least to a few) within that organization, and such actions should not run against the interests of the organization. Misappropriation of authority puts the PC’s Status at risk.
Relationships: Sometimes Relationships can be cajoled into taking an action for a PC, but such requests always risk the relationship, and the Relationship may often expect something in return.
Retainers: Retainers will always be willing to take on a Downtime action for you, whether or not they have any talent for the action they have been asked to oversee. Their success will correspond with their capability.
Here is a sample downtime form