There’s an extra side to the question of what PCs do in down time, and it’s what the players do. Our GM likes it1The sobbing has stopped. when we pad out the world, and one of our favourite ways is by RPing amongst ourselves, in text, between sessions.
Sometimes it’s little arguments, sometimes it’s prep for plots that a player wants to run. Because not everyone can do this, we have a rule that we don’t advance plot or make huge things happen. We also usually stick to a limited number of scenes, although at time of writing our GM is having a break and a different player2Me. Siiiiiigh. is running for a few sessions, so the stand-in is getting more RP by text than usual.
It’s a good way of embellishing the world and strengthening our characters’ personalities.
Things we’ve done:
- A lot of rock climbing
- Carefully spreading word of a Heroquest that a PC wants to undertake, but needed oaths of silence for telling others about
- Complaining about meditation
- Shopping in a dragonewt market3My favourite thing was a small black stone ball that would roll to the edge of any table it was put on, and drop off
- Tourist-staring at the ice wall
- Swimming lessons, followed by dealing with hypothermia badly
- Going out on a picnic to sadistically cheer on the PC who is undergoing CON training
- Visiting NPC relatives who want to hear all the PC stories
- Organising ransoms4…and working out that we’ve both taken the same person for ransom and this is a problem
All of these things solidify the world and the PCs. We know that there’s a street food seller not far from the Humakti temple who does food guaranteed not to have vegetables in. We know that the White Grape Inn has a courtyard and a back door. We know the stables have an entrance into the inn as well as the courtyard exit.
We know, to our horror, the dances that the storm bull does when he gets drunk and we never want to see those again. It’s these details that fill in a world, and RP with the GM invited to check nothing is wildly wrong is a good way to let the PCs do some of the work and end up with a better world that they understand.
We use Discord, but there are plenty of media that will let you post one after another. I’d recommend that you log whatever you do, clean it up, and put it where people can admire it, because eventually it becomes a resource that you refer to. We’ve used a wiki for that, and again, there are many ways. They all help to create depth. Make the details, make the world…
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This is great. I love those precious moments when players roleplay their characters for scenes out of the usual adventure. It’s usually proof that players are enjoying the campaign and playing their characters.
Perhaps using an online chat promotes that?
Absolutely and definitely. We have individual chats, and then one public thread where anyone can join in, it’s assumed that anything you say will get back to other people, and major events are posted. Even then we still flag up what people have been doing for those who’ve missed it. Having a Discord server is perfect. We can have a channel with the GM each for questions, and if we want to RP we message and include him.
Another thing that’s really helped is that I grabbed most of the new players who came on and asked them for Text RP, and some of them got into the habit. I used to do a lot by text, so to me, once I realised the GM wanted the world to be defined by us, that was an obvious thing to do. Having proactive players, or players who realise they have permission to do this, is important.
That way of playing was totally alien to me. These days it is one of the major things in my personal game experience.
Before other people who’d do it with me came along, I just monologued IC to the GM. Have you tried that? It’s awesome fun.